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UC Computer Caper Triples Costs for Taxpayers

Thursday April 20th, 2017   •   Posted by K. Lloyd Billingsley at 9:22am PDT   •  

In recent years the University of California has been hiking tuition, and when students at UC Davis held a peaceful protest, campus police pepper sprayed them. The ensuing $1 million settlement was mostly waste, with attorneys and consultants cashing in on every hand. In response to funding cuts, the bloated UC bureaucracy began to enroll more nonresident students who pay higher tuition, as the state auditor noted, disadvantaging the California students for whom the UC system was primarily created to serve. Taxpayers should note that UC bosses are now indulging more waste on a very costly computer system.

The highly touted UCPath system for payroll and personnel was supposed to cost $156 million and save $100 million a year. As UC mouthpiece Ricardo Vazquez told reporters, the cost will now be a whopping $504 million, including a $26 million contingency in the final year of the project’s budget. Vazquez blames additional expenses on “additional staff,” so apparently the regular crew was not up to the task. So far, the university has spent $327 million but the UCPath project remains, count ‘em, four years behind schedule. As with government in general, things always cost more and take longer than the package that officials pitch to the public.

If taxpayers wonder whom to hold accountable, they might consider UC chancellor Janet Napolitano. The former Arizona governor and Department of Homeland Security boss has been acting like the U.S. Secretary of State, travelling abroad and making grandiose political pronouncements. On the other hand, Napolitano is a politician, not an educator, and a poor choice for the UC post in the first place. Taxpayers might also note that on Napolitano’s watch free speech and civility are not exactly thriving on UC campuses, particularly Berkeley, home of the Free Speech Movement. At the University of California, taxpayers and students alike don’t get what they pay for.

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April 2017