Assemblyman Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber), vice chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee, met for more than 45 minutes with student representatives and UC administrators Monday afternoon as part of the annual UC lobby day.
The meeting, the entirety of which was covered by both KCRA TV and UC student videographers, was a wide-ranging discussion about higher education funding, the Cal Grant program, the current legislative review of the master plan, and potential reforms for California's higher education system.
Unfortunately, a separate group of student activists later entered and squatted in the Assemblyman's capitol office, refusing to leave unless the Assemblyman conceded to their demands to increase funding for colleges. The Assemblyman refused to do so.
"It's too bad these students were more interested in making demands than making an appointment, unlike their student leaders with whom Mr. Nielsen met earlier in the day," said David Reade, Nielsen's chief of staff.
Assemblyman Nielsen released the following statement regarding his Monday afternoon meeting with UC students and administrators:
"The meeting with three student representatives, Jesse Chang, Olivia Lee, and Alberto Ortega, along with UC Regent Gould, Chancellors Blumenthal and Katehi, and UC Director of Government Affairs Steve Juarez, was cordial and constructive. We discussed the impacts of the budget on UC administration, faculty and students covering historical situations as well as current and future challenges and opportunities.
All agree on preserving the pre-eminence and excellence of UC, CSU and California Community Colleges as well as the Master Plan for California Higher Education. The challenge is to fashion a responsible budget that respects and recognizes the dire budget situation for California government and all Californians. We must also accomplish needed and enduring reforms of the budget process, and improves the way all of California government conducts the peoples' business."