Amid mounting pressure from students and Sacramento, the UC Regents on Wednesday postponed a vote to raise tuition. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who opposed the hike, told the Sacramento Bee the vote wasn’t likely to pass had it come forward. According to the paper, he argued the Regents’ move would put “(Governor Jerry) Brown and the Legislature back on the hook to boost funding for UC and avoid a fee increase.”
UC President Janet Napolitano took a similar view, saying at the meeting, “This will give us time to make our case to the Legislature. It is just the beginning of the budget process. The need for funding is obvious.”
An editorial in the LA Times said a tuition hike was justified and also characterized UC in a rosy fashion. According to the editorial, in order for UC to remain “an educational powerhouse” and “one of the state’s best-run institutions,” it needs adequate funding, which doesn’t appear to be coming from the state, given Gov. Brown’s proposed budget. The editorial also took a stab at the state’s auditor, writing, “Despite what a state audit implied last year, UC President Janet Napolitano is not hanging on to tens of millions of dollars in surplus money.” The editorial also emphasized that the hike would only be felt by students with family incomes above $100,000.
The board is set to consider tuition again in May.
In other news, the US Department of Justice filed a statement of interest in support of a lawsuit two student groups brought against UC. The complaint argues UC blocked appearances by right-wing speakers on campus, though the lawsuit has already been dismissed once.
The DOJ document says the “allegations, if proven, would sufficiently demonstrate the high risk of viewpoint discrimination inherent in the Policies’ grant to administrators of unchecked discretion over student-sponsored speech.”
A UC Berkeley spokesperson told the LA Times, “The campus is committed to ensuring that student groups may hold events with speakers of their choosing, and it has expended significant resources to allow events to go forward without compromising the safety or security of the campus.”
1/24 – Under pressure, UC regents delay vote to raise tuition and fees (LATimes): The article credits student activism in helping to drive the decision.
1/24 – Editorial: Unfortunately, the proposed UC tuition hike is justified (LATimes): According to the piece, “the tuition hike would be questionable if it put a real burden on families that couldn’t afford it. Instead, the university plans to provide enough money so that students whose families’ income is $100,000 a year or less will pay no tuition at all. The state’s middle-class scholarship program will soften the blow for families earning more than that; it picks up 10% to 40% of tuition and fees for families with incomes between $100,000 and $165,000.”
1/24 – Tuition hike delayed as UC takes up budget fight at Capitol (SacBee): In a letter to the board, Gov. Brown wrote, “More work is needed now to reduce the university’s costs to ensure that students and families have access to an affordable, quality education.”
1/25 – Justice Department backs conservative groups in UC Berkeley free-speech fight (LATimes): The suit was brought by the Berkeley College Republicans and Young America’s Foundation.
1/26 – Alarming rises in rent make UC Berkeley less accessible (DailyCal): The article notes research that found Berkeley rents have gone up 7.5 percent in the past year.