The first three months of the new administration in Washington has raised a number of concerns for those of us in higher education. While most of the appointments below the cabinet level have not been made yet, there have been a number of significant decisions made by the Trump administration in several important areas. The “skinny budget” released in March proposed massive cuts to federal agencies and departments such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Department of Energy (DOE). These impacted agencies and departments are major funding sources for UCLA’s $1 billion research portfolio. The budget proposal represented a major policy decision by the Trump administration to significantly reduce federal support for research funding in a number of areas including climate change research. The proposed budget will be clarified in May, when a more complete budget proposal is released. In the meantime, an important funding priority for UC and UCLA is in jeopardy. Additionally, there were proposals that adversely affected Pell Grants and work-study funding for students. We will prepare an update on the FY 17-18 budget as more information is available. It should be noted that the “skinny budget” is not final and still has to be approved by the House and Senate. Many members on both sides of the aisle have expressed some concerns with the President’s initial budget proposal. The discussion on immigration reform had a chilling implication of potential deportation of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students. While there have been assurances from Washington that DACA students are not a primary target for deportation, the lack of a clear immigration policy has caused a lot of apprehension by members of the UCLA community. To date, there has not been any Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) activity on campus. In California, there are a number of “sanctuary” efforts underway at the state and local level. Chancellor Block has created an immigration task force to work on this issue. The unsuccessful effort by the Congress on the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act raised potentially negative budget outcomes for California and thus the University. Funding and coverage reductions by Congress could necessitate budgetary “backfills” by the state to continue healthcare coverage. If the state were to take this action, it could raise the potential of generating a new round of higher education budget cuts to UC and CSU. This is an issue that we will continue to monitor. Even with this bleak analysis, our core work must still be done. Our Advocacy must continue. We need to “step up” as never before and communicate to our congressional representatives the value of public higher education. At UCLA, we produce “talent” and “innovation”. Talent for the workforce of today and tomorrow. Innovation from our research creates new industries and jobs today and tomorrow. That is our contribution to the state and the nation. We must “Raise Our Voices to be heard.
Keith S. Parker
Government & Community Relations
Assistant Vice Chancellor