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Spring 2001
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"Is it wrong that other people who don't or can't afford to make campaign contributions don't have as much access to legislators? It's the reality of the game. It's all about helping the university be as great as it can be and get the resources it deserves," he says. "That state money means more than just an education for students. UC does something the other segments of California public higher education do not, and that's research. Research has a tremendous impact on the economy, the creation of new businesses and new jobs. Not to mention finding cures for life-threatening diseases and social ills. It's a huge, monster research engine.

"You have to make the case that if UC and UCLA do not get those resources and cannot pay the best professors competitive salaries, then that professor and all he or she can produce is lost to us permanently. They're gone. I make this case over and over and over again."

Welinsky also knows that if he doesn't reach legislators with the message, others representing special interests will. "Only a small portion of the state budget is discretionary," he explained. "And UC's portion comes out of that discretionary budget. By statute, approximately 40 percent of the state's general-fund budget goes to K-12 education and the community colleges. When you ask, 'So what does that discretionary money pay for?,' it's higher education, prisons and the pay-raise increments that state employees receive - that's what UC is up against. The reality of the game is that UC has been literally competing for state funds with prisons for many years. Prisons have unions that make big campaign contributions. State-employee unions are fighting for bigger raises. Our voices have to be heard. Legislators need to hear from university administrators who can speak to the specifics of what is needed, but they also need to feel the passion of alumni who can vote, who can write checks and do all of the things the university as an institution cannot do for itself."

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