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Friday, April 12, 2024

UC Regents discuss state funding, new revenue options

Edits: KZ BP

Headline: UC Regents discuss state funding, new revenue options
Layercake: Student protesters interrupt meeting

On Wednesday and Thursday of last week, the UC Regents met for their January meeting at UC Riverside.

The regents, who meet six times a year, discussed new revenue ideas for the UC system along with the issue of increasing state funding.

“Believe me, this board is working diligently to find alternative funding strategies and creative solutions to this budget crisis,” said Chair Sherry Lansing.

Thursday’s meeting was interrupted by 15 UC Occupy protesters, who began to chant during the meeting.

Hundreds of students also gathered outside of the meeting in protest of tuition hikes. Two students were arrested.

Reports of police brutality outside the meeting alleged that police used batons and rubber bullets.

Student protests at the regents meeting come in the wake of the last regents meeting, at which students on four different campuses interrupted the meeting in protest.

“The meeting was both informed and disrupted by protesters. There was some productive protesting and public comments made, but there was also a group of students that occupied the meeting and shut it down,” said UC student Regent Alfredo Mireles.

“Also, the regents and UC Office of the President staff were trapped inside the building the meeting was held in at Riverside — and in a few cases inside cars — for several hours. The situation was extremely tense.”

While tuition hikes were not discussed at the meeting, many students came out to tell the regents how they felt about the potential of future tuition hikes.

“Tuition has doubled over the past five years. This will continue unless we see real leadership for a long-term plan to increase state revenues to fund education.  Students believe that the elimination of corporate loopholes within Prop 13 must be urgently addressed.  Everyone should pay their fair share,” said UC Student Association President Claudia Magaña in a press release.

In 2011, the state cut $750 million in funding to the UC system.

The regents discussed Gov. Brown’s 2012-13 budget proposal and how it would affect the UC. A plan for a stable funding model from the state is being developed, however it will be dependent upon Brown’s tax initiatives passing in November.

The regents also discussed increasing revenue from UC inventions. They are looking toward supporting new technology created on UC campuses and increase the rate at which inventions become economic successes.

“The people who work in research do extraordinary things that often lead to new businesses and can lead to tremendous sources of revenue if we own a certain percentage of the discovery,” Lansing said.

Chair Lansing also announced that the next regents meeting would be held in Sacramento on May 16 and 17, and there will be a rally for state funding on May 17. Students are encouraged to attend.

“If the state cuts the UC again the regents will be fine. They are all fortunate people that will not be personally affected. Many students are not as fortunate. Students are going to be the ones that will have to see tuition rise and have services cut if we don’t get more money from the state,” Mireles said.

HANNAH STRUMWASSER can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.


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