Governor’s advisory committee convenes to help select new UC regents

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Amanda Hart/File

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For the first time in 17 years, the Governor’s Advisory Selection Committee for the Regents of the University of California was convened to aid a California governor in the selection of a new regent.

In a previous interview with The Daily Californian, UC Board of Regents chair George Kieffer said Gov. Jerry Brown and the committee met March 12 to discuss current challenges faced by the UC system and the qualities of a potential regent candidate, but no names were mentioned. This committee had not been convened since 2001, according to UC Academic Senate chair Shane White, who also said Brown has not indicated that there will be a second meeting.

There are currently four vacancies, according to White, who was at the Advisory Selection Committee meeting — Norman Pattiz resigned, Monica Lozano stepped down to head the College Futures Foundation, and William De La Peña and Bruce Varner’s terms ended March 1.

Rishi Kumar, a committee member and Saratoga City Council member, said Brown was listening intently at the meeting, which then fostered conversation within the committee and was a “step in the right direction.”

“He was looking for feedback on the talents, skills and backgrounds needed for regents,” said Kumar, who has been a public member of the advisory committee since 2014. “He’s a man on a mission trying to make the UC system better.”

White said the attributes mentioned at the meeting included demonstration of service for public good, genuine commitment and experience in large organization leadership. The importance of diversity on the board was also discussed.

Joseph Kiskis, a member of the Council of UC Faculty Associations, wrote various letters to Brown and other government officials in 2011, reminding them to consult the selection committee properly. The letters requested more thorough consulting procedures and claimed that the lack of consultation was detrimental to the goal of creating a UC Board of Regents representative of the entirety of California.

“It can be extremely hard to find out what has really happened, to find the names of anybody that was on the committee,” Kiskis said. “You never know when the governor is thinking of making an appointment.”

The 12-member committee is composed of six public members, the speaker of the California Assembly, the president pro tempore of the California Senate, the chair of the UC Board of Regents, one UC alum, one faculty member and one UC student. Public members serve at most four years, officials for two years, and students, alumni and faculty members serve for one year.

In the past few years, the only consultation the committee received was notification of the governor’s nominations the same day that the nominees were publicly announced, according to UC Student Regent and UC Berkeley School of Law student Paul Monge.

“A lot of students and faculty members and members of the UC community wanted to see a more robust process with this committee,” Monge said.

Contact Andreana Chou at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @AndreanaChou.