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."

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UC Regents met with angry students, public

UCLA Student Protest

Adolfo Guzman-Lopez/KPCC

UCLA student Kelly Osajima addresses about 200 people at UCLA protesting a past UC Regents meeting.

The UC Regents began its second day of meetings in Riverside with an hour of very angry public comment.

Speakers were emotional and tense as many students, professors, staff and alum went over their time limit. Some yelled derogatory comments and expletives angry about rising tuition fees. After the meeting students conducted a "mic check" and disrupted the meeting; audio streaming went offline as board chair Sherry Lansing addressed students who remained to protest.

A group of protesters also marched outside chanting "Whose university? Our university" and holding signs such as "Cut Yudof Off Not Education." Some had their faces covered as campus police stood nearby at the ready.

Here is a sampling of public comment from this morning:

A Cypress College professor of political science said Gov. Pete Wilson paid $37 a semester when he went to school, or the equivalent of $200 today. He said his newly born daughter already has to save to go to a UC she probably won't be able to afford it.

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Helping teachers one latte at a time

DonorsChoose

Vergara / DonorsChoose.org

A teacher is able to supply guitars to his students thanks to gift card donations as part of a partnership between LAUSD and the Wasserman Foundation (using the online nonprofit DonorsChoose.org).

Looks like buying that latte will also bring good karma Monday.

Nearly 200 L.A. Starbucks coffee shops will give away 285,000 gift cards — worth $10 each — to the public Monday so that they can help pay for an LAUSD or charter school classroom project, officials said.

The money comes as part of a unique partnership between the district and the Wasserman Foundation that launched in November. Through the program teachers have, to date, received about $2 million to buy supplies ranging from paper to iPads. 

The foundation donated $4 million for teachers in the form of gift cards ($2 million broken up into $15 cards and sent out to schools) and matching funds (up to $1 million each year for two years). The gift cards qualify for matching funds as well, as long as there are no more than two projects for a total of $1,000 each per teacher. The district sent the cards out to schools in December, and each school decided how best to get them to the district's roughly 600,000 parents, district officials said.

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UC Regents will rally at state Capitol with students, faculty to oppose education cuts

Mercer 20644

David Paul Morris/Getty Images

An exterior of the state capitol building in Sacramento, California.

The UC Board of Regents plan to rally on the steps of the state Capitol alongside students, faculty and other supporters in May to oppose education budget cuts, officials said today.

The regents are meeting today and Thursday at UC Riverside. The Board of Regents chair Sherrry Lansing made the announcement this morning, building on a promise made at the UC Regents at their meeting at UCLA in November. That was when students upset over rising tuition fees and campus violence against protesters converged on the regents as they met via teleconference and broke up their meetings.

The 10-campus system was hit with $750 million in budget cuts in 2011 — roughly a 25 percent reduction from the previous year — and faces another possible $200 million in cuts in 2012. UC has had to cut programs, raise tuition fees, and worked to attract students from out-of-state and abroad to try and make up the revenue.

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UC Regents meet in Riverside to talk protesters, professor firing and the budget

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AP / Paul Sakuma

University of California President Mark Yudof.

The UC Regents are meeting today and Thursday at UC Riverside and can be listened to via audio streaming here.

A couple items of note on the agenda (a lot of the interesting ones are in closed session):

There will be an update in closed session today on "pending or threatened litigation" coming out of the UC Davis and UC Berkeley student protests. In November, UC President Mark Yudof initiated a systemwide examination of police protocols and policies on all 10 UC campuses after police pepper sprayed peaceful protesters at UC Davis and at UC Berkeley beat them with batons. Images of both incidents were caught on video and went viral online, spurring protests and public outcry

Later that month, the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office and Sheriff’s Department called on California Attorney General Kamala Harris to investigate the police use of pepper spray on peaceful protesters at UC Davis.

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