From discussions about the University of California’s budget woes to protests against the executive handling of the crisis, yesterday’s teach-in offered a variety of takes on the current fiscal climate.

Dubbed “Defending the University: A ‘Teach-in’ on the Current Crisis,” the event featured a series of lectures and panels promoting alternate ways to offset the UC’s budget gap other than imposing fee hikes and furloughs. Upon entering the forum at 2:30 p.m., attendees were greeted with shouts of “Defend, not defund, the University of California” and “educate ourselves for political change.”

Former chair of the UC Committee on Planning and Budget Stan Glantz pinpointed Gov. Schwarzenegger as the cause of the university’s budget problems.

Glantz accused the UC Regents of making unfair concessions to the governor’s Republican agenda — which he condemned as an attempt to privatize higher education — when they granted Gov. Schwarzenegger the ability to line-item veto budget increases.

“The key prime directive, the core mantra, [of the Regents] — and this predates Yudof — is to keep the governor happy,” Glantz said.

Robert Meister, president of the Council of UC Faculty Associations, said UC president Mark G. Yudof’s decision to declare a state of financial emergency for the UC was a tactic to raise tuition fees and cut faculty salaries while convincing investors and bond buyers of the UC’s financial vitality.

“[The bonds the UC are attempting to sell] will get these excellent bond ratings by raising your tuition as collateral for these bonds and using a growing portion or your tuition dollars to pay the cost of these bonds,” Meister said. “But the university is not a hedge fund.”

Throughout the event, student speakers shared personal stories about the realities of the budget cuts. Additionally, students spoke on behalf of campaigns to save departments such as the Exercise and Sports Studies and to protect proposed scholarship legislation such as the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act — which allows a substantial population of undocumented students in the UC system to apply for citizenship, independent of their parents.

Ruth Gilmore, a visiting speaker and professor of ethnicity and geography at USC, spoke on the possibility of cutting money from the prison system to fund public education.

“The state of California made a decision to increase the capacity of its prisons and then after making this decision, passed laws that increased the amount of people to fill the prisons,” Gilmore said. “Prisons are not expanding in response to any problem.”

A final student speaker, Sharde’ Davis, talked about the drastic rise in registration and education fees that have been thrust on UCSB over the last decade.

“Students have a position in university government; students can have decision-making power over how the university operates and spends its money,” Davis said. “There are three branches of authority at the university: the academic government, administrative government and student government. We are chartered to be included in deciding the way our money is spent.”

The night closed with a discussion about putting these proposed solutions into action, led by former Assemblywoman Hannah-Beth Jackson and CA Senate member Loni Hancock.