After months of urging students, faculty and other University of California community members to call on the state for increased support for higher education, the UC Board of Regents announced that it will relocate its meeting to Sacramento and hold a rally at the state Capitol this May.
Board Chair Sherry Lansing announced in opening remarks at Wednesday’s board meeting at UC Riverside that she and her colleagues will hold a regents’ meeting on May 16 in Sacramento, followed by a rally on May 17 alongside UC students, faculty, staff and others in order to urge legislators to curtail state divestment from public education.
“The truth is, this university was founded by and for the people of California,” Lansing said. “Unless our elected representatives start funding us at a realistic level, UC’s ability to serve the state and its citizens will be at serious risk.”
According to UC spokesperson Dianne Klein, the meeting — which was originally to be held over three days at the UCSF Mission Bay campus — will be condensed to a one-day meeting at the Sacramento Convention Center. The regents have not yet created an official list of who will be present at the rally the next day, although the majority or all of the board will most likely be there, she said.
In the past year alone, state lawmakers cut the UC’s budget by $750 million. Although the UC attempted to mitigate the cut through steep tuition increases, program cuts and by promoting cost-cutting administrative efficiencies, university leaders said these efforts are not enough to solve the UC’s budget crisis.
Furthermore, Gov. Jerry Brown announced Jan. 5 that the UC system may be in for another $200 million budget cut if voters do not approve some tax increases this November.
UC Student Regent Alfredo Mireles, Jr. and Student Regent-designate Jonathan Stein have already begun to promote student involvement with the May rally through social media, calling on Twitter followers to mark their calendars for May 17.
Joey Freeman, external affairs vice president for the ASUC — UC Berkeley’s student government body — shares similar enthusiasm.
“Student leaders have been focusing the conversation on Sacramento for months and already brought a delegation of students to the Capitol steps,” he said. “I’m happy to see that the regents are following our lead.”
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