20 September 2011
It looks like nobody really has any clue as to how to go about addressing the University's financial problems. As widely reported, UCOP came up with a scheme whereby tuition would rise by 16% a year for the next four years (which compounds to 81%) unless the State steps in with yearly funding increases of 8% for the next four years. As anybody can imagine, this is not likely to engender warm and fuzzy feelings towards UC in those that are left as UC's only constituency and potential supporters, viz. the students and their families. Supposedly preoccupied by the fall-out, the Regents have swiftly acted with typical Regental drive and determination – and formed a commission with the task of exploring private donations as a source of external funding. The idea behind such a bold undertaking is that UC has traditionally contributed to the economic successes of California by supplying a steady stream of skilled and educated labor. California business ought to be willing to contribute to the University's bottom line in order to secure such a competitive advantage in the future as well. What this line of thought seems to have missed, though, is that there does not appear to be any reason why big business would be willing to pay in California for resources it can get for free in Mumbai – testifying yet again to the wisdom of Clark Kerr's vision characterizing a public supported education as "bait to be dangled in front of industry, with drawing power greater than low taxes or cheap labor." Perhaps even more disheartening is the fact that in all this the faculty and their official representation, the Senate, is mostly notable for their silence.