Greater legislative oversight over UCs LRDPs recommended
Californias Legislative Analysts Office releases findings
by Daniella Thompson
11 January 2007
In its recent Review of UCs Long Range Development Planning Process, the states Legislative Analysts Office found a lot not to like.
Citing concerns with growth levels and off-campus impacts, the major LAO findings are:
- Lack of State Accountability and Oversight. Generally, the state neither approves a Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) nor monitors the implementation of the mitigation measures identified in the accompanying Environmental Impact Report (EIR).
- Lack of Standardization in Public Participation. The University of California (UC) Office of the President does not provide campuses with specific requirements for how local communities should be involved in the LRDP process. As a result, the degree to which local communities are involved in the planning process can vary across campuses.
- Minimal Systemwide Coordination in Projecting Enrollment for Recent LRDPs. In 1999, UC developed systemwide enrollment projections through 2010-11, which were used to develop an enrollment plan for each campus. However, when a campus prepares an LRDP that goes beyond 2010-11, it independently develops its own enrollment projections for those subsequent years.
- Campuses Want to Primarily Expand Graduate Enrollment. Much of the projected enrollment growth at UC will not be due to increases in freshman enrollment, but rather because of a desire to expand and create new graduate programs (such as in law and public policy). This is because the number of California public high school graduates is expected to decline.
- Lack of Clarity in California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The CEQA process can often be costly and time consuming for both the public and private sectors. In part, this is because there are a number of provisions in CEQA where definitions and requirements are unclear or imprecise.
- No UC Campus Has Reached a Fair Share Agreement. Although UC has a policy for campuses to work with local public agencies to contribute its fair share payments to mitigate off-campus impacts, no UC campus has been able to reach such an agreement with a neighboring jurisdiction.
Greater Legislative Oversight
We recommend greater legislative oversight over UCs LRDPs, in order to ensure that campuses long-term goals are aligned with statewide priorities. Specifically, we recommend UC provide copies of draft LRDPs to the Legislature as they are made available for public review.
Develop Standard Approach for Soliciting Public Input
We recommend UC provide campuses and medical centers with more specific requirements regarding the level of public involvement in the LRDP process, in order to increase the transparency of the process
Project Enrollment Growth on Systemwide Basis
We recommend the Legislature require UC to use systemwide enrollment projections to determine the enrollment levels assumed in each LRDP.
Better Use of Summer Term
We recommend UC campuses make better use of the summer term as a means to accommodate an anticipated increase in the number of students without having to construct new classrooms.
Streamline CEQA Process by Clarifying Guidelines
We recommend the Legislature improve CEQA by clarifying language, improving definitions, and providing better guidelines on what constitutes feasible mitigation measures and alternatives
Report on Fair Share Agreements
In view of the recent court decision in City of Marina v. CSU Board of Trustees, we recommend UC report to the Legislature on what steps it will take to reach agreements with local public agencies regarding the mitigation of its fair share of environmental impacts.