Recap of UC Board of Regents January meeting

Screenshot from live stream.

Regents vote to defer vote on tuition hike

From Jan. 24 to 25, the UC Board of Regents met for its bi-monthly meeting at UC San Francisco. Among the most anticipated topics discussed was the proposed undergraduate tuition increase.

The meeting began with an open forum. Most of the speakers present urged the regents to vote against tuition hikes.

Varsha Sarveshwar, the Fund the UC campaign manager at the Associated Students of the University of California, was one of the speakers. Sarveshwar criticized regents for holding this meeting on a Wednesday morning as well as on the second week of Winter Quarter for UC Davis, UC San Francisco and UC Berkeley, where, in many classes, if students are absent in the first two weeks, they are dropped from courses.

“Holding this vote today puts students last,” Sarveshwar said at the meeting. “It shows you are not willing to work with students as equal partners and making sure that the state gives us the money that we need.”

On Jan. 24, the following committees were heard from: public engagement and development, compliance and audit, governance and compensation, academic and student affairs, national laboratories subcommittee, finance and capital strategies, finance and capital strategies and special meeting of the board.

President Janet Napolitano welcomed regents to the first meeting of 2018. Napolitano said that regents need to work with the state to attain necessary funds to keep tuition costs the same.

“I would like to begin by saying how important it is to maintain direct communication with the leaders of the State Assembly and the Senate as well as with the Governor’s office,” Napolitano said at the meeting. “As we strive to secure the funding needed to maintain access and quality and to ensure students’ success we must also strengthen our working relationship with state leaders.”

Interim Associate Vice President Chris Harrington updated regents on federal issues including the budget of fiscal year 2018, legislative efforts to protect DACA recipients and changes to tax laws.

The Governance and Compensation Committee met next. Chair George Kieffer spoke about proposed policy and bylaw changes. The proposed changes are in response to a recent University of California audit. Kieffer went through each policy and bylaw amendment. The first would require that university employees do not obstruct or interfere with the protected disclosures of any audit.

“During a state audit of the Office of the President, the Chief Compliance and Audit Officer is going to report directly to the board through the chair of the Compliance and Audit committee,” Kieffer said.

Finally, the Special Meeting of the Board convened to discuss the proposed tuition increase tuition.

“I think the board would be better advised to defer voting on this item until its May meeting, with the proviso that the portion of the item related to out-of-state tuition may be brought [up] at the March meeting,” Napolitano said.

Napolitano and other regents said they hope the State of California allots more funding for the UC.

“The Office of the Presidents will work with campuses to identify and possibly mitigate any specific needs they may have due to the delay,” Napolitano said. “But I think we need to show that we have done everything possible here. We should accept the invitations of the students with us here this morning to fight together for funding for the University of California.”

The regents voted to defer the vote until May.

The board reconvened on Jan. 25. The meeting began with the 25 speakers that had signed to address the regents and voice their concerns. Concerns included low average salaries for faculty at UC Santa Cruz, the need for labor unions within the UC system, graduate student housing, protection for DACA students and better working accommodations for nurses across the UCs.

First, Judith Gutierrez, a fourth-year political science major at UC Santa Cruz and the President of the UC Student Association, spoke out against tuition increases and lack of transparency.

The Board then moved on to committee reports.

Before giving the National Laboratories Subcommittee report, Regent William De La Peña made an announcement about Regent Norman Pattiz’s contribution to the Board of Regents.

Regent Norman Pattiz will retire effective Feb. 2018 following a year of pressure from student organizations over sexual assault allegations.

“I had the privilege of working with Norm as the vice-chair of this committee for 11 years so I got to know him quite well,” De La Peña said. “We were very, very fortunate to have [Pattiz] as a chair.”

De La Peña made no reference to the sexual assault allegations.

Napolitano recognized awards, achievements and research advancements made by the UC affiliates in the last year.

The meeting closed with the resolution to accept the resignations of Regent William De La Peña, Regent Norman Pattiz and Regent Bruce Varner. Pattiz was not present at his last meeting as a regent.

 

Written by: Ally Russell — campus@theaggie.org

 

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article misspelled Sarveshwar’s name. The article has been updated to reflect this change. 

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