Thursday, December 17, 2009

Saving UCSB Requests Real-Time Budget Information, Administrative Statements

December 12, 2009


To:      Chancellor Yang

            Executive Vice-Chancellor Lucas

            Deans Marshall, Oliver, and Wiltzius

            Joel Michaelsen, Academic Senate

From:  Saving UCSB

Re:       Updates

The faculty’s need of, and right to, “real-time” updates on our downward trajectory and the efforts our campus is making to halt it have been affirmed recently in a number of venues and conversations.  But we had to learn from a blog that, on Dec. 7—just when classes were ending--the CA State Assembly had begun hearings on the viability of the UC Master Plan.  The pipeline is still clogged—exactly where, we do not know, but we hope you will explain to us how best we can learn of such developments in time to respond appropriately.  We further request the following updates and actions from you:

1.    We would like to know about UCSB’s involvement in the Hearings.  Also we would like to know anything you can tell us about why and how they were initiated.

2.    We ask that you immediately convey to the Hearing conveners and the legislature at large your wholehearted support of the Master Plan and belief in its continuing relevance.  Our students more than ever need to know the languages of the world, understand different cultures, and develop their creativity.  If our state is in difficulty because of the Master Plan, that’s because it has been ignored for twenty years, not because it is obsolete.

3.    In a recent interview, Yudof claimed that UC had to raise fees because it had to pay the salaries of humanities and social science professors.  His remarks went something like this:

“Many of our, if I can put it this way, businesses are in good shape. . . Our hospitals are full, our medical business, our medical research, the patient care?-so we have this core problem, who’s gonna pay the salary of the English Department? We have to have it. Who’s gonna pay for it, and Sociology, and the humanities, and that’s where we’re running into trouble.” [1]

As you know, the Humanities and Social Sciences are not the reason the Regents are raising fees.  We ask that you immediately clarify the budgetary realities with UCOP and the state legislature.

4.    Similarly, with respect to the article “The Bonfire of the Humanities":  it makes mistakes, but we are curious about the merits of its main point: that UC is abandoning the principle of enrollment-based distributions of resources, with the implication that students’ wishes about what they study are no longer important and the “tuition dollar” may soon become a meaningless measure.  This seems like a pretty indirect way to affirm market values.  Please explain to us your position(s) on this issue, and immediately impress upon UCOP and the legislature the financial contributions made by the Humanities and Social Sciences to the University.  They are the product two-thirds of our students want to buy.

5.    We also ask that you immediately defend, in the strongest possible terms, pure research science (no strings attached!) If we do not defeat shortsighted notions of what is and is not profitable, it will not be long before the sciences, too, are told their work is valueless unless the probability of its future profitability can be demonstrated up front.  Pure science is in the end responsible for much more innovation and economic opportunity than is research directed by special interests or considerations of utility.  We ask that you maintain this point with UCOP and the State Assembly.  There is plenty of research to prove it.

6.    To your knowledge, how many of our faculty are currently on the market and/or being recruited?  How many resigned last year to take positions elsewhere, and how many retired?  How do these figures compare with the situation two years ago?

7.    We ask that the Administrative Support Reconfiguration Plans for the Sciences and Social Sciences Divisions be released immediately to all Senate faculty.

Thank you very much in advance for your response(s) to these requests.


[1]  Aranye Fradenburg requested the Administration’s views on this on Dec. 9.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Why Extension Can't be a Model for Campuses

Dear Commission Members:

I did not have the opportunity to speak at the recent Commission on the Future “listening tour,” but appreciate the opportunity to comment here. I would first like to second the comments of Professor Jenny Sharpe. Her presentation on issues surrounding undergraduate education was coherent, pointed, and profoundly responsible.

More particularly though, I must respond to a remark Chancellor Block addressed to the staff panel. The Chancellor used UCLA Extension as an “inspirational” model for our main campus. He noted, quite rightly, that Extension work is wide-ranging, creative, and self supporting. Extension does, as the Chancellor also noted, serve many thousands of people. By all accounts, it serves them very well. And finally, the Chancellor noted that Extension administers many on-line courses. He then addressed a question to the staff representatives about the feasibility of on-line courses at the regular campus.

I have high regard for UCLA Extension (in which I have taught) and agree with Chancellor Block that we may learn some lessons from their success, but I must note that it can hardly be a model for what we already do extremely well at UCLA.

• Extension’s mission differs profoundly from ours. It offers a number of certificate programs, but no degree programs. It provides busy southern Californians varied professional and/or personal enrichment courses, but doesn’t offer a full college experience or advanced research opportunities.

• Extension’s population is very different from ours. For example, extension attracts professionals seeking specialized training; it draws on retired people who see education as a life time process; it serves students who were forced to quit an undergraduate program and want to re-enter the university. These varied purposes are almost always achieved through part time and intermittent attendance. A degree program will generally be full time and will necessarily require steady and sustained engagement from faculty and students alike.

• Extension’s course offerings, along with what is taught in specific extension courses, are largely driven by the demands of the market place. While the interests of students are always to be respected, course offerings and materials adopted by a degree program cannot be narrowly defined to play to those interests. An intellectually and socially responsible curriculum must ultimately be shaped by scholar-teachers.

It is still more important to note that UCLA Extension succeeds as a self supporting unit as a result of conditions that cannot apply to the regular university.

• Extension teachers work for extremely low pay and receive no benefits. Extension depends on instructors who can afford to work for very little (have full time jobs), or who cannot afford to turn anything down (are greatly underemployed).

• Extension need not build nor sustain a campus. Extension rents available space mostly from the main campus and mostly during off hours on a per term basis.

I must add one final comment: We will surely turn to some new ways to teach in the coming years. And as we consider specific possibilities like on-line courses, we’ll need the expert help of our marvelous staff here at UCLA. That said, it is essential that discussion of specific forms of instruction starts with faculty—not staff. We need teachers in their own fields to explore, adopt, revise, or dismiss whatever new modes technology presents. Chancellor Block is wise to seek staff input about implementation, but if that input precedes a faculty initiative it will be of little value.

Again, thank you for the opportunity to comment. I appreciate your hard work in these difficult times.


Bruce Beiderwell
Director, UCLA Writing Programs

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Why Occupations? A Q&A with a Berkeley Student of German Activism

In the following interview, UC Berkeley professor Catherine Cole asks  Shane Boyle, a doctoral candidate in UC Berkeley's Graduate Program  of Performance Studies, to provide comparative analysis of the recent European and Californian student occupations. During Fall 2009, Boyle has been in Germany studying protest culture as part of his dissertation research.

COLE: I'm really struck by how widespread occupations as a tactic are in Europe among the International Student Movement. What do you think is the reason behind the prominence of this particular tactic, occupation?

BOYLE: Why occupations? I can really only speak to my experience with occupations here in Berlin, but I see the choice coming down to at least least three things.

First, occupations are a clear expression of dissent. By taking (and holding) a university building, students are able to symbolically declare their position to the administration, the public, and other students. This might sound obvious, but aesthetically, the holding of a building, especially a known, highly visible, and well-known building on campus and hanging massive banners and signs from its windows can powerfully change the experience of being on campus not only for the occupiers, but also for everyone else. This is hard to explain, but easy to understand once you have experienced it. Think back to Fresh who I wrote about a few years ago in your class. Not only were the banners he hung from the tree in front of Wheeler highly visible to thousands of people a day, but it also changed/disrupted the experience of walking through campus for everyone else. What people got from this experience and the opinions it helped to shape are a whole other matter, of course. But he was able to defamiliarize the campus space. So first, there is a symbolic and even aesthetic dimension.

Second, the actual occupation, the literal being inside of the space and taking part in the actions, events, etc carries with it powerful experiential effects. As I write in the piece I sent to you earlier, the occupied space at the Free University is more than just an expression of dissent; it is a place where students are learning, discussing, debating, and practicing democracy. It is a space at the university that they see as their own. At the same time, anyone is welcome to take part in the occupation-- students, faculty, employees, the public. Of course, there are cafeterias, libraries, common spaces, etc. students can gather in, but there are clear differences between what can take place in those highly administered space and the near limitless possibilities of the occupied space. This makes the space highly empowering as well as productive for building and sustaining the movement. Everyday there are teach-ins, meeting, concerts, films, cabaret, etc. to take part in. It is a space where their social and political lives are combined with their education. Many students regularly sleep, eat, and study in the space. This is why I disagree with faculty who complain that an occupation blocks or hinders education. It is not that simple. First off, in Berlin, after some (quite significant) reshuffling, classes originally scheduled in the occupied hall were moved to another building. Also, and more importantly, I do not think that what can be learned and experienced in the occupied space is any less worthwhile or relevant to those students at this moment in their lives than what was likely scheduled to be taught in that space. Quite the contrary.

Third, the actual taking of the space was very important for students here in Berlin. Not only was it a symbolic action but the actual process that led to it helped galvanize a movement. On November 11 between 600 and 700 students met in a General Assembly to discuss the issues they were facing and possible actions. Following a near consensus vote, students decided to take the hall. Not only was this step empowering, but it was also a highly collective and democratic action that would likely not have been accomplished with only one or two students. 

From my conversations with students here in Berlin and elsewhere in Germany, these seem to be three of the key reasons for the prominence of occupations. Of course, the fact that most students are not facing suspension or police attacks (although at some universities this is the case) also helps the “popularity” of this tactic.

To my knowledge, the tactical choice of occupations is not at all new in Europe, especially in Germany. Moreover, protests and movements of the scale taking place right now in Germany and other European nations are much more common than in the US. As a friend of mine who is very involved with the main occupation here at the Free University of Berlin remarked half-jokingly in a meeting last week, major strikes like this take place every five or six years in Germany. Like I said, he was exaggerating, but in Germany, nationwide or at least large-scale student strikes are more common than in the US (for a variety of reasons), and I would say they are even more accepted by the public as well as administrators and faculty. At a discussion forum between UC and German students held last week at the Kennedy Institute at the Free University, another student from the UC who has been taking part in the Bildungsstreik (education strikes) here in Berlin commented that the public and even government sympathy for student concerns in Germany seems incredibly higher than in the US. I am not sure how one would verify this opinion, but her remark does confirm something that I too had been thinking. This is not to make a value judgment on either the US or German movements and publics. In fact, I think the quickness with which one can gain widespread sympathy for ones cause goes a long way in showing the low degree of radicalness in ones demands.

The tactic of occupation, like you suggest, is more common in Europe than in the US. There have been occupations in the US over the past decade, but not on the scale as in Europe. Regarding the situation right now, a spreadsheet I just received tonight from a group I’ve been working with at the Free University reports there are currently 68 occupations of universities and high schools taking place right now in Germany alone. Elsewhere, the list has confirmations of 139 ongoing occupations worldwide, and this does not even include the very recent developments in Riga, Latvia and the massive protests throughout Greece.  

COLE: How do activists think about this tactic in relation to other tactics, such as protests, lobbying, etc? 

BOYLE: I hope my answer above can partly answer this question. Each tactic performs a different function and carries with it differing experiences and effects. Demonstrations are important but they take time to mobilize and of course nearly impossible to sustain for any long period for a variety of obvious reasons (number of participants involved, infrastructure, etc). So the difference between a demo and an occupation should be clear. Lobbying is of course important for students in Germany because there actually exist formal channels for them to lodge their complaints (unlike at the UC right now), but lobbying bodies that do not grant full or even representative representation to a constituency depend on effective and spectacular actions to make a group’s will known. That is why tactics such as demos are important. Blockades of the Education Ministry conference in Bonn this week are being scheduled but they also serve a different function than protests. Of course they will help build the movement, but they are also spectacular and are short-lived. Occupations on the other hand can last a long or short time. They are only limited by police or activist intervention. This goes a long way for building movements and also building the imagination.

COLE: Does the site of the occupation matter--for instance whether a site impacts other students (classrooms) vs. a site that interrupts the administration (i.e. administrative buildings such as those occupied at UCSC and Davis).

BOYLE: Of course, but administration buildings would be much harder and I think more dangerous to hold, even though the symbolic effect could be greater. Also, who and what type of university business would be effected would also be much different if one occupied an administration building. There have been talks about occupying administration buildings here in Germany (some attempts might have already been made), but the risk of doing so is much greater. I guess it depends on the effect that is desired. At the Free University, students were looking to make a symbolic statement but were also very concerned about the sustainability of the occupation. In the occupation spreadsheet I mentioned earlier, their is column dedicated to the status of the occupation (active, geraumt/cleared out. threatened, reoccupied, dwindling, etc). So the sustainability of a space, at least for students in Germany is very important, which I think makes taking an administration space less attractive, despite its potential symbolic value.

COLE: How have both the administrators and faculty at German universities been responding to the occupations? Can you point to a campus where you think there has been particularly strong faculty leadership/responsiveness?

BOYLE: At the Free University, departments have started holding weekly general assemblies (or so I understand) to talk about the issues and the occupation. I know some faculty have taken part in occupations, but not to the scale that students have. For example, in the recent arrests and violence against an occupation in Frankfurt am Main a professor was among those arrested. The administration at the Free University is obviously not happy with what is going on, but they have not threatened disciplinary or police action. Students can and come in the space as they please. At the same time, there is also some talk that the president of the university is taking a position at another school in Germany. I wish I could say more about faculty involvement, but I cannot. The occupations I am most familiar with here in Germany are almost completely student (and by that I mean undergraduate) run. But like I said, students have commented how the occupations are being discussed in these regular departmental assemblies.

COLE: Do you think there can/should be a parallel International Faculty Movement to go along with ISM. If so, what would ISM student leaders see as being important to a faculty agenda? What is our role?

BOYLE: One thing I think is wonderful about the movement at the UC is the coordination and involvement of students, faculty, and employees. One thing I always say to people in Berlin about the UC movement is that it is not a student movement, but something involving more sectors of the university population. With this said, I hope that any International Faculty Movement would work closely with the ISM. The involvement of faculty in the movement here in Europe is far less than at the UC so it would be hard for me to comment on what student here in Europe would thing a faculty movement’s agenda would be. I can offer my own opinion though. So far faculty at the UC have been wonderful at doing research, getting the information out there, holding teach-ins etc. At the same time, the solidarity and openness to the tactics used by employees and students has also been very important. Also using the leverage you have to pressure administrators and express your views in the media has also been significant. I was not there on November 20 so I cannot comment on the involvement of faculty that day, especially their involvement as mediators, but I am not certain that is a role faculty must always see themselves as having to perform.

COLE: To your knowledge, has the ISM gotten media coverage that links up all these locations of student occupations? What do you think it will take to get that kind of coverage, if it hasn't gotten that thus far?

BOYLE: The actions of students during the global week of action was often mentioned in national and local newspapers as being part of an international movement. But most of the coverage about the “internationalness” of the movement here in Europe focused on the Bologna process and included only EU countries. There were articles about the November strikes at the UC in major media outlets here in Germany and they did link it to strikes in Europe, but not with any substantial analysis. In my personal opinion, I think that articulating to the media that the struggle of the UC is part of a larger international movement could do a lot, not only in gaining legitimacy in the public eye for our movement, but also for highlighting that the issues we are facing are not due simply to developments happening in California or the US, but a global defunding and retrenchment of public services, particularly education. Articulating our struggle as a global one could help make clearer to the public what I, at least, find to be the source of the problems we are facing.  How we do this? By making mention of the global struggle in interviews, articles, editorials about the UC movement. Doing the same in our calls for action (like the German movement already does). Even carrying signs that express solidarity with movements in other countries. Also holding solidarity actions in conjunction or in response to events elsewhere as students in Austria did following the Wheeler Hall occupation.

COLE: I've heard you say that you think CA students aren't really aware of the ISM so much. Why do you think that is? How could that change? I did notice on the November 20 occupation of Wheeler that international tweets were regularly appearing. UCB students seemed REALLY inspired by the sense that they were part of a global movement. But were those reading those tweets part of a movement, or more part of a flashmob?

BOYLE: I think students are aware of events happening elsewhere but not about the ISM in particular. With all that has been happening at the UC the past few months, it is hard enough work just to keep up with what is going on at the UC’s ten campuses and become educated about the highly complicated crisis we are facing. This is actually something I really hope to help do in the coming months when I am back in California: raise awareness of the incredible movements mobilizing around the world whose demands and tactics are so similar to those of the UC movement. And hopefully, we can develop practical strategies and steps to take to build and express solidarity with other nations. Some of us in the ISM, here in Germany, and at the UC have started talking about making March 4, the planned date of the march on Sacramento, a global day of action.

COLE: One last question: in a note I sent to faculty, I included a link to a Ukranian site that was focused on the UC strike. I couldn't read the site at all, and a colleague who could noted that a fair amount of the coverage of Yudof was focused on his Jewish identity. This was pretty disturbing. Have you seen any kind of similar bias in German coverage of the UC situation?

Not a word.

Why Occupations? The Tactics of the International Student Movement

By Catherine Cole

Today, December 10, is the fourth day of a new occupation at UC Berkeley's Wheeler Hall. Quite different from the first Wheeler occupation on November 20, this one appears to be modeled on recent European student occupations. Angus Johnston, a scholar of student activism, confirms:

"This new occupation has a lot in common with recent UC library study-ins, but it’s far bolder than those actions. Wheeler II is clearly modeled on the large-scale, long-term campus occupations that have swept Europe in the last year — occupations in which students have sought to establish functioning open university communities in campus spaces. A few recent American occupations have attempted to create similar environments, but I know of none which have reached the level of success that we’re seeing at Wheeler right now."

See the map of European occupations  
More on International Students Movement (ISM)
map of US student occupations and protests

Given that European student occupations are the model for this new Wheeler event, I thought readers might be interested in hearing a perspective from a Berkeley graduate student, Shane Boyle, who is presently in Germany conducting research on protest cultures. I posed to him a number of questions about occupations as a tactic in Germany and Europe, and with his permission, I circulate his answers below.

But first, some context: The current Wheeler event (billed as "Live Week" instead of "Dead Week") is an open door occupation, where people can come and go throughout the week, with no polarization of "inside" vs. "outside," etc. Occupiers of Wheeler are relocating within the building to make room for any scheduled classes/events, so there has been no interruption of the "service delivery" of regularly planned educational activities.  The organizers have had a careful negotiation with the police, who have been attentive and responsive. As of Tuesday night, the occupation became officially sanctioned through Friday, which seems to be an acknowledgment of how well both the students and the police have managed the rules of engagement.  Programming includes several general assemblies, strategy meetings, films, national conference calls, and lectures, which began with a talk by Bob Meister on Monday night. The Live Week/Open University website provides more info.  Or you can just drop by. There is a welcome table in the lobby where greeters have the most up-to-date schedule of events. The occupiers have also established a rotation of custodial duties. A video tour on their website begins with an image of students mopping the lobby of Wheeler:  Like the recent Irvine (non)occupation, it appears occupiers plan to leave Wheeler cleaner than when they found it, which is a big improvement over what happened at UCSC.

The primary goal of the new Wheeler occupation/Open University seems to be not necessarily garnering public sympathy or even massive media attention (which is relevant to Prof Meranze's recent post on Newfield's blog).  Rather the goal seems to be to raise student awareness about their power and rights, and to have them take ownership of their university and build networks of coalition and communication. Their manifesto states: "This university is yours!  We shift competition to cooperation.  We replace stress and anxiety with compassion and joy.  We transform the traditional balance of power of this institution to create an education that includes the interests, concerns, and passions of all of us, and embodies the true ideal of democracy. It’s time to reinvent public education together, So come one, come all to your university!' Twitter feeds show that students in other parts of California (Davis, UCLA, SF State), and indeed around the country and the world (Vienna, Berlin, Macedonia) are watching things unfold at Wheeler. Last weekend I logged on to an international chat among student activists which included participants from Austria, Croatia, Macedonia, Germany, Greece, Sierra Leone, the US, Puerto Rico, and Spain. Students really are comparing notes about tactics, strategies, experiences, etc. They seem to be linking up struggles in all these geographically disparate places in a way that faculty are not. They are also conducting research and organizing conferences on these linked struggles. For instance, this call for papers circulated on the "ucstrike" twitter feed earlier this week.

UCLA professor Michael Meranze (in his blog post referenced above) contends that "the narrative of the Occupations would demand a surrender of the University," which certainly seems to be true of some of the US occupations and their manifestos. But it might be helpful for us to think about occupations in more precise and differentiated terms. Not all occupations are the same. It's pretty clear that the current Wheeler occupation aims to do quite the opposite: occupiers are encouraging members of our community to claim the university. Furthermore, if it is true that, as Meranze contends, "the supine nature of the system-wide Academic Senate reveals that our own institutional agents are part of the internal problems we face," then perhaps faculty could learn from the students what it means to take full occupation (i.e. ownership) of what is ours.

Students may well be doing the math: There are 220K students in the UC, 440K students in CSU's and 2.8 million students in the CA community college system. Most of these students are California voters (and it's worth remembering that many students in the 1960s protests didn't have the vote.) Add it all up, and you get over 3.5 million students in California public higher education. If each CA student persuaded 3 additional non-students in CA (parents, neighbors, co-workers) to pressure the government for greater support for higher education, that's 10.5 million people. There are 36 million voters in CA, and I'm guessing many of them don't vote. So if actions like this succeed in building a shared student consciousness, a perception of students' potential power as a voting block, and the motivation and coordination to act  as a block--all of this could have a significant impact on the status of higher education in our state and, indeed, well beyond our state.  Students have the numbers in a way faculty and the administration don't. They have numbers that, frankly, I would think few interest groups in California possess. Furthermore, they are part of a much larger movement, and they know it.

To become part of the movement, stop by Wheeler, or tune your computer to the "tweets" from sites like:

or the remarkably multilingual and multinational #ouruni

Or just check out some of the links I've provided above. The movement is transpiring in both actual and virtual spaces. You are entitled to occupy any of them.

--Catherine Cole
Professor, University of California Berkeley

On Occupations and the International (Student) Movement

by Shane Boyle, UC Berkeley

I did not witness the Wheeler Hall occupation on Friday,
November 20. Like so many students and faculty at UC Berkeley
who spend semesters abroad studying or researching, I was
thousands of miles away from California doing research for my
dissertation at the Freie University in Berlin, Germany. Due to
the nine hour time difference between California and Germany, I
stayed up much of the night glued to my computer following news
accounts, tweets, Facebook status updates— anything I could find
to keep me apprised of events as they unfolded that day.

The decision to occupy university buildings has recently become
the source of controversy, fascination, and most importantly,
mobilization at the University of California. My experiences
over the past two months with the student movement here in
Germany have brought to light a number of points for me
regarding the significance of occupations as a tactical choice.
As I suggest below, the use of this tactic at the University of
California is further evidence that the struggle at the UC is
part of an international movement.

Since October, I and other students from the UC have spent
considerable time working with students at universities here in
Germany. Like the campuses of the UC, universities and high
schools throughout Germany have been the site of numerous
building occupations this Fall. The concerns expressed by
students here in Berlin are echoed by the voices and actions of
hundreds of thousands of students across the country, and even
more throughout Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and South
America. Despite regional particularities, the demands of
students worldwide resonate remarkably with our own at the UC:
democratize the university system, stop the privatization of
public education, negotiate fairly with employees. More
generally, these movements are connected by a deep consternation
over the way in which government and university officials are
using the global financial crisis to retool public institutions
of higher education according to more instrumentalizing and
market-oriented principles. As we at the UC are well aware, such
changes come at the high price of the quality and accessibility
of higher education for students, and just labor practices for
campus employees.

In Germany, the /Bildungsstreik /(Education Strike) movement has
mobilized hundreds of thousands of students in nation-wide
actions over the past year. Most recently, on November 17,
85,000 students across Germany took to the streets demanding
greater say over their universities. Their demonstrations were
part of the Global Week of Action organized by the International
Student Movement (here), which featured
coordinated events in countries around the world including
Austria, Bangladesh, France, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy,
Macedonia, Poland, Switzerland, and Sierra Leone, just to name a
few. During that week (which coincided with the November strikes
at the UC), students around the world employed various tactics,
including the occupation of university buildings at over 70
universities and high schools in Germany alone.

At the Freie University of Berlin, for example, 700 students
stormed the campus’ largest lecture hall on November 11.
Following a General Assembly there, the students began an
occupation which nearly four weeks later still continues. While
administrators are certainly not pleased with the students’
tactical choice, there have been no arrests, no attempts at
removing the students, and certainly no physical violence
against them. At the Freie University, students come and go from
the occupied space as they please. There are no riot-gear-clad
police waiting to arrest them. No administrators looking to
press charges. Far more than a symbolic gesture of dissent, the
occupation has given students a productive space they call their
own. There they sleep, eat, study, and converse with one
another. They hold daily teach-ins and planning meetings, host
concerts and cabaret productions, show films, and gather freely
without the fear of criminalization. The occupied space is a
source of inspiration and practical mobilization for the
movement at the Freie University. Most importantly, it is an
increasingly rare site on a university campus where something
akin to democratic decision-making, organization, and debate is
actually practiced and examined.

How long their occupation will last, even the most involved
cannot say. Similar occupations at nearby universities such as
at the Technische University in Berlin have fizzled out, mostly
due to activist fatigue. Others like one in Frankfurt am Main
last week ended in violence and arrests reminiscent of the
Wheeler Hall occupation. With this said, I believe that we at
the UC can draw at least two important points from the building
occupations taking place here in Germany and elsewhere around
the world.

The first has to do with the benefits, or better yet, the
necessity of occupations as a tactic in our repertoire of
contention at the UC. A university should be a place where
critical thinking, openness, and imagination flourish. This is
exactly what the occupied space at the Freie University offers.
Many faculty, students, and administrators at the UC have
decried the Wheeler Hall occupation for “forcing” the
cancellation of classes and compromising the university’s role
as an institution of higher education. Yet at the Freie
University of Berlin, following a minor bureaucratic nightmare,
classes scheduled in the occupied hall were simply moved to
another building. More importantly, one need only to visit the
occupied hall at the Freie University for a few hours to realize
that the experiences and lessons being learned there by students
are just as if not more worthwhile and relevant to this moment
than what would be taught in the courses originally scheduled in
that space. Occupations are not just about expressing dissent,
but are about learning, building a sustained movement, and
experimenting with new forms of organization and debate. Perhaps
just as key, the (certainly not unproblematic) tolerance of the
administration at the Freie University demonstrates that there
exists other possible responses to student occupations than
repression, criminalization, and condemnation.

Second, the turn to building occupations as a tactic at hundreds
of university and high school campuses around the world is /not
/a coincidence. Taken together with the similar demands and
timing of different international struggles, the increasingly
common tactic of occupation should remind us that the struggle
we students, faculty, and employees at the University of
California are engaged in is not ours alone. Whether we
recognize it or not— /whether we have started acting on this
recognition or not/— we belong to an international movement. The
movements that make up this global struggle are united by a
belief in the important role public education should play in
society, something that the growing entrenchment of neoliberal
priorities and policies in our schools seriously undermines.

Strike calls from students here in Germany regularly emphasize
that the movement against the marketization (similar to what
many of us at the UC have called the privatization) of public
education is not a national one, but rather is global in scope.
Heading into 2010, we at the UC must think hard about practical
strategies and steps we can take to build international
solidarity with movements on other continents. This will only
help ensure that our struggles, along with those of others
throughout the world, find success.


Shane Boyle
Graduate Program of Performance Studies
UC Berkeley

Public Spectres

by Shannon Jackson, UC Berkeley

“The power of these theaters springing up throughout the country lies in the fact that they know what they want…They intend to remake a social order without the help of money—and this ambition alone invests their undertaking with a certain Marlowesque madness.”

So that was Hallie Flanagan, director of the Federal Theatre Project inside the Work Projects Administration that was so central to implementing Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal. She was recalling her work as the leader of a federally-supported theatrical movement charged with responding to the reality of the Great Depression. The Federal Theatre Project addressed timely themes— with new plays that dramatized issues of housing, the privatization of utilities, agricultural labor, unemployment, racial and religious intolerance, and more. And the FTP devised innovative theatrical forms—staging newspapers, developing montage stagecraft, and opening the same play simultaneously in several cities at once. The goal was to extend the theatrical event to foreground the systemic connectedness of the issues endured. Social and economic hardships were not singular problems but collective ones; as such, they needed a collective aesthetic. The Federal Theatre Project thus used an interdependent group art form as a vehicle for re-imagining the interdependency of social beings.

We have been hearing quite a bit about the Great Depression and the New Deal over the last 18 months. Hallie Flanagan’s statements are a reminder that their contemporary significance lies not only in that era’s great “bailout,” to use one language, but also in that era’s great “recovery,” to use another one. Importantly, the plan for recovery was a comprehensive re-imagining of the social order, one that left no dimension of the social unturned. It was not a time when existing economic and social structures remained intact, contracting and expanding with the decrease or increase in financial flows. Instead, it was a time when different social sectors underwent re-definition and engaged in a significant amount of cross-training. Sectors in the arts, health care, housing, commerce, urban planning, sanitation, education, science, child development, and more received joint provisions that required joint collaboration. It meant health policy advanced educational policy in the same moment. It meant that citizens were not asked to choose between supporting employment programs OR supporting arts programs as both sectors were re-imagined together. In theatre, the sector from which I tend to view the world, journalists became playwrights, WPA laborers became actors, and public utility companies hung the lights.

Over here in California, discussions of “bailout” and “recovery,” of “taxes” and “freedom,” of public goods and privatized forms are more virulent and more zany than they have ever been. Our legislative process wears its dysfunction on its sleeve; our governor presents his cuts to social services with the tone and comportment of a stand-up comic; citizens throw Anti-Tax Tea Parties on the same day that they collect their Medicare payments. In such a state and State, a public higher education system such as the University of California seems imperiled on nearly every front. Our faculty, staff, and students vacillate between internal criticism of university leadership and external appeals to citizens who do not seem to believe in the mission of education as a public service. But even as circumstances shift and morph, it seems to me that past forms of interdependent social imagining—across sectors and across generations—continue to offer resources for our debates about the UC system as a public institution in California as well as the role of a liberal arts education within that vision. In what follows, I want to offer some thoughts around three central themes that will have some complicating corollaries: 1) the possibilities for and constraints upon inter-dependent social imagining in our public debates 2) the particular role of the arts and humanities in that interdependent vision and 3) the material question of how such social imagining is supported and, yes, funded. I offer these reflections as someone situated within the arts and humanities at the University of California at Berkeley, but my hope is to use this site to contribute to a much wider, national conversation about the arts, humanities, and higher education.

To start off, let me just recall the particular form of inter-dependent social imagining that defined public education in California. As most historians of higher education know, California made a compact with itself when it decided to use public monies to build the infrastructure of a California dream. The greatest public education system in the country was built with the belief that California needed to invest in itself. At the university level, it created a system that educated students and cultivated researchers, allowing them to pose the critical questions, to develop the necessary skills, and to take the intellectual risks on which innovation depends. Along the way, it flouted aristocratic logic by saying that research excellence was advanced rather than inhibited by a commitment to public access. At UC-Berkeley, this means that we celebrate, not only our record of Nobel Laureates, but also our record of Pell Grant recipients; we serve more low-income students on Pell Grants than all Ivy-Leagues combined. Over time, we have kept this combined mission front and center, becoming an engine of innovation and a vehicle of social mobility. We provide access to economic and cultural capital to California’s children. We promise the kind of cross-class and cross-cultural exchange that forms the basis of democratic citizenship. We teach students to think critically, to engage in complex problem-solving, to develop skills in written and oral expression, and to work collaboratively in groups. In our research and in our classrooms, we develop global citizenship and the capacity for ethical reflection. We provide project-based laboratories for scientific breakthroughs and project-based laboratories for aesthetic risk-taking. California’s public compact came from a belief that some forms of social life—including education—needed to be tended by values other than those of the market. Creativity, risk, and pedagogy develop in a space whose primary function is not the creation of revenue.

Of course, the fruits of that compact with the university can be found everywhere in quantifiable and less then quantifiable forms of economic and cultural capital. It is there in California’s engineering feats, its medical breakthroughs, its high tech and bio-tech industries, its agricultural and viticultural landscapes, its artistic and entertainment worlds, and in the invitation to reflection offered by its novelists, its poets, its philosophers, and its historians. This relation between California and its university was reciprocal; the citizens of California supported higher education and it supported us, deeply, variously, consistently. Student-citizens might use their education later to turn a profit in their own lives, but their educational institution did not seek to turn a profit on them. When my parents went to UC-Berkeley in the fifties, they benefited from the education provided by this public logic, so did my uncles, so did my cousins after them.

The compacts we make with ourselves can change, however, when our sense of who constitutes the “we” changes. This shift lies at the heart of my colleague George Lakoff’s argument that “privatization is the issue” for our current moment. As the venerable Richard Sennett once wrote, publicness requires a willingness to imagine oneself spatially and temporally in relation to people we do not know and will very likely never know. It is no coincidence that Sennett’s The Fall of Public Man appeared a year before Proposition 13 passed. As numerous California historians and policy scholars have argued, that proposition mobilized the anxiety of senior citizens and of an already-squeezed middle-class to trade education for real estate. For those who don’t know, Proposition 13 fixed California property taxes to the price of a home at the time of purchase, rather than to the appreciated price of a home over time. In the same moment, it also installed a 2/3’s majority requirement to pass any new tax legislation. After Proposition 13, investment in private property rose while investment in public education fell. Even as we acknowledge the complexity of trying to undo any component of Proposition 13 (and its accompanying 2/3 majority rule that prohibits consensus-building in our legislature), we have to call for an acknowledgement of its ironic effects. As new generations of public educators, families, and students feel the deteriorating effects of Proposition 13 with each passing year, this era’s senior citizens now watch as their children and their children’s children enter school systems that have plummeted from the very top to the very bottom in our national rankings across the 50 states. The paradox grows when we consider that “the middle-class” is still squeezed and, frankly, increasingly a misnomer in a state with California’s cost of living.

In a state whose problems are conceived as budgetary ones, the role of the arts and humanities becomes increasingly opaque. Where do the arts and humanities fit on a Master State Spreadsheet that will show the way out? New Deal history lurks once again around the edges of this question; it serves as a counter to those who argue that the way out of a current predicament is simply more of the same. While there were certainly large blindspots in the New Deal whose gendered and racial assymetries have been given the historical attention they deserve, it is important to notice that it tried to avoid pitting economic, biological, and cultural sectors against each other. It did not imagine the support of education, the arts, or research as expendable domains in comparison to housing, health, or food. Indeed, it imagined the future of a healthful interdependent society as one to which all sectors made a necessary contribution. That future is the present we live in now. We have benefited from the social systems, hard work, and creative thinking of past generations who decided to care beyond their immediate moment. We have benefited from those who decided that such social imagining was not a value owned by either the politically left or the politically right. And we have particularly benefited from those who decided to install those systems and opportunities “without the help of money,” that is, at a moment in American history when cash was in short supply. Since we now occupy a similar moment, it seems important to remember the foresight of a recovery plan that did more than search for quick cash.

It is when we think beyond the short-term goal of quick cash that the “arts and humanities” come into view. In his much-circulated Harper’s article, “Dehumanized,” Mark Slouka makes this point quite forcefully. He argues that we need to look beyond market models in order to preserve the domains of aesthetic imagining, critical interpretation, and ethical inquiry that are essential to democracy. “By downsizing what is most dangerous (and essential) about our education, namely the deep civic function of the arts and humanities, we’re well on the way to producing a nation of employees, not citizens. Thus is the world safe for commerce, but not safe.” Similarly, the president of Harvard University, Drew Gilpin Faust, tends to a 30 percent drop in Harvard’s endowment without losing her capacity to keep her eyes on the prize of a liberal arts education. “Even as we as a nation have embraced education as critical to growth and economic opportunity, we should remember that colleges and universities are about a great deal more than economic utility. Unlike perhaps any other institutions in the world, they embrace the long view and nurture the kind of critical perspectives that look far beyond the present.” The thinkers assembled for a recent Daedalus special issue on the role of the humanities make similar points about the role of the humanities in longer-term social imagining about what kind of society we want to be. I am reminded of the prose used at UC-Berkeley’s Townsend Center for the Humanities; one of our lecture series there was founded to sustain “fresh interpretations of the motives of ancient heroes and villains, keener analysis of accepted tenets and dogmas, reawakened appreciation of ignored and forgotten forms of beauty, and regrouping of old facts to reach new conclusions…an educated man is one ‘who knows some things that don’t help him in making his living.’” A complex vision of the humanities has been threatened off and on throughout our history. Indeed, it showed up for Hallie Flanagan the decade after the dismantling of the Federal Theatre Project when she found herself before the Dies Committee. Committee member Joe Starnes of Alabama cited her earlier statements: “You are quoting from this Marlowe,” he said, suspicious of un-American activity. “Is he a communist?” The point here is not simply that a literary understanding of Marlowe would have short-circuited the act of Red-baiting. The story points rather to the democratic importance of the kind of reflection cultivated in humanities classrooms. These are the paradigms that question binary thinking, that analyze the discursive relations between speakers and addressees, and that, most importantly, refuse to decide that the unknown is, de facto, the enemy.

When we think about the role of the arts and humanities in the 21st century, there are of course lessons to remember about its historical exclusions and blindspots. Cultural canons often operated with a fixed idea of which cultures were heroic and which villainous, and have not always pushed themselves far enough to “regroup” old facts and new conclusions. So too a purified definition of humanistic inquiry gives a false sense of what qualifies as pragmatic impurity. Mark Slouka lost me when he defined math and science research as de facto engines of commodification (tell that to the numbers theorists, or to our experts on the spotted frog). He lost me again when he argued that a “fashion for economic utility” and “a paroxysm of class guilt” lay behind our impulses to expand the humanities curriculum with courses in “Introduction to Sit-Com Writing, in Clown 500, in Seinfeld.” As someone who specializes in a field with an equivocal relationship to the pure humanities, this sounds all-too familiar. Those of us in theatre know that our creative pedagogy has often been cast as an overly utilitarian form of cultural pandering. So much for working in groups. This lingering prejudice re-surfaced in Stanley Fish’s anti-utilitarian pronouncements in the New York Times, including his disgust at having to convince blinkered parents that a production of a play was not the kind of humanistic pursuit he wanted to defend. Not only does this resistance to humanistic expansion dismiss the post-graduate lives of a number of my former students, it also keeps us from teaching the kinds of courses in popular culture that might give our students a more complicated sense of what it means to be a cultural worker. It also makes no place for the work of someone like Hallie Flanagan, who knew that “Clowning” had a role to play in national recovery. Finally, the pursuit of humanistic purity occupies its own blindspot in the history of a modernizing university. To teach skills in clowning or any venerable performance tradition requires small-group interaction. These are the courses that don’t make short-term economic sense on the master spreadsheet. By contrast, the large literary lecture classes enabled by a stable cultural canon made and makes increasing economic sense as an efficient pedagogical delivery system. The 500-person Trilling-esque lecture course propounding a “life in letters” is the one that generates the most revenue.

Our sense of the role of the arts and humanities in an inter-dependent social vision will continue to require a complicated sense of the mixed economies in which these worlds are funded. This economic moment is not the first time that a market rationale was invoked to correct the effects of market excess. Preceding FDR, Herbert Hoover’s Treasury Secretary argued that the effects of 1929’s market sell-off could be corrected by more of the same: “Liquidate labor, liquidate the stocks, liquidate the farmers, liquidate real estate.” And now some of us find California deciding to save itself by undoing the infrastructure that supported the California dream. Perhaps the most insidious effect of Proposition 13 is its status as propeller and symptom of a neoliberal logic of self-reliance and market-based individualism. This is the logic that eschews our relation to persons whom we do not know, promoting an individuated world where what is mine is mine and what is yours is yours. It is a world where a male senator can stand up to say, “I don’t need maternity care,” without any sense of his interdependence with those who might. Moreover, as Wendy Brown has argued so forcefully, this neoliberal logic measures all dimensions of social life under a market rationale in which health, education, the arts, housing, the environment, etc. are subjected to processes of commodification that determine the value of a domain by the revenue it generates. With such a logic, the notion that there should be domains of social life sustained by something other than a for-profit model becomes increasingly unthinkable. The logic that allowed my parents to have a brilliant, inexpensive education retreats both at the level of government and in the language and sentiments that California citizens use to understand themselves. “I don’t need public education,” a citizen might say, without any sense of his or her interdependence with those who do.

The animation of our public options requires a careful questioning of the language of individualism that permeates our national character and arguably has its apotheosis in the great state of California. The ubiquity and opportunistic redefinition of Emersonian self-reliance has a long history in the United States. (Chris Newfield made the “Emersonian effect” compellingly clear for us in a first book on American history that preceded his trenchant writing on public higher education.) To question this language, however, is also to reflect more deeply on how a mistrust of system, of institutions, of organizations has inflected the language of the left as well as the right. The idea that personal empowerment relies upon interdependent systems of support can be an inconvenient thought, not only for conservative conceptions of self-reliance, but also for one-note radicalisms that seek to be “free” of the “Machine.” That’s a simplification of Mario Savio’s legacy if ever there was one.

Even as we make arguments about California’s dependence upon the UC, a truly inter-dependent vision has to consider UC’s dependence upon a variety of other sectors as well. When Jane Wellman of the Delta Project recently made a presentation at the Gould Commission on the future of the UC-system, she made the tantalizing if incomplete argument that UC’s budget problems would be solved with a genuine national health care program. Such confluences require us to think again about how we connect the dots across social sectors. A health care policy turns out to be an education policy. Those of us who study the arts (and artists who cannot afford to go the dentist) know that a health care policy is an implicit cultural policy, too. The University of California also exists in an interdependent relationship with other educational sectors—state and community colleges, a large K-12 system—that feel the effects of California’s record-low investment in education. The majority of California’s K-12 teachers have little to no resources for teaching skills in argumentation and expression, a prime indicator of inequitable schooling patterns. This means that skills in democratic citizenship have already been short-circuited at the elementary and high school levels, before they even step foot in a university classroom. It is here, when I realize that I have to stop my lecture in order to make sure that students know the basis of argumentation—to make sure that they know what a thesis statement is and know how to use a library—that I am reminded that the re-imagining of the university system co-exists with the re-imagining of K-12 in California.

We find other tangles when we reflect upon the funding mechanisms that support both humanistic and scientific research. Within the UC system, the economic recipe has always relied upon a mixture of state, grant, revenue, and donor money along with student fees. With changes to that mixture—specifically a lowered state contribution and higher student fees—many of us fear that the UC’s public mission will be eroded. This concern seems even more virulent when revenue or so-called “earned income” is cast as a solution to our operation. Many at the UC bristled when our President, Mark Yudoff, announced the exemption of non-state-funded auxiliary units from a comprehensive furlough program by celebrating their “entrepreneurialism.” UC research has had a number of connections to for-profit sectors, and this is not the first time that we have questioned the integrity of those relationships. But let’s remember what research is. It is a network of questions and investigations that yield new insights precisely because they unfold unexpectedly, that is, because research is not conducted with profit or anything else as a predetermined goal. Furthermore, the creation and dissemination of a world-class education from all domains of the liberal arts to all classes of citizens is not, never has been, and never will be, a profit-making enterprise. While non-state resources might well be an appropriate mode of funding for some research, to cast researchers and students generally as entrepreneurs in pursuit of revenue is to invite mediocre research and to legitimate a mediocre education.

At a public institution such as ours, the concern over “privatization” is now repeatedly invoked and often has many referents. In my view, the above revenue-based notion of ‘privatization’ differs somewhat from a philanthropic notion of private donation. Long before 2009, UC’s operations of fundraising and development crafted a mixed language to address this mixed economy, asking donors to give in the name of UC’s public mission. This notion of “investing in public education” or “private funding for a public purpose” walks a fine line. It is a fine line that UC-Berkeley walked with many individuals whose names adorn our buildings and with scores of other private donors whose named endowed chairs support the research activity of professors whom I admire. The argument against the privatization of the university is one that will be under-nuanced and misleading to students and citizens if “public institutions” are not clear about this embedded position. As we distinguish between revenue-based notions of privatization and philanthropic notions of privatization, it is perhaps more fundamentally important to notice that both liberal and neo-liberal discourses are already with us, structuring our lives, saturating our language, reeking havoc with our sense of internal consistency. They complicate the image that we as citizens, faculty, staff, lecturers, and students have of ourselves. At one of the many teach-ins held this semester at UC-Berkeley, Wendy Brown noted that privatization —even in its neoliberal form— is already “in the house.” Before the 2009 crisis, I had already been using a modest private endowment in the name of Garrett McEnerney to pay for core undergraduate courses and staff salaries that used to be paid for by state money. After 2009, my ability to cover the state’s shortfall has gone. This is to say that privatization is “in my house.” And, whether you are a student who says you want to get your money’s worth, a Marxist scholar with a privately endowed chair, a scientist who is the CEO of a start-up, or a faculty member who has used the language of the market when “weighing competing offers,” it is in your house, too.

Whether you teach at a private university, at UC, or at many of the public universities who are walking similarly fine lines, the point of this recognition is not to lambast the hypocracy of individuals or to find new bad guys within the ranks of the good. It is rather to begin any discussion with a fundamental recognition of our contingency. In fact, it would be pretty hard to find an established humanities faculty member who does not have some kind of interdependent relationship with Hoover’s treasury secretary (that would be Andrew Mellon). The critical humanities teaches us that there is no pure position, that psychic allegiance is as mixed as the economies that we inhabit. It teaches us that it is precisely because of this impurity that we need to attend to the complexities of our predicaments with that much more care. Such ethical questions continually ask us to reflect about our place in the world. It means asking ourselves about the source of our funding and asking us to stay vigilant about what we do with it. At the University of California, my sense is that such an awareness should foreground the public mission that private donations thought they were supporting. In fact, if we lose our distinctively public character, we might well lose stalwart supporters and alumni who believed in our university’s mission and knew that they had benefited from it.

Let my conclude by summarizing my points and their corollaries. 1) An interdependent social imagining is necessary both for California and for the university system; that imagining is not one that has been consistently heralded by the left much less the right, and it is one that necessarily defines the university in relation to systems other than itself. 2) The arts and humanities are vital democratic domains that need cultivation outside of a market rationale, but that cultivation needs to be open to the many forms humanistic inquiry might take and refuse to draw easy equivalences between the useful and the commodifiable. 3) The university, like other social institutions nationally and internationally, operates in a mixed economy; our ability to advance the core values of our mission—to access, to equality, to critique, to risk, to innovation, to democratic citizenship—will only come with an open investigation of how we are constrained and enabled by the private and public funding on which we already depend. With care and rigor, we can put ourselves in the forefront of a much larger international discussion on the future of the social. With care and rigor, we can maintain our contribution to that imagining by maintaining a research university system in perpetual pursuit of the unanswered question.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

SAVE on Berkeley Violence (Dec. 12)

We on the coordinating council of SAVE condemn acts of violence taken against persons or property on our campus. We were shocked about police violence on campus a few weeks ago, and are now extremely saddened by the attack to the Chancellor's house by a small group of protesters yesterday night. This is our campus by virtue of our shared responsibility to the rights of free speech and personal safety for all. Actions that address the terrible crisis we currently face through violence, be it instigated by police or protesters, are in our view fundamentally at odds with our goal of protecting and enhancing public education as itself a fundamental public right.

There are reasons for feelings of shock, dismay, and sadness in response to events of the past weeks, but we ask the campus community, as we ask ourselves, to consider deeply what violence means on and around our campus. We urge peaceful discussion, debate, and negotiation as we try to work through the problems facing UC and beyond. The question of violence itself should be part of these discussions, as should ways to address the corrosive divisions felt by many across campus.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Catherine Cole: Questions for the Administration on The Wheeler Hall Protest Arrests

Dear George,

Thank you for your prompt reply. I can fully understand the concerns about a large dance party, for that's the sort of event that requires careful management and planning for logistical, security and liability reasons. As someone in the performing arts I can fully appreciate that. I also understand the concern that if such an event went all night, this would have interfered with finals, which I agree would have been unacceptable. I have had no formal connection with the organizers of this Open University, but I have been following their activities over the last few days with interest. The nature and terms of the Open University as expressed on their website and what I saw in person this week seemed entirely peaceful and reasonable, very much in the spirit of what a university is and should be. It is for that reason that I volunteered to give a talk yesterday. If the administration was carefully monitoring Live Week on the web, it was no doubt apparent that both Prof. Schwartz and I gave talks yesterday, as did other faculty. I (and I suspect my colleagues) would have been happy to confer with the administration if there were concerns that the occupation was going to spiral out of control. I would certainly have been willing to lend my assistance to see that such a scenario didn't happen. There was no evidence of that concern yesterday during my time at Wheeler.


Dear Catherine,

I'm sorry, but they forced our hand. We were tolerant and patient for four days. We were prepared to let them stay until Friday evening, after which we had to ensure that the auditorium was ready for final exams on Saturday morning at 9am. Our Campus Life and Leadership staff, led by Dean of Students Jonathan Poullard, engaged the occupiers in a continuous dialogue. Our patience, and their intermediation, led to a peaceful situation for four days. But then, the radicals within the group took over and announced an all-night rock concert in Wheeler Aud, to end at 8am. They ignored our requests that they not do so. Their blogs also indicated a determination on the part of some of them to stay thereafter "until the cops kick the doors down."

I appreciate your communitarian and humanitarian instincts, but we could not let this happen. The concert would likely have filled Wheeler with a lot of members of the community. As is, 24 of the 60-66 arrested (I've seen conflicting numbers) were non-students, many of these from People's Park. Wheeler could well have been trashed, and still occupied, by Saturday morning. The occupiers abused our tolerance.

We have responsibilities to the 35,000 other students on campus, and, in this case, to the thousands of students scheduled to take their final exams in Wheeler Aud on Saturday. We could not leave this to chance. Critics really should take responsibility for defining the strategy that would have fulfilled the obligation to the 99.9% of the student body that was not occupying Wheeler.

My understanding is that the occupiers will be cited and released for trespassing, but that if they had prior warrants for the same offense, they will be booked. My understanding is that the large majority fall in the first category.


George W. Breslauer
Professor of Political Science
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost
University of California at Berkeley
200 California Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-1500
Tel: (510) 642-1961
Fax: (510) 643-5499

Dear Chancellor Birgeneau and EVCP Breslauer,

I am writing with this urgent request regarding today's arrest of students at Wheeler Hall. I don't know why these arrests have happened when it had appeared earlier this week that the organizers of this "soft" occupation/open university had worked so carefully with the administration and police to have this event sanctioned through Friday. I understand from the news report in the SF Chronicle today that the administration was worried about a public event scheduled for tonight. I hope that all efforts for a rational and civil negotiation with students about those concerns were not only attempted but exhausted before armed police invaded the building this morning and conducted mass arrests of our students who were at the time either sleeping, studying, or writing papers, and then carted off to jail.

Urgently, I am asking that those arrested be cited and released. The administration and UCB will gain no ground by overreacting and holding them in jail, but will rather add fuel to the fire of those who feel the administration does not care about and respect our students, and does not perceive the way in which our students--the best and brightest of their generation, the future leaders of our state and nation--can be enlisted as critical and necessary collaborators in the fight to save public higher education. The UC will not benefit by garnering more stories in the national media like this article from December 4 Newsweek: "Whether you're an oppressive foreign dictatorship or an American state in the process of committing fiscal suicide, you know you're losing the public relations battle when encounters between armor-clad riot police with truncheons and college students are broadcast on TV. That's the sad situation California found itself in last week."

The UCB administration keeps repeating the line that we should be "shooting outward, not inward." If I'm not mistaken, the only entity in the crises of the last few months that has done any actual shooting has been the police who aimed significant weaponry at unarmed student protesters in November, which presumably they did with the sanction of our administration. Those involved in this week's Wheeler event, the Open University, had very different aims than shooting. They were seeking to build a sense of community and ownership about our university among students, staff and faculty. They transformed unoccupied spaces (those not being used for scheduled classes, study sessions and events) into alternate learning spaces for lectures, planning sessions, film screenings, etc. Their manifesto: "This university is yours! We shift competition to cooperation. We replace stress and anxiety with compassion and joy. We transform the traditional balance of power of this institution to create an education that includes the interests, concerns, and passions of all of us, and embodies the true ideal of democracy. It's time to reinvent public education together, So come one, come all to your university!" Organizers of the Open University created a labor rotation among them for custodial duties, for they planned to leave the building cleaner than when they found it, a plan no doubt thwarted by this morning's sudden arrests. For a perspective from a scholar of student activism on how the Wheeler Open University was being perceived nationally and internationally see this blog.

I attended and participated in two events at the Open University this week, including yesterday's talk by Prof. Charlie Schwartz which had an unusual attendance of both students and faculty who were there as active, engaged co-learners. I also presented yesterday on the ways in which protest in the early years of the anti-apartheid struggle was always perceived as a negotiation, one that addressed all participants (from radical leftists to the most extreme supporters of apartheid) as capable of change and rational discourse. "We believed that all men, even prison warders, were capable of change, and we did our utmost to sway them," says Mandela in his autobiography.

If the administration takes this higher ground, you will be more likely to harness the formidable energies of the over 3.5 million students (most of whom are California voters) enrolled in public higher education in our state (UC=220K, CSU=440K, CC's=2.8+ million). If I'm not mistaken, that's roughly 10% of our state's electorate. This constituency is a formidable--and necessary--ally in the fight to save our university. Treat them that way. Please.


Catherine Cole
Professor, UC Berkeley


My information on what is going on with the Wheeler arrests is gleaned from these sources. If there are important errors of fact, I and many other faculty would appreciate hearing your corrections:

> UC Berkeley protest ends in arrests

> Wheeler Hall Police Raid

------ Forwarded Message


We really need your help. Tons of students were arrested at 5:00am this morning in Wheeler Hall, many of whom were studying for Final Exams or finishing papers that are due tomorrow or the next day. The administration chose not to simply cite and release people after removing them from Wheeler, but these people are actually being arrested and booked right now.

The police came in at 5:00am and blocked the doors, arresting students for crimes such as finishing a final paper, reviewing O-chem, cleaning the bathroom floor, and of course, TRESPASSING ON PRIVATE PROPERTY!

We must pressure the administration to allow everyone to be cited and released; otherwise students who cannot afford bail money will be forced to sit in jail until their court date on Monday. And, as a back up plan, we might need to start a bail fund. Students cannot afford to miss three days of studying at this time of the semester.

We are asking that faculty send as many emails as possible to the administration, at the very least asking that everyone be cited and released so that they can continue to study for finals. Faculty are also free to comment on the fact that police came in with weapons and locked the doors and mass arrested everyone on the inside the day before final exams begin.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Growth Trends in UC Administration (Cont)

This MSP group grew faster not just than ladder rank faculty, but faster than most other categories.  In 1994, systemwide the ratio of researchers to this group used to be 2 to 1 now it is 3 to 2. The figures are 10 to 1 vs. 5 to 1 if we take the entire academic staff and 34 to 1 vs 16 to 1 if we take all FTEs.
It is also possible that many of the new MSP positions have been financed by external funds. The data are there at UCOP but not readily available.

Yet, according to the last available UC Budget in 2007-08 10% of our Core funds was spent on "institutional support" (which includes 5 areas: Executive Management (mostly SMGs), Fiscal Operations, General Administrative Services, Logistical Services and Community Relations)
compared to 9% on academic support and 5% on student services. The Core funds expenditures were only 60% of all the money spent on institutional support. Institutional support might have declined as a percentage of total expenditure, but as far as I can see, it probably increased as a percent of our Core fund (because our Core fund is a much smaller percentage of our total expenditure now). Between 2004-05 and 2006-07 money spent on it grew by 31%.

 Source: UCOP

List of Managers & Senior Professionals:


For range of salaries go here:

Ákos Róna-Tas
Associate Professor of Sociology

88 Social Sciences Building University of California, San Diego

9500 Gilman Dr.
La Jolla, CA

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

UCSD's "Hard" Furlough Closure

Over the past several years, UCSD has had a "soft" closure between
Christmas and New Year's Day. Staff were required to take vacation on
non-holidays and faculty were not required to be "in residence". I think
the idea was to save on energy costs.

This year, UCSD will have a "hard" closure over the longer interval
between December 19 and January 3. Staff and faculty will be required to
take six of their furlough days at this time in addition to the four
regular holidays. There will extremely minimal staffing for safety,
health, and physical plant issues. Faculty and staff will not be
authorized to be on campus during the hard closure, and the administration
has taken an very hard line on exceptions -- none have been given out in
my unit aside for those people out in the field.

I suppose this "hard" closure seems like a great idea to the UCSD
administration because it consolidates furlough days during a time when
many people will be away from campus, but I fear that it may cost more
than it saves. We are a science-oriented campus, and many lab and
computing facilities are time constrained, so it is a tremendous loss of
resources to simply shut them down for two and a half weeks. Moreover,
how will those faculty and staff paid by extramural funds on furlough days
(a large fraction of us) be able to work if they can't come into the lab?

It is tacitly admitted that many faculty will nonetheless come to work on
campus during the closure without authorization because they can't afford
not to. The declaration of UCSD that there will be furloughs and a hard
closure doesn't absolve people from meeting their obligations to funding
agencies and outside collaborators. The danger is, if something goes
wrong, there will be a slow emergency response due to the very minimal
staffing of the health, safety, and the physical plant.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Statement in Support of UC Mobilization

Statement in support of the UC Mobilisation

24 November 2009

We the undersigned declare our solidarity with University of California students, workers and staff as they defend, in the face of powerful and aggressive intimidation, the fundamental principles upon which a truly inclusive and egalitarian public-sector education system depends. We affirm their determination to confront university administrators who seem willing to exploit the current financial crisis to introduce disastrous and reactionary 'reforms' (fee-increases, lay-offs, salary cuts) to the UC system. We support their readiness to take direct action in order to block these changes. We recognise that in times of crisis, only assertive collective action – walkouts, boycotts, strikes, occupations... – offers any meaningful prospect of democratic participation. We deplore the recent militarization of the UC campuses, and call on the UC administration to acknowledge rather than discourage the resolution of their students to struggle, against the imperatives of privatization, to protect the future of their university.

• Dina Al-Kassim, Comparative Literature, UC Irvine
• Alison Hope Alkon, Sociology, University of the Pacific
• Eyal Amiran, Comparative Literature, UC Irvine
• Susan Antebi, Spanish and Portuguese, University of Toronto
• Aldo Antonelli, Philosophy, UC Davis
• Emily Apter, Comparative Literature, NYU
• Kiran Asher, International Development and Social Change and Women's Studies, Clark University
• Jennifer Bajorek, Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths College
• Mona Baker, Translation Studies, University of Manchester
• Mieke Bal, Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis, University of Amsterdam
• Gopal Balakrishnan, History of Consciousness, UC Santa Cruz
• Karyn Ball, English and Film Studies, University of Alberta
• Stephen Barker, Claire Trevor School of the Arts, UC Irvine
• Tani E. Barlow, History, Rice University
• LeGrace Benson, Emerita, SUNY Empire State
• Leo Bersani, French, UC Berkeley
• Bruce Braun, Geography, University of Minnesota
• Nathan Brown, English, UC Davis
• Darcy C. Buerkle, History, Smith College
• Craig Calhoun, Sociology, NYU
• Emma Campbell, French, University of Warwick
• Julie Carlson, English, UC Santa Barbara
• Anthony Carrigan, English, University of Keele
• Amy Sara Carroll, Latina/o Studies, American Culture, English, University of Michigan
• Allison Carruth, English, University of Oregon
• Mari Castaneda, Communication, University of Massachusetts Amherst
• Paula Chakravartty, Department of Communication, UMass Amherst
• Piya Chatterjee, Women’s Studies, UC Riverside
• Chris Chiappari, Sociology, Anthropology, St. Olaf College
• Kyeong-Hee Choi, East Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago
• Noam Chomsky, Linguistics, MIT
• Joshua Clover, English, UC Davis
• Lin Chun, Department of Government, The London School of Economics and Political Science
• Drucilla Cornell, Political Science, Women’s and Gender Studies, Comparative Literature, Rutgers University
• Maria E. Cotera, Latina/o Studies, American Culture, Women’s Studies, University of Michigan
• Whitney Cox, Languages and Cultures of South Asia, School of Oriental and African Studies
• Daniela Daniele, Anglo-American Literatures, University of Udine
• Eva von Dassow, Classical and Near Eastern Studies, University of Minnesota
• Jodi Dean, Political Science, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
• Richard Dienst, English, Rutgers University
• Jackie DiSalvo, English, Baruch College, CUNY
• Elizabeth DeLoughrey, English, UCLA
• Sergio de la Mora, Chicana and Chicano Studies, UC Davis
• Mattanjah S. de Vries, Chemistry and Biochemistry, UC Santa Barbara
• Hent de Vries, Humanities Center, Philosophy, Johns Hopkins University
• Lisa Disch, Political Science and Women’s Studies, University of Michigan
• Ariel Dorfman, Literature, Duke University
• Robert Dudley, Integrative Biology, UC Berkeley
• Alexander Garcia Düttmann, Philosophy and Visual Culture, Goldsmiths University
• Raymond Duvall, Political Science, University of Minnesota
• Ken Ehrlich, Art Department, UC Riverside
• Norma Field, East Asian Languages & Civilizations
• Gail Finney, Comparative Literature and German, UC Davis
• Paul Fleming, German, NYU
• Aranye Fradenburg, English, UC Santa Barbara
• Anne-Lise François, English and Comparative Literature, UC Berkeley
• James Fujii, East Asian Language and Literatures, UC Irvine
• John Funchion, English, University of Miami
• Alexander Galloway, Media, Culture, Communication, NYU
• Alexander Gelley, Comparative Literature, UC Irvine
• Bishnupriya Ghosh, English, UC Santa Barbara
• Rich Gibson, Education, San Diego State University
• Jill Giegerich, Art, UC Riverside
• Rachel Giora, Linguistics, Tel Aviv University
• Shai Ginsburg, Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Duke University
• Ruthann Godollei, Art, Macalester College
• Marcial Gonzales, English, UC Berkeley
• Manu Goswami, History, NYU
• Yogita Goyal, English, UCLA
• Greg Grandin, History, NYU
• Ronald Walter Greene, Communication Studies, University of Minnesota
• Martin Hägglund, Society of Fellows, Harvard University
• Peter Hallward, Philosophy, Middlesex University
• Werner Hamacher, Literature, Goethe University
• Kristin Hanson, English, UC Berkeley
• Harry Harootunian, History, Columbia University and Duke University
• Michael Hardt, Literature, Duke University
• Ulla Haselstein, American Literature, Free University of Berlin
• Rebeca Helfer, English, UC Irvine
• Cressida J. Heyes, Philosophy, University of Alberta
• Katsuya Hirano, History, Cornell University
• Dirk Hoerder, History, Arizona State University
• Jennifer Holt, Film and Media Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara
• Grace Kyungwon Hong, Asian American Studies and Women’s Studies, UCLA
• Eugene W. Holland, Comparative Studies, Ohio State University
• Ashley Hunt, Photography and Media, California Institute for the Arts
• Adrienne Hurley, East Asian Studies, McGill University
• Natasha Hurley, English and Film Studies, University of Alberta
• Patricia Ingham, English, Indiana University
• Peter Jackson, English, Birmingham City University
• Fredric Jameson, Comparative Literature and Romance Studies, Duke University
• Micaela Janan, Classical Studies, Duke University
• Priya Jha, English, University of Redlands
• Adrian Johnston, Philosophy, University of New Mexico
• Richard Kahn, Educational Foundations and Research, University of North Dakota
• Peggy Kamuf, French and Comparative Literature, UCS
• Ken C. Kawashima, East Asian Studies, University of Toronto
• Sarah Kay, French and Italian, Princeton University
• Paul Kelemen, Sociology, University of Manchester
• Rosanne Kennedy, School of Humanities, Australian National University
• Susan Blakeley Klein, East Asian Languages and Literatures, UC Irvine
• Suk-Young Kim, Theater and Dance, UC Santa Barbara
• Anna Klosowska, French, Miami University
• A. Kiarina Kordela, German Studies, Macalester College
• David Farrell Krell, Philosophy, DePaul University, University of Freiburg
• Ernesto Laclau, Politics, University of Essex
• Bradley Lafortune, English and Film Studies, University of Alberta
• Neil Larson, Comparative Literature, UC Davis
• Michaeal G. Levine, German and Comparative Literature, Rutgers University
• Suzanne Jill Levine, Spanish and Portuguese, UC Santa Barbara
• Ann-Elise Lewallen, East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies, UC Santa Barbara
• Jacques Lezra, Comparative Literature and Spanish and Portuguese, NYU
• Pei-te Lien, Political Science, UC Santa Barbara
• Akira Mizuta Lippit, Critical Studies, Comparative Literature, East Asian Languages and Cultures, USC
• Michèle Longino, French, Duke University
• Silvia L. López, Spanish, Carleton College
• Heather Love, English, University of Pennsylvania
• Stephanie Luce, Labor Center, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
• G. Akito Maehara, History, Asian American Studies, African American Studies, Chicano Studies, Native American Studies, East Los Angeles College
• Sharon Marcus, English and Comparative Literature, Columbia
• Lyle Massey, Art History, UC Irvine
• Robert May, Philosophy and Linguistics, UC Davis
• Todd May, Philosophy, Clemson University
• Christina McMahon, Theater and Dance, UC Santa Barbara
• Bob Meister, Political and Social Thought, UC Santa Cruz
• Walter Mignolo, Literature, Duke University
• Laura J. Mitchell, History, UC Irvine
• Claudia Moatti, Classics, USC
• Santiago Morales-Rivera, Spanish and Portuguese, UC Irvine
• Patricia Morton, History of Art, UC Riverside
• Fred Moten, English, Duke University
• John Mowitt, Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature, University of Minnesota
• Julian Myers, Visual Studies and Curatorial Practice, California College of the Arts
• Janet Neary, English, Hunter College
• Vasuki Nesiah, International Affairs, Brown University
• Sianne Ngai, English, UCLA
• Joel Nickels, English, University of Miami
• Julia Olbert, English, UC Irvine
• Bob Ostertag, Technocultural Studies, Music, UC Davis
• Thomas Pepper, Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature, University of Minnesota
• Amy Pederson, Art History, Woodbury University
• Kavita Philip, Women’s Studies, UC Irvine
• John Protevi, French, LSU
• Jack Linchuan Qiu, Journalism and Communication, Chinese University of Hong Kong
• Paula Rabinowitz, English, University of Minnesota
• Francois Raffoul, Philosophy, LSU
• Eve Allegra Raimon, Arts and Humanities, American and New England Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, University of Southern Maine
• Jacques Rancière, Philosophy, University of Paris (St. Denis)
• Jason Reid, Philosophy, University of Southern Maine
• Joseph Rezek, McNeil Center for Early American Studies, University of Pennsylvania
• Gerhard Richter, German, UC Davis
• Denise Riley, Cogut Center for the Humanities, Brown University
• Corey Robin, Political Science, Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center
• William I. Robinson, Sociology, University of California at Santa Barbara
• Avital Ronell, Comparative Literature, Germanic Languages and Literatures, NYU
• Sven-Erik Rose, French and Italian, Miami University
• Andrew Ross, Social and Cultural Analysis, NYU
• Kristin Ross, Comparative Literature, NYU
• Matthew Rowlinson, English, Center for Theory and Criticism, University of Western Ontario
• G.S. Sahota, Asian Languages and Literatures, University of Minnesota
• Simona Sawhney, South Asian Literature and Critical Theory, University of Minnesota
• Martha Saxton, History and Women's and Gender Studies, Amherst College
• Annette Schlichter, Comparative Literature, UC Irvine
• Andre Schmid, East Asian Studies, University of Toronto
• Ronald J. Schmidt Jr., Political Science, University of Southern Maine
• Gabriele Schwab, Comparative Literature, UC Irvine
• Louis-George Schwartz, Film, Ohio University
• Joan W. Scott, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University
• Louis Segal, History, UC Davis
• Susan Seizer, Communication and Culture, Indiana University
• Jared Sexton, African American Studies, Film and Media Studies, UC Irvine
• Katherine Sherwood, Art Practice and Disability Studies
• Scott C. Shershow, English, UC Davis
• Lewis Siegelbaum, History, Michigan State University
• Brenda R. Silver, English, Dartmouth College
• David Slater, Geography, Loughborough University
• Gavin Smith, Anthropology, University of Toronto
• Zrinka Stahuljak, Medieval and Renaissance Studies, UCLA
• Haim Steinbach, Visual Arts, UC San Diego
• Clay Steinman, Humanities, Media, Cultural Studies, Macalester College
• Christine A. Stewart, English and Film Studies, University of Alberta
• Matthew Stratton, English, UC Davis
• Imre Szeman, English and Film Studies, University of Alberta
• Rei Terada, Comparative Literature, UC Irvine
• Soraya Tlatli, French, UC Berkeley
• Sasha Torres, Information and Media Studies, University of Western Ontario
• Alberto Toscano, Sociology, Goldsmiths University of London
• Dimitris Vardoulakis, School of Humanities and Languages, University of Western Sydney
• Geoff Waite, German Studies, Comparative Literature, and Art History, Cornell University
• Elizabeth Walden, Philosophy and Cultural Studies, Bryant University
• Rebecca Weaver-Hightower, English and Postcolonial Studies, University of North Dakota
• Kathi Weeks, Women's Studies, Duke University
• Silke-Maria Weineck, German and Comparative Literature, University of Michigan
• Leonard Wilcox, American Studies, University of Canterbury
• Julia Bryan-Wilson, Contemporary Art, Visual Studies, UC Irvine
• Michael W. Wilson, Art, UC Riverside
• Mirko Wischke, Philosophy, National University of Kiev
• David Wittenberg, English & Comparative Literature, University of Iowa
• Mayfair Yang, Religious Studies, East Asian Cultural Studies, UC Santa Barbara
• Hu Yong, Journalism and Communication, Peking University
• Slavoj Zizek, Philosophy, University of Ljubljana
• Jack Zipes, German, University of Minnesota