University of California student regent D’Artagnan Scorza and regent-designate Jesse Bernal encouraged students, especially undergraduates, to apply for the student regent position on Friday, Jan. 9. The student regent position, which Bernal will take over in July, will meet with the Board of Regents and participate in meetings that oversee the university’s finances, admissions and curricula.
Faced with a budget disaster and the possibility of limiting admission into the UC system by 6 percent, regent-designate Bernal realizes the importance of continuing the work of Scorza’s progress to lower student fees after Bernal’s instatement in the summer.
“We both realize that’s going to take a long time to refocus a budget conversation in the state,” Bernal said. “The state budget process is inherently flawed and we need new sources of revenue and a process that actually works, a process that will allow families to know what they’ll face in a few years.”
Bernal is currently a graduate student at UC Santa Barbara working on a Ph.D. in education with an emphasis in cultural studies. Next to the budget, Bernal hopes to provide a voice for younger and underrepresented students.
“Diversity is why I came in here; starting early and looking at the K-12 system and how they play a role in getting students through higher education,” Bernal said.
Trying to focus on diversity in different lights also tops Bernal’s agenda. He hopes to have more conversations about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender/transsexual students at the regent level, an issue that has not yet been the focus of past student regents.
A student regent is selected every year. The office of the secretary and the chief of staff revise and distribute a new application each year for the regent recruitment process that usually begins in January. After the applications are received in late February, the Regional Nominating Commissions review the written applications and later begin interviewing applicants.
The Northern Regional Nominating Commission is made up of five undergraduate and five graduate students appointed by their student governments from the Berkeley, Davis, Merced, San Francisco and Santa Cruz campuses. The Southern Regional Nominating Commission is made up of five undergraduate and five graduate students from Irvine, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego and Santa Barbara. Each Regional Nominating Commission selects five candidates who will later be interviewed by the Board of Directors of the University of California Student Association. UCSA will then select three finalists who will then be interviewed by the regents’ Special Committee to Select a Student Regent, which will later recommend a candidate at its July 2009 meeting.
Despite the fact that the majority of past student regents have been graduate students, undergraduates realize their impact on the university’s planning.
“As an undergrad, I strongly believe that the student regent position is really important,” said fourth-year political science major Sally Mouakkad. “It’s always important to keep reminding the UC regents who helps the UC system to keep on running.”
Student regents receive payment for two years of tuition. They also receive a complete working staff, free parking on any UC campus and reimbursement for travel expenses for any regent tours or meetings.
To find an application form for the student regent position, go to the UC student regent Web site at http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/regents/studentreg.html.