Privatization - The UCPB Report on The Future of UC

On May 12th, CUCFA delivered the following letter (along with print copies of the referred report) to members of the California Senate and Assembly sitting on education budget committees:

The UC Academic Senate Committee on Planning and Budget has recently released a report on whether UC's continuing privatization is educationally and fiscally feasible. CUCFA felt it was important to bring this information to your attention. The attached report was released May 9, and is posted here [PDF file, opens in new window].

We hope that this report will provide you with the data and background necessary to broaden legislative hearings on UC accountability. The irregularities in UC executive pay are in fact typical of public agencies seeking to privatize within public sector constraints. Thus, UC's official response to recent criticism of its executive pay practices has been to push forward with its plans for further pay increases, and argue for a relaxation of the rules that it previously found ways to evade. Instead of making exceptions to these rules in almost every case, the UC administration now seeks to be recognized as an exception to public sector norms of executive compensation. This could well be the outcome of legislative hearings unless UC's present path toward privatization is addressed and reversed by the legislature.

The attached report shows in detail what level of tuition and donations the path to privatization would require, and demonstrates conclusively that privatizing has never been a coherent goal for UC. It provides the information necessary for Senate and Assembly members to rebut the UC administration's claim that its apparent improprieties are merely symptoms of a transition to a different funding model that relies much less on state support. Henceforward, this argument must be seen for what it is -- a means to rationalize self-serving decisions in the use of public funds.

You will also find in the attached report clear documentation of the dramatic decline of public funding for UC on both a per citizen and per student basis. The report shows how little it would cost the state to reverse this trend and reaffirm UC's character as a publicly funded institution (part of the state's essential infrastructure), and provides an impressive vision of what UC could still be within the framework of the Master Plan.

CUCFA's position on these issues is stated in the attached op-ed. We are, of course, prepared to testify and/or to assist you in any other way as you consider the recent revelations about UC.

Bob Meister
President, Council of UC Faculty Associations