Marcela Ramirez, UC Student Regent-designate

Courtesy of Arman Azedi
Courtesy of Arman Azedi

Student Regent, Avi Oved has been working diligently for the past year and half to add a third student seat to the UC Board of Regents. Currently all 238,000 students across the UC system are represented by two students: the voting Student Regent and the non-voting Student Regent-designate. The Student Regent was established by a voter driven state constitutional amendment in 1975, after the historical student social unrest of the 1960’s. It would take another state-wide constitutional amendment to add a second or even third voting student member.

The fight for expanding student representation on the UC Board of Regents is more than just having a vote. One more voice means that students have an opportunity to elevate issues of concern directly to the decision makers. Students will have the ability to access key stakeholders and contextualize the student experience in order to inform those who will have a vote. This level of access and opportunity alone is valuable beyond measure.

We the students of the University of California have an opportunity to speak directly to the impact of tuition increases, housing and food insecurity, campus climate, hate incidents, prejudice, bias, discrimination, sexual assault, resource allocations and our aggregate needs and concerns across the system.

Currently the student seats on the board of regents serve as a proactive platform to make policy changes and coordinate efforts to serve a diverse array of students needs. We need another seat at the table and one more voice. When asked to visit college campuses and give talks on student leadership, I often say “If you are not at the table, you are on the menu” and “once you get to the table you must pull up a seat for others”. Regent Oved is doing exactly what is necessary to make room for other voices to be heard. The creation of a pilot program for a Student Advisor position is a step in the right direction.

During the January 21st meeting of the UC Board of Regents there will be a vote either in favor or in opposition to the addition of a Student Advisor position. This process is not unusual and the proposed pilot program is modeled after the Staff Advisor program created over ten years ago. If the proposal passes the Student Advisor will serve as an informant to the Regents and will directly convey how UC policy affects students and why their interests should be protected.

The UC Board of Regents is the primary governing body responsible for shaping UC systemwide policies. The effort to add the position has been spearheaded by my counterpart and current Student Regent, Avi Oved. I support him completely and encourage students across the system to support this effort and ask for One More Voice.

Lastly, applications for the Student Regent position are now available and can be found at regents.universityofcalifornia.edu. The position is one of the most influential student voices in the system and provides an excellent opportunity to be a foremost advocate for student interests. Currently the Student Regent and Student Regent-designate are touring every UC campus, meeting with students, and encouraging students to apply for the Student Regent position. The deadline to apply is February 28, 2016.

If the proposal on the addition of a Student Advisor position to the Board of Regents is adopted recruitment will begin next year. Candidates for this position will stem from those who apply to be the next Student Regent, meaning that there will not be a separate application to be the Student Advisor. The selection process will run parallel to that of the Student Regent and candidates for the Student Advisor position will be selected from that pool of applicants. The only requirement to apply is that you be an enrolled UC student in good academic standing. This means all undergraduates, graduates, professional, non-resident, out-of-state, international, documented and undocumented students are welcome to apply. If the proposal passes, I will be the first Student Regent to engage in this recruitment process and I look forward to seeing your applications.

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