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Left Out: California’s Higher Education Governing Boards Do Not Reflect the Racial and Gender Diversity of California and its Student Body

The UC Board of Regents, CSU Board of Trustees, the CCC Board of Governors, and the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) are responsible for selecting college and university chancellors and presidents. They also set policies on academics, admissions, finances, faculty, and campus planning. The decisions made by these governing boards impact all aspects of students’ lives. Governing board members must be unyielding in their devotion to high quality and innovative public higher education that is accessible, affordable, and eliminates racial/ethnic inequality so that our diverse state can thrive.

The Governor appoints the majority of members to these governing boards, and Governor Newsom will have the opportunity to appoint 23 key leaders to these bodies during his first term in office. If reelected, he will have 32 additional appointments to make. When the Governor makes appointments that are inclusive of women and people of color, students see themselves reflected in their college and university leaders, they know they belong, and we move toward improving student success. It also ensures that as a state we do more than just speak about the importance and value of diversity, we act upon it. Only a track record of diverse appointments clearly recognizes the strength and contributions that women and diverse leaders bring with them to our colleges and universities.

This brief provides an analysis of the representation on California’s higher education governing boards as of May 20, 2020 with attention to the eleven appointments made by Governor Newsom during his first 15 months in office. The analysis reveals some Bright Spots of Inclusion and continued Challenges to Inclusivity.