Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Meaning of Transparent is Unclear

From the Daily Bruin:

About 15 University of California students met with UC President Janet Napolitano in Oakland Tuesday to discuss how the University can be more transparent and get students more involved in University discussions with the state about funding. The meeting took place in light of the UC’s November proposal to potentially raise tuition if the state does not dramatically increase UC funding. Napolitano did not confirm any decisions to increase student involvement, as the meeting was an effort to facilitate discussion between Napolitano and students. UCLA students at the meeting included UC Student Regent-Designate Avi Oved, Undergraduate Students Association Council President Avinoam Baral, Financial Supports Commissioner Heather Rosen and Graduate Students Association President Mike Hirshman. No students from the UC Student Association, the UC-wide student government body, attended the meeting. Conrad Contreras, USAC external vice president, claimed UCSA students were not invited to the meeting, although UC spokeswoman Dianne Klein said they were. UCSA frequently circulates petitions and holds protests against University decisions... 

Full story at

The basic problem here is that the potential overlap between "transparent" and "negotiations" (as in the negotiations within the Committee of Two) is essentially a null set. The official positions of the two sides are fully transparent. UC's official position is what the Regents adopted as their budget/tuition proposal last fall. The governor's official position is what was in his January budget proposal. Beyond that, other than that there have been discussions of the Two and between their staffs, everything is opaque. There were vague statements that hint at progress being made at the last Regents meeting. Such opaqueness is typical of negotiations more generally, whether labor contracts, international conflict negotiations, etc. The fact that the negotiations in this case are taking place in the Committee of Two format is largely the result of the way Gov. Brown approaches the UC budget and other legislative matters, as we have noted before on this blog:  At the end of the process, some resolution will be announced and there will be judgments about whether the process produced a better result for UC than might otherwise have occurred.

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