Friday, November 28, 2014

Listen to the Regents Morning Meeting of Nov. 19, 2014

We complete our recordings of the November Regents sessions with the morning of Nov. 19, 2014, at which the tuition/funding issue was debated, sometimes in less-than-friendly ways, between the "regular" Regents and the elected ex officio Regents.  This session is a prime example of why the Regents' policy of archiving for only one year is absurd, given modern technology.  While you can argue that Regents meetings are often not the most exciting things to listen to, this one is certainly an exception and should be preserved.  For all the talk about being transparent, the current one-year archiving policy of the Regents is opaque at best.

The session started with public comments which were mainly anti-tuition, with the exception of a statement by a former chancellor.  There were also union complaints about contracting out and a reference to fossil fuel divestment.  There was a brief demonstration at the end of the session.  UC prez Napolitano defended the tuition/funding plan.  The faculty rep did not take a position but did point to funding problems of UC.  The actual debate occurred in the context of the Committee on Long Range Planning - since the tuition/funding plan is ostensibly a multi-year approach.  (As we have pointed out in prior blog posts, the actual budget is always one year.)

Officially, the rationale for the plan is that students would have predictability in tuition increases.  But another rationale is that more funding is needed from someplace and the legislature and governor can buy out tuition increases.  Note, however, that if the legislature and governor did so in some years but not others, the unpredictability would return.  So more funding from the state and predictability are somewhat at odds.

Various Regents spoke, although the votes were really in before the debate began.  Several "regular" Regents essentially accused the elected officials - who all announced they would vote "no" - of pandering - although that word wasn't used.  The officials complained that students were being "held hostage" by the plan.  Gov. Brown - some of whose remarks were posted separately in an earlier post on this blog - focused on his past ideas about technology, disruption, etc.  Lt. Gov. Newsom complained that students were not consulted in advance.  Assembly speaker Atkins talked about competing uses of funds.  Superintendent of Public Instruction Torlakson essentially had nothing to say and didn't say it very well.

You can hear it all for yourself at the link below:

And, on this day after Thanksgiving, we hope you can fully digest the contents of the recording:

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