Posted by rflacks on:
UC faculty are buzzing about an interview Pres. Mark Yudof gave to Deborah Solomon of the NY Times Magazine yesterday. Ms Solomon is skilled at giving celebrity interviewees the chance to make pungent comments that are sometimes insightful, and sometimes embarrassing. Pres. Yudof chose the latter approach. After claiming that the fiscal crisis of the university is because 'the shine is off education', there was the following exchange:
Already professors on all 10 U.C. campuses are taking required "furloughs," to use a buzzword.
Let me tell you why we used it. The faculty said "furlough" sounds more temporary than "salary cut," and being president of the University of California is like being manager of a cemetery: there are many people under you, but no one is listening. I listen to them. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/27/magazine/27fob-q4-t.html?_r=2
The 'cemetery' analogy is, shall we say, inept (but scholars have quickly found via Google that Yudof loves to use this when talking about being a university administrator). But faculty are reading his remarks about the furloughs as a strong indication that he expects the salary cuts to be permanent.
Pres. Yudof was the preferred candidate, one surmises, of several very powerful and headstrong corporate Regents, including billionaire Richard Blum (spouse of Sen. Feinstein) and Gerald Parsky (who as we've noted here favors a flat income tax and other ways for the rich to exempt themselves from taxation.) Both of these guys were former chairs of the Regents. So it may well be that Pres. Yudof thinks his job description involves the further privatization and downsizing of the once great University.
Last Thursday thousands of faculty, staff and students throughout the state inaugurated what might well turn out to be a full scale movement to challenge that agenda. Yudof's interview was well-timed to increase that mobilization. But as I said in a previous post, such a movement needs to reach out beyond the university to all those affected by the state fiscal crisis.
On October 14, there will be a teach in at UCSB, organized by a group of staff, faculty and students. Speakers will include Prof. George L akoff, the Berkeley linguistics prof who has been a leader in the emerging movement, Stan Glantz, another system-wide faculty leader , Lonnie Hancock, legislative leader in favor of major political reform, Lennie Goldberg, the leading state expert on progressive tax alternatives, and Ruth Gilmore, who will trace the way the prison system now serves as a major obstacle to progressive policy. They'll be joined by staff union and student leaders. There will be major panels in Campbell Hall, and ample room for smaller group discussion.
For more information on the emerging movement in general and the teach in per se:
And for a comprehensive overview of all that has happening, and what the UC reformers are thinking, this is excellent: http://utotherescue.blogspot.com/