Education First

University Issues: Providing health care to poor Californians is worthwhile, but the UC system needs to concentrate on education.

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The University of California has an indisputable reputation for its public service. UC Berkeley holds the record for sending the most volunteers to the Peace Corps.

In this spirit of service, the UC Board of Regents approved a partnership yesterday with the LA County Board of Supervisors to reopen Martin Luther King, Jr. Hospital. The hospital's partial closure in 2007 left the low-income South Los Angeles area medically underserved and the regents' vote has been lauded by advocates as a major victory.

Yet, we question the wisdom of kicking off a non-educational endeavor on the heels of passing an unprecedented student fee increase. Providing health care to low-income residents is certainly a noble goal. But it's not the university's responsibility.

This university is meant to serve Californians by providing quality higher education, not by opening hospitals. While we face dramatically less state funding, it's unreasonable to stretch our resources further by undertaking this new project.

The university needs solve the problems it already faces and provide students with the education they deserve before it moves on to anything else.

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