By Laurel Rosenhall

The University of California should make more information about its finances available to the public, according to a report released Thursday by state Auditor Elaine Howle.

The 92-page audit found huge disparity in the amount of money UC doles out to each of its 10 campuses, with UC Santa Barbara receiving $12,309 per student and UC San Francisco receiving $55,186 per student. The audit says UC sends less money to schools that serve greater numbers of black and Latino students, and recommends the university do a better job demonstrating the rationale for funding campuses so differently.

“Because (UC) does not provide details about its budget process, university stakeholders cannot sufficiently evaluate this process and do not have sufficient information to determine if the university’s allocation of state funding is equitable,” Howle wrote. “This raises the risk that stakeholders may view the process as wrongly favoring or disfavoring particular campuses.”

UC’s response says the racial correlation the auditor draws is “unwarranted and inflammatory.” It says campuses with greater numbers of graduate students and science students get more funding because those programs are costlier.

“It is not plausible to expect that the San Francisco campus, devoted exclusively to graduate programs in the health sciences, would receive the same funding per-student as the Santa Cruz campus, which offers no health sciences programs and enrolls less than 10 percent of its student body at the graduate level,” UC President Mark Yudof wrote in response to the audit.

UC San Francisco spokeswoman Amy Pyle criticized the audit’s implication linking funding and race. With 23 percent of its students categorized as black or Latino, UCSF is the most ethnically diverse medical school in the UC system, she said.

The audit also found that UCLA designated $23 million from a student referendum for “unauthorized purposes” when it allocated funds from a student-imposed fee for building the South Campus Student Center and the Pauley Pavilion. UC disputed the finding, saying officials have authority to modify the terms of use of student fees.

The audit was conducted at the request of state Sen. Leland Yee, a frequent critic of UC’s administration, who said last year that an audit was necessary to “uncover the extent of the waste, fraud, and abuse within the UC.”

UC President Yudof wrote that the audit “found only minor issues to address.”

“But at what cost?” Yudof wrote. “I urge the Legislative Audit Committee to require those who seek to use the limited audit resources of the state to provide more evidence of malfeasance than innuendo and presupposition behind their requests.”

[ Source: The Sacramento Bee ]