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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Round 2

The Regents had their opportunity to vent in mid-November when their tuition/funding proposal was aired and approved.  Now the legislature (which is back in business) has its turn in Round 2. The governor will have three opportunities for Round 3: the inauguration address, the state of the state address, and - especially - the budget proposal, all in early January. 

News reports suggest the legislature is not pleased to be challenged by the Regents and Napolitano.  See, for example, http://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/article4230419.html

If you think of the Regents' action as the first round of a negotiation process - the view taken by yours truly - ultimately, legislative leaders can't have a plethora of conflicting budgetary bills calling on UC to do X or Y or Z and not A or B or C.  In the end, there is only one budget and only one deal.  At the moment, the legislative leadership seems to be threatening to call UCOP officials to a multitude of hearings on a multitude of things.  Such an approach buys some time to come up with a more cohesive approach.  Presumably, eventually the legislature will also notice the CSU strategy of threatening enrollment cuts.  There are lots more students at CSU than UC and thus a lot more potential enrollees who could be adversely affected.

Meanwhile, there are moves among student governments at UC to vote "no confidence" in the Regents and Napolitano, including at UCLA: http://dailybruin.com/2014/12/02/usac-to-vote-on-resolution-voicing-no-confidence-in-napolitano-regents/.  It might be more strategic at this point for students to focus on the legislature.  So far, the Academic Senate hasn't really taken a position beyond a general (and longstanding) complaint of long-term state underfunding. 

One suspects that with the governor offering a plan to have some kind of joint committee, there will be discussions behind the scenes.  The original plan just called for a committee to look at the governor's issues - but he didn't exclude other issues from the agenda.  Gov. Brown has, to some extent, been undoing his small-is-beautiful stance from his first iteration as governor when - in sharp contrast to his dad - he eschewed grand projects.  This time around he has his rail and water projects - big ticket items of the type his dad (Gov. Pat Brown) liked.  But dad was also famous for pushing for the Master Plan on Higher Education - a committee product.  So doing something along those lines between now and next June when the budget is really due, could be something the older-and-wiser Jerry Brown might entertain. 

It may well be that the side in this conflict that can keep its cool will come out best in the end.  Sometimes not shouting is the best strategy:
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