Tuesday, September 1, 2009

UC Prof on Problems with No Confidence Votes

Here are some thoughts about strategy regarding faculty.

1) I've been learning more about what's happening on CSU campuses where despite the presence of a union politicization was slow until faculty returned from vacation & began teaching. I would expect the same to be the case at all UC campuses, which leads me to think that a successful walkout not to be feasible on the 24th except at Berkeley.

2) The no-confidence vote targets too much a person, not enough the policy (emergency powers & furloughs). Get rid of Yudof but the policy remains. So at the very least an amended resolution or an entirely separate, additional one should make a counter specfic demand that references the earlier sense of the Academic Council and restores faculty say over furloughs, etc. This would be a UC-wide Senate demand. Yudof or his replacement would have to cede if the UC Academic Council passed it or he would lose authority with the Regents. This strategy plays to faculty strengths and would then leave the door open to further demands in the future and gets beyond the usual symbolic politics.

3) I think UCOP's & the Regents' high-handed treatment of faculty as simply bothersome employees has created enormous resentment but Yudof is confident that he has isolated them from powerful allies such as State legislators, UC alums, and the press, and is not really worried by the threat of a walkout that wouldn't be followed by scientists & engineers anyway who have more or less been taken care of. He may be wrong but I'm not so sure.

Best,

2 comments:

Gregory said...

"Yudof is confident that he has isolated them (i.e., faculty) from powerful allies such as State legislators, UC alums, and the press, and is not really worried by the threat of a walkout that wouldn't be followed by scientists & engineers anyway who have more or less been taken care of."

This is a very telling and instructive observation. Yudof and the Regents are more sophisticated and tougher politically than the disparate faculty groups who are currently struggling to withstand what appears to be a very deliberate assault. As it stands, the faculty is divided against itself and, with the aid of the press, is being cast as the villain in the drastic degradation of the UC educational system. The faculty has been outflanked at every turn in this high-stakes game.

I personally support the plan to walk out on classes, or even strike, but cannot help feeling that the "perception management" specialists will find a way to make the dissident faculty look bad to the public.

xicano said...

Of course no confidence votes target individuals in power and are symbolic political acts. But the current options are few.

The author calls for "an amended resolution or an entirely separate, additional one." But who is going to draft it and put in the hard work of organizing faculty around it? So far (with few exceptions), UC faculty has shown itself to be unable to come together around any position. And it is also true that the high rollers among us (e.g., med school faculty) are being peeled off with backroom deals.

Yudof may be fighting for the UC system behind the scenes, as his defenders Croughan and Powell would have us believe, but he is also the man behind broad emergency powers that destroy shared governance and the original furlough plan that most of us would have given a D grade for lack of forethought and creativity. He is also the visible head of an administration whose policies can only be interpreted as union busting.

Given the situation, Croughan and Powell's "Our Leader Shall Not Be Criticized" directive ought to be rejected and the no confidence vote supported.