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Monday, April 16, 2012

Monday, April 16, 2012

VOTE the Funding Memorial

The Academic Senate has drafted a "Memorial to the Regents" on which Senate faculty have been asked to vote.  All votes are due Friday to the systemwide office, and most campus faculty have only another day or two to cast their vote.  We urge you to vote on this memorial, and to vote yes.

The resolution portion of the Memorial states,

That the faculty of the Academic Senate call on The Regents of the University to support specific ballot measures and legislation that will increase state revenues and/or specific ballot measures and legislation that will prioritize funding for public higher education.
The faculty is thus asking the President to transmit to the regents a memorial asking the regents to support measures that would increase or prioritize public funding for higher education, including funding for the Cal State and community college systems. It doesn't specify a preference for one or another mechanism or ballot measure. It is obviously non-binding on the Regents.

Although some faculty have grumbled about the vagueness of this request to the Regents, as have I, there are at least two important things about this memorial. This recital is one of them:

WHEREAS increasingly damaging budgets have produced a downward spiral that threatens the survival of the University as the leading public university in the world as it experiences higher student-faculty ratios, larger class sizes, reduced depth and breadth in course offerings, staff layoffs, and lack of investment in infrastructure;
This admits and declares that public funding cuts hurt the quality of UC education. This is important because both damage to educational quality and its source in public funding cuts was frequently denied by key university officials until well into the current crisis cycle post-2008. This denial naturally let legislators and the public assume that since no real damage was being done to UC by cuts, there was no reason not to cut. There is still still lots of pressure not to talk about educational problems, and there are ongoing mixed signals coming from some chancellors and other senior managers about how out of state tuition, private fundraising, etc are making up the difference. The Memorial states as a faculty view that public funding cuts do hurt educational quality and must therefore be reversed.
Secondly, the Memorial describes faculty members as passionate public advocates "for the future of the University." Given existing law and UC policy, this refers to faculty advocating as private citizens rather than as official representatives of the university. But the Senate here takes an important step in presenting faculty as co-creators of the UC of the future. The Memorial constructs faculty not as objects of policy that is formed above their pay grade by one set of officials or another, but as active authors of the destiny of the University.

This Memorial is easy to support.