There was a budget hearing in Chemistry 194 on March 8, 2011. Although the attendance of students was lower than expected, the students who did attend were involved and interested. Students were given paper to write questions on, and the panel spent most of the meeting answering these. The members of the panel agreed to have another meeting in spring quarter to continue updating students about the status of the budget. The members of the panel included: Bob Powell, Chair of Academic Senate; Kelly Ratliff, Associate Vice Chancellor; Linda Katehi, Chancellor; Ralph Hexter, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor; Fred Wood, Vice Chancellor; Joey Chen, Former ASUCD Controller; and Steven Ybarra, Former Civil Rights Attorney and current Professor.
During the first portion of the hearing, Kelly Ratliff gave a powerpoint presentation about the current state of the budget. The subject that really has to be looked into is where the school’s money is coming from and what it is being used for. Ratliff discussed the difference between restricted and unrestricted funds in her presentation and most of the school’s funding comes from restricted funds. These are funds from the government directed for research, and the medical center. This is not the medical program at Davis but the medical center and hospital in Sacramento. Information about the facts and figures of the budget, changes to the budget, and the goals and principles of the new budget can be found at budgetnews.ucdavis.edu.
The rest of the meeting was dedicated to answering questions that were posted on the website before the meeting, and questions posed by present students. The panel discussed the figures on out-of-state students at UC Davis. Three percent of students are from another state or country, which translates to 618 students out of a total of 25,000. Out-of-state tuition is three times that of in-state tuition, so the chancellor is discussing and debating increasing the number of out of state students. The panel also announced that the admissions board would no longer require SAT subject tests beginning in fall 2012. The panel also stated that lowering staff salaries is not in the future. Staff members are retiring more frequently than the university can replace them, so fewer faculty members have been covering more work. One of the effects of the budget that has already been seen and will continue to be seen is fewer sections and larger class sizes. Class sizes will continue to rise, California’s population has increased in the last decades and the university has not adjusted to accommodate this change. Community college was also greatly discussed, how to prevent students from leaving Davis for community college and how to make the transition from community college to UC Davis easier on students.
The panel suggested that the most important way to get involved with the changing budget is to call local representatives, and have parents call as well. Express how important it is to provide for education in the upcoming budget changes. Another way to get involved is to join several groups on campus, such as SSFAAC (Student Services and Fees Administrative Advisory Committee) and CURB (Campus Unions and Recreation Board). Getting involved in these ways can help keep student interests considered.