Although the 2018-19 academic year is drawing to a close, there are a multitude of problems UC Regents must address — from Title IX cases to labor union rights. Regents attempted to address these concerns at the fifth and final regents meeting of the academic year on May 14-16 at UC San Francisco’s Mission Bay Conference Center.
At the meetings, regents discussed key issues that sparked heated debate over the three-day period.
Nonresident tuition hike
The 2019-20 Budget Plan for Current Operations approved by the regents in November 2018 proposed a 2.6 percent — $762 — increase to undergraduate Nonresident Supplemental Tuition (NRST).
As a condition of the increase, 10 percent of the new NRST revenue generated would be allocated for financial aid for domestic, nonresident and international undergraduate students.
Student Regent Devon Graves and other UC students strongly objected to the increase.
“I am here to say that I am tired of the UC milking me for money. I don’t have to fix their broken funding,” said UCLA student Sachi Cooper during public comment. “Seven hundred sixty-two dollars might seem incremental, but that $762 was the flight home my friend took for her grandfather’s funeral, and was the flight that I could not take to stand by my mother’s side during surgery. It is not incremental and it is not without consequence.”
Despite active student disapproval, 12 regents voted “yes” and six voted “no.” The increase will take effect at the beginning of the 2019-20 school year.
UC labor unions
Labor union AFSCME 3299 voiced demands for a fair contract during the public comment.
For the past 19 months, UC labor unions have been fighting for job security and use any chance they get to express their outrage to the regents.
“Last year UC medical centers’ operating profit was $684 million,” said Carmen Lee, a UCSF shuttle driver during public comment. “So what’s the problem? Why do we continue to outsource our jobs? Outsourcing affects the quality of care to our patients.”
At the end of the public comment session, AFSCME members broke out into chants. They were given five minutes to leave after being surrounded by police and left with no problems.
The next day did not go as smoothly.
On May 16, labor unions struck outside the UCSF Mission Bay Conference Center. A group of AFSCME workers approached the public comment podium and refused to leave when their comment time concluded. Police arrested 12 protesters for failing to leave an unlawful assembly.
Claire Doan, spokeswoman for the UC Office of the President, said they were cited and released.
Title IX issues
A 2018 California State Auditor’s report recommended the Board of Regents ensure the Academic Senate’s procedures pertaining to sexual violence/sexual harassment cases be conducted within exact time frames.
The audit suggested disciplinary hearings be scheduled within 60 calendar days of when charges are filed by the chancellor and that the hearing committee issue its recommendation to the chancellor within 30 working days of the conclusion of the hearing.
Regents approved all policy changes.
Transgender and nonbinary representation
At each regents meeting, the Academic and Student Affairs Committee gives a presentation to the board regarding a certain aspect of the student experience. At this meeting, Student Regent-designate Hayley Weddle recommended a presentation on the experiences of transgender and nonbinary students.
UC San Diego LGBT Resource Center Director Dr. Shaun Travers began by outlining basic terms like sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression to the regents.
“I identify as a man and was assigned that at birth — therefore I am a cisgender man,” Travers said. “Most of the time people just abbreviate that to man, but the word in front is cisgender. Transgender women are women. Transgender men are men.”
Travers proceeded to explain the unique challenges transgender and nonbinary students face that can challenge institutional systems, which may not have been designed to maximize inclusivity.
In early 2018, UCSD issued a campus report detailing the recommendations for full inclusion of nonbinary people. The report ensured transgender and nonbinary people have access to data systems and show up in reports. It also worked on updating workflows and offered education and training to staff and faculty. UCSD allows people to change their names, gender identity and pronouns in the campus data system without having to go through extensive processes.
Travers pushed the regents to make UCSD’s inclusion efforts apply to transgender and nonbinary students UC-wide. Regents were receptive and voiced that inclusivity is a main priority of theirs.
Three positions were discussed and later confirmed by the regents.
Current Regents Chair George Kieffer’s term ends on July 1. The current vice chair, regent John Perez, will take over for Kieffer. Regent Cecilia Estolano will assume the position of vice chair.
The regents also approved UC Riverside Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Cynthia Larive as UCSC’s new chancellor. She will begin July 1. Read more about the new chancellor on page 2.
The next regent meeting is scheduled for July 17-18.