Saturday, July 11, 2009

Poem on UC Budget Cuts

Let it be Ugly, Visible and Temporary
A Poem on the Budget Crisis in the University of California
--The South Campus Way Caucus

Over two hundred years ago British Americans led a Revolution by reasoning thus:
‘Our English government tells us they are in debt and need our money
But if they can tax our property at will is it still ours?’
If the State of California can turn our salary into their cash reserve, is it still ours?
This is an ugly thing, so let it be visible and temporary.

Since our master has demanded that we inflict a wound upon ourselves
Please don’t, dear administrators, mix an invisible poison or bioengineer an insidious cancer
That will course through our system killing all its excellence.
Instead, let us put a foul blister on our forehead or cut a bleeding gash into our limb
So the ugliness of this thing will be visible and our wound temporary.

Administrators are used to developing practical solutions to unexpected problems.
But since, as every headline shouts, times are not normal, we need a new skill-set for university leadership, a whole new species of PR.
It is a time to be brutally honest with the students we teach and the citizens we serve;
We need to admit this salary raid could cripple research, dilute education, and kill our competitiveness.
Above all, let any remedy that we fashion possess the character of resistance.
Let it be like the wound: ugly and visible so that it may be temporary.

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