Gov. Jerry Brown is faced with the task of appointing three new UC Regents following the conclusion of two board members’ terms at the end of February and corporate investment partner David Crane’s failure to clear the approval pro- cess.
Although Crane was originally nomi- nated by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in December 2010, he did not receive confirmation from the State Senate while Regents Odessa Johnson and George Marcus lost their seats in March when their 12-year terms expired and Brown did not reappoint them. The state con- stitution mandates that the board incor- porate up to 26 members comprised of 18 gubernatorial appointees, seven ex-officio members — top government and univer- sity officials — and one student regent, elected by the board to serve a one-year term.
While only 15 governor-appointed regents currently hold positions on the board, this does not impede the body’s business as only nine members must be present for a meeting to commence, according to Shelly Meron, a spokesper- son for the UC Office of the President.
“The current Board of Regents still constitutes a quorum,” Meron said. “Their meetings have and will continue as usual while the process of filling the vacancies moves forward.”
Sam Chiu, a spokesperson for Gov. Brown’s office, said Brown has no set deadline for nominating replacements as the three unfilled seats create no disrup- tion.
“Our focus … is finding the best pos- sible candidates to fill these seats,” Chiu said in an email. “That ultimately dictates the timing of these appointments.” Historically, appointed seats are held by politicians, lawyers and businesspeo- ple who are members of a governor’s inner circle and can potentially pursue non-educational interests. However, State Assemblymember Das Williams said the budget climate makes it imperative that the governor seek out candidates prepared to serve the needs of university students,
staff and faculty. “I hope the governor will be appointing people willing to take a stern line onto administration, to fulfill the mission of higher education and won’t let a student’s economic class be a barrier to being able to attend a UC,” Williams said. “[We need] someone who’s going to be respon- sive to the fact that unless we take strong actions, people are going to be priced out of the UC, which would be a tragedy for not just students now but more so for the future of the state of California. The reason the governor is taking a while [to appoint new regents] is because he’s trying to be deliberative about who to choose.”
Associated Students External Vice President for Statewide Affairs Ahmed Mostafa said the vacancies allow Brown to select regents who have previously served academia and are willing to take student input into consideration.
“It’s really important that, especially in the UC system, we take shared gov- ernance into account,” Mostafa said. “I personally hope that the next regents will [have] a background in education, particularly in public education. Whether it be with educational policy or an actual background working at another univer- sity, I hope they choose somebody who understands our system and will be better prepared to make decisions on behalf of a university that encompasses over 220,000 students.”