RIVERSIDE — Despite passionate pleas that another sharp fee increase will close the University of California's doors to many students, an unusually divided UC Board of Regents voted Friday to raise fees by $995, or 33%, for next fall and to temporarily cut employees' pay by 5%.
As a result, average fees for a UC undergraduate who is a California resident will be $4,039 in the 1993-94 school year. Additional costs for books, room and board can bring annual bills to about $11,300, although UC officials promise increased financial aid for the needy.
The 12-7 vote for the austerity package revealed strong misgivings among regents about how the nine-campus system is reacting to the continuing decline in state tax money for UC. Regents who voted against the plan contended that administrative spending should be cut more deeply or salary reductions made permanent before asking students to bear more costs.
"We have to take radical, radical surgery," said Regent Tirso del Junco, a Los Angeles doctor who is also the chairman of the state Republican Party. He was upset that despite the fee increases and the one-year pay reduction for most UC employees, a third of the faculty still will be eligible for 2% merit raises, thus decreasing their pay cut to 3%.
Del Junco's vote against UC President Jack W. Peltason's proposals may signal trouble in the state Legislature over UC's budget. Ironically, del Junco's sentiments were echoed by an otherwise ideological foe, state Sen. Tom Hayden (D-Santa Monica).
"The bond between the generations which has been characteristic of the 'California Dream' in particular and the 'American Dream' in general will be broken by these fee increases," Hayden told the regents. The fee increases, which will total 150% over four years, "have the net effect of shutting the doors of higher education to students who are academically qualified," he said.
Hayden's statement came on the same day that a full-page advertisement he wrote on similar topics ran in the West Coast Edition of the New York Times. It advocates closing tax loopholes to fund education and reforming the appointment procedures for UC and Cal State governing boards. It also requests donations to defray the ad's $2,900 cost, paid for by a Hayden campaign organization.
The regents previously approved a $605 fee increase for 1993-94, but Peltason said that another $390 was needed to help plug the $138-million, or 7.3%, reduction in UC's state support recommended by Gov. Pete Wilson. "We won't raise student fees a penny more than we have to," Peltason said.
Peltason's plan also includes: cutting enrollment by 2,000 from the current 165,700 students; restoring the onetime 5% pay cuts--which also extend to all UC administrators--at retirement or separation and restoring pay to the full level in 1994-95; eliminating about 1,000 jobs, partly through another early retirement incentives program, and trimming expenses in his office and in UC hospitals.
Peltason continued his support for faculty merit pay raises, saying such rewards are crucial for academic quality at a time when other universities may see UC professors as being ripe for recruitment.
Under Friday's action, a third of the revenues from the fee increases will go toward additional financial aid. But Tobin Freid, president of the systemwide UC Student Assn., said that at least 44% should be spent on grants. Predicting that thousands of students would be forced to drop out, she said: "Planning a budget without adequate financial aid is simply irresponsible."
There was no repeat of the student demonstration that disrupted the regents' meeting Thursday. However, UC Berkeley Prof. Charles Schwartz was pushed out of the room by security guards when he attempted to speak without approval.
The regents' vote was one of the closest on a major issue in recent years.
In addition to Peltason, voting for the fee increase and other proposals were Regents Roy T. Brophy, Clair W. Burgener, John G. Davies, Alice J. Gonzales, S. Sue Johnson, Meredith J. Khachigian, Leo S. Kolligian, Howard H. Leach, Lester Lee, alumni representative Carl J. Stoney Jr. and Dean A. Watkins.
Voting no were: W. Glenn Campbell, Ward Connerly, del Junco, alumni Regent Paul J. Hall, Jacques S. Yeager, student Regent Alex Wong and Lt. Gov. Leo T. McCarthy, an ex-officio board member. S. Stephen Nakashima abstained.
In the state's other public university system, California State University trustees on Wednesday raised next year's fees on its 20 campuses by 36%, or $480.