SAN FRANCISCO — The UC Board of Regents met on Tuesday at the UCSF Mission Bay campus to discuss systemwide policies on campus climate and student safety and to approve plans for construction projects at various UC campuses, commencing the first of three days of meetings this week.
Following a closed session of the Committee on Compliance and Audit and a public comment session of the entire board, members of the committee met in an open session to evaluate UC policies to prevent abuse of youth. A review of UC policies was initiated after a report was released investigating the child sex abuse scandal of former Pennsylvania State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.
The committee also reviewed the progress of implementing provisions outlined in a July legal settlement reached with the board following a fire that killed a UCLA research assistant in 2008. The settlement mandated, among other requirements, an improvement in lab safety training for students and researchers in chemistry and biochemistry labs systemwide.
Erike Young, UCOP director of environment health and safety, said that although the university has comprehensive standard operating procedures, it would require more than students simply adhering to safety policies to promote a culture of lab safety in the research environment by requiring students to put in an active effort to follow the protocols.
Later in the meeting, members of the Committee on Grounds and Buildings approved the final designs and long-term plan of the $162 million project to build the Luskin Conference and Guest Center at UCLA. The funding for the controversial project was approved by the board in July.
Additionally, the committee approved the preliminary funding of a $3.96 million project to build a new teaching and learning center at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. The committee also approved the a roughly $71 million budget to retrofit, renovate and extend the Davidson Library at UC Santa Barbara.
The board will continue its meeting Wednesday, which is likely to draw considerably more debate, as the regents are set to discuss strategies to mitigate effects of a budget shortfall for the university.
According to material provided to the board, the discussion will explore a variety of possible solutions to cut costs and increase revenue, including debt restructuring, setting tuition based on which campus a student attends or the major chosen and changes to the current financial aid model.
“This is a great conversation to have,” said Cinthia Flores, the student regent-designate. “It is a long-term conversation the board is willing to have in terms of exploring problems solving strategies.”
In July, the board voted to endorse Proposition 30, Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax initiative, which would prevent a $250 million midyear budget cut if it is approved by voters in November. Still, the university faces a $125 million funding gap in the 2012-13 academic year regardless of the initiative’s status.