UC Regents recap – May 16-18
The Meyer and Renee Luskin Conference Center is pictured. At the end of the public comment period, protesters were removed from the room after chanting for higher wages. (Daily Bruin file photo)
The UC Regents met this week to discuss the fiscal performance of the University, employment for students without legal status, and tuition and admissions changes to certain policies.
The meetings were held from Tuesday through Thursday at the Meyer and Renee Luskin Conference Center and were livestreamed.
In the Investments Committee on Tuesday, the regents discussed the University’s performance for the third quarter of this fiscal year. The UC currently has $162 billion in assets – with $21.5 billion in working capital, $23 billion in endowments and $117.1 billion in retirement pensions and savings – as of April 30.
Wednesday’s meetings began with public comments, which included calls for approval of the Opportunity for All campaign. The campaign hopes to secure employment from the University for students without permanent legal status and UC divestment from Blackstone, an investment bank they are concerned is raising the cost of living in California. Members of the public also voiced support for providing rape test kits across campuses.
The board voted to approve the creation of a working group to adopt the Regent’s Policy on Equitable Student Employment Opportunities on Thursday. The policy ensures that students, regardless of immigration status, would be allowed employment at the University. The board also commended Opportunity for All advocates for their advocacy efforts.
At the end of the public comment period, multiple people began yelling about increasing wages. Security escorted protestors outside, claiming that the chanting was unlawful assembly.
Next, Richard Leib, chair of the Board of Regents, voiced appreciation for Regents Marlenee Blas Pedral, Sandra Timmons and Amanda Pouchot, as well as staff advisor Priya Lakireddy, whose terms end June 30.
In the Public Engagement and Development Committee, the regents considered a preliminary endorsement of California state Senate Bill 28 – the Public Preschool, K-12, and College Health and Safety Bond Act of 2024 – which requests a total of $15.5 billion in bonds for health and safety in education. The bill is slated for voting next March and would provide the UC and California State University systems with $2 billion in funding each.
The UC has also identified more than $51 billion in unfunded needs for projects such as seismic restructuring. The Board of Regents officially endorsed the bill Thursday.
In the Health Services Committee, the regents approved raises in alignment with inflation and cost of living for the chief executive officers at UCLA Health, UC San Diego Health, UC Irvine Health and UC Davis Health.
In the Financial and Capital Strategies Committee meeting, regents approved a $1.23 billion budget increase for the 2023-2024 fiscal year, an 18.6% increase from last year. The committee also outlined budget objectives for the upcoming year, such as addressing and mitigating areas of financial risk, limiting cost increases and investing in the current workforce to assist with UC staff retention and expanding research opportunities across the UC.
The regents also approved a proposed revision to the current budget which would address the $35.1 billion dollar shortfall this year. Additional funding of $5 million will be allocated to the UCLA Bunche Center for African American Studies and $2 million for UC Global Entrepreneurs, a program that supports engineering students in becoming entrepreneurs.
Also on Wednesday, in the Academic and Student Affairs Committee, the regents began by approving multiyear plans for professional degree supplemental tuition for eight graduate professional degree programs throughout the UCs. They heard from engineering and product development at UC Berkeley, management at UC Merced and biotechnology management at UC Irvine. Each team spoke about the mission of their program. Then, they addressed questions from the regents about how they plan to diversify their student bodies, recruit more California residents and lower debts for graduating students.
The regents then heard from the California Community College-UC Transfer Task Force about implementing its recommendations to improve the transfer process for prospective students.
The first recommendation urged the UC to develop a more detailed list of requirements for transfer students and to increase the number of transfer students who attend UCs. Another recommendation aims to streamline the transfer process by consolidating general education and major-preparation coursework to make completing requirements more efficient for students. The last recommendation would establish a California student transfer memorandum of understanding, which would guarantee admission for California community college students who meet certain criteria.
The board also heard recommendations from the Task Force on institutional growth, which recommended expanding UC education across the state, reflecting the demographics of California in the programs, achieving equitable student success and advancing state-specific academic research efforts.
The Financial and Capital Strategies and Academic Student Affairs Committees also held a joint meeting to approve a system-wide salary increase for certain members of level-one senior management, the creation of a special athletics committee to monitor student-athletes’ well-being and management, and an increase in funding in professional degrees supplemental tuition for graduate students. They also approved a partnership between UCLA Health’s Pediatric and Congenital Cardiac division and the Children’s Hospital of Orange County.
The next Board of Regents meetings will be held July 18 through 20 at UC San Francisco.