Concerned students hoping to score a lunch date with a UC regent are in luck.
In addition to a UC Student Association (UCSA) program, an ASUCD regental mandate under consideration would grant white lining privileges to a selected few undergraduate students. This means they would be able to schedule private meetings with any of the 26 members of the board of regents.
“We’ll basically have the ability to lobby the regents [if the mandate is approved],” said ASUCD University Affairs Director Matt Blair, who authored the mandate.
The administration is currently waiting to hear back from the regents on whether or not the mandate will be voted on at the regent’s next meeting. However, the mandate has not appeared on the agenda for this weekend’s meeting. Blair said he has no reason to doubt that the mandate will be passed.
University Affairs has suggested a plan to the regents that would include the ASUCD president – or an undergraduate appointed by the president – and a member of the campus newspaper. The Aggie reports no knowledge of this plan, however.
Each campus would have white lining privileges only in the region of closest proximity to the next meeting. If a meeting is held in San Francisco, UC Davis and other northern California schools would have the privilege.
This may not be the best plan for all UC students, though, said Student Regent Jesse Cheng. Since the majority of meetings are held in San Francisco, Southern Californians would be limited in their participation. In addition, Cheng said, graduate students are excluded from the plan.
As an alternative, he suggested UC Davis students apply for the Student Advocates to the Regents program (StARs) through the UCSA. Though ASUCD does not pay dues to UCSA, Davis students are still considered members and can apply.
“It’s the best way to lobby to the regents, it really is,” Cheng said. “[StARs] is so cool. You get back door passes to the regents meeting. You can eat at the snack bar, sit with vice chancellors, vice presidents, you can move freely in and out and eat lunch with all the regents on Wednesdays.”
Cheng added that very few students actually apply to the white lining program, and that UCSA has never received a UC Davis application. He said that the application process is not very competitive, and students who have never been a StAR before are usually preferred.
ASUCD President Jack Zwald said that members of ASUCD will apply for this program, and that Cheng has guaranteed him the white lining privileges.
Both Blair and Cheng agree that white lining privileges would allow students much better opportunities to advocate to regents than meetings do. At the last regent meeting in San Francisco for instance, Blair signed up to speak at the meeting a week in advance, yet was not called on during the meeting.
The official policy states that members who have signed up to speak at meetings can talk for up to three minutes, but that “the chairman may adjust the procedures at his or her discretion.”
“It’s hard to get a word in at the meetings,” Blair said. “You drive all the way to the meeting and sign up for the speakers list and hope they don’t cut your time down to 30 seconds, if they call on you at all.”
He said that if this mandate passes, students can contact ASUCD senators regarding the issues regents should be aware of. In addition, Cheng also said that any student, involved with ASUCD or not, is invited to apply for the StAR program on the UCSA website, ucsa.org. Five applicants are chosen for each meeting the regents hold.
LAUREN STEUSSY can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.