MERCED, California (KSEE) — For the first time, the governing board of the University of California convened at UC Merced to hear from them first-hand on what’s working and what’s not working.
The Board of Regents’ Public Engagement and Development Committee spoke to several panels made up of administrators, alumni, and current students Thursday at UC Merced.
It’s only the second time the committee has done this as part of a growing effort to understand what’s happening on campuses in the UC system. The goal is to create solutions to the problems hitting their communities.
The visit included a recap of UC Merced’s accomplishments, including its diversity in students and graduates — and the major Merced 2020 Project that will double the size of the campus.
However, it wasn’t all about celebrating. In the panels, speakers shared some obstacles they’ve experienced.
Cydney Caradonna, who graduated from UC Merced in 2019, shared it was particularly hard to get all of her credits to transfer in and count toward her degree.
There also was a public comment portion, where members of Teamsters Local 2010 — the union representing skilled trade workers — vented about the current contract negotiations.
There were also complaints about UC Merced’s decision to utilize private contractors for the 2020 expansion project.
“When the campus chose to outsource [members of the unions]…UC Merced sided with private for-profit companies,” one speaker said.
The committee’s chairman, Richard Lieb, said having these difficult conversations are the only way to improve the UC system as a whole.
“From our standpoint, we want to hear from our staff and our labor unions. We also want to hear from students,” Lieb said.
The board’s Presidential Selection Committee is holding a town hall on-campus tomorrow starting at 10:30 a.m. in the campus’ California Room. A new president will take over the UC system in August when the current president Janet Napolitano is expected to step down.