Wednesday, May 27

UCSA plans to introduce regents’ student engagement evaluation system

News, UC

(Juliette Le Saint/Illustrations director)

University of California student leaders are creating a system to evaluate UC Regents based on their engagement with students.

The UC Student Association will release the UC Regent Report Card annually to evaluate how often UC Regents visit campuses and talk to students during their visits and how they vote on issues that affect students. UCSA will vote on the details of the report card at its monthly board meeting this weekend.

UCSA President Judith Gutierrez said she thinks the regents are out of touch with students because they have often failed to enact policies that benefit students, such as keeping tuition low or passing strong sexual health measures.

Gutierrez also said campus external vice presidents are soliciting suggestions from students on metrics to use for the report card.

Student representatives to the UC Board of Regents said they think creating an evaluation tool will help keep the regents accountable and involved with students.

Student Regent Paul Monge said he thinks regents should spend more time with students because of their impact on students’ lives.

“When the regents are voting on tuition increases, it is helpful for us to know how that translates directly into students’ lives,” he said. “The best-informed policies come from having conversations with those directly impacted.”

Monge also said he thinks regents should meet with students because he thinks they operate under a set of assumptions they may not always base on students’ personal experiences.

“Having a report card or other mechanisms to monitor activities create positive incentives for regents to do our due diligence,” he added. “As UC Regents, we should welcome public accountability and not shy away from it.”

Monge also said regents’ policies only urge them to visit campuses, rather than require them to do so.

“There is no internal goal or minimum standard to judge how often regents engage campuses,” he said. “Unless we truly incentivize a culture of visiting campuses, regents will not have firsthand accounts of student experiences.”

Devon Graves, student regent-designate, said student representatives to the Board of Regents have been promoting the report card through social media and informing the regents of its creation.

“All the folks I talked to are fine with it,” he said. “They said they think it’s reasonable. It’s expected that students want to have interactions with regents.”

Graves added he encourages regents to meet with different student groups, such as international students, graduate students and students who live on campus, in addition to meeting with student government representatives.

“We need to make sure we as students are giving regents the opportunity to engage,” he said. “My recommendation is to forward invitations for events to the Secretary and Chief of Staff to the Regents (Anne Shaw).”

However, Graves said he thinks the regents should take the initiative to reach out to students, because he thinks many students might not be aware of the importance of the regents or the work they do.

“We need to get students to care about their position in this university and get out there and be engaged,” he added. “The UC Regents should go out and make that first step, introduce themselves to students, because even though we are not going to be able to engage with everyone, we have to try everything we can.”

The UC Office of the President did not respond to requests for comment or interviews with the regents.

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