The following is a statement from Patrick Lenz, UC vice president for budget, in response to the state Legislative Analyst's opinion on the Governor's higher education proposal:
We disagree with the Legislative Analyst on this one. The report accurately diagnoses the problem - the long-term shift in priorities away from higher education that the Governor noted in making his proposal - but then concludes that no remedies beyond business as usual are needed. The University of California and the California state university system are state treasures, and Californians who care about the future should not be satisfied with a business-as-usual approach. The road to economic recovery and a brighter future for California runs straight through its great public universities, and Californians can't stand by and let them wither for lack of adequate support from the state they serve.
It is especially disturbing to note that the Legislative Analyst believes disinvestment is not a problem because, after all, the universities can raise fees to compensate for the loss. This point of view demonstrates a dim understanding of the Master Plan for Higher Education and what it has meant to the state. It provides hard and clear evidence of what has been the Sacramento approach to higher education over the past two decades: stick students and their parents with what essentially is a user's tax in order to compensate for a declining commitment to higher education.
As we've said all along, the most important element of the Governor's proposal was his challenge to California to rethink its priorities. Our plan is to work with the Governor and the Legislature to develop a viable proposal to restore higher education's place as a top priority for the state.