California public higher education leadership lacks diversity

Perhaps the most colorful mix of students in the world attends California’s public colleges and universities, yet most of the people appointed to run those schools, it turns out, are white.

A new study points out the disparity — and the opportunity — as California’s next governor will be able to fill 38 openings over the next four years on the governing boards of the University of California, California State University, California Community Colleges and the state’s Student Aid Commission.

Gov. Jerry Brown also expects to fill five current vacancies on the UC Board of Regents and two on the community colleges’ Board of Governors before he leaves office this year.

“Students deserve to have leaders who can relate to their experience. Leaders they can see themselves becoming,” said Michele Siqueiros, president of the Campaign for College Opportunity, a nonprofit group that advocates for expanded access to higher education in California.

The group’s study, “Left Out,” looks at the diversity of the majority of board members, who are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate Rules committee. Those not included in the study are “ex officio” members who serve automatically because of their positions — such as the governor, who is a UC regent and a CSU trustee — and the few appointed by other groups, and student members serving one-year terms.

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