Sunday, February 28, 2010

"Values and Civility"

February 22, 2010

Dear Chancellor Drake:

I write to express my concern about your letter of February 17 and other aspects of the University’s response to 11 UCI students’ protest of the appearance of Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren and to student protest generally.

Much of the public discussion of the protest has debated whether or not the students’ protest tactics would be legally protected by the First Amendment. The narrow question of legal protection, however, does not define the set of issues that a university should think about on such an occasion. No university believes that its values are exhausted by what is legally required. Rather, universities should be sensitive to all speech and action that is principled, and should be mindful of traditions of civil disobedience. The complex and often illustrious history of civil disobedience in the U.S. includes illegal actions by definition. Many historical, philosophical, literary, and sociological texts commonly taught in the UCI curriculum acknowledge the benefits of such an approach. The idea that the spaces of democracy are kept open through challenges to their bounds and rules *by those who are formally excluded from these very spaces* is familiar and crucial to scholars of democracy.

The case of the protest at Michael Oren’s lecture raises questions about the availability and viability of other means by which the concerns of the 11 could be raised. In addition to Oren, a second speaker affiliated with the Israeli government appears on the UCI calendar this quarter—Daniel Taub, Principal Deputy Legal Adviser of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Feb. 10, 2010). I believe that no Palestinian official has spoken at UCI since Manuel Hassassian, ambassador of the Palestinian General Delegation to the UK, appeared at a forum with Prof. Edward Kaufman (formerly of Hebrew University) in 2006. Further, I’m concerned about the diversity of expression more generally. Over the last decade mainstream scholars have addressed concerns similar to the 11 students’—namely, that gains by the religious right in Israel have resulted in “new discriminatory policies and practices toward the Palestinian minority” and a climate in which extreme “policies of expulsion” are newly thinkable (see Nadim N. Rouhana and Nimer Sultany, “Redrawing the Boundaries of Citizenship: Israel's New Hegemony,” Journal of Palestine Studies 33 [2003], 5-22). As far as I can tell, the last speaker sponsored by UCI whose main topic was the plight of Palestinians may have been Prof. Saree Makdisi, as part of the conference “"Whither the Levant?," in December 2008.

Most of the UCI events sponsored by the Ford Foundation have featured speakers from the political center whose main topic has been the desirability of reconciliation. The UCI “difficult dialogues” are not really dialogic and not really difficult, however,unless they include the full spectrum of political opinion. This context may help one understand why the 11 students may have wanted to publicize their point in the way they did. It is worth assessing whether the “Difficult Dialogues” project is serving the needs of the student groups that truly differ, rather than those already occupying the center; and whether, by seeming to align itself with this center, UCI could be seen to be taking a de facto position in the Middle East conflict itself.

The perception that UCI may be more interested in suppressing the appearance of conflict than in working through it is exacerbated by the OC Register’s report that UCI has rehired a public relations consultant, Alan Hilburg, whose previous experience with damage control includes work on the Exxon Valdez oil spill, Love Canal, and smokeless tobacco. Alan Hilburg’s previous work for at least one client has included cost-benefit analyses of a company’s taking, or seeming to take, one stance or another; a paper he has given for the national conference of public relations specialists promotes “trust” for its connection to “lower transaction costs” and “high brand value” (“The High Cost of Low Trust: Managing the Climate of Skepticism”). It’s appropriate for a university to maintain its own public relations staff, but not to retain a consultant with such a record.

Finally, although people may agree or disagree with the views and/or tactics of the 11 students who protested Oren’s appearance, no reasonable person could believe that the students were unprincipled. The university must show that it is able to recognize the difference between principled civil disobedience and unprincipled disruption and be careful to treat protesters with respect. Your letter of February 17 falls short in this regard. Its title, “Why do values and civility matter?,” and statement that “some” at UCI have the goal of “closing channels of communication,” seem to assume that the people being referred to lack “values” and “civility” and are ill-motivated. This broadly phrased letter might be taken to extend to recent protests over UC finances (its terms are problematic, however, whether it refers to the smaller or to the larger group). It would be more productive to assume that students engaged in protest—both the 11 students at Oren’s talk and the wider community of protesters—care about the civil society of the university and are expressing, in time-honored ways, values that matter.


Rei Terada
Professor of Comparative Literature

Subject line Why Do Values and Civility Matter?

I have spoken and written often about the manner in which we discuss and debate our differences, about our values, and about how we use those values to guide our decision-making. I am disappointed that some in our community seem more comfortable engaging in confrontation than collaboration, and in closing channels of communication rather than opening them.

At this juncture, we have two options. We can continue to amp up the rhetoric of outrage that is reverberating inside and outside our walls. Or, rather than fortifying barriers, we can use this energy to build bridges across the spaces that divide us.

We can discuss our differences respectfully, moving first toward understanding, and perhaps eventually toward resolution. And we can challenge ourselves to be better: What does it mean to be a part of a learning community? How do we engage each other in constructive dialog? How do we move forward?

To that end, I am asking several campus units to join together to host a series of discussions that will help light our path forward. School of Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky's "First Amendment in a Multicultural Society" lecture last week set a high standard, and we will explore other issues in upcoming weeks. We will announce these shortly. I hope that all interested students, faculty and staff will participate, and that rather than repeating the behavior of so many others and sinking backward, we will move forward as a campus.

I know that we can advance. As we do, we must remember that the collective energy of our diverse communities is among our greatest strengths, and one that clearly enhances our position among the great learning centers of the world.

Chancellor Michael Drake

Berkeley ASUC Resolution in Support of March 4th Events

A Bill in Support of the National March 4th Day of Action

Authored by Christina Urista, and Elliot Astral Goldstein

Sponsored by Christina Oatfield

WHEREAS, on October 24, 2009 more than 800 students, workers, and teachers converged at UC Berkeley at the California Coordinating Committee Conference; and

WHEREAS, the California Coordinating Committee is a coalition between students, teachers, and workers across all sectors of public education, including K-12, community colleges, state colleges, and the University of California; and

WHEREAS, the California Coordinating Committee was formed in an effort to preserve and save the quality, access, and excellence of public education in California;

WHEREAS, the California Coordinating Committee democratically voted on localized actions throughout all sectors of public education in California for March 4th2010; and

WHEREAS, the October 24th Conference inspired other public educational campuses across the nation to also defend their educational rights in response to the national fiscal crisis, and to take action on March 4th, 2010; and

WHEREAS, the UC Berkeley General Assembly voted on a strike on the day with picket lines at the UC Berkeley campus, followed by a march to Oakland’s Ogawa Plaza; and

WHEREAS, the mass rally to Oakland stands in solidarity with all public educational sectors in the East Bay, including K-12, community colleges, and state campuses; and

WHEREAS, the standards of access, quality, and excellence in all sectors of public education are threatened or have diminished under the charge of those who have been entrusted to defend and promote them; and

WHEREAS, UC President Mark Yudof has mishandled the current crisis, therefore galvanizing University employees, faculty, staff and students to launch their own statewide vote of “No Confidence” in his leadership; and

WHEREAS, the ASUC already supported democratizing the Regents (SB 251, Spring 2009), before the Regents passed a devastating 32% fee hike on November 19th at UCLA, only two Regents opposing the increase,

WHEREAS, the State of California has continually disinvested in public education across all sectors of higher education, essentially failing to uphold the Master Plan for Higher Education in California,

WHEREAS, the California K-12 public school system faced $5.2 billion dollars in cuts from 2009-2010, failing to uphold the minimum funding levels under the voter approved Proposition 98; and

WHEREAS, Governor Schwarzenegger’s new proposal to fund higher public education does not include California’s K-12 public school system; and

WHEREAS, although separate from the California Coordinating Committee, the March 4th National Day of Action to Defend Public Education stands for the same cause and is endorsed by SAVE UC, UC Berkeley Solidarity Alliance, UC Berkeley General Assembly, UC Berkeley Graduate Student Organizing Committee, the California Labor Federation, the California Faculty Association, the California Federation of Teachers, United Teachers of Los Angeles, United Educators of San Francisco, AFSCME Local 444; and

WHEREAS, under its Constitution, the Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC) is committed to effective student participation in all areas of student concern; and

WHEREAS, the ASUC is deeply committed to upholding the quality of education in public higher education institutions in California and is in solidarity with all sectors of public education in California;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the ASUC stands in support of and participates in the March 4th National Day of Action to Defend Public Education as a concerned body of student representatives.

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the ASUC stands in solidarity with all sectors of public education, including students, teachers, staff and workers in the K-12, college and university sectors fighting to defend their educational rights on March 4th 2010.

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the ASUC President and External Affairs Vice President are authorized to write letters to the respective stakeholders, including the student body, in support of the March 4th National Day to Defend Public Education, including UC Berkeley’s localized actions to: strike, march to Ogawa Plaza, and demonstration in Sacramento.

THEREFORE BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that ASUC supports and will use its resources, peoplepower, and channels of communication to increase awareness and mobilize students leading up to and on the March 4th Day of Action.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

UC Berkeley Statement on Protest Regulations

Subject: Update on Campus Regulations Concerning Protests and Demonstrations

At the start of the semester we wrote to you about the rules of time, place and manner that govern the rights of protest and demonstration and protect the liberty of each of us to teach, learn, work, live and engage in political expression on campus, and our intent to enforce these rules.

We are happy to report that student organizers have worked together successfully with faculty and administrators to hold events to promote discussion and debate concerning a path forward for Berkeley and higher education, while abiding by these rules. We commend the efforts that students, faculty and staff are making to be respectful of our campus values of peaceful protest and to work together to ensure compliance with campus regulations.

As the campus prepares to step up its advocacy efforts, we are writing to remind you of these rules and note that University House has been added to the Campus Regulations Concerning the Time, Place, and Manner of Public Expression. These are available at: (Secs. 300ff).

Christopher Kutz
Chair, Faculty Senate

Fiona M. Doyle
Vice Chair, Faculty Senate

Robert J. Birgeneau

George Breslauer
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Open Letter in Response to UC Berkeley "Update on Campus Regulations Concerning Protests and Demonstrations"

In an e-mail to the campus community on Friday, February 19, leaders of UC Berkeley’s administration and faculty senate offer students a timely reminder of “the rules of time, place and manner that govern the rights of protest and demonstration... and our intent to enforce these rules.” The letter, which was signed by Chancellor Robert Birgeneau, Provost George Breslauer, Professor Christopher Kutz (Chair of the Faculty Senate), and Professor Fiona Doyle (Vice-Chair of the Faculty Senate), goes on to “commend the efforts that students, faculty and staff are making to be respectful of our campus values of peaceful protest and to work together to ensure compliance with campus regulations.” They write, “We are happy to report that student organizers have worked together successfully with faculty and administrators to hold events to promote discussion and debate concerning a path forward for Berkeley and higher education, while abiding by these rules.”

Strangely, the letter does not identify the events it applauds. We can only hope that the Rolling University is implied, a massive outreach effort on the part of student organizers to inform the student body about the March 4 Day of Action. And yet, as the student organizers of recent events that specifically sought to foster discussion between administrators and the community, we feel compelled to express our dismay at the administration and faculty senate’s misleading characterization of the current level of administrative engagement with student concerns.

We take as example the Forum on the Code of Student Conduct held on February 17 with Dean of Students Jonathan Poullard and Assistant Dean of Students Susan Trageser. Far from being a model of “discussion and debate concerning a path forward for Berkeley and higher education,” this event would be better represented by the refusal of the participating administrators to engage in a meaningful and productive manner with the concerns of students and faculty. In meetings and conversations to plan the event, the administrators participating made clear that holding a debate was out of the question. An e-mail sent to student organizers before the event demonstrates Dean Poullard’s opinion of the value of debate that Chancellor Birgeneau, Provost Breslauer, and the Chairs of the Academic Senate claim to encourage: “This should not be a debate but rather an opportunity for students and community members alike to ask questions and seek clarification on what our code says and does not say.” Needless to say, the event disappointed students and faculty who came prepared to discuss with administrators in a civil manner, but were met with evasions, contradictions, condescension, and repeated promises to begin to find a solution sometime in the future.

Despite our frustrations, we appreciate that Dean Poullard and Assistant Dean Trageser accepted student offers to discuss our concerns. We fully understand that improvements to the Student Code of Conduct process could take considerable time. However, the consistency with which administrators have deferred pressing and urgent concerns is entirely unacceptable at an institution ostensibly based on democratic processes and shared governance. While students certainly should not stop pressing administrators to sit down and talk with them, what we witnessed from administrators during the planning and execution of these events cannot be applauded as successful forms of discussion and debate.

The failure of discussion and debate on campus falls squarely on the shoulders of the administrators themselves, not the students who are eagerly participating in and dedicating so much time to organizing these events. We have repeatedly appealed to administrators to talk with us, but are consistently met with refusals to address our concerns. Last semester’s protests and strikes were appeals by thousands of members of the Berkeley community to our campus and university administration to engage with students, faculty, staff, to which we received only one response in multiple iterations: “we must channel our energies outwards,” that is, the fault lies with state government. This is the response we have received, that there is no need for internal debate in matters where our leadership disavows responsibility. Thus the commendation of student, employee and faculty protests—where they abide by campus regulations—only misleads the campus community, while making hollow what it would mean to have a community truly founded on discussion and debate.

Faced with similar behavior by administrators last semester, it is no wonder that frustrated students, in an effort to be heard, decided not to abide by the rules of political engagement set by the administration and refused to recognize what the faculty senate described as the “limits of protest.” That the leaders of the administration and Academic Senate have once again authored a letter informing students of the acceptable terms of “public expression” on campus just before the March 4 Day of Action to Defend Public Education is not surprising. The true attitude of our administration is displayed in a recent email from the Chancellor, which dismisses the months of organizing done by its students, staff and faculty
to hold protests on campus on March 4 as “another set of events... being planned for March 4th and organized by a coalition of labor leaders and others.” Yet again, this is an attempt to redirect “legitimate” protest to Sacramento.

We are writing from the perspective of students who have devoted long hours to organizing opportunities for administrators to engage with students in the very ways the administration and faculty senate espouse. But just like last semester, administrators not only refuse to work together with us, they also insist on using their position of power to manipulate campus perception of student organizers and the administration’s response. We refrain from applauding the engagement of administrators until they begin to acknowledge our concerns and follow through with their promises, such as beginning a process of reviewing the legality of the Code of Student Conduct and rewriting it. We do hope that
the administration will take part in events like the Rolling University, where students, faculty and staff continue to discuss the future of Berkeley and public education.

Shane Boyle
Performance Studies

Mandy Cohen
Comparative Literature

Zach Levenson

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

List of Events for March 4th (Statewide)


March 4th is right around the corner and the local, national and international anticipation for this historic day is growing by the minute. Students, teachers, staff, parents and workers from all over California, the nation and the world have been organizing and building for the Strike and Day of Action. Below is a tentative list of events that will be happening on March 4th in California.

If you have any information to add to the list below, have information on events from places outside of California or have any questions about March 4th, please email or visit and tell us what is being planned in your school, workplace, community for March 4th Strike and Day of Action.

In Solidarity,
Jonathan Nunez
Follow-up committee of the October 24th Conference

Regional Events

Los Angeles Regional Rally
• 3 pm Rally @ Pershing Square (5th & Hill) in downtown L.A.
• 4 pm March from Pershing Square to the Governor’s office
• 5 pm Rally @ Governor’s office (300 Spring St.)

East Bay/Oakland Regional Rally
• 12 pm-4 pm Rally @ Frank Ogawa Plaza (in front of Oakland City Hall, 14th & Broadway)
• March to the Ogawa Plaza Rally from:
-UC Berkeley: 12 pm Rally @ Bancroft & Telegraph, followed by March
-Laney College: 11 am Rally, followed by March
-Fruitvale BART: Assemble @ 11 am, March @ 11:30 am
• Travel to San Francisco Regional Rally (See regional listing below)

San Francisco Regional Rally
• 5 pm Rally @ San Francisco Civic Center

Sacramento/State Capitol Rally
• 11 am-1 pm Rally @ State Capitol (North Steps of Capitol)

San Diego Regional Rally
• 3 pm Rally @ Balboa Park, followed by March to governor’s office
• 4 pm Rally @ Governor’s office (downtown)

San Fernando Valley Regional Rally
• 3:45 pm gathering @ CSU Northridge Sierra Quad
• 4:15 pm March
• 5 pm Hands around CSUN
• 5:30 pm Rally @ CSU Northridge Sierra Quad

Local Events

UC Berkeley
• 7 am-12 pm Pickets
• 12 pm-1 pm Rally/Action @ entrance to Sproul Plaza (Telegraph & Bancroft)
• 1 pm-3 pm March from UC Berkeley to Oakland’s Ogawa Plaza
• Students, faculty, workers and campus community will travel to San Francisco
Regional Rally (See regional listing above)

• 10 am Pickets
• 11:30 am Walk Out
• 12 pm Rally @ Bruin Plaza
(UCLA invites high schools and community colleges in the Westside area to join)

UC San Diego
• 11:30 Walk-out & Rally @ Gilman Parking Structure
• 12:30 pm March from Gilman to the Silent Tree outside Giesel Library and Rally there
• Students, faculty, workers and campus community will travel to San Diego Regional Rally (See regional listing above)

UC Santa Cruz
• 6:00 am Picket at the entrances to campus
• 9:00 am Rally @ main entrance to the campus (Bay and High)
• 12:00 pm Rally @ main entrance to the campus (Bay and High)
• 5:00 pm General Assembly @ main entrance to campus (Bay and High)

UC Riverside
• 1 pm gathering @ UCR Bell Tower
• 2:30 pm March from UCR to downtown
• 3:30 pm Rally @ University Ave and Market St. (Downtown Riverside)

CSU Bakersfield
• 11:30 am-1 pm @ the Student Union Patio (rain: Stockdale Room in Runner CafĂ©)

CSU Channel Islands
• Students, faculty, workers and campus community will travel to the San Fernando Valley to participate in San Fernando Valley Regional Rally @ CSU Northridge (See regional listing above)

CSU Chico
• 8 am sendoff for students, faculty, workers and campus community traveling to State Capital Rally (See regional listing above)

CSU Dominguez Hills
• Students, faculty, workers and campus community will travel to Wilson High School Long Beach and Los Angeles Regional Rally (See Long Beach details below or regional listing above)
• 11 am-1 pm students hold a fair on CSUDH East Walkway (Games to learn about public education costs, access and quality)

CSU East Bay
• 12 pm Rally/Open Mic/Speack Out @ Agora Stage
• Students, faculty, workers and campus community will travel to San Francisco Regional Rally (See regional listing above)

Fresno State
• 10:30 am March from NW corner of Blackstone and Shaw, go down Shaw to Fresno State
• 12 pm-1 pm Rally @ Peace Garden

CSU Fullerton
• Students, faculty, workers and campus community will travel to Los Angeles Regional Rally (See regional listing above)

Humboldt State
• 3 pm-5 pm Rally @ Humboldt County Courthouse-Eureka with CSU and K-12 faculty and students

Cal State Los Angeles
• 9:30 am Rally @ the USU area (Free Speech area)
• 2 pm March to Los Angeles Regional Rally (See regional listing above)

CSU Long Beach
• 12 pm-1 pm Rally @ South Campus, Upper Quad,
• 1 pm-2 pm Parade
• 4 pm Rally with K-12 and Community College (see below)

Long Beach: Wilson High School
• 4 pm Rally @ Wilson High School Gymnasium (4400 E. 10th St.)
• Music by Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave, The Nightwatchman)

California Maritime Academy
• Students, faculty, workers and campus community will travel to San Francisco Regional Rally and Sacramento/State Capitol Rally (See regional listing above)
• 12 pm Street Theatre/Mock “Die-In” @ Maritime’s main quad

CSU Monterey Bay
• 11 am-1 pm Rally/March
• Followed by car-pools to Community Rally
• 4 pm Community Rally @ Colton Hall (570 Pacific St. between Madison & Jefferson)
- Contact: Kat General, 415-728-8927

CSU Northridge/San Fernando Valley Regional Rally
• 3:45 pm gather @ CSU Northridge Sierra Quad
• 4:15 pm March
• 5 pm Hands around CSUN
• 5:30 pm Rally @ CSU Northridge Sierra Quad

Cal Poly Pomona
• 1:30 pm- 2:30 pm Send off Rally @ - as CFA members, students and campus community board buses for Los Angeles Regional Rally (See regional listing above)

Sacramento State/Sacramento/State Capitol Rally
• 11 am-1 pm Rally @ State Capitol (North Steps of Capitol)
- Contact: Kevin Wehr, 916-541-2125

CSU San Bernardino
• 11:30 am March @ Marquee entrance (NW corner of University Pkwy and Northpark Blvd)
• 12 pm Rally @ Pfau Library

San Diego State/San Diego Regional Rally
• 11:30 am-12:00 pm collect video testimonials from students and campus community next to Aztec Center (Large “scoreboard” showing the loss of students, teachers and classes at SDSU due to budget cuts)
• 12:00 pm Rally by Aztec Center
• Students, faculty, workers and campus community will travel to San Diego Regional Rally (See regional listing above)

San Francisco State
• 7 am Campus Shutdown
• Students, faculty, workers and campus community will travel to San Francisco Regional Rally (See regional listing above)

San Jose State
• 11 am gather at San Jose City Hall
• 11:45 am March to San Jose State Tower Lawn (7th Street Plaza entrance)
• 12 pm Rally @ San Jose State Tower Lawn

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
• 3:30–5 pm Rally @ Office of state Senator Abel Maldonado (1356 Marsh St., San Luis Obispo)

CSU San Marcos
• 10:30 am-11:30 am Teach-in on State Budget @ Academic Hall (ACD) 102 (simulcast to other classrooms)
• 12 pm-1 pm Rally @ Kellogg Library

Sonoma State
• 11:30 am Student Walk Out
• 12:00 pm-1:30 pm Rally near Stevenson Quad

CSU Stanislaus
• 11:30 am-1pm Rally @ campus Quad

UCSD Senate Task force on Budget Transparency

UCSD Academic Senate – San Diego Division

A Resolution Co-sponsored and Presented by Douglas Bartlett (Chair, SIO), Samuel Buss (Chair, Mathematics), Clark Gibson (Chair, Political Science), Josh Kohn (Chair, Ecology, Behavior & Evolution), John Marino (Chair, History), Keith Marzullo (Chair, Computer Science and Engineering), and Nicholas Spitzer (Vice-Chair, Neurobiology) To the Representative Assembly, San Diego Division, Academic Senate
February 23, 2010

Whereas, the current UC budget crisis calls for unprecedented and difficult decisions both from the campus as a whole and from each department,

Whereas, these decisions cannot be responsibly carried out without proper knowledge and understanding of UCSD’s budget,

Whereas, insofar as the Senate-Administration Task Force on Budget determined that an “increased budget transparency of all Vice Chancellor Areas” is needed.

Let be it resolved, that the Academic Senate, San Diego Division, establish by March 15, 2010, a Senate Task Force on Budget Transparency whose charge is to work with the administration to determine

• the format in which the complete UCSD budget should be presented quarterly to the Academic Senate San Diego Division,

• the nature and the detail of budget data it should contain, and

• relevant safeguards to ensure data quality and full disclosure.

Be it further resolved, that the UCSD Senate Council will appoint to the Senate Task Force on Budget Transparency, in consultation with department chairs and with relevant Academic Senate Committees, members from each academic division at least one of whom is knowledgeable in budget and accounting procedures, the current or a former chair of the UCSD Senate Planning and Budget Committee, and two current or former UCSD administrators with relevant expertise.

Be it further resolved, that the Senate Task Force on Budget Transparency will submit an initial report at the Representative Assembly meeting on April 27, 2010.

UCSB Department Chairs in Support of March 4th Events


We, as Department Chairs in the Social Sciences and Humanities and Fine Arts at the University of California, Santa Barbara, endorse the statewide Day of Education on March 4, 2010. We support the efforts, organized by representatives of the entire educational community--administrators,teachers, staff, students, alumni, and concerned parents and students of the UC, CSU, CC and K-12 systems--to demonstrate the need for a renewed commitment to public education. As UC faculty, we struggle with increased workloads and reduced pay. We see austere student fee hikes, overcrowded classes, graduate students squeezed, overworked and demoralized staff, worker layoffs, shrinking departmental and curriculum budgets, and eroding funding to student services. How long can the UC maintain itself as a top quality, Tier I research university? Meanwhile, K-12 schools face severe budget cuts and curricular pressures created by the demands for standardized testing, a situation of concern to us since the products of the K-12 system become our students and the country's future citizenry. It's time to stop and reverse this steady defunding and degradation of our educational system and to defend a first-rate public education.

We urge you to support our students' organizing efforts in support of the statewide March on Sacramento on Thursday, March 4.

In Santa Barbara on March 4, there are two events:

- 12 noon: Rally at Storke Plaza, UCSB

- 4 PM: March down State Street, downtown Santa Barbara

We encourage you to participate in whatever ways you can, such as:
- Announcing the events in class
- Allowing students to participate in these activities without any penalty
- Teaching about the current crisis in public education
- Bringing your students to the rallies/marches.

Department Chairs, Humanities and Fine Arts and Social Science, UCSB

Diane Fujino, Chair, Asian American Studies
Eileen Boris, Chair, Feminist Studies
Francisco Lomeli, Chair, Spanish and Portuguese
Patricia Clancy, Chair, Linguistics
Ulrich Keller, Chair, History of Art and Architecture
Howard Winant, Chair, Law and Society program
Verta Taylor, Chair, Sociology
Simon Williams, Chair, Theater and Dance
Elisabeth Saatjian Weber, Chair, German, Slavic and Semitic Studies and
Comparative Literature
Lisa Parks, Chair, Film and Media Studies
Jon Snyder, Chair, French and Italian
Jeffrey Stewart, Chair, Black Studies
Colin Gardner, Chair, Art
Francis Dunn, Chair, Classics
Bill Powell, Chair, East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies
Alan Liu, Chair, English
Ann Bermingham, Director, Interdisciplinary Humanities Center
Michael Stohl, Chair, Communication
John Majewski, Chair, History
Aida Hurtado, Chair, Chicana and Chicano Studies
Katharina Schreiber, Chair, Anthropology
Giles Gunn, Chair, Global and International Studies
John Woolley, Chair, Political Science
Matthew Turk, Chair, Media Arts and Technology
Paul Berkowitz, Chair, Music

National Lawyer's Guild Press Release on UCLA PD Abuses at Nov. Regents Meeting


Contact: Kyle Todd, (720) 276-4584

UCLA National Lawyers Guild Law Students, Undergraduates, and Faculty Demand End to Police Abuse of Nonviolent Protestors

February 22, 2010, Los Angeles, CA— The UCLA School of Law chapter of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG), along with faculty members, students, and campus organizers, presented UCLA Chancellor Gene Block with a letter demanding an end to abuse of nonviolent protestors by the UCLA Police Department (UCPD). Following a 12:30pm press conference at UCLA’s Kerckhoff Hall, 405 Hilgard Avenue, Los Angeles, the crowd delivered the letter, which calls upon Chancellor Block to hold the UCPD accountable to university policies and federal law prohibiting the use of tasers and other instruments of excessive force on nonviolent protestors.

On November 18 and 19, 2009, numerous students were tased by officers from the UCPD and Los Angeles Police Department during nonviolent protests in opposition to the budget approved by University of California Board of Regents. “We gathered to speak-out against the fee hikes, cuts, and lay-offs and speak in favor of an accessible, affordable, and diverse public university,” said Alejandra Cruz, a UCLA Law student and campus organizer. “We were met instead with tasers, baton blows, and crowd-control guns. The great democratic legacy of public higher education was greatly compromised by the Regents' decision to increase fees and by UCPD's attempt to silence us with violence.”

At the press conference, NLG members, [faculty], tasing victims, and student organizers spoke about the need to reform UCPD practices and demanded an end to the officers’ violations of students’ constitutionally-protected rights. Photos of police repression from the November protests can be viewed at <!/event.php?eid=314382988315>.

After the press conference, the crowd delivered the NLG’s letter to Chancellor Block. The letter outlines legal precedent on tasers and shows their use is unwarranted on nonviolent demonstrators. The NLG also requests a meeting with Chancellor Block to further discuss the university’s policies and practices on tasers prior to the March 4th state-wide day of action in defense of public higher education, in which thousands of UCLA students and staff are expected to participate. “Students have a vested stake in the future of our state’s public university system,” said Cristina Gallo, NLG member and UCLA School of Law student. “We’re fighting to make sure that the university respects students’ and workers’ rights on March 4th and at future demonstrations.”

The letter and copies of the NLG’s previously-submitted Public Records Act request for UCLA’s full policy on tasers will be available to media in attendance. For a map of the UCLA campus, please visit

The NLG is dedicated to the need for basic change in the structure of our political and economic system. Our aim is to bring together all those who recognize the importance of safeguarding and extending the rights of workers, women, farmers, people with disabilities and people of color, upon whom the welfare of our entire nation depends; who seek actively to eliminate racism; and who work to maintain and protect our civil rights and liberties in the face of persistent attacks upon them.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Birgeneau and Breslauer support March 1st events--sort of

Dear Campus Community:

The budget announced by Governor Schwarzenegger in January was hopeful for the University of California in many respects. However, ensuring the state's reinvestment in the University of California will require a concerted advocacy effort. We have been urging all members of our campus community, alumni, and friends to protest the state's disinvestment from public higher education and call for the reinstatement of funding to the University of California. A number of lobbying events and marches in Sacramento this spring are being organized to convey this important message to our legislators. We are writing to inform you about the campus's participation in and support of some of these events and our position with regard to some key issues.

On March 1st, the University of California Students Association (UCSA) is sponsoring a student-led series of meetings and a rally in Sacramento. We endorse our students' initiative to protest the state's disinvestment from public higher education, and demand for reinstatement of state support. To facilitate transportation to and from Sacramento of our students who want to attend the march, we will fund the rental of two buses, using non-state funds.

Demanding that the State of California reinvest in public higher education is a goal that we share with our students. However, we want to make clear that we cannot endorse demands for "no fees" and "no layoffs."

Student fees, besides providing essential operating funds, are also a redistributive mechanism for subsidizing the living costs of low-income students. Fees from all students contribute significantly to financial aid and help ensure access for our low-income students, by helping support their living costs. With no fees, the net cost of attending Berkeley would be unaffordable for as many as one-third of our students. Underrepresented minority students would be disproportionately impacted by this loss of financial aid, so a "no fees" policy would severely compromise the diversity of our campus. The Chancellor has made this argument in an op-ed called "Zero Fees, Zero Low-Income Students?" which appeared this morning in the Sacramento Bee as "Viewpoints: 'Zero Fees' could hurt neediest students. How should students respond to fee hikes?" It can be viewed at:

With respect to "no lay-offs", while it pains us to resort to lay-offs, these actions have been unfortunately necessitated by the drastic cuts in state funding that supports staff salaries and benefits.

Another set of events is being planned for March 4th and organized by a coalition of labor leaders and others as a national day of action and strike in defense of public higher education. Rallies are planned in the Bay Area, throughout the state, and in the capital. The campus is not planning any official events on this day.

We urge faculty to be flexible about providing make-up opportunities to students who miss classes or examinations that may have been scheduled on either March 1st or March 4th. Faculty who wish to participate in advocacy activities but who have teaching obligations on those days are expected to arrange for alternate coverage of their class.

Staff wishing to participate in these events should arrange in advance with their supervisors for time off through furlough or vacation. Supervisors are encouraged to grant such requests provided that the work needs of their unit can be met.

President Yudof, university administrators and some Regents will be in Sacramento on March 1st to visit legislative leaders with student leaders, although at the request of UCSA, the administration will not take a role in the public rally. Chancellor Birgeneau will travel to Sacramento with our campus student leadership on March 10th to advocate for UC funding and for issues that are specific to UC Berkeley. Other UC chancellors have similar plans.

Finally, the leaders of the University of California, the California State University, and the California Community Colleges are planning to lobby jointly in Sacramento on April 27th for state reinvestment of public higher education funding. We will keep you informed of this event as plans develop.

Further information about the University's advocacy activities is available on the Cal Advocacy website:

Robert J. Birgeneau

George W. Breslauer
Executive Vice-Chancellor & Provost

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

SAVE Call to Participate In March 4th Events and Rally

This March 4, for the first time in California history, all sectors of the state’s education system -- K-12, community colleges, CSUs, and UCs -- will rally together to fight for public education in a time of grievous budget cuts. With California confronting a $21 billion budget deficit this year, the stakes could not be higher, and so we ask for your participation in this historic event.

Please sign up to join the “Educate the State” rally, to be held on the steps of the State Capitol Building in Sacramento on March 4 from 11 am to 1 pm. We aim to have a sizable UC presence at this event, and have arranged for free transportation for UC Berkeley, UCSF and UC-Santa Cruz faculty, staff and students who wish to attend. (More information at If you would like to help publicize the event, please print out the attached poster and pass it out to your students, or post copies around your building.

Our message is simple: we need to stabilize and restore financial support for all levels of California’s public education system.

We ask you to join the Sacramento rally to demonstrate solidarity with our fellow public educators as the budget debates get underway in Sacramento. This rally will bring together students, families, faculty, and staff as well as members of the legislature and broader community. There will be speakers from these constituencies, a UC faculty press conference, and meetings with key legislators, many of whom are themselves alumni of the UC, CSU, and community college systems.

A strong UC faculty showing at this event is critical to convincing state legislators from both parties to prioritize public education. Access to affordable, quality public education is the social and economic backbone of our state -- and indeed the key to California’s future. UC faculty can, and should, play a productive role in this broader struggle.

Please go to and sign up to attend the March 4 rally in Sacramento. We ask too that you publicize the "Educate the State" march in your departments and classes, and urge your colleagues and students to participate. We have attached a flier for you to distribute.

Over the coming weeks, SAVE’s Coordinating Council will give you additional information about the March 4 event and post updates on our website.

We look forward to seeing you on the buses to Sacramento on March 4.

SAVE Coordinating Council
Peter Glazer
Greg Levine

George Lakoff Call for Volunteers to Organize for the California Democracy Act

Dear colleagues:

Thank you for all the work you have been doing. Special thanks go to Peter Glazer and Greg Levine for their March 4 organizing.

Since December I have been working to put together a statewide organization for the California Democracy Act, the ballot initiative that would eliminate the 2/3 rules and allow a majority of the legislature to make decisions about raising revenue and passing a budget. That is the only way the legislature will be able to raise enough revenue for higher education and other crucial needs in the future.

That organization is now in place and we are now ready to join our organization with the March 4 organization. We have community organizers throughout the state and organizers on all UC campuses. Within a day or two our new website will be up ( and it will allow us to do online signature gathering in two ways. It will also allow us to use our new sophisticated organizing tools for the March 4 and March 22 (community college) events.

At this point, it is crucial to link our organizations together. I would like the SAVE Coordinating Committee to appoint a subcommittee (or to find volunteers) to work with the campus and intercampus branches of CDAC (California Democracy Act Coalition). I suggest a campus-wide signature-gathering organization, recruiting both faculty and student volunteers within departments, which would serve both the purpose of gathering signatures (in person and online) and spreading the word about March 4.

I have already spoken with Bob Meister about involving the faculty unions and have been in contact with movements at other campuses. We have also been working with superintendants of schools to organize students and teachers for March 4 and beyond.

One of the first things to do is to integrate our messages. The suggested message “we need to stabilize and restore financial support for all levels of California’s public education system.” I would add one sentence, “This will require passing the California Democracy Act to allow majority rule in the legislature.” This should also be done in all press releases. (I am happy to be able to rejoin the press committee now that all this organizing work has been done.)

I suggest that the notice on the website be rewritten to include the basic CDA message (it’s very short). I also suggest that those working with the unions join with us as well to get CDA on the ballot and pass it.

If you are interested in helping to coordinate our efforts, please email me with the subject heading CDA March 4.

Remember that only if CDA passes will the March 4 event produce any real long-term effects.

Best wishes,
George Lakoff

George Lakoff

Monday, February 15, 2010

Berkeley Faculty Association Statement on March 4th

Dear Berkeley Faculty Association Members,

March 4th is a day of statewide action on behalf of California public education--primary, secondary and higher. Associations around the state are planning to go to Sacramento for an "Educate the State" rally or are planning to participate in local rallies calling for the restoration of funding for public education. March 4th comes at a crucial political moment. In January, the Governor declared that he wants to increase funding for higher education. The state budget process and electoral season are now well under way. We need to put pressure on legislators and gubernatorial candidates as well as alert California taxpayers to the dangers of letting our public education system crumble. And we need to make clear just what is at stake in preserving the finest public university system in the world.

The Board of the Berkeley Faculty Association is working with SAVE to organize faculty and students to go to Sacramento on March 4th. Free transportation has been arranged from the Berkeley campus to the organized rally that will take place in front of the capitol building from 11 am to 1 PM. There will also be a press conference with UC faculty on the capitol steps, where we can speak directly to the press about the value of UC and the perils the university now faces.

We urge BFA members to come to Sacramento on this important day. The simple presence of two hundred (or more!) Berkeley professors at the capitol will be an extremely powerful news story. Students and their families will also be encouraged by this kind of action to lobby their legislators and in other ways work to stop the erosion of our higher education system.

For those who have classes on March 4th, canceling or re-scheduling is not a decision taken lightly. However, given the statewide mobilization of teachers, professors and students, we believe that this one day could make a significant difference in the course of California education politics. For those of us who never miss a day of class, this one feels worth it. And if you can persuade some of your students to come, all the better!

If you would like to participate, please sign up for a free seat on a chartered bus to Sacramento on March 4th at There is full information about the logistics of travel to/from Sacramento and about the rally itself at the website. Signing up takes less than a minute.

Please turn out for our university and for California public education on March 4th!


Wendy Brown and Chris Rosen, Co-Chairs
Richard Walker, Vice Chair
Berkeley Faculty Association

Sunday, February 14, 2010

UCB Academic Senate Update on Budget and Furloughs (2/12/10)

Dear Colleagues:

I write now with some brief bullet-point updates on the Senate's efforts in relation to our difficult financial times.

-- As background, the state continues to anticipate a very large deficit this year. While the Governor's budget did call for restoring approximately $300M in funds cut last year from the UC budget, it would probably not be prudent - in my view - to assume that our budgetary situation for 2010-11 will be better than 2009-10. In addition, the Governor's proposed constitutional amendment, which called for shifting money to higher education by privatizing the state prison system, has attracted no political support (and a great deal of criticism as a policy proposal). While UCOP has been apparently working with to develop alternative constitutional amendments, it would again be imprudent not to expect a silver bullet.

-- The systemwide Senate has been adamant that faculty and staff furloughs must end this summer, to restore confidence in the academic enterprise. We were very pleased, therefore, that President Yudof has gone on record to rule out furloughs for next year, at any campus. Of course, ruling out furloughs will mean that there will be other difficult budget choices to be made next year.

-- The Berkeley Senate's Budget Transparency project took an important step forward last week when we hosted a presentation and discussion by Associate Vice Chancellor Erin Gore about the large-scale financial structure of the campus budget. AVC Gore's Powerpoint slides and an audio recording of the session can be found here:

The presentation represents a very successful collaboration between the campus Budget Office and the Senate's Budget Working Group, to cast light on the astounding complexity of the campus budget. This project, I believe, makes it possible for the faculty as a whole to begin more focused inquiries and discussions about our finances. We plan more public sessions on more detailed topics, including research funding and capital projects, in the coming weeks. I welcome any other suggestions. The Budget Working Group is also working intensively with the senior administration on the budgeting decisions to be made for next year.

-- I have been serving on the Operational Excellence (Bain consulting) Steering committee, along with Senate colleagues Professors Carlos Bustamante (Physics/MCB) and Catherine Wolfram (Business). That project is now four months into the diagnostic phase, and it has already cast a great deal of light on addressable inefficiencies within our campus organization. I am optimistic that the project will repay the investment in Bain's services many times over, as well as resulting in genuine improvements in many of the services we provide. Vice Chancellor Frank Yeary has prepared a YouTube video, accessible at the Operational Excellence webpage,, providing an overview of the project thus far. The Senate will be holding several discussions of Operational Excellence over the next weeks and months.

As always, I welcome any comments or suggestions, at I will write more as news on the budgetary front develops.

Yours in shared governance,

Christopher Kutz
Chair, Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate
Professor of Law, Jurisprudence & Social Policy Program

Saturday, February 13, 2010

EDUCATION IS A PUBLIC GOOD: UCSD Faculty Coaliiton Statement

“Education is a Public Good”
UCSD Faculty Coalition Statement

In California, every student is promised an affordable place at an appropriate institution of higher education: local community colleges open to everyone; state universities providing general education and the skills and languages needed for a high-tech society; and research universities at the forefront of academic knowledge production. The 1960 Master Plan for Higher Education in California created this model for postsecondary education that has become universally admired around the world, and the highest quality public education has fueled California’s prosperity for three generations. The University of California, Cal State campuses, and our community colleges account for 80% of college degrees, and have educated the workers, entrepreneurs, inventors, doctors, lawyers, writers, and artists who have distinguished California's innovative economy and society.

But the future of this robust and reliable system is now in the deepest crisis of its history. Since 2001, state funding of the Cal State system has fallen 21%, while state support for the University of California has plummeted 30%. California was once one of the leading states in per student expenditure, but it is now 24th in the nation; in the last 8 years, state aid per UC student has dropped 50%. This year’s drastic cuts to the UCs, the CSUs, and the community colleges endanger the very livelihood of our state. The entire California public suffers and pays more when fewer high school seniors go to college, degrees take longer and cost more to earn, and universities can no longer attract the brightest graduate students, researchers, and teachers.

The UC Committee on the Future, tasked with recommending changes to the university system, employs the traditional economic concept of “competing goods” as it deliberates over how to deliver access, affordability, and quality. The value of each is assessed in terms of its price tag and then weighed against the other “goods.” Asking how to balance these “competing goods” is tantamount to inquiring whether we prefer to educate fewer and wealthier students, and to collect higher educational fees, or whether we will permit our students’ educational experience to be inferior, their preparation more mediocre, and their degrees less competitive. Under none of these outcomes, will UC remain a true “public” university.

There is a more fundamental contradiction between a perspective that understands higher education as a market-based industry – i.e., a business that offers a private asset that can be priced, bought, and sold – and one that upholds the value of higher education as a shared public good, not merely individually possessed or privately profitable, but a good that contributes in myriad ways to the betterment of the larger society. The Master Plan epitomizes this latter view. To employ the notion of “competing goods,” uses the market metaphor of private goods and eclipses the understanding of education as a public good. Indeed, to speak of “competing goods” in relation to higher education indicates that the contradiction between the market and the public good perspectives may be the central conflict of our times – not only at the heart of the current predicament of higher education, but also of our current national debates about the right to health care, sustainable environment, infrastructure, access to honorable work – in short, the nature of the social contract within democratic society itself.

In the University of California, this year’s budget cuts already led the Regents to raise student fees 32%, which has resulted in reductions of students admitted to the UC and the number of classes offered. Hiring is frozen, faculty and staff have been required to take furloughs, and many staff positions have been consolidated or eliminated. Next year’s planned cuts, projected to be between 10-20%, will only deepen these downward trends. These severe measures threaten the core mission of the university: to be the main provider of undergraduate education to the state’s best high school graduates, to educate graduate students, as well as to maintain its ability to attract and keep a first rate faculty and continue being a world-class research center.

The UC contributes to California’s economy and society in manifold ways, not only through the education of its students but also by developing new industries that create jobs, distributing technological innovation, providing health care through its hospitals, producing critical knowledge and analysis of local, national, and global trends. The UC campuses have collectively produced more Nobel laureates than any other university in the country. There are approximately 1.5 million UC alumni, with 75% of them living and working in California, contributing to the state’s vitality.

The recognition of the public benefits of higher education has a long history, since public universities contribute resources to society as well as to individuals: from the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Acts of 1862 and 1890 that led to the creation of over 70 public universities including the UC to the GI Bill after the Second World War and its extension through the Higher Education Act of 1972, and the later Pell Grants system, which extended access to and affordability of higher education. Indeed, the California Constitution chartered the UC as a “public trust.”

This long history of public support for education demonstrates a widespread understanding that higher education provides rich benefits to society beyond the narrower benefits to the individual student. People with higher education enjoy higher salaries and benefits, better and more consistent rates of employment, savings, status, and social mobility, as well as improved working conditions, health and longer life expectancy, and better quality of life for their children. In addition, higher education affords the society and economy increased tax revenues, workforce flexibility, productivity, lesser crime rates and reduced reliance on welfare. Education supports full citizenship in all its dimensions: more involvement in community service and charitable giving, richer and more inclusive civic life, greater appreciation of diversity, and heightened social cohesion. These private and public benefits co-exist happily. This is what the public good is all about.

Democracy gap: The abandonment of affordable public education for all qualified students threatens to undermine democracy itself. Public access to education is necessary to the formation of an empowered citizenry who can exercise judgment and participate in public decisions, not only decisions choosing what is good for individuals, but what is good for the society as a whole. The withdrawal of state responsibility for public education, and other social services that contribute to the public good, makes engaged, collective self-government by the people less and less possible.

Social diversity gap: Public access to education means offering to all qualified students the opportunity to learn, but the current proposals to raise student fees, increase non-resident enrollment to generate revenue, restructure course offerings, and reduce admissions will make higher education much more exclusive and far less egalitarian. Shifting the costs of education onto students and their families effectively exclude, by pricing out, many poor and historically underrepresented minority students, as well as the middle class itself. Even in the best of times, few middle class California families can easily afford the planned 44% increase in college fees in two years. Though the Blue and Gold augmented financial aid will become available to families earning less than $70K a year, the plan’s reach remains limited and continues to leave large numbers of students vulnerable in these tough times. There will be disastrously widened social opportunity gaps, between the educated and the undereducated, if broad public access is not maintained. Supporting education by cutting state budget funds for prisons may in itself contribute to deeper social divides, if prisons no longer have state or public oversight, but are privatized as businesses for whom profits rise with greater incarcerated populations.

Skills gap: California depends upon a college-educated workforce, and with the retirement of the baby boomers, the state will be in dire straits. A June 2009 Public Policy Institute of California study found that by 2025, California will face a shortage of almost one million college-educated workers. While 41% of California jobs will require a bachelor’s degree, only 35% of adults will have one. But instead of growing, the institutions of higher education are now slated to cut enrollment. This “skills gap” threatens the very future of the state.

Knowledge gap: Research in natural, physical, and health sciences, the arts and humanities, and the social sciences directly fill the knowledge needs and advanced degree training needs of California communities, industry, and local governments. Tampering with this precious resource – whether reducing faculty, libraries, and laboratories, or through subsequent “brain drain” – puts everyone in peril. The university is far more than a business that produces an object or a utility that can be patented and sold, it is a institution of intellectual exchange, innovation, and interpretation that gives rise to knowledge and creativity that provides for the future. UC researchers study the oceans, earth, and stars; evaluate and solve social, cultural, political and economic problems; explain life systems and explore the frontier of the brain; and analyze the logic, meaning, form, and communication of ideas. Discovering and interpreting data, evidence, texts, and traditions, academic knowledge sustains and advances our capacities as a culture, society, and species. We need the intellectual projects that only the research university can sustain if we are to address the new questions of medical ethics, human rights, and the politics of food, water, and environment.

Global gap: Diversity and a culture of inclusion are as crucial to education as they are to democratic society: learning with and from students in a racially, economically, and culturally mixed classroom prepares students to enter not only California’s multicultural society, but the increasingly global society. In order for young Californians to excel as global citizens, they must learn the languages, cultures, and traditions of the world; an undergraduate education includes learning something of the societies in China, India, Mexico, Egypt, Italy and elsewhere – all modern nations with ancient histories – if these places are to be understood as partners, not only in trade, but in creating a sustainable world. Indeed, currents threats to California occur just at the moment that many universities around the world want to emulate California’s system. While California discusses a 3-year bachelor’s degree, Hong Kong is expanding its university programs from 3 to 4 years to provide for a more extensive of humanities curriculum. Western Europe is considering open-access college programs, and China is planning to inaugurate several UC-type systems. Let us understand what societies around the world recognize, i.e., that affordable, excellent college education is necessary to maintain a stable, productive, healthy society.

The crisis of our historical moment is not merely a financial one, but is a crisis in public culture, a crisis of public priorities and decision-making. That is, the conflicts between whether education is a right or a privilege, whether the university is an industry or an institution of learning, and whether we are committed to the market or to collective human survival – these signal that we are in the midst of a crisis in culture, that we have ignored so long our obligation to sustain a common public that we misrecognize ourselves, and blame our ailments on others, rather than attending to and building the public capacity for renewal.

A sparsely educated public cannot sustain true economic, social, or cultural prosperity. The prosperity of California depends upon inclusive education of its population – in primary and secondary schools, and in higher education. It is shortsighted at best, catastrophic at worst, to approach education through the straightjacket of “competing goods.” Higher education differs from the kind of conventional good, or commodity, that economists customarily recognize. The production of economic goods provides private benefits; once consumed these are gone. In contrast, all education, including higher education, is a foundational good: it is the foundation of growth, and when combined with other goods, it complements them and ensures their greater productivity; even when “consumed” for private benefit, it provides public benefits. In short, education is a gift that keeps giving.

For these reasons, we call for the restoration of the 1960 Master Plan’s vision for higher education, with core funding to support California’s commitments to high quality, affordable, and accessible higher education for all qualified students at an appropriate level of institution.

Our higher-education friendly approach can include the following:

1. The UC educates, employs, and touches the lives of hundreds of thousands of Californians. We propose to reach out to them by crafting an alliance with other citizen movements, civic organizations, public interest groups, labor unions, and other institutions of higher learning. Among these are parents working through PTAs who are anxious to ensure continued affordable access to their children when they graduate from high school, business groups seeking to ensure a steady supply of skilled employees, and labor unions representing workers affected by university consolidations. We must develop continued cooperation between the University of California (UC), the California State University (CSU), and the California Community Colleges system (CCC), all of which are part of the Master Plan for higher education and stand to lose from its abandonment in favor of a competing good approach.

2. We propose reaching out before the November 2010 elections to State Assembly, Senate and Gubernatorial candidates and asking them to pledge their support for the continued use of the Master Plan.

3. We support UC’s request to the State Assembly to restore $900 million in cuts and mobilize the public to advocate on behalf of UC.

4. We appreciate the importance of seeking a constitutional guarantee to fund public higher education at a minimum of 10 percent of the state's General Fund budget, yet we do not approve of arbitrarily linking the funding of higher education with the privatization of the prison system. The future of California’s prisons deserves its own debate.

5. Currently, California is the only state in which a two-thirds requirement allows a small minority of 34% of the voters or legislature to block budgetary decisions. We will support for the proposed 14-word California Democracy Act constitutional amendment, which proposes “all legislative actions on revenue and budget must be determined by a majority vote.” This will restore a basic tenet of democracy, namely that the majority shall rule on matters of public good.

6. California is also the only one of the 22 major oil producing states that does not impose a severance tax on oil companies to be used for public projects, such as higher education. We support efforts to raise new revenue for the state’s universities and colleges by imposing an oil severance tax on oil companies for every barrel they produce in California.

There is no “good” more significant than the public good.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Berkeley Seminar on UC Finances

Announcing a Faculty Seminar on UC’s Financial Future

on the Berkeley Campus, Spring 2010

Initial organizing by Professors Stanley Klein (Optometry), Alan Schoenfeld (Education), Charles Schwartz (Physics)

You are invited to attend this open seminar and to participate in shaping its agenda. A first announcement was made at the Academic Senate’s February 2 meeting - on the topic of the campus budget - and it received encouraging responses.

→ First meeting: Tuesday, February 16, 5-7 pm ←
Minor Hall room 489 (just West of Haas School of Business)

- - - - -
There are a host of issues that are receiving faculty scrutiny as never before (e.g. the finances of the football stadium, and the University's system for keeping tack of its debts), and also many issues that could help make the case for UCB as a public University (e.g., quantifying the economic contributions made by faculty and alumni and otherwise demonstrating our contributions to the state, and pursuing alternatives to massive tuition hikes). We propose a faculty seminar that would tie into and expand on some of the current efforts. The specific agenda for the seminar would be developed by those who participate, but the basic questions would center around understanding and gathering information about issues critical to the survival of UC, and Berkeley in particular, as the world's greatest public university. We're inviting you to join us.
- - - - -

If you are interested in pursuing these issues, please send an email to: - Subject: Faculty Seminar

and include any suggestions you have for particular topics.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Yale President Announces Plans to Respond to Endowment Problems

February 3, 2010
To: The Faculty and Staff of Yale University
From: Richard Levin and Peter Salovey

It has now been 16 months since the onset of the global financial crisis that caused a deep decline in the value of Yale’s endowment and compromised the University’s ability to sustain the level of expenditure that had been planned for the 2008-09 academic year and beyond. As a community we have managed the challenge admirably, but we have more to do to bridge the current budget gap and achieve our long-term institutional goals.

It is important to keep in mind that the reduction in the value of our endowment follows a period of unprecedented prosperity. Over the past decade, the University invested over $3 billion in the improvement of its physical plant and increased the size of its faculty by 29% and staff by 28%. More than 100 new ladder faculty members were added to departments and programs in the Arts and Sciences. Every school has flourished during this period; financial aid has been dramatically enhanced, and thousands of students have benefitted from Yale support in pursuing research, study, and internship opportunities overseas. Yale’s academic programs command the highest respect from our peers and the general public. It is against this backdrop of remarkable achievement that we must now slow, but not stop, our forward momentum as we balance expenditures against reductions in endowment-generated income.

As we reported in September, the decline of our endowment from $22.9 billion in June 2008 to $16.3 billion in June 2009 requires us to reduce our overall expense base by $350 million per year in the years ahead to achieve a balanced budget. Collateral effects of the recession, such as decreased interest income on our cash balances, widened the deficit even further. Actions taken last year eliminated more than half of the total deficit, but, as we communicated in the fall, a substantial gap of nearly $150 million remained as of last September; this gap needs to be closed for the next and subsequent years.

Despite the recent partial recovery of public stock markets, the value of the endowment remains below $17 billion, after accounting for the University’s budgeted spending during the current fiscal year. Consequently, as we anticipated last February and reiterated in our September communication, we need to undertake another round of substantial budgetary actions to achieve balance for the 2010-11 fiscal year and beyond.

You will recall that last year we postponed over $2 billion in scheduled construction projects, proceeding only with the completion of the renovation of Morse and Ezra Stiles Colleges, fully gift-funded projects such as the Art Gallery renovation, urgently needed maintenance projects, and essential cost-saving utilities upgrades. We also froze faculty and M&P salaries above $75,000 and reduced budgets for non-faculty staff and non-salary expenditures by 7.5%. In September we announced substantial reductions in the previously planned rates of investment in developing the West Campus and in introducing new administrative systems through the YaleNext project. We also slowed the pace of faculty recruitment in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and accelerated a second round of reductions (5%) in non-salary expenditures to the current fiscal year.

Before asking the numerous decentralized units of the University to undertake further reductions in their own budgets to close the remaining gap, we have worked with many groups of faculty and staff to identify a number of targeted actions that would reduce the burden of adjustment on schools and departments. In addition to looking for new revenue sources, the actions we are taking include:

* The salaries of officers, deans, and highly compensated direct reports to the officers will be frozen. The pool available for salary increases of faculty, as well as managerial and professional staff, will be 2%. The amount of this increase compares favorably to the increases for 2010-11 in the recently renegotiated union contracts, as well as early reports of the merit increases being granted by other major employers.
* Managerial and professional staff will receive their annual salary increases effective September 1, rather than July 1. This deferral produces a one-time cost saving, but it also will allow for more effective reviews of annual performance, which can now be conducted over the summer, rather than squeezed into May and early June.
* Stipend support in the Graduate School will be increased by 2%, but the number of new students admitted will be reduced by 10 to 15%. Nonetheless, the size of the Graduate School will remain larger than it was a decade ago.
* Support provided by the Provost for a number of ongoing research and outreach programs will be reduced but not eliminated.
* Adjustments have been made to the international summer award program for Yale College students. Support levels remain adequate to make overseas study or internships affordable for those students on financial aid.
* The scholarship benefit for children of faculty and staff members will be held at its current maximum of $15,200 per child per year.
* We are reconfiguring paid time off for managerial and professional staff employees effective July 1. We will combine vacation and personal days into a single benefit of 24 days, change sick pay to 6 days per year, and add a Short Term Disability Plan. The new Short Term Disability Plan will provide income protection for up to 26 weeks for staff members who experience an injury or illness. This is a long needed and well deserved change. Future vacation time carryover will be reduced, and we will begin a gradual phasing out of the bonus vacation program. The revised paid time off program, coupled with the new Short Term Disability Plan, will save money and increase income security for staff members while continuing to ensure that our paid time off benefits remain superior to our peer universities and the local market.
* We are introducing a payroll contribution for individual coverage with the Yale Health Plan for those earning over $83,000.
* We will also achieve savings by sharing and consolidating the business, human resources, and information technology services within the units directly supervised by the University officers. Once we are confident that consolidated services can be satisfactorily delivered while generating cost savings, we will expand the use of shared services throughout the University, most likely beginning in 2011-12. In the meantime, local consolidation efforts already being planned in schools and departments will continue.
* We have changed the set-point on thermostats in all University buildings to 68 degrees in winter and 75 degrees in summer, and we continue to look for ways to achieve more savings in our facilities costs.

Each one of these actions is significant, but, together with the previously announced slowdown in West Campus and administrative systems investment, these actions produce only a little more than $50 million in budget savings. Beyond this, we still must find approximately $100 million of savings in the general appropriations of unrestricted University funds by June 30 for the 2010-11 budget.

The self-supporting professional schools (Medicine, Nursing, Law, Management, Divinity, and Forestry & Environmental Studies), along with completely endowed programs (such as the Yale Center for British Art, Beinecke Library, and Institute for Sacred Music), will need to adjust their expenditures to reflect a 13.4% reduction in the endowment payout. We have briefed the deans and directors of these units, and they will be responsible for these decisions, subject to review by the Provost.

For units of the University, both academic and administrative, that receive general appropriations of central University funds, we will take a somewhat different approach than last year. Each budgetary unit will be given a proposed reduction in general appropriations funding, calculated as 7.5% of this year’s expenditures on non-faculty staff and non-salary expenditures plus an additional amount proportional to the endowment fund income and unexpended fund balances available to each unit after accounting for the reduction in endowment payout. Departments will then be asked to propose budgets that meet these targets. We are, of course, hoping to keep staff reductions as low as possible, but some will be necessary as we will not be able to close the gap only with non-salary expense reductions and the substitution of endowment income and unspent fund balances for general appropriations. Clearly, endowed funds and gift balances can only be spent on activities permitted by the terms of the donors who established them. We will do our best to work with each unit to find ways to use endowment income and unspent balances in a manner consistent with donor restrictions, as the use of these funds can minimize required reductions in staff and non-salary expenditures.

Every effort will be made to reduce staff through normal turnover (retirements and departures), and we will continue to assist those managerial and professional employees who are laid off by providing enhanced severance pay and extensive transition support. Members of Local 34 who are laid off may participate in the Interim Employment Pool or take severance pay.

In the next week, the Budget and Planning Office will provide information to Deans, Directors, Department Chairs, and Business Managers on the process and schedule for preparing a 2010-11 budget. The deputy provosts and members of the Business Operations Leadership Team will provide additional support and assistance. Information relevant to budget planning will be posted at

We continue to be inspired by the cooperative spirit in which our community is working together to address these financial constraints, and we are truly grateful for your efforts. We know we are asking you to make difficult choices and decisions, but we are optimistic that if we can achieve the reductions outlined here, we will have created a stable and sustainable budget for the University. With your help, Yale will remain a leader nationally and internationally, and we will continue to take pride in our service to our students and the wider world.