UC student Regent Jesse Cheng’s premature resignation leaves his tenure incomplete after a term marred by controversy.
The scandal he faced is enough to make most public officials resign immediately, but his waiting for two months to pass after receiving a student conduct violation for sexual battery by the UC Irvine Student Conduct Office in March makes Cheng’s decision to resign questionable.
Cheng’s resignation is nearly inconsequential at this point. His decision to resign comes too late after his initial controversy to be a sign of the scandal’s effect on his job performance — Cheng was apprehended by the Irvine police for sexual battery in November, though the DA did not charge him with any crime.
But the remainder of his term should have been used to more thoroughly train the student Regent-Designate, Alfredo Mireles Jr., so Mireles could have started the job in July with the highest level of preparation possible.
Cheng said that the reason he stayed on as long as he did was because he was “working on a project (he) wanted to finish.”
But fulfilling the responsibilities of student regent goes beyond individual projects.
Cheng should have remained engaged with other university-wide issues, giving the students a voice on the Board of Regents. His job was, after all, to be the only representative the students have in a body that makes major decisions for the university, affecting all of the students.
Though Cheng credited part of his decision to a lack of understanding of the duties that go along with the office, he spent a year as the student Regent-Designate shadowing his predecessor.
We imagine that Cheng knew most of what the job entailed before he took office, so his decision to resign so late after the controversy cannot be heavily blamed on a misunderstanding of the duties of the student Regent.
The legacy that Cheng is leaving behind is one that will be overshadowed by scandal and controversy. Unfortunately, his early resignation does nothing to help his already tarnished image. Rather, it leaves his tenure as student regent incomplete and is an unsatisfying end to an ignominious term.