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May Regents Meeting Recap

During their bimonthly meeting last week, the UC Regents unanimously approved Gov. Jerry Brown’s funding plan that would freeze tuition at the university for the next two years.

The decision came in the wake of Brown’s budget announcement a week prior, in which he proposed increasing funds to the UC by four percent annually through mid 2019. If approved by state lawmakers, the proposed budget would grow state contribution from the current $3 billion to $3.2 billion over the next few years.

If approved by state lawmakers by July 1, the tuition freeze will go into effect for the 2015-2016 school year. However, the freeze does not apply to graduate students, out-of-state students, and students seeking professional degrees.

However, this freeze is conditional, allowing UC President Janet Napolitano to increase tuition, with limits, beginning in the 2017-2018 year to adjust for inflation, which is currently set at a rate of 1.7 percent. Additionally, the freeze will not be applied to nonresident undergraduates, whose tuition rates will be raised by $1,830 for the 2015-2016 year.

At the meeting a point of clarification said that Napolitano would have to ask for the regents’ permission before approving any tuition increases. Napolitano, who initially proposed the tuition increase in the fall, cannot increase fees past the inflation rate without the regents’ consent.

Another major point of discussion at the meeting was a petition that has been circulated among UC campuses addressing an increase in alleged anti-Semitism in recent years due to boycott, divestment and sanction movements. The petition asks for the regents to adopt the US State Department definition of anti-Semitism.

Regents also elected regent Monica Lozano as the new chair of the board for a one-year term starting July 1. Lozano, who has served on the board since 2001, will be replacing Bruce D. Varner, whose term expires on June 30. Lozano is currently serving as vice chair of the board’s committee on compensation and also serves on committees for educational policy, finance, investments and long-range planning.

The regents also re-elected Fred Ruiz as vice chair of the board until Feb. 29, 2016. Ruiz currently serves on the committees of finance, compliance and audit,  grounds and buildings, health services, and long-range planning.