US Vote Smart

Home » 2016-11-08 election » Lone Star College » Board of Trustees Member, District 7 » Ron Trowbridge

Ron Trowbridge
Party Unknown
Born 12/4/37 Ft. Wayne, IN.
Education University of Michigan
Occupation Retired
Religion Presbyterian
Marital Widowed

Ron Trowbridge


Ronald L. Trowbridge was elected to the Lone Star College System Board of Trustees in 2013.

Appointed by President Ronald Reagan, Trowbridge was director of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the United States Information Agency, directing the Fulbright Program.  His position required U. S. Senate confirmation.  Later he became chief of staff to U. S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger, publishing a book on the Chief Justice. 

He holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Michigan, where he taught for several years.  He became a tenured full professor at Eastern Michigan University and later a Vice President at Hillsdale College.  He was editor of the Michigan Academician, the journal of the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters. 

He founded the Maine Heritage Policy Center, which among other pursuits focused on higher education.  From 2006-12, he was an adjunct professor of English at Lone Star College.

Presently, he is a Senior Fellow at the Center for College Affordability and Productivity in Washington, D. C. 

MCTP PAC Rating of: 88 (High Score) Source

Submitted by john wertz on 2016-10-18 14:14:14


  • Dedicated to upholding constitution in every respect; 
  • Incumbent, knowledgeable of issues and appears dedicated to the cause of LS.
  • Very qualified, well educated, not afraid to speak out;
  • Cares for students and education;
  • Believes students should shoulder more of college financing than the taxpayers; 
  • Believes in introducing minimum academic entrance standards to reduce need for remedial classes.


  • Suspect he supports MCTP mission but not totally sure.


Video Interview Source

Submitted by john wertz on 2016-10-17 19:56:32




Please describe the changes to existing programs and/or functions you are committed to make and give your rationale.

I want the college run properly and wisely—for the public, the students, their parents, teachers, staffers, and administrators.  I want the place to be a family.

Being retired, I have made being a trustee for the past three years a virtually full-time job.  I go to everything—classes, committee meetings, social functions that serve a purpose for the college and students, ground breakings, faculty presentations—both from and to, concerts, seminars, and on and on.

I also publish a good dozen analytical articles a year—primarily in the Austin American-Statesman because I want them read by legislators and legislative aides.  Why?  Because the Big Dogs are always trying to steal our lunch.

Please describe the qualifications and experience that make you the best candidate for the office you are seeking.

My bio, printed above, shows my academic, professional credentials.  No one else in the entire college, from top to bottom, can top or match these credentials.  That doesn’t make me “the best,” but it does make me the most widely qualified.

Please discuss the proper granting of the use of LSCS facilities to non-affiliated, non-profit civic groups.

I recall only once in the past three years that an outside group asked for permission to use our college facility.  I don’t have a strong view on the matter, but off the top of my head I would have no problem with it.  Would be a wise idea to charge a modest rental fee and have down a returnable damage deposit.


Please discuss your views on LSCS funding sources and the proportion of funds that should come from each source(State Legislature; raise local property taxes; raise tuition;  offer free tuition;  pass more bond;  repeal open-admissions and increase minimum academic requirements;  cap enrollment;  worry about it down the road)?

  1.  The Legislature now provides some 24% of the college’s total funding—but that percentage has been dropping for years and will likely continue to do so.
  2. No raising of property taxes.  If necessary, raise instead student tuition modestly.  I would prefer an increase in a user fee to a taxpayer fee.  Let those who use the college pay a little more.
  3. Free tuition?  No way.  Hillary’s proposal is not of this world.
  4. Pass more bonds?  May not be necessary for a long, long time.  On the bond of $471 million in late 2014, only a few buildings have been constructed.  Most will be constructed in 2017 and 2018.  The college is now at 100,000 students, with a projected growth of 3% a year.  But we don’t know for certain how the gas and oil depression will possibly affect growth in student enrollment.  So we need to wait and see.  It may take a very long time for another bond to emerge.
  5. I personally believe that for multiple reasons some sort of minimum academic requirement should be imposed on student applicants.  But neither Democrats nor Republicans will ever go along with this.
  6. Cap enrollment?  No.  “On some other kid, but not my kid.”
  7. “Worry about it down the road”?  Well, yes. Just keep an eye open.

Please describe the pros and cons of full-tenured staff versus part-time teachers and your plans, if any, for making changes in that area.

I’m against tenure.  Adjunct or part-time instructors have proven to be good instructors.  But there is one problem with them:  I was an adjunct at Lone Star College for six years, and noticed that most adjuncts left the building right after their classroom sessions ended.  They had little or no time for student advising and counseling—which is critical for young students.  Counseling needs to be improved.

Please describe the opportunities you will pursue to improve quality of instruction while reducing costs.

In my discipline as an English professor:  stick to reading and writing—and forget the politically correct fads.


Is the current debt load for LSCS too high? Please describe how you will determine the proper debt load.

I don’t think the current debt is too high, though that is a little like asking, “How high is up”?  The CFO’s recent report is significant:  “We finalized the refinancing of certain bonds and refunding of others from previous issues.  Our total savings to taxpayers over the life of the bonds will be $81.35  million!  We originally projected c. $70 million.  Please note that a number of bonds had a c. 5% interest repayments and were placed with 2.84%!”

Please explain why you do or do not support requiring a 2/3 majority for bond issues to pass.

I don’t have a strong view on ½ v. 2/3 majority vote for bond issues to get to the voters.  The main thing is that they get to the voters.  Why not 60%?  75%?

Lone Star College passed a $471 million Bond package(tax-supported) in late 2014.  How long will this sustain the college, before the board comes back to the voters for more? 

See answer to question 4.  It could be a very long time before another bond issue emerges—depending primarily on actually huge growth in student enrollment, which may or may not happen.

1st Amendment - speech, religion

What would you do to a student who uses hate speech on campus? Off campus?

Absolutely nothing.  Such speech is protected by the 1st Amendment.  Oklahoma State violated the Constitution when it suspended those two students for singing a racist ditty on a bus.  The 1st Amendment applies to both on- and off-campus.

What is your position on free-speech zones, speech codes, safe spaces, trigger warnings, microaggressions, and religious speech on campus?

No free-speech zones, speech codes, safe spaces, trigger warnings, microaggressions imposed on campus.  And yes, free religious speech is protected by the 1st Amendment.

2nd Amendment - guns

What's your opinion on campus carry for teachers and for students?

On campus carry, it is the law, and I will obey it.  As a constitutional scholar, I understand and defend the purpose of the 2nd Amendment.


Please describe what measures you propose to improve transparency and accountability to the public.

You will not find anyone more supportive of transparency and accountability than I.  I work for the college—and for the public as well (trustees sometimes forget this).

We trustees do not discuss ever any trustee business in secret—never.   If you want to know why, ask Craig Doyal, Charlie Riley, and Jim Clark.