Monday, November 30, 2009

Open letter from the Academic Council to the UC (U. California) community

Just got this in my email with a comment to feel free to disseminate it widely.  So here goes:

Open letter from the Academic Council to the University of California community
We are the Academic Council of the University: we are the chairs of the ten campus divisions, as well as the chairs of the systemwide committees. We write to address the protests on many of UC campuses over the Regents’ decision to increase student fees by $2,500 per year. This decision followed budget shortfalls that have entailed significant staff layoffs and cuts to a range of student services. Faculty and staff also are suffering from significant reductions in compensation due to the current year’s salary reductions and furloughs.
We share the anguish over the policies adopted in the face of the state’s abrupt 20% disinvestment in higher education. The budget shortfall wounds the institution and community we cherish. We believe these policies are a regrettable but necessary response to the state’s actions. While we are committed to doing everything we can to mitigate their effects on the most vulnerable populations of our students and staff, we recognize that many disagree deeply, and that vigorous and vocal protest is an understandable response. The passionate advocacy of students, staff, and faculty for the University and its public mission has been remarkable.
Many of the protest activities were appropriate forms of peaceful advocacy. We are concerned, however, about activities at several campuses that disrupted our educational mission and interfered with the freedom of fellow students, faculty, and staff, to teach, learn, research, and work. We are especially concerned about group protests in which a number of individuals attempted to move past police barricades, physically threaten and throw objects at police, and surround vehicles to trap those within. These activities are unlawful and disrespectful of the rights of others, and they create a serious risk of violence for everyone in the area: police, protestors, and bystanders. A number of injuries, some serious, were sustained last week by both protestors and police officers.
We will insist, through all avenues open to us, that uses of force by police will be subject to inquiry and review, as well as the policies that govern crowd control. While we expect campus police professionals to be committed to accommodating peaceful protest, we realize that there may be failures of policy or individual action. We are committed to ensuring that the University remains a place where it is safe to teach and learn – and engage in peaceful protest.
At the same time, we wish to remind everyone of the limits of protest, and of our obligation to be civil, to show respect for different points of view, and to take personal responsibility for our own and each other’s safety. Occupation of university buildings, for example, directly interferes with the rights of other members of the community.
The problems that confront our University are daunting, and finding solutions to them will require the collective best efforts of our students, faculty, staff, and members of the community. Tempers will worsen and patience will shorten as these policies take hold, but we must channel our energies outwards, towards advocating for restoring funding to the University of California so that it can fulfill its mission of providing democratic access to the great research universities of our state.
Henry C. Powell, Chair
Academic Senate
Daniel L. Simmons, Vice Chair
Academic Senate
Christopher Kutz, Chair
UC Berkeley Divisional Senate
Robert Powell, Chair
UC Davis Divisional Senate
Judith Stepan-Norris, Chair
UC Irvine Divisional Senate
Robin L. Garrell, Chair
UCLA Divisional Senate
Martha Conklin, Chair
UC Merced Divisional Senate
Anthony W. Norman, Chair
UC Riverside Divisional Senate
William Hodgkiss, Chair
UC San Diego Divisional Senate
Elena Fuentes-Afflick, Chair
UC San Francisco Divisional Senate
Joel Michaelsen, Chair
UC Santa Barbara Divisional Senate
Lori Kletzer, Chair
UC Santa Cruz Divisional Senate
Sylvia Hurtado, Chair
Board of Admissions and Relations with Schools
Farid Chehab, Chair
Coordinating Committee on Graduate Affairs
M. Ines Boechat, Chair
University Committee on Affirmative Action and Diversity
Alison Butler, Chair
University Committee on Academic Personnel
Keith R. Williams, Chair
University Committee on Educational Policy
Shane White, Chair
University Committee on Faculty Welfare
Gregory Miller, Chair
University Committee on Research Policy
Peter Krapp, Chair
University Committee on Planning and Budget

1 comment:

  1. Open letter from the public on $3,000,000 consultants hired by UCB Chancellor Birgeneau to do the work of his job.$3 Million Extravagant, Arrogant Spending by UC President Yudof for UC Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau to Hire Consultants - When Work Can Be Done Internally & Impartially

    These days, every dollar in higher education counts. Contact Chairwoman Budget Sub-committee on Education Finance Assemblywoman Carter 916.319.2062 and tell her to stop the $3,000,000 spending by Chancellor Birgeneau for consultants.

    Do the work internally at no additional costs with UCB Academic Senate Leadership (C. Kutz/F. Doyle), the world – class professional UCB faculty/ staff, & the UCB Chancellor’s bloated staff (G. Breslauer, N. Brostrom, F. Yeary, P. Hoffman, C. Holmes etc) & President Yudof.

    President Yudof’s UCB Chancellor should do the high paid work he is paid for instead of hiring expensive East Coast consults to do the work of his job. ‘World class’ smart executives like Chancellor Birgeneau need to do the hard work analysis, and make the tough-minded difficult, decisions to identify inefficiencies.

    Where do the $3,000,000 consultants get their recommendations?
    From interviewing the UCB senior management that hired them and approves their monthly consultant fees and expense reports. Remember the nationally known auditing firm who said the right things and submitted recommendations that senior management wanted to hear and fooled the public, state, federal agencies?

    $3 million impartial consultants never bite the hands (Chancellor Birgeneau/ Chancellor Yeary) that feed them!

    Mr. Birgeneau's accountabilities include "inspiring innovation, leading change." This involves "defining outcomes, energizing others at all levels and ensuring continuing commitment." Instead of deploying his leadership and setting a good example by doing the work of his Chancellor’s job, Mr. Birgeneau outsourced his work to the $3,000,000 consultants. Doesn't he engage UC and UC Berkeley people at all levels to examine inefficiencies and recommend $150 million of trims? Hasn't he talked to Cornell and the University of North Carolina - which also hired the consultants -- about best practices and recommendations that will eliminate inefficiencies?
    No wonder the faculty, staff, students, Senate & Assembly are angry and suspicious.

    In today’s recession economy three million dollars is a irresponsible price to pay when a knowledgeable ‘world-class’ UCB Chancellor and his bloated staff do not do the work of their jobs.

    Take action: use the phone. Together, we will make a difference: save $3 million for students!