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Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday, July 24, 2009

Responding to the Regents: a Possible Prototype

Partial position statements and opinions from various campuses have been crossing our screens every day, but so far we haven't seen anything that integrates them into an overall response to the massive operating cuts and furloughs passed by the Regents a little over a week ago.

Here's a shot at a synthesis of what we've read. Additions, subtractions, and all sorts of modifications are more than welcome.

Recitals:
- the furloughs and budget cuts redduce UC's educational quality, intensify pressure for huge fee increases in the near future, and reduce student access. Students will pay more and get less.

- the signers opposed these furloughs and cuts, and, in the absence of full budgetary transparency, still do. We cannot be sure that all budgetary avenues have been explored, and still have serious budgetary and governance questions that the Regents did not address.

- we do not believe the UC Regents decisions on emergency powers, cuts, and furloughs reflect the best interests of the University, its employees, its students, or the people of California.

- as for the Regents commission on the future of UC, we do not accept the Gould Commission's appointment of the same management team that has been unable, over many years, to stabilize and improve UC's financial position.
Therefore, concerned, faculty, staff, and students are operating on multiple fronts:
1. legal: we are investigating corrective action to the assault on our livelihoods and on the everyday operations of the University of California.

2. investigative: we are forming our own commission / committees to evaluate the full range of UC's current options. This will include an independent analysis of the UC budget.

3. public: we will communicate with the public about what we know about UC's future - the fee hikes built into the Regents current low-General Fund assumptions, the fee subsidies for research, the financial resources that may be better disclosed, the vision of higher education for a better California that UC is leaving behind. We will hear their ideas about what they want for their public universities, and rebuild a fully accessible and yet high-quality university with the ideas that a full public discussion would provide.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

That looks like a great statement.

One suggestion is that the statement should specifically and repeatedly mention Yudof, the UCOP, and the Regents (it already mentions the regents).

The reason for targeting Yudof, UCOP and the Regents is that it glaringly leaves out the administrations of the individual campuses, which we should try to sway to support these points.

The Chancellors spoke pretty strongly at the Regents meeting and did so in ways that we've never heard Yudof or UCOP or the Regents as a collective body. The campus administrations should share our concerns.

Anonymous said...

oh, and it should mention Arnold, of course!

Jack Chen said...

I think we should also be engaging in outreach to sympathetic public officials, such as Lt. Gov. Garamendi. I just thanked him for his "no" vote at the UC Regents meeting. You can do so here:

http://www.ltg.ca.gov/index.php?option=com_rsform&formId=2&Itemid=99999

xicano said...

- the furloughs and budget cuts reduce UC's educational quality, intensify pressure for huge fee increases in the near future, and reduce student access.

To this I would add something like: which will defer indefinitely the inclusion of faculty and students from historically excluded communities.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anonymous that we should focus on Yudof and the Regents, and not necessarily campus-level administration - many of whom have been very clear about sharing our concerns and many of whom are working to figure out ways of mitigating differential impacts of cuts on different units of their campus. Some of them can surely be enlisted to help out here.

I cringe a bit at the "assault on our livelihood" phrase; it's not just our livelihood, but that of all of California.

I also want some inclusion of the words "research" not just in terms of "fee subsidies for research" but in a way that makes clear that the research contributions of faculty are a net benefit for the state. So, "assault on the livelihoods of students, educators and researchers in the state... which diminishes educational quality, educational opportunity, and the research innovation that creates jobs and a better future for all Californians" - I know, sounds schlocky. I am not good at this kind of thing. But I do think it's important to remind people that the research component is vital, too, even if we argue for higher indirect cost recovery or something like that.

Anonymous said...

very good point about the livelihood line by Anon at July 25, 7:10AM. I agree 100% and also agree with adding the words about research.

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