Workers, Students Protest Regents Meeting

    Andrew Oh/UCSD Guardian

    The UC Board of Regents faced UCSD protesters during the final day of the meeting held at the Price Center West Ballroom on Jan. 20.

    “We, as regents, need to assume that we are not going to get the $500 million. The stakeholders need to know — whether it is the faculty, the students or employees — they need to know their livelihoods are at risk,” Regent Frederick Ruiz said.

    About 150 UC students and workers gathered at Price Center at 9 a.m. on Thursday, according to AFSCME Local 3299 Lead Organizer Matias Marin.

    “It was a very peaceful protest,” Marin said.

    The protest lasted about two hours, during which the group circled Price Center and then remained for the public input portion of the regent’s meeting.

    “We are concerned with UC executives not prioritizing students and workers.” Marin said. “They are prioritizing those that already make a lot of money. We want to make sure the taxpayers are not getting the bill for workers’ retirement.”

    The series of meetings is the first held by the UC Regents since Gov. Jerry Brown proposed a $500-million dollar UC budget cut due to the state’s $26-billion dollar defect. This would be a 16.4-percent budget cut for the UC system and a 15.8-percent reduction for state public higher education overall.

    Andrew Oh/UCSD Guardian

    “I feel like a passenger on the Titanic being told by the captain how long it will take before the boat sinks,” Regent Rex Hime said at Thursday’s meeting.

    This drastic budget cut, along with the existing $1 billion budget gap, has created a dire outlook for the UC system.

    Several resolutions were passed during the meeting, including a new policy that will ensure that all applicants to UCSD and UC Irvine will be reviewed on an individual basis and evaluated based on their accomplishments in the context of opportunity.

    UC students will now, for the first time, invest more money in the university’s operating budget than will the state itself due to fee increases, more of which are likely for the near future as well. Cuts in student services, majors, classes and even decreases in financial aid are also being considered, according to UCOP spokesperson
    Steve Montiel.

    Although privatizing the university has been in discussion, Montiel said it is not a feasible option.

    “President Yudof doesn’t want to sacrifice quality,” Montiel said.

    The creation of an online campus similar to the University of Phoenix is also in the preliminary stages but further details on the project are not yet available.

    President Mark G. Yudof is providing UC chancellors with six weeks to decide on ways to cut costs on UC campuses. UC chancellors will reconvene in March 2011 to determine where cuts will be made.

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