UC Berkeley graduate student Jonathan Stein was nominated as the UC Student Regent for 2012-13 yesterday and will begin his term in July 2012 if approved by the board.
Stein, who would serve as a non-voting Student Regent-Designate until July, is a law student and master’s candidate in public policy at UC Berkeley. Stein was nominated from an applicant pool of 56 UC students to succeed current Student Regent Alfredo Mireles, Jr., a UC San Francisco graduate student who began his 2011-12 term last week following UC Irvine student Jesse Cheng’s resignation from the position as a result of sexual battery charges.
In a statement responding to his candidacy, Stein emphasized his obligation to stand up for underrepresented students, such as communities of color and the LGBT community, and said he seeks to minimize the effects of continuing budget cuts and tuition hikes on educational quality.
“The University of California has reached a crisis point,” Stein said in the press release. “We have been cut as much as we can be. Another cut means driving a final stake through the Master Plan’s commitment to quality, access and affordability — a commitment that has made the UC such an incredible, unique institution.”
Stein received a B.A. in English from Harvard University and founded Berkeley Common Cause, an organization devoted to reforming state government to end the UC budget crisis. As of press time, Stein was out of the country and unavailable for comment.
Although he was not set to assume Regent duties until July, Mireles began his term prematurely due to Cheng’s unforeseen resignation. Mireles, who will continue to serve as Regent for the 2011-12 year, said he will dedicate the remainder of his tenure to ensuring that the board prioritizes students’ interests.
“I want students to rest assured that [their] voices are heard at the Board of Regents,” Mireles said. “What I mean by that is that there’s no interruption to the student voice being advocated for.”
While allegations against Cheng first gained media attention in February, Cheng said he chose not to resign immediately because he wanted to complete ongoing projects and ensure that Mireles would be his successor. Despite the unanticipated circumstances under which he took office, Mireles is well-prepared for the task, Cheng said.
“I think Alfredo will make a really good Student Regent,” Cheng said. “I’d like to say that I think he’ll be a better Regent than I was.”
Although he resigned before completing his term, Cheng said he was nonetheless able to serve in the position to the best of his abilities.
“When I resigned, it was my last Student Regent meeting, so by then I was a lame duck,” Cheng said. “And by lame duck, I mean like the session’s almost ending and most goals had already been achieved … Not resigning was more of trying to fulfill my obligations to my other student peers.”
Additionally, Cheng said the decision will allow the board to better serve students due to the conditions under which he was serving.
“I think that with me being in office — the news, the media, the controversy — it causes a distraction to the real issues, like impacted students and tuition increases,” Cheng said. “Serving students was a privilege, and it’s time for me to step back and let Alfredo take the lead.”