UC Santa Cruz continues to operate during the summer and big changes can occur by the time the new academic year begins. This summer looks to be the time for changes ranging from tuition to housing to the Strategic Academic Plan. City on a Hill Press compiled a short list of decisions and dates to keep on your radar.
UC President Janet Napolitano consulted with Board of Regents chair George Kieffer and announced on April 26 the UC would continue to seek state funding and postpone the decision to raise in-state tuition by $342. If negotiations with the state to receive $117.5 million in additional funding are not favorable, the system may not receive the funds and the tuition increase could be approved for fall 2018, according to the UC Office of the President.
New Dean of Students
A new associate vice chancellor and dean of students (AVC/DOS) for UCSC is set to be hired over summer, after not appointing any candidates last year. The AVC/DOS oversees student programs and resources, including ethnic resource centers and Educational Opportunity Programs (EOP). The administration scheduled forums for students and faculty to meet the three candidates starting June 5. Travis Douglas currently serves as the assistant vice president for Residential Learning and Inclusion Programs at Rowan University. Piya Bose holds the position of dean of students at California State University, Long Beach. Garrett Naiman is the current executive director and chief of staff to the assistant vice chancellor of the Center for Educational Partnerships at UC Berkeley.
Student Housing West
The draft environmental impact report (EIR) for Student Housing West (SHW), was released March 27. Community and university members raised concerns about the private construction partner, Capstone, and the lack of student representation in the planning process. The chancellor and executive vice chancellor extended the comment period to June 27 and planned additional forums to hear feedback this week. Over the summer, the committee will work on incorporating feedback, and construction is set to begin fall 2019 and conclude in 2022.
Janus v. AFSCME
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and the University Council-American Federation of Teachers (UC-AFT) union workers demonstrated on campus numerous times this year, including a major three-day strike in May. There has been a concerted effort by union representatives to get retention pledges from members before the ruling in the Janus v. AFSCME case is decided, according to UC-AFT Vice President of Organizing Roxi Power. Mark Janus, a state worker from Illinois, brought the case against AFSCME in 2017, claiming his First Amendment rights were being violated by being required to pay union dues despite not being a union member. Currently, the Supreme Court has five conservative justices, and the decision, which most likely will be delivered during the summer, is likely to be in favor of Janus. Many union members may elect to leave if the decision goes through, as they will continue to receive benefits of collective bargaining despite no longer having to pay dues.
Long-Range Development Plan
The university-sponsored Long-Range Development Planning (LRDP)Committee is responsible for forming a campus blueprint regarding development, enrollment and other campus affairs, to be used from 2020-2040. Students and community members are concerned about the possible campus enrollment of 28,000 students by 2040, which is being used as a testing number. Four students sit on the committee, a number which committee member and second-year Chayla Fisher finds insufficient.
During the 2017-18 academic year, the LRDP committee held numerous forums in an effort to put together the 2020 LRDP. The committee will cease meeting over the break, although some planning will continue, and hopes to begin the environmental impact report process early in spring 2019.
Strategic Academic Plan
Since its start in November, the Strategic Academic Plan (SAP) has nearly completed its four phases and is projected to begin implementation in fall. The last step is a review of the completed plan by the Academic Senate, but ultimately the senate has no decision making power on stopping the process, even though it has expressed concerns over the integrity of the consultation.