The University of California Board of Regents met at UC San Francisco Mission Bay from March 15 to 17 to conduct bimonthly business meetings and discuss how to offset a larger state funding deficit.

Expecting a $500 million slash in state funding for the UC once Governor Jerry Brown’s budget clears the state senate, the UC Office of the President presented system-wide options to combat budget shortfall, including another possible tuition increase. Additionally, although the board devoted its session on the 16th to a public workshop about university finances, protesters gathered outside the meeting and demanded the removal of Student Regent Jesse Cheng from the board.

Cheng, who was deemed responsible for committing sexual battery earlier this month by the UCI Office of Student Conduct, did not attend the meeting. For further coverage on allegations against Cheng, visit

With Gov. Brown’s cuts to education, student contributions to the UC core budget would surpass state funding. According to a video letter from UC President Mark Yudof to the UC community, rising utility and insurance costs as well as other unfunded obligations combined with state cuts could create a nearly $1 billion dollar budget gap for the university by the 2011-12 fiscal year.

Proposals from UCOP included reducing enrollment, deferring salary increases, reinstating UC’s furlough system and further increasing tuition. UCOP also plans to cut $50 million from its 2011-12 budget.

Despite having roughly 8,000 unfilled staff and faculty positions, Yudof said the system may be forced to consider staff and salary layoffs. Tenured professors would be exempt from the initiative.

UCOP Executive Vice President for Business Operations Nathan Brostrom said the UC’s budget deficit could grow to $2.4 billion by 2014-15 if state revenues don’t increase.

Numerous students, faculty and staff — even several campus chancellors — discussed concerns for the University’s future in the face of severe cuts to higher education. Chancellors from UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz and UC Irvine reiterated firm opposition to further cuts in state funding and described the impact on their respective campuses, while suggesting alternative options.

Cal Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau proposed that each campus set its own tuition levels within a designated range, but UCSC Chancellor George Blumenthal countered, saying the plan would be divisive to the UC system.

To read about the Jesse Cheng case, go here