Faced with massive budget cuts, students angry over tuition hikes and labor woes, new University of California President Richard Dynes is running.
At a press conference on Oct. 3, Dynes said he plans to put students, faculty, staff and alumni through their paces by inviting them along on runs. He said he will begin his tenure as the 18th UC President with a tour of all nine campuses, starting with Riverside on Nov. 20. He will visit UCSB Dec. 5. And at each spot, Dynes vows to trot.
“I plan to visit all the UC campuses over the first six months of my term,” Dynes said, “so put on your sneakers.”
Dynes said his main concern is maintaining the integrity of the UC’s education system despite increasing budget cuts.
“I want to preserve the excellence of the UC education,” Dynes said. “Also, I want to preserve access to the UC for students of California from all backgrounds.”
UC has already sustained $410 million in budget cuts, and tuition for all students – undergraduate, graduate, in-state and out-of-state students – has been raised twice in the last year.
“I am simply not willing to accept a 20 percent budget cut for the University of California. That’s the equivalent of eliminating two to three campuses in the system. This is unthinkable,” Dynes said
Several other options for increasing revenue to UC have been explored, including increasing the number of out-of-state student admissions so that the system may benefit from the higher cost of out-of-state student tuition. Dynes said he heavily opposes such measures, as it would displace a number of in-state students. He said, however, that the budget presents a challenging problem. As of yet, he said he has no definite plan for solving it.
“We need to figure out ways to reduce our costs that will not compromise the quality of our mission. I understand that this is a slightly fuzzy answer,” Dynes said
Dynes also addressed other issues at the press conference, such as staff morale in the UC system. A number of teaching assistant strikes were held at all UC campuses on Friday. Dynes said morale varied throughout the UC system.
“It is different from campus to campus. At some it is quite low; there is frustration. At other campuses, I have to say that it is higher,” Dynes said.
Dynes, a first-generation college student from Canada, was selected from a nationwide pool of 300 applicants last June. Now the head of ten UC campuses, Dynes began his UC career as a physics professor at UC San Diego, where he later served as chancellor.