Davis Faculty Association

Response to Sacramento Bee article

On Saturday, 17 April, the Sacramento Bee published an Op Ed piece by a UC Santa Barbara freshman who essentially accused UC faculty of being greedy hypocrites. http://www.sacbee.com/2010/04/17/2685113/uc-faculty-could-find-a-lesson.html Among other things, Mr. Schneider wrote that:

“Though the path to full professorship requires perseverance, institutional savvy and a workaholic nature, what the survivors of this arduous journey most eagerly pursue is the guaranteed six-figure income at the end of it.”

“The relative wealth and security of academics make them bad rebels. Amid a statewide deficit of nearly $40 billion, an unemployment rate of 12.6 percent and unprecedented cuts to social services, the angry opposition by the UC faculty to a 9 percent pay cut is uninspiring. In particular, the call for solidarity with students and low-wage workers by these same professors is self-indulgent at best, and insulting at worst.”

“The faculty workers could make their opposition to the budget cuts clear, while showing willingness to bear their brunt. A tenured professor making $150,000 a year could preserve the salaries of 10 janitors making $30,000 per year, or save four students from skyrocketing fees by accepting a modest pay cut. The latter have mortgaged their future to student loans; the former, by some calculations, don’t even bring in a living wage.”

The following response was sent to the Bee – so far without any indication of publication:

Nathanael Schneider (Op Ed 4/18/10) evinces sympathy for the plight of the most lowly paid staff at the University of California. The faculty of the University share his concern for the well-being of the staff during this budget crisis. It is very disturbing to witness the impact of the budget cuts on the staff. He suggests that “stratospheric” faculty salaries might be re-directed toward supporting our staff colleagues. He is probably not aware that the current furlough scheme at UC, which in practice is simply a salary reduction for the same work load, was graduated so as to affect the highest salary bands significantly more than the lowest paid employees.  The faculty supported this graduated furlough to protect our lower paid colleagues. Mr. Schneider quotes a salary of $150,000 per year. The facts indicate typical salaries at UC are much less. After a Bachelors degree, followed by 4 to 5 years of PhD study and research, followed in many cases by another 2 to 5 years of post-doctoral apprenticeship (earning currently about $40,000 per year), a new Assistant Professor can start their career at about $56,000 per year with a total of 10 to 15 years of training. After approximately 12 years of normal progress to a Full Professor, they reach about $78,000 per year and finally the quoted $150,000 after another 27 years of normal progress. The faculty of the University did not enter their profession for the remuneration – they became professors because of their love of learning. The Bee should attempt to publish better informed and less misleading discussions of the parlous state of UC.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 28th, 2010 at 6:57 pm and is filed under Calls to Action, Student Issues. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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