Thursday, July 2, 2009

UC Berkeley faculty opposing current UCOP Salary Cut Proposals

June 29, 2009

Dear Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost George W. Breslauer:

We write in response to the invitation to comment on President Yudof's draft options for furloughs and/or salary reductions. We are aware of the magnitude of the financial challenges confronting the University and are committed to working with the President to surmount them.

We applaud his commitment to the principles of broad consultation and responding to the crisis in the most equitable manner possible.

However, we find ourselves unable to support any of the three presented options. We have not been provided with sufficient information, nor given adequate time for meaningful consultation with the Office of the President, the Berkeley administration, or our colleagues.

Informal discussions with colleagues have left us with many questions and concerns:

• Compliance: The Standing Order authorizing the President to implement a furlough/salary reduction plan in a state of financial emergency requires, among five conditions, that “other reductions of University expenditures through established University regulations and procedures are insufficient to stabilize the financial position,” and that “the contemplated actions are an essential element of financial savings under the current conditions.” In the absence of a full and transparent account of the budget and of all possible cost-cutting measures, how can we know whether these conditions have been met?

• Duration: Although the furloughs/salary reductions are proposed for a one-year term, they are subject to renewal by the Regents. By what process would a decision to extend these furloughs/salary reductions take place?

• Equity: We are concerned that the proposed cuts are not as progressively structured as they would have to be to realize the stated goal of equitability. Why are structures of multiple tiers, slowly graduated rises between tiers, and a threshold for total exemption from furloughs/salary reductions not considered? In light of the high cost of living in the Bay Area, and the fact that many employees are barely scraping by to pay their mortgage/rent, why should a cap on reductions for our highest earning employees come at the expense of a living wage for our lowest earning employees?

• Other consequences of reduced compensation: What are the implications of furloughs/salary reductions for our pensions and other benefits? The University's website says that “it may not be possible in all situations… to protect benefits and leave accruals… [T]his issue continues to be evaluated and no final decisions have been made yet.” In the absence of such information, how can we adjudicate the options?

• Deferred compensation: Are there alternatives that could be considered in lieu of either furloughs or salary reductions? For example, could savings gained from a salary reduction be treated as an advance from employees whose lost earnings would be restored upon recovery of the economy?

• Workload and tenure/promotions criteria: Under the furlough proposal, how are teaching and administrative duties reduced to achieve a workload commensurate with reduced pay? Are tenure, promotion, and job performance criteria adjusted accordingly?

• Recruitment/retention of faculty: Academic careers are exceptional in that they typically involve enormous early financial sacrifice (for graduate students), early job insecurity (for junior faculty), and forfeiture of high salaries and easy mobility in exchange for job security (for senior faculty). Furloughs/salary reductions would undermine prospective faculty's confidence that terms of employment that are offered will be honored. How would this affect our future ability to recruit the best scholars from around the world?

• Maintaining educational excellence: Our dedication to teaching at Berkeley also depends upon its unmatched (and historical) combination of academic excellence, its diverse student population, and its tradition as a public university. The proposed furloughs/salary reductions are coupled with a raising of student fees, which endangers that tradition.

We are fully committed to our University and its mission, and we would like to participate meaningfully in decisions about the University’s budget and explore alternatives that do not endanger faculty excellence and student access.

We realize that the roots of the budget crisis ultimately lie in precarious public support for public education and that, in the last instance, we are accountable to the residents of California. What is the University doing to persuade California taxpayers, legislators, and the media to support UC? Two bills currently before the California legislature—ACA 24 and SCA 21—would place before voters a constitutional amendment repealing UC’s historic constitutional autonomy.

What is the University doing in response to these bills? How might we move from a reactive stance to a pro-active strategy?

We need to respond to the current budget crisis in a way that respects and draws upon the good will of students, staff, faculty, donors, and alumnae. Their expertise, energy, and devotion to the University are its best resource.

Yours sincerely,

Elizabeth Abel, Professor, English
David Ackerly, Associate Professor, Integrative Biology
Robert Allen, Adjunct Professor, African American Studies/Ethnic Studies
Robert Alter, Class of 1937 Professor in Hebrew and Comparative Literature, Department of Comparative Literature
Charles Altieri, Professor, English
Miguel A. Altieri, Professor, Environmental Science, Policy & Management
Paola Bacchetta, Associate Professor, Gender & Women Studies
Ann Banfield, Professor, English
Patricia Baquedano-Lopez, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Education
Patricia Berger, Associate Professor, History of Art
Irene Bloemraad, Assistant Professor, Sociology
Jean-Paul Bourdier, Professor, Architecture
Mark Brilliant, Assistant Professor, History/ Program in American Studies
Karl Ashoka Britto, Associate Professor, French/Comparative Literature
Thomas F. Budinger, Professor, Bioengineering
Judith P. Butler, Maxine Elliott Professor, Rhetoric/Comparative Literature
Richard Candida Smith, Professor, History
Claudia J. Carr, Associate Professor, Environmental Science, Policy & Management
Marianne Constable, Professor, Rhetoric
Kiren Chaudhry, Associate Professor, Political Science
Pheng Cheah, Professor, Rhetoric
Raveevarn Choksombatchai, Associate Professor, Architecture
Renée Y. Chow, Associate Professor, Architecture and Urban Design
Margaret Chowning, Professor, History
Timothy J. Clark, George C. and Helen N. Pardee Chair, History of Art
Catherine Cole, Professor, Theater, Dance & Performance Studies
John Connelly, Associate Professor, History
Galen Cranz, Professor, Architecture
René Davids, Professor, Architecture and Urban Design
Prachi Deshpande, Associate Professor, History
Robert Dudley, Professor, Integrative Biology
Vasudha Dalmia, Catherine and William L. Magistretti Distinguished Professor, South & Southeast Asian Studies
Ian Duncan, Professor, English
John M. Efron, Koret Chair in Jewish History, Department of History
Laura Enriquez, Associate Professor, Sociology
Marian Feldman, Associate Professor, History of Art/Near Eastern Studies
Louise Fortmann, Professor, Environmental Science, Policy, & Management
Anne-Lise Francois, Associate Professor, English
Catherine Gallagher, Eggers Professor, English
Hannah Ginsborg, Professor, Philosophy
Peter Glazer, Associate Professor, Theater, Dance & Performance Studies
Evelyn Nakano Glenn, Professor, Ethnic Studies/Gender & Women's Studies
Mark Goble, Associate Professor, English
Steven Goldsmith, Associate Professor, English
Marcial Gonzalez, Associate Professor, English
Kevis Goodman, Associate Professor, English
Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby, Associate Professor, History of Art
Suzanne Guerlac, Professor, French
Chris Hallett, Associate Professor and Chair, History of Art
Timothy Hampton, Professor, French/Comparative Literature; Acting Chair, French
Kristin Hanson, Associate Professor, English
Gillian Hart, Professor, Geography
Cori Hayden, Associate Professor, Anthropology
Mark Healey, Assistant Professor, History
Lyn Hejinian, Professor, English
Ronald Hendel, Norma and Sam Dabby Professor of Hebrew Bible and Jewish Studies, Department of Near Eastern Studies
David Henkin, Professor, History
Charles Hirschkind, Associate Professor, Anthropology
Elizabeth Honig, Associate Professor, History of Art
You-tien Hsing, Associate Professor, Geography
Lynn Huntsinger, Professor, Environmental Science, Policy, & Management
Michael Iarocci, Associate Professor, Spanish and Portuguese
Alastair Iles, Assistant Professor, Environmental Science, Policy, & Management
Shannon Jackson, Professor & Chair, Theater, Dance and Performance Studies
Sheri L. Johnson, Professor, Psychology; Director, Cal Mania (CALM) Program
Andrew F. Jones, Associate Professor, East Asian Languages & Cultures
Victoria Kahn, Professor, Comparative Literature/English
Elaine H. Kim, Professor, Ethnic and Asian American Studies
Niko Kolodny, Associate Professor, Philosophy
Jake Kosek, Assistant Professor, Geography
George Lakoff, Professor, Linguistics
Jean Lave, Professor Emerita, Graduate School of Education
Gregory Levine, Associate Professor, History of Art
Song Li, Associate Professor, Bioengineering
Samuel R. Lucas, Associate Professor, Sociology
Colleen Lye, Associate Professor, English
Saba Mahmood, Associate Professor, Anthropology
Nelson Maldonado-Torres, Associate Professor, Ethnic Studies
Beatriz Manz, Professor, Geography/Ethnic Studies
Leslie Martin, Lecturer, French and Comparative Literature
Waldo E. Martin, Jr., Professor, History
Francine Masiello, Professor, Spanish and Portuguese/ Comparative Literature
Rebecca McLennan, Associate Professor, History
Line Mikkelsen, Assistant Professor, Linguistics
Trinh T. Minh-ha, Professor, Rhetoric and Gender & Women's Studies
Minoo Moallem, Professor, Gender & Women's Studies
Kathleen Moran, Senior Lecturer, Program in American Studies
Rachel Morello-Frosch, Associate Professor, Environmental Science, Policy & Management
Davitt Moroney, Professor, Music; University Organist
Alva Noe, Professor, Philosophy
Richard B. Norgaard, Professor, Energy & Resources Group
Geoffrey G. O’Brien, Assistant Professor, English
Todd P. Olson, Associate Professor, History of Art
Aihwa Ong, Professor, Anthropology/Southeast Asian Studies
Samuel Otter, Professor and Chair, English
Kevin Padian, Professor, Integrative Biology; Curator, Museum of Paleontology
Céline Pallud, Assistant Professor, Environmental Science, Policy & Management
Beth Piatote, Assistant Professor, Ethnic and Native American Studies
Joanna Picciotto, Associate Professor, English
Gautam Premnath, Assistant Professor, English
Kent Puckett, Associate Professor, English
Paul Rabinow, Professor, Anthropology
Leigh Raiford, Assistant Professor, African American Studies
Harsha Ram, Associate Professor, Slavic Languages and Literatures/ Comparative Literature
Isha Ray, Assistant Professor, Energy & Resources Group
Raka Ray, Sarah Kailath Chair of India Studies, Sociology
José David Saldívar, Class of 1942 Professor, English/Ethnic Studies
Debarati Sanyal, Associate Professor, French
Alex Saragoza, Associate Professor, Ethnic Studies
Daniel Sargent, Assistant Professor, History
Scott Saul, Associate Professor, English
Nancy Scheper-Hughes, Chancellor's Professor of Anthropology; Head, Doctoral Program in Medical Anthropology, Department of Anthropology
Ingrid Seyer-Ochi, Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Education
Katherine Sherwood, Professor, Art Practice
Whendee Silver, Professor, Environmental Science, Policy, & Management
Jeffrey Skoller, Associate Professor, Film Studies
Mary Ann Smart, Gladyce Arata Terrill Professor, Music
Sandra Susan Smith, Associate Professor, Sociology
Katherine Snyder, Associate Professor, English
Janet Sorensen, Associate Professor, English
Dan Stamper-Kurn, Associate Professor, Physics
Andrew Stewart, Nicholas C. Petris Professor of Greek Studies, History of Art and Classics
Laura Stoker, Associate Professor, Political Science
Jill Stoner, Associate Professor, Architecture
Chenxi Tang, Associate Professor, German
Elisa Tamarkin, Associate Professor, English
Alan Tansman, Professor, East Asian Languages & Cultures
Barrie Thorne, Professor, Sociology/Gender & Women's Studies
Charis Thompson, Associate Professor, Gender & Women's Studies
Khatharya Um, Associate Professor, Ethnic and Asian American Studies
Kate Van Orden, Professor, Music
Paula Varsano, Associate Professor, East Asian Languages & Cultures
Sophie Volpp, Associate Professor, Comparative Literature/East Asian Languages and Cultures
Anne Wagner, Professor and Class of 1936 Chair, History of Art
Richard Walker, Professor, Geography
Anne Walsh, Associate Professor, Art Practice
Michael Watts, Class of '63 Professor, Geography
Laurie A. Wilkie, Professor, Anthropology
Robb Willer, Assistant Professor, Sociology
Joanna Williams, Professor, History of Art and South/Southeast Asian Studies
Sau-Ling Wong, Professor, Ethnic and Asian American Studies

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