Throughout the year, faculty, students, and employees have been meeting at UCLA to discus the UC fiscal crisis and the Commission on the Future of the University. We decided to form an Alternative Commission because the official commission did not have any union leaders, librarians, and lecturers as members, and the working groups had very little student representation.
One of the first activities of the Alternative Commission was to create and distribute a survey regarding the official commission’s recommendations and other related issues. So far, over 1,000 people have responded to the survey, and we will present the findings on July 15th at the UC Regents meeting in San Francisco. A full copy of the report on the survey can be accessed here.
A major finding of the survey was that most of the students have very little knowledge or understanding about the creation and role of the commission. Moreover, when we outlined the central commission recommendations, most of the students and faculty gave these solutions very low ratings. In fact, we asked people to grade the commission recommendations, and we compiled the following results:
1) The lowest rated recommendation was to reduce the teaching staff by 10%. The vast majority of responses rated this proposal as an F.
2) The second most unpopular idea was to eliminate some majors and to get rid of majors that are duplicated on different campuses. Once again, almost everyone gave this recommendation an F rating.
3) Another idea that did not garner much support was the proposal to schedule yearly fee increases of 10-15%. It is important to note that many people feel that the UC does need to do something about its finances, but students and faculty resist the idea of making students continue to pay for the decrease in state funding.
4) Responders also rejected the notion of different fees for each campus, and there was a strong desire expressed to maintain the unity and equality of the system by holding onto a single fee structure.
5) We also asked people about the idea of having more online courses, and once again, the vast majority of responses were strongly against this recommendation. Many people wrote comments on this idea, and they stated that the move to online education could wind up costing the university more money, while lowering the prestige and quality of UC instruction.
6) We also asked people about the idea of increasing professional fees by 15%, and while this recommendation did receive some positive support, most people felt it would hurt the students who did not pursue the most profitable occupations.
7) Another recommendation that did receive some positive support was the idea of increasing the number of out-of-state students. It is important to note that the people who did support this move wanted to make sure that the number of in-state students also increased.
8) Finally, the recommendation that received the highest support, somewhere in the D+ range, was the notion of three-year degrees. Most people thought that this was a strange idea since so many students can not graduate in four years, but some thought the three-year degree idea showed promise if it could be done correctly.