The UC Board of Regents began its final day of meetings by convening the general board to discuss access to higher education for undocumented students, climate change initiatives and a report from the Council of University of California Staff Assemblies, or CUCSA.
The board meeting began with around half an hour of public comment which focused on support for SB 1141. According to the bill text, SB 1141 would extend access to in-state price tuition for immigrant-status students who have not met the three-year academic qualification for in-state tuition.
Among commenters was UC Berkeley alumna Jacqueline Martinez who spoke on her experience as an undocumented student who paid out-of-state cost.
“As a student I was not able to focus on my studies as I wished I had because I was constantly struggling on thinking about how I was going to pay for tuition, how I was going to pay for housing, how I was going to pay for food,” Martinez said at the meeting.
Later remarks by the President of the UC Graduate and Professional Council, Hayden Schill, called on the board to support divesting in fossil fuels and to recognize the UC Academic Senate’s petition to reduce fossil fuel combustion. The petition, supported by 85% of faculty who voted, called on the regents to invest in fossil fuel combustion reduction by at least 60% by 2030.
The board meeting concluded with a presentation by CUCSA that highlighted the difference in experiences between BIPOC and white UC faculty, with white male faculty reporting more favorable experiences than their peers. According to outgoing CUCSA chair Crystal Petrini, this data trend reflects anecdotal evidence that BIPOC staff had less favorable employee experiences in all areas of their work in comparison to white respondents.
“We want to make sure that any staff who joins the UC regardless of any identities they hold has the same positive experience in wanting to build and better the mission of the university,” Petrini said.
Following the general board meeting, the Health Services committee discussed the approval of updated Market Reference Zones, or MRZs, for the non-state-funded UC Health Senior Management Group, SMG, positions. The MRZs are base salary ranges for these SMG positions, according to UC President Michael Drake.
According to Drake, an April cohort of regents determined that the MRZs should be updated — which had not happened since 2019 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The item passed unanimously and according to interim executive director of systemwide HR compensation John Henderson, the updated MRZs will go into effect August 1.
“We believe that these modest adjustments will allow us to continue attracting the talent to the university that we need while ensuring that our employees are fairly compensated for their important contributions,” Drake said at the meeting.
The Governance Committee met next to discuss staffing, budget and salary programs, health services and University security clearance procedures and approved four measures previously discussed in closed sessions.
In addition, the committee approved a resolution to exclude access to federal classified information for new and uncleared management personnel, according to the resolution.
The full board meeting then heard a presentation on the UC 2030 Capacity Plan to expand the university by 23,000 state-supported students through 2030, according to Drake. However, the UC “aspirational plan” projects 33,000 state-supported students, which Drake noted would require additional state funds.
The board concluded with a presentation on campus preparedness for rising cases of COVID-19.
Anne Foster, vice president and chief clinical strategy officer at UC Health, said the university is planning on requiring COVID-19 testing for students prior to or on arrival to campus, as well as focusing on isolation rooms for those who test positive. Additionally, the university will be depending on wastewater testing that can predict COVID-19 surges two or three weeks in advance, Foster added.
“How people behave when they’re off campus is going to have a much bigger impact on what’s going to go on for our communities… than trying to institute large programs with compliance that can be heavy-handed and somewhat difficult in these days of COVID fatigue to enforce,” said UC San Diego distinguished professor of medicine Robert Schooley during the presentation.
The joint meeting of the Academic and Student Affairs Committee and Finance and Capital Strategies Committee was postponed until the next meeting.
Rae Wymer, Ananya Rupanagunta, Tiffany Lieu and Riley Cooke contributed to this report.