The UCSB Faculty Legislature met yesterday to discuss current university issues.
Representing the legislative body of the campus’ Academic Senate, the collective meets five times a year to endorse and approve key curriculum changes such as major and minor proposals. Yesterday’s bi-quarterly meeting covered topics including Governor Jerry Brown’s proposed state budget and UCSB’s pending accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
Chancellor Henry T. Yang’s opening remarks were followed by a tense discussion about the Governor’s recently proposed funding cuts to higher education. After reviewing budget information introduced at the UC Board of Regents meeting last week, Yang explained what impact the proposed $500 million cut to the UC would have on the UCSB campus.
The dialogue was filled with shaking heads, groans and quiet murmurs among the staff.
“Our real cut is going to be $39.6 million,” Yang said. “We have been in ‘cutting’ mode for eight years, but this is the first time in history that the student will pay more for their education than state funds.”
Academic Senate Chair Henning Bohn said he is concerned that continuous rounds of budget slashes have impacted the quality of a UC education.
“After all these rounds of budget cuts over the years, [UCSB] may be pretty close to tapped out,” Bohn said. “It’s going to be tough.”
Yang also led the committee in a debate discussion regarding possible ways to increase university savings.
“We lost about nine positions last year, but we were able to restore them this year,” Yang said. “UC Santa Barbara is still doing very well, but that quality needs to be maintained. All ideas and questions are welcome.”
Yang announced some of the university’s recent successes, including an increase in freshman, transfer and out-of-state applicants. Yang also congratulated the eight UCSB faculty members who were recently named American Association for the Advancement of Science fellows.
“It’s a great honor for our scientists,” Yang said. “We are so proud to see their impact.”
The legislature also evaluated its pending accreditation with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, which requires renewal every 10 years. UCSB is currently in the second stage of the three-stage approval process.
The committee was confident that the university would be awarded successful accreditation.
“We care because we want to be accredited,” Bohn said. “It matters for our federal aid. It’s also an opportunity to tell others what we do as a university. It has a lot of benefits.”
The next meeting of the Faculty Legislature will be held on March 10 at 3:30 p.m. in Phelps Hall, room 2536.