Student advocate bears important responsibility

    The Jan. 21 amendment to appoint an A.S. commissioner of student advocacy marks an improvement in the office’s efficiency and should be welcomed as being in the best interest of UCSD undergraduates.

    Voters in the 2003 A.S. elections overwhelmingly cast their ballots against transferring their authority to elect the commissioner to the A.S. Council. However, undergraduates should know that relinquishing this ability is not a loss of power but a gain in the priorities of student interest.

    The commissioner is responsible for representing and defending the case of a student no matter what the charge. The position is designed to be an advocate for all, not just for those with whom the commissioner agrees. The lone candidate for the position in 2003, Viviane Pourazary, stated that she would not defend a student against the administration if she disagreed with him or her on moral grounds. The commissioner is responsible for representing any student in a case, not just the ³right² ones.

    Too often candidates are elected for their affiliation with a popular slate and not for their actual qualifications. The student advocate’s platform should not be about an agenda, but rather about being qualified. The case in point is Jeff Boyd, who was appointed to the position after Pourazary’s disqualification. Boyd has served the students with integrity and competence after the council decided he was the candidate most qualified to do so.

    Councilmembers are more familiar with the office’s requirements and are better suited to choose its commissioner. College councils should ratify this amendment to better ensure the right person defends students’ rights.

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