New Op-Ed: The University of California Doesn’t Need Fixing

On June 9, 2017, Fox & Hounds published an op-ed from Dick Ackerman and Mel Levine, co-chairs of the California Coalition for Public Higher Education, titled, “The University of California Doesn’t Need Fixing.”  Here’s an excerpt:

For more than 50 years, under California’s Master Plan for Higher Education, UC has been the linchpin of the finest public higher education system in the world.  One of the things that has made UC work so well is its independence from political command and control.  The independent Board of Regents—appointed by the Governor with the consent of the State Senate—is UC’s governing body.  Now some legislators are making proposals to greatly weaken the independence of the Regents by shortening their terms and taking over budgetary controls. 

UC governance is hardly in need of a makeover.  The University of California is the best in the country and the world by virtually every count.  In the latest rankings of public universities by U.S. News and World Report, UC campuses occupied six of the top ten slots—headed by UC Berkeley Number 1 and UCLA number 2.   When it comes to providing the greatest opportunity and economic diversity, the recent New York Times measurement of colleges doing the most for the American Dream” placed five UC campuses at the head of the list.

There is a constant frustration that more California students can’t be admitted to the campus of their choice.  That problem is really the product of decades of under-funding by the State, which has inhibited growth in capacity and forced a greater reliance on fees and tuition.   Per student State support for UC remains little more than a third of what it was forty years ago.  Over the past decade, UC’s share of the State General Fund is down 14%.  Like the California State University system and the community colleges, UC has been forced to do more with less.

Read the complete op-ed on the Fox & Hounds website.