By Jeremy Spitz
Despite wearing “100% Slug” pins on their lapels, neither student regent hails from UC Santa Cruz.
In fact, in the 33 years since the position was created, a student regent has never been appointed from UCSC. Santa Cruz and Merced are the only UC campuses never to produce a student regent.
That is one topic the student regents came to discuss last Friday at the “Meet the student regents” event on the UCSC campus. The Career Center sponsored the event in order to educate students on the student regent application process and provide a forum for students to discuss issues with the most powerful student representatives.
“There is a lot of interest in sending a slug to the regents’ table,” said Ben Allen, the current student regent.
The UC regents make all the major decisions about the fate and trajectory of the UC system, and the two student regents are the only student voices on the board. There are 18 regents appointed by the governor for 12-year terms, seven ex-officio regents such as the governor and the UC president, and two student regents.
Each student regent serves for two years, the first year as the 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.
“You are essentially a state official,” said D’Artagnan Scorza, the regent-designate. “You are there to represent the needs of students.”
The regents were enthusiastic about the opportunity to create change through their positions, but were realistic about the limitations of their position on the board.
“You are poorer, younger, less experienced, less politically connected, less powerful than any other person sitting around the table,” said Allen, comparing himself to the other regents. “But you are the one student sitting around the table; you represent one of the most important constituencies in the university.”
Allen is a Harvard graduate with a Masters degree from Cambridge. He is currently studying law at UC Berkeley.
Scorza, a Masters student in education at UCLA, who also served in the Navy in Iraq, said that he viewed the position as a unique opportunity to generate change and advocate for students.
“I really wanted to create an impact,” he said. “It has become more and more critical for us students to take a progressive leadership role.”
Will Duggan, a first-year Stevenson student, happened upon the meeting by chance but said that he learned a lot. “I thought it was pretty great, you know. I didn’t really realize how important the student regents were until coming here, so it was definitely a great experience.”
Kyle Simerly, also a first-year, is considering applying for the position. He said that the meeting changed his opinion on the regents.
“They made me realize that they’re there and they’re listening,” he said. “They’ve got weight, especially because regents sound like they’re listening to them, which makes me feel a lot better about the situation.”
Eric Hernandez, a second-year politics major, felt that the position would be a valuable learning experience and a real opportunity to produce system-wide change.
“I think I’m going to apply. I feel like this would be a good experience outside of the classroom,” Hernandez said. “We need to come together to make something happen.”
Scorza emphasized the power and importance of the student perspective on the board.
“We live this institution every day. We breathe this. It is what we do. No one else in that room does that as much as we do. And then on top of that, we get to vote. You get to introduce policy,” Scorza said. “Beyond all measure it is important to realize you have a voice and your voice is at that table. Now, how you utilize that voice and how effective you are at utilizing that voice makes all the difference in the world in how much of a change you are going to be able to create.”
_The application to become the next student regent is available online at the Career Center website at
www2.ucsc.edu/careers/jobs/regent.html. The application is due Feb. 21._