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UC Tuition Hike Explained: Corporatization
BOB SAMUELS: Well, President Yudof, the president of the University of California system, says that because of state cut to the UC budget from 20 percent of the state contribution, which is—the state only contributes about—contributes only about 15 percent of the total budget, but because of that cut, they say they have to raise student fees. And our argument has been that this is actually a record year of revenue for the UC system, and the problem is they just don’t want to spend the money on instruction. So what they’re doing instead—
AMY GOODMAN: How could it be a record year?
BOB SAMUELS: They brought in a lot of money from the federal stimulus money. They had a record year in their research grants. They had a record year in medical profits. Most of their money is brought in by selling parking, housing and medical services throughout California. So they had a record year in that revenue. They had a record year in grants. And so, actually, last year they ended up getting more money than before from the state, because they got the federal stimulus money.
AMY GOODMAN: And so, what is the justification then? Explain further where that money goes.
BOB SAMUELS: Well, you know, the university says that it’s poor, that it can’t spend money from its other areas on students, on instructions, and so it has to basically—what it’s doing now is laying off hundreds of faculty members, especially the non-tenured lecturers, and it’s increasing class size.
And money is being funneled into the compensation of the star faculty and the star administrators, because in the UC system there’s over 3,000 people who make over $200,000. And many of them make $400,000, $500,000. A lot of them are mostly administrators and staff, and so the university has—basically has fewer and fewer faculty, more and more students and more and more administrators.
And so, what’s going to happen is it takes students longer to graduate. They can’t get the classes they need. And I teach required writing classes at UCLA, and they just laid off our entire department. And we have required classes, so we don’t know what they’re going to do. And the dean of our division told us the university simply does not have money for undergraduate education.....
AMY GOODMAN: And the issue of the non-teaching staffs, the administration?
BOB SAMUELS: That the administration keeps on expanding and growing. They keep on hiring more and more administrators. We’re not exactly sure what they do. And our joke at University of California is, when two administrators walk into a room, three always walk out. So we never know exactly what they do, but there’s just more and more of them.
AMY GOODMAN: So what kind of cuts are they suffering, the administrators?
BOB SAMUELS: The administrators are cutting—are virtually no cuts. In fact, the same meeting, when they decided to raise student fees, they voted on millions of dollars of increased salaries and special bonuses to administrators and to the highest-paid people. And so, there has been several compensation scandals in the UC system. And what they discovered is the UC has secret packages that it gives a lot of its administrators and athletic coaches and some of its star faculty, a small percentage, and that it makes these secret deals, it breaks its own rules, and that money continually floats to the top of the university. So while we think the universities are often these progressive institutions, they often are run like large corporations. And that’s one of our concerns.
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