Giving Away the Farm: The Folly in Privatizing UCLA’s Anderson School of Management
"The university was controlled by and had to fight for intellectual purity against the Church, then it had to fight against the crown, and now it's against the corporation."
Gordon Davies, Director of Virginia's Council of Higher Education 2002
Since the University of California System was founded in 1868, generations of Californians have built the UC System into the world renowned institution that it is today through their taxes, gifts, and hard work. The UCLA Anderson School of Management proposes to take a program, buildings, and facilities built with public tax dollars and student tuition and without public, student or governmental oversight turn public property into a private entity. This move would abandon the University of California Charter, give away the equity of generations of Californians, load students with ever increasing tuition bills, effectively deny the Californian middle class access to a school built by Californians for the Californian public, reduce academic freedom at UCLA, create proprietary research owned by corporations not by Californians, and would loosen the floodgates of privatization that could lead to the dismantling of the entire University of California system.
Albert Bierstadt (1830–1902)
Among the Sierra Nevada Mountains, California
183 x 305 cm oil on canvas 1868
Smithsonian American Art Museum
I. Abandoning the University of California Charter
In considering UCLA’s Anderson School of Management’s rush to privatization, UCLA’s Chancellor Gene Block and the UC Regents must take into account the California Master Plan for Higher Education of 1960 which created a system for postsecondary education that defined specific roles for the University of California, the California State University system, and the California Community Colleges system. UC Regents President Clark Kerr stated at that time that the goal was to “foster excellence and guarantee educational access for all.” Signed into law by Governor Brown on April 27, 1960, the University of California Charter’s underlying principles were clear:
1. Higher education needed to be available to all regardless of means.
2. Academic opportunity should be available to all proficient students
3. Each of the three systems would strive for excellence in serving the California public. The UC schools, including UC Berkeley and UCLA, were to be supported as top tier research universities.
Welders/California Taxpayers at Bay Area Kaiser Shipyards During World War II
II. Giving Away the Equity of Generations of Californians
Since the University of California was founded in 1868, generations of Californians have built the UC System into the world renowned institution that it is today through their taxes, gifts, and hard work. The Anderson School proposes to take a program, buildings, and facilities built with public tax dollars and student tuition and effectively deny access to all but the independently wealthy. The Anderson privatization plan abandons the public mission of the UC system, steals the contributions of generations of Californians and will effectively deny future students, especially from the middle class, the opportunity to attend a public University built and paid for by their ancestors.
In an editorial from September 2010, the Los Angeles Times agrees, stating that the Anderson School gets the best of the situation after privatization and “would still benefit from its association with UCLA, a great university whose international prestige was built up by California taxpayers willing to invest in first-rate education and research.”
SANTA MONICA EVENING OUTLOOK
1970's Mural from UCLA'S Ackerman Union (now lost or hidden?)
III. Students Will Pay the Price With Ever-Rising Tuition Bills
In a cynical bid to raise professor and administrator salaries at the UCLA Anderson School of Management, students will immediately make up the difference with tuition increases. The UCLA Anderson Graduate School of Management Proposal for Financial Self Sufficiency Response to Questions and Comments from the Academic Senate (http://www.senate.ucla.edu/documents/ASMFinancialSelfSufficiency_Proposal.pdf) reports that currently the state of California, through UC General Funds, provides $17.9 million in yearly funding out of a total budget of $90.5 million.
The plan if UCLA Anderson opts out of public funding is for tuition, which currently costs $41,000 a year for California residents, to rise to match that of private business schools such as Wharton and Stanford. Tuition for Stanford is currently at $53,118. Current and future California resident students would be faced at least with an immediate $12,000 yearly tuition increase to cover the loss of UC funding.
Surely, potential business students want to control their own finances, too. But as the leaders in the drive to privatize America’s professional schools know well - tuition is a more reliable source of revenue than state or private funding. The Los Angeles Times agrees and states, “If private donations fall short, it will be students who make up the difference in the form of ever-rising tuition bills.”
IV. The Middle Class Will Be Hit Especially Hard If Anderson Goes Private
“In most excellent schools, there are scholarship funds available, and I think universities are very responsive to students in need. However, as education gets more privatized, it becomes less affordable. The people who get squeezed are not the poor, because there are funding sources that target them specifically. And obviously the well to do have the means to send their kids to college. I do think privatization hurts the middle class.”
-Hasan Pirkul, University of Texas at Dallas, Biz/ed, March/April 2005
“At private colleges and universities there is a donut hole for the middle-class family with more than one student in college … They earn too much money to qualify for full financial aid; their family assets suggest that they can contribute to their child's education at a certain level that rarely takes into account the cost of having several children in college simultaneously. The formulation of need packages also tends to examine assets along with income and sometimes distorts that level of liquid assets available to families for contributions to their children's education. The very wealthy and the very poor benefit from the financial aid arrangements at these private schools more than the family whose gross income may reach $100,000, but who also have two children in private colleges. Second, most excellent private colleges and universities simply do not have the financial assets to adopt the Ivy League's admission and financial aid policies. They are not able to provide the discount rates that the wealthier schools can afford. Consequently, the cost burdens for families and students who attend these superb schools that have less wealth will, in fact, be greater.”
John Mitchell Mason Professor of the University at Columbia University
V. Academic Freedom versus Black Box Pedagogy:
The Cautionary Tale of the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business Administration
“But black-box pedagogy at the University of Virginia calls into question the very idea of a public university.”
David L. Kirp of the University of California at Berkeley and Patrick S. Roberts of Virginia Tech, Mr. Jefferson’s University Breaks Up, The Public Interest, Summer 2002
VI. Research or Money?
Another Cautionary Tale From the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business Administration
Kirp and Roberts also came to the conclusion that the Darden School’s privatization reduced the quality and quantity of faculty research:
“In its eagerness to enter the top ranks of business schools, Darden has made the pursuit of money its main activity. In doing so, it has de-emphasized research, for which there is no immediate market payoff. Faculty energy that elsewhere would be devoted to scholarship is expended on topics dictated by the needs of executive education.”
Kirp and Roberts also concluded that, “Though Darden faculty write many of the case studies used in business school classes throughout the country, they publish in leading academic journals far less than their counterparts at Stanford or Chicago. That worries those who see the creation, not just the transmission, of knowledge as vital at a great university. The school recognizes the problem. As Joseph Harder, who came to Darden from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, points out, it's important "to become known for our intellectual capital."
What is more alarming is that an instructor may not be allowed to use the case he has developed for, say, Price Waterhouse Coopers or Citibank in an M.B.A. class, since many executive courses draw on proprietary material.”
David L. Kirp of the University of California at Berkeley and Patrick S. Roberts of Virginia Tech, Mr. Jefferson’s University Breaks Up, The Public Interest /Summer 2002
Kareem Abdul Jabbar at Chancellor Block's Inauguration
VII. What About Public Service?
Many students pursue professional school degrees as a path to public service. Ralph Bunche is a shining example for UCLA. President Obama began his professional life as a public interest attorney. Many government and nonprofit posts demand instruction from business, medical or law schools. Such students are not exceptions to the rule; they make up much of the University of California and reflect the makeup of our entire state. UC administrators should not have to be reminded that the pursuit of idealistic but low-paying work represents the fulfillment of UC's stated mission of teaching, research and public service.
VIII. There Is No Turning Back: Loosening the Floodgates of Privatization Could Dismantle the Entire UC System
The Los Angeles Times reminds us that “other professional schools within the UC system have been floating the idea for years, and if Anderson's proposal is accepted, it almost certainly will set off a wave of similar plans. The model that funds these schools will be the standard that prevails at private schools across the nation; there will be relatively little incentive to rein in costs.”
In March 2010, the UC Board of Regents rejected a proposal that would have allowed professional schools to set fees at rates similar to private universities. UC policy requires tuition to be no higher than comparable public schools. The Anderson proposal seems like a backdoor plan to circumvent UC policy that could set a dangerous precedent of restructuring other professional programs.
We must remember that no action is taken in isolation and that if the Anderson goes private that there is no going back:
“The future mission of the University of California is at stake, and their decision must arise not from case-by-case proposals but from a well-articulated vision of what that mission will be. Some very limited privatization might be necessary, but under what limits? And what of a possible return to a public mission in the future? When the state's economy reawakens, Californians should not find that some of their most valuable gems were given away while they were sleeping.”
The UCLA Anderson Graduate School of Management Proposal for Financial Self Sufficiency Response to Questions and Comments from the Academic Senate (http://www.senate.ucla.edu/documents/ASMFinancialSelfSufficiency_Proposal.pdf) makes clear that if the decision is made to allow Anderson to go private that there is no turning back. Any change to this agreement would have to be “with mutual agreement of UCLA and UCLA Anderson.” And “In the event of disagreement” UCLA and UCLA Anderson would have to “agree on a mutually satisfactory mechanism for resolution.” In other words, call in the high priced lawyers. If the Anderson School is allowed to go private there will be no legal reason for any of the other professional schools within the entire UC System to remain public.
1.UC Berkeley’s College of Engineering, Computer Science Division
School of Information Management and Systems, International Computer Science Institute, and Department of Chemical Engineering
2.UC Davis’ College of Engineering, and Department of Computer Science
3. UC Irvine’s Henry Samueli School of Engineering,
Department of Electrical and Computer Science,
and Department of Information and Computer Science
4. UCLA’s Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, and Department of Computer Science
5. UC Merced’s School of Engineering
6. UC Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering, and
Department of Computer Science and Engineering
7. UC San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering, and
Department of Computer Science and Engineering
8. UC Santa Barbara’s College of Engineering, and
Department of Computer Science
9. UC Santa Cruz’ Baskin School of Engineering,
Department of Computer Science, and
Department of Computer Engineering
A nightmare scenario can easily be envisioned where future generations realize that the gems of the University of California were given away for nothing only to watch helplessly as their tax dollars, cherished gifts, and sweat equity are again squandered, though this time in bitter and never ending battles over privatization in the courts. It is my firm belief that if the UCLA Anderson School of Management is allowed to privatize under the terms of their proposal, the entire University of California will be put at risk and a hasty decision could lead to the dismantling of one of California’s most glorious creations.
As made clear in November 2, 2010’s election, the California public does not want business executives running the government in Sacramento. In the same vein it does not serve the state of California’s collective interest to allow UCLA's Anderson School of Management to model itself solely after the corporate world and secede financially from UCLA. In essence, by allowing the UCLA Anderson School of Management to go private, California would be giving away a school built with the tax dollars, cherished gifts, and sweat equity of generations of Californians without any recompense.