Chancellor George Blumenthal and executive vice chancellor Allison Galloway met with Student Media Organizations for their Quarterly Meeting on Oct. 10. Blumenthal discussed private UC funding and the critical race and ethnic studies movement on campus.
CHP: Regarding the Sept. 15 Board of Regents meeting: there was a certain sentiment that the UC system ought to be pursuing more sources of private funding, in light of President Yudof’s four-year proposal. What are your thoughts on this?
Blumenthal: We would love to see more private funding, no doubt about that. Don’t be misled that we don’t already do private funding. Last year, our private funding was up 10 percent. We already do a lot. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do or try to do more … There is an effort to reach out to the largest corporations in California, who are in some ways beneficiaries of higher education because they get to hire trained people. That’s a perfectly legitimate thing to do. The bottom line is, we’ve taken tremendous cuts … President Yudof’s plan was a plan to bring some stability, and to make it clear that if tuition goes up, [here’s] where the ﬁnger needs to be pointed: the state and the legislature have not provided adequate funding for us to continue to do what is our mission.
TWANAS: Now that we have seen the critical race and ethnic studies movement go through several steps, students are wondering where you two see your position as salient to the movement, and what involvement you have, if any.
B: We’ve been very supportive of the major. We’ve provided funds for faculty. I’d love to see it happen. We regard it as a major initiative.
Galloway: We’re hoping to get a proposal out of the faculty quickly, and through the academic senate process where it would be approved. Personally, I’m very supportive of this … As executive vice chancellor, I’m delighted to see it move forward.
CHP: In addition to current private funding, what direct approaches do you think would be practical for corporations in showing them their advantage in funding a UC?
B: We owe it to the next generation of students to give back. People take it seriously — our donations were up last year. When I go to a group of business leaders, one of the key questions they ask concerns education and higher education. They run companies that send jobs out of the country because there aren’t enough qualiﬁed people here. It’s obvious that there should be more ﬁnancial support for the beneﬁt of our state, country and economy.
CHP: Do you think the UC system at large has done enough with regard to providing information for students about the fee increases?
B: Almost certainly no. We could do a better job of it, and we could do a better job of communicating with the people of California and the legislation. It’s frustrating that, though last year was great in terms of lobbying in Sacramento to bring the issue forward, at the end of the day higher education cuts were devastating. We have to do better, or we have to ﬁnd alternatives — private fundraising, specially designated higher education funding from the state. We have to do something else.
CHP: What can students do to impress upon the private sector that it is in their best interest to invest in the UC system now?
B: I was really impressed by how students, faculty and admins worked together in Sac[ramento] last year. We came together to convey that we had the same message. I think that can translate in the private sector as well. I think it would be entirely appropriate to respectfully have student groups meet with private sector groups. Some are already there: The Silicon Valley Leadership Group is as supportive as any of higher education. We need to reach out more broadly to individual companies, though.