SAN FRANCISCO — The University of California Board of Regents meeting today drew out many members of the public interested in an agenda that included a tuition hike for nursing students and the appointment of a controversial student regent-designate.
Public attendees packed into the UC San Francisco Mission Bay Conference Center, with more than 50 members of the UC community slated to speak during the meeting’s public comments. Public viewers, police officers and UC officials lined the wall at the back of the conference room, filling available seating and standing room at the meeting.
The public commenters aired grievances on a wide range of topics, including having appropriate staffing levels at UC medical centers, a supplemental tuition hike for some professional schools on the regents’ agenda and the approval of UC Berkeley student Sadia Saifuddin as the 2014-2015 student regent.
The concern about Saifuddin’s appointment stemmed from her sponsorship of a bill that calls for the UC to divest from companies that finance the Israeli military.
Commenters argued to the regents in support of and against her appointment during the first hour of the regents’ session today. The regents later appointed her almost unanimously, with one abstention from Regent Richard Blum.
Blum expressed he did not feel comfortable approving Saifuddin, after he received many calls from members of the Jewish community who expressed concern.
The board also pushed through a supplemental tuition hike for students at the UCLA School of Nursing and three other nursing programs at UC Davis, Irvine and San Francisco. The 8 percent hike brings up supplemental tuition for the nursing students to $8,358. Regent Eddie Island and Student Regent Cinthia Flores were the only regents to vote against the tuition increase.
Regents also approved a series of increases to employee contribution rates toward the UC Retirement Plan.
Nathan Brostrom, executive vice president for business operations for the UC, said at the meeting that the increases are part of the Office of the President’s plan to roll out increases over a long period of time rather than dramatically raise the rates in one year.
Employees just started paying a previous increase in contributions earlier this month.
The regents also approved $587.3 million in expenditures this year for the Office of the President, marking an almost 5 percent increase of about $28 million since last year.
The added expenditures would go toward projects like the Keck Telescope, new information technology initiatives and reducing outside legal costs, as well as to help cover budget shortfalls from funding cuts over the years. The budget reflects an increase in funding the UC received under the enacted state budget passed in June.
Regent Bruce Varner presided over the meeting for the first time as Regents chair, while President Mark Yudof and faculty representative Robert Powell made remarks for the last time in their respective positions.
On Thursday, the board plans to appoint Janet Napolitano as UC president, which is expected to prompt protests from members of the UC community who don’t approve of her political record on immigration reform.
The regents will also discuss the new chief investment officer, an update to the Faculty Code of Conduct and progress on UC online education.
Compiled by Katherine Hafner, Bruin senior staff.