Friday, November 20, 2009

Stop University of California Tuition Hikes!

I'm with the student protesters on this one. The middle of a recession with high unemployment is no time to pull up the ladder of education for those unable to afford college tuition. State universities were not intended to be run like a business--that's for private universities like USC and Stanford. What made the UC system great was its commitment to providing at first a free education, later a modestly-priced education, for California state residents. The very last thing that should be done is to hike tuition.

I'd suggest that before any tuition hike, administrators try very hard to cut from administrative overhead, conference travel, and other non-instructional expenditures--before gouging their students any further.

Here's a link to's account of UCLA protests (full disclosure, this blogger is a lifetime member of both the UC Berkeley and UCLA Alumni association):
About 30 to 50 protesters staged a takeover of Campbell Hall, a building across campus that houses ethnic studies, said UCLA spokesman Phil Hampton.

They chained the doors shut but were peaceful and there were no immediate plans to remove them, Hampton said.

No arrests had been made, although 14 demonstrators were arrested on Wednesday and cited for failure to disperse or disturbing the peace.

Demonstrations also were held at other UC campuses.

UC President Mark Yudof told reporters Wednesday he couldn't rule out raising student fees again if the state is unable to meet his request for an additional $913 million next year for the 10-campus system.

"I can't make any ... promises," he said.

After a series of deep cuts in state aid, and with state government facing a nearly $21 billion budget gap over the next year and a half, Board of Regents members said there was no option to higher fees.

"When you have no choice, you have no choice," Yudof said after a Regents' committee endorsed the fee plan Wednesday. "I'm sorry."

The Los Angeles meeting was repeatedly interrupted by outbursts from students and union members, who accused the board of turning its back on the next generation.