Talking Points on the UC Budget Crisis and Public Education


A very comprehensive list of important points on the UC budget crises and public education compiled by concerned UC Davis Students. (note: this list is not the suggested list of important points by the Student Regents, but offered here as a perspective and opinion of some particular students)

What’s happening with the UC budget? How did we get here?
♦ The 1960 Master Plan for Higher Education gave all Californians the right to an affordable college
education. In fact, in-state students’ fees were supposed to be only for “incidental costs,” not for tuition.1
High quality, accessible public education was once a major priority for California.
♦ In 1978, CA Proposition 13 drastically reduced property taxes (a major source of funding for public
education) and required a 2/3rds majority in the legislature to raise taxes again.
♦ In 2004, Governor Schwarzenegger and the UC administration signed the Higher Education Compact.
Written during a time of economic prosperity, this document allowed UC to raise student fees by 10%
each year and moved UC away from public funding by the state and toward private funding by
individual and corporate donors.2 This shift from public to private funding is called privatization.
♦ Why are so many people opposed to privatization? When UC is a public institution, it is accountable to
the public — to tax payers and to the state. UC teaching, research and public service are considered a
public good. If UC becomes a private institution, it will be accountable to private donors — to
corporations and wealthy individuals. These donors will increasingly control the kinds of programs and
scholarship UC can offer; our teaching and research will benefit corporate rather than public interests.
♦ Today’s crisis — including over 900 layoffs, mandatory furloughs for faculty and staff, and a 32% increase
in student fees — is not a sudden unexpected downturn, but part of a much longer trend of disinvestment
in California public education, by both the state and the UC administration.
♦ Undergraduate fees have increased over 117% since 2002. In 1988, fees for one undergraduate student
represented 5% of the median family income for a California household. By 2008, fees represented 17%
of the median family income.3 Recent reports demonstrate that since 2004 UC administration has
pledged student fees for bond collateral and interest on construction projects.4
How are students being impacted by these decisions?
♦ Students are being asked to pay thousands of dollars more in fees than they initially planned. Therefore, many students
report that they will have to take on another job next year to cover the cost, reducing the time and energy
that they can devote to their education. Claims that increased fees will be offset by increased financial aid
opportunities actually just shift the burden from the university to individual students who must take on
more debt, limiting their employment and graduate school opportunities or exposing students to
predatory lending schemes similar to subprime housing loans. Many other students say they will not be
able to afford to remain in the UC system.
♦ Students are paying more for less. Programs are being closed and instructors are being laid off. For example,
The Dean the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences may cut the Textiles and Clothing
program at UCD, the only of its kind in the UC. Students are fighting to keep it open.5 UC Davis also
recently laid off all of its ESL lecturers in order to cut costs.6 As TAs become more expensive and the
University cuts funds to hire instructors, we fully expect to see larger classes, larger and/or fewer
discussion sections, and fewer course offerings, decreasing the educational value of UC Davis instruction
and increasing the average time to degree.
♦ Crucial resources are becoming less accessible. Cowell Student Health Center, which serves UCD students, has
had to cut hours of operation this year due to furloughs.7 The main UCD library has cut staff, reducing
the number of librarians available and making it harder to get necessary research materials.8 Campus
resource centers, which serve underrepresented and marginalized communities at UCD, have had to cut
programming and hours to account for budget cuts this year. These are just a few examples of the ways
student support and resources are dwindling on our campus.

If the legislature is decreasing funding, why aren’t students just focusing on Sacramento?
♦ We strongly advocate for public funding of public education, but we also demand that UC administration
refocus spending on students and education and that they take responsibility for creating a public
education system that the state would want to fund.
♦ Between 1997 and 2007, faculty increased by 24% and student enrollment increased by 39%, while
senior management increased by 118%. A report by the UCLA Faculty Association estimates that UC
would have $800 million each year if management had grown at the same rate as the rest of the
university since 1997.9 $800 million would cover the fees for 100,000 resident undergraduates. UC Davis
plans to close one of three low-income cooperative on-campus student housing projects, and plans to use
that space to create more administrative offices. We want to know why administrative costs and resources
continue to rise at the expense of student accessibility and affordability.
♦ We think it is unacceptable that in a year when students must seriously consider whether or not they can
continue to attend college, the president of the UC has a compensation package of $841,880,10 and the
new chancellor of UC Davis is hired with a base salary of $400,000, which is 27% higher than that of her
predecessor.11
♦ The UC Board of Regents consists of 18 members appointed by the governor for 12 year terms, one
student regent appointed by the Board of Regents, and 7 non-voting (ex officio) members. Because of this
structure, the Regents have no real accountability to students, faculty, or staff. And very few of the
Regents even have a background in education.12 For example, Chairman Russell Gould is a former
executive of Wachovia Bank, a corporation that directly profits from decreased funding of public
education since it profits from an increase in student loans. We believe it is crucial to have accountability
from the Regents, real student representation, and UC leaders with backgrounds in education.
♦ Recent budget choices push resources away from students and education, and toward administrative and
for-profit functions of the university. If UC administration continues to move toward a privatized,
corporate model, it will be even harder to convince the state and tax payers to invest in the UC as a
public education system.

What can advocates for public education do to help?
1. Contact UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi (530-752-2065, chancellor@ucdavis.edu) to ask that she
publicly advocate for administrative transparency and a rollback of fee increases.
2. Contact UC President Mark Yudof (president@ucop.edu) to demand accountability and transparency in
administrative and budgetary decisions.
3. Contact the UC Regents (http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/regents/contact.html) to demand that
they revoke the fee increases and reverse the trend of privatization.
4. Contact Governor Schwarzenegger (916-445-2841) and California legislators
(http://www.legislature.ca.gov/) and ask them to make the Regents accountable to students and to the
state, and to restore the state’s commitment to public education.
1 http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/uchistory/archives_exhibits/masterplan/heart.html
2 http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/compact/compact.pdf
3 http://ouruniversity.wordpress.com/2009/11/23/fees-to-income-ratio-unaffordable-higher-education/
4 http://keepcaliforniaspromise.org/?p=404
5 http://textiles.ucdavis.edu/news/letters-from-alumni-and-current-students/1.html
6 http://theaggie.org/article/2009/10/29/layoffs-expected-for-uc-davis-esl-lecturers
7 http://healthcenter.ucdavis.edu/about/hours.html
8 http://theaggie.org/article/2009/11/05/shields-library-faces-declining-services-due-to-budget-cuts
9 http://keepcaliforniaspromise.org/?p=469
10 http://people.ucsc.edu/~bmalone/Budget_Docs_files/yudof0308.pdf
11 http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2009/05/07/state/n131219D76.DTL
12 http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/regents/about.html

This document was written by UCD students. Please feel free to distribute or edit it as is useful for your campus!

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