Release: Senator Hernandez Proposes Constitutional Amendment to Overhaul University of California Governance

May 23, 2017

SCA 14 Changes the UC Board of Regents and the Office of the President

SACRAMENTO – Today, Senator Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina) introduced Senate Constitutional Amendment 14 that makes sweeping changes to the University of California (UC) Board of Regents and limits the budgetary autonomy of the UC Office of the President. 

“I believe education is the greatest equalizer and our students deserve to have all the support necessary in order to succeed. The recent report from the State Auditor makes it clear that change is needed within the system,” said Senator Hernandez. “We need more accountability from the Office of the President and new perspectives on the Board of Regents.  We owe it to our students and their hard working families to fight for necessary changes within our publicly-funded higher education system.”

The UC’s world-renowned, premier research institutions are consistently ranked as some of the top public universities in the nation, providing countless students throughout California and from around the world with access to a quality education and a path to economic prosperity.  That said, serious questions raised by the State Auditor’s report, combined with recent tuition increases, have triggered calls for more accountability in how the University of California system is governed.

Under SCA 14, the UC will continue to maintain the same academic independence it has enjoyed since 1879, but it will provide Californians with more oversight.  SCA 14 would require more faculty, student, and staff representation on the Board of Regents, and that the UC Office of the President has their budget directly allocated by the Legislature.  SCA 14 also gives the Chancellor of the Community Colleges a seat on the Board of Regents and reduces the appointed members’ terms from 12 years to 4 years, with a maximum of 3 terms.

The constitutional authority of the UC system was last amended in 1976, when California’s population was about 20 million people and annual tuition for in-state students was $630. Currently, the state has 40 million residents and annual tuition for in-state students is $13,500.

“California has grown and changed since 1976,” said Hernandez. "It is only natural that we have a conversation about how the University of California’s governance can best reflect and adapt to those changes."  

If approved by 2/3 of the State Legislature, SCA 14 will appear before voters on the November 2018 ballot.

Read the recent Los Angeles Times story on SCA 14 - State senator to introduce a constitutional amendment to limit UC's 138-year-old autonomy: http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-uc-autonomy-limit-20170523-story.html