Archive for March, 2008
by Ian Kennedy
The following article appeared in Inside Higher Ed:
It reports the imminent appointment of Yudof as President of the University of California. It is worth noting in the article that there is an unattributed, possibly apocryphal, comment regarding the process that was used to arrive at this choice for our new president. There
appears to be, on the face of it at least, a passing similarity to the process that we have seen on our own campus.
The Davis Faculty Association is a member of the Council of UC Faculty Associations (CUCFA). The following message comes from Bob Meister, President of CUCFA, and concerns the impact of budget cuts on the quality of a UC education. Please read and send any examples that you
have to Eric Hays at firstname.lastname@example.org and cc me at email@example.com.
It behooves us to make a serious effort at representing our situation with examples to our representatives.
From Bob Meister, President of CUCFA
Can you ask your FA Boards (and members) for examples of a UC education being “hollowed out” as a result of the decline in per student funding since 2000? (E.g., reduced course requirements, elimination of discussion sections, unevaluated papers, exams, homework, etc.)
Why am I asking for this? UCPB prepared a response to the Schwarzenegger budget containing several such anecdotes, but that document may not get through the Academic Council until it is too late. Unlike UCPB, CUCFA can speak directly to government officials. Their financial analysis can be reproduced (and extended) based on publicly available data, but ,without being able to quote their document, WE NEED ANECDOTES OF OUR OWN. We also need the names of UC FACULTY WHO COULD TELL THEIR STORIES IN SACRAMENTO if legislativehearings go forward.
Here’s my view of what’s happening, based on the UCPB analysis:
1) UC sees the budget crisis as an opportunity to accelerate privatization – i.e. reduce reliance on taxpayer funding and increase reliance on tuition (and, ultimately, student debt).
2) CSU sees UC’s eagerness to cut loose from state funding as an opportunity to get a larger share of what’s left. It says that there is no feasible way for it to replace state funds with private funds.
3) But in this sense UC, likewise, has no feasible plan to privatize. To offset the LAST budget cuts (Schwarzenegger’s Compact) UC would have required:
a. Tuition of $18K/yr OR
b. $25B in new, unrestricted endowment. (The current endowment is $7B)
UC never expected to reach either of these targets.
4) UC knows that a change in funding model means a change in mission. Accepting the NEXT budget cuts (proposed by Schwarzenegger)would put UC irreversibly on the path of “public private partnership” exemplified by UMich and UVa. The result would be
a. Greater stratification between (and within) campuses;
b. Further erosion of academic quality in core programs on many campuses;
c. Detachment of UC’s mission from the promise of the California Master Plan.
In sum, UC privatization WON’T WORK as a plan to fund the system we now have. But UCOP has chosen not to present returning the Master Plan as an option for the Governor and Legislature. UCPB has shown what it would cost to do so and where our present path leads.
CUCFA is conversant with UCPB’s arguments and data, and we may be the only group capable of introducing this perspective into the current budget debate.