UCI Law Student Appointed As Student Regent

UC Irvine Law School student Cinthia Flores was formally appointed as the UC Student Regent-designate for the 2012-13 academic year during last month’s UC Board of Regents meeting on Wednesday, July 18.

This prestigious position will allow Flores to participate in various deliberations and preparations with the UC Board of Regents, addressing policy issues such as financial aid, admissions requirements and campus development. Although Flores will be an active participant in this group, she will remain a non-voting member until her term as Student Regent begins on July 1, 2013 and concludes in 2014.

This year Flores will work closely with current Student Regent Jonathan Stein and other Board members to address a variety of issues affecting California’s public higher education system.

“I would like to conduct a systemwide evaluation of current admissions policy, both at the undergraduate level and professional/graduate school level,” Flores said of her plans for the upcoming year.

“In particular, I would like to lead a working group to study the effectiveness of holistic admissions.”

Flores also believes that the UC system needs to assess its tuition policy and take a closer look as to how rapid fee increases are affecting students.

While wanting to ensure that the university finds a sustainable method of funding, Flores also agrees with the Board’s support of Governor Brown’s tax initiative. If this measure passes in November, an estimated $8.5 billion would be generated in new state revenue by temporarily raising the personal income tax of people earning $250,000 or more for seven years and by increasing the state sales tax by half  a cent for the duration of four years. This increase in revenue could bring more stability to the university and the California economy.

However, in the case that this initiative does not meet voter approval, both the UC and California State University systems would suffer from mid-year “trigger cuts” resulting in a loss of $250 million in state funding. Additionally, the UC system would lose another $125.4 million during the 2013-14 academic year, which is contingent on the university freezing mandatory student charges for the current year.

“I’d like to focus on building on the momentum of the Board’s current decision to support the Governor’s initiative,” Flores said.

“The UC must adopt an aggressive strategy in the Capitol if it hopes to stabilize its financial infrastructure.”

As another part of her term for this upcoming year, Flores and Stein have created an aggressive communication plan and will participate in a campus tour during the fall and winter. They will meet with different constituencies and leaders at each location and will collect their opinions regarding issues in the UC. Flores then hopes to take this information and compile it in a systemwide report that would be presented to the UC Board of Regents.

Flores brings to this position several years of experience in student advocacy and leadership.

While an undergraduate at UCLA, Flores was the ASUCLA President and worked to improve a number of issues that still benefit students today. She helped ensure funding of UCLA’s 24-hour library service called Night Powell and also revived financial support for tutorial programs.

Additionally, Flores also helped develop and lobby the College Affordability Act as part of her membership in the University of California Student Association (UCSA). Her other advocacy work includes being an undergraduate representative on the Board of Admissions and Relations with Schools, where she served on the Board that eliminated the SAT II for UC eligibility requirements. This action enlarged the pool of eligible UC applicants by about nine percent.

Flores has continued with similar efforts since enrolling in the UC Irvine School of Law — she has worked with the Immigrant’s Rights Clinic and has also completed pro bono work with local immigrant non-profits. These experiences have reinforced her interest in labor and immigration law and are helping her prepare for post-graduate work in employment or immigration law.

Flores is confident that her prior activities will aid her in being a strong leader.

“The effectiveness of the Student Regent lies on developing strong relationships with other student leaders,” Flores said.

“Therefore, my primary goal as Student Regent-designate is to work closely with the Student Regent and student leaders from across the UC system to ensure that student concerns are heard and student needs are addressed.”