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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday, October 18, 2009

UCSB Senate Votes Censure of President Yudof

Press Release - Saving UCSB - Senate Resolution

10 comments:

Pangloss said...

Toot little, toot late.

Yudof can simply reply, we should be so lucky as to turn a profit. He had the power to cut salaries, and UC did so in the early nineties. The non-teaching furlough decision will be blamed on faculty who preferred the furlough to a straight cut. The NYTimes piece risks pitting petulant faculty against proud populists, and guess who looks better in the media.

Look at today's NYTimes for a response: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/18/magazine/18letters-t-003.html?_r=1&ref=magazine

Michael Meranze said...

I don't agree Pangloss. The point as you say is that Yudof could have done that without his emergency powers. That is what needs to be pressed. The emergency powers were completely unnecessary--they rewrote the standing orders without actually needing to. It was a move to change the structure of the University.

We have to frame the issue not as the furlough but as the increasingly hierarchical way Yudof is taking the university and link that to larger changes in society. That way the faculty assume--as they should--the populist position.

Gerry Barnett said...

Disappointing.

UCOP is moving in directions available to it. Tuition to $15K/yr doesn't sound that bad. Upsides abound: more federal dollars through financial aid, better rankings through tuition and selectivity measures, greater commitment by those attending, greater incentive to finish in four years, freedom from legislative failures, more resources to work with, parking for faculty.

Don't like that? Come up with something better. Clark Kerr wrote that the faculty don't innovate, they filter. Easy to praise and blame; harder to propose and plan. Maybe Kerr was wrong. But until faculty create or reward a deliberative forum that matters, that generates substantive events and directions, they are pawns of events and directions of others, and the primary role left to them is to make UCOP's responses to those events more or less costly to everyone. There's really no point in making an effort to put a nuanced frame around that. The failure of faculty governance to step up in a time of need is just one more sorry event UCOP has to deal with.

Jenny said...

I see a different scenario of increasing tuition to $15K: less selectivity due to loss of top middle class students to the privates which have deeper pockets; less diversity in terms of underrepresented minorities for the same reason; non-residents choosing to go elsewhere (many are already choosing their home states in response to rising costs of higher education). Michigan's selectivity is around 50% and their ranking has gone down as a consequence. Some might say it's inevitable given the trend of declining state funding, but unless we move forward examining both the pros and cons (and not just the cost benefits of privatization), we could end up with a university that is not the one many of us chose to come to. Faculty input is crucial because we are "on the ground" so to speak. With the increased corporate structure that has taken over the administration of universities, decision-making at the higher level is even more removed from the functioning of departments and programs, which cannot be reduced to the line item in a budget.

Gerry Barnett said...

This is where evidence will be critical. Whoever owns the metrics controls the direction. It is horrible to think that UCOP would manage to rankings and go after students and their families when they are the most vulnerable. Yet, so long as that is the direction that events suggest, it appears that is the way UCOP will go. Why make difficult hard decisions when there are easier hard decisions?

In UC admin rhetoric and planning, middle class California students are the most boring, uninteresting folks one could possibly have. No big moral wow to have a bunch of those kids enrolled. No financial advantage either. Much better to have poor who qualify for federal supplements and make good posters, middle class foreign students paying out of state tuition and adding to diversity figures, and wealthy students whose families don't see much difference between $8K and $15K, since it's not $50K, and might be future donors if their kids have an okay time of it.

Make a case that faculty really want to teach middle class CA kids paying really low tuition to meet a transforming vision of instruction in society and you'll get attention. Maybe even UCOP's. Or bits of the CA legislature. Perhaps, though, the persistent signaling by UC about how really special keen it is to have anyone enrolled besides the daughters and sons of the CA middle class will take a while to undo.

Anonymous said...

"Make a case that faculty really want to teach middle class CA kids paying really low tuition to meet a transforming vision of instruction in society and you'll get attention."

Better still, never mind what the faculty really want. Make a case that UCOP and the Gov and the Legislature are going to shut out the middle class from affordable higher education and then maybe, just maybe, there will be a public response in favor of funding higher education.

To the extent that we faculty make this about us - who we want to teach, our salaries, retention, furlough days, shared governance - we are doomed. These will be perceived (somewhat correctly) as narcissistic concerns of the faculty, at best.

Make it about middle class families who have long enjoyed a rather ridiculous subsidy at UC and now face withdrawal of the subsidy, and maybe some public funding can be recovered.

Gerry Barnett said...

Anon--your deployment of the rhetoric illustrates why middle class education is taking a hit in CA, at UC at least.

In sum: What UC faculty want doesn't matter. The state contribution is just a subsidy to middle class families (and ridiculous at that). The core issue is whether that ridiculous subsidy should end in a time of crisis or whether the middle class should vote to continue their looting at the expense of other state programs, like jails and K12 and highways. Answer: of course it should end. Waste, corruption, idleness, and easy living everywhere. Mellonomics will change that.

If that's the way it is, UCOP has its mandate and roadmap pretty clearly in front of it, and it doesn't include the need for faculty governance, or even faculty input. Those are just part of the ceremonial pain of leadership. The responsible thing (from a UCOP perspective) is (1) to make the middle class pay directly rather than through an unreliable, even adverse, legislative process--a private educational libertarianism; and (2) re-organize (and make a public show of reorganizing) cross-subsidies to be responsive to tuition as a more important driver of educational priorities, as the privates do.

The folks who will win in the re-organization are the ones with their noses closest to the troughs that will be, not the troughs that are or once were. Sadly, probably not the same folks burning off their energy framing just so the protests over teach time furloughs or reading comments to blog posts.

Chris Newfield said...

Gerry, I take you to be describing a private-goods rhetoric that is currently creating the logic of the system. I agree that there's a liberal-conservative consensus around the inevitability of shifting the costs of public higher ed from the public to the individual student (a process even farther along in WA). I take you to be saying too that the Yudof Scenario that you ventriloquize in your first paragraph will win without a more disruptive counterrhetoric (parts of which are present in Michael and Jenny's comments - antiauthoritarianism in corporate systems, which is deeply if silently popular, and antidiscrimination around race and class, which also remains a "core American value" often honored in the breach). I don't understand the last paragraph, which seems ultra-noir - big money always wins. Yes, mostly, but progress comes from the many defeats of financial interests and most of your comments have good ideas about how to help with that . . .

Gerry Barnett said...

I didn't mean to leave the impression that big money wins.... The idea, rather, was that the folks who are brought into the UC reorganization for the future (however it goes), data and metric driven as it no doubt will be, will be the ones that end up with the new resources, while the ones resisting and protesting will be spending their energy marking the change but aren't as likely to have their budget needs addressed with priority. I may be cynical, but ultra-noir, not yet, I hope.

I would dearly love to see powerful counterrhetoric. New love for middle class students, somfin. A rhetoric that takes control of the frames of thinking about the future. Where we could timely use some of George Lakoff's metaphors to live by. As well as Michael's focus on Prop 13 and corrections, for instance--in the form of initiatives...get an angle on these... where UC admin never will venture.

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