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January 26, 2010 7:22 PM California Regents to Protest Funding Cuts, Sort Of

By Daniel Luzer

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In the turmoil surrounding the hefty tuition increase at the University of California, opponents of the price hike often cast the university’s board of regents as villains. But now some regents are trying to change that perception. According to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle:

When students hold their big Day of Action in Defense of Public Education on March 4, converging on Sacramento to lobby lawmakers for sufficient funding, several members of UC’s governing Board of Regents and UC President Mark Yudof said Wednesday they’ll be there with them.

One regent, banker Leslie Tang Schilling, said she would be joining the rally with the students. “We all have to join together,” Shilling said. In November Schilling voted for a 32 percent tuition increase across the California system.

Presumably the reason some regents have decided to attend the Sacramento rally is to position themselves as part of an institution subject to the whims of the state budgeting system. To a certain extent this is true but it’s slightly misleading. Tough economic times call for difficult decisions. It’s important to take responsibility for making those decisions.

As one blog pointed out, at the regents’ meeting last week the board bemoaned the lack of funding from the state and promised waiting lists at the schools. At the same meeting it approved bonuses for UC hospital executives ($3.1 million total) and agreed to renovate Berkeley’s Memorial Stadium ($320 million total).

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer