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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Saturday, July 18, 2009

George Lakoff On What to Do Now, After the Regents Meeting

Ed: to be read to the end!

To: All those who endorsed my letter to the Regents:
From: George Lakoff
Date: July 17, 2009
More than a thousand of you responded to my letter to the Regents. I wish I could thank you each personally. continue reading


Anonymous said...

a strike or coordinated furlough would play into the very trap Lakoff correctly warned against: the spotlight would be on the salary cut and the retort would be faculty selfishness.

we need to be smarter.

there are better responses.

we can box the UCOP and campus administrations into a trap by going around them.

They did not fight for funds to keep classes available so students can graduate, etc.

If we faculty strike and/or cancel classes for furlough days, it will be pinned on us. That sucks. It was a nasty strategy used by Yudof. But it is the reality of where we are now.

Don't take the bait.

We need to take the fight in another direction.

Chris Newfield said...

I don't think any bait is being offered here. People are proposing and considering various options and trying to figure out what to do. UC, with full faculty cooperation, has been making do with less per student since 1991, and hiding the problmes as best we all could. That hasn't worked too well, and that failure should be factored into the discussion - Chris

Toby Higbie said...

I like the idea of trying to get out ahead of the entrepreneurial rhetoric and the top-down "rethinking" commission. Perhaps every campus can organize its own "rethinking" commissions outside of the UC Senate and the administration. In the first instance, these would be educational and consensus-building. But they can also be used to link activities across campuses and mobilize people for specific campaigns.

Every good organizing campaign needs a great contact database. I suggest faculty on each campus begin developing a contact list from the endorsers of Lakoff's letter and work out from there. Endorsers should, of course, have the opportunity to opt out of any further involvement, but this list looks to be a good starting point.

Chris Newfield said...

good ideas here - thank you.

OhCrapIHaveACrushOnSarahPalin said...

Chris - have you seen this?


Anonymous said...


Regarding the talk of strikes and "taking the bait": we are our own potential bait-setters, tempted to strike because that is the model we have from other labor disputes. The illusion is that one tactic fits all circumstances.

I did not mean to imply that Lakoff or anyone other individual was setting a trap, except insofar as Yudof clearly played us to get us to request furloughs over pay cuts so he could claim consensus.

BTW, the Time article is surprisingly good. It even compares the doubling of expenditures on prisons to cuts in funding for UC.

I would take it to the people with an advertising campaign that shows alternate images for the future of California, and animated moving charts of funding for prisons vs educational funding for "your children and the future of California."

Chris, you are doing a great service.

Anonymous said...

Re: "Perhaps every campus can organize its own "rethinking" commissions outside of the UC Senate and the administration." - Please, can we stop assuming that everyone in the Senate (whom we elect, after all, an which is composed of faculty) and the administration (whose ranks many of us will populate, at one time or another) are the enemy? There are good people everywhere working very hard on this, and some of them have been doing so all along. You will find on Lakoff's list of endorsers many Senate leaders and administrators, after all. So - sure, we can set up separate committees, but they will replicate the task forces and working groups that many of our campuses have already established. Maybe we can identify on each campus the various budget working groups that have already been established and see if they can coordinate across the campuses?

Gerry Barnett said...

This isn't a labor dispute until folks make it into one. It's not so much a trap as a dead end if folks go there. This is much more an apparently invited public attack on the purpose and organization of UC (and CSU) and the Master Plan. Think it's very important not to devolve into figuring out who to push out of the lifeboat, while making sure the public understands this lifeboat is one they ride in too.

Unknown said...

I'll second the point made above by Anonymous, as a faculty member active in the Academic Senate (as a member of the University Committee on Planning and Budget (UCPB), incoming chair of UC Davis CPB, and member of the Task Force on Investments and Retirement (UCFW-TFIR)). I endorsed the first Lakoff letter and equally strongly endorse the second. I'm also very appreciative of the Faculty Associations' efforts and the UCI petition to stop the cuts (which I also signed), but the Academic Senate did generate 90 pages of critical comment on the three plans, which can be read here:


Point your colleagues to that URL and to this site. If your views are not reflected in the Senate's responses, post them here, as long as Chris is maintaining this excellent blog, and tell the Senate leadership on your campus. We need to discuss alternatives starting now, not in a rush next summer, to have any chance of restoring competitive total remuneration for faculty and staff. In agreement with numerous Academic Senate statements and with the vast majority of the faculty, I see no other way to prevent further, long-term decline in UC's quality.

Anonymous said...

Gerry Barnett and the other Anonymous make very good points.

Intra UC squabbling will get us nowhere, or worse, and into that category I would roll up fights with the administration, internecine lifeboat defenestrations, and disputes about future planning.

The alternative is to take the case to the public.

Even to the extent that there are serious probelms with Yudof or UCOP or other parts of the UC administration, fighting them directly would be pyrrhic. Much better to do it indirectly by getting the public on our side and boxing in Yudof, etc.

Ultimately, the future of UC is going to be decided by the next Governor and the next legislature. That is where the real battle will be fought, that is where the war will be won . . . or lost.

Toby Higbie said...

When I suggested working outside of the Senate structure, I was not implying that the Senate process was not important. Similarly, if the Faculty Association(s) can lead the process that great.

However, if we're talking about mobilizing people for political campaigns and an effort to change the way people see this crisis, then the Senate in particular might not be perfectly suited to the job. I'm drawing a contrast between "rethinking" as building a broad consensus and the kind of "rethinking" process that the Senate will be engaged in. Both are necessary.

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