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Sunday, October 17, 2021

Editorial: Mandate likely to be ineffective

Pending the regents’ approval of a recent ASUCD mandate, select UC Davis students would be granted the privilege of scheduling private meetings with any of the 26 members on the UC Board of Regents – what ASUCD is referring to as white lining privileges.

The idea that a student would be able to call up a regent, ask for a date, express some concerns and see results is admirable. However, it is highly unlikely that this plan could actually be executed in such a fashion.

Students should be able to talk to their leaders. Students should have a voice in the governance of their educations. Students should have a lot more power than they currently do, and maybe this mandate would be a good step toward that utopia.

Maybe.

It is also possible that this is a ploy. It will merely create an illusion that students have a voice – that students could actually influence the way a regent votes.

Students already have opportunities to speak, but their voices aren’t being heard. Regents meetings are equipped with 20-minute public comment periods where individuals are permitted to speak up to three minutes if the chairman allows it. Quite often, due to “time constraints,” the chairman limits comments to as little as one minute. Still, not everyone who wants to speak gets the chance. Those who get upset and cause disruptions are escorted out by university police. This is not any more effective than massive student protests and lobbying efforts by the University of California Students Association (UCSA) – neither of which seem to have changed the outcome of any vote.

The UCSA has a similar program to ASUCD’s plans: the Student Advocates to the Regents program (StARs), which gives students a backstage pass to regents meetings. This includes sitting with vice chancellors and eating lunch with all the regents. Despite this program, there are little results to show for it.

While change is great and students shouldn’t give up trying to achieve a better relationship with their administrators, be forewarned: the white lining privileges proposed by ASUCD are probably not going to be as ideal as they promise. Students might be better off applying for StARs on ucsa.org. Even though ASUCD is technically not part of UCSA, any UC Davis student is still eligible for the program.

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