In his opening remarks to the Board of Regents, University of California President Mark Yudof pledged his support for Governor Jerry Brown’s tax initiative on the November ballot.
“In my view, it represents the best opportunity I’ve seen in my four years in California for the state to clamber out of a sinkhole of fiscal uncertainty and move forward into a better, more prosperous future,” Yudof said.
Later, during a press conference, Yudof answered questions about his decision.
“I took a stance today as an individual, personally, and I said that in the future I would recommend that the board do so,” said Yudof. “I’m for it, and I’m going to recommend it to the board.”
At this time, recommending supporting the tax initiative is as far as Yudof can go in deciding the Board of Regents’ position on the initiative.
“Basically, the students are paying more than the state of California and that’s not fair,” said Yudof. “Give the student some relief after years and years of increase. I think that would be marvelous.”
If the tax initiative does not pass, the University of California will be faced with a $200 million reduction in January of 2013. According to Yudof, that would mean significant mid-year tuition increases, unless another way to assist the UC becomes available.
Yudof refrained from speculating about how much of a mid-year tuition increase UC would be looking at should the tax initiative not pass, and instead wants to focus on getting the tax initiative passed.
“Let’s win this one and not speculate about it [the failure of the initiative to pass],” said Yudof. “I mean it would be bad for students, bad for the University, bad for the faculty, bad for families and the parents.”
Yudof then commended students, and asked for their support and work to get the tax initiative to pass.
“Let’s just work hard and get this done, and come together and do it and hope we don’t have to face that.”
He also remained supportive of the Middle Class Scholarship program and a proposal by a UC Riverside student to make the fees paid to UC dependent on the amount of money made by graduates.
It needs refinement, he said, but thought there was enough of an idea there that he thought is innovative and could work, though it would require federal legislation to get it done.
Yudof remains optimistic about the UC budget and the tax initiative.
“I’m an eternal optimist,” he said. “You can’t hold my job without being optimistic.”