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Alum named student regent

By Adam Foxman

May 25, 2004 9:00 p.m.

Correction Appended

As student fees continue to increase drastically, words like
“outreach” and “accessibility” spread
across the University of California like wildfire, and are hot
enough to ignite instant debate.

The May 20 nomination of Adam Rosenthal ““ a second-year
law student at UC Davis and UCLA alumnus ““ as the student
regent for 2005-2006 brings a new voice to the debate.

Rosenthal, who spent two years after graduating from UCLA
working with Teach for America, said he wants to work on California
education from the ground up.

He said “increasing the number of UC-trained K-12
teachers, and expanding opportunities for public service throughout
all areas of university life” are among his goals, according
to a statement. Rosenthal is out of the country and could not be
reached for comment in person.

Rosenthal graduated from UCLA in 2001, majoring in history and
minoring in Jewish studies.

While a student at UCLA, Rosenthal was president of Hillel and a
member of the Undergraduate Students Association Council, and
helped create a course on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

After graduation, Rosenthal taught English and History at
Havenscourt Middle School in Oakland for Teach for America until
2003.

During that time he also earned a credential to teach high
school history and another to teach kindergarten through eighth
grade, and founded a summer camp for underprivileged children in
grades six through eight called Camp Empower.

Out of 66 students at the University of California who applied
to be the student regent for 2005-2006, three were selected to go
before the UC regents nominating committee.

To be considered by the regents committee, the finalists had to
first be chosen by their respective chancellors’ offices from
16-20 applicants, and undergo two rounds of interviews by the
student leaders of different campuses.

So when Rosenthal made the cut to be one of three finalists for
the student regent position, his résumé was no longer
enough to set him apart.

Members of the nominating committee said his credentials were
impressive, but it was his knowledge of the UC system and his
ability to communicate his opinions clearly and frankly that made
him the best candidate.

Regent Norman Pattiz was among the committee members who said
Rosenthal stood out because of his “clarity and
directness.”

“He had opinions about the issues the regents are facing
now, and he was not afraid to share them,” Pattiz said,
adding that he liked Rosenthal’s willingness to express
opinions that were different than those of committee members.

Regent Lawrence Seigler, president of the UC Alumni Association
and another member of the selection committee, said Rosenthal was
best of the three candidates because he has “a very global
sense of the university.”

Matt Murray, the student regent for 2003-2004 and a member of
the selection committee, said the ability to develop relationships
and influence other regents is as important as having strong
opinions.

He emphasized that while having one vote out of 26 makes the
student regent important, a student regent with the ability to
“get people to go along” with his or her ideas is more
effective.

Murray said Rosenthal’s interviews and essays gave him the
impression that he would be able to build these types of
relationships.

Many of the same qualities that impressed the regents nominating
committee about Rosenthal also left a strong impression at
UCLA.

“It’s not simply that he is smart, it’s not
simply that he is caring, he also has a powerful image about him;
people feel that he is a charismatic personality,” said Rabbi
Chaim Seidler-Feller, who knew Rosenthal when he was president of
Hillel at UCLA.

“He is a wonderful model of an individual who is deeply
committed to his own community but who also understands that, to
mean that, he also has obligations to the common wealth,”
Seidler-Feller said.

The full Board of Regents are slated to confirm Rosenthal as the
2005-2006 student regent at their meeting in September.

If Rosenthal is approved, he would be the first law student to
be a student regent since 1996-1997 with Jess Bravin, then a
student at UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall.

“He had a maturity that made me think he would make an
excellent colleague,” Pattiz said, adding that he believes
Rosenthal will be a good representative of the UC as well as its
students.

Correction: May, 27, 2004,
Wednesday

Adam Rosenthal was misquoted. It should have stated that he
wants to expand public service opportunities in the university
system.

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