UCLA Business School Wants to Privatize, Forgo Tax Dollars

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Tue, May 29, 2012 at 1:20 PM

  • Anderson School / Facebook
As the UC and Cal State systems struggle with budget cuts and increasingly unhappy and unruly student bodies, one UCLA school is bucking the trend and actually inviting more cuts.

In fact, UCLA's Anderson School of Management wants zero tax dollars: It's asking to be cut off from the system almost entirely. It wants to go rogue and privatize.

There are, however, a few hurdles:

The school's Academic Senate will vote on the idea June 7, a UCLA spokesman told the Weekly.

The idea was rejected by the UCLA graduate student council, but it was appealed to the senate, according to the Daily Bruin.

But wait, there's more: It would still need to be approved by the University of California's statewide academic senate as well as the UC's president's office.

Now, the question is, Why? Sounds to us like it's all about money -- turning this grad school into a free-market enterprise instead of a state charity case.

Suzanne Shu, a professor at the highly ranked business school, told the Bruin that privatizing would allow Anderson to compete with Ivy League business schools. She noted that the University of Michigan broke off from its state funding successfully.

As it is, the paper notes, Anderson only gets 6 percent of its funding from the state. And, even if it were to privatize, the school would still be affiliated with UCLA, according to the proposal. Shu:

Quality will be able to improve if we have more control over how the funds are used.

But you have to wonder about the justice of such a move: While Anderson says the few tax dollars it receives are unnecessary, it's the people's school, that the people built, for the people.

Sure, Anderson backers will note all the private dollars that have helped build the place, too, but those private dollars were attracted, in part, but the taxpayer-funded juggernaut that is UCLA, a school that wouldn't exist without your money and the infrastructure-expanding vision of Gov. Pat Brown.

Privatization sounds like a taxpayer giveaway to us. And remember, while UC's mission includes "public service," Anderson is already a school for the elite.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

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