SAN FRANCISCO — The committee of two between University of California President Janet Napolitano and Gov. Jerry Brown has met with the UC constituents but won’t release any recommendations for another several months, Napolitano told the UC Board of Regents Wednesday.
“Hopefully in the near future, without putting a date on it, we will be able to return to the board with concrete proposals,” Napolitano said.
Napolitano and Brown updated the regents for the first time on progress of the Select Advisory Committee on the Cost Structure of the University. Brown called for the committee to reexamine the University’s finances after the regents approved a proposal to potentially increase tuition by up to 5 percent annually for the next five years.
Brown emphasized that he may still deny the UC the additional funding it has asked for, saying he needs to make tough choices and exercise financial discipline. His current proposed budget gives the UC about $120 million in additional state funding conditional on tuition remaining flat.
“I will say (no) when I have to,” he said.
The committee has met twice so far. Napolitano said the committee heard from former and current University administrators, faculty, students and outside experts.
Brown said he wants to look at how technology can make higher education more efficient and affordable. However, he steered away from solely looking at online education.
“If we can have students take summer school classes, Advanced Placement classes, have kids in community colleges better set for UC education … There are better things to do that isn’t just putting everything online,” Brown said.
Some public commenters, despite Napolitano’s assurance that she is meeting with students, said they think the committee lacks students’ perspective.
“We need a committee of 240,000,” said Melvin Singh, external vice president of Associated Students of UC Santa Barbara, referring to the number of students the UC enrolls.
The regents also discussed the following:
About 30 public commenters disrupted the meeting at the end of public comment, demanding the UC to sign a community benefits agreement with the people of Richmond and to stop potential tuition hikes. Students and residents, some of whom stripped down to their underwear, said they’re concerned the UC’s new research campus planned for Richmond may increase rent prices there and could drive residents out of the city.
In her opening statements, Napolitano said the University is working to identify potential partnerships with nongovernmental organizations for the UC-Mexico Initiative. She also reiterated her statement condemning what she saw as bigoted incidents at some UC campuses, including recent controversial comments about a Jewish student’s appointment by UCLA’s student government.
The Committee on Finance voted for the University to issue a taxable 100-year bond of up to $500 million to fund projects such as deferred maintenance at UC Davis, Irvine, Riverside, San Francisco and Santa Cruz. The committee also discussed a project to expand UC Merced by 2020 to enroll about 4,000 more students.
The regents heard from UC Student Association President Jefferson Kuoch-Seng who called for increased funding for student mental health services and funding to address past cuts to University academics and services. He also called for the University to fully disclose its holdings in gun-related stocks, although the University has previously said it has no shares in gun manufacturers.
The board will meet Thursday at UC San Francisco for the last day of its bimonthly meeting.
Contributing reports from Amanda Schallert, Bruin senior staff.