‘We need to do better’: UC Board of Regents discusses financial aid, racism, health system

UC Board of Regents/Courtesy

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The UC Board of Regents reconvened at UCLA on Thursday to continue discussion on a variety of topics, including the UC health delivery system, financial aid and racism on the UCLA campus and in medicine.

UC Student Association President Caroline Siegel-Singh raised three primary issues with the UC system during public comment — the lack of transparency about financial aid, the lack of support for basic needs and inadequate financial aid that does not take into account factors such as food and housing.

“We need to do better,” Siegel-Singh said during public comment. “If the entire state of California is experiencing a housing crisis, what makes you think that students are not experiencing that as well?”

The real challenge with the UC system, according to Siegel-Singh, is not getting in, but “figuring out how to stay.” She added that had she known that the majority of UC students are funded through financial aid, it would have made the UC system seem like a more viable option for her when she was applying to colleges.

Multiple speakers, including UCLA junior Justin Feldman and Executive Director of the Israeli-American Council Jonathan Harris raised concerns during public comment regarding Students for Justice in Palestine, or SJP, alleging that the student organization has consistently displayed “anti-Semitic” views.

Feldman alleged that the 2018 national SJP conference, which will be held at UCLA, is closed to pro-Israel students, and called on the UC regents to require SJP to either open its conference to all students or prevent the organization from holding the event at UCLA.

“It is crucial that this conference be open to all students to ensure that pro-Israel students can defend their views just as anyone else,” Feldman said during his speech.

UC Regent Sherry Lansing questioned the open/closed conference policy for UC students, adding that the issue regarding SJP is “very concerning.”

During a UC Health Advisory Committee update, committee chair Steven Lipstein discussed the expansion of UC Health. The UC health delivery system is one of the largest of its kind, according to Lipstein, and could exceed all other sources of UC revenue by 2032.

“Standing still poses an existential threat to UC Health system and its components,” said UC Health Executive Vice President John Stobo during his presentation.

Student Regent Devon Graves, a UCLA graduate student, raised the topics of racism in the medical sphere and the need for implicit bias training.

While UC medical schools are aware of this issue, Stobo said, rectifying the problem may take some time. Alhough UC medical school graduating classes have become more diverse, they are still not reflective of the populations they serve, according to Stobo.

“I strongly believe we cannot address the needs of a diverse population unless we look like that population,” Soto said. “And while there’s a lot we can do until we get there, it’s not going to do that until we get there.”

Amber Tang is the lead higher education reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @ambertang_dc.