Thursday, July 16, 2009

UC to Gut Higher Education

By Robert Gammon
Thu, Jul 16, 2009 at 10:22 AM

The University of California Board of Regents is expected to adopt a plan today to slash the UC system's budget by $813 million. According to the Chron, the huge cuts, which include the elimination of college courses, were endorsed by a regents subcommittee yesterday, despite widespread criticism from top university officials, professors, and researchers. UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau warned that cutting so many classes will force students to take an extra half-year of courses just to graduate. And UC Santa Cruz Chancellor George Blumenthal warned that the cuts will harm the UC system's ability to conduct important research.

The lone regent who voted against the cuts was Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi, who urged his fellow board members to back a bill in the state Legislature that would tax oil companies and use the proceeds to fund California colleges and universities. Garamendi's sentiments are understandable, but the bill, sponsored by Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico of Fremont, is likely going nowhere, considering the governor's promise to veto any tax increases. In addition, it makes much more sense to use funds generated by an oil tax for green-energy technology.

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