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state is in difficulty because of the Master Plan, that’s because it has been ignored for twenty years, not because it is obsolete.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.


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