Gov. Jerry Brown prodded University of California regents Wednesday to pursue online course offerings to reduce costs, saying they must "get more grounded" in their approach to education.
The Democratic governor's remarks came at a meeting of the UC system's governing board, which postponed a vote on fee increases at Brown's request.
Brown had said in his campaign to raise taxes that his initiative, Proposition 30, would avert tuition increases this year. The measure's passage, however, does not prevent universities from raising other fees.
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom accused Brown during the campaign of making misleading statements about the extent to which tuition increases could be avoided. When Newsom pressed UC administrators Wednesday about the potential for future increases, Brown hardly contradicted him.
"The lieutenant governor's let the cat out of the bag" regarding choices facing policymakers, the governor said.
Brown characterized the university system as one requiring higher fees, additional general fund support or changes within the system to reduce costs.
"Tuition increases are not avoided by anything less than heroic efforts to make some changes that I think can be made if we have the political will," Brown said.
Newsom applauded Brown for his "remarkable leadership."
Proponents of online education say it could raise revenue and expand access to higher education.
Many professors have resisted offering online-only degrees, questioning the effectiveness of a Web-based education.
Brown, 74, said now that he is "a little older," he is respectful of tradition.
"I appreciate the durability of the university and its ways," he said.
However, Brown compared the challenge of universities to those faced by newspapers and the U.S. Postal Service. Even as other people were talking during the meeting, he said, he consulted Google on his cellphone.
He called on regents to summon experts in online education to a meeting to address them.
"I think we have to get more grounded here," Brown said. "We're going to have to have a little bit of disruption here."
© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.
Read more articles by David Siders
What You Should Know About Comments on Sacbee.com
Sacbee.com is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)
Here are some rules of the road:
Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "Report Abuse" link to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.
Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.
Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.
Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand.
Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.
Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.
Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.
Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.
Don't flag other users' comments just because you don't agree with their point of view. Please only flag comments that violate these guidelines.
You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "Report Abuse" link to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at email@example.com. Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.
If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them.