Passing the Buck: On the November 28th Regents Meeting

29 Nov

by Renee Hudson

Yesterday, the Regents teleconferenced from four locations: UCSF, Davis, Merced, and UCLA. While tuition hikes weren’t on the table this time around, the Regents voted to approve expenses. This is essentially a de facto tuition increase since now the Regents will have to come up with the money to cover approved expenses.

UC President Mark Yudof stated in an LA Times article earlier this month that he would seek additional funding from the state to prevent further tuition increases. However, President Yudof and the Regents have failed to come up with a concrete plan outlining how they plan to receive additional funding from the state, which makes the passage of this proposal unlikely. Further, in the same LA Times article, Yudof stated that if state funding fell through, the Regents “would consider more modest tuition hikes.”

Given that tuition was already increased this academic year by 8% and that “more modest” fee increases are likely, this means that Yudof and the Regents will essentially implement the 81% tuition increase over four years that they proposed a few months ago. Yudof has since attempted to distance himself from the 81% tuition increase due to public outcry. However, in practice, the plan to increase tuition by 81% is still in effect.

During the teleconference, protesters shut down the meeting at each location using people’s mic. Regents and administrators then met behind closed doors to approve expenses, including roughly $3,500,000 in raises for several executives. The validity of this approval is suspect, considering the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act, which you can read here.

As reported by The San Francisco Chronicle, Yudof stated, “I’m sick and tired of Sacramento privatizing the university.”

And yet, Sacramento did not approve $3,500,000 in raises to UC Executives.

Significantly, as reported in The Sacramento Bee, Yudof said, of the raises, “We consider these retention efforts to be essential. I understand it’s not a great time, but we can’t really close down shop and say we’re not going to make any effort to retain our best people.”

Note that “our best people” are administrators, not, say, faculty. While Yudof continues to blame Sacramento for the privatization of UC, he continues to privilege executive compensation over high-quality, affordable education. For more information on how the Sacramento argument doesn’t hold water, click here.

At UCLA, in addition to shutting down the meeting, we demanded that police evacuate the premises, which they did. Further, we declared the Regents meeting to be an unlawful assembly and implemented a people’s meeting. During the People’s Meeting, we were able to sit down with a couple Regents and Chancellors. That said, while Regent Lansing expressed her desire to speak and work with us, she, like Yudof, has yet to do anything to effect change. Yudof and the Regents say one thing, but their actions reveal quite another reality, that of the corporate elite.

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