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Newly appointed regents bring diversity, experience in education

By Kat Bocanegra Speed

Nov. 18, 2014 1:06 a.m.

Gov. Jerry Brown appointed the California Assembly speaker and the president of Long Beach City College to the University of California Board of Regents Monday.

The regents board is the governing body for the UC. The board appoints the UC president, sets tuition and decides how to invest the University’s money.

Brown appointed California State Assemblyman John A. Pérez to the board. Pérez, who is stepping down from the Assembly this year as he has reached his term limit has served as a member of the State Assembly since 2008 and also as Speaker of the Assembly from 2010 to 2014.

During his time as an assemblyman, Pérez drafted numerous higher education-related bills, such as the Middle Class Scholarship Act.

“Pérez sees his appointment to the UC Board of Regents as a continuation of his work in the assembly. He has the long-term goal of keeping student fees down,” said John Vigna, press secretary for Pérez.

Eloy Ortiz Oakley, the superintendent and president of Long Beach City College, is the other newly appointed regent. Oakley, a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the National Council of La Raza, is one of the few regents with a background in education.

More than 85 percent of currently appointed regents are former or current business executives.

Joe Kiskis, vice president of external affairs for the Council of UC Faculty Association, said he thinks the appointments of Pérez and Oakley are an improvement in diversifying the board.

“These are people who are not wealthy businessmen,” Kiskis said. “(Pérez) has a record of concern for students including those in higher education. Oakley also has experience in higher education.”

UC President Janet Napolitano said in a press release that she welcomes the experience of Pérez and Ortiz on the board, since the UC looks to expand the enrollment of California students and improve the transfer process.

Regents serve 12-year terms. The governor nominates candidates, who are then confirmed by the California State Senate.

Brown has appointed three new members to the board and re-appointed three regents to the position since he took office in 2011.

Though the nominees won’t officially be regents until they are confirmed, UC Board of Regents Chair Bruce D. Varner said in a press release that he hopes both new members will be at this week’s regents meeting.

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Kat Bocanegra Speed
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