When the UC Board of Regents met on Sept. 15, board members contemplated and discussed a multi-year budget plan — which included student tuition and fee increases of up to 16 percent — to cope with shrinking state funding. However, reporters in attendance from The Daily Californian noted that UC student regents did not speak during the discussion.
Alfredo Mireles Jr., student regent for the 2011 – 2012 academic year, was silent while the board discussed a possible budget scenario that could send student tuition and fees to over $22,000 per year.
“I’ve typically tried to work behind the scenes,” Mireles said of his contribution to the Regents’ meeting. “On every issue I could state an obvious student position, but I want to be recieved by the other Regents as someone who is insightful, and speak on issues in a thoughtful way in order to have my words be received strongly.”
The student regent represents the over 220,000 students who are enrolled in the UC system.
Although Mireles said he prepared questions for the UC Office of the President in order to poke holes in the plan, to ask those questions at the meeting “would have been completely not germane to the way the discussion was going,” he said.
Mireles added that he felt the Regents voiced their opposition of the plan so strongly, that it felt to him as though the Regents were doing his work for him and that he did not want to interrupt the debate.
Mireles also commented that the Regents’ opposition to the budget plan from the office was uncharacteristic, and refreshing.
“It was nice for the Regents to finally say enough is enough. Twenty-two thousand is beyond what we are ready to do,” he said. “I think we saw a sea change on Thursday, and I think it’s something that the students can organize around.”
Jonathan Stein, student regent-elect — who also chose not to speak during the discussion — told The Daily Californian in June that as student regent he would work to make students of all backgrounds feel welcomed to the UC system and to ensure that UC campuses would remain accessible and affordable to all students.
“It’s typically the job of the student regent designate, early in his or her tenure, to meet people, listen to their concerns, and raise issues privately instead of publicly,” Stein said in an email of his participation last Thursday. ”My instinct is to talk all the time, so it’s hard to hold my tongue. But I’m working on it. Hopefully I won’t have to do it much longer.”
As student regent-elect, Stein may participate in deliberations between Regents, but may not vote on proposals until next summer, when he will take Mireles’ place as student-regent.
A previous version of this blog post incorrectly stated that Mireles is serving as student regent for the 2010-11 academic year. In fact, he is serving for the 2011-12 academic year.
A previous version of this blog post incorrectly stated that Stein is a first-generation college student. In fact, he is not.
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