Regents Kick Off Meeting With Debates on Health Care, Audits, Eco-Friendly Buildings



Yesterday’s UC Board of Regents meeting at UCSF Mission Bay touched on potential improvements and changes to the university, including the supposed need for increased environmental sustainability at campuses, enhanced monitoring of financial activities at the administrative level and better health coverage for students, amongst other issues.

Prior to the Regents’ discussion, beginning at 3 p.m., students and campus officials came before the board to present their concerns regarding a number of internal issues within the 10-campus system. Following these debates, the regents presented plans for future audits and other financial management of the university.

Officials voiced the need for continuousmonitoring and auditing of financial activity, as Systemwide Audit Director Matt Hicks said the vision for the UC audit is to develop mechanisms focusing on areas more at risk for “suspicious” activity when looking at large amounts of data.

“Continuous monitoring is data analytics typically through use of technological tools that allow management to use clear ways to assess large sets of data,” Hicks said. “These mechanisms — they can use to review 100 percent of data and, for example, identify suspicious transactions.”

Regent Monica Lozano said university members should be closely supervised since there is a constant risk for dishonesty and theft.

“A criminal isn’t [necessarily] someone with criminal action. They’re individuals who take action because there is no oversight available at the time. A person is left alone and there is the temptation of money,” Lozano said. “We want to make sure our monitoring ability is in place, particularly with finances.”

The first off–the-agenda item presented was the need for the university to offer improved health coverage to students, as UC Student Association External Vice President Erik Green — a UC Santa Cruz doctorate student in education — said current coverage does not qualify under President Obama’s Affordable Care Act as essential minimum coverage.

Green also emphasized the dangers of annual lifetime insurance caps — which limit the total lifetime benefits provided by insurance companies — and called for the regents to remove these unfair limitations from health plans of students enrolled for the 2013-14 year.

“This is a life-and-death situation for many students with medical situations like cancer or HIV, where they have an insurance cap either on annual prescription coverage or a lifetime payout,” Green said. “University coalition has requested that government allow caps on student health programs to be grandfathered in. We approach this and call on UC to be a leader in encouraging the universities to oppose this as well as allow these caps to be phased out.”

Another item of discussion was the possible addition of more environmentally friendly structures to UC campuses. UC Merced student Jonathan Lee — a fourth-year political science major — approached the board with requests for ‘greener’ facilities at each of the system’s 10 campuses.

“Sustainability is an important issue for the UC and California. As well as being an employer of the state, UC needs to lead by example. Our policies need to continue to become greener,” Lee said. “Our campus buildings need to become greener, especially new campus buildings … I’d like to emphasize that sustainability is the future.”

A version of this article appeared on page 1 of January 16, 2013’s print edition of the Nexus.

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