Student Attendance at Napolitano’s Transparency Meeting Lacking

In an effort to facilitate discussion, UC President Janet Napolitano met with student representatives last Tuesday to discuss how the university can be more transparent with its students.

Reports differ but approximately 20 students were present, including student regent Sadia Saifuddin and UC Student Regent-Designate Avi Oved.

Some of the things discussed in this meeting with Napolitano and UC Chief Financial Officer Nathan Brostrom included how students can be more involved in UC lobbying, how Napolitano can keep students better informed about changes to the UC, the tuition increase and the status of previous proposals regarding online education and three-year degrees that have been proposed previously.

No representatives from UC Irvine were present.

The executive vice presidents at the UC campuses were left out of this conversation as well. ASUCI Executive Vice President Sanaa Khan said that she found it interesting how the UC did not reach out to each campus’ student representatives.

“It’s another sign of UC Office of the President’s avoidance of critique or critical dialogue,” Khan said.

Khan said that she was incredibly skeptical of the format of the dialogue Napolitano chose to discuss transparency.

“UCOP didn’t contact me or other elected leaders on campus. I don’t have an idea of what was discussed in the meeting. It’s disappointing to see them exclude the people who have been doing extraordinary work for the sake of the UC and its students,” said Khan, who serves as the main external representative for UCI’s student government campus.

It has been reported that students from the University of California Students Association (USCA), a coalition of UC student governments, were also not invited to take a part of the meeting.

UC spokeswoman Dianne Klein said otherwise and that UCSA students were invited. She also explained that those students that were invited represented many students even if representatives from all campuses were not present.

Jefferson Kuoch-Seng, the president of UCSA, said that he was not personally invited to the meeting. Several students serving on the UCSA board of directors were invited as representatives of their campus, but UCSA as an organization was not formally invited, Kuoch-Seng said.

“We want to work with UCOP as the official representatives of the UC students; however, they aren’t giving us the opportunity,” he said.

Khan and Kuoch-Seng agreed that the UC is not doing everything it can to establish transparency.

“Our suggestion for improving transparency is for both President Napolitano and Governor Brown to attend a public forum in order to increase transparency within the committee of two,” Kuoch-Seng said.

UCSA recently started an initiative asking Napolitano and Brown to hold a public forum to discuss the workings of their select committee that’s seeking solutions to the tuition issue.