Advocating for UCSC

To: UCSC Community

From: Chancellor Blumenthal

As we continue to prepare for what is expected to be another challenging year fiscally for UC, I'd like to update you on conversations we are having at the system-wide level to correct what I view as historical inequities in how funds are distributed across UC campuses. I also would like to discuss UC and UCSC advocacy efforts currently under way.

One of my top priorities as chancellor has been to call attention to the way resources are distributed among individual campuses, based on my belief that these practices are outdated and inequitable. They have placed Santa Cruz at a competitive disadvantage and threaten our ability to achieve our full potential.

This plays out in the distribution of state funds and educational fees. The net effect of most current practices is to reward campuses with the biggest budgets. This preserves the status quo and exacerbates the differences in funding per student among the various campuses.

I have worked with UC's Office of the President to revisit these formulas and am gratified to report that we've made some progress. Our campus now retains 80 cents from every dollar generated by recent fee increases, compared to 66 cents in 2007-08. UCOP also is reviewing this policy as it applies to the most recent fee hike. Both are encouraging developments.

I pressed these issues again last week during a meeting with UC President Mark Yudof in our discussion of UCSC budget impacts and challenges. I was joined in that discussion by Senate Chair Lori Kletzer, Campus Provost/Executive Vice Chancellor David Kliger, and Vice Chancellor of Planning and Budget Peggy Delaney, all of whom reinforced the need for greater transparency and fairness in systemwide budgeting. I believe we are being heard, and we will continue to make the case for our campus receiving its full share of our education fees. We may not get there overnight, but a fairer allocation process is critical to our future.

As this work continues, it is also imperative that I continue to invest time in Sacramento, pressing the case for our campus and the University of California. The effects of disinvestment by the state in UC are becoming clearer by the day, and it is up to all of us to make the case for renewed public support. UC student associations from across the system are hosting a day of advocacy on March 1. I will be in Sacramento to stand with students as they lobby for the university. I encourage you to get involved, whether by going to Sacramento or by contacting elected officials to voice your support for UC.

In addition, our campus recently hosted a Legislative Forum on the Budget and Public Higher Education that allowed local legislators to hear directly from students and faculty about the impacts of serial budget cuts. State Assemblymember Ira Ruskin attended the forum with colleagues Assemblymember Bill Monning and Senator Joe Simitian. All three legislators are vocal champions of higher education--and UC alumni. It's vital they understand the campus impacts of diminished UC budgets.

Finally, UCSC's seventh annual Scholarship Benefit Dinner on February 6 raised nearly $175,000 for student scholarships. The evening featured presentations by UCSC alumni Dan Roam and Ezequiel Olvera, as well as UC President Mark Yudof. Held at the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, the event boosted our profile in Silicon Valley and raised awareness of the financial burden facing many of our students. Many thanks to all who contributed!