University presidents to lobby Sacramento to protect budgets
Originally published by the San Jose Mercury News April 4, 2011
By Sharon Noguchi
Hundreds of administrators, teachers and college students are expected to converge on the state Capitol on Tuesday to lobby against potential deep cuts to higher-education budgets.
University officials hope that “Advocacy Day” in Sacramento will help stave off further reductions to public colleges and universities, as some in the Legislature threaten to adopt an “all-cuts” budget to close the state’s budget gap without additional revenues.
Gov. Jerry Brown already has signed bills reducing the University of California and the California State University systems by $500 million each, and the community college system by $400 million.
But university officials are worried that even deeper reductions would cause critical harm to their institutions and their educational missions. The systems are serving significantly more students than a decade ago, but receive less funding than they did then, said UC spokesman Steve Montiel.
On Tuesday, UC President Mark Yudof, Cal State Chancellor Charles Reed and California Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott and others will meet with legislators and, they hope, the governor.
The state budget crisis has lent urgency to the universities’ annual advocacy mission in Sacramento. Potential cuts, they say, threaten to make public higher education no longer affordable and accessible to all Californians. UC regents already approved an 8 percent increase in fees beginning next fall, and Brown signed legislation increasing community college fees.
The administrators argue that the systems cannot sustain greater cuts without damaging the long-term health of the state and its economy.
Last week, administrators of K-12 schools similarly lobbied legislators to protect school district budgets.
Contact Sharon Noguchi at 408-271-3775.
“ADVOCACY DAY” in Sacramento
9:30 a.m. — Near the west steps to the state Capitol, presidents of three university and college systems issue a “call to action” to supporters of higher education.
10 a.m.-noon — University leaders, faculty and students meet with legislators.
To find out more about “Advocacy Day:” http://www.ucforcalifornia.org/uc4ca/home/events