A coalition of elected officials, students, workers, and community members announced a new campaign on Wednesday, Nov. 6, that is dedicated to reforming the University of California at a press conference in Sacramento.
This group, known as “Take Back UC,” has set their goal on refocusing the university system back to its original plan of providing education and patient care, serving as an engine for economic growth, and conducting ground-breaking research.
According to the official website for the organization, “the UC has been a path to the middle class for millions of Californians who were able to gain world-class education regardless of their family’s economic status.
Many graduates from the UCs have gone on to shape society for the better and transform California into one of the largest economies worldwide. However, in today’s generation, tuition has more than tripled since 2002 and many do not apply because it is too expensive.
According to a study done by the Public Policy Institute of California, the University of California is on track to become the most expensive university system in the United States within the next five years. Those who are willing to take on the financial burden find themselves swamped in debt when they graduate. In addition, the economy had been down, thus making it harder for students to pay off their loans.
Although UC hospitals generate millions in profit annually, many of these resources have not been invested into patient care. Rather, the profit has been used to pay for higher salaries and top-notch retirement plans for top executives, according to the University of California Annual Wage website within University of California Office of the President.
Despite the quality care that the medical centers provide already, there have been complaints. According to the Sacramento Bee, in 2012, a federal investigation found that UC Davis Medical Center “lacks the capacity to render adequate care to patients.” Due to lack of funding, patient care has been deteriorating lately, making those in need suffer and pay the price.
Furthermore, Take Back UC wants to fix the misguided financial priorities. UC schools were meant to be a public benefit and are provided with about $3 billion annually in funding. However, the University of California has been shifting toward becoming a more for-profit enterprise, in that it cuts corners on academic and health care spending while increasing salaries and benefits of top administrators.
According to SFGate, current UC executives receive pension payouts as high as $5.3 million individually. In 2010, 36 UC executives threatened to sue the UC regents if they were not given annual pensions of about $800,000 per year.
Take Back UC is an organization dedicated to gearing the UC system more toward the students and workers rather than the executives. There is currently a petition to support fair pension reform at UC and another to support safe staffing by the UC.
For more information, check out their website at www.takebacktheuc.com.