Denham Introduces ‘Student Protection Act’

Sacramento – Senator Jeff Denham (R-Merced) today introduced the “Student Protection Act,” which would require California State University (CSU) and the University of California (UC) to provide a waiting period for tuition and fee increases, and a cap on the amount of any hike.
 
“Students need to be protected from sudden, unexpected and excessive fees and tuition increases,” said Denham.  “My legislation will give students and parents some time to prepare for higher costs, and make sure those increases are not too much to bear.”
 
The “Student Protection Act” requires the UC (Senate Constitutional Amendment 26) and CSU (Senate Bill 917) to provide a 180-day waiting period between when a governing board approves a tuition or fee increase and when students have to pay the hike.  It will also limit fee increases to no more than 10 percent per year.
 
“It is outrageous that the Regents recently hiked student fees by 32 percent midyear,” said Denham.  “Instead, UC should be looking at how to cut waste like obscene UC administrative salaries, benefits and severance packages, and UC’s Tahiti island getaway.”
 
The UC president makes in excess of $800,000 per year in salary and benefits, and according to the Sacramento Bee (December 6, 2008), “16 employees (were) paid a total of $682,431 to leave jobs in the UC President’s Office.” 
Some of these same employees were rehired at different UC campuses just a few days later, earning more than their previous positions.  For example, UC employee Ingrid H. Schmidt received a five-figure severance package to voluntarily leave her position in Oakland, and then started a new job at UC Davis the next day. She kept $46,100 in severance from the old job, and then received a 13 percent raise for her new position
According to the San Jose Mercury News, (April 14, 2008, “Amid state budget crunch, UC runs island paradise”).
 
“The University of California has created a little-known South Pacific station it calls research “paradise” on what some travelers consider the most beautiful island in the world…surrounded by clear waters lapping white-sand beaches, and covered by forests topped by jagged peaks, it’s ‘UC Berkeley’s best-kept secret,’ declares the Berkeley Science Review. Real estate agents call it ‘Fantasy Island.’”
 
Visit http://moorea.berkeley.edu/facilities to take a virtual tour of UC’s fantasy island resort.
 
 
According to the Sacramento Bee (Dec. 4, 2009) the CSU wrongly paid an official over $152,000 in expenses:
 
California State University reimbursed a high-ranking official in the chancellor’s office $152,441 for expenses he should not have billed to the university, according to a report released Thursday by the state auditor.
 
Between July 2005 and July 2008, the official billed CSU for expensive hotel stays, travel around the world, meals that cost nearly $167 a head, phone and Internet service at home, and more than $43,000 for commuting between his home in Northern California and his job at the chancellor’s office in Long Beach, according to the audit.
 
“It is unconscionable for our public universities to hit families and students with giant fee increases midyear when these public institutions are failing to be fiscally responsible,” said Denham. “Students are facing a double hit; while fees are being hiked, classes are being cut, forcing some students to take five to six years to graduate. That’s shameful.”

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