Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday appointed former Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez to the University of California Board of Regents, as the board wrangles with a proposed tuition hike.
The appointment came two days before the board is scheduled on Wednesday to consider a plan to raise tuition by as much as 5 percent annually over each of the next five years, a proposal Brown opposes.
Pérez’s appointment was one of two announced Monday. Brown also appointed Eloy Ortiz Oakley, superintendent-president of Long Beach City College, to the board. Like Brown, both Pérez and Oakley are Democrats.
“John and Eloy bring a wealth of experience and an extraordinary capacity to dig into the complexities of our great university system,” Brown said in a prepared statement. “Their work has demonstrated a deep commitment to the students of California.”
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Pérez, 45, was described by Brown’s office as “a longtime advocate for affordable higher education,” including championing a program to reduce fees for students from certain middle-income families. The Los Angeles lawmaker himself attended UC Berkeley but did not graduate. He ran unsuccessfully for state controller this year.
Pérez said in a prepared statement that he is “deeply honored” by the appointment.
“I have been privileged to work with the governor to make college affordable and accessible for every Californian, and I am very eager to continue that work as a regent,” he said.
Oakley, 49, of Long Beach, has been the superintendent and president of Long Beach City College since 2007.
Both appointments require Senate confirmation, and there is no compensation.
University of California President Janet Napolitano said last week that UC officials have been forced to consider tuition increases because of insufficient state funding. The state has increased UC funding by 5 percent in each of the past two years, and Brown and some lawmakers have voiced opposition to a tuition increase.
The tuition proposal comes ahead of budget negotiations that will kick off when Brown releases his proposed spending plan for the next fiscal year in January.
Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, said on Twitter on Monday that he was looking forward to hearing from Pérez and Oakley “on compensation hikes, tuition increases and UC budget transparency. Also whether they think it’s appropriate to hold Legislature hostage for more $$.”
Call David Siders, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 321-1215. Follow him on Twitter @davidsiders.