It certainly would be good for UC Riverside if it had a full medical school. Professional schools — especially medical and law schools — add luster to a college's reputation and can attract research money and elite professors. Whether it would be good for the state, or for the University of California as a whole, is another matter. Though we don't object to the concept of increasing the number of such graduate schools, this seems like the wrong time to embark on an expensive new project that will cost the state millions of dollars a year down the road.
UC Riverside currently has a partial medical program, in which students start there but finish their studies at UCLA. Now it is trying to gain accreditation for a full medical school. A similar bid was rejected last year because the state refused to pay for it. This time, as Times staff writer Larry Gordon has reported, the university has come up with alternate financial backing for the school's first decade, some of it from Riverside County government, but also $4 million a year from nonstate resources within the University of California as well as a $30-million university line of credit.
If UC has extra money, though, it should be spending it on serious educational deficits in its existing schools, especially considering the possibility that it might have to pass a big tuition hike if voters don't approve Gov. Jerry Brown's tax measure in November. The university system is on the brink of a real diminishment of its reputation, not for lack of new medical schools but for too few undergraduate courses and professors looking to move on.