Tuesday, January 15, 2019


Both sides of the split are a-peeling to the Regents
The Regents' January meetings begin today. It appears that they will have an interesting dilemma to consider:

UC student leaders split over future of adviser-to-regents pilot position

San Francisco Chronicle, Nanette Asimov, 1-14-19

...One group of student leaders is asking the regents and UC President Janet Napolitano to let the adviser role die, while another group led by the student adviser seeks to keep it going. Both groups support asking Napolitano to expand other leadership roles for students that don’t need regents’ approval.

The student rift came into the open during the holiday break.

That’s when this year’s student adviser — Edward Huang, a UC Berkeley senior studying applied mathematics — learned of an effort by the student regent and the UC Student Association to let the adviser role expire. Those students said the role had proven to be essentially a rogue position with little accountability, and often at odds with mainstream student representatives.

Huang and other student leaders — representing student body presidents and graduate students — fired back with a letter to the regents that called the role valuable, and argued that it was important to provide a variety of student perspectives. Huang also easily won support among rank-and-file students who couldn’t imagine letting the regents eliminate any student seat at the decision-making table for the $30 billion university system.

So it was not surprising that the agenda for Wednesday’s regents meeting at UCSF Mission Bay presented a resolution to continue the student adviser experiment for another year, through June 2020, and to work out bugs in the program.

Huang acknowledges there are bugs: UC doesn’t pay for the adviser to travel to the regents meetings or to other student leadership meetings, or for overnight accommodations if necessary. Nor does UC automatically provide the adviser with staff support, as it does for the student regent.

Also, “the student adviser position doesn’t have any formal affiliation (with other student groups),” Huang said, noting that until this weekend, he had attended only one meeting of the UC Student Association, the university’s most visible group of student representatives. That was in July.

Student advisers are required to attend regents meetings. But “we aren’t required to show up (to meetings of other students), and we’re not required to work with them,” he said. “Sometimes we don’t agree on the same issues.”

And that’s been the problem, said Caroline Siegel-Singh, president of the UC Student Association, which voted this weekend to support allowing the program to die. She and student regent Devon Graves are speaking with Napolitano and regents Chairman George Kieffer before this week’s regents meeting to try and get the proposed extension of the adviser program pulled from the agenda. They also are asking for other boosts to student participation:

• Increasing from six to seven the number of “student advocates to the regents.” Those students, chosen by the UC Students Association, apply to attend one meeting and can talk with the regents over meals, and lobby for issues they care about.

• Doubling the number of “student observers,” from three to six. Observers serve for one year and are each assigned to monitor a committee meeting. They deliver prepared comments but cannot automatically participate in the meeting.

Huang said he supports those additions — just not letting the adviser position disappear. On Monday, he sent a letter to the regents asking them not to pull the agenda item, and noting that the regents’ rules require that the program be properly evaluated after two years, which hasn’t happened, he wrote.

Full story at

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