Update 05/19/2016: This article has been updated to reflect information from interviews with Paul Monge and Avi Oved.
A special committee of the UC Board of Regents has nominated Paul Monge, a student at the UC Berkeley School of Law, as the 2017-18 student regent, according to a Wednesday UCOP press release.
At its July meeting, the UC Board of Regents will gather to vote on the nomination. Should Monge be approved, he would serve as the student regent-designate for the coming year with the ability to participate in deliberations but not to vote, working alongside the active student regent Marcela Ramirez. He would receive voting privileges when his one-year term begins in July 2017.
Monge graduated from UC Santa Barbara with dual bachelor’s degrees in sociology and global studies. At Harvard University, Monge received a master’s degree in public policy and is expected to complete his juris doctor degree at UC Berkeley in May 2018.
“I’ve had connections with the UC system since I was an undergrad at UC Santa Barbara,” Monge said. “So I have a personal stake in honoring the UC’s commitment to being accessible and affordable to all students.”
According to Monge, the student regent application process takes several months, with students submitting paper applications in late February. This year alone, there were 49 students from all 10 UC campuses who applied.
The applications were then narrowed down to 20 students chosen to interview, and from that pool, three finalists were selected, according to the press release. These finalists were then evaluated by a nominating committee, which included Regents Charlene Zettel, John Perez, Gareth Elliott and Yolanda Gorman, along with the current Student Regent Avi Oved.
According to Oved, the duties of the regents are not limited to dealing with student issues, encompassing — among other things — overseeing the university’s national laboratories and its roughly $100 billion investments. Oved expressed confidence in Monge’s ability to handle this wide range of responsibilities.
“(Monge) really stood out as a candidate,” Oved said. “He has great experience working in both public and private settings, and being at a professional program, he has a strong sense of how the UC system operates. I’m very excited to see what he does.”
Monge said that in light of his roots from an immigrant and working-class family, he intends to focus his efforts as student regent on ensuring that those with similar backgrounds are given the opportunity to enroll in the UC system.
“The UC system has always been a place where students of all income levels can go to receive a fantastic education,” Monge said. “But that’ll be less of a possibility if the UC system continues to raise fees and tuition and if it keeps expanding the number of enrolled students.”
The next student regent will become the 43rd person to hold the position since it was established in 1975.