Published on 2012/04/27

Splitting the UCs?

Last week, UC Berkeley leaders released a proposal that would see the 10 University of California campuses gain more autonomy, and be allowed to set their own tuition, out-of-state student enrollment quotas, approve infrastructure projects and control some of their investments.

Under the new-look UC system, the Board of Regents would remain at the center for overarching policy issues such as admissions standards and state funding, but argues that the complexity of the UC system makes umbrella governance nearly impossible. Similar to the federal system, those backing the proposal say campus governing boards should be established to handle smaller, individual governance issues.

“It’s like you have 10 children and each has different talents and challenges,” UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau told the Los Angeles Times. “We need a system in which each of them receives the kind of attention they need.”

Birgeneau, along with UC Berkeley’s Center for Studies in Higher Education Director and former UC system provost C. Judson King, were part of the team of authors who penned “Modernizing Governance at the University of California”.

Some of the ideas in the report have been debated before. Birgeneau previously moved for campuses to have more freedom over tuition amounts, but a UC commission disagreed, saying the difference in costs across campuses could tarnish particular university’s reputations.

Cyrrent UC President Mark Yudof said in a statement that he did not support the proposal as it stood, but that he shared some of the authors’ concerns and is willing to discuss governance issues.

However, Chairman of the UC Faculty Senate Robert Anderson said it is incredibly unlikely for the proposal to be accepted, adding that such moved would “split apart the University of California system in a way which is not in the interests of any of the campuses and not in the interests of the system itself.”

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