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Selection for representative in final stage

By Daily Bruin Staff

April 10, 2002 9:00 pm

By Robert Salonga
Daily Bruin Staff

The selection of the University of California’s 2003-04
student regent approaches a significant hurdle this weekend when
the field of applicants will be narrowed from nine to three.

The UC Students Association has the task of choosing the
finalists, who will then be forwarded to a regents’ special
committee charged with making the final decision.

“It will be a difficult task,” said UCSA Chair Kenny
Burch, who served on previous selection committees.

Whoever emerges from the selection process joins the Board of
Regents and will wield just one of 26 votes that determine issues
such as educational policy, fee increases and admissions
requirements for all ten UC campuses.

The selection process has been described as
“grueling” by former and current student regents.

“You really need to be aware of what you think and
why,” said current student regent Tracy Davis in a February
interview about her application experience.

Max Espinoza, the 1998-99 student regent, said candidates should
be prepared to have any skeletons revealed.

“They need to be prepared to have their life opened
up,” Espinoza said. “At the regental level, expect that
they will know all there is to know about you.”

Burch added that the selection process in itself makes applying
worth it because of the experience gained from it.

Student regent hopefuls are first evaluated by a committee
comprised of the presidents of the UC undergraduate and graduate
student governments. The Southern California presidents evaluate
Northern California applicants and vice versa.

Karren Lane, president of the Undergraduate Students Association
Council, said at the March 12 council meeting that two of the
semifinalists were from UCLA, according to USAC minutes.

She could not be reached for comment, and Burch declined to
specify the names or campuses of the semifinalists.

After the student government committees make a list of nine
total semifinalists the UCSA steps in and whittles down the
candidates to three. A regents’ committee selects the
finalist, who is subject to approval by the entire Board.

But Burch feels the UCSA should have heavier involvement in the
selection process, and added students, not the regents, should make
the final decision on the student regent.

The student regent position was created in 1975 to help ensure
that students are represented in board discussions and actions.

Burch said UCSA seeks candidates who can present themselves
confidently against the rest of the table.

“We look for students who can hold their own with the
regents,” he said.

Many members of the Board are industry leaders in business,
education or entertainment. The Board includes radio mogul Norman
Pattiz, Paramount Pictures Chief Operating Officer Sherry Lansing,
children’s television producer Haim Saban, and San Diego
Padres owner John Moores.

“Everyone has their specialities,” said Regent Velma
Montoya, who served on regent committees that selected student
regents Davis and Justin Fong, her predecessor, both of whom are

But Montoya cautioned whoever earns the position not to narrow
themselves to purely student interests.

“(The student regent) will have special insight on the
needs of students, but the job is not just to limit themselves to
only students,” Montoya said.

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