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During yesterday’s meeting at the UC San Francisco Mission Bay Conference Center, the University of California Regents discussed the expected federal and state budgets for the UC next year, Chancellor Henry T. Yang’s involvement in the UC Thirty-Meter Telescope and issues such as online education and the reinvigoration of the 1960 Master Plan for Higher Education.
At the beginning of the meeting during public forum, A.S. External Vice President of Statewide Affairs Alex Choate spoke about the Master Plan, an agenda item that she and A.S. President Jonathan Abboud pushed Regents to make changes to after A.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution advocating changes to the plan in November.
“I’m here today before you to thank you for having this [Master Plan] on the agenda,” Choate said. “I am also here to express that although I am so ecstatic that this is on the agenda … We also need to make sure that other stakeholders in this discussion are considered, such as legislators, alumni, students, faculty, just to name a few.”
Open forum also featured American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees 3299 spokesperson Leia Raoul, who said the UC’s treatment toward “low-wage” workers “must be corrected immediately.”
“It runs counter to the interest of the university and taxpayer dollars,” Raoul said, “and shows a fundamental disrespect for the men and women that keep our state universities running.”
In addition, Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, UC Santa Cruz faculty member and co-found of the AMCHA initiative — a non-profit dedicated to comabting campus anti-Semitism — thanked UC President Janet Napolitano for her statement condemning the recent proposed boycott of Israeli Universities and scholars.
“At UC Davis, UCLA and UC Riverside there was upset at departments on these campuses who sponsored events featuring Omar Barghouti, founder of the academic boycott of Israel,” Rossman-Benjamin said. “Barghouti’s talk was pure propaganda.”
After public forum the Committee on Finance discussed the 2014-2015 budget as well as funding for research, financial aid and patient care. One issue Regents discussed in particular included financial support for graduate students and PhD programs, which according to Tony Milgram, “slowly dwindle every year.”
“System-wide academic senates have been arguing for lowering the cost of a graduate student and that is something that we have to pay attention to,” Milgram said. “We are behind on the graduate education system at the UC and that is hurting our reputation … often times graduate students struggle to find direct funding.”
During the meeting by the Committee in Educational Policy, Chancellor Yang spoke about developments regarding the UC’s Thirty-Meter Telescope, or TMT. Yang, who has been Chairman of the Board of the TMT project for the past seven years, reported on the selection and negotiation of the telescope’s site in Hawaii, the TMT Board’s recruitment of Canada, Japan, China and India into the project, as well as the donations and grants incurred to fund the TMT.
“The TMT will provide one of the largest leaps forward in capability in history,” Yang said. “With the TMT we will have the ability to measure physical properties of the first stars and galaxies to form after the big bang to map the evolution of universe from some 13 billion years ago up to present time.”
In regard to the status of online education offered by the UC, Provost and Executive Vice President Aimée Dorr discussed the pilot cross-campus enrollment system which allows students within the UC to enroll in courses at another campus throughout the academic year.
“What we’re looking for is not only for online education but also for other aspects of UCs … to move to an efficient and effective online system,” Dorr said. “This pilot is a very strong step in that direction.”
Lastly, Napolitano, along with California Community College Chancellor Brice W. Harris and Columbus State University President Tim Mescon, came before the Board to discuss how the respective boards can begin to work together as they look at the Master Plan and envision what their overall set of goals for higher education in California are.
“The Master Plan was seen as a foundational, biblical treatise. Clark Kerr wrote at time, ‘the Master plan was a product of stark necessity, political calculation and pragmatic transactions.’” Napolitano said. “I think we need to understand that those words still play today.”
According to Napolitano, when the Master Plan was drafted in 1960, it was “a bit of a fire drill,” but now, “we have our own fire.”
“We must look at the master plan in terms of how we collaborate, how we cooperate, what are the things were already doing and what’re things we should continue to be undertaking together,” Napolitano said, “always with the education of the next generation in mind.”
Photo courtesy of lecture.ucsf.edu
A version of this story appeared on page 3 of Thursday, January 23, 2014′s print edition of the Daily Nexus.