California Gov. Gavin Newsom reacts to UCLA Big Ten decision
July 16, 2022
California Gov. Gavin Newsom slammed the lack of transparency surrounding UCLA's move to the Big Ten conference on Thursday, saying the UC Board of Regents is "looking into it."
On June 30, the Bruins announced that they, along with USC, had accepted an invitation to join the Big Ten in 2024. The shocking departure from the Pac-12 after a century has implications for Cal and other public and private universities in the state.
Newsom told FOX 11 Los Angeles, "We were never consulted. Never asked for an opinion, they didn't even have the decency to provide a heads up.”
"Trust me when I say this: we’re not going to be looking into it. We already are looking into it, within minutes after reading about this in the newspaper," he added.
The UCLA move is on the priorities for the UC regents meeting in San Francisco on July 21, according to the Hotline on Tuesday.
As governor, Newsom is an ex officio member of the board, which oversees the 10 campuses of the prestigious university system.
Newsom on UCLA decision
When questioned about the covert process that ended on June 30, Newsom expressed his displeasure.
“No big deal, I’m the governor of the state of California. Maybe a bigger deal is I’m the chair of the UC regents. I read about it. Is it a good idea? Did we discuss the merits or demerits? I’m not aware that anyone did. So it was done in isolation. It was done without any regental oversight or support.
“I have strong opinions about this, for no other reason than as a member of the regents, we were never consulted, never asked for an opinion, and they didn’t even have the decency to provide (a) heads-up.”
The following description was included in the July 21 agenda notice about UCLA on the regents' website: “Closed Session Statute Citation: Litigation [Education Code 92032(b)(5)]”
Section 92032 of the California education code broadly refers to procedural matters.
The mentioned closed session statute states in Part "b" that when the University of California Regents gather to consider or discuss any of the following matters, they may hold closed sessions. This clause is supported by Part "5", which specifies related matters involving litigation when open session discussion of those issues would be detrimental to the public interest.
It was uncertain whether the regents would try to prevent the move or if they would face legal action for letting the Bruins leave the conference that had been their home for more than a century.
Newsom's remarks indicate that the regents are considering legal action. According to a spokesperson for the UC Office of the President, the regents have no authority to stop UCLA's move:
“There is no requirement for a decision from the University of California Board of Regents or the Office of the President.”
The Hotline also inquired about UC system President Michael Drake's involvement, if any.
“UCLA leadership informed President Drake that discussions between UCLA and the Big Ten were occurring but he was not involved at all in those discussions or in any negotiations," the spokesperson said.
"UCLA remains best positioned to answer your questions as decisions related to athletics are formulated and executed at the campus-level.”