Friday, August 23

From the regents meeting: UC Regents consider grim financial outlook and the potential for future tuition hikes

The University of California Office of the President announced plans to shrink down its operations by $50 million and shift the savings to individual UC campuses. Each campus will gain more autonomy and control over its own revenue as a result, said UC President Mark Yudof. UCOP will ask for a fixed amount from each campus every year and the campus will be able to determine where the funds come from. UCLA is at an advantage over other campuses because of its broad range of funding sources, said Nathan Brostrom, vice president of business operations. He pointed to the medical center and research grants as examples. Brostrom promised more details about the program, which will also propose cuts to certain types of research grants. In the short term, the plan will reduce the projected $96 million reduction in state funding to UCLA for next year. But administrative downsizing was overshadowed by a list of grim scenarios for the long term fiscal outlook of the university. UC officials detailed a multi-billion-dollar deficit through the next four years. A hanging uncertainty is whether Gov. Jerry Brown will be able to get his package of tax extensions on the ballot before voters in June. The California legislature has yet to conclude a vote on the budget nearly a week after Brown's original deadline. Republican legislators have steadfastly opposed the measure in media reports. But failure of the tax extensions means that the total cut to the UC will roughly double, from the current $500 million to as much as $1 billion. That means enrollment reductions or tuition hikes "”mdash; or both. In an interview last week, Yudof said he would not endorse the measure without first seeing the language. He said he is concerned about permanent limitations on higher education spending. Patrick Lenz, vice president of budget and capital resources, said the consensus among the regents at the end of the day was to protect enrollment. But, he added, "enrollment is not free." In a presentation to the board, Lenz pointed out the tuition increases that would be required to close an estimated $1.5 billion gap, assuming different levels of state funding. Without any state funding, annual tuition increases of 18 percent would hit the books, according to the graph. While an extreme example, Student Regent-Designate Alfredo Mireles said it put the problem in perspective. Regent Richard Blum argued the only way out of the budget crisis is to charge high tuition while offering high financial aid. That would mean turning the UC down a path taken by private, nonprofit universities years ago, which would be a transition in public policy, said Kenneth Green, founder of the Campus Computing Project and a UCLA alumnus. Green recently conducted one of the largest surveys of American college and university presidents to date with the online newspaper Inside Higher Ed, called "Presidential Perspectives." The survey found that presidents of public institutions generally felt disillusioned with methods used to solve budget problems, he said. "(They said), this is all stuff tried before," he said. Read more...

From the regents meeting: Students speak with UC Regents about campus climate in light of offensive YouTube video

The "Asians in the Library" video released by UCLA student Alexandra Wallace served as a key point in a University of California Student Association presentation to the UC Board of Regents Wednesday morning. UCSA President Claudia Magana told the regents that Wallace’s video demonstrates a need to reassess how intolerance is addressed in the UC. She said she believes merely punishing those who perpetuate racism or discrimination is not an adequate solution. "Expelling (Wallace) will not solve the problem," Magana said in an interview. Instead, the UC should show why comments like Wallace’s evoked a strong response, Magana said. This could involve increasing efforts to educate UC students about prejudice. Read more...

Chancellor Gene Block speaks at California DREAM Act rally.

Chancellor Block declares support as California DREAM act approaches legislative action

Alongside students holding up signs reading, “We are human” and “Education not deportation,” Chancellor Gene Block and members of the undergraduate student government showed support for the California DREAM Act Monday in Bruin Plaza. The DREAM Act, which consists of two bills in the California state legislature, would allow undocumented students access to financial aid and privately funded scholarships. In his address to about 75 students and members of the press, Block said the California DREAM Act legislation is overdue.
“(Undocumented students) excel despite the many obstacles that are presented to them,” he said. “(The DREAM Act) has my strongest support. Let’s get moving.” The event was organized by the office of Christopher Santos, executive vice president of Undergraduate Students Association Council. Tomorrow, the California state legislature’s subcommittee on higher education will review Assembly Bills 130 and 131 "“ the bills that comprise the CA DREAM Act. Before the act goes to a vote in the entire assembly, the subcommittee must approve the bills. Block said after the rally that although he will not be able to attend the hearings, Executive Vice Chancellor Scott Waugh will testify to the committee. Block’s appearance and Waugh’s testimony reiterates the importance of the DREAM Act to lawmakers in Sacramento, said Phil Hampton, a university spokesman. Ernesto Zumaya, a fourth-year English student and member of the EVP office, said several UCLA students and alumni will also attend the hearing. “It is important for us as undocumented students to be present when the legislation is heard,” he said. Read more...


Chancellor Gene Block speaks at California DREAM Act rally.

Chancellor Gene Block speaks at California DREAM Act rally.

*UPDATED:* Viral YouTube video called "repugnant" by UCLA administration

[UPDATED at 3:20 p.m.: The university has confirmed that the person in the video in the Library” is Alexandra Wallace, a student at UCLA, said Robert Naples, associate vice chancellor and dean of students. Naples called the video “beyond distasteful,” saying that her comments in no way represent the views of the UCLA as a community. Naples said he personally received more than 100 e-mails of complaint from individuals all over the country, primarily from people affiliated with UCLA. The university has yet to get in contact with Wallace, but hopes to meet with her as soon as possible to determine the appropriate response, Naples said. “We’ll be taking a look at the language that she uses in the video to see if it violates any codes under the student code, perhaps regarding harassment,” Naples said. However, the student code in no way usurps the authority of the First Amendment, Naples said. A Facebook user under the name “Alexandra Wallace” posted an apology on Chancellor Gene Block’s Facebook page on Sunday night. Wallace denied that she wrote the posts, stating that she currently does not have a Facebook account. The original video was taken down, but other copies of the video have been posted under different accounts. Within three days, the video has provoked a tremendous response from the community. Hundreds of comments have been posted on Block’s Facebook page. Numerous videos have been posted on YouTube in response to her original video.] Read more...

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