UC Board of Regents to discuss budget, salaries, research

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At its three-day meeting this week, the UC Board of Regents will consider salary adjustments for senior management, discuss next year’s UC budget and approve a plan for a new collaborative research center run by UC Berkeley and Tsinghua University.

The regents will discuss salary adjustments for certain members of the senior management group in a regents-only session Wednesday before voting on the adjustments in an open session Thursday, according to the agenda of the Committee on Compensation. The meeting begins Tuesday and will take place at the UCSF Mission Bay campus.

During last year’s regents meetings, some argued that senior management members across the University of California — chancellors, in particular — earned salaries below the average of other institutions and ought to have salaries closer to competitive market value. Last July, the regents approved a 3 percent salary increase for 21 members of the senior management, and in September, the regents further increased the salaries of five UC chancellors.

Both moves drew controversy, particularly as they came while the university faced a funding shortfall. In June, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a state budget that guaranteed some additional funds.

“For some of those funds to be used for salary increases the month after we got the additional funding just sabotages us in the future,” said Kevin Sabo, acting president of the UC Student Association. “It’s a clear reflection of their budget priorities.”

The state Legislature and Brown were critical of the university for increasing executive salaries while, during the budget negotiations, asking for additional funding.

The regents’ Committee on Finance will also discuss the 2015-16 UC budget Wednesday. The state budget includes 4 percent increases in state funding over each of the next four years and additional one-time funds for the UC retirement plan. The UC budget framework also calls for increases in out-of-state tuition, numbers of transfer students and measures that reduce time to degree.

Also Thursday, the Committee on Education Policy will vote on a new research and education joint-venture institution — located in Shenzhen, China — run by UC Berkeley and Tsinghua University.

The new institution would be funded largely by the Shenzhen municipal government and shared equally between Tsinghua University and UC Berkeley. Research will focus on three main areas: environment and new energy, information technology and data science, and precision medicine and health care. The institute would also aim to enhance campus ties to Chinese companies.

In addition, the regents will receive updates on the implementation of UC policies on preventing and responding to sexual violence and sexual assault. The policies come out of a task force called for by UC President Janet Napolitano in June 2014.

Contact Ethan Walker at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @ethannwalker.