State Treasurer Speaks About Education, Budget

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California State Treasurer Bill Lockyer spoke to The Daily Californian Wednesday night about how the current economic status is impacting UC Berkeley and ways in which both the administration and students can work together to improve the campus's financial situation.

Lockyer, a 1965 Berkeley graduate, served as President pro tempore of the state senate as well as state attorney general prior to his current position. In the interview with The Daily Californian, Lockyer discussed how he began his more than 35-year career in politics and how he feels about his alma mater grappling with ways to fund students' education.

The Daily Californian: You graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in political science, and you were the founder of the Cal Berkeley Democrats. How did you become interested in politics?

Bill Lockyer: I started out in politics when I was in 6th grade, helping a friend run for class president. I went on to start my high school's first Democratic Party club. When I came to Cal in the 1960s, I was a political activist. I was part of Sproul Hall sit-ins, and I would stay up late with my roommate at his office at U.S. Forestry so I could use their computer service for free to study campaign strategies.

DC: What can you say to UC Berkeley students who are currently facing financial difficulties and may not be able to fund their education?

BL: The budget cuts at the state level are burdensome to students and their parents. The way the regents have attempted to make up the budget cuts by increasing fees is a bad trend. Students should continue to take action both on campus and in Sacramento. The University of California needs to find a way to maximize aid to students, and the students need to keep lobbying. Proposition 25, which is on the November ballot, could also help students and parents, seeing as the budget could be determined by two-thirds of voters rather than the politicians.

DC: How do you feel about the campus recruiting more international students to boost its revenue?

BL: When you recruit students solely for potential revenue, you may deny a seat to a more qualified student, say from California. However, it is a good idea to bring a global culture to Cal, and I understand the need to stimulate campus funds. This is a time of difficult choices.

DC: What are some of the tactics the campus can take to ensure some sort of financial stability during the economic recession?

BL: The campus should focus on alumni response and scholarship need. Students should also become involved in making pitches to the administration to see how they can potentially increase revenue to campus. I am optimistic that in the long-run, the university can regain control of its budget and improve it. However, cutting higher education funds is not helpful. Education is too important.


Katie Nelson is the lead academics and administration reporter. Contact her at [email protected]

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