California Sen. Steve Glazer proposed an amendment to the Constitution of California on April 16 that would add a second student regent to the UC Board of Regents.
The board consists of 26 members, including one student regent, according to a press release from Glazer’s office. There is also a student regent designate who participates during meetings but cannot vote. Senate Constitutional Amendment No. 5, or SCA 5, would allow the Board of Regents to add a second voting student regent to its board.
Alexis Atsilvsgi Zaragoza, the student regent designate, said that because several board committees meet simultaneously, one voting student regent cannot be at every single meeting.
“If we were to increase membership to two voting students … we could have a full voice on all of our committees, which is a huge deal,” Zaragoza said. “(This) means that we don’t have to neglect financial capital strategies over academic and student affairs. … We would not have to think about which committee more needs a vote this year.”
Jamaal Muwwakkil, the student regent, added in the press release that the increasing student representation would bring a more “equitable future for public higher education.”
Joshua Lewis, the chair of government relations for the UC Student Association, or UCSA, and the principal co-sponsor of the bill, said the proposal of SCA 5 is a “historic” moment as no effort to increase student representation on the board has ever become a piece of legislation.
“By adding a second voting student regent, students will have twice the power to make our voices heard on the Board,” Lewis said in an email. “When it comes to matters like tuition, UC budgets, and so much more, the power of an additional vote on the Board cannot be understated.”
Zaragoza noted that the regents would not be the first to amplify student voices as the Board of Trustees for the California State University system successfully created a second vote for student representatives. She added that the Board of Governors for the California Community Colleges started an effort last year, but had to move it to this year due to COVID-19.
SCA 5 will need approval from two-thirds of both houses in the state legislature before it can be offered to voters later this year as a ballot proposition, according to Lewis. Lewis added that UCSA is optimistic that the bill will pass out of the legislature and hopes the public will accept it on the 2022 primary ballot.
“Students bring diverse experiences and special perspectives to the table. They are uniquely positioned to offer the Board day-to-day feedback from their universities,” Sen. Glazer said in the press release. “A second voting student regent amplifies the important student perspective in Board of Regents’ decisions.”