The University of California Board of Regents voted Thursday to discontinue the Student Advisor position after July.
The Board of Regents voted to discontinue the position during their meeting at UC San Francisco and decided to instead increase the number of Student Observer positions and Student Advocates to the Regents, or StARs. The student adviser program was created in January 2016 as a two-year pilot program to increase student representation on the board.
Regent Richard Sherman initially recommended that the board vote to discontinue the position in a statement in December. However, following criticism from student leaders, Sherman reversed the recommendation, adding that the regents should continue the position for one year to review and improve it.
The UC Student Association voted Sunday in support of ending the position and instead recommended expanding other student roles, such as Student Observers and StARs.
Edward Huang, the current student adviser, said he was left out of UCSA discussions regarding discontinuing this position. Huang, a fourth-year mathematics and computer science student from UC Berkeley, added that he thinks most students support extending the student adviser position.
“This alleged division is a power play by small handful of student leaders,” Huang said at the meeting. “This lack of transparency shows elected student leaders want to eliminate other leadership roles that are competing with their own.”
However, Student Regent Devon Graves said Huang was given opportunities to address the motion, and that he had been part of meetings and phone calls with the Regents office and was consulted on this topic. In addition, the Regents office conducted an analysis of the pilot program, Graves said.
The position was established as a one-year term based on the assumption that undergraduate students could not commit to a two-year appointment and would be more interested in a one-year term, Graves said. However, the analysis from the Regents office found that the student adviser position did not generate as many applications as expected.
Students had the option to apply for both the student adviser and student regent positions on the application. Four students in 2017 and 2018 applied for the student adviser position alone. Fifteen students applied for both student regent and student adviser in 2017. Twenty-two applied for both positions in 2018, Graves added.
However, more than a hundred students apply to be a University of California’s Advocacy Network ambassador and 20 to 30 students apply to be StARs every meeting, he said.
“Students are turned away from both UCAN ambassador and StAR positions because of the high demands,” Graves said.
UC President Janet Napolitano, who voted in support of discontinuing the program, added that no student communicated to her or brought up during public comments that they opposed discontinuing the student adviser position.
Huang added he thinks UCSA decided to support discontinuing this position in return for more UCSA-controlled positions.
However, Graves said he thinks more students would benefit from this change.
“I’m comfortable with this action knowing we are increasing other student leadership and engagement opportunities with the Board of Regents,” he said.