Interest Groups Applaud, Condemn UC Board’s Choice For New Student Regent

Sadia Saifuddin, a social welfare major at the University of California at Berkeley, was approved this afternoon as the next student regent on the UC Board of Regents.

The regents made the decision today at their meeting that began Tuesday at the UC San Francisco conference center at the Mission Bay campus.

As part of today’s agenda, the board approved a special committee recommendation to select Saifuddin, an incoming senior, as the student board member to help govern the 10 campuses in the UC system.

Saifuddin will serve in the position starting July 2014. She will serve as regent-designate until the appointment becomes effective, UC officials said.

She will be able to participate in all UC deliberations but will not have voting privileges until July 2014.

The student-regent for the 2013-14 year is Cinthia Flores, a law student from UC Irvine.

The choice of Saifuddin has prompted a range of reactions from various groups.

The California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, known as CAIR, lauded the decision of selecting the first observant Muslim to the board. According to the chapter, Saifuddin was part of a CAIR leadership program in 2008.

The group commended Saifuddin for her goal to stabilize tuition in her role as student-regent.

The Los Angeles-based StandWithUS, a pro-Israel advocacy group, said in a statement today that the regents’ choice in Saifuddin “sends the wrong message” and “defeats the Regents own goal of being more inclusive.”

The group claims Saifuddin has an extremist point of view.

The board will consider nominations Thursday for UC president following Mark Yudof’s announcement earlier this year that he was leaving the post at the end of August.

They are considering U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano for the role.

Sasha Lekach, Bay City News

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