Posted July 17

With zero arrests and no real disruptions, this week’s University of California Board of Regents meeting at UCSB went smoothly.

Over the course of the three-day meeting — the first attended by new UC President Mark Yudof — the governing body of the University of California discussed changing admission standards, the creation of a new medical school at UC Riverside, and the university’s oversight of the Department of Energy national laboratories. Although at least one hundred members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union were on strike throughout the week, protests never spilled into the heavily guarded meeting at Corwin Pavilion.

On Wednesday, the regents discussed the seemingly counterintuitive prospect of lowering admission standards to ensure that the most “qualified” students attend UCs. Proposed by the Assembly of the Academic Senate, the revised freshman eligibility policy would no longer require high school students to take the SAT II subject tests. Furthermore, it would lower the number of required courses a student must take by 11th grade and it would reduce the minimum GPA requirement to 2.8.

According to the Academic Senate, allowing more students to be considered for admission will help individual universities and future students.

“We don’t want the lack of one test or one course to make excellent students invisible to UC,” Board of Admissions and Relations with Schools chair Mark Rashid said.

“By inviting a broader pool of prospective students to apply and be evaluated under comprehensive review, campuses can make a better and more fair determination of academic merit by looking at all of the student’s achievements in the context of their particular schools and personal circumstance,” Rashid continued.

However, during the course of discussion several regents expressed skepticism and the regents agreed to discuss the matter further before making any decisions.

With the board’s review of UC oversight over the Department of Energy national laboratories in Berkeley, Los Alamos and Livermore scheduled to take place an hour later, Thursday morning’s public comment session was dominated by statements against a “nuclear UC.”

The most prominent speaker during public comment was UCSB Nobel Laureate Walter Kohn. Kohn spoke for a full seven minutes — normally, comments were limited to one minute, but most of the regents, with the exception of chairman Richard Blum, were hesitant to tell the nuclear physicist that his time was up. Kohn asked the regents to invest more in alternative energies.

Aside from a man who took off his shirt and yelled “to the beach!” as he walked out of the meeting, the rest of the day went as planned. After discussing the updated security and reduced budget at the national laboratories, the board voted to establish a medical school at UC Riverside.

As the meeting winded down, President Yudof thanked UCSB for hosting the event under the circumstances and praised the faculty and staff.

“I can’t imagine putting together a regents meeting while at the same dealing with a fire the magnitude of the Gap Fire,” Yudof said.