CSU Board of Trustees appoints second student trustee
Published: Sunday, September 30, 2012
Updated: Sunday, September 30, 2012 17:09
When Cal State San Marcos student Cipriano Vargas saw the call from the governor’s office on his cell phone, he said that he thought it was a “thank you for applying” message from his application to the Cal State University Board of Trustees in March.
However, that phone call was the golden ticket to his position as student trustee for the Board. He was appointed on Aug. 24.
“I was amazed and surprised,” Vargas, 20, said. “I remember thinking, ‘I can’t believe I got it.’”
He said the process was very rigorous. He had to go through several levels of one-and-a half-hour interviews before learning he was chosen for the job.
According to the executive director of the California State Student Association, Miles Nevin, the CSSA is authorized to search for the student candidate and submit the decision to Gov. Jerry Brown. After a board of directors from the CSSA conducted interviews, three names were forwarded to Brown.
Vargas was part of the three-member group who took part in extensive interviews at the governor’s office.
“I was really nervous … but I was confident,” he said. “It’s something I was passionate about.”
Because it is his first year as a student trustee, Vargas will not be allowed to vote during Board meetings. Student trustees can only vote on the second and final year of their term.
“I am able to talk, give my input and give my feedback,” Vargas said.
Vargas will also offer his input towards deciding who the next CSU chancellor will be, by taking part in the chancellor search committee. The committee is working on finding a successor who will replace CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed, who announced his retirement in May.
Trustee Jillian Ruddell, who is serving her second year as a student trustee and therefore has the power to vote, will work alongside Vargas on the chancellor search committee.
“I can see myself working with [Ruddell],” Vargas said. “She has been a great mentor.”
Both Ruddell and Vargas have a common background of student advocacy, CSU Spokesman Erik Fallis said.
“If you look at their [backgrounds,] there is a real dedication that you see through student advocacy,” he said.
Vargas said that one of his main platforms is for equal, affordable and higher quality education for everyone in California.
“Every student should have the option to go to college … it is hard with the budget,” he said. “Sacrifices have to be made. Raising tuition is not going to solve the problem.”
Vargas is a senior in sociology and women’s studies and is currently the Associated Students, Inc. vice president of external affairs at CSUSM. He has been a part of many organizations on campus, including the University Union Advisory Board and Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan.
He said that he had to step down from the leadership roles in the latter organizations so he can focus on his role as student trustee and ASI vice president of external affairs.
“It is necessary, but definitely beneficial,” Vargas said. “It allows others to step up.”