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Regents Avoid Decision on Fees : Colleges: UC board approves funding proposal for next year but does not specify where it will get the money.

TIMES EDUCATION WRITER

The University of California Board of Regents sidestepped a decision on a student fee increase Friday, approving a $2.7-billion funding proposal for next year that specifies only what the university needs, not how it is going to get it.

Last month, UC officials had suggested that a 7.1% fee increase would be necessary next year in order to comply with a four-year compact negotiated with the governor. Under that compact, agreed to last January, the university could expect to receive $83 million more for the 1996-97 school year than it did for 1995-96.

But it would take $27 million more than that to eliminate the need for a fee increase, said UC Associate Vice President Larry Hershman.

Regents said they hope to receive more than promised--enough to prevent the fee increase, raise faculty salaries and increase outreach efforts to help prepare minority high school students for admission to UC schools.

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The budget vote came at the end of a three-day meeting at which regents, reacting to months of interruptions and delays caused by supporters of affirmative action, suddenly got tough. Usually, members of the public are allowed three minutes each to address the board. But this week, the board announced that it was limiting speakers to 90 seconds and would expel anyone who addressed a topic not on the agenda, including affirmative action.

The new policy gave board Vice Chairman John Davies wide latitude, and he took advantage of it. When UC students, faculty and other members of the public attempted to refer to the regents’ July decision to prohibit the use of race and gender as criteria in admissions, hiring and contracting, Davies swiftly cut them off.

UCLA history professor Ellen DuBois tried to tell the board that UCLA’s faculty senate had voted to ask the regents to reconsider their action. Davies interrupted after 46 seconds.

“Regent Davies, I beg you to use the discretion of the chair,” DuBois pleaded, asking for permission to finish.

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“We don’t have time to do that. . . . Please yield the microphone,” Davies said curtly.

Those who refused Davies’ orders were escorted from the room by police. On Thursday, when a group of protesters tried to block police from surrounding a speaker, a scuffle broke out and two were arrested.

Dorothy Jean Hamilton, 19, a San Francisco State student, was charged with assault on a police officer, resisting arrest and trespassing. Katheryn Raphael, 36, was charged with resisting arrest. Both were booked into San Francisco County Jail.

The change in procedure, which prompted some speakers to deliver their remarks so quickly that they could barely be understood, is allowed under the regents’ bylaws, according to the regents’ general counsel, James E. Holst. Nevertheless, it drew criticism from students, faculty members and some regents.

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Regent Ralph Carmona lamented that Davies’ “hard-line response” had a “chilling effect” on the proceedings.

Regent Edward Gomez, the student regent, said, “The regents have an agenda to eliminate their accountability to the public. Sooner or later, the public’s got to hold them accountable.”

Regent Judith Levin, the alumni representative to the board, said, “I’m so mad I’m shaking.”

Carmona, Gomez and Levin were the only regents who supported a motion to allow speakers the usual three minutes. The motion failed.

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The silencing of the faculty was particularly galling to some in the audience. After the UCLA history professor was not allowed to finish her remarks, UC Berkeley nuclear engineering professor Stanley G. Prussin said, “It is painful in the extreme when distinguished members of the faculty and administration are denied 90 seconds to address the regents on issues that are tearing this institution apart.”


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