UCSB graduate student Jesse M. Bernal has been nominated to serve as the new student voice of the University of California.

Bernal was chosen by a UC Regents’ special committee to serve one year in office as the board’s 2009-10 student representative. Before he is officially endorsed, however, Bernal must await approval from the entire board at the July 16-17 UC Regents meeting, held at UCSB.

If accepted, Bernal will succeed current student Regent-designate D’Artagnan Scorza, and immediately begin serving his own term as the student regent-designate. During this time, Bernal would be able to participate in deliberations as a designate, but would be barred from casting an official vote until his term of office begins the following year on July 1, 2009.

Once the term commences, the student regent serves as a voting member of the UC Regents and attends all meetings of the board and its committees.
All university fees and tuition for the student regent-designate and student regent are waived during their tenures.

According to a UC press release, Bernal beat out 65 other student applicants from across the 10-campus system, and he has the potential to become the 35th student regent to hold office since the position was founded in 1975.
In a press release, Bernal said he was humbled by his appointment and eager to tackle the systemwide issues that confront the UC.

“I am honored to be chosen as student regent and look forward to working with the regents and the entire UC community to address the serious budget and educational challenges facing both the University and the state,” Bernal said. “Now more than ever, California’s future demands a new approach to public investment in higher education, and we must, at the same time, continue to identify innovative opportunities to increase diversity and keep a UC education affordable.”

After earning his undergraduate degree from Westmont College, Bernal began attending UCSB in 2005 in the field of political science. Bernal then shifted his emphasis to education and is now pursuing a doctorate at the Gevirtz School of Education, focusing primarily on underrepresented students in higher education, first-year student experience and student development and retention.

–Staff Report