The UC Board of Regents kicked off its second day of meetings Wednesday to discuss the university’s relationship with the state government and the future of UC National Laboratories.
In a joint meeting of the Academic and Student Affairs & Finance Committee and the Capital Strategies Committee, the committees discussed a new multiyear compact between the governor and the UC system.
The compact, which was announced in May 2022, contains annual base budget adjustments of five percent for the university from the 2023-24 year through 2026-27. Additionally, the university has affirmed “ambitious goals” such as increased educational access, increased equity and affordability, among other commitments.
Nathan Brostrom, executive vice president and chief financial officer at the UC Office of the President said that the 5% growth within the compact is “great, historic and unprecedented in our time.”
According to UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang, Gov. Newsom offered an annual 5% increase in state funding to the university if it addresses certain equity issues and if it increases by 25% the number of students graduating with degrees or credentials in STEM areas.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, public speakers expressed dissatisfaction towards the regents.
Michelle Andrews, chair of government relations for the University of California Student Association, said that they urged the board to better prioritize allocating resources “to address acute basic needs crises facing our students every day.”
“It is unacceptable that thousands of UC students are struggling to pay their rents and to find reliable sources of food while the UC is investing billions into unethical corporations like Blackstone that goes against the UC’s stated values,” Andrews said during the public comment portion.
In the afternoon, the National Laboratories committee heard presentations from UC National Laboratories Vice President Craig Leasure on two action items and one discussion item.
The first action item was to request $1.5 million in funding from the university’s reserve bank money in order to fund the renovation of daycare facilities for the Los Alamos National Laboratory, in order to provide childcare. The request was unanimously approved.
The committee also looked at an action item requesting approval to submit a bid to manage the Frederick National Laboratory, which focuses on cancer research.
“We believe that the university’s principles of public service, research integrity and excellence and commitment to education align with the goals of the National Institutes of Health, the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases,” Leasure said at the meeting. “We believe that the nexus of the UC’s national laboratory leadership experience and the UC’s strong biomedical research capabilities are key to successfully competing and managing the Frederick Laboratory following our public service model.”
The regents also voted unanimously to approve this item in which the UC system would manage the Frederick Lab for up to 25 years.
Leasure also presented the UC National Laboratory ratings. Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory scored an A in science and an A minus in other categories from the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. Lawrence Livermore Laboratory and Los Alamos Laboratory received a 91.2% and an 87%, respectively, from the National Nuclear Security Administration.