RIVERSIDE (CBS) — A mix of students, faculty and staff from throughout the University of California system plan to demonstrate at the UC Board of Regents’ meeting in Riverside later this week, demanding a stop to what they
denounce as an ongoing “disinvestment in education.”
The demonstrators, who say they’re part of a “non-affiliated” coalition, intend to stage a daylong protest on Thursday outside UC Riverside’s Union Highlander Building, where the regents will be conducting two days of open and closed sessions beginning Wednesday.
Organizers said in a statement that a non-voting student regent is insufficient to represent their interests and more speakers should be allowed into the board meeting for an opportunity to address the regents in an open forum.
“In such a discussion, we will present strategies for halting the current pattern of disinvestment in education, tuition hikes and privatization of UC,” the coalition’s statement says.
Organizers said the regents need to consider backing higher taxes on millionaires, imposing new fees on oil companies and revamping current limitations on residential property taxes as possible ways to bolster the higher education system’s finances and spare students from paying more for school.
UC undergraduates now pay $12,192 per semester for in-state tuition. In the last two years, the regents have approved tuition hikes totaling $1,800 for students throughout the 10-campus system.
Meanwhile, from 2008 to 2011, state general fund allocations to all higher education programs were reduced by a total $2.65 billion, according to the governor’s office.
Gov. Jerry Brown has said that if his proposals for increased personal income taxes on residents earning $250,000 or more, as well as a half-percent sales tax increase, are shot down by voters in November, another $200 million in general fund allocations to the UC will have to be slashed.
“We demand that (the regents) freeze or cut unnecessary administrative positions with salaries over $125,000/year; re-hire laid-off lecturers, faculty and staff; restore classes; and refund library hours and other critical programs that have been cut at UCR and around the system,” the coalition statement says. “Finally, we demand that the regents rescind administrative pay increases approved at their last meeting on November 28, 2011, restoring that money to instruction.”