Monday Memo: news & views about working at UC
For the Week of September 26, 2011

UC Regents banking on student debt

California State University leaders rejected another tuition increase this year “even if it suffers a further $100-million cut in state funding.” Chancellor Charles B. Reed also rejected adoption of a multiyear budget with annual tuition increases because of the difficulty of planning in a volatile environment.  

University of California President Mark G. Yudof last week unveiled a proposal that would raise annual tuition for UC students by 8% to 16% over the next four years – a proposal that met with a storm of outrage from students, staff and faculty. One group of students and staff at UC Berkeley sat-in at the Education/Psychology building for a day in protest, and that campus’ student paper took student reps on the Board of Regents to task for not speaking out. Regents have tabled the issue for now.

UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi’s plan to increase nonresident undergraduate students by 15 percent could “generate tens of millions of dollars in additional tuition and fee revenue” and make Davis the system’s second-largest campus. A Sacramento Bee editorial called this “an ambitious, even audacious, expansion plan” that could provide an immense payoff “for the campus and for a region desperately needing an economic boost.” Katehi is quoted as saying "You cannot cut your way to greatness."

San Francisco businessman David Crane is unlikely to be confirmed as a UC regent, because the California Senate adjourned before confirming his appointment by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. UC unions have fought Crane’s confirmation because of his anti-union views, opposition to employee pensions, and belief that UC should be run more like a private university. Some state lawmakers agree. As Senator Leland Yee said, “Not only has [Crane] been tough on unions, he has indicated that there is not a need for unions. It has been unions that have caused the upper management of UC to be a lot more responsive and considerate toward service employees.”

Over 60,000 union grocery workers at the chains Ralph’s, Albertson’s and Von’s in Southern California have won a huge victory that maintains their health care benefits after they threatened to strike to protect them. And a wave of protests against banks around the country last week, including up to 1,000 activists -- most of them young – camping out on Manhattan’s Wall Street urging US President Barack Obama to establish a commission to end "the influence money has over our representatives in Washington.”

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