Editorial: A cause for concern at UCSD
by Claire Harlin
Published - 01/26/11 - 03:37 PM | 7553 views | 0 0 comments | 33 33 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Over the last couple months, $4 million in salary increases and bonuses for University of California executives have been granted by UC system President Mark Yudof, despite having a $1 billion budget gap on the horizon.

UC also has a lawsuit pending, in which the system is demanding tens of millions more in retirement for high-paid executives — all while Yudof made sweeping changes to his workers’ retirement benefits last month, including tripling seniors’ healthcare costs and increasing the retirement age from 60 to 65.

More than 100 UC San Diego workers, retirees and students protested outside the UC Regents meeting at the La Jolla campus on Jan. 20 in an effort to tell UC officials, “That’s not fair.” Not only do we agree it’s not fair, but we hope the sentiment was heeded.

We understand UC needs to keep its executives’ pay competitive with other universities, but those execs seem to be doing alright. The L.A. Times reported the base pay for UC executives in various financial positions is between $216,370 and $247,500, and a recent regents’ meeting agenda shows Yudof got an annual salary package of $1,023,487 in 2010. That compensation includes $246,487 in retirement, $39,000 in moving expenses, a $138,000 rental home and an $8,916 auto allowance.

The paradox is that workers like Rosa Hernandez, a 49-year-old Chula Vista resident and mother of two who has been on the UCSD custodial staff for more than 8 years, takes home less than $2,000 a month and may have to start looking toward public assistance programs since Yudof trimmed down employee benefits.

Students are also in an unfortunate position. Yudof is saying layoffs and course reductions are inevitable, and that he expects to have to turn away 20,000 to 30,000 qualified students over the next decade because the UC system won’t have the money to educate them. This will really be felt by UCSD, which received 70,474 applications for fall 2011. That total is not only the second-highest number received by a UC campus, but it reflects a 12.1-percent increase in incoming freshman applications.

We understand universities nationwide are having to tighten their belts, but institutions of higher education should be at the forefront of setting moral examples to our leaders of tomorrow — those who don’t get turned away, that is — and this situation reeks of unjustness.

— Claire Harlin is the editor of the Village News

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