The UC Regents convened for a meeting on March 13–14. At the time of publication, day one of the meeting had been completed. The issues discussed on March 13 were of little controversy, with the recently discovered multi-million dollar deficit of UC Student Health Insurance being their only issue of major contention. The March 14 meeting will discuss compensation, finance and oversight of Department of Energy labs.

UC President Mark Yudof has only two more regents meetings to attend before his slated resignation in August. Shortly into the March 13 meeting, Yudof expressed his dismay over the recent UC Student Health Insurance Plan (UC SHIP) actuarial error, which chalked up a $57 million deficit.

UC Student Association (UCSA) president Raquel Morales attended the meeting and urged the regents to redact the lifetime cap currently in place under UC SHIP and asked that emergency funding, rather than student premiums, pay for the UC SHIP deficit.

A discussion over the election of a new UC president occurred in a closed meeting. A recent UC press release said a national executive search firm is currently working to submit candidates to a special committee within the board that includes academic, student, staff and alumni advisory groups.

UCSA president Morales, who also chairs the student component of the special committee, also addressed the regents on a variety of UCSA concerns. While stressing the continued need for increased state funding and a tuition freeze for all UC students, Morales called the regents’ attention to a number of more acute stances held by UCSA.

While UCSA supports online education, Morales said the platform must not replace classroom learning. Morales also discouraged Gov. Jerry Brown’s recent proposal of a max unit cap. After concluding her presentation, the regents did not ask any follow-up questions of Morales.

Discussion over the progress of two fiscal stability projects — the Working Smarter initiative and Onward California — were met with approval by the regents.

The savings from the Working Smarter initiative, a five-year project launched in 2010 to cut down on administrative expenses, is slightly ahead of schedule with 34 projects currently underway. Overall, the initiative is intended to save the UC $500 million.

The majority of the over $200 million already saved comes from enterprise risk management, which includes the cost of workplace hazards like lab safety. The initiative is in collaboration with a similar initiative at Cal State University called Synergy.

The regents also viewed a series of videos available as part of the Onward California campaign, which aims to elicit more private donations from individuals and business organizations for the UC. The campaign is also targeting celebrity sponsors and corporate donors.

Chairman of the Board of Regents Sherry Lansing said Onward California, and future projects like it, must be seen as an integral component of revenue for the UC, citing the continuously decreasing certainty of state funding.

New ideas for the project were bounced around at the meeting, including a UC-owned social media platform. This would market student participation to raise funding for student scholarships at each of the UC campuses. The platform is expected to launch in October 2013.

Student Regent Jonathan Stein tweeted his approval of the social media proposal, encouraging the regents to consider more out-of-the-box ideas like this one.

The regents approved the construction of a teaching and learning center for health sciences at UCLA, the funding of which will mostly be covered by gifts UCLA has raised. Representatives from UC Santa Barbara and UC Merced also proposed student housing expansion plans to accommodate increasing enrollment with discussions to continue.