Dear Students, Faculty, Staff, and Community Members,
We are writing to have our voices heard and call people to action to defend public education. Our futures are being mortgaged in order to maintain bloated administrative salaries and further privatize critical social services across this state, country, and around the world.
In the past decade alone the UC has seen a 342.2% increase in tuition and fees. This trend directly corresponds with a period of exorbitant administrative growth and devastating cuts to instruction, support services and staff, and other critical UC programs. On December 13, 2011 Governor Jerry Brown announced another $100 million in cuts to the UC system, which brings the total to $750 million this fiscal year alone.
The annual fees for attending a UC were $3,859 in 2001-2002; now they are $13,218, and estimated to increase substantially within the next four years. This trend runs completely contradictory to the 1960 CA Master Plan which calls for tuition-free public higher education in this state. Quality, accessible public higher education is a cornerstone for establishing social and economic equality on local to global levels and as such demands our active support and protection.
Our public institutions of higher education are being actively privatized and glutted by regents, trustees and administrators who are deeply invested in large private business interests. These people and the interests they represent want to continue profiting from a drive to remake our public institutions in the image of private-for-profit models.
We are asking that all of us continue to take a stand and fight back to defend our public institutions against the betrayal of many of those charged with their protection. As the students, faculty, and staff who run California’s public colleges and universities, it is our responsibility to assert every day that these are OUR SCHOOLS and that we are not powerless to further the mission of maintaining affordable, accessible and quality public higher education not only in this state, but around the world. An accessible educational experience is important for people everywhere to be able to obtain if they so choose that we might construct a more equitable, just and peaceful world for everyone.
The UC regents are invested with the responsibility of “managing” the UC system. They have insistently refused to engage in constructive dialogue with students, faculty and staff on critical issues that have been repeatedly brought to their attention. Some of them are personal friends and/or business partners of former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger or other influential politicians and that is precisely how they obtained their initial appointment as regents. A vast majority of the current regents have no professional background in public education and a corresponding majority of them maintain direct ties to business interests that seek to develop financially profitable relationships with the UC and other public institutions.
Banks and other corporations get bailed out and we get sold out, time and again. The regents’ silence in Sacramento fits the destructive model of privatization that they have in mind for the UC. As part of this agenda, it also fits their interests to raise the salaries of administrators even as they tell the rest of us that we need to “continue making sacrifices.”
We are the instruments of change and the power to create it lies in our hands. Enough is enough. We will let our voices be heard and continue to demand that the UC regents and administrators be held accountable. Please join us for a day of non-violent protest at the regents’ next meeting, which is scheduled to take place at UC Riverside on January 17-19, 2012. A day of mass mobilization to defend public education is being called for Thursday, January 19, 2012 at UC Riverside. Come join us as we continue the fight to defend and maintain quality and accessible public education not only in this state but around the world.
Concerned Students, Faculty, Staff and Community Members of UC Riverside
p/s: Please click the link & sign the Regent Reform petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/uc-regent-reform