How Gov. Brown could ace Napolitano on U.C. tuition

How Gov. Brown could ace Napolitano on U.C. tuition

Janet_NapolitanoAs Chris Reed noted last week, U.C. President Janet Napolitano has another thing coming if she thinks she can push a huge U.C. tuition hike past Gov. Jerry Brown. L.A. Times columnist George Skelton just agreed in a column titled, “Gov. Jerry Brown has plenty of weapons to fight UC’s Janet Napolitano“:

Brown and the Legislature could “buy out” the first year’s tuition hike for about $100 million, UC says.

The governor has offered to increase state funding by 4% — roughly $120 million — each year for the next two if tuition stays flat. He has hiked it 5% each of the last two under a tuition freeze.

But Napolitano says UC needs more — an additional 9% annually — to pay for recent pay increases, rising retirement costs, hiring extra instructors and admitting more students.

Dean WormerFirst, Brown says, UC needs to spend existing dollars more wisely — “reduce the university’s cost structure, while increasing [student] access and quality.” He wants Napolitano to create a committee to study such stuff.

Actually, there’s a lot more Brown could do to get a backdown from the Napolitano and her Dean Wormer imitation.

He has the Legislature on his side. In rejecting the hike, on the Board of Regents Brown was joined by Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, D-San Diego; former Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles; Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom; and Superintendent of Public Instruction.

And no doubt legislators back home for the Thanksgiving holiday are getting an earful of complaints from both students and parents.

One thing Brown could take aim at is the U.C. system’s top-heavy administrative waste. Check out this graph, from ReclaimUC. It shows how U.C. now has more administrators than faculty.

University of California administrators

Brown easily could get the Legislature to pass a bill cutting administration slots by 10 percent a year for five years — effectively cutting costs for the whole system at about 5 percent a year, the amount of tuition increase Napolitano is seeking.

Would such cuts reduce the faculty’s prized “academic freedom”? No, because the faculty would be untouched. Only non-academic functionaries clogging the system would be given the axe. In fact, without busybody bureaucrats hanging around, the faculty would have more freedom.

Again, check out the graph. If faculty were cut 10 percent a year for five years — about by half — there still would be more administrators than 20 years ago, when the administrative bloat began. So there still would be enough administrators to fill out payrolls, keep up the buildings and grounds, put fraternities on “double-secret probation.”

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