Despite the email I wrote to Henry--it was genuine and I wrote it to give him feedback and strengthen his back when he delivers our message to the Regents--I must say I feel a deep disappointment and sadness. I have to agree with Suzanne and Sarah and state that this was much worse than what I have imagined. We were worried in the last email exchange that "they" would be sagely noding. Well, "they" were not even THERE! The speeches from all of you and others were amazing, it made me VERY proud to be part of this amazing community, BUT who were listening? Ourselves!! Can you believe it, with all due respect, that a graduate student was speaking on behalf of the Committee on the Student Fee issues?! And this out of touch lady Marry who claimed that Faculty Self Governance is now stronger than ever?!It is important to ask direct questions, so that those who are responsible will reveal the wrongdoings under the guise of administrative correctness: hence, as in this case, Croughan came out with an outrageous remark, which you all thankfully booed: aside from the wonderful eloquent speeches like Bill's, this kind of direct approach is needed to tear away the veil of lies.
I agree with Sarah. As much as I enjoyed this communication--and I am truly thankful to all of you to let me express my frustration and (sometimes naive) thoughts--I feel that we have to broaden the participation and use different strategies in the future. Campbell hall was empty, and nobody whom we invited per email listings came, except for those expected. Many speeches were REALLY brilliant, but how can these thoughts reach the entire UCSB community and beyond? Of course I don't know the answer.
Sarah, although I don't know what it will mean to be part of the UCSB Faculty Association, I am happy to receiving more information about it and giving it a try. Maybe the speeches from today of everybody (in a condensed format) can be written up and published in the FA Newsletter?
Maybe we need professional lobbyist? But where getting the money from?
Thank you all, you are amazing.
First, thank you to Suk-Young Kim and her students for the great coffin and procession and "I'm not dead yet" sketch; It was definitely the best part of my day.
Sadly, I wouldn't even say that we only had ourselves to talk to at 1pm at Campbell Hall. There were maybe five faculty there (including myself); another 5 or so had accumulated by 1:50, when I had to leave to go teach my class; There were very few undergraduates, and grad students you could count on the fingers of one hand. Some of the union reps were there, but only a few of the rank and file and I do mean 3-4. No one had come prepared to read names or list cuts. Claudio, Edwina, Eddie Woolfolk, Bob Samuels, and Janelle Mungo had to improvise to fill in the time. It made the rallies of the summer look like the Uruk-Hai armies gathered before Helm's Deep.
I'm even sorrier to hear there was no crowd at the Forum itself. I think you are all correct to stress that we shouldn't feel defeated. All "movements" have their ups and downs. But it would be helpful to have an analysis of what went wrong here. There's the issue of what we ourselves did and didn't accomplish; but it is stunning that so few members of the community came to the Forum. Both are worth understanding--if that were possible. The mystery, for me, is doubled by the fact that I had thought the Teach-In and the censure vote had generated some real momentum. That sense was obviously wrong.
We did not have much time to prepare, it's true. But I emailed my own department and comparative literature at least two or three times. Not a single English graduate student turned up for the Outbreak, and the only English faculty who showed were me, Yunte, Stephanie L. and Heather Blurton. Ann Bermingham was the only person I saw from Art History--there may have been one other; Jennifer Holt, the only person from Film Studies. These are our core departments. There were one or two faculty from Spanish and Portuguese, one from French-Ital. (Claudio)
Why are we not even supporting ourselves?
Okay, perhaps here's a more positive reality check then. The original plan -- advanced by Yudof's "eyes and ears assistant" who was in the front row today -- was that the commission would talk AT us for two hours with no opportunity to speak from the floor. Henry Yang insisted on the open microphone format in which we had the bulk of the time - time we used to make it clear that we aren't buying this smoke screen and have no intention of rolling over for it.
If we had boycotted, that opportunity would have been lost and spun as faculty apathy and tacit consent. Instead, this open mic format will now have to be adopted on the other campuses where faculty and student organizers will have more time to plan, hone their message, and get people in seats. It's true that the turnout is disappointing, but it's also to be expected on this campus. Our contribution has been to get the ball rolling on unmasking this sham-fest and we succeeded in that.
The larger fight has to be a system-wide effort. There is no way that we were going to persuade Yudof even if he had showed, and he would have stolen the floor. He and his corporatist crowd are not going to be persuaded; our only hope is to outmaneuver them in the public domain.
Finally, I agree that everyone did do a great job with their comments. Elisabeth was amazing!! as were many others. I think Henning Bohn deserves special thanks for opening the door as he did. He said that Joel wrote a lot of the speech drawing from wide input. But the student comments were the most extraordinary -- cutting and incisive -- and we might want to transcribe them and get student permission to circulate them via the website. Amber's story of from $0 debt to $87K for one degree says more than we can say in many speeches.
I want to second how our students provide the most powerful testimony, as they did at the teach-in. But embedded in their remarks is analysis. We should be proud of them. And again I appreciated all of you who were so elegant today. We have such a talented group of faculty here and throughout the system and together Yes We Can! Eileen
I agree - I was inspired and really proud to be a part of this community. Thanks to all who spoke. You were fantastic. Are there transcripts being kept of these events? The collected transcripts of all the forums would seem to be crucial for the commission to have if they really are "listening." How would all of those not present know what was said? I would love to find out about that and learn how our concerns are being documented. I would also like a copy!
I agree with Bob that we missed an opportunity (partly my fault, since I was the one who spoke next) to take up Mary Croughan on her outrageous remark. But we did boo her, the loudest negative vocal response of the day. I also looked at the Merced visit schedule--it is pathetic: they will probably have ten to thirty minutes (depending on how the meeting is run) for public comments there. We need to let other campuses know that this is a sham. All the poorly choreographed
publicity and waste of human labor just to do some damage control and to legitimize more bad policies down the road. I have to say that our enemy is media savvy because the Commission would give them good cover in the future. They know what kind of future they want, but they need procedural justification. Let's take them up on that and use this as OUR opportunity to raise hell. The question is how. Today is a small
start, even though I left the room with anger and disgust. We may need better communication strategies and keep our agendas in the news every day. Any ideas -Yunte
Dear Yunte,et al.,
I've just sent off a report about today's events to a bunch of contacts on the other UC campuses, with some suggestions about how they should build/improve upon our efforts. Someone suggested months ago that we create our own "Commission on the Future of the UC", which is not a bad idea. Another option is to insist, through our Academic Senates, that any recommendations made by the Gould Commission be subject to debate and ratification by the University community before they are enacted. I actually proposed a resolution to that effect at the local Senate meeting on October 8, but we never got a chance to discuss it. I think we will propose it again at the upcoming meeting.
Part of what makes the whole thing so stupid is that we are not being presented with any concrete proposals, we were simply being invited to vent. They will do this on all 10 campuses, then proceed with the highly-developed plans they've been working out along but never told us about in any detail, and claim that we had our chance to offer input. We must demand the right to approve or reject concrete proposals after due time to consider and debate them.
Does anyone recall that, in his exchange with Lisa Hajjar back in July, Christopher Edley referred to both Yudof and Gould as "impatient" men? I read it on Chris Newfield's blog: it must still be there somewhere. I think that could be used against them, and when one considers what a disaster was caused by the precipitous re-investment of the pension fund a few years ago, we could argue that the Regents have a history of imprudently hasty behavior.
Dear Bob and all,
Bob, thanks for your work with other campuses, and your analysis of the stupid-smart way that they have designed the Commission as slick, faux "consultation" to ramrod through their existing plans.
I gathered from sympathetic administrators yesterday that if we can make this process embarrassing, difficult, costly, labor intensive,and just plain loud enough for Yudof and the Regents through our resistance, that they will start to back down -- and that at least one Regent or campus leader (I didn't catch which) is already saying no to privatization because it's too explosive and not worth the hassle.
Based on that insight, it follows that if we can continue building pressure, resistance, and roadblocks of various kinds -- and our more activist sister campuses will do this wonderfully on their Forum days - we can start to turn the ship. They will always have this stuff on the shelf ready for a new attempt, so we would need to remain vigilant, but we would have stopped it for now.
If that strategy sounds plausible, then in terms of action, yes, 1)our own commission on the future, and 2) the proposals in the Senate sound great. Somehow Connie's link to the Merced Forum agenda didn't work for me, so I haven't seen their structure, but if I were Yudof's henchwoman I'd want to change the format so that there is no embarrassing voice from the floor. If so, 3) we might consider chipping in if other campuses have to struggle to retain what we had -- they could claim us as precedent and cry "no consultation" if they are denied. It's potentially key because on other campuses the floor. Time will also provide opportunity for media exposure and UC does not want that. 4) I think John Foran is right that circulating the documents will amplify what we did here. I'm away until Monday, but when I return I'll get to work on tracking down the student commentators and start the transcriptions. 5) We also now have a large number of UCSB folks on the commission to lobby and assist in in doing-the-right-thing using yesterday's input and all of the materials we've developed and are developing. 6) I'm not a media-savvy person, but I wonder: is it good idea to go ahead and contact the media folks that Jack Sutton and others named a few days ago and give them our materials when we have it? There is a story here and if we can get some post-event coverage and/or be poised to contribute to stories on other campus forums, that may help the cause. Does anyone more experienced have any thoughts on that? If it's a good idea we should probably go ahead with that press kit and talking points that we discussed earlier and perhaps implement the commentary documents that we are compiling.
Just 2 cents....
Following on Bill Warner's wonderful Ben Franklin analogy from yesterday, I keep being reminded of the very successful populist mobilization that occurred during the American Revolution. When the colonists seized control and set up their own "extra-legal" governments, most of the action was carried out by "committees of correspondence," that literally wrote letters to leaders elsewhere to combine efforts, share arguments, etc. They had 13 colonies plus Parliament to lobby--we have 10 campuses, the unions, and student groups, plus the legislature.
Sounds like with email and the web, we have a much faster and more efficient correspondence network, and I think there's great power in getting these arguments out to other campuses prior to their "listening" sessions with the Ghouls...
It is important to ask direct questions, so that those who are responsible will reveal the wrongdoings under the guise of administrative correctness: hence, as in this case, Croughan came out with an outrageous remark, which you all thankfully booed: aside from the wonderful eloquent speeches like Bill's, this kind of direct approach is needed to tear away the veil of lies.
Elisabeth is right, Thursday afternoon is prime teaching time for lots
of faculty, so we lost their presence, as well as their students'. Given
the heart-rending stories from the students who were there, others might
well have been working one of their many jobs or feel that they couldn't
cut class for a forum where they had every reason to believe they would not
As for faculty not attending, we on this list had a discussion about whether
or not to boycott.Many faculty might have quietly done so.
Although many eloquent things were said yesterday--and it was an opportunity
to vent--a way to frame the low turnout is that few of us expected anything
good to come of the Gould Commission so that the absence of attendees was in
itself was a protest.
The one interjection by Mary Croghan that "shared governance has never been stronger" was delusional, which is why I shouted back at her, "You must be joking". From her point of view it is--she's been party to what's going on and given the legitimacy of her official posts to sell it to the faculty.
I hope that we can move forward with some useful strategies to stop the rolling disaster at UC.
OK, Here's my 2 cents worth on where to go from here -- how about joining with faculty on other campuses to take out a full page ad (with full list of signatures)in the NYT, LA Times and SF Chronicle. George Lakoff could probably come up with the best wording for such an ad -- but here's something to start with:
We, faculty of the ten campuses of the University of California, are concerned that the leadership of the best publicly funded research university in the country is no longer committed to that description of our university.
In questions posed to the "UC Commission on the Future" and in his public statements to the New York Times, President Mark Yudof has indicated that he has given up on our
historic mission of providing affordable, publicly funded, high quality education to the citizens of California -- despite the fact that the voters of California support public funding of higher education by a ratio of two to one. The President poses as solutions to the false assumption that public funding must continue to wane; the
privatization of education and research and radical changes in the quality of undergraduate education. Faculty -- who are the best experts on how to educate undergraduates, graduates, and professionals- are underrepresented on the the commission,the campuses have not been given adequate time to respond to its questions, and the president(who admits that he has no background in education)seems committed to railroading through a set of decisions in less than six months.
The one interjection by Mary Croghan that "shared governance has never been stronger" was delusional, which is why I shouted back at her,"You must be joking"From her point of view it is--she's been party to what's going on and given the legitimacy of her official posts to sell it to the faculty.
"Delusional"--or in a different universe (Lakoff would say "frame"). I don't follow Sarah's explanation above, though.
And along the same lines: We keep quoting Yudof's "cemetery" remark--but is anyone else uneasy about just what he meant? He explained it by saying that "no one is listening." WTF? Did he mean to say that we aren't doing what he's telling us to? But then he says he is listening to us. And he admits that "furlough" was just a buzzword to get us to swallow the salary cut more easily. It is worth reading that whole interview again carefully, taking it seriously. Maybe if we can get inside Yudof's universe we can figure out how to reach him, instead of talking at him. He is *damn* cynical.
Here's the full quote:
Deborah Salomon/NYT: Already professors on all 10 U.C. campuses are taking
required „furloughs,‰ to use a buzzword.
Yudof: Let me tell you why we used it. The faculty said „furlough‰ sounds
more temporary than „salary cut,‰ and being president of the University of
California is like being manager of a cemetery: there are many people under
you, but no one is listening. I listen to them.
And let's not forget what he tweeted about that interview:
"I very much enjoyed my time chatting with the NY Times recently. Check it
This guy is worth some serious analysis; see also his 9/30 tweet: For a comprehensive explanation of our fee increase proposal, please read my piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education: http://bit.ly/mzCl2
I'm not a subscriber to the Chronicle, thus cannot get the full text online. Could a subscriber copy-paste the full text into an email to this list?
Finally, I'm absolutely with Song-i on the use of email: I hope they do take us seriously enough to listen in, and I can't imagine that they're stupid enough to try to use our discussion for legal action. Unless of course we start discussing violent tactics or strictly illegal stuff, as opposed to civil disobedience. As long as there are enough of us who show that we are fearless against their intimidation. In any case, even jumping through hoops to use private email addresses or restricted blogs is too likely to leak that we could rely on privacy.
However, we should be aware that anything we do is not likely to "surprise" them. Some minion of the regents is surely giving them reports about what we are discussing. (They'll be prepared on Nov 18 at UCLA, you can be sure.)
Dear Savers, I finally got to watch the podcast all the way through and want to add my voice to the chorus of gratitude for being part of this brilliant and committed group of people. Everyone was so amazing. I was so moved when Sharon said she would rather find something else to do than watch all this being dismantled--it's the first time I've heard anyone explain we might have reasons for leaving that wouldn't simply be about our salaries and research support. I agree with Constance that watching the sign crossing the room was a fabulous touch. And the students! I just don't see how the Commission reps could have left that session in anything other than disarray.
For reasons such as those articulated just below in my note to Chris and Sharon, I think we have to create our own alternative Commission on the Future. And we also have to ponder how we will communicate and execute our refusal to cooperate with findings that deviate from the Master Plan. This means once again energizing the Senate (Bob and I are meeting Joel tomorrow morning), and also thinking about whether and how we can develop strategies of resistance within the Administration and the alums. One crucial piece is, again, that Committee report about private funding not being a feasible replacement--does anyone remember where that got said? Was it in the Divisional Senate meeting, maybe even part of Joel's report?
I'll start a Future "group" on our ning and we'll see if that can gather energy.