Tuesday, November 18, 2014

More on the Empire Striking Back

We noted in a post yesterday that the governor had appointed two new regents in advance of the regents meeting coming up at which the tuition/state funding issue will come up.

According to the LA Times, both of the new regents plan to be at the meeting.  And both will surely share the governor's viewpoint.

(Newly appointed regent and past assembly leader John) Pérez, in a statement, urged the regents to withdraw the tuition plan. “Not only does the fee hike fly in the face of our efforts to make college more affordable for middle-class students, but threatening a fee hike unless the Legislature increases the UC’s funding is tantamount to hostage taking and that is completely unacceptable,” he said.

The other appointee may be a bit more nuanced:

(Eloy Ortiz) Oakley has been the head of Long Beach City College since 2007 and previously served in other positions at the community college and others throughout the state. He has been a strong voice in favor of educational proposals aimed at making it easier for students to graduate more quickly and transfer to four-year campuses. In one controversial experiment, legislation authorized six community colleges, including Long Beach, to charge higher tuition in summer and winter for some hard-to-obtain classes.

Full story at

Meanwhile, the LA Times runs an editorial favoring the budget plan to be presented to the regents and criticizing the governor:

 At issue is whether the 10-campus system will continue to rank among the nation's premier research universities, drawing top students and the best professors from throughout the world, or whether it will slowly shrink its ambitions, becoming a more utilitarian institution that concentrates narrowly on moving students to their bachelor's degrees and into the workforce quickly and efficiently...

The governor's response to UC's funding proposal has not been helpful. Online courses can be a useful part of a student's education, but when done right, they don't save significant money. As for transfer students, close to a third of the new students at UC each year are community college transfers. But UC should not be pressed to become mostly a two-year undergraduate program, enrolling transfers for junior and senior years. Students seeking a top four-year university would flee the state. And professors should not be required to reduce research or publication, lest the state lose them as well...

When the Board of Regents meets this week, it should support Napolitano's plan. What state leaders should be figuring out is not how to diminish UC‘s role, but how to preserve UC as a national example of great public higher education.

Full editorial at 

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