UC student regents present projects, recruit students

Samuel Cantrell/HIGHLANDER
Samuel Cantrell/HIGHLANDER

Representing 240,000 students from across the UC system, the UC student regents held an open forum on Feb. 11 in HUB 367 to present their main initiatives for the year and to recruit students who will fill their shoes in the future.

2014-15 UC Student Regent Sadia Saifuddin has voting power on the UC Board of Regents. UCLA senior Abraham “Avi” Oved, student regent-designate, sits on the board meetings without voting power and will take over Saifuddin’s position next year.

The student regent works with the student regent-designate as a mentor to prepare them for the student regent position. “At the end of the day, there is no prescription. There is no cookie-cutter trajectory to become Student Regent,” Oved said.

The student regent position is a two-year term with the first year starting as a student regent-designate. Students are required to fill out an application and list three references from within or outside the UC system. “Just three people that can vouch for who you are, your character, your integrity and your work ethic,” Oved said.

The application process also requires a five- to six-page narrative essay and is followed by a series of interviews that can take up to four to five months. All UC students with a minimum of two years left in their graduate or undergraduate term at a UC campus are eligible to apply. The deadline to apply to be the next 2016-17 student regent is Feb. 22.

Other perks of being a student regent include: free UC tuition for two years, a free parking pass valid on any UC campus (with the exception of Nobel Laureate spots) and a small travel budget.

Topics discussed at the event include: food security, mental health and sexual assault policies. Saifuddin, who sits on a task force that aims to prevent and respond to sexual assault, says one of their goals is to equalize sexual assault services so that students can get the same kind of help on any UC campus.

Fourth-year media and cultural studies major Sarinah Simons asked how the UC plans to deal with students accused of sexual assault. Saifuddin said that the task force is working on creating services to help those accused of sexual assault, which are expected to be finished by July.

Saifuddin also touched upon the $16 quarterly fee that will go to support mental health next year. With a typical wait time of four to six weeks, Saifuddin says such late appointments at UC counseling centers can be detrimental for students seeking immediate help.

“That’s a problem because if you’re dealing with something like depression or if you’re borderline suicidal, you don’t want to be waiting four to six weeks to be seen,” she said.

Saifuddin is also working on a systemwide food security model by creating a food pantry on each UC campus and seeing how food budgets are determined through financial aid. “You could be full, but you could be full off of McDonald’s and Burger King, and not be getting the daily vitamins, minerals and nourishment that you need to be functioning,” she elaborated.

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