UCLA Alumna Nominated for Student Regent

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A selection committee has nominated as the next student regent a UCLA doctoral candidate who works to boost enrollment of underrepresented minority students, university officials announced yesterday.

Tracy Davis, a 27-year-old studying higher education and organizational change, said in an interview yesterday she hopes to use her position as student regent to expand outreach programs and prepare the university for an expected influx of new students.

"So many students on our campus are unaware of the opportunities we have to offer them," she said. "I want to increase access to our university by high school and transfer students. I want to make sure the students know they're welcome at the University of California."

If the UC Board of Regents accepts her nomination at its September meeting, Davis will become a voting member in 2001.

Davis, who has traveled across the state as part of her job with the UCLA admissions office, said many students think the UC system is "unattainable" and that the university does not welcome them. Even if they are admitted, students from low-income neighborhoods often think the university is too expensive, she said.

If voters demonstrate approval, Davis said she would work for a repeal of Proposition 209, the 1996 statewide initiative that banned race and gender preferences in university hiring and admissions.

"We need to really think in terms of the big picture," she said. "The major step is the overturning of Proposition 209, if that's what residents vote for. I'd be in support of a re-examination of affirmative action programs."

If approved, Davis will train for one year with current student regent Justin Fong, also a UCLA graduate student. Although she will sit on the board and participate in all discussions, she will not be able to vote until next July.

This is the first time a student regent will serve a year of training.

Davis said that when she found out she had been nominated for the coveted position, she was both excited and overwhelmed. She said she is especially daunted by the task of preparing the university for "Tidal Wave II," incoming classes of students expected to flood the UC system in the coming decade.

As student regent, Davis said her primary duty is to be informed on student issues.

"I'll be really aware of what's happening on the campuses," she said. "It's wonderful to be nominated, but it puts this burden on me of really having to stay informed."

Davis grew up in Seal Beach, Calif., and earned her undergraduate degree in anthropology from UCLA. While working at a television station, she gave a presentation to a group of low-income students, piquing her interest in outreach programs.

She said she will treat her experience as a regent as part of her schooling.

"This is an education for me," she said. "I will get an inside view of the goings-on of a major university system."

In her free time, Davis serves as an outdoor adventure guide and teaches kayaking to students. She also devotes herself to community service and to working with low income youth.


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