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For the week of November 09, 2009

Momentum for actions later this month during the UCLA regents’ meeting November 18-19 continues to build. The schedule of activities in Los Angeles includes press conferences, pickets, rallies and cultural events. Busloads of students and staff plan to converge on the meeting to oppose fee increase, pay cuts and layoffs. If you’d like to join them, you can reserve transportation here.

UPTE-CWA’s Berkeley local has called a 2-day unfair labor practice strike on the days that coincide with the Solidarity Alliance’s systemwide strike call.

For other campus’s plans for the November meeting, check this list of upcoming events.

UC activists across the state held “day of the dead” protests against the budget cuts, such as this one at Irvine and this one at Berkeley to mourn the “death of public education.”

With the campus $150 million in the hole, Berkeley’s Academic Senate voted 91-68 to cut subsidies to the athletics department. Outrage mounted last week when it was revealed that athletics expenditures were rising three or four times as fast as academic budgets, and that the university was subsidizing the debt to the tune of millions of dollars from “discretionary funds.”

Meanwhile, in academic departments, phones are being turned off and garbage is piling up, writes one Riverside professor. No extra funds are apparently available to support UC’s teaching missions.

In another money-saving move, Berkeley is planning to reduce the size of its freshman class, enrolling about 15% fewer Californians while doubling its higher-paying out-of-state students to 23% of the student body. But that will result in sharp declines to the number of students of color on campus, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported this week.

The Chronicle reports that a university panel on nonresident enrollment issued "rough estimates" on the impact of the plan on African-American, Chicano/Latino, and other students who are the first in their families to go to college, and declared the results "appalling." Enrollment of these student groups will drop 13-17%, while overall enrollment will drop about 5%. Black and Latino residents make up more than 40% of California's population but represent only about 15% of Berkeley's freshman class.

The systemwide Academic Senate also issued a statement from its Coordinating Committee on Graduate Affairs opposing fee increases for graduate students, saying they were “gravely concerned” about the impact such fees would have on students as well as UC’s research mission.  

The starving of public higher education was the subject of both an article and an opinion piece in last week’s Los Angeles Times. A view from across the pond on California's higher education crisis is found this week in the UK-based Times Higher Education, which notes that "in the 1980s, 17 per cent of California's budget was spent on higher education and 3 per cent on prisons. Today, the figures are 9 per cent and 10 per cent respectively."

Meanwhile, federal money is pouring into UCLA and UC Davis, according to university news sources.

Council of UC Faculty Associations’ chair Robert Meister apparently touched a nerve at UCOP with his article on student fee increases being used to fund construction bonds. Read both and judge for yourself.

A UCSC faculty group has issued a 10-point program to defend the “public character” of UC.

Reactions to UC president Mark Yudof’s interviews continue. A community activist responds to some of Yudof’s claims in an interview with student journalists a few weeks ago, in which he admitted to being out of touch with campus life.

Ever wonder who all those developers are on the Board of Regents, and what financial conflicts of interest might be afoot? Check out the recent entries to Bob Samuel’s blog tracing the connections.


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