The University of California Board of Regents still plans to vote on Avi Oved’s confirmation as a student regent-designate next week, saying he did not violate any UCLA code while running for undergraduate student government office in 2013 and that he fully complied with all procedures of his nominating process.
The decision comes approximately a week after the UC Student Association called for the vote to be pushed to September.
In a letter to the UCSA Wednesday, Board of Regents Chair Bruce Varner and Regent George Kieffer, a chair of the Special Committee to Select a Student Regent, said they take the views of UCSA very seriously but are still moving forward with the vote. They added that Oved had already undergone a ”rigorous review process” by the regents.
Last week, the UCSA Systemwide Affairs Committee, which consists of voting external vice presidents, voted 10-0-2 to recommend the Board of Regents hold off on Oved’s confirmation. The committee said UCSA should investigate allegations against Oved, such as whether he received a campaign donation from Adam Milstein, a donor to many pro-Israel organizations, when he ran for and won the Undergraduate Students Association Council internal vice president seat in 2013. Some students also raised concerns that Oved’s actions constituted a conflict of interest.
In previous statements and interviews, Milstein said he did not donate money to support Oved or Bruins United, Oved’s slate. Oved, in an interview with the Daily Bruin last week, said the same.
A committee of UC regents nominated Oved in May to serve as the non-voting student regent-designate for the 2014-2015 academic year and the voting student regent for the 2015-2016 academic year. Although UCSA nominates three student regent-designate candidates to the UC regents, it does not have any official power in approving the student regent-designate.
Oved said Thursday that he is pleased with the UC regents’ decision.
“I have a lot of work to do,” Oved said. “I am really excited to try to achieve platforms I have set out and to work with students on different issues.”
Conrad Contreras, current USAC external vice president and a member of the UCSA Board of Directors, said he wasn’t surprised by the regents’ decision.
“Rarely do regents listen to (UCSA) when we release (statements) without us taking action or pressuring them,” Contreras said.
Contreras said he thinks the concerns raised are more about Oved’s integrity and transparency than his adherence to the USAC Election Code, though the regents only addressed the latter in their statement. Contreras said UCSA’s investigation of the allegations against Oved will still take place whether Oved is appointed or not.
“A lot of students have so many questions about what is going on,” Contreras said. “We are just trying to ask the regents to delay (the appointment) so we can investigate. It’s – for me – really about students’ confidence in Oved as a student regent-designate.”
The UCSA Board of Directors is currently voting on whether to take action in response to the regents’ decision, Contreras said. He added that he and other members of UCSA want to ask the UC Council of Presidents, which consists of presidents of the undergraduate and graduate student governments at the 10 UC campuses and UC Hastings College of the Law, to require that student government candidates reveal their campaign funding sources during elections.
Omar Zahzah, president of Students for Justice in Palestine at UCLA, said he thinks the decision is insulting to UCSA and that this shows students have little voice in decision-making processes at the UC level. The former president of Students for Justice in Palestine at UC Riverside initially brought the allegations against Oved to UCSA.
The UC Board of Regents will meet Wednesday and Thursday at UC San Francisco’s Mission Bay campus. According to its agenda, the regents will have a vote to appoint Oved on Wednesday in an open session.
Compiled by Jeong Park, Bruin senior staff.