Student Regent Encourages Applicants

UC Student Regent Adam Rosenthal and regent-designate Maria Ledesma visited UC Irvine on Feb. 15 to educate students about the student regent position and address individuals interested in applying for the position
Applications for student regent can be found at the Dean of Students office and must be submitted by Feb. 23.
Applicants from UCLA, UC San Diego, UC Riverside, UC Santa Barbara and UCI will be interviewed at UC Berkeley by undergraduate and graduate student body presidents from the five northern campuses. The applicants will be narrowed down to 10, who are then interviewed by the five southern campuses. Applicants from northern campuses are similarly interviewed by the southern campuses and then reevaluated up north.
Once 10 applicants are chosen from the southern campuses and 10 applicants from the northern campuses, the UC Student Association selects three finalists from the 20. These three are then evaluated by the Board of Regents, and a student regent is chosen.
The student regent’s term lasts for two years, beginning on June 1. In the first year, the elected individual is referred to as the regent-designate and has no voting rights. It is not until the second year that the individual becomes a student regent and receives voting rights.
Rosenthal, a UCLA alumnus and current graduate student at the King Hall School of Law at UC Davis, explained that the student regent has a responsibility to the state, 200,000 students and over 150,000 faculty and staff.
‘The student regent doesn’t represent necessarily just students. That’s not our obligation. We represent, as all regents, the 37 million Californians,’ Rosenthal said. ‘But we have a unique role because we are students. It is necessary that we ensure that this university continues to be an excellent place, accessible and affordable.’
Both the student regent and regent-designate attend the Board of Regents meetings six times a year. These meetings last for two days and address various issues that concern the university.
‘A question we hear often is, ‘Do the UC Regents really listen to you? You’re just a student and some of the regents are prominent businessmen and women and Gov. Schwarzenegger,” Rosenthal said. ‘I believe the answer, due to the excellent work of predecessors, is absolutely. I think the reason for that is because the regents look at the student regent as a passionate person who cares a lot about this university and hopes to make this university better.’
While the 25 regents are willing to listen to the student regent, many individuals feel that one student regent vote is insignificant to the 25 others.
‘In regard to the regents voting for tuition increase, it seems impractical that the majority vote isn’t from those that are actually paying and experiencing the high tuitions,’ said Frank Vuong, a third-year biological sciences major. ‘It would be nicer to have seven to nine voting student regents since, after all, we are held responsible of our education and how we attain it.’
Other individuals feel that the number of student regents should remain minimal due to the fact that many students are not well-informed of topics addressed by the Board of Regents.
‘I think that one or two student voting regents is enough,’ said Gregory Hou, a second-year economics major. ‘The regents make important decisions that deal with a lot of money, and it’s probably not a good idea to let young and inexperienced students like us make those kinds of financial decisions.’
Rosenthal also supported an increase in the number of voting student regents.
‘It would be nice if there were at least two full voting student regents. But it would take a constitutional amendment to change the makeup of the Board of Regents,’ Rosenthal said.
As a student regent, tuition is waived during the two years in office. When questioned as to how this affects his ability to objectively consider tuition hikes, Rosenthal stated that the waived tuition has no influence.
‘I don’t believe there is a conflict of interest. I don’t believe so,’ Rosenthal said. ‘We are responsible to all Californians. We are looking for what is best for the university, not for us or our friends.’
Other benefits for the student regent include an office space with a computer and phone at the home university of the student and a parking permit that is valid at all UC campuses.
Rosenthal’s term ends on June 30. Successor Ledesma will begin her term on July 1. Ledesma is a UC Berkeley alumna who received her master’s degree in education from Harvard University. She currently is a Ph.D. candidate in UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies.