Out of 26 voting positions on the UC Board of Regents, only one belongs to students. This position, held by the student regent, will change hands on July 1. An open forum for UC Santa Cruz students interested in applying for the student regent and student advisor positions was held on Jan. 11.

About a dozen UCSC students attended the forum where current Student Regent Paul Monge, Student Regent-designate Devon Graves and Student Advisor to the Regents Rafael Sands explained the application and selection process, which officially began in January. The student regent holds the position for a year, after a mandatory year-long term as the student regent-designate.

“Students are one of the most important stakeholder groups in the university,” Monge said. “We don’t only consume services as students, but we also invest in the university system by way of tuition paid, the fees that we pay and the taxes that we pay. So we invest three times over, and we don’t have proportional representation given the stakes that we experience.”

Since the student regent position was established in 1975, no other student voting seats have been added.

The student advisor position was created last year in response to these critiques. UCLA student Rafael Sands is the first to hold the position. The student advisor position is a

nonvoting position and is a year shorter than the student regent position, as it does not have a year-long designate period. Much of the position’s responsibilities have not been developed.

“[It’s] a brand new position that students, quite frankly, have wanted for four years, and it’s finally here, and hopefully is one to last,” Sands said. “That comes with enormous power, because when something doesn’t have a history behind it, you’re able to decide what the future is going to be.”

UCSC and UC Merced are the only campuses that haven’t had students hold the student regent position, Monge said at the forum.

“We have a very serious cultural challenge in the leadership of the university in that we almost overlook the central region of the state,” Monge said. “Not only the delegation of authority, but the attention that we spend on campuses like Merced and Santa Cruz, you see that reflected in the fact that there’s almost no representation on the Board of Regents from the Central Valley […] It’s long overdue, and this could be the year.”

To attain either position, applicants submit to four rounds of interviews before being chosen by a selection committee consisting of board members. Student regents have previously been chosen for their understanding of systemic issues and their ability to convey the needs of students.