UC’s Closed-Door Policy Muffles Student Voices

    UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA — Amid an ongoing battle to polish its
    tarnished reputation, the University
    of California
    recently
    absorbed another blow from angered
    students who have raised concerns over the school’s policy for naming the next
    UC president.


    This time, the UC blunder emphasized the severe need for
    heightened student interaction to prevent a trend of careless oversight.

    According to the UC Student Association, the regents have
    violated guidelines set out in their “Policy on Appointment of the President of
    the University” by limiting the Student Advisory Committee’s participation to
    one meeting with the final presidential candidate. Despite the UCSA’s honorable
    intentions to amplify student voices, the UC policy offers little support for
    their argument.

    The policy stipulates that the Board of Regents is only
    obligated to “present the nominee or nominees to members of the [student
    advisory committee] at the conclusion of the search.” Nowhere does it promise
    multiple meetings or handsome student input in determining UC President Robert
    C. Dynes’ successor, making the student claims somewhat unfounded.

    Even though the UC Office of the President’s minimal student-involvement stance may be backed by
    these inhospitable policies, it leaves much to be desired from university
    officials.

    The regents would actually do well to incorporate additional
    student participation, given their dismal track record for making decisions
    harmful to the student experience. After all, their chronic closed-door policy
    has led to some of the system’s most embarrassing moments — let’s not forget
    2005’s pay scandals.

    It was without the students’ watchful eye that regents
    carelessly approved thousands of dollars in above-base-pay for the undeserving
    high-up university officials; soon-to-be-replaced President Dynes was among that
    wily rat pack.

    Many of the current regents aided in Dynes’ selection when
    former UC President Richard Atkinson retired in 2003. And though Dynes
    entered the job with lofty aspirations
    and promises for positive change, he will no doubt leave it in a state of
    disarray when he concludes his term next June.

    While some of the entropy can be attributed solely to Dynes,
    much of it was also aided by an equally underperforming Board of Regents that
    failed to keep its disobedient leader in check.

    Instead, regents watched quietly from the wings as Dynes
    often made a mockery of one of the nation’s most esteemed public university
    systems.

    Even with the bane of the system leaving, there is little
    confidence to be had that the regents will steer us back toward the light.

    In fact, in the wake of such blustering mismanagement by
    UCOP and the regents, it’s absurd to think that now, only two years after the
    scandals — as they still fumble to pick the pieces of their infamous fall from
    grace — that they’re capable of selecting a reasonable successor. Between its
    dwindling credibility and incurably poor judgment, the Board of Regents is
    doomed if it is to select the presidential nominee without enough student
    advocates to keep it in line.

    And so, despite any policy that might say otherwise, the
    regents should for once heed the advice of a seasoned student body that has
    seen the chaos spawned from an incompetent administration. With undergraduate
    and graduate education fees rising, students can no longer afford to finance
    bureaucratic inefficiencies like the ones caused by UCOP, which have even led
    to a $7 million study into the department’s disorganized activities.

    As Dynes’ reign quickly dies, the time for change is now —
    that is, if the regents ever hope to salvage their tattered reputation. For
    once, students deserve the voice that they have been so unjustly deprived by
    their overbearing, uninspiring administration.

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