The University of California Student Association urged Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday to appoint regents with backgrounds in higher education, days after the governor appointed four business executives as the the UC Board of Regents.
“(Regents) have the same kind of background. They are business people,” said Kareem Aref, UCSA president. “I’m very hopeful regents will do very good things, but they are not former educators.”
In a statement released this week, the association said bringing educators to the UC Board of Regents brings a new perspective and a crucial experience needed for their job as heads of a university system. It also urged Brown to include student voices in the selection process for regents.
Eighteen regents are appointed by the governor for 12-year terms. Seven other regents are ex-officio, holding the position by virtue of their office, such as the governor and the heads of the California legislature. One spot on the board is filled by a current student.
Three of Brown’s appointees are either current or former regents. The fourth appointee and new addition, Richard Sherman, is the chief executive of an investment management firm. All appointments require confirmation by the state senate.
More than 85 percent of currently appointed regents are former or current business executives.
Aref further added that students in UCSA, in conjunction with the student regent, submitted a list of candidates that they thought were qualified.
In a University statement, Board of Regents Chair Bruce Varner praised Brown’s new appointment and called Sherman’s financial experience an “invaluable asset.”
“I am very happy that Governor Brown has appointed three individuals with so much regental experience and another who will bring additional expertise to the (board),” Varner said.
Aref further questioned whether the regents’ background in business had an influence in shaping California’s policy on higher education.
If the appointment of Sherman and reappointment of other regents are approved by the California State Senate, there will still be three vacancies left for the governor to fill.
Compiled by Jeong Park, Bruin contributor.