Thursday, May 21, 2015

Listen to the Morning Meeting of the Regents: May 21, 2015

An earlier post today noted that we couldn't provide instant archiving of the Regents meeting of yesterday. However, we can provide it for the morning meeting of today which had some significant discussion of the Committee of Two deal. Below is our summary. Scroll down for the audio of the meeting.

The public comments session opened with statements on tuition for graduate and professional students, sexual violence as related to graduate students, the Gill Tract farm, comments on the proposal that the Regents adopt the U.S. Dept. of State definition of anti-Semitism, statements by AFSCME that workers employed by contractors at UC should receive UC pay levels, gun divestment, food pantries, a request by a group that may be connected with UC which is opposing a professional stadium identify itself, and English proficiency tests for foreign students. There was an interruption related to the Gill Tract farm issue.

Regent Bruce Varner made some remarks as outgoing Regents chair. UC president Napolitano thanked him, discussed transfer students and other issues, gave out awards, and described negotiations within the Committee of Two as “rigorous.” Faculty rep Mary Gilly said she would be consulting with faculty about the Committee of Two and would report at future meetings. There was then a discussion of a program
related to food insecurity of students in which student Regent Saifuddin was heavily involved followed by a presentation about and demonstration of an online UC information center.

Discussion then turned to the Committee of Two deal.  UC president noted that the deal did not include funding for added enrollment but that the governor indicated he would not veto whatever extra money the legislature might allocate for that purpose. There was discussion of the pension part of the deal, transfer students, reduced units for various majors, and three-year degrees using summers.
Top: Napolitano--Center: Gilly--Bottom: Oved & Saifuddin

It was noted that the pension fund at market value is now 87% funded. Regent Zettel seemed unhappy that any defined benefit element remained in the proposed new tier. Faculty rep Gilly noted the potential impacts of the new tier on faculty retention and retirement. 

There was some discussion on what it meant to endorse the Committee of Two “framework.” Did such endorsement override the tuition increases approved last November? UC president Napolitano said it would override the November decision. Regent Pérez said he generally endorsed the framework but couldn’t support the tuition element within the framework with regard to out-of-state tuition and with regard to a rise in tuition to adjust for inflation after the two-year freeze. Why couldn’t the endorsement be postponed until the July meeting which would come after the legislature and governor had approved a budget? Alternatively, he asked that the tuition element be unbundled. He said he couldn’t vote for the package unless the tuition element was separated. He presumably would then vote for everything except tuition. In the end, however, the Committee on Finance voted unanimously for endorsing the entire framework.  Regents could then vote as they wished when the full board considered the recommendation. (Ultimately, Pérez voted for the framework.)

A talk by the designated student observer focused mainly on complaints about nonresident tuition. It was followed by a review of the Dept. of Energy labs which UC co-manages. It was noted in that context that there had been a deal worked out on the large fine that had earlier been levied on UC in connection with its lab responsibilities. 

Audio of the session can be heard at the link below: 

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