As UC Regents Meet in Riverside, All Eyes Are on Gov. Brown’s Ballot Initiative

Tim Fucci

A.S. Beat Reporter

The University of California Regents will hold a series of meetings this week at the University of California Riverside campus to discuss budgeting and Gov. Jerry Brown’s newly unveiled statewide ballot initiative to raise taxes for public education.

“The budget remains a very important part, it’s the most crucial piece of what’s going on at the University of California nowadays,” said UC Student Regent Alfredo Mireles, Jr. “Because of years of budget cuts by the state government, budget continues to be the main issue in the governor’s proposal for the University of California and it’s going to be the main issue for the Regents’ meeting.”

A briefing from UC Vice President of Government Affairs Pat Lenz will detail Brown’s ballot proposal to the Regents and its affect on the University of California. If approved by voters, the initiative would implement a sales-tax hike and increase income taxes one to two percent for individuals making $250,000 or more. The tax increase is estimated to bring in $6.8 billion to the state and would fund money to public schools and pay counties to house more inmates in local jails rather than state prisons.

Brown’s proposal comes as the state faces a multi-billion dollar deficit that triggered massive budget cuts to the state’s public education system and increased UC student tuition.

In a memo from the Office of the UC President to the Regents’ finance committee, UC administration was cautious not to dub the initiative as the end-all to the university’s financial shortcomings.

“However, it is very welcome news that the Governor supports the concept and will argue to have it included in the final budget agreement,” stated the memo.

In recent years, UC Regents meetings have become the focal point of student frustration over tuition increases and a general disconnect between Regents and students. Large staged protests against UC administration are now a commonality at Regent gatherings.

The University of California, Santa Barbara will be bussing a student delegation to Riverside on Thursday to partake in the meeting’s open forum and rally with other students. UCSB Associated Students Vice President of Statewide Affairs Ahmed Mostafa will speak at the meeting and said the delegation plans to partake in a protest that will emphasize the main points students want the Regents to address.

“We want to know that they care because I think they do care, but obviously they are not sending an image that they do,” said Mostafa. “Obviously there are people who think they don’t care, so there’s a problem there.”

Mostafa said the UCSB delegation would like to see a written statement by the Regents in support of Gov. Brown’s ballot initiative and Mostafa hopes that the Regents will be more vocal in securing funding for the University.

According to Mireles, the Regents have been taking steps to better the relationship between the Board of Regents and UC students, primarily with the recent appointment of Sherry Lansing as the Chairman of the Board.

“She has agreed to come and meet with students on every campus as well as wants to work with students to have a joint rally in Sacramento to get more funding for the UC,” Mireles said. “I really feel that she’s sincerely trying to reach out to students.

Mireles went on to say that pressing the state for funding for the University of California could unite Regents, students and faculty alike.

“I think there are very few people that are a part of the UC family that don’t believe we need more money from the state government,” said Mireles. “And consequently, I think Chairman Lansing believes on that issue, and other issues, there are some things student and regents can work together on.”


  1. Nobody’s perfect, but some higher education chancellors are much less perfect as stewards of public funds than others. University of California Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau ($450,000 salary) has forgotten he is a steward of public money, not overseer of his own fiefdom.

    UC Chancellor Birgeneau does not have a grip on financial realities. Trust the evidence.
    Pays ex Michigan governor $300,000 for lectures
    Tuition increases exceed national average rate of increase.
    University accrues $150 million of inefficiencies over his 8 year reign
    Recruits (using California tax $) foreign students who pay $50,600 and displace qualified Californians.
    Spends $7,000,000 + for consultants to do the work of senior Cal. management.
    (Prominent East Coast University accomplishes same 0 cost).
    In procuring $3,000,000 consultants failed to receive proposals from other firms.
    Latino enrollment drops out of state jump 2010(Krupnick Contra Costa Times).
    Best in nation rank: # 70 Forbes.
    Academic rank: QS academic falls below top ten.
    Tuition to Return on Investment drops below top10.
    Cal now is most expensive public university.
    NCAA: absence senior management oversight, basketball program on probation.
    Birgeneau’s Organizational Effectiveness (OE): tuition doubles

    It’s all shameful. There is no justification for such irregularities by a steward of the public trust. If UC chancellors don’t understand financial stewardship they have no business in a public office.

    Chancellor Birgeneau’s self-indulgent practices continue onto violence against students protesting increases in tuition. University of California Board of Regents Chair Sherry Lansing must vigorously enforce oversight of Birgeneau. Only then will confidence of Alumni, donors, legislators, Californians return.

    (My agenda is transparency. I have 35 years’ consulting experience; have taught at UC Berkeley, where I observed the culture & the way senior management works. No, I was not fired or downsized & have not solicited contracts from UC/Cal).

    Yours is the opinion that can make the difference, email UC Board of Regents

  2. Brown is blackmailing Californians. Why does Brown always pick-on the most vulnerable, the pubic services and education? He should close commercial and corporate tax loopholes, introduce an oil extraction tax, an oil corporation, windfall-profits tax and trim the service-debt interest paid to Wall Street. These taxes have to be rolled-back. These budget cuts will prolong the recession.