He has rubbed elbows with the CEO of Paramount Pictures, talked hoops with a man who owns a Lakers championship ring and schmoozed with the creator of the Power Rangers. On Tuesday, he came to UCSB.
As a member of the University of California Board of Regents, UC Berkeley senior and student Regent Dexter Ligot-Gordon works alongside the aforementioned billionaires crafting the policy of the entire UC system. Ligot-Gordon, whose two-year term comes to an end this summer, came to the MultiCultural Center to recruit candidates for his replacement and hold an open town hall meeting to discuss some of the issues confronting the University.
About 25 students came and asked for advice on surviving the rigorous selection process, which consists of interviews with student body presidents from all UC campuses, the UC Student Association and the regents themselves.
“You have to show that you have an understanding of student issues,” Ligot-Gordon said. “It’s your responsibility to find out what those are.”
Chancellor Henry Yang and other UCSB administrators arrived for the town hall portion of the meeting. Ligot-Gordon and Yang took questions from students regarding the upcoming University budget cuts, a proposed racial privacy initiative and various environmental issues.
Ligot-Gordon warned students that budget cuts will force a fee hike of $740 next year. However, he spent much more time lamenting other budget casualties, like the 50 percent cuts in outreach program funding. The University’s outreach initiative includes programs for improving elementary and high schools, as well as tutoring and student center programs.
“The cut would be devastating to outreach,” Assistant Vice Chancellor Betty Huff said.
UC Regent Ward Connerly’s proposed initiative to remove questions regarding race from all state documents was also discussed, with most in the room decrying the initiative as dangerous and ill-conceived.
“Changing laws won’t eliminate racism,” Ligot-Gordon said.
He also expressed fear that the inability to track racial demographics at the University would cause a decline in diversity of both the student body and the University’s research.
UCSB education Professor Michael Brown said the initiative attempts to disguise its true intent by using progressive-sounding language. “It’s a lot like what occurred with Proposition 209,” he said.
Yang and Ligot-Gordon took some fire from students, most notably when Yang finished lauding UCSB’s Donald Bren School of Environmental Science and Management building as one of the “greenest” in the country, only to be countered by a student representing Greenpeace who said that the new Manzanita Village complex rates very low environmentally.
Yang drew laughs by responding to the remark with a sip of his Diet Coke.