Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Power of 10? How UCSB is being Screwed

The University of California likes to say that one of the things that make it the best public university system in the world is that the system acts as if it is a single system with pooled resources and power.  However, there are often large inequities within the system.  In fact, for several decades, tuition dollars and state funds were distributed in a secret and unfair way. It took a UC-AFT sponsored state audit to help change this system.  Now, tuition dollars are kept on the campuses, and there is an ongoing effort to distribute state funds in a more equitable fashion, yet decades of inequity cannot be easily reversed.

One of the major effects of this long history of secret subsidizations is that the campuses without medical centers have much lower staff and faculty salaries.  Unfortunately, these under-funded campuses are also the campuses with the highest numbers of under-represented minority students.  Adding insult to injury, the new healthcare plans for the UC system discriminate against UCSB, which also has some of the lowest salaries in the system.
Although we should support the UC effort to take advantage of the fact that it has many outstanding medical facilities, we should remember that these institutions have been built out of a secret subsidy, which has disadvantaged campuses like UCSB.  The medical centers and schools have also relied on shared UC resources to finance their debt and construction endeavors. Moreover, while it is not uncommon for medical professors and administrators to make over $300,000 a year, most other UC faculty and staff have seen their salaries stagnate.
Everyone in the system has to embrace a broader understanding of equity and the power of 10.