Cutting from the future

The budget deal between Gov. Jerry Brown and state Democrats exemplifies the danger of political paralysis. Sacramento is tied down by petty partisanship that prevented Brown from pursuing tax extensions which could have shaped the budget differently. The result is tragic for all Californians: the University of California now faces a bare-minimum cut of $650 million, $150 million more than originally expected.

Unfortunately, Brown signed the deal last Wednesday, making the increased cuts a reality. Students’ efforts must now be directed toward minimizing the negative consequences of the budget, which relies heavily on spending reductions and $4 billion in revenue projections that may or may not materialize. Patrick Lenz, the vice president for budget and capital resources for the UC Office of the President, told The Daily Californian Friday that the university could face an additional $100 million in cuts should the projections fall short.

Let this be clear: as students and as a state, we cannot afford nor can we tolerate more cuts of this magnitude. Unfortunately, Brown’s effort to avoid drastic cuts failed when he was unable to get a proposed tax extension on a June ballot that would have extended the increases in income taxes, sales taxes and vehicle license fees enacted in February 2009. We are out of time — these extensions must be revisited and ultimately approved if the university is to maintain its level of excellence. Should the funds not come through, the state will face an even heavier economic burden in terms of lost entrepreneurial pursuits and the gradual evaporation of research because the university will be financially out-of-reach for many Californians.

Despite having made the case time and time again, advocates for public higher education have been ignored by state leaders, and advocates on campus have not had the kind of public leader they need. Now more than ever, we call on ASUC External Affairs Vice President Joey Freeman to inject himself more thoroughly into the debate and to provide necessary student leadership. The letter he and other student leaders across the UC system signed was a start, but that action should be only the first step that he takes during this time of crisis.

Freeman’s role necessitates his acting as the public face for our campus to all external bodies, and he must consider the students of the campus as his top priority. We call on him to mobilize student efforts and synthesize their ideas into a coherent and purposeful message ahead of the July UC Board of Regents meeting but are discouraged by his track record thus far.

Freeman’s absence from the state hinders his ability to serve as EAVP, but regardless, he must find a way to overcome the distance between California and Washington, D.C., and work for the student population he serves. But the job is not Freeman’s alone. The entire ASUC must begin working with other student governments and the regents to mitigate the effects of both the tuition increase and possible future cuts.

At the regents’ meeting in July, UC President Mark Yudof will propose a 9.6 percent tuition increase as a result of the budget cut. It is crucial that students have a voice in how the increase is implemented, particularly since it is such a rushed proposal. This is where our campus leaders — the ASUC — must step up.

Though we are calling on ASUC officials to become more involved, we also hope average students realize their needed input. While recent efforts at protest have proved ineffective and disappointing, we hope that any efforts to express public anger is channeled at our state officials, not the regents. Tuition increases are a result of state disinvestment, and students must remember that.

As the university looks to out-of-state and international students as a growing source of funding, state support continues to decline because legislators fail to prioritize higher education. The students of this university must speak out. Our student officials must provide the leadership their roles dictate. Students must have a seat at the table when implementing the cuts to our university. And state legislators must prioritize maintaining public access through affordability to the university or else risk compromising the UC’s status as the premier public university.

In a statement of disappointment regarding the budget, the UC Office of the President wrote “we cannot stand silent.” It is time students unite and make it known: we will not stand silent.

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  • http://profiles.google.com/flylooper Robert Burns

    What a sad state of affairs California has come to find itself in.

    The jewel in the crown of the state’s education system, its high quality, low cost universities, is about to be no more.  The  system put into place by visionaries a hundred years ago, rooted in the idea of a free education from kindergarten through college has now devolved into a new dark age where, once again, only the well heeled can attend California’s colleges.

    I am personally heartbroken, frankly.  For me, it’s not about money, in the end. It’s really about political will.

    My son graduated from Berkeley and is probably among the last of the classes which left UC with a manageable debt to repay. What are we to do with talented students who deserve the best education and who can contribute to the state’s pool of labor which has traditionally made California the envy of the world? There will be thousands who will never reach their potential, many of whom will never be high tax paying assets to the state’s economy.

    No civilization in history has cut its way to prosperity.

    • Guest

      “No civilization in history has cut its way to prosperity.”
      But quite a few have spent themselves into insolvency.

  • Anonymous

    Keep voting for Libs and watch Cali slide deeper down the sheeter.  Moonbeam and his cast of clueless Libs in Sacto need to get with a probusiness, jobs and income growth policy instead of  “tax extensions”.  If they don’t,  it’s bye bye Cali.

  • Guest

    Lets look at the budget as a fixed pie rather than some high level expense to aspire to. Given that, then the issues come down to allocation decisions, with the key allocation decision being do we want to continue down the path of the last 20 years and allow our selves to become a nanny state (and its associated socialist issues and ills), or do we want to return to what drove California and the US to greatness, and that is state driven by investments? Investments in, yes, education, but also in infrastructure, focused tax relief for important and high value business investments.

    Social welfare by itself is a road to ruin, but social welfare as an adjunct to a high performing society is the highest form of greatness. Lets not put the cart before the horse, else we will be going backwards (or continuing the backward trends we are now on).

  • Anonymous

    University of California Berkeley wage concessions gain momentum. 

    University
    of California faces
    massive budget shortfalls. It is dismaying Calif. Governor Brown. President
    Yudof and Board of Regents have, once again, been unable to agree on a package
    of wage, benefit concessions to close the deficit. 

    Californians face foreclosure, unemployment, depressed
    wages, loss of retirement, medical, unemployment benefits, higher taxes: UC
    Board of Regents Regent Lansing, President Yudof need to demonstrated
    leadership by curbing wages, benefits. As a Californian, I don’t care what
    others earn at private, public universities. If wages better elsewhere,
    chancellors, vice chancellors, tenured, non tenured faculty, UCOP should apply
    for the positions. If wages commit employees to UC, leave for better paying position.
    The sky above UC will not fall.  

    Californians suffer from greatest deficit of modern times. UC
    wages must reflect California’s
    ability to pay, not what others are paid. Campus chancellors, tenured &
    non-tenured faculty, UCOP are replaceable by more talented academics

    Wage concessions for UC President, Faculty,
    Chancellors, Vice Chancellors, UCOP:

    No furloughs   

    18 percent reduction in UCOP salaries & $50
    million cut.

    18 percent prune of campus chancellors’, vice chancellors’ salaries.

    15 percent trim of tenured faculty salaries, increased teaching load

    10 percent decrease in non-tenured faculty salaries, as well as increase research,
    teaching load

    100%
    elimination of all Academic Senate, Academic Council costs, wages.

     

    (17,000
    UC paid employees earn more than $100,000)

     

    Overly
    optimistic predictions of future revenues do not solve the deficit.  However, rose bushes bloom after pruning.

     

    UC Board of Regents Sherry Lansing, President Yudof can bridge
    the public trust gap by offering reassurances that UC salaries reflect depressed
    wages in California.
    The sky will not fall on UC

     

    Californians are reasonable people. Levy no new taxes until
    an approved balanced budget: let the Governor/Legislature lead – make the
    tough-minded (not cold hearted) decisions of elected leadership. Afterwards
    come to public for continuing, specified
    taxes.

     

    Once
    again, we call upon UC President, Chancellors, Vice Chancellors, Faculty, UCOP
    to stand up for California
    and ‘pitch in’ for Californians with wage concessions.

  • http://www.infowars.com Infowars.com wake up!

    “It is crucial that students have a voice in how the increase is implemented” can they also have a voice on your pay increases and pensions?