Students Lobby for Input in Search for UC President

    In a move to increase student involvement in the ongoing
    search for a new UC president, the UC Student Association requested last week
    that the UC Office of the President allow student representatives to meet with
    all presidential nominees before a final decision is made. The request comes on
    the heels of a decision by the Board of Regents to limit the Student Advisory Committee’s
    future involvement in the search process to only one meeting with the final
    presidential nominee, citing concerns of confidentiality.

    As outlined in the Regents’ Policy on Appointment of the
    President of the University, a number of constituent groups within the
    university are able to participate in the search via the formation of special
    advisory committees. Policy dictates that each of these committees is given
    time to meet with the final nominee or nominees at the search period’s
    conclusion.

    The Student Advisory Committee was notified in September
    that this policy would mean that its subsequent involvement be limited to just
    one meeting with the final nominee to prevent any potential leak of
    confidential information to the public.

    However, the UCSA has asserted that granting student
    representatives only one final meeting with the candidates violates the
    university’s own policy. UCOP spokesman Trey Davis denied this accusation,
    stating that the regents had done nothing wrong.

    “The assertion that the policy is being bypassed is not
    true,” Davis said. “The policy clearly states that past consultative practices
    are to be followed and what the student group is requesting in this instance
    has never been used in previous searches. Thus, it is the student group that is
    asking for a change in policy. As with other university personnel matters,
    there are privacy rights to protect in this deliberative process.”

    Additionally, the UCSA representatives have said that
    they’ve felt a lack of respect from the Board of Regents, referring
    specifically to a Sept. 20 meeting between the two parties. After waiting two
    hours past their scheduled meeting time, the S.A.C. was met by only four of the
    12 regents serving on the special presidential committee, two of whom left
    during the meeting.

    According to Rabia Paracha, the S.A.C. representative from
    UCSD, these events have been particularly troubling, since the vast number of
    social and academic issues facing UC students have made student input a crucial
    element in selecting the new president.

    “The University of California students are continuously
    facing high fees in addition to out-of-control housing costs around campus,
    which isn’t made any easier with the confusing financial aid process,” Paracha
    said. “With these issues on a rise, it is even more vital now than ever that
    students are heard in the selection process for the next UC president.”

    UCSA President and S.A.C. Chair Oiyan Poon expressed similar
    concerns, saying that she will not allow the student voice to be overlooked.

    “The Student Advisory Committee will not be used as merely a
    ‘focus group’ in such an important search,” Poon said in a press release. “We
    will stay vigilant to ensure that shared governance is followed through and
    respected in this process.”

    In addition, Poon said that the S.A.C. is prepared to adhere
    to the established rules of the search procedure, so long as they do not
    interfere with the committee’s right to be involved.

    “We are also committed to the integrity of this process and
    the university’s reputation and are completely willing to take the steps to
    ensure confidentiality; however the search needs to be transparent to the
    university community too,” she said.

    No information regarding presidential nominees has been
    released to the public at this time.

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