UC Regents discuss university accessibility
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The University of California Board of Regents met in San Francisco March 23 to discuss the future of the UC system and what changes need to be made.

Heavy security lined the doors to the conference room where Regents discussed recommendations that included encouraging three-year degrees, charging more to attend higher profile schools like UC Berkeley and UCLA and adding more online courses.

Outside the conference room, high school, UC students, groups against racism and UC service workers protested recommendations that appear to privatize the UC schools. Sounds of "Hey hey, ho ho, budget cuts have got to go" drowned out the speakers at times.

"We're here because the Regents are here," said Hank Chapot, a gardener at UC Berkeley and member of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. "People say 'UC is a good deal,' but it was designed to be free. Now they're saying we have to get more foreign students because they'll pay triple. "

The Regents also discussed steps they could take to make it possible for undocumented students to receive financial aid for UC schools. Some students do not realize they are undocumented until they apply for financial aid, and many have grade point averages that are higher than the average high school entrant.

"I want to push the recommendations and push the range of what's possible," said Board of Regents Chair Russell Gould. "The gap is so large and so fundamental. If we don't see the train wreck coming, then we don't have our eyes on the horizon."

The Regents were expected to discuss the rash of racist incidents that have spread over UC campuses in recent months. However, the only discussion of the nooses found at the UC San Diego campus or the swastika carving at UC Davis were brought up during public comment.

Public comment got heated after the Board announced that only 15 minutes remained. Protesters groaned and UC workers yelled that they had waited all day to be heard.

Monica Smith, a member of the UCLA group By Any Means Necessary, was one of the speakers given a minute to talk. During her time she spoke of the need to keep from creating a glass ceiling for minorities to be able to enter UC schools.

"Students are angry. Black, Asian, Latino, all students are angry," Smith said.

After passing her allotted minute, Smith continued to speak until security guards pulled her away from the microphone.

Two additional days of discussion are planned for the UC Commission on the Future.

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COMMENTS

lecloche said

Forget it. UC is now the university of the elite and is no longer relevant.

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