Chancellor's Friday Letters

Write to Sacramento

Write to Sacramento

May 11, 2012

Dear Friends,

It’s not often that I use the Friday Letter to request that you take action, but this week is an exception.

I ask that you take a few minutes to contact Governor Brown and our legislative leaders on both sides of the aisle to ask that they reinvest in the University of California. The Governor’s revision of the state budget is due on Monday, May 14, so the timing could not be more critical.

And I’ll be in Sacramento again next week to follow up on your message… a one-two punch if you will… to influence political priorities.

The process is simple.  Below are five phone numbers for the Governor and four legislative leaders.  If you would, take a moment to pick up the phone and call Sacramento and share your story.

Specifically, your message should urge our elected officials to provide additional funding for UC in the 2012-13 budget, and request their support for a long-term funding plan for the university.  It is past time to make higher education a priority again.

Nothing less than the future quality of the University of California is at stake.  Not to mention the future of our state.

It is difficult to imagine a better investment in California’s future than to educate a highly skilled workforce so as to keep businesses competitive, create jobs, develop new technologies, and generate badly needed tax revenue.

Just last month, the Campaign for College Opportunity reported that, for every $1 invested by the state, public higher education provides a net return of $4.50.  That’s pretty hard to top.

At the University of California, Riverside, alone, we generate $1.4 billion annually for the state’s economy, and support directly and indirectly 16,335 jobs.  Last year we graduated 4,159 students.  Our research provides advancements in healthcare, engineering, agriculture, education, business, arts and culture, the environment, and our overall understanding of what it means to be human.

All of that is at risk if the state continues to disinvest.  So, too, do we risk degradation of the quality of life for all Californians.

On all campuses, including our beloved Riverside, the learning environment for our students is deteriorating with the multi-year trend of insufficient funds. Already we have seen class sizes grow as much as 300 percent in some of the gateway science courses.  Discussion sections – designed to provide a more intimate, hands-on learning experience – have decreased in number and increased in size up to two-fold.  Our ratio of undeclared science students to academic advisors is 700 to 1… nearly quadruple the recommended national standard.

Our students deserve more.  They and their families are bearing an ever-greater burden of rising tuition costs as the state invests less and less.

Just yesterday Professor Tony Norman, active in teaching and research despite having retired a few years ago, shared with me his powerful message to Sacramento.  Some excerpts: “I have been a Professor of Biochemistry at UC-Riverside for the past 49 years… what has happened to UC in the past 5 or so years is unbelievable!! The world’s best university is just barely identifiable based on the standards that were present in 2005… it hurts so much to see the consequences of lack of even average support on the students…whether a democrat or republican, it is shameful that so far there has been no widespread bipartisan support…if it does not happen, the state of California and its gem the University of California and as well the strong Cal State System will slip below the repair line.”

Let me close by emphasizing that the good that higher education provides is not simply an individual good; it is a public good.  I seek your help in asking our political leaders to place the funding where their values are – in the public good.  In the University for California.  For its people.  For its future.

With many thanks and best wishes,


Tim White, Chancellor

Make sure your voice is heard:

The Honorable Jerry Brown, Governor, (916) 445-2841 (Press 6 to speak to staff)

The Honorable Darryl Steinberg, President Pro Tempore of the Senate (916) 651-4006

The Honorable Robert Huff, Minority Leader of the State Senate (916) 651-4029

The Honorable John A. Pérez, Speaker of the Assembly, (916) 319-2046

The Honorable Connie Conway, Minority Leader of the Assembly, (916) 319-2034

Share your thoughts: http://fridayletters.ucr.edu/leavefeedback

Battery-powered engineers
The first floor of the Bourns College of Engineering’s Winston Chung Hall is off the power grid!  Using power from the sun, a new kind of battery developed in China by entrepreneur and UCR donor Winston Chung is now supplying all the energy needed – one of the largest battery installations at a university anywhere.

Say it ain’t so
UCR’s go-to person when it comes to our 80,000-plus alumni has always been Kyle Hoffman.  But after 22 years at UC Riverside he has been wooed away by UC Merced as vice chancellor in charge of the developing both donor and  alumni and networks. Merced 1, Riverside 0.  Congratulations Kyle for this wonderful professional advancement, and our deepest thanks for your commitment to UCR.

MFAs shine
This weekend and next, UCR MFA students will present a New Play Festival featuring their original work. The plays are performed 8-9:30 p.m. in the Arts Building Studio Theatre, ARTS 113 today and tomorrow and May 17-19. Admission: $10; Parking $5.

Keep up with the latest at UCR Today

What else is going on at UCR?  http://www.ucr.edu/happenings/

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Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

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E-mail: chancellor@ucr.edu