On Wed, February 16th, Senator Leland Yee will present an official request for the state auditor to examine the finances of the University of California. This audit request has been developed by Yee’s office in conjunction with the California Federation of Labor, UC-AFT, UAW, AFSCME, UPTE, and CNA, and the central areas of concern are how does the UC spend state funds, what levels of unrestricted funds does the university have at its disposal, how does the UC fund administrative positions, how much money is going to instruction, and what does the university do with the overhead income generated from external grants. The state auditor will also be determining how the university allocates and tracks funding for non-salary expenses, like travel, consultants, entertainment, and supplies.
The unions have been asking the university to provide this type of information for years, and we hope that if the senate approves of the audit, we will finally have the answers to many of our questions. In Senate Yee’s press release concerning the audit request, he stresses the fact that the UC budget has not been transparent, and the university seems to generate a new financial scandal every month. One of Senator Yee’s major concerns is the accountability of UC’s administrators, and he hopes the audit will shed light on how the UC spends funds coming from the state and student fees.
While some faculty and students may fear that this is the wrong time to look at how the UC spends its money because any negative finding could result in a further decrease in state funding for the UC system, the unions and several legislators feel that the best way to ensure future funding is to enhance the university’s budget transparency. Once the state has a better understanding of how the university spends its public and private funds, it will be easier for the state to allocate needed funding for the core mission.
If you are interested in supporting this audit, please write an email to Senator Yee’s office at Nicolina.Hernandez@sen.ca.gov