A.S. Council appoints student advocate

    The A.S. Council approved the appointment of Thurgood Marshall College sophomore Denis Shmidt as the new commissioner of student advocacy on May 19. This marked the first time the council has chosen a commissioner through an appointment process, without an election. All other commissioner positions are elected during the yearly A.S. elections.

    “[Shmidt] was the most qualified person,” said A.S. President Jenn Pae, who submitted the legislation to appoint Shmidt. “He has a lot of understanding of the office and brought wonderful ideas and insight to the position.”

    According to Pae, the appointment process, which involved input from current Commissioner of Advocacy Jeff Boyd and two college senators, allowed her to choose the most qualified person for the position. She also said that the process allowed for a larger pool of applicants.

    “We wanted to make sure that the student advocate represented students,” Pae said. “When the position was elected, there were usually only one or two [candidates] who ran, but in this position, there was a larger pool of people who were aware of the different issues on campus to select from.”

    The commissioner of advocacy position became an appointed one only after winter quarter 2004. Boyd submitted legislation to the former A.S. Council to change its constitution and also lobbied for college councils to approve the change. He said that the appointment process worked well for the commissioner of advocacy position.

    “It worked out wonderfully and we were very pleased with the number of applicants,” Boyd said. “It was a very good process. The reason why this position was appointed was since only the student advocate can represent students at hearings, it’s highly important that the most qualified person be in the position.”

    According to Boyd, the commissioner would need to know the university’s judicial system and student code.

    “From [the commissioner of advocacy position], we can further learn about the possibility of making other commissioners appointed as well,” Boyd said.

    Some of Shmidt’s qualifications include service on the Thurgood Marshall College Judicial Board, the A.S. Judicial Board and the Academic Misconduct Judicial Board. Shmidt also has experience working with the Student Policies and Judicial Affairs Office and as a mock trial lawyer.

    Shmidt ran as a candidate for vice president of finance on the Unity slate during this year’s elections, losing to Students First! candidate Kevin Hanson.

    According to Boyd, Shmidt has solid ideas for improving the office of student advocacy. Shmidt said that he plans to increase the office’s visibility, extend services to graduate students and work more closely with the Student Policies and Judicial Affairs Office.

    “My goal is to increase visibility of the office because, according to the UCSD Student Conduct Code, the student advocate is the only one that can represent students in actual hearings, so I want to make sure that all students have that opportunity,” Shmidt said.

    He said that he is also in favor of appointing A.S. commissioners because of the duties that are required of them.

    “I truly believe that all commissioners should be appointed because the commissioner has very specific duties,” Shmidt said. “I don’t go in there to make anybody happy, I go in there to defend the students that need to be defended.”

    Shmidt also said that making the positions appointed would improve the relationship between the president and the commissioners.

    “Since the commissioners are really the president’s cabinet, it will keep the president and the commissioners close,” Shmidt said. “The president can make sure that commissioners are doing their job and there will be a lot more liability.”

    Shmidt will begin his term on July 1. During the transition, he will be shadowing Boyd, sitting in on hearings and helping with preparatory work for cases.

    “A lot of cases are pending until the end of the year, and it’s good that if [Boyd] started the case that he be able to finish it,” Shmidt said.

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