More than 200 university alumni and friends converged in Sacramento today (March 1) for UC Day, an effort to advocate for a long-term funding solution to maintain the quality of the University of California.
UC faces a proposed $500 million cut in the state's 2011-12 budget as California struggles to recover from a $25 billion deficit.
“We're willing to help share the pain,” UC President Mark Yudof told the crowd gathered in a tent on the Capitol grounds. “But we need to have a conversation with legislators about a long-range funding plan for UC.”
If the half-billion-dollar cut becomes a reality, for the first time in UC's 143-year history, student tuition and fees will contribute more to the system's operating budget than will the state. The cut will return UC state funding to the 1998-99 level when it served 73,000 fewer students.
The alumni, faculty, staff and students participating in UC Day focused on reminding Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature about the impact UC has had on the economic and cultural life of California, and voicing concerns about the effect the deep cuts will have on the university's ability to serve the state and its people.
“We'll compromise on a lot of things,” Yudof told the UC Day crowd. “But one thing we will not compromise is the quality of the university.”
President asks for budget flexibility
Yudof asked supporters to drive home the message that the university must be given flexibility to decide how to absorb the state cuts.
“The less money the Legislature gives you, the more control it wants,” Yudof said. “We're down $500 million, and they want to tell us how to spend the rest.”
More than 90 legislative visits had been scheduled throughout UC Day, which is part of a wider campaign to call attention to the state's dwindling investment in public higher education over the last decade.
Read more at the UC Newsroom.