Cinthia Flores’s term as the University of California student regent came to an end in June, as Sadia Saifuddin officially took over the role on July 1. Flores discussed her experiences as student regent and various challenges she thinks the UC should address with Daily Bruin contributor Laura Boranian.
Flores, who graduated from the UC Irvine School of Law this June, completed her undergraduate studies at UCLA and served as the Undergraduate Students Association Council president in 2009.
Daily Bruin: How do you think your term as student regent went?
Cinthia Flores: I think it was a very successful term. It was unique in the sense that a lot of student regents don’t have the opportunity to work with a newly selected UC president. I think I was able to accomplish things I sought out to do at the beginning and work on other new issues as well. Overall, it was a fulfilling experience.
DB: What are some of the challenges currently facing the UC and how do you think the University can address them?
CF: I think diversity is a very big issue, and it is going to continue to be a very big issue for a long time. I think the UC has identified some race-neutral admission strategies to have some diversity on campuses, but I am most concerned about the lack of diversity on certain campuses, particularly UC Berkeley and UCLA.
The UC can address this by being more aggressive with its partnerships with neighboring high schools and being more aggressive with its recruitment strategies, mainly regarding race. Private money can help provide scholarships for students.
Another looming issue is going to be possible tuition increases, and there are many unresolved questions in regard to this. Right now, the UC is operating under Proposition 30 promises and this will be the fourth consecutive year without a tuition increase. I hope for it to stay that way.
I also think financial aid is a big issue as it pertains to the middle class student population. Although there are scholarships, there is still a lot of work to be done to provide more financial aid.
Campus climate and campus safety are some other important issues as we have seen recently. Incidents are happening at or near UC campuses and are affecting students. The UC needs to work on enhancing safety on campus.
DB: Do you have any advice for incoming student leaders?
CF: Keep the big picture in mind. When I was in the undergraduate council at UCLA, we would get caught up in day-to-day acts such as meetings, but it is important to keep the big picture in mind in order to accomplish our goals.
DB: What do you hope to see from Sadia Saifuddin, next year’s student regent?
CF: I think she is an excellent leader who is very articulate and mature, and I would expect to see the same kind of stuff I am seeing from her now. She is really taking everything back to the basics and prioritizing student hunger and sexual assault, which are all issues that have an impact on the UC community. She is zeroing in on uniform issues that affect students.
DB: How did you work with UC President Janet Napolitano and other UC administrators?
CF: It was a professional working relationship. (Napolitano) is very open to student input and student opinion. She and I had established a relationship in which if she was interested in a student issue, I would gather opinions from students and present them to her. We worked well together.
Compiled by Laura Boranian, Bruin contributor.