January Regent Meeting Day 1

4PM – Alright, we’re in closed session – I can’t keep typing or I’ll be thrown in jail!  I’ll see you you all tomorrow at 8:30AM for more Regental Action!
3PM – Sorry I disappeared everybody – I had a series of little meetings and, also had lunch with the Regents.  Talks with City on a Hill Press (shoutout) We’ve gone into closed session – but what I missed with the sub-report about both the research enterprise and the private support the UC funds.
So!  I’d like to a quick summary of both Research Enterprise and Private Support!

Research Enterprise
Research accounts for 25% of the UC budget – around 4.9 billion dollars.  3.9 is direct support, .7 billion is indirect cost recovery, .3billion is unreimbursed costs.  The main thing here is that indirect cost recovery, which is the payment we get back from spending overhead on our research.  We’re not recovering all the money from research which we could – it’s a big deal cuz we’re losing a lot of money we deserve that our peers in other institutions are getting.  It should be noted that the Research rankings of the Research Enterprise usually prioritize Hard Sciences over Humanities and Social Sciences. The UC ranks highly as a research university according the Shanghai Jiao Tong University.  The Research Enterprise also is a huge economic driver in the state – private industries sponsor a little bit than 2.5b of research, and the UC innovations create over 50 tech startups.

Private Support

the UC has raised over 1billion dollars for the ninth straight year, making it the second-highest funding year for the university in terms of private support.  the majority of this private support is restricted to specific projects – only 2% are unrestricted.  endowed chairs and partnerships are among the fastest growing projects – interestingly enough for UCLA, the ethnic studies chairs and professorships are the ones that are growing (disclaimer: I’m an asian american studies major).  Interestingly enough, the largest amounts of private support go to departmental support, and research – much less so for student support (around 7%) and instruction (around 2%). Private support has become much more important as the state support has declined, altho, the policy of private support deliberately said that private support must complement the State funding, and not replace it.

11:40 Crazy updates on Gov’s budget really intersting stuff.  I had to stop and take notes before writing to the blog, because the stuff was so dense.

1) the 53.5million dollars for the enrollment increase is a budget headfake, and has a lot of regents upset about the budget.  it’s because 1) that number was already promised to us in a previous higher education compact, so that’s not really new funding that wasn’t already promised 2) because the money’s not really for enrollment funding, it’s for the UC in general, they jsut call it enrollment funding because it’s politically attractive.

2) The UC regents are totally willing to collaborate and more than happy to work with students and UCSA up in Sacramento.

3) The CalGrants are dependent on Federal Funding – which means they are not promised at full fudning, this is an issue.

4) there is no funding for UCRP (Regent Gould is particularly passionate about this one) from the State, meaning that the UC is going to have to pay for the contributions because the State has not held up their end of the bargain.

5) There is disagreement between the Regents and the Students on AB656 – the students think the extra funding is an important thing for the UC – and the Regents think that AB656 is not carefully crafted and has various implications for UC funding.

10:50AM – Regent Varner asks that we should start create alternative plans for when we might not get the money that is state in the Gov’s budget, after it goes through the state legislature.  Then Regent Island questions whether if we actually decrease the number of students unfunded in the system will save us any money – is pushing for student enrollment hurting us??  VP Lenz says that the state wants to hear about enrollment growth funding, and it’s how we get money from the state.

More problems to come: The State of  California has not paid into the UC Retirement Plan – not fulfilling their obligation, and making the UC itself pay for it – through our operating budget.  That means our fee increases, or class cuts, or etc.etc. just because the state refuses to pony up to it’s obligation to our employees.

10:50AM Victor Sanchez, UCSA President speaks to the UC regents.  He talks about how students are still committed to March as the statewide month of advocacy – the March for Higher Education.

There are five platforms in March: 1) 1billion dollars for UC in the future, as well as a fee rollback along with the 1billion 2) AB656 passage, oil severance tax that would bring 1billion dollars to higher education 3) Reinvigoration of the Master Plan, including diversity and equality 4) CalGrant preservation – fully funding the CalGrant, including the competitive grant 5) shift of money from prisions to higher education, under comprehensive prision reform (not privitatization of prisons, which “don’t sit well with students at this point” says Sanchez).  Victor ends with the note that students and UC admin should work together, “our hand is extended.”

10:40AM – Dan Dooley now talking about advocacy efforts (find it at ucforcalifornia.org).  Yudof’s youtube message, getting their people to send emails to the governor thanking him for treating us relatively well in the last budget.  Advocacy requests to 250 people in the grasstops and the legislators.  Dan Dooley talks about Local “SWAT” teams on each campus to build a local and personal advocacy efforts for Sacramento and legislators.  Problematic term, lol “SWAT”, I think he’s trying to sound cool. But local advocacy teams of faculty, staff, students, and workers I think are good moves, and  I think it’s important to represent UC as a whole.

10:20AM – More problems: if the gov’s budget goes through well, then we’re still way down by 237.1m dollars compared to our 07-08 budget levels, and will have to take it out of  campus cuts. Also, Health and Human Services and Transportation took huge hits this year in the budget – sometimes because the UC was treated relatively well in this budget system (relatively well meaning we didn’t get cut).

BIG NEWS FLASH: Also, the full funding for Calgrants is dependent on federal dollars that Gov is asking (around 6.9b), which is unlikely he will recieve all or possibly any of that request.  this puts Calgrant at a really tight spot unless we get the CalGrants into the actual State budget, and not just the Federal budget ask.  Damn.

10:20PM this is the problem – the enrollment funding of 53.5m for students, meaning that an increase in enrollment for UC Students, is dependent on the federal government funding the state 7 billion dollars. This makes it hard for the UC to make a decision on enrollment – we can’t say we’re taking on new students if we don’t know if we’re actually going to get their funding.  Shoot.

10:15AM – Nathan, Dan, and Patrick of UCOP talk about the Gov’s budget and how it affects the UC.  The Gov faces 19.9 billion dollar deficit – he wants to make this work with 8.5b in reductions, 6.9 dollars from the fed, and 3.9b in alternative funding sources.  The deficit comes from revenue decline, litigation the state is facing, failed budget solutions that were proposed last year, and population growth from this year.  big one is the litigation the state is facing from taking budget solutions that were not necessary legal.  The UC got 305m from the one-time reduction end, 53.5m to fund student enrollment growth, 5m to help UC merced grow, and 14.1m to healthcare. Overfall fund increase: 370million dollars.

9:30AM – Realization: Sherry Lansing also chairs the Entertainment Association, was also the CEO of Paramount, and also a Regent of the UC.  Damn.

9:25AM – For the first time ever, the UC Regents meeting are ahead of schedule.  UCLA’s strategic plan is now up in front of the committee o education policy.  UCLA Chancellor Block talks up his campus – Avg. GPA of 4.24 – 32% are first generation. – number one  in economic diversity according to US News and World Report.   More bragging – they are the largest UC campuses, one of the 10 coolest campuses by Sierra Club (supergreen), they have the most NCAA titles in the nation (104 titles).  Coach John Wooden has been named Most Amazing Coach ever by US News. One of the more significant things that Chancellor Block talked about – faculty diversity will be hurt by budget cuts. Because he can only do 25 campus hires this year, he won’t have the opportunity to bring up the number of underrep minorities in the academy.

9:15AM – Superintendent O’Donnel talks about how CA applied for the Race to the Top funding from the federal government – almost 700m dollar federal grant of – the final disposition of giving the funding is in June.  Thanks the UC and Mark Yudof for the research comp and the letter of support.  Academic Senate Chair Powell talks about how the faculty have worked across the three segments of CA higher education to advocate for more higher education funding, and how CA will be a million educated people short of what the job market will need.

9:15AM – Yudof talks about the gov’s constitutional amendment – he doesn’t like the idea of locking up funds, but he didn’t make the rules, he just plays by them.  He wants stable funding for the UC and is willing to make that deal.  He also talks about Advocacy – 200k advocates asking for their involvement asking for them to tell legislators to pass the gov’s budget.  Also, communication of the UC Blue and Gold plan to the students.  Also talks about the increased (and more diverse) applicant size of the UC – talking about the number of transfers.

9AM – Regent Gould talks about the Constitutional Amendment of the Gov very favorably, applauds the governor for these issues. The governor has made an amendment that would change up the higher ed funding of the budget to no less than 10%, and prison funding no more than 7%. Also talks about how the Gov has put higher ed in the legislature budget for 2010 – but talks how we have to continue advocacy.

Labor Union tactic of the week Blow up balloons in the public comment section – then toss them towards the Board of Regents.  Quiet, but totally distracting.

8:45PM – A big thing today is UC Communications talking about how we’ve publciized and advertised the student aid programs like Blue and Gold opportunity plan – how do you think the UC is doing about publicizing student aid and financial aid opportunities for students? What do you think about financial aid programs of the UC?

8:45PM – Prof. Bob Meister speaks to the Regents – 4billion dollars, he says, is needed to restore all three segments back to their funding levels of 10 years ago. he says it would be a tax increase across the state of around 32 dollars a person.

8:44PM – hey everybody, we’re back with liveblogging the January Regent meeting – Day 1!

Public comment time is actually kind of quiet today – a crowd of AFSCME and UPTE union representatives, but their message is not as aggressive today and talks about working together. So it’s an interesting dynamic this year.  President Lakeshia Harrison of ASFCME talks about wanting to work with UC Regents on an equal playing field.


2 responses to “January Regent Meeting Day 1

  1. Governor Schwarzenegger proposed an amendment to fund the UC and CSU system by at least 10% of the budget.

    This amendment carries several opportunities and several drawbacks and somehow I’m a little skeptical of the amendment of several reasons.

    First of all these 10% percent could be the standard funding of the systems and even as it says at least 10% this could lead to that the assembly in theory could pass a budget with higher funding for the UC and CSU system it could be an excuse to always fund the systems with 10% flat. On the flip side of it would be an improvement of the current situation where the systems are funded well fewer than 10% of the state budget.

    Secondly it doesn’t address the fundamental fact that the California’s economy is highly unstable due to prop 13 and that the state must pass a balanced budget. The universities still have to get external funding to be prepared in case of a bad year in the Californian economy. By binding the budget to 10% it might ironically work against its purpose of making the system more stable because it would be more tied to the Californian economy and when the economy goes down the funding of the University goes down with it. And what is even worse is that the systems could be funded well, maybe put to 15 percent in good times, but be cut down to 10% of a worse budget in bad times and thus make it even more tied to the economy of the state. To counter this we must address the deeper problem of the California system and make the economy more stable.

    Thirdly you bind up the budget, and make the state less flexible. Yes on the one hand a bad economy could not be an excuse to cut the system more than necessary, but it might be that this flexibility might be needed in bad times whether you like it or not. By passing an amendment that ties one tenth of the economy then could be a bad idea.

    Personally I think what needs to be done is to give the universities the possibility of long term planning by giving them a more flat amount of money that might go up a little each year, but roughly stays the same both in bad times and good times and not bind it to a percentage of the state economy.

    About the part of a constitutional amendment I not sure, on the one hand such an amendment could do that the universities are not cut too much in bad times, but in really bad times it might work against its purpose by binding such an amount to the universities.

    At the other side 10 percent of the budget is way more that the system gets now, so even though I don’t think this is the best amendment that have been propsed and that there are other options, if it should pass it would be an improvement of the current fiscal situation.

    However Mark Yudof should stop licking the govenors ass and do some critical thinking because even if it would help the system it would not bring that much more stability and there are better alternatives. Even me as an random undergraduate student that isn’t even enrolled at the UC but exchanging have done more critical thinking than him.

  2. I’m sitting next to Jessie at the Regents meeting reading his blog in order to know what to think. Thanks Jessie.
    I am concerned that UCSA’s first position asking for roll back of fees from an increase in UC’s budget may result in a legislative posture that restoration of $305 million cuts from 2009-10 (a key component of the Governor’s budget) will be conditioned on a roll-back of fees. The University cannot sustain such a reduction without drastic cuts in the educational program, which will ultimately harm students and faculty alike.

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