Student regent from UCLA nominated for 2015-16

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UCLA student Abraham (Avi) Oved has been nominated as the 2015-16 student regent.

If the UC Board of Regents decides to approve his nomination at its July meeting, Oved will be the 41st student regent, according to a Thursday press release from the university. The student regent is one of the 26 voting members of the UC Board of Regents.If approved, Oved will participate in deliberations this year as a student regent-designate, but he will not be able to vote until the start of his one-year term in July 2015.

Oved is majoring in economics with a minor in global studies and will be a senior this fall. He has participated in student government since his first year at UCLA, starting as an intern for the president of UCLA’s Undergraduate Students Association Council and becoming internal vice president his junior year.

“Although I loved student government, I saw that student government has certain capacities and limitations,” Oved said. “I really saw the platform of student regent to be the next step.”

As student regent, Oved hopes to address sexual violence on UC campuses by ensuring that campus climates are conducive to reporting crimes of sexual assault and harassment. Oved has collaborated with the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault and as internal vice president worked with other groups to implement a mobile safety application that aimed to centralize emergency communication.

He also wants to expand student representation on the Board of Regents to both an undergraduate and graduate student regent, each with a student regent-designate. The board has one graduate or undergraduate student regent and one nonvoting student regent-designate.

“It’s just mind-boggling that we only have one voting representative on the board for the largest stakeholders to the UC,” Oved said.

Additionally, Oved thinks the California Master Plan for Higher Education ought to be revisited to take into account current issues facing the university such as lack of state support, online education and student diversity. To accomplish his goals, he wants to establish more relationships with California State University and community college representatives.

Ultimately, though, his focus will go wherever students’ issues take him, Oved said. He aims to increase the visibility of his position by visiting two UC campuses per month.

Oved was selected from a pool of 38 applicants by a special regents committee, according to the press release. Cinthia Flores, 2013-14 student regent and a member of the committee, said in an email that Oved’s “interpersonal skills, leadership record and enthusiasm” made him the best candidate.

The newly elected USAC Internal Vice President Avinoam Baral, who previously worked as Oved’s chief of staff, called him a “total goofball” and recalled a time when the two of them stayed up all night trying to secure funding for a project.

“He is so passionate about everything that he does,” Baral said. “That passion and that joy exudes to everybody beyond him.”

According to the Daily Bruin, Oved authored a controversial bill last fall that supported a peaceful campus approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In a statement on his nomination, he noted the symbolism of a Jewish and a Muslim student — himself and 2014-15 student regent Sadia Saifuddin — working together on the Board of Regents.

“I honestly did not believe it,” Oved said, on receiving the nomination. “I didn’t believe it until they actually made the press release today.”

Melissa Wen is a news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @melissalwen.