AS Beat Reporter
A presentation by UC Student Regents on the future financial vitality of the UC system as well as a discussion over policy on member resignation and the typical debate surrounding business items dominated the Oct. 12 Associated Students Legislative Council dialogue.
UC Student Regent Alfedo Mireles and UC Student Regent Designate Jonathan Stein addressed the leg council for nearly two hours with a presentation about UC finances and grim projections for the future of the UC budget.
According to Mireles and Stein, UC is facing a $2.4 billion budget deficit by 2015. They accounted this for a myriad of reasons including enrollment growth and a decrease in per student spending by the state over the last two decades.
“Today, the state spends $7210 dollars per student. Two decades ago they used to pay double that,” said Mireles. “If people tell you the UC budget crisis is a byproduct of economic recession, they’re wrong. It’s a byproduct of long-term, multi-decade divestment by the state government.”
A worst-case scenario, according to the student regents, is that students could face a 16 percent tuition increase to counteract the massive deficit, averaging out to $22000 dollars in yearly tuition for in-state students.
Mireles and Stein discussed alternative ideas the UC Regents have generated to address the budget deficit, though these suggestions, according to Mireles and Stein, were problematic and farsighted.
Reccomended fallbacks included reducing the quality of education by raising the number of students per classroom or reducing staff services.
One suggestion fostered and enacted by the regents is to raise enrollment of out-of-state residents.
“Berkeley has begun doing this,” said Stein. “Davis has announced it will be enrolling 5000 new out-of-state students. When the administration makes an announcement to increase out of state it won’t displace California residents. Most out-of-state students go to UCLA, Berkeley and UCSD. California students still have similar access to UC, but it will be different for different campuses. It may benefit some campuses but not all.”
Out-of-state students attending UC pay nearly $40,000 dollars more in tuition than in-state residents and this money can be retained by the campus. However, members of the legislative council raised concern over increasing out-of-state enrollment as a way to neutralize the budget deficit.
“Non-resident enrollment is highly problematic. I would like to say that non-resident enrollment, what it really means, is folks from out-of-state who can afford it,” said Off-Campus Representative Sophia Armen. “It creates a hierarchy. The Master Plan is still there. It meant low-income students going to college.”
The presentation was finalized with Mireles and Stein calling for student mobilization to be more visible to the UC Board of Regents and to fight to sustain the quality and affordability of UC.
The leg council also discussed policy on handling the recent resignations of members of the council. Dina Varshavsky, AS attorney general, offered her advice to legislative council on the proper protocol to recognize resignation.
“Resignations that have happened thus far this year have not been recognized so its up to your council to decide how you want to handle resignation,” said Varshavsky “My personal recommendation would be not to accept just a verbal message to the Internal Vice President.”
With that, the council voted to approve resignations done through written, electronic or verbal announcement. Representatives Marlene Moreno, Danielle Stevens and Reena Fram were officially removed from the legislative council. Two members of the council have indicated intention to resign but these resignations have not yet been officially recognized by the council.
Other business addressed by leg council included the acceptance of minutes for 23 meetings by 14 different Boards, Commissions and Committees.
The council also approved the appointment of 10 students to five different positions within AS committees.
Seven bills were brought forth to the council for approval, three were adopted and four were tabled until next week’s meeting. Most notable of the approved was a bill to restructure the Office of the Executive Vice President of Statewide Affairs, saving AS $600 dollars in honoraria.
The meeting was adjourned at 12:39 a.m. after seven and one-half hours.