Tell Californians the truth | Stand up for undocumented students | Help the kids to know themselves | Restore credibility | Let the leaders take the lead | Tackle our real-world problems | Play fair with student fees | Make the budget match the mission | Fix the admissions process | Work with the community colleges | Do more with less | Tap the alumni | Be a friend to the environment and a partner to schools | Share profits with workers
Tell Californians the truth
Mark Yudof should level with the people of California, so they understand that only public funding can restore the University of California's tradition of top quality and wide access.
In 2004, UC President Robert Dynes and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger abandoned the idea of a public university in favor of a privatized model. Dynes accepted a $1.5-billion permanent cut in the university's annual $5-billion core operating budget, and agreed to substantially increase tuition every year, in exchange for a promise (now broken) of modest increases in state money while UC sought private money "to support basic programs."
The fee increases don't come close to making up $1.5 billion a year. And although UC has inefficiencies, getting rid of them won't make up the deficit either. Neither will donations or corporate partnerships, which mostly are earmarked for projects, not core costs. (In fact, such "largesse" actually increases core costs.)
The only realistic way to replace public support with private money would be to double the already doubled fees, to $15,000 to $18,000. Alternatively, the university could abandon the equivalent of three campuses.
If the public really understood this situation, the political heat would force Schwarzenegger to restore California's promise of a high-quality, affordable university education.
The test for Yudof is whether he'll have the courage to recognize that California is at a crossroads, stop covering for the governor and tell the truth about privatization.
Stanton Glantz, a professor of medicine at UC San Francisco, chaired the UC Committee on Planning and Budget in 2005-06.
Stand up for undocumented students
During the last four years, UC students have endured two rounds of budget crises, fee increases and a scandal over little-known, lucrative UC executive compensation deals.
But one issue that flies under the radar and affects the relationship between the university and our vast immigrant population is the ongoing controversy over equal access for undocumented immigrant students. Caught in the middle of a nationally polarized debate on immigration, a growing number of highly capable students are being left out of the UC's equation because of the inability of Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform.
President Yudof needs to take the lead in ensuring that thousands of undocumented students become eligible for financial aid funds to which their tuition fees already contribute. It is not an easy task, but it is one that would demonstrate his leadership and vision.
Matías Ramos, a political science student at UCLA, is a contributor to the book "Underground Undergrads: UCLA Undocumented Immigrant Students Speak Out."