Image via Arrowhead
The fact that the University of California system is facing severe budget shortfalls is news to exactly no one--the increased tuition rates and widespread faculty layoffs have sparked controversy and student protest. But what may indeed be news to some is that despite facing a $637 million shortfall, the UC system still managed to pay $2 million dollars to pay for brand name bottled water at just two campuses--even while 2,000 faculty members lost their jobs. Mother Jones reports:
According to its own estimates, UC-San Francisco has paid Arrowhead $250,000 to $320,000 a year since 2004 for water delivered in three-to-five gallon jugs that it dispensed in rented coolers. And officials from UC-Berkeley told the New York Times that it has paid $522,215 since 2004.And as MJ correctly notes, those two campuses are in a region that boasts some of the best-tasting, highest quality tap water in the entire country. I can attest to that--I grew up not far away in Sacramento, and to this day I haven't tasted better tap water anywhere else.
This is pretty absurd stuff--in the face of a 37% tuition hike and thousands of layoffs, no one thought to perhaps cut back on what is most certainly an unnecessary luxury? Perhaps the change will come now; that's what happened after it was revealed by the SF Chronicle that the San Francisco city government spent half a million dollars a year on its bottled water service--bottled water was outright banned.
Now that the UC's bottled water habits have been outed, perhaps they'll follow suit.