U. of California Will Finance Labor Program Whose Funds Were Vetoed

From the CHE via Kathleen de la Peña McCook

November 30, 2008

The University of California will set aside money from its own budget to continue a labor-research program on its Berkeley and Los Angeles campuses that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger eliminated from the state budget in September, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Mark G. Yudof, president of the university system, agreed to use $4- million in university funds to keep the Miguel Contreras Labor Program operating through this fiscal year, which ends on June 30, the newspaper said. The university is also asking the state to finance the program next year.

The program, whose budget the governor also has proposed cutting in previous years, has produced policy research and educated students on labor and employment issues for eight years. Portions of the program´s work, including training for union leaders, have often sparked controversy among politicians in the state.

After the governor´s veto of money for the program this fall, more than 400 faculty and staff members at California colleges sent Mr.

Schwarzenegger a letter of protest in which they called the elimination of the program an “unwarranted political interference in the academic activities of the University of California.”

Aides to the governor have said that the cut was not political, but that the state´s budget deficit had forced him to eliminate money for several state programs.

The $4-million the university will spend on the program is $1.4- million shy of the amount that was cut from the state budget. That $1.4-million would have been used to pay for small grants and other funds for campuses other than those in Berkeley and Los Angeles to conduct labor and employment research, the San Francisco newspaper said. -Sara Hebel

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