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UC Regents recap – Jan. 21-23

The University of California Board of Regents discussed a potential tuition increase, campus sustainability and the UC’s goals for the upcoming decade during its January meeting. (Daily Bruin file photo)

By Bernard Mendez

January 25, 2020, 5:16 pm

This post was updated Jan. 26 at 4:13 p.m.

The governing board of the University of California met for its January meeting at UC San Francisco from Tuesday to Thursday. The Board of Regents discussed a potential tuition increase, campus sustainability, the UC’s goals for the upcoming decade and other UC initiatives during the meeting.

 

Investments Committee

  • Jagdeep Singh Bachher, the UC’s chief investment officer, said the UC’s assets grew rapidly from October 2019 to the end of the year, attributing the assets’ growth to a strong market. Bachher said 2020 is a goal building year, and added he hopes to discuss progress on their goals at future regents meetings.
  • Bachher also said he wants to create a real estate management company for the UC that would control $10 billion over the next five years, and is working on a course to teach UC investment practices with the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley.
  • Arthur Guimaraes, the UC’s chief operating officer, said the UC values diversity and promotes diverse hiring practices as an employer and as a shareholder.

 

Special Committee on Basic Needs

  • Senuri Boralessa, a student at UC San Diego, was invited to speak to the committee. She said student parents struggle to feed their children and pay rent, and often have multiple jobs to get through school.
  • Kiyoko Thomas, the basic needs manager at UC Berkeley, said her department connects student parents to food and childcare resources. However, Thomas added there is not enough temporary housing for parents.
  • Kum-Kum Bhavnani, the UC Academic Senate chair, cautioned the committee not to make assumptions about people who live in on-campus housing and said she thinks the committee should continue to provide basic needs for on-campus housing residents.

 

Wednesday Board

  • Demonstrators outside of the Mission Bay Conference Center protested for UC worker’s rights. During the public comment session, other protestors interrupted Regents Chair John Pérez for about one minute until they left the room.
  • Students from various UC campuses spoke to the board during public comment about a proposed tuition increase and the board’s support for workers unions.
  • Varsha Sarveshwar, president of the UC Student Association and a student at UC Berkeley, said a tuition increase would disproportionately affect students whose parents refuse to pay their tuition, such as LGBTQ+ students, and could stifle student advocacy.
  • Pérez said students were right to call attention to the deficiency of notice for the tuition increase and added the regents should be as transparent as possible.
  • The regents discussed two plans for a potential multiyear proposal to increase tuition. UC President Janet Napolitano said students should be informed as soon as possible of a potential tuition increase.

 

Academic and Student Affairs Committee

  • Michael Brown, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, said data has shown that rural students have less access to UC schools than urban and suburban students, and added the data helps them target resources toward communities in need.
  • Regent Sherry Lansing said California has a shortage of qualified teachers who teach A-G requirements, and added she thinks the UC system should emphasize teacher recruitment.
  • Pamela Brown, the vice president of Institutional Research and Academic Planning, said the demand for highly educated workers will exceed the supply in 2030, and added she thinks the UC system should support the growth of graduate programs to meet the supply.
  • The regents approved revised proposals for Professional Degree Supplemental Tuition for six professional graduate degree programs and new proposals for PDST for four other programs, including a graduate program in genetic counseling at UCLA.

 

Finance and Capital Strategies Committee

  • UC San Francisco Chancellor Sam Hawgood proposed two projects at UC Irvine, a center for child health and a medical office building. The committee will discuss the proposal further in March.
  • Peggy Arrivas, associate vice president of the UC, discussed the buildings that need to be assessed and reinforced in order to comply with seismic policy at UC campuses.
  • Aidan Arasasingham, government relations chair for the UC Student Association and a third-year global studies student at UCLA, said the discussion regarding the tuition increase was invaluable and added he hopes the discussion will continue in a committee setting when the proposal is taken up at another date to allow for further review.
  • Arasasingham also encouraged the regents to look at how UC capital strategy can be used to help reduce student homelessness.
  • UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ discussed the housing crisis in Berkeley and proposed a plan to redevelop and revitalize People’s Park, a public park located near UC Berkeley. They plan to develop new student housing and permanent supportive housing for the general population experiencing homelessness, she said.

 

Governance Committee

  • The committee approved market-based salary adjustments for the vice chancellor at UC Berkeley and for the university librarian at UCLA.
  • The committee also approved a retroactive payment for temporary housing for the interim vice chancellor of student affairs at UC San Diego.
  • The committee approved a correction of incentive compensation using nonstate funds for the chief investment officer of the UC Office of the President.
  • The committee approved a measure to prohibit contracting out for services to comply with a recently adopted bargaining agreement with American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299, an employee union that represents service and patient care employees in the UC.

 

National Laboratories Committee

  • Craig Leasure, the vice president for national laboratories, summarized of the performance of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
  • Representatives from the Accelerating Therapeutics for Opportunities in Medicine consortium, a partnership between UC San Francisco, national laboratories and private pharmaceuticals that was funded by the regents in 2017, said they are using computing methods to accelerate drug discovery and are working with several national labs and private pharmaceutical companies to accelerate drug discovery.
  • The regents approved the allocation of funds for a program that will increase collaboration between the national labs and UC campuses, and will provide research opportunities for undergraduates and postgraduates.

 

Thursday Board

  • Members of the public said they are actively protesting the Thirty Meter Telescope that is being built on sacred Hawaiian land. They asked the UC to divest from its investments in the TMT.
  • Pérez said he would like to have the TMT issue brought before the full board. He said this would allow the board to have a substantive discussion and has asked to schedule a meeting as soon as possible.
  • The board approved to adopt a resolution of necessity for proceeding in eminent domain action to acquire land for a new Hillcrest campus in San Diego.
  • Representatives from the Title IX Office summarized their actions over the past five years, including a revised sexual violence and sexual harassment policy, increased community education and changes to trials responding to student accusations.

 

Compliance and Audit Committee

  • Representatives from the UC Herbicide Task Force summarized their recommendations to Napolitano, including a new integrated pest management policy that would require each UC campus to create local integrated pest management committees.

 

Public Engagement and Development Committee

  • David Phillips, associate vice president of energy and sustainability, Sapna Thottathil, associate director of sustainability and Matthew St.Clair, director of sustainability, presented the 2019 Annual Report for Sustainable Practices.
  • Thottahil said the UC’s 2020 goal of buying 20% sustainable food products has been met by all 10 campuses and four out of five health systems. She added the 2020 goal of reducing per capita water use by 20% was met by 8 out of 10 campuses, resulting in a 46% reduction in system wide water use since 2008. The 2020 goal for waste, which was to divert 90% of solid waste and reduce per capita waste to 2015-2016 levels, has been 76% met, she said.
  • Philips discussed the UC’s progress toward the 2025 goal of carbon neutrality. Currently, there are more than 1000 energy efficiency projects that have been completed, he said.
  • Pradeep Khosla, the chancellor of UC San Diego, described his fundraising practices to the board. Khosla said they want to use fundraising money for basic needs and mental health, and added he wants to reduce wait time for mental counseling to at most 30 minutes.

Contributing reports from Olivia Tran and Annie Yeh.

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