This past spring break at an impromptu meeting, administrators of the University of California, Riverside were informed that winter 2014 would be its last quarter with public funding. In a detailed manifesto, titled “My Plans for the UC,” written by UC President Janet Napolitano and published unexpectedly last week, the Board of Regents was demanded to adjust the UC budget immediately and cut all funds for UCR.
The manifesto explained that UCR was no longer a “suitable investment” for the UC. According to the document, the Board of Regents had been secretly considering reallocating California tax dollars to the University of California, Irvine since President Obama’s initial announcement to deliver the commencement speech. Nonetheless, this left UCR administrators without an idea of how to finance the school during spring quarter and for the rest of eternity.
Due to the complete lack of state funding, UCR could not afford to formally support its departments. Prior to stepping down from the university, Chancellor Kim Wilcox decided the only viable option was to create a Craigslist ad to sell UCR departments. The ad went viral as soon as the Daily Cal caught on. Soon enough, major corporations jumped on the “dirt cheap” opportunity, as Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger explained it.
After the open auction of UCR departments, a detailed list of privatized departments was released on UCR’s official Facebook page. It just so happened that for the last eight years, the Walt Disney Company was attempting to expand their assets and the auction gave them that chance. The corporation now owns property rights to the Bell Tower, the Associated Students Program Board (ASPB) and the Botanical Gardens, which now all fall under the “entertainment” section of the Walt Disney Company.
Iger stated in a press release that ASPB productions such as Block Party, Winter Soulstice and Spring Splash would now only feature former Disney recording artists to continue the “throwback theme of UCR concerts.” Some promised names included Hilary Duff and the Jonas Brothers.
Unfortunately for Disney, The Panda Restaurant Group also seized the opportunity to monopolize the former Highlander Union Building (HUB) and all of its dining options and operations. Appropriately, the company opted to call the new center the Panda Union Building or PUB. Some upcoming restaurants include “Pizza by Panda” replacing La Fiamma and “Subway by Panda” replacing Subway. Heat Music Festival would reportedly “have to be downgraded” due to lack of entertainment experience, according to Panda CEO, Peggy Cherng. Instead, Heat by Panda will host a large free sampling of its spiciest Kung Pao Chicken.
“At first I was bummed about Heat by Panda, until I realized that this would save students a lot of money. This shows how privatization will benefit our school,” stated third-year business major George Shrub. “Without Panda Express, there’d be no Heat at all.”
Students also showed support for 7-Eleven, Inc. purchasing former Scotty’s convenience stores. First-year existentialist major, Danny Solomon, said, “I love that I can grab a Four Loko and a pack of Camel Lights before class and Friday night before a party.” Though cigarettes and alcohol are now sold at UCR, their use remains banned on campus.
Nevertheless, the implementation of oxygen tanks (brought to you by Home Depot), which students, staff and faculty members will be required to use to meet the “smoke-free” policies across the UC system. UCR’s Office of Student Affairs is expected to launch a campuswide email next week with further information about the new policies on campus.
“Why am I at a university that expects students to carry oxygen tanks around?” opined second-year C major Wolfgang Beethoven. “I have enough trouble lugging my cello around for Apollo’s sake.” Beethoven did not appear to be alone in his vexation; nearly 50 letters have already been sent to the Highlander in protest of the campus policy on mandatory oxygen tanks.
One of the most praised privatizations was Motel 6 purchasing UCR Housing and Residential Services. Pentland Hills, Lothian and AI residence halls, along with on-campus apartments, were all renamed “Motel 6 UCR.” Motel 6 located on Iowa Street and University Avenue was also added as a campus housing option.
“Living in Motel 6 UCR is way cheaper than living in Pentland. Plus, I can share a suite with my boyfriend and my parents can’t do anything about it,” stated an anonymous source.
Motel 6 UCR is one of the most expensive projects to take place. The owners of the Motel 6 franchise of the Inland Empire plan to reconstruct each facility and equip every residence hall with parking along first-story rooms, stairs-only second floor access and off-white paint that is chipping away. In addition, Motel 6 UCR plans to integrate daily maid service, satellite cable and suspiciously stained sheets into each of its rooms.
Other academic departments were privatized by multiple corporations, including PepsiCo, Starbucks Corporation and AMC Theatres. These purchases were based on the highest bidder and excluded any mention of relevance to education. Specific plans for any of the four UCR colleges have yet to be announced.
UCR’s privatization generated numerous responses from the local community, as well as other UCs. One random man walking on University Avenue by the name of North West said, “I love all the new places that opened at UCR. Four 7-Elevens within a mile radius and no police to kick me off campus! Sometimes, I take a little vacation and stay at Motel 6 with the kids.”
Other prestigious UCs such as Los Angeles and Berkeley applauded UCR’s complete privatization from a business perspective. On March 28, The UCLA Daily Bruin wrote an editorial attempting to persuade its own school to follow UCR’s footsteps and compared UCR to the “Mall of America.”
When ambushed by reporters from all media, UC President Janet Napolitano refused to comment on the situation. However, the informal division of UC Riverside has sparked rumors of lawsuits for all names and logos affiliated with the University of California. Currently, administrators are considering allowing The Panda Restaurant Group to rename UCR.