There were 13 arrests this week in San Francisco as the University of California regents met and raise tuition another 8 percent. Memo to protestors: you're wasting your time and breath on the regents. This is another in a long series of tuition increases. And it won't be the last.
Tuition increases are rational in light of the never-ending state fiscal crisis -- a crisis so deep that $20 billion annual deficits are predicted for the first half of this decade. Since California's public university systems do not have the same kind of special constitutional and budget protections as K-12 education, transportation, and prisons, higher education is virtually guaranteed to be the loser in annual budget contests. Chillingly, the system's chancellor, Mark Yudof, was quoted in today's LA Times today as saying that one reason for the tuition increase is that more cuts in state support for the universities are expected.
He's right, unfortunately. Taxpayer support is now only well less than half of the money that public university campuses rely upon for their budgets. Californians and their elected representatives, through an unwillingness to raise taxes or protect higher education, have chosen this path of de facto privatization. So if students want to protest, they should leave campus and take to the streets.