By Tim Grayson, Councilman, City of Concord
This year, it seems Californians cannot turn on the news without hearing about another scandal at the University of California.
In August it was the shameful resignation of Chancellor Linda Katehi at UC Davis after she spent $175,000 on “consultants” to eliminate bad press and troubling videos of an incident when campus police pepper sprayed student protesters.
Then her counterpart at UC Berkeley, Nicholas Dirks also resigned after it was discovered that he spent $700,000 of taxpayer dollars on a fence around his official residence.
Months ago, state auditors reported that many qualified students from California were denied entry, while University admissions favored out-of-state students because they pay higher tuition.
Enough is enough. Who is standing up for the taxpayers who are paying for the University system year after year?
Californians are sick and tired of hearing about the excess and greed demonstrated by University of California officials. We are tired of hearing stories about our neighbor’s daughter, the honors student and champion athlete who was denied admission to the Berkeley campus.
We are tired of hearing more about the troubling admissions policies that favor out-of-state students who pay top dollar over exceptional California resident students paying in-state tuition. And we are tired of reports of waste and impropriety from University officials. It has to stop.
The University system has changed over the years.
Many of my neighbors and friends recall a time in our state when the University system made California the great land of opportunity it is today. Hard work at one of our best UC institutions provided access to a job at one of the best companies in the world or acceptance into a competitive medical school. Qualified California students were admitted when they demonstrated their ability to compete and this resulted in prosperity for generations of families across the state who benefited from our exceptional institutions.
Today, things have changed. UC leaders have become greedy. From reports of salaries over $400,000 for executives to blatant preferences for out-of-state or foreign students paying higher tuition rates, the focus on making money has to stop.
Our state leadership needs to help the University reset its compass and focus on goals that will continue to serve generations of Californians to come.
The resignations of two UC Chancellors should begin a fresh start, a time when our state refocused our priorities and set forth a higher standard of conduct for University officials.
State leaders need to set strict policies that ensure University officials are held accountable to admissions standards that honor their obligation to California taxpayers.
In the Assembly, I will stand up for legislation to ensure qualified California students have an opportunity to succeed in one of our top institutions and I will work set policies in place to ensure the University is fully accountable to the public so that taxpayer dollars are spent to benefit students, not University administrators.
Grayson has been a Concord resident since 2001 and was elected to serve on the Concord City Council in November 2010. He served as Redevelopment Agency Chair in 2011 and Vice Mayor in 2013. Grayson was Mayor of Concord from 2013 – 2015.