Say Can UC?
Investigating the UC bosses…
Lloyd Billingsley] 12/9/05
Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez called for an investigation into
practices in the University of California (UC) system. There
is ample cause for concern on several fronts.
system claims to be chronically short of funds. It has therefore
increased student fees 79 percent in recent years, including
an eight-percent increase next year for undergraduates. But
as a recent investigation by the San Francisco Chronicle pointed
out, during the last fiscal year UC bosses have doled out a
full $871 million in bonuses and stipends to faculty and administrators
-- more than enough, as the Chronicle noted, to cover the 79-percent
increase in student fees.
Most of the
compensation went to more than 8,500 employees who received
$20,000 or more above their already high salaries. That figure
excludes perks such as free housing and even concert tickets.
K. Lloyd Billingsley
[Courtesty of Pacific Research Institute]
Lloyd Billingsley is Editorial Director for the Pacific
Research Institute and has been widely published
on topics including on popular culture, defense policy,
education reform, and many other current policy issues.
[go to Billingsley index]
have not exactly been up-front about their lavish spending.
A September consultants’ report, part of a proposal
for yet more management raises, conveniently failed to mention
it, and even UC regents remain in the dark. They approve salaries
of more than $168,000, but UC bosses have leeway to spend on
their own. As the Chronicle investigation points out, they do.
They publicize the base salary of administrators and faculty,
but not the perks and bonuses. According to UC regent John Moores,
this should all be disclosed and the university should be "transparent."
The boilerplate response is that the big bucks
are necessary to attract the top people, and that UC administrators
compared to other places. When the Assembly holds hearings next
year, they should see how those claims stand up. While they are
at it, they should also consider whether some layers of UC's
administrative sediment could be removed. For example, there
seems to be an abundance of redundant offices such as "assistant
Other concerns also merit investigation. Next
year is the tenth anniversary of Proposition 209, the voter-approved
that eliminated racial preferences in state education, employment
and contracting. The University of California system eliminated
such preferences on its own, but in April, new UC-Berkeley chancellor
Robert Birgeneau claimed that "inclusion is greatly threatened," and
that he felt a moral obligation to address it. Chancellor Birgeneau,
a Canadian, is not likely referring to past UC policies that
discriminated against high-scoring Asian students on the grounds
that there were already too many of them at Berkeley. In the
parlance of political correctness, inclusion and diversity are
code terms for quotas and racial preferences.
Chancellor Birgeneau needs to understand that there is no majority
in California, and that university admissions are bound to reflect
personal differences, effort, and choice. Above all, he needs
to understand that Proposition 209 is the law, and that racial
preferences in admissions are illegal. Legislators need to make
sure the UC system is complying with the law.
The purpose of the University of California is to provide a
quality higher education for California's best students. It was
not created as a racial spoils system, and it does not exist
for the enrichment of administrators.
A footnote on the spending issue: Assembly Speaker Nunez, a
UC regent, was one of the loudest voices in favor of a 12-percent
hike in salary for legislators, which goes into effect this week
and maintains California's number-one ranking in legislative
pay. At least 17 out of 120 legislators declined the raise because
of California's chronic budget deficits. CRO
2005 Pacific Research Institute