Last week, state lawmakers authorized an audit of the UC Office of the President, located in Oakland.
The University of California system is headquartered at the Office of the President, which is located in downtown Oakland near the 12th Street BART station.
As explained on its website, the President’s Office is responsible for “managing [UC’s] fiscal and business operations, and supporting the academic and research missions across its campuses, labs and medical centers.”
But state lawmakers have raised questions recently regarding the office’s spending, which “has nearly doubled in recent years,” as well as about the size of its staff, with official counts “vary[ing] by nearly 500 people, depending on who’s doing the counting,” according to an SF Gate article.
All of this is happening against the backdrop of an anticipated tuition increase — “UC’s regents are expected to raise tuition for fall 2017 for the first time since 2011” — as well as an audit conducted in March that demonstrated the university “admits thousands of higher-paying out-of-state students with lower grades and test scores than state residents as a way to raise cash,” according to the same SF Gate article referenced above.
In response, state lawmakers took action last Wednesday to authorize an eight-month, $418,000 audit of the UC Office of the President.
The goal? To “determine whether its $686 million annual budget — more than twice that of the Legislature — is money well spent,” as the SF Gate put it.
Leading the charge on this issue were Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), who chairs the budget committee, and Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), who chairs the budget subcommittee on education finance.
Last month, Ting and McCarty had penned a letter to Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez (D-Pomona), who chairs the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, to formally request that it conduct an audit of the UC Office of the President.
“As UC advocates for more state funding, and as it contemplates potential student tuition increases in the future, the Legislature needs a clearer picture of UC costs,” wrote Ting and McCarty.
According to state auditor Elaine Howell, “[T]he audit will identify the true number and cost of employees at the president’s office for the last five years. The audit will also look at the president’s budget and whether campuses benefit from spending by the president’s office, among other areas.”
In response to the news last week that the state would proceed with the audit, Cal alumnus Ting took to Facebook to explain his reaction: