The ‘State of the University of California’ Meeting Fails To Inform

On Apr. 7, ASUCI hosted an open forum on the UC budget. The forum was the first meeting in the “State of the UC: The Impacts on Students” series. The forum that began at 6:00 p.m. in Doheny Beach A began with an introduction by ASUCI President Megan Braun and included speakers such as Vice Chancellor for Planning and Budget Meredith Michaels and Associate Vice Chancellor of Budget Rich Lynch.

Michaels noted that in the past two years, the UC budget saw “unprecedented cuts.” The Powerpoint presentation, which can be found on ASUCI’s Web site, covered budget-related topics concerning the state, UC system and UCI campus itself.

“This is supposed to be an educational forum for students,” Braun said.

The purpose of the forum, she noted, was to help students understand the budget. Of the group that was gathered, there were less than a dozen students in attendance.

Less than a half hour after the forum began, fourth-year English major James Lager raised several concerns about the budget issue, the purpose of the “State of the UC” meeting and ASUCI’s role as representatives of the UCI student body.

“Isn’t it reductive to come to us after the fee increase?” Lager asked, referring to the 32 percent fee increase the Regents approved at their UCLA meeting last November. “Why is this ex-post facto rather than proactive?”

The speakers replied to Lager with charts and graphs that detailed the cuts UCI was faced with as a result of the state’s declining investment in the UC system. “The state [of California] is not a reliable partner,” Michaels said.

“We aren’t mad at the state,” Lager responded. “We’re mad at the UC.”

As the speakers attempted to regain control of their presentation, Lager continued to raise questions and issues until the meeting ended at 7:15 p.m. with no Q&A session as previously proposed.

The next forum, which will be on free speech, is scheduled for this Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. in Doheny Beach A.