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Academic Senate Supports Revised Athletic Grant-in-Aid Proposal

By Paul K. Mueller | June 16, 2006

The UC San Diego Academic Senate, meeting for the last time this academic year on June 8, expressed support for a revised proposal that would allow a majority of undergraduates to vote for – or against -- an increase in student activity fees, which would in turn fund athletic grants-in-aid for qualified athletes.

The motion to approve the revised proposal was preceded by a detailed discussion of the original proposal and UC San Diego’s history of involvement in Division III, and then Division II, athletics, which carry different NCAA obligations for athletic scholarships. Division II schools must offer at least $250,000 in annual student athlete grants-in-aid, for example. UC San Diego’s one-year waiver from this rule has expired, spurring campus groups to respond.

UCSD competes in 23 sports and has about 600 student athletes. The 2005 intercollegiate athletic budget was $2.7 million, of which $2.5 million came from student fees.

Before that senate business, Chair Jean-Bernard Minster, conducting his last meeting as chair, thanked colleagues for a productive session, and paid special compliments to the senate staff. “We come and go,” he said, speaking of chairs and committee members, “but they remain, and carry the vital institutional memory.”

The Academic Senate also approved nominations presented by the Committee on Faculty Research Lecturers, naming Ken Kaushansky and V.S. Ramachandran; approved enactment of regulations for the Master of Business Administration and Doctor of Audiology degrees; received the annual report of the Committee on Academic Personnel; and heard an explanation of the state budget process, and its effect on the UC system, from Professor Andrew Dickson (chair of the Committee of Planning and Budget).

Chancellor Marye Anne Fox addressed the assembly early in the meeting, and remained to hear the senate’s reports, discussions and votes. She spoke enthusiastically about the recent Town Halls she’s conducted with students and faculty (and the scheduled meeting with staff on June 22 at Eucalyptus Point), and pointed to the pressing issues raised at the meetings, including environmental sustainability, fair trade, parking, campus day-care, and faculty searches. She stressed the importance of endowed chairs for attracting and retaining the best faculty, and noted that the Chancellor’s Endowed Chair Challenge has resulted in 17 faculty chairs through June 1. She also gave updates on key vice chancellor and dean searches; and was pleased to report a $890 million mark, to date, in the university’s billion-dollar capital campaign. She discussed ongoing collaboration with the Los Alamos labs, and praised Marsha Chandler, senior vice chancellor for academic affairs, for her leadership in arranging more faculty-student interaction and in addressing faculty diversity.

Before the Academic Senate adjourned its final meeting of the year, Chancellor Fox rose to ask for an expression of appreciation for Chair Minster, and the assembly enthusiastically obliged, applauding as he brought his gavel down, smiling broadly, for the last time in a busy session.

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