The University of California’s governing board appointed two UCLA students to serve as representatives on the board.
A Board of Regents special committee nominated Devon Graves, an graduate student, as the student regent-designate and Rafi Sands, an undergraduate student, as the first-ever student adviser.
The student adviser is a nonvoting position the Regents created last year to provide an additional voice for students. The student adviser will serve for one year and have access to open-session regents meetings and be able to make recommendations on issues that concern students.
Graves will serve as the student regent-designate for one year, and will have voting powers when he succeeds Paul Monge, the current student regent, in July 2018.
Graves, a doctoral student in education at the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, serves on the California Student Aid Commission, which manages the state’s financial aid programs. He previously served as chair of the California State Student Association’s board of directors.
Sands is a fourth-year business economics and political science student who was the undergraduate student government’s external vice president last year.
Graves said he plans to build relationships with state legislators and other university stakeholders and bring attention to college affordability issues many students face.
“I want to get students out there in Sacramento and help them highlight their stories,” he said. “We need to make sure the decisions we make as a university are informed by what students are facing.”
As a graduate student in education, Graves said he thinks his academic background allows him to provide an expert view on the board.
“I’m a plan to use my background in academia and as a (California State University) undergraduate to better inform the board,” he said.
Sands, who advocated for the student adviser position when he was the director of policy for former student regent Avi Oved, said he thinks the position will allow more student perspectives to be represented on the board.
“This position is by no means the end-all be-all, but I think it’s a step in the right direction for student representation,” he said.
Sands added that because student regents tend to be graduate students, the student adviser can ensure that undergraduates’ concerns are being heard. He added that graduate and undergraduate students do not always agree on issues, such as allowing undergraduate students to work as teaching assistants.
“No single student can provide a complete perspective, not all students have the same issues,” he said. “That’s why I think this position is so important.”
Sands said he hopes to set a precedent and shape the position’s relationship with the regents.
The board will vote to approve the student regent nomination at its July meeting.