UC Board of Regents to enter 3rd meeting with 5 vacancies

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Joshua Jordan/File

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Entering its final meeting of the summer, the UC Board of Regents will have had five vacancies for about three months, after two term-outs, two resignations and one death.

Usually, there are only two vacancies, which are due to regents reaching the end of their terms, according to Student Regent Devon Graves, and this year was former regents William De La Peña and Bruce Varner’s turn. The death of Bonnie Reiss earlier this year and the resignations of Norman Pattiz and Monica Lozano have raised the number of vacancies up to five, the highest since 2013.

“We have to look at the positive side, that there are going to be five new regents,” Graves said. “It is an opportunity to bring in new perspectives.”

There is no strict timeline for when the governor must appoint regents for their 12-year terms, but Gov. Jerry Brown met with an advisory committee in April — the first time a governor had met with the committee in 17 years — to help him choose new regents.

No appointments have been announced as of press time, and there are no appointments on this week’s Board of Regents meeting agenda.

“It’s so much better to have a full complement of regents; otherwise, we are overburdening the same people with specific tasks they undertake,” said UC Board of Regents chair George Kieffer, who clarified that “specific tasks” include “committee assignments.”

So far, there have been two regent meetings with the vacancies, but the regents still reach a quorum of nine, which renders them capable doing their jobs, according to UC spokesperson Dianne Klein.

Kieffer said in a previous interview with The Daily Californian that qualities of potential new regents discussed at meetings with Brown included geographic diversity and actual experience on a board, but he said Brown did not give any specific names.

While Kieffer gave the governor his input on the new regent’s desired attributes, he said he does not want to comment on what he said to Brown because the final decision rests with the governor.

“I want to work with those five so they can understand the students’ experience at the University of California,” Graves said. “I do hope that the governor considers folks who have been students at the University of California, who understand the students and who go out on campus to meet with students.”

Brown’s spokesperson Ali Bay said in an email that the candidates will be selected from a “large and diverse” group of candidates and that the current vacancies do not change the board’s governing power.

“It’s hard to say (if) it has direct impact on the university as a whole,” Klein said. “I anticipate the changes will be as robust as they usually are.”

Contact Jackson Guilfoil at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @GuilfoilJackson.