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UC Regents discuss public concerns, chancellor compensation, housing

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Public comments during Thursday's meeting covered concerns for inadequate funding for disabled student programs and safety across UC campuses.


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APRIL 07, 2023

The UC Board of Regents discussed the approval of the UC San Diego chancellor’s additional compensation as well as UC employee housing programs during a special board meeting on Thursday.

The meeting started with a public comment period, when community members brought attention to the lack of adequate funding for disabled student programs and concerns about campus safety across UC campuses.

Students noted the lack of resources and support for disabled student programs, explaining the importance of expanding the size of the program staff and implementing additional services such as assistive technology, as well as ASL and braille interpreters.

“We are setting up our disabled student population to fail,” UC Riverside student Genevieve Ortiz said in the public comment. “Instead of uplifting these students by providing accessible accommodations and support, we are telling these students that they are not a priority, and that needs to change.”

UC Berkeley students and parents also called on the Regents to improve campus safety during the public comment, noting recent instances of armed robbery, shootings and sexual harassment and assault. They urged the implementation of more security measures, such as adding security gates around dorms and reinstating night shuttles for students.

The meeting continued with Regents Board Chair Rich Leib introducing the first topic of discussion, which was the approval of additional compensation for UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep Khosla following him receiving an offer at another institution. Leib noted the funding would come from a privately funded endowed chair.

“Approval of these items provides us the opportunity to retain an exceptional leader who has done and continues to be a strong and innovative higher education steward,” Leib said. “He has not only transformed the San Diego campus, but he has been instrumental in bridging the campus with the local community.”

The next topic of discussion was the approval of amendments to the Regents’ current policies, which Chief Financial Officer Nathan Brostrom said would allow chancellors to participate in the UC Employee Housing Assistance Program.

Brostrom said that the current policy upholds a requirement that the mortgage must be at the employee’s primary place of residence. With these amendments, he explained that the permission requiring that their UC property be the employee’s principal place would no longer apply to chancellors.

“It always was critically important to have our own actual home,” UC President Michael Drake said. “We have the residence, but the residence is not your home. Configuring it so it’s the same as it is for all other faculty would be an appropriate way to go forward.”

Noting that these properties are configured similarly to hotels and are not suitable for families, Regent Sandra Timmons expressed her belief that chancellors are not doing this to create income but out of “duty” and “respect.” She also noted that these amendments would promote employee retention.

However, Regent Hadi Makarechian said that the policy does not “accurately” state the program’s intentions since it encourages chancellors to buy a residence but does not specify whether or not they could lease the residence under this program.

Vice Chair Gareth Elliott expressed his disapproval of these amendments.

“To be clear, I would not support a change like that,” Elliott said. “My view is if a chancellor wants to purchase a property for income-producing purposes, they can go to the traditional market and get financing that way. The university does not need to support that effort. That’s not the purpose of what this program is for.”

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APRIL 07, 2023