California state Senator Leland Yee:
Enough is enough; it is time for the UC administration to stop acting like a private institution…. Only five other public universities in the country have a similar status, with UC receiving the greatest level of autonomy. This completely outdated model results in the Regents thinking they are above the law. They continuously violate the public trust and disrespect students and taxpayers.
California might have trouble marketing its bonds in the current fiscal crisis, but UC has a AA1/AA rating. The state budget may have fallen over a cliff, but UC has managed its resources prudently in a tough environment. It has been able to preserve its world class status — a thrumming engine of educational opportunity, scientific advance and economic stimulus — even as it has absorbed a steady onslaught of cuts dictated from Sacramento.
Even with pinched budgets, UC still can attract top leaders to its 10 campuses and five medical centers, and can do so despite the easily verified fact that we compensate them well below the national average for comparable institutions.
By contrast, consider what state control has meant for California’s once world class, but now declining, K-12 public education effort. As Arne Duncan, secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, observed during a recent visit: “Honestly, I think California has lost its way, and I think the long-term consequences of that are very troubling.”
You know what they say about Mom and Dad: They started to fight when the money got tight, and they just didn’t count on the tears.