By Jeremy Spitz
Student Regents: two UC students selected from over 200,000 students across 10 campuses to provide a student’s perspective on the UC Board of Regents.
UC Regents have final say on everything from expansion to diversity, tuition to sustainability. And on Friday, Jan. 25, the Student Regents will be visiting UC Santa Cruz.
At the event, UCSC students will have the opportunity to discuss controversial issues with the Student Regents and find out more about becoming the next Student Regent.
“We really want to open up dialogue with the Student Regents about student concerns,” said Cyndi Edinger, UCSC’s Student Regent outreach coordinator. “This is a prime opportunity to talk about it with the people who can do something about it at a higher level.”
With the exception of UC Merced, UCSC is the only campus that has not produced a Student Regent since the position was created in 1975.
“Santa Cruz students should know that the administration would love to get a student from UCSC,” said Ben Allen, the current voting Student Regent.
The Student Regents are part of the Board of Regents, which has “full powers of organization and governance,” according to the state constitution.
Of the 26 members of the Board of Regents, 18 of them are appointed by the governor for 12-year terms; seven are ex-officio members, such as the governor and the UC president; and two are the Student Regents.
The Student Regent is appointed for a two-year term.
After the application process, the student serves the first year as Regent-designate, participating in all the Regent meetings, but not voting.
The next year, the student gains the right to vote on policy and introduce measures before the board.
“The first year is when you get your feet wet,” Edinger said. “You learn the ropes and then the second year you have more ammunition because you can vote.”
D’Artanan Scorza, the Student Regent designate and a graduate student in education at UCLA, said that he expects Friday’s meeting to help him identify some issues to address in his upcoming term and help him to effectively advocate for students at the board level.
“I expect people to be brutally honest,” he said. “I can’t do my job without input; it’s essential to the work we do.”
In addition to listening to student concerns, the Student Regent has the unique opportunity to bring to the table issues that are of personal interest, as well as visions for how to improve the quality of the institution.
Allen, a Harvard graduate and law student at UC Berkeley, said that he viewed his term as an “opportunity to learn and serve, to contribute and give back.”
“Historically, Student Regents have played a really important role,” Allen said. He described how Student Regent efforts had led the UC to withdraw its investments in South Africa under apartheid, and Sudan in response to the situation in Darfur.
Currently, Allen is working on a resolution about environmental sustainability.
Scorza, too, cited the environment as one of his main concerns, adding that he had a personal commitment to access and affordability, working to “make sure that students are not priced out of an education.”
Both Student Regents expressed a deep commitment to the university.
“I really believe in the institution.” Allen said. “It’s a driving force for our economy and social mobility.”
“One thing I love about the university is the feeling and understanding of empowerment, that we can create change,” Scorza said. “I applied to become a Student Regent because I wanted to put my hands on the change.”
_Meet the Student Regents on Friday, Jan. 25, 12 p.m., Student Union first floor. All interested students are encouraged to apply to be the next designate. See the career center website: http://www2.ucsc.edu/careers/jobs/regent.html. The application is due Feb. 21._