University of California San Francisco graduate student Alfredo Mireles Jr. has been nominated as the 2011-2012 student regent-designate.
The student regent is a voting member of the UC Board of Regents — the 26-member board established in the California Constitution to lead the UC — and votes on all pertinent matters during bi-monthly board meetings. Mireles will replace acting Student Regent Jesse Cheng, a UC Irvine undergraduate student who will finish his term in 2011 as the 37th student regent. Mireles will serve as a designate for one year before gaining voting rights in July 2011.
Mireles, who is pursuing his masters in health policy as a first-generation college student, said his academic and professional experiences will be effective aids for representing students from all backgrounds.
“I have been an undergraduate, professional and graduate student, have worked in the State Capitol as a legislative aide on health and higher education policy [and] have been involved in a myriad of campus organizations,” Mireles said.
According to Victor Sanchez, external vice chair of the UC Student Association, Mireles’ background and success story are representative of the UC experience.
“Alfredo’s work, life experience, college career and overall genuineness is what set him apart from the other candidates,” Sanchez said. “I have full confidence in his ability to represent students on the Board of Regents effectively and clearly.”
When he assumes the position, Mireles said he will strive to improve the campus climate, decrease student fees and craft an efficient health policy.
“I believe students from all backgrounds must feel welcome at UC campuses,” Mireles said. “We must continue to always make school affordable and accessible. As a UCSF student, I am happy I get to bring attention to all the amazing work the UC is doing on health-related issues and getting the opportunity to be an actual policy maker.”
In addition to founding the San Francisco Health Policy Advocacy Club, Mireles recently served as UC Students Association legislative liaison for the UCSF Graduate Student Association. Additionally, Mireles is the recipient of an Albert Schweitzer Fellowship — an organization committed to improving the lives of mentally ill patients — and a member of the Student Health Insurance Advisory Committee.
“I believe 2010 is the year of health care, and as a health policy graduate student, I wanted to be part of actual policy-making performed by the regents,” Mireles said. “For instance, we are going to be helping implement federal health reform, are looking to potentially take over the health care delivery at the state prisons and are preparing to reestablish Martin Luther King, Jr. Hospital in southern Los Angeles to provide health care to the underserved.”
Furthermore, Mireles said state funding must be increased to improve affordability and accessibility within the UC system.
“New revenue measures that I support are an oil severance tax, Proposition 13 reform and maintaining our vehicle license fee at Governor Gray Davis levels,” he said. “With one or all of these measures we would bring in billions more per year in state revenues.”
Even though Mireles does not believe that private scholarships should replace affordable student fees, he said utilizing private funding would help UC students tap into millions of dollars of funding.
“I want to help students find extracurricular funding like scholarships and fellowships,” he said. “There are millions of dollars available to students every year, and with the type of grades and test scores that it takes to get in to a University of California campus, all students are beyond qualified.”
Although he is the sole nominee, the UC Board of Regents will officially elect Mireles at their upcoming meeting from July 13 to 15.
UCSB’s own Jesse Bernal, a graduate student at the Gevirtz School of Education, was the 2009-2010 student regent.