The University of California is calling on all students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends to unite behind an aggressive push to make funding UC a state priority.
With the state 2010-11 budget cycle beginning in early January, UC is stepping up efforts now to let legislators and the governor know how critical their support is in preserving the university's commitment to quality and student access.
The campaign seeks to build the ranks of the nearly 200,000 advocates who already have lent their support to UC. Through advertising in student publications and on Facebook, the university is encouraging people to sign up on the UC for California Web site and join a letter-writing campaign. No taxpayer funds are being used in the advertising.
"While I appreciate the fiscal challenges that confront California, it must be made clear that UC is not a luxury," said UC President Mark G. Yudof. "It is an investment — the best investment this state can make in its future."
At their November meeting, UC Regents voted on a 2010-11 budget proposal that asks the state for $913 million more in funding. That amount includes money to restore core funding for UC's operations and to meet the state’s funding obligation to employees in the UC Retirement Plan. The budget request also includes money to support more than 14,000 enrolled students for which the state currently provides no funding.
The dramatic slide in state support for higher education over the last two years is jeopardizing student opportunity and UC's ability to serve California.
"The effects of the budget cuts are evident across the UC system from layoffs and pay cuts to fee increases and program reductions," Yudof said. "Given what's at stake, it is imperative that the state provide the $900 million we are requesting to preserve access and quality for the people of California."
Since late summer, more than 26,000 UC advocates have written e-mails and letters to state legislators and the governor. Between now and January, when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger releases his state budget, UC supporters are being asked to make their voices heard by:
- Joining the UC for California network if they are not already a member
- Sending the governor an e-mail or letter asking the state to reinvest in higher education and support UC’s budget request
- Asking friends and family to join the campaign
"It’s time for us all to come together now," Yudof said. "If we do, we’ll be a powerful force."