Local Governance Urged For U Of California Campuses

Ann McClure's picture

The 10 campuses of the UC system should be given more power to govern themselves and be allowed to set their own tuition, decide how many out-of-state students to enroll, approve construction projects and control some investments under a proposal released Monday by UC Berkeley leaders.

The plan, which is already provoking debate, would maintain the central Board of Regents for such overarching policy matters as admissions standards, state funding and top appointments. But it contends that UC has gotten so complex and governance has become so balky that campus governing boards should be established and given autonomy over many issues, similar to states in a federal system.

"The present monolithic structure of governance inadvertently results in lost opportunities for the campuses. The situation calls for many elements of governance to be closer to the local level," said the report, which was published online at UC Berkeley's Center for Studies in Higher Education. Its authors include Chancellor Robert Birgeneau and center Director C. Judson King, who is the UC system's former provost.

In an interview Monday, Birgeneau insisted the report, "Modernizing Governance at the University of California," was not promoting secession and said he just wanted to start discussion. "It's like you have 10 children and each has different talents and challenges," he said. "We need a system in which each of them receives the kind of attention they need."

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