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Regents Reject Giving Choice on UC Chief : Education: Board votes down suggestions that more than one candidate be nominated for system president.

March 18, 1995|AMY WALLACE | TIMES EDUCATION WRITER

As the search for the next president of the University of California gets under way, the Board of Regents was urged Friday to give students and its own members more of a say in choosing the next leader of the nine-campus system. More than 140 candidates are currently being considered for the position by the seven-member search committee, Regent Roy T. Brophy told a regents meeting at UCLA.

According to board policy, the search committee, headed by Brophy, will evaluate the candidates based on such factors as their scholarly achievements and administrative experience, and recommend one nominee to the full board for approval.

But some regents balked at the idea that they would be presented with a single name to approve or disapprove.

Regent Tom Sayles told the board: "I can tell you now: Under no circumstances will I vote for a candidate when I only have one choice. I'll have no basis for comparison. I have no input in the process. I could not in good conscience . . . vote yes or no on one candidate."

UC President Jack W. Peltason has announced his intention to step down effective Oct. 1. He was selected through a similar process, which has traditionally been used by the regents to choose presidents.

According to Brophy, in order to attract top-notch candidates--many of whom are employed at other institutions--secrecy is essential. "This may be an exclusionary-type policy," he said. "Nevertheless, it's the only one that works."

Lt. Gov. Gray Davis, who is a member of the board of regents, compared the process to "going to an election and (finding) there's one person on the ballot."

"When the electorate is given only one candidate, that's not democracy," Davis said. "The old Soviet Union was into those kinds of elections."

David Flinn, the regent representing UC alumni, said the alternative was worse. "Consider this scenario: You bring in two candidates (to be considered by the full board). Both are employed by major universities in the United States. You ruin the career of the man you don't choose. It's not right."

Students also called for more access to the process. UC Berkeley law student Jess Bravin asked that the search team give its student advisory committee a role in evaluating finalists, and complained that students' current level of participation "amounts to little more than helping write the want ad for president."

But after much discussion, the board voted to go ahead with its current system, reaffirming the largely secret process.

The members of the search committee are regents Brophy, Tirso del Junco, Meredith J. Khachigian, Leo S. Kolligian, Dean A. Watkins, Flinn and student regent Terrence Wooten of UC Riverside. The governor and the chairman of the Board of Regents, Howard H. Leach, are ex-officio members.

As expected, the board also approved fee increases for professional school students, effective the 1995-96 school year. Officials said the increases, which range from $1,000 to $2,000 per year depending on the school, were needed to maintain academic quality.

The fee increases will bring the annual fees paid by new students in 1995-1996 to $8,331 for medicine, $7,670 for dentistry, $7,733 for veterinary medicine, $9,157 for law and $8,949 for business administration (except at Riverside, which will charge $7,949).

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