UC Regent David Crane unlikely to be reinstated

University of California, San Diego Guardian, 10/2/11.

UC Regent David Crane — appointed by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in December 2010 ­— is unlikely to continue his term as a regent after the end of this year.

By Natalie Covate

In order to be a confirmed member of the UC Regents Board — a member that is allowed to continue for the entirety of the three-year UC Regent term — the state Senate needs to vote for his confirmation before the end of this year.

The state Senate is not scheduled to meet again until Jan. 4, eight days after Crane’s Dec. 27 deadline. This means that in order for the Senate to make a decision regarding Crane, they would need to be brought back into session in order to formally call a last-minute meeting with Crane’s status on the voting agenda.

“By not acting one way or the other on confirmation, the state Senate ensured that he could serve as a regent for the entire year,” UCOP Media Relations Director Steve Montiel said in an email. “Unless the state Senate comes back into session and confirms his appointment, Regent Crane would continue to serve beyond December 2011 only if he were re-appointed by Governor Brown.”

Even though it is only through the Senate’s lack of action that Crane may lose his position, some student leaders see Crane’s lack of confirmation as a benefit to the UC system.

“Californians are sick and tired of not being adequately represented by UC’s regents,” UC Students Association (UCSA) President Claudia Magana wrote in a Sept. 15 statement. “We need leaders who will represent our interests and fight to keep our UC public and affordable, not out of touch millionaires and investment bankers who are beholden more to Wall Street than to everyday Californians.”

Crane, however, believes his position and voice as a UC Regent has been beneficial to students.

“What I bring is [the voice of] the boy who noticed that the emperor has no clothes,” he said. “Tuition has tripled in the last three years, and for middle-class families with dreams of getting their child a higher education, it’s just brutal.”

Even in his likely absence, Crane hopes that the UC Regents will work towards goals of broad access to Californians in order to remain one of the top public universities in the world and to keep tuition affordable.

“It’s not about me,” he said. “It’s an extraordinary institution that provides a remarkable benefit and the state is effectively stepping away from support of it. People who want to see UC maintain the three goals have got to step up in support of UC and get the state legislature to start behaving differently.”

Crane has faced opposition due to his previous position as financial advisor to former Governor Schwarzenegger and statements he has made against collective bargaining rights in an op-ed published in theSan Francisco Chronicle.

“Collective bargaining is a good thing when it’s needed to equalize power, but when public employees already have that equality because of civil service protections, collective bargaining in the public sector serves to reduce benefits for citizens and to raise costs for taxpayers,” Crane wrote.

This op-ed was a source of the opposition to Crane, led by the UCSA and state Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco). According to a May 2011 UCSA press release, they were not informed of Crane’s appointment.

According to Crane, he originally became interested in the position because he has an interest in improving California’s higher education.

Once his term as UC Regent ends, Crane will continue to be president of Govern For California and a lecturer at Stanford University. Crane is planning to attend the Regents meeting in November, the final Regents meeting for 2011. If action is not taken to confirm him, it will also be Crane’s final meeting.

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