Well, actually, yes we do. So do other people. Better ideas are in constant circulation. Here's one example of an advertizing campaign that was prepared by a member of UCPB in conjunction with a professional publicist.
Promoting UC Education 1
Sound familiar? "Pay more, get less" emerged in the Fall of 2009 as a protest slogan. But this advertisement was first presented to UCOP officials in Fall 2003.
There are better ideas for promoting UC funding - just not ones that UCOP, in its higher wisdom, are willing to use.
Instead, we get copy like this. Responding to budget cuts, the president of the University of California issued the following statement:
California is facing a major budget challenge, and as a result, pain and sacrifice will have to be spread widely across the state. We at the University of California recognize that we need to play a role in the state's solution to its budget gap.
At the same time, it is important for all to recognize that every additional budget cut to the University of California is a painful cut. We already have taken deep cuts in previous budgets . . . Our ability to preserve this institution's world-class quality and continue making a major contribution to California's economy will be compromised by these growing budget cuts.Later, on the same subject, the president of the University of California issued the following statement:
While we deeply appreciate the governor's actions, notwithstanding the crisis in the state budget, there is still a significant gap as we seek to repair a budget that has been severely cut. . . The university requested $913 million to address this critical issue. . . .This money is vital if UC is to avoid declining educational quality, access and research.The first statement was released by President Robert Dynes on November 25, 2003. The second was made by President Mark Yudof on January 8, 2010. Any number of similar statements were issued in response to bad budgets. The statement, "cuts hurt, but the state can't avoid them," forms the normative baseline for UC reponses to budgetary challenges in the 2000s.
Here now are the graphs with the updated benchmark promised in a budget post last week. Click on the graph for more detail.
The updated correction for consumer inflation looks like this:
So one better idea is to stick with this one simple point: a UC education is being gutted, and then shouting it over and over and over again.
Instead, last month, UC officials thanked the governor for another bad budget. Then they launched their administrative savings scheme with a grossly inflated, multi-year savings target of $500 million.
This said said 2 things to Sacramento:
(1) UC will never fight so there is zero political cost for cutting it.
(2) we were right that UC has been wasting money. It doesn't need any more from us.
In fact, far below UCOP level, people are not buying new computer systems. People are quitting or getting fired. For example, UCSD is down nearly 20% in temporary instructors over 2 years, and nearly 10% in staff over the same period. In my division at UCSB, there will no longer be main offices for departments, but multidepartmental staff pools clustered by building, where students will seek an advisor for linguistic courses in an office named "Humanities South."
UCOP says we are inefficient while in fact much of the university no longer has anything to be inefficient with. When it does this, it manages to sound ignorant, insult the campuses, and undermine its recovery strategy all at the same time.
I wasn't any happier about this last month than I am now. So on May 19th I wrote an email to UCOP CFO Peter Taylor, architect of the $500 Million in savings plan.
Dear Mr. Taylor,A few days later, I received a long reply, which I thought was to me and the 6 officials cced, but which wound up getting facebooked on the Mark Yudof page. It's nice to know I wasn't the only one who wrote in. Peter Taylor's main point is that "administrative efficiency in no way negates UC's severe need for state support" and that they never said it did. He adds later, "I'll note that over the course of our ongoing budget negotiations, Sacramento has asked for evidence that UC is also "helping itself" as it were, and operational efficiency serves to exhibit our good faith stewardship of this great University." So having been screwed UC again, Sacto is asking UC for proof that it shouldn't be screwed again. Add twitter, repeat as often as necessary.
As a former chair of UCPB, I have received a number of distressed emails today from colleagues who read the SF Chronicle coverage of your efficiencies initiative. The $500 M figure is close enough to last year's GF cut to imply to most people that strategic sourcing and software coordination can make up for state cuts. Your slide 2 states that the budgetary shortfall after your initiative is implemented is $237 M. Unfortunately, this is an order of magnitude off the $2 billion UC is actually short by comparison to 2001, a number established in a UCPB report several years ago and indeed mentioned by President Yudof about an hour before you spoke.
Your presentation has doubtless confused the public and probably many Regents about the size of UC's public funding need, and given the legislature yet another excuse to do no more than they are already doing. The real shortfalls on the campuses are impairing our educational services to the state, and I do hope that in the next few days you and other UCOP officials will clarify this matter.
Professor of English
My reply is as follows, of May 25th.
Dear Mr. Taylor,I think just about any of this would work better than what UC is doing now.
I very much appreciate your detailed reply. I certainly support the substance of the program you outline.
It's clear that if we allow the state to maintain its current perspective on higher ed funding, UC is dead in the water. The May Revise puts us at $200 M below our GF for 2001-02 in nominal dollars. In real dollars, it puts us below the trough year of 2004-05, and these figures are not corrected for enrollment growth or for cost increases above California's CPI.
The coverage of UC last week said (1) UC was a big winner in the May Revise, and (2) UC has discovered it is sitting on $500 M in waste. It's hard to see how these stories do anything but kill the chance for near-term increases in GF. You are right: now UC will be expected to "help itself" by finding its next $500 M in state funding from its own internal system savings.
We need to present the state with a new framework or we will never recover. I see only one possible starting point: There is no substitute for correct levels of public funding. Either the state's leaders restore it or they will be shown to be wrecking California's future.
I know you all are perfectly well aware of the public funding crisis. But I think you all get the messages reversed, and lead with the minor story (administrative savings continue to be found, and UCOP has a new initiative to accelerate them with better coordination). This then relegates the major story to parenthetical status (continuing budget damage to high-quality UC education).
For an example, I'd refer you to Nathan Brostrom's very well-spoken appearance on the Patt Morrison show. He said all the right things about how the campuses have long been seeking savings, etc., but the lead vision of an impaired UC which can only be fixed with restored GF came from a caller named Kyle, with whom Mr. Brostrom then agreed. Somebody should make a transcript of Kyle of Costa Mesa and put it up on the UCOP web site!
We can easily lay out companion educational initiatives -- all in fact accurate -- once the lead message about public funding is in place: explaining the full costs of running a research university; proclaiming our extraordinary productivity and efficiency given the poverty of the campuses relative to our research university peers; describing efficiency savings as widespread, continuous, determined, and restricted (Jane Wellman's estimate to the Gould Commission was 2-3% / year); describing the damage done by budget cuts ("they're wrecking the future") coupled with clearly identified concrete public benefits when the cuts are undone (countercyclical economic stimulus achieved, educational attainment restored, specific grand challenges addressed).
The common theme is UC needs and UC contributions, not UC's unfixed flaws. I know you have collected many many examples of these from the campuses and other UC units.
With all best wishes for your work,