Remarks to the Gould Commission, Forum at UCSB, October 22, 2009
I’m Mark Srednicki, Chair of the Physics Department here. Thank you for the opportunity to speak today.
I have three points to make.
First, you represent the Commission on the Future of UC, but we cannot look to the future without first understanding the past.
Sadly, the past few years at UC have been characterized by a stunning failure of leadership at the highest levels. We have seen draconian funding cuts that threaten irrevocable harm to this, the world’s greatest public university.
The University of California has historically provided a vital economic sparkplug to our state, and its graduates have historically paid for their educations many times over through state taxes on the extra earnings that their UC educations enable. Yet now, this key component of our economic engine is on the verge of sputtering and stalling out.
Our President, Mark Yudof, makes unfortunate remarks that have led to his censure by the Academic Senate on this campus. The Chair of the Board of Regents, Russell Gould, and the Vice Chair, Sherry Lansing, have been conspicuously silent in the public media, as have all the other Regents. Who will make the case for UC if our leaders will not? These people have failed in their historic mission to preserve, protect, and defend this institution, and they must be held accountable for their failure before any future plans can be made.
My second point is this. Strong leadership at UC is needed because, in this state, the will of the people is continually thwarted. This is because, in California, we do not have democracy. Instead, we have Minority Rule.
This must change. We must join the rest of the civilized world and take up governance of our affairs by Majority Rule.
A ballot initiative restoring Majority Rule to California is being prepared for the November 2010 election. The initiative is 14 words long; I have copies. I call upon the Commission as a whole, and each member individually, to declare public support for the Majority Rule initiative. For those here, I call upon you to do it today.
Third and finally, this Commission cannot allow itself to be used as an instrument for the dismantling of the world’s greatest public university. You must go beyond your narrow charges and boldly confront the true sources of the crisis at UC, namely, failure of leadership by the Regents and the President, and our current undemocratic system of government. Any radical altering or restructuring of the historically highly successful UC system would gravely endanger the future progress and prosperity of this great State, and you must say so loudly and clearly.
Chair of Physics
UC Santa Barbara
Majority Rule Initiative
“All legislative actions on revenue and budget
must be determined by a majority vote.”