Alfredo Mireles Jr., a graduate public policy student at UC San Francisco, was nominated by the UC Board of Regents Special Committee as the candidate for the 2010-11 student regent delegate.
The decision, which went public May 25, was the result of months of deliberation.
The Board of Regents will vote Mireles or one of two other student regent finalists into the office at the end of the academic year. Though the regents have voted in accordance with the Special Committee’s nomination in nearly every election, nothing is certain until that date.
Mireles earned his B.A. in sociology at UC Berkeley before attending Johns Hopkins University, where he pursued a degree in nursing. Since then, Mireles acquired three years of experience in nursing and enrolled at UC San Francisco in pursuit of a degree in public policy. After one year at UCSF, Mireles took a year off to work in the state legislature before returning to school.
City on a Hill Press (CHP): Why did you want to be a student regent?
Alfredo Mireles Jr. (AMJ): I’m the first in my family to go to college, I come from some of the underrepresented communities, I understand the issues of each — undergraduate, graduate — I can empathize with the circumstances of students.
CHP: UCSF has the highest return of fees. How do you think registration fees should be distributed?
AMJ: They should be equitable across campuses. All kinds of campuses are dynamic and important places for people to go and get their education. They should each get equal funding and equal attention.
CHP: How will you represent undergraduate students?
AMJ: I served on the University of California Student Association (UCSA) board and I have three younger brothers, two of whom are still in college as undergraduates. I remember what it’s like to not know if I could attend the next semester. I know what it’s like to send my financial aid money home to my parents. Reflecting on the experiences I had when I was an undergraduate will make me sympathetic and understand their causes.
CHP: What issue is most important to you at the UC?
AMJ: I come from a background where it wasn’t natural [to go to a university] — I didn’t feel totally natural when I got to Berkeley. I want to make sure everyone feels welcome when they get to the UC.
Fees are another important issue that have unified people who often don’t have similar opinions.
I also want to work on health issues, and provide treatment for the underserved.
CHP: What do you think about unequal funding distribution among academic divisions?
AMJ: I don’t think that’s fair. I have friends in the community studies program at UCSC and I’ve seen how important that program is to professional and personal involvement in the community. I want to fight for the UC and make sure funding is available for both social sciences and hard sciences.
CHP: How can the UC diversify?
AMJ: More comprehensive admissions — everyone should have a fair shot at UC admissions.
Getting a strong policy on harassment: severe consequences for people who partake in that awful behavior [should be] spared no punishment. Intolerant people need not apply.
I want UC to be seen as a beacon of acceptance, tolerance and understanding, open to all backgrounds.
It’d be interesting to look into requiring ethnic studies into the curriculum system-wide — to make sure that everybody that goes through a UC campus from engineering to political science majors have that as part of their academic training.
CHP: How are you different from other student regents?
AMJ: I believe I’m the first health science professional student to ever get the position. We have our own set of issues that can at times not be part of the major issues worked on by the board. It’s really important that every community have its voice heard. To be able to be a voice for health science students and UCSF students is going to be a real privilege.
I’m living proof that making the UC accessible and affordable for everyone can do great good.