Sunday, November 23, 2014

Student Walkout on Tuition Planned for Tomorrow

University of California students say they will walk out of classes on Monday to protest the university regents' decision this week to increase tuition barring more funding from the state. Student protesters, who on Friday occupied Wheeler Hall on the UC Berkeley campus for the second day, said the Monday walkout at noon will be coordinated with students from other UC campuses... The student group called for no tuition hikes, full transparency regarding the UC budget and dropping of charges against a Berkeley student arrested during the regents' meeting...

Full story at

Does this mean there is an expectation of ultimate eviction in the VA case?

Jackie Robinson attended - but did not graduate from - UCLA and the baseball stadium on the VA Westwood property that UCLA uses is named after him.  As blog readers will know, there is a lawsuit to evict tenants of the VA property - including UCLA - on the grounds that their usage of the property does not benefit veterans.  Now UCLA plans to name facilities on campus after Robinson.  Does this suggest that the university expects to be evicted eventually from the VA property?

UCLA announced it is naming its athletic facilities after Jackie Robinson in honor of the 75th anniversary of his enrollment at the university. Robinson played football, basketball, baseball and competed in track and field at UCLA from 1939 to 1941. He became the first African American to play in the major leagues when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers for the 1947 season...

Full story at

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Monty Python Had Its Silly Walks; Now - When It Comes to UC Funding - We Get Silly Columns

Normally, "conservatives" are devoted to the market.  Market prices should rule.  Government should not regulate market prices.  Etc., Etc.  Gov. Brown goes on about how employment at public universities should be a "calling."  I don't recall in any faculty recruitment effort that I was ever involved in, that we attracted job candidates any by saying we pay less but it's a "calling."  However, Brown would probably not describe himself as conservative.  A centrist, maybe, and one who is fiscally responsible, but not a conservative.

But what are we to make of "conservative" columnists who just in the case of UC swallow the governor's "calling" approach and abandon the market place?  When it comes to funding UC, the normally sensible token conservative at the San Francisco Chronicle provides an example of this interesting and paradoxical phenomenon. Check it out at:

And by the way, Brown's public-private distinction gets a bit fuzzy when you look at the funding of "private" research universities and compare them to UC.  Like UC, they are heavily dependent on public support through tax exemptions, tax deductions for charitable contributions, federal research funding of grants, public funding of various scholarship programs, etc.  As we have long pointed out, state dollars account for roughly one-out-of ten dollars that go to support the UC budget.  It wasn't always that way back in the days when Jerry Brown's dad was governor, but now it is.

Modest Proposal (But an Obvious One)

Westwood Village business and property owners are considering several proposals that they hope will improve business in the district, including dismantling multiple six-way crosswalks, adding a new crosswalk on Westwood Boulevard and revamping the Broxton Avenue parking structure. The Westwood Village Improvement Association, also known as the Business Improvement District, met Thursday to discuss recommendations from consultant Rob York. The BID hired York about four months ago because of his experience as a consultant for Santa Monica’s popular Third Street Promenade, said Megan Furey, the BID’s marketing and communications manager...

Full story at 

How about if UCLA (a member of the BID) didn't divert resources to build king-sized, commercial, and untaxed enterprises on campus (free state land) - like the Grand Hotel - which divert business from Westwood?  Just a thought!

Of the dead, say nothing...?

Amidst the excitement over the Regents and tuition and state funding, we seem to have forgotten that once upon a time, a long time ago, there was a Master Plan for Higher Education that delineated roles for the three segments.  Remind us of how dead that Plan is, comes this story about community colleges offering 4-year degrees:

Grossmont-Cuyamaca, MiraCosta, San Diego and Southwestern community college districts are among 36 in the state that have officially expressed interest in offering four-year bachelor’s degrees. The California Community Colleges chancellor’s office has announced that the 36 districts, or half of all districts in the state, have submitted letters of intent to host a baccalaureate degree program as part of a pilot project to expand the role of the schools, which traditionally have offered only two-year associate degrees. Only 15 districts will be chosen to offer a baccalaureate degree program at one of their colleges in a field of study not offered by the California State University or University of California.  The selection process will consider geography, diversity of proposed programs, the ability of the college to establish a rigorous program and local or statewide workforce need. The final selection is scheduled to be made by the community college system board of governors on Jan. 15. The selected programs must be established by the 2017-18 school year, though districts may start them as early as fall 2015 upon receiving approval from the accreditation agency. The law sunsets after the 2022-23 school year, meaning the Legislature will have to act to extend the programs or make them permanent...

Full story at

Is there really any doubt that when 2022-23 comes around, the legislature won't make the programs permanent?  As we have noted in prior posts, the results of this dropping of the Master Plan are minimal on UC (although possibly a few potential transfer students will decide to stay home and complete their degrees at community college).  The impact on CSU is greater.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Room for Deal With Brown?

As blog readers will know, the Regents approved the tuition/funding budget proposal which Governor Brown opposed.  The "regular" Regents - excluding the two Brown just nominated - voted in favor at the meeting of Nov. 20.  The ex officio elected officials voted against, along with the one-year student Regent.

At the initial meeting of Nov. 19, Brown proposed a joint commission be formed to explore some of his pet cost-saving idea.  He attributed them to the Committee on the Future, a group formed by UC to deal with the budget crisis which threw out a laundry list of ideas, not necessarily all endorsed.  However, the commission idea - although not with just the agenda items Brown proposed and with a fast enough time frame to produce a useful document within a few months - could provide an avenue for the Regents and Brown to come to some kind of compromise.  Brown may see it as something like the Master Plan committee associated with his dad.  It's an avenue worth exploring.  As we keep noting on this blog, proposals made in negotiations are not necessarily final positions and not necessarily what the proposer expects to get.

Brown's proposed commission plan is at:

Meanwhile, below is a link to a video (audio with still pictures) of the Brown proposal.  [The original recording has some minor gaps and he video is edited slightly to meet the YouTube time limits.] Also, some news excerpts are below.

Hours after the University of California Board of Regents voted 14-7 to raise tuition, UC President Janet Napolitano told KQED that she hopes the increase never happens.  Napolitano said the 5 percent per year increase over five years is “a ceiling” that can be significantly reduced if the state steps up and increases funding for the university...  (She is clearly inviting a deal with the governor.)

"In many respects, this meeting is the end of the beginning of a process," UC President Janet Napolitano said in an interview after the much-anticipated vote. The plan allows her to lower or eliminate the hikes annually if state funding for UC rises enough.  The former governor of Arizona and U.S. secretary of Homeland Security who took the helm at UC a year ago, Napolitano is no stranger to tough politics. However, she never before faced such strong public criticism from the top California leadership — fellow Democrats literally sitting next to her Thursday. Now the 238,400-student university waits to see whether her strategy wins extra money or backfires by antagonizing Brown and others…

Full story at

…Gov. Brown wants the UC to establish a blue ribbon committee to reduce its cost structure, without limiting access and quality, through three-year degrees, more online course options, and other suggestions already made by the UC Commission on the Future. But these suggestions to the Regents did not steer them away from voting yes on lifting student’s tuition. “We don’t have time to wait for another commission,” UC President Janet Napolitano said at their Wednesday meeting. “We can have it and maybe we will get some really nifty ideas out of it, but the budget process moves along.” Now that tuition freezes aren’t guaranteed, it’s unclear whether Brown will draw his own line on continuing the state’s incremental increases to the UC’s funding…

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Positions Taken

As noted in the prior post, the really exciting stuff happened at the Nov. 19 session of the Regents during the budget discussion.  Yours truly - who is traveling - will eventually get to the recording of that session.  The Regents - or at least a subcommittee of the Regents - voted for the tuition plan.  The governor and the student regent opposed the tuition increase, although the latter was not so nice to the former for his refusal to raise state contributions to UC.  We noted yesterday that assembly speaker and ex officio regent Atkins presented a plan - really a laundry list - as an alternative to the tuition hike.

Both sides have now made their positions official.  (Or it may be three sides with Atkins.)  The full Board of Regents will consider the plan today.  Undoubtedly, there will be more discussion.  But public forums are not good places to have negotiations.  There are too many Regents.  The political types don't want to be seen as folding. 

We have noted that despite the positions taken, there is room for compromise.  For example, as noted in prior posts, although UC prez Napolitano has a multi-year plan, the budget is only for one year.  Duration is thus a variable.  What is needed is a true compact between the state and UC and that needs to be worked out in private.  A third party mediator might be a possibility.  Some independent commission might be set up to consider the various issues raised.  Even if the Regents adopt a budget, it doesn't take effect until next fiscal year (July 1).  So there is time for adjustment.  We also repeat our observation that in a negotiation, the positions take are not necessarily final or even where the parties would like to end up.

Here is a sampling of news reports:

...In a sharp exchange with Brown, regents invoked the higher education legacy of Brown’s father, the late Gov. Edmund G. “Pat” Brown, and accused the younger Brown of failing to deliver on the promise of Proposition 30, the tax measure he championed in 2012.  Regent Sherry Lansing said that when regents, faculty members and students rallied around Proposition 30, “it was with the complete understanding that a huge percentage of this money for Prop. 30 would go to fully fund the university so that we could continue with our enrollment growth. “Sadly, that has not happened,” Lansing said...

Full story at

...The regents held their debate and vote about the tuition hike at UC San Francisco, where about 100 people protested the proposed hike. The scene became chaotic at some points, with shoving matches between police and demonstrators.  One Berkeley student was arrested on suspicion of inciting a riot after protesters forced their way through metal barricades and police security lines. A large glass door shattered. Former UC Chancellor Karl Pister, 89, said he was knocked down. In all his years at UC, he said, "Today is the first time I was knocked down."

Full story at

...“I’m worried that we’ll do to the University of California what we did to the K-12 system,” said Regent George Kieffer.  That fear lies at the heart of the tuition debate for UC President Janet Napolitano, whose staff walked the regents through a presentation showing that UC has cut millions of dollars from its operations in recent years, while state support has fallen and admissions applications have soared. The regents were also told that if the state helped UC pay for its ballooning retiree health costs — as it does for other state agencies, including California State University — no tuition hike would be needed...

...(Student Regent) Saifuddin said that as a student whose family earned just above the cutoff for financial aid, she had to work four jobs and still couldn’t pay for school.  “My grades plummeted,” she said. “I suffered from depression.” She became interested in the student regent position in part because tuition is covered.  Yet Saifuddin — like many of the students who had earlier addressed the regents — also directed angry comments at Brown because he has expected UC to keep tuition flat in exchange for small funding increases of 4 and 5 percent, most of which UC said is absorbed by inflation and don’t help enough. “As leader of the state, the ball is in your court,” she told the governor, to applause from the audience. “It’s easy to point fingers and say the other person isn’t doing his job. We need to create a plan that restores state support” to UC...

Full story at


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