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Autonomous no more: Proposed bill would take decision-making control away from University of California system




University of California, Irvine, students march on campus to protest tuition increases approved by the UC regents.
University of California, Irvine, students march on campus to protest tuition increases approved by the UC regents.
Adolfo Guzman-Lopez/KPCC

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The University of California system has maintained autonomy for 166 years, but that might be about to change.

A new bill introduced by a bipartisan pair of state senators would take control of UC away from the university. Democrat Ricardo Lara of Los Angeles and Republican Anthony Cannella of Ceres introduced the bill, partially in response to tuition hikes the UC Board of Regents voted to approve last month. While it would not list any specific powers that lawmakers would have over UC, it does give elected officials the final say over any policy approved by the governor-appointed regents, who are currently the highest authority. Senator Lara favors a system more like what California State has, where its 23 campuses are subject to control by legislators when it comes to finances and other key decisions, even though it is still run by a Board of Trustees.

A similar bill failed to meet the two-thirds threshold in 2009. That bill was proposed by then-Sen. Leland Yee of San Francisco, who was upset over the UC regents’ decision to approve six figure salaries and free housing for new chancellors at UC San Francisco and UC Davis.

The bill would require two-thirds approval in both the state Senate and the Assembly but does not require a signature from Governor Jerry Brown.

Do you think the UC system should be stripped of its autonomy? What do you think of the bill introduced by Sen. Lara and Sen. Cannella? How should power be delegated within the UC system?

Guests:

Sen. Ricardo Lara, Democratic California State Senator from Bell Gardens (L.A. County), introduced the bill with Sen. Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres)

Sen. Anthony Cannella, Republican California State Senator from Ceres (Stanislaus County), introduced

Eloy Ortiz Oakley, superintendent president of Long Beach Community College District and member of the UC Board of Regents