Brown, Napolitano go one-on-one in UC funding battle

The University of California’s long range planning committee recommended the formation of a select advisory committee consisting only of Governor Jerry Brown and UC President Janet Napolitano on the cost structure of the university during a meeting in San Francisco Wednesday.

The full Board of Regents will vote on the matter tomorrow. If approved, the committee, which some have dubbed the Committee of Two, will be staffed by personnel from the Governor’s Office, the Department of Finance, and the UC’s Office of the President.

Recent media coverage has focused on a so-called showdown between Napolitano and Brown over funding and plans to raise tuition, but Brown said during today’s meeting that they will find ways to talk:

“This is an inquiry that whatever thoughts we get, or facts, will come before the board and we’ll talk about it.”

Brown said that not only will the Committee of Two be advisory in nature, it would also be preliminary. The board of regents will still be the ultimate authority.

Napolitano told the regents:

“I would simply say that it’s an advisory committee of two that I think is going to be engaged deeply and holistically at looking at the university and it’s future.”

At minimum, the committee will consider proposals in five areas including drivers of cost, improving pathways to graduation and the time it takes to get a degree, the budgetary role of research, use of technology to enhance education and the role of graduate education programs.

Their first meeting is scheduled to occur next week.