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June 19, 2006

Campus provost reminds council of UCSC's value

David Kliger, UCSC's campus provost and executive vice chancellor, prepared the following remarks for a Santa Cruz City Council public hearing last week. His statement underscored the benefits that UCSC provides to our local community, and was made in the context of a proposal by the City of Santa Cruz to place on the November ballot an amendment to its charter and an ordinance to limit UCSC's access to water and wastewater services on the North Campus--services that the city committed to provide the university in agreements dating from the 1960s.

Members of the City Council:

I'm here today on behalf of the University of California, Santa Cruz, to ask you to consider rejecting these proposed ballot measures. The proposed amendment to the charter and the proposed ordinance do nothing to advance the ongoing need for the city and university to work together to plan for our shared future. In fact, they set up additional obstacles and may well be unconstitutional and violate long-standing service contracts that brought the university to Santa Cruz.

From the beginning of the Long-Range Development planning process in 2003, the campus has involved, communicated with, and collaborated with the city. We believe these discussions are not only fruitful, but essential as both the city and university are engaged in long-range planning. Regrettably, these ballot measures may have the effect of working against those efforts.

When our LRDP process is completed later this year, we believe that the City Council will conclude that UCSC not only listened to the concerns expressed by council members and the public they represent--but acted on those concerns.

Since these ballot proposals speak specifically to the issues of water and wastewater, it's worth noting that, within the campus, UCSC has always assumed full responsibility for the costs associated with providing water or wastewater access to its facilities. Even though state law indicates that educational entities are not required to pay for water and wastewater improvements that don't directly benefit their facilities, UCSC has voluntarily agreed to pay recent rate increases that include such improvements.

These proposed ballot measures suggest we have not acted responsibly in our relationship with the city. Please permit me to take a minute more of your time to set the record straight. UCSC contributes significantly to the community's well-being in too many ways to list. Here are just a few of the positive financial contributions UCSC has made, is making, and will continue to make in this community:

• UCSC provides the community--and its many businesses--with a stable workforce with benefits. Attracting that kind of employer, by the way, was listed among the priorities citizens identified in a recent local poll.

• UCSC generates nearly $1 billion in economic activity in the area through spending by these workers, our students, and our visitors. We also bring in state and federal money that is then circulated in the community through the purchase of goods and services.

• Through the sales of goods, UCSC is a significant producer of sales tax revenue for the city.

• UCSC contributes more than $2 million annually toward the city and region's mass transportation systems.

UCSC's contributions to the community are not limited to economic benefits:

• UCSC's faculty, students, staff, and alumni are making tremendous contributions to the quality of local K-12 education. We conduct research to improve the quality of the classroom experience, many of our alumni are teachers in these classrooms, and our programs help the community train and retain these teachers.

• UCSC's students fill many of the critical volunteer positions that provide services to members of our community. Our students volunteer literally hundreds of thousands of hours each year providing health care support, assisting seniors, or tutoring. And that's just a few of the activities in which our students are filling a vital need.

• Our research facilities--Long Marine Laboratory, for example--vitalize our community by exposing young and old to life's many wonders and mysteries. The educational program at Seymour Marine Discovery Center by itself touches large numbers of our schoolchildren each year.

• UCSC's contributions to the richness of the community's cultural life are manifest in such activities as Shakespeare Santa Cruz, numerous other theater events, dance performances, and musical offerings.

Thank you very much for your consideration of UC Santa Cruz's position on these proposals.

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