UC Regents to discuss fundraising and budget at first meeting of school year

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The UC Board of Regents will convene on Tuesday for its first meeting of the school year to discuss fundraising and the university’s 2014-15 budget, among other issues.

The meeting, which will run from Tuesday to Thursday, is the last before incoming UC President Janet Napolitano claims the helm of the university at the end of the month. The regents will spend the first two days at the UCSF Mission Bay campus and will end the three-day session  at the Lawrence Livermore National Lab, where they’ll tour the laboratory’s facilities and learn about its latest projects.

In response to the passage of Proposition 30 by California voters last year and expected increases in state funding, the regents will discuss and revise the university’s long-term budget model. The regents will also discuss issues under consideration for the 2014-2015 budget, such as funding for mandatory cost increases and other high-priority items.

The regents will formally launch a social media fundraiser aimed at raising money for undergraduate scholarships at Wednesday’s meeting. The fundraiser — coined the Promise for Education — is a crowdfunding effort that asks the public to use Facebook, Twitter and other outlets to campaign for donations to the university. It is partially a response to demands that the university find more creative ways to raise money in the face of budget cuts.

The regents will also consider a plan to renovate the Blake House — an abandoned mansion north of the Berkeley Hills that has traditionally housed the UC President — but has gone unused for more than five years.

But with Napolitano’s imminent arrival, the regents are now considering revamping the estate. On Tuesday, they will be asked to approve preliminary funding of more than half a million dollars for the project. The entire renovation is estimated to cost between $3.5 million and $6 million, according to the meeting agenda.

The regents’ meeting is open to the public Tuesday and Wednesday. Members of the public must make a reservation to participate in the regents’ tour of the laboratory Thursday.

Libby Rainey is the lead higher education reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @rainey_l.