Thursday, January 29, 2015

Listen to the Regents' Afternoon Meeting of Jan. 21

As promised, we are slowly beginning to archive the most recent Regents meeting.  This one is the afternoon of January 21 in which there was a review of the old UCOF report followed by a discussion of debt management and other matters.

Basically, the UCOF (University Committee on the Future) report was done in response to the last budget crisis. University officials reported on success stories that came out of the report. But the discussion then turned to the thorny issues of insufficient funding, use of revenue from out-of-state students, etc. There were complaints by former Assembly Speaker Perez (and now Regent Perez) about UC playing the "blame game" by pointing a finger at the legislature for the increase in tuition. There was discussion of the "sticker shock" effect of the official rate of tuition even though many students pay less or zero.

One point that emerged was that much of the cost saving UC points to came from an increase in the student-to-faculty ratio.  You may not think of that change as quite the same thing as, say, cutting the cost of some administrative function since it means larger classes and/or fewer classes, i.e., a quality cut.

The discussion ended with the approval of the formation of the Committee of Two (Brown and Napolitano) to review issues.  The temporary officially archived recording has a break at the point where the vote is taken and some material is lost during the vote and the beginning of the debt management discussion.

Although there is an audio link to the full meeting below, I have isolated three highlights of the UCOF portion as a separate link: 1) The governor notes that the new model is lump-sum funding for the university.  Funding is no longer contingent on enrollment. Blog readers will know that the Legislative Analyst's Office doesn't like the new approach. But now it's official policy. [This is also the point where the governor complained that normal people can't get into UC-Berkeley.] 2) The governor regards the Master Plan's separation of the 3 segments (UC, CSU, community colleges) as outdated, apparently because of technology. 3) Both Brown and Napolitano promise to consult in some way as part of their Committee of Two discussions.

During the subsequent debt management discussion, there was discussion of capital project spending. As we have noted, the governor - despite his interest in cost savings - seems not to focus on the big buck capital projects that are routinely approved. He did question the idea that new capital projects are needed for faculty recruitment.

The meeting ended with a statement by the head of the UC Student Assn. that the students would no longer cooperatively lobby with the Regents, presumably because of the tuition/funding proposal.

 The audio link to the full meeting is below:

The three highlights are at:

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