Sydney Comitz a recent graduate of the Merrick School of Business' and now second-year UB School of Law student, was nominated by Gov. Larry Hogan to be the student representative on the Board of Regents for the University System of Maryland.
The University announced Comitz’s nomination on Feb. 26. Comitz graduated in May with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a specialization in early-entry law, and is planning to complete her Juris Doctorate in the School of Law in 2017. She served as the President of the Student Government Association for two years and will now represent students from all of Maryland’s public universities.
“Technically, this means that I’m going to be representing 100,000 students in the state of Maryland, ”Comitz said. “Personally, it means that I’m going to have to extend my work beyond UB to encompass all of the other students and remember the diverse student populations within our entire state, and not just the school that I love.”
Comitz said that on a professional level, this opportunity would give her a chance to strengthen the student voice on a statewide platform, including being a voice for first-time and first-generation college students. She feels that often times, those students who lack the most resources are the last ones to get a chance to say what they need.
Comitz had to go through an extensive process to become a nominee for Student Representative on the Board of Regents, starting with the University System’s Student Council.
“You meet with the students, and there’s a student representative from each of the 14 institutions on the council. They do a round of interviews, and they rank the candidates, one through three,” Comitz explained.
She was the top student pick, and then got a chance to interview for the nomination with University System Chancellor Brit Kirwan. Chancellor Kirwan then recommended Comitz to Gov. Hogan, who then made his choice based on who got the Student Council’s vote and the Chancellor’s recommendation.
“He’s really trusting the student voice, in this case,” Comitz said.
She feels that she fits the bill for representing a diverse group of students, and giving a voice to graduate students.
“Sometimes we often feel that graduate students are pushed to the side and not favored over undergraduate students. I feel like I am so many different categories that I would do a great job of being representative for all of these populations,” Comitz said.
She wants to advocate for additional protections for interns from sexual harassment, and free textbooks for students.
“So far, we’ve done a pilot program which uses open-source textbooks. By December 2015, we had saved students over $1 million in textbook costs,” Comitz said.
She explained that open-source textbooks are textbooks that are online and can be edited by professors to provide the most up-to- date information. That distinguishes the textbooks from Wikipedia, where posts can be edited by anyone, and often have inaccurate information in them. Comitz says students at some universities, such as Towson, can then print off the books and get them bound in the library for a nominal charge.
Comitz begins her term on July 1.
(Edits to the originial article were made based on updated facts.)