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UCLA faculty approves controversial changes in MBA financing

June 7, 2012 |  5:14 pm

UCLA faculty leaders on Thursday narrowly approved a controversial plan to wean the campus’ signature MBA program off state funding and have it survive on tuition and donations.

The vote was viewed by many around UC as an important turning point in how California’s public universities should respond to years of state budget cuts. Some said the proposed change at the Anderson School of Management’s full-time MBA program may start a trend, particularly among business and law schools that are able to charge high fees and have wealthy alumni to help support them. But critics said such a move would harm the public nature of the 10-campus UC system.

The UCLA faculty's Legislative Assembly voted, 53-46, with three abstentions, in favor of the plan to make the full-time master's of business administration program self-supporting. Some professors were attracted by what officials projected will be a shift of about $8 million in mainly state funds from the Anderson school to other divisions of the Westwood campus.

"Our proposal is a response to the urgent need to find solutions to campuswide financial challenges," Judy Olian, dean of the Anderson School and the author of the plan, said in a statement. "We are at a critical moment at UCLA where we must find innovative responses to dramatic cuts in funding while protecting the great engine of research and education we have here. This is a solution that benefits both UCLA Anderson and the entire institution, a small step among many we're taking on campus. It benefits students across the campus and protects our public mission.”

Others on campus expressed disappointment and said the move would be seen as a step toward privatization.

To go into effect, the plan now needs the go-ahead from the statewide UC Academic Senate and UC system President Mark G. Yudof. The Board of Regents may advise Yudof but does not need to take a formal vote on the matter, officials said.


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