The UC Regents met yesterday in Los Angeles for the third and final time this week, making the decision to postpone a possible raise in student fees until their March meeting.
Twelve UCSB students affiliated with the University of California Students Association attended the meeting, which primarily dealt with the Governor’s proposed budget, which would decrease funding to the University by 10 percent. UCSA Campus Action Committee chair Christine Byon opposes the move and said this strategy for bridging the shortfall unfairly burdens students.
“I was very disappointed because many Regents did express that it’s a problem that students were targeted,” Byon said. “They’re paying a lot of lip service and not really doing anything about it.”
The Board of Regents has struggled to find a solution to the upcoming budgetary issues. In yesterday’s meeting, UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau gave a presentation in which he argued that a fee freeze would discourage low-income students from attending the UC.
He said that since student loans, including Pell and Cal Grants are tied to tuition, a fee freeze would also freeze grant levels, while the cost of living would continue to rise. Birgeneau argued that such moves increased debt for low-income students in the past.
At the meeting, California Lt. Gov. John Garamendi proposed a motion to cap fee increases and tie future rises to inflation. However, action was postponed until March’s meeting at UC Riverside.
Following the decision, UCSA held a rally at the meeting. According to Byon, UCSB’s Associate Students External Vice President of Statewide Affairs, Garamendi, who spoke to the group, was supportive of the drive to keep fees low. She said she felt UCSA’s presence played an important role in the postponement.
“Fifty to 60 UCSA students came,” Byon said. “I thought the student presence was really impressive out there. We made a really good showing, and they were really pressured.”
At the meeting, the Regents also approved Norman J. Pattiz to serve as chairman of the Board of Governors of Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC and Los Alamos National Security, LLC. The two companies were created to manage the federal labs following the University’s surrender of its sole stewardship in 2006. The appointment will take effect once current Chairman Gerald L. Parsky resigns in 2008.
Additionally, the Board appointed Patrick Lenz, an expert in educational finance, as the UC’s new system wide vice chancellor for budget.