“UC-Tenderloin” law school would lose 25 percent of its operational budget

While the University of California, San Francisco might get more attention — what with its very nice Inner Sunset hospital and its brand-new, extremely sexy 21st-century high-tech campus of awesome in Mission Bay — our fair city hosts two UCs, of course. The other is University of California, Hastings College of the Law. Situated near the courthouses in Civic Center, “UC-Tenderloin” is unique among California colleges: its 1,250 students study law and only law; and since it opened its doors in the 1870s, it has not received one penny of funding from the UC system’s regents, instead relying on donations, its endowment, that what gets supervisors arrested, and funding from the California state legislature.

That last bit might prove to be troubling, as Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s latest budget cuts include slashing $10.3 million worth of funding from UC-Hastingswhich is 100 percent of the school’s funding from the state, down to the penny, and 25 percent of its total operating budget.

Its “special” standalone status is what cost Hastings, according to Chief Financial Officer David Seward: all other schools in the UC and CSU systems received stimulus money from the federal government which the state won’t touch, leaving their hits from state cash at 18-22 percent. Hastings received no money from the feds, and can’t scale back on other costs like its athletic department like the Berkeleys, Irvines and Merceds of the world — because it has no athletic department.

Seward stressed that the $10.3 million cut is just a proposal at this time, and he further stressed that in no way would the school pass on the new added cost burden to its students. Students receiving financial aid won’t see their aid packages reduced, and tuition won’t be jacked up exorbitantly — as if $32,500 a year isn’t already exorbitant . In the meantime, the school hopes to convince state lawmakers to scale back Hastings’s cut to equitable levels.

“We’re willing to take our fair share of the cuts,” Seward said. “We’re optimistic — (the cuts happening) is still a long way off.”

On Tuesday, Hastings alum Supervisor Sean Elsbernd submitted a resolution to the Board in support of restoring Hastings’ funding. But resolutions don’t pay the bills. Updates to follow later in the month, as the Legislature commences couch-fishing.

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