Readers React

Gov. Brown's forced austerity for UC hurts students

To the editor: Thank you for George Skelton's article on the conflict between Gov. Jerry Brown and University of California President Janet Napolitano over funding the UC system. Skelton hits the right note when he argues that both are holding students hostage. ("Gov. Jerry Brown has plenty of weapons to fight UC's Janet Napolitano," Column, Nov. 23)

I think Skelton should be far more critical of Brown's commitments. Draconian cuts to UC have crushed countless dreams of upward mobility.

As the Public Policy Institute of California has shown, in the last 10 years, the state has slashed $1.6 billion from higher education. In a 2011 PPIC statewide survey, 68% of respondents opposed such cuts.

Brown's posture as a contrarian is a sham. His austerity for higher education has created an alarming rate of indebtedness among Californians — even as he refuses to trim bloated prison budgets that have resulted in harsh racial inequalities.

We need to invest in our state by cutting administrators' salaries and dramatically increasing higher-education budgets so that Californians can benefit from widespread economic mobility.

David Luis-Brown, Claremont

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To the editor: Skelton is right on. Brown should use his powerful arsenal of political weaponry to protect California students from further raises in UC tuition. California's public schools belong to the people of this state and should first and foremost focus on educating our young people, not enriching already overpaid administrators.

Frankly, I think that UC tuition rates are way off the chart and should be pared down to accommodate current and future generations of applicants for admission. The Ivy League is a ridiculous comparison for tuition and salary rates.

As Skelton quotes our governor as saying: "People will get very excited about an institution that has a moral depth that transcends the vagaries of the marketplace.... This is not Wall Street."

Gloria J. Richards, Simi Valley

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