So Cal education, LAUSD, the Cal States and the UCs

UC Regents meeting back in progress, round-up of public comments, some context

California University Fees

Danny Moloshok/AP

Students hold a protest sign in their window as they look out of a residence hall window during a UC Regents meeting in 2009. Thursday morning's UC Regents meeting in Riverside is back on track after protesters interrupted Jan. 19, 2012.

The UC Regents meeting is back in progress at 11 a.m. after roughly an hour interruption by protesters. Here is a round-up of more comments along with a bit of context.

A UC Riverside junior studying Chicano public policy: "I'm tired of hearing Chancellor [Timothy P.] White use diversity on campus as PR. It's just the student body, not the graduate students, faculty or staff. I'm tired of this being pushed on campus." She said she is a Chicana who is not receiving any money to attend schools, "no Cal grant...just loans."

She told the Regents: "As these fees go up, I myself have been working 30 hours a week...This is hurting me, this is hurting my family."

Another student told the Regents about being "horribly in debt" and asked them for help.

"I'm already $22,000 in debt, not to mention the interest I will be paying for the next however many years," she said. "My parents took out a second mortgage on the house. My sister and me, I should say, my sister and I are going to two UCs now, and we're basically, horribly in debt. Thanks for doubling my UC tuition for no outcome or change I have seen in the four years I have been here. If you guys can offer me anything...help me with my financial loans."

In 2007-8 it cost $5,790 for an in-state undergraduate in fees; for 2011-12 it cost $11,160 in tuition, according to UC documentation. The 10-campus system has been hit with $750 million state funding cuts in 2011 and is threatened with another $200 million in 2012.

About 11 percent of the system's $22.5 million annual budget comes from the state's general fund. But that money is crucial because it goes directly toward educating students, according to UC spokeswoman Dianne Klein. The system recently released its application figures for the next academic year; it has worked to bring in more nonresident (out-of-state and international) students because of the extra revenue they bring (about $23,000 a head).

A student at UCSD told Regents a story about her professor, who was talking to a class of about 200 students in a large lecture hall about privatization and the effect it has on diversity. The professor asked African American students to raise their hands. "Four hands went up, and there was laughter," she siad. "...If you can get donations for an art project [a sculpture], you can go out there and get money for students of color to increase diversity."

A UC Riverside alum said she grew up on the campus and her husband graduated from the school, but their own children couldn't afford to attend it. She said she has five grandchildren — "two left the state of California to get an education. They went to the state of Washington. How sad is that? We have the best of the best...You guys are CEOs...I'm urging you to think outside the box."

"My husband is a school teacher here in the local community. I grew up on this campus. I played in those orange groves. My husband graduated from here. My own children could not go to school here, we couldn't afford it...My granddaughter is graduating from high school. She cannot come to UC. We cannot afford it. Please, you must think outside the box, or where will our future be? My grandchildren will not even be able to be the students here who can protest."

Another student told the Regents she transferred from a private school to a public school, a UC, and now her tuition costs more.

One woman spoke powerfully toward the end of the public comment period, punctuating her comments with a heaving "Enough, enough." She said she's traveled to various UC Regents meetings to no avail.

"Enough enough. I have been here. Three years. Wasting the time I should be studying. Organizing on your behalf. Enough enough. I am so offended that you all have the audacity to make statements like 'Oh we don't make a salary.' Let's propose a $22,000 tuition. That should be grounds for your removal. Enough enough. If you all think you've had pressure on your back, 2,000 UC students are going to be at your door in 2013. This is a power play...It's about you putting your bodies into motion. It's about you doing your job. While all of you get to go back to your corporate jobs, while all of you get to go back to your nice houses, we have to deal with $100,000 in debt."

Tami Abdollah can be reached via email and on Twitter (@LATams).

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