Breaking News: Noose Message found at UC Davis campus (via APSA Irvine)

Hello All,

Though this blog hasn’t been updated in a while and a platform for higher education issues via the student regent and student regent designate for the 2011-2012 year will be launched soon, I thought it important to get this out.

Another discriminatory act associated with a noose was found this morning on the UC Davis campus.  The message read “Use me as a noose.”

Read more here:

Beyond UC:

California public universities no longer oppose transparency bill
The Donor-Transparency Bill, written by Senator Leland Yee and previously opposed by the University of California and California State University, has been changed to a compromise bill which would protect anonymity of specified donors to address previously voiced concerns. 
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College staffing and enrollment decreases
In the past decade, public universities have seen an 8% decrease in the number of staff employed.  In the same amount of time, public universities have seen a 9% drop in enrollment.  This is in contrast with the previous 20 years which had seen an increase of staff. 
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UC 411: UC Berkeley expects an increase in enrollment for summer courses

UC Berkeley’s summer courses offered are expected to have a great increase in the number of students enrolled this summer. “About 1,500 students are also likely to sign up for the eight online summer classes the school is offering.” The language classes offered have an impact in increasing the enrollment this summer, which the university’s popular summer intensive language classes impacting over 80 percent increase in enrollment this year.

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Campus 101: UC Davis gets even greener

UC Davis is constructing a Zero Net Energy development consisting of housing, recreation, and an education center.  The Zero Net Energy status of UC Davis’ West Village is achieved largely by the use of a 4-megawatt, high efficiency SunPower solar power system.  UC Davis West Village also integrates sustainable design in order to help reduce reliance on automobiles (the community incorporates recreation and retail facilities into the design of the development).   The apartment buildings are also equipped with energy-conserving components such as solar reflective roof materials, high efficiency lighting, added insulation, high efficiency air conditioning and appliances. 
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Beyond UC: Governor’s new Tax plan; Cal State considers major tuition increase

Extra Money Goes to Schools

On Monday, Governor Jerry Brown stated that although the economy is on the mend, there is still a $10 billion budget hole that needs to be closed by tax extensions. He also stated that tax revenue would be $6.6 billion more than expected. Brown proposed to use the extra tax revenue to lessen his tax hike proposal and increase K-12 school funding by $3 billion. Brown also state he is confidant that he can reach a budget agreement with republicans by the due date of the spending plan in June. There are no changes to UC or California State budget, but Brown warns that if the tax extension does not pass, each would face an additional $500 million cut.

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Cal State prepares radical plan

On Tuesday officials from the California State University that they are considering a radical plan including huge tuition hikes and enrollment reductions in response to potentially receiving a $1 billion budget cut from the state. Brown warned the state that if the tax extensions do not pass, an additional $500 million slash to state funding would be added, doubling the cuts the Cal State is facing. If this happens the tuition for undergraduates would rise 42% next year, instead of the 10% already planned. Cal state may also use waiting lists for winter and spring enrollment next year until the budget cuts are finalized.

Read more about the plans here:

Campus 101: Better Living through Science

Paralyzed UC Berkeley Student Walks for Graduation
Austin Whitney, a UC Berkeley student, was told he would never walk again after a car crash paralyzed him in 2007.  Fortunately, at UC Berkeley, mechanical engineering professor Homayoon Kazerooni and his team have been developing bionic exoskeleton frames for more than ten years.  With the help of Kazerooni’s robotic legs, Whitney was able to walk across the stage for graduation.  The bionic exoskeletons have their limits, but they were able to achieve this one otherwise impossible feat for Austin Whitney. 
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An Open Letter to the Students of the University of California

Dear Fellow Students,

It is with great regret that I write this letter to announce that I have tendered my resignation as the Student Regent of the University of California. My regret partially stems from my choice to resign before the May Regents meeting, which would have been my last Regent meeting; and also the inability to finish my service to a student body and UC community which has given me so much. But I make this decision today because I believe it is part of my obligation and what I owe to the students who have supported me, to ensure that students have a full and powerful voice at the Board of Regents, and do what is best for the student community.

I respect the decision of the Student Conduct Process, no matter how much I disagree with the findings. It is a much lower standard of evidence than a criminal court, but I also recognize that the process nevertheless applies to me as a student. My main focus and motivation has always been for students to feel that they have a full and powerful voice on the Board of Regents. Seeing how it will be my last meeting as a Student Regent, and how much of a distraction from other serious student issues that this issue has continued to cause, I think it would be best for the students and the University of California if I step down at this time. Along the same lines of pushing for students to have a powerful voice at the table, I have confirmed that Alfredo Mireles, the Student Regent-designate, will be able to utilize my vote on the Board of Regents next week. I feel confident that with Alfredo speaking as the full Student Regent, students will continue to have a full voice and vote at the table. Whether or not I continue as a Student Regent, I think that will always be the most important issue.

I would like to take the liberty to thank all the leaders and activists who have taken their time to work with me and fight for an affordable, accessible, and quality UC. They have been students, staff, faculty, and UC administration, and I owe them all a great debt of gratitude. As students, we faced extremely difficult challenges these last two years, including one of the largest fee increases in the university’s history and one of the largest fiscal crises in the state’s. However, we also launched one of the largest grassroots mobilizations in the country, with well over ten thousand students, staff, faculty, and workers walking out to send a clear message to decision-makers and legislators about the importance of a college education. I am proud to have been there to witness such a powerful moment for higher education. In this past year, through difficult challenges, we’ve been able to win small victories. Student activists worked hard to urge the university to look at diversity models to improve campus climate, and recently gained two student representatives on the UC’s Investment Advisory Group, allowing students to gain a wider perspective and voice. Perhaps most importantly, this year the Board of Regents approved a resolution pushing for all campuses to adopt a holistic admissions model, a model that will produce a more fair and balanced admissions process for future UC students. It is a victory that students have been seeking for years, and it was an honor to see the University take such a strong stance on balanced admissions practices. It has been an honor to support the leadership of students who have advocated across the system these past two years.

I have tried to serve the students and the University of California to the best of my ability for the last two years, and I thank the students for giving me this opportunity and privilege. At the end of the day, I want to recognize it is a privilege to serve, not a right. I am stepping down now because I think it is the right decision, and the best way for the students to have a powerful voice at the table, for the student movement to move forward without distraction, and for the University of California to face the challenges we have before us.

Respectfully Yours in Service and Friendship,

Jesse Cheng

Beyond UC: Reinvesting in the California Dream

“A generation ago, California led the nation in investing in public education, from preschool through K-12, and continuing through our community colleges, our California State University and our University of California systems.” For the past few years, our state has now been facing drastic budget cuts in education reaching up to $18 billion cuts for the upcoming school year.

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UC 411: The UC and Cal States face potential budget cuts of $1 billion

The Cal States and University of California face a potential $1 billion reduction in state funding for the coming school year. “The actions may be necessary to keep classroom doors open if tax extensions requested by Gov. Jerry Brown are not approved, Chancellor Charles B. Reed told trustees at a meeting in Long Beach.”

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Campus 101: Paraplegic will walk; UC Workers Protest

Campus 101:
UC Medical Workers Protest
Workers at UC San Diego Medical Center protested outside the hospital
yesterday for negotiations between the University of California and the
labor unions that represents them. About 50 employees gathered to take
part in this state-wide protest. Their main concerns are the cuts in
pensions, the rise in health care premiums, and pay cuts. Diane Klein, a
spokeswoman at the university’s Oakland headquarters, says that the claim
of pay cuts are not true; reporting that a recent study found that the
AFSCME represented service workers is 18 percent higher than counterparts
in other institutions with the same jobs.

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UC Berkeley Engineers helps student walk at graduation

Austin Whitney will be able to walk across the stage at his UC Berkeley
graduation ceremony, a rite of passage for any student completing their
journey through college, but this walk will be extra special with Whitney
being a paraplegic since 2007. Engineering professor Homayoon Kazerooni
and his team of graduate students have created an exoskeleton that will
give Whitney the ability to stand and walk. This new development truly
validates the UCs place as a dominant research university. But to Whitney
this is not just a technological advancement; it is the chance to finally
meet eye to eye with his professors, and to stand proud.

Learn more about this inspirational story here: