On Monday, the UC Regents meeting took place on four different campuses — UC Merced, UCLA, UCSF and UC Davis.
The regents gave students a chance to speak and share their opinions, and public comment was even extended for an extra half hour, which was good. However, this was followed by a decision to raise the salaries of multiple UC vice chancellors and UC lawyers. This was completely inappropriate given the theme of the students’ discussion.
Furthermore, the four-way teleconference was confusing and seemed unnecessary. The regents should not be afraid of students and they should have held the meeting at one location in order to make it more efficient. Protesters at all four campuses showed no suggestion of violence, and the regents should acknowledge this and take it into account when planning the next meeting. As people who make extraordinarily important decisions about the UC system, they should trust UC students.
Regents should create more opportunities for students to voice their concerns similar to the open comment session at Monday’s meeting. For example, we would love to see regents hold open office hours on campus, as was suggested at the meeting.
Overall, the extension of the public comment session was a partial success. Students had a chance to voice their opinions. Because students on multiple campuses took over the large conference rooms to have their own meetings, regents were forced to move to different rooms in order to continue the agenda. This interruption made the meeting less efficient and meant that the audience was not aware of significant votes, such as the vote to raise salaries.
Regents should work hard before the next meeting to understand what the students are saying, and make their decisions reflect these opinions.
Chair of the UC Regents Sherry Lansing suggested that students and regents work together to ask the legislature for more money for higher education, which seems to be a step in the right direction. Both students and regents agree that higher education needs more state funding.
Regents need to make more of an effort to work with students in order to make their actions more effective.