Category Archives: Article

FOG presents Ten-Point Plan

The Faculty Organizing Group at UC Santa Cruz is committed to the defense of the public character of the University of California. We advocate a strengthened version of the 1960 Master Plan, founded on the idea of the Californian people’s free access to education at a high-quality research university. We believe a university of this kind will continue to produce new and important knowledge and will lead to the betterment of life for the people of our state

The full document is available here.

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“The Budget Cuts”

by Gazuedro, September 2009

UCSC Disorientation Guide 2009-10 –- DisorientationGuide.wordpress.com

The University of California system, as a whole, is facing a budget shortfall upwards of $1.15 billion over two years. The state of California itself is suffering from an approximate $41 billion budget deficit. The message that the UC office of the president (UCOP) is relaying to the rest of the university system is to realize our unified interest to survive these budget cuts. UC President Mark Yudof says that what he needs “is [our] strong support and a sense that we’re all hanging in together in this.” (UCOP) But who is really hanging in this together? Who takes the bulk of cuts in this crisis? As the crunch gets more severe, it becomes more apparent that the UC’s approach is antithetical to the success of its educational mission. The UC’s rhetoric about the budget crisis is riddled with hypocrisy, veiled messaging, and most prominently, a lack of depth & insight in scrutinizing the scope, distribution and consequences of the budget reductions.

Some Numbers

In the past few years, UC student fee increases exploded. The 2007-2008 academic year saw a 8% fee increase, the next year an additional 7.4% fee increase and this coming year (2009-10) we will suffer the staggering effects of a 9.3% fee increase (UCOP). Between 1990 and 1995 the student fees increased 115%*, followed by a lull and a 13.0%* fee reduction. Between 2002 and 2006 the student fee skyrocketed with a 59.8%* increase. Adjusting for inflation, student fees have increased 249.1%*, while California minimum wage has dropped 14.5%* since 1970. If this is the beginning of your first year at the UC, you should be aware that your tuition will almost certainly increase each consecutive year as the economy worsens and the residual effects of such an economic collapse continues to devastate California’s educational system. (*values calculated based on US Department of Labor “buying power” inflation rates. It should be noted that the UC has no formal tuition, but the student fees are, for practical purposes, the same thing. The fees are divided into Registration and Educational fees. Ironically, the 1960 UC Master Plan laid out the intent to eliminate formal tuition. Also note that these values correspond to in-state undergraduate students, although similar trends can be found for other students.)

The actual history of budget cuts at the UC extend beyond recent tuition increases. Much of the tuition increases over the past few decades may be a result of the success of a 1978 California ballot proposition (13), which reduced state funding for education due to changes in property tax law. However, this reasoning is speculative and thus less helpful as an analysis of the current budget situation than as an excuse to exercise cuts. Still, the continual decrease in permanent state funding is cause for concern, especially as UC turns to private funding to offset state funding shortfalls. Particularly unnerving, the increase in private funding to replace state funding means a dramatic increase of university corporatization on a whole. Thus we see both the literal increase in direct corruptive corporate funding through research grants and the resultant capitulation of any mild semblance of free academia to an abrasive corporate influence. To further exacerbate the damage, such research grants often frame undergraduate education as a secondary objective and thus further deteriorate it despite a total funding increase. The resulting change in research incentive and overall focus may have disastrous and unforeseen impacts.

Santa Cruz et al.

The past 8 months have exposed the onset of dramatic cuts on campus. Announcements of these cuts appear to be unending. Several vulnerable communities on campus felt significantly perturbing and fatal cuts, including: graduate students, those in family student housing, students of color, lecturers, staff and workers. Although almost every person on campus feels the stinging effects of recent budget cuts, it is these communities, struggling against budget encroachment for decades, that are particularly unable to withstand this new assault without massive consequences.

Graduate Students and Family Student Housing

The UC increased student fees for Graduate students by 9.3% as well. Graduate student fees now total $8,736 each year. Graduate students will feel the impact of this $750 fee increase on top of increases in graduate student health insurance (GSHIP) expenses and a significant decrease in job opportunities as teaching assistants (TAs)—again, lost to this round of budget cuts. The UCSC Social Sciences Division, for instance, has cut what their division sees as almost every possible non-necessary expense as a result of recent budget reductions. However, in light of massive new budget reductions, the Social Sciences Division fears it may have to cut almost half of all the TAships. Family Student Housing (FSH), chiefly composed of graduate students, received a 7.5% rent increase (with more to come). Despite relatively lower costs at FSH compared to local housing costs, the enclosing circle of imposing budget reductions and cost increases, along with inflation, provide a vicious formula for one of the most vulnerable communities at UCSC. As Tim Muldoon points out in the April 2009 issue of The Project, in 1974 FSH was considerably cheaper while salaries from TAships were at approximately the same levels as they are today (adjusted for inflation). FSH residents made more money and paid less tuition and rent. Indeed, the pervasive perversity of this rent hike deepens: Although UCSC advertises FSH as affordable, it is neither designated as low-income housing (with such rights withheld) nor are the rent hikes a direct result of budget reductions. Rather, UC chose these economically trying times to impose extra payments on behalf of future FSH residencies, all whilst current buildings continue to deteriorate.


“With the annually imposed 7.5 % increase in rent at FSH, the recently announced downsizing in half of the campus daycare and the elimination of valuable summer care, and the constant threat against hard-earned gains in wages and health care, the feasibility of being a parent and graduate student simultaneously is becoming less realistic. As a member of family student housing, I have watched my rent go up two hundred dollars in the past two years and have no reason to believe they won’t go up another two hundred in the immediate future. Many of my children’s daycare providers will no longer be caring for my children who have taken many months to love and trust their teachers and will now have to readjust as half of their class will be gone on account of the elimination of daycare provided to the children of faculty and staff. The university has demonstrated a strong disregard for students and employees with families and students of colors in the wake of recent budget cuts. My ability to continue my education as a PhD Literature student and to seek a teaching position in under-represented communities has been severely threatened.” -Martin Garcia

Scorching Santa Cruz Summer

The damage wrought by budget reductions continued over this past summer with the elimination of director positions (ie. layoffs) of the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), the ARCcenter, and Student Media –all carried out without meaningful student input. When students requested transparency and budget information regarding the loss of the Director of Student Media, the Student Affairs office responded by supplying students with a massive binder with hundreds of pages of complicated accounting information. What they failed to provide was coherent reasoning for the merging of Student Media with SOAR or for the firing of crucial staff while Student Media continues to create income independently. In August, the office of Student Affairs reduced funding to the Early Education Services program, reducing childcare opportunities for staff and faculty.

Razing Staff/Workers

During July the UC established an unusual pay slash/furlough system. It cut employee salary by 4-10% based on the employee’s original salary, and then, as some sort of twisted compensation it gave employees anywhere between 11 to 26 days off amidst a 16% unemployment crisis. The pay cuts themselves don’t only target UC employees making high salaries, but will target the lowest paid employees strongly. Salaries higher than $240,000 will be cut no greater than 10%, while employees making less than $40,000, no matter how little, will receive 4% pay cuts. Through this approach, the UC is hoping to cover approximately 25% of their budget shortfall. Perhaps the worst aspect of the furlough system the UC has established is that part time employees will receive a pay cut based on the salary they would be making if they they were full-time employees. In other words, if someone part-time makes $30,000 and their full-time equivalent makes $50,000, they will receive a 6% pay cut instead of a 4% pay cut!

In January of 2009, service workers in the union AFSCME Local 3299 won a contract battle that lasted 16 months. Stipulated in the contract, service workers were promised a pay increase of 4% (with further increases each consecutive year). Although valiantly struggled for, the total pay increase will nowhere near provide service workers with a wage they can survive on. In effect, these pay cuts have undermined all the gains of January’s new contract—gains struggled for precisely because of how necessary they were. What the UC is doing is truly vile and borders on the spiteful.

The pay cuts and furlough system have been promised to only last for 1 year. Despite reassurances from administrators that renewing such a furlough system again would be an arduous process, the likelihood that pay cuts will return for the next year are strong as some of the impact of the budget shortfall this year has been cushioned by the temporary Federal Stimulus. In all likelihood, a similar federal stimulus will not exist the following year, thus increasing the need to slash salaries.

Continuing Injustice for Marginalized Communities

We can’t say it enough: These cuts have a particularly devastating effect on those that can least afford being cut. Programs that were established to outreach to communities of color and other systemically marginalized communities have been repeatedly threatened and crippled or terminated with severe funding reductions or staff layoffs. Departments with some of the highest proportions of students of color have been cut severely including staff eliminations in the Community Studies Department and layoffs of invaluable lecturers in Latin American and Latino Studies Department. Despite UCOP’s new ‘Blue & Gold Opportunity’ program, designed to increase access to financial aid, and perhaps other future projects to expand outreach to prospective marginalized students, budget cuts have already undermined any meaningful results that could have been produced by these programs. For instance, the removal of UCSC’s director of EOP directly reduces resource access and personnel capable of providing much needed outreach and retention services for low income students. There is a seemingly uninterrupted stream of staff layoffs in practically every retention and resource center particularly vital to students of color. And these cuts will likely continue to happen at every campus as, among other cuts and other reasons, they are more easily accepted among existing UC students that may not directly benefit from retention programs or may be more preoccupied with current budget woes that directly damage their personal education. Cuts targeting students of color and students from other marginalized communities are particularly worrying; coupled with the increasing cost of attending the university, the proportion of historically economically disadvantaged students unable to access higher education will increase dramatically.

In May of 2009, in response to cuts that disproportionately damage students of color, several students from the Student of Color Collective (SOCC) participated in a hunger strike that continued 4 days. Previously, the Office of Student Affairs had revealed plans that could decrease enrollment and retention of students of color. The anticipated negative impact on the already fragile number of students of color struck serious concerns among many students. The hunger strike culminated in stabilizing the American Indian Resource Center and ensuring further talks with students of color to try to avoid campus-wide “errors” in the future. Despite the struggle and successes of the hunger strike, a lack of an overall perspective on how budget decisions target students of color prevail among those that administer the UC.

Current Reduction Breakdown

The most recent figures regarding the two year budget reduction –that is this past academic year and the coming year– depict a “budget shortfall” close to $813 million due to state funding reductions (~70% of the $1.15 billion). The remaining budget reduction (~$337 million) is derived from various sources, none directly due to state funding reductions. According to previously disclosed estimates, $122 million dollars result from “underfunded enrollments,” and the rest have been described as “mandatory costs”. Over this two year period, UCSC will receive over $50 million in cuts.

Budget Cuts: Part II

Despite the UCOP’s press released, the UC budget remains functionally non-transparent. Numerical values the UCOP and the state provide as evidence supporting the need for budget reductions are unclear at best. Given a simple understanding of arithmetic, one can easily deduce the state funding shortfall differs based on which report one reads. Digging through budget publications can be frustrating, tedious, and disillusioning due to ever-changing values and estimations. In short, the budget breakdown is not only confusing, but misleading in its presentation. The reality of the matter is that numbers can be easily changed and arranged (whether purposefully or unconsciously) in order to supplement the argument that the administration needs to justify its actions. Although budget cuts are visibly evident, the manner in which cuts are managed can be wholly exploited to meet the agenda(s) of the personalities and forces that direct this university (ie. the regents & the administration). While the motivation and consciousness held by those in charge may be unclear, the disconnection between their priorities and the reality of the situation for those of us painfully impacted by these cuts is devastatingly obvious: those at the bottom suffer the most, while those at the top largely “suffer” pain vicariously through sympathy rather than meaningful losses.

How the University Plays Out

The tautology surrounding budget issues compounds these difficulties even further. UCOP mixes its use of antiseptic words like “shortfall” with words that conjure dramatic images like “crisis” –the former to obscure pernicious impacts and the latter to justify cuts. And indeed, while there is a crisis of state funding for the UC, about 30% of the $1.15 billion shortfall does not directly involve the state. Beyond the non-phenomenal contraction in state funding, there is a whole history of mismanagement and a lack of foresight that also accounts for our current situation. As administrators’ salaries continue to rise –well documented over the past several years– their inability or refusal to equitably manage and distribute the UC’s resources has greater consequences for those who attend, staff and teach at the UC. This too is well demonstrated by the aforementioned AFSCME 3299 contract battle, where administrators and regents failed to perceive ‘living wages’ as a necessity to an educational institution’s sustained functions. It is us—students, workers and educators—whose needs and roles should form the foundation guiding the university’s spending and planning.

UC Rhetoric

While AFSCME 3299 continues to struggle for some nominal level of transparency through year old public records requests and what should be an unnecessary lawsuit issued last July, the rhetoric the UCOP continues to abuse is ironically more apparent. The UCOP and regents expect unsubstantiated numbers to be trusted and disregard healthy criticism of their actions. More importantly, we are expected to trust the conclusion drawn from this shoddy book-keeping as simple fact, rather than opinion. The UCOP may invite people to provide insight and alternatives, yet these shared thoughts must confine themselves to the UCOP’s basic logic. However, it is this ‘basic logic’ that guides decision-making at the top of the UC—and has landed us in this “crisis”. This veiled messaging incites natural curiosity among skeptics, but largely subdues the majority of the population from understanding their place as stakeholders.

The approach the administration has taken in response to budget reductions, in itself, follows a path remarkably linear and ineffective in resolving the situation. It is this hierarchical thrust downward, with each step down cutting blindly without a greater perspective, that defines the dishonesty of the UC, regardless of the presence of honest individuals. Starting from the distant throne room of the president and regents, cuts are passed down the administrative ladder. Each administrator looks downward to cut, content with the knowledge of their own job security and without an understanding of what their peers are cutting. To further blind administrators, they naturally understand only parts of the grand picture in which the president and the regents are basing decisions. Conclusions drawn by each administrator individually may result in harmful system-wide patterns. For instance, with budget reduction deadlines quickly approaching, the dean of each academic division sought to cut the peripheral edges of their divisions without the realization that, combined with the rest of campus, educational programs that students of color relied upon were almost all universally and disproportionately cut. These hierarchies established within the administration of the UC help support the divide created by institutionalized racism.

Whose University?

The hierarchies of the UC, aforementioned, deeply connect the veins of the university with that of the budget cuts. The relationship between administrators/regents and the rest of the university retains this hierarchy beyond the simple formality to establish a sustained and working university. It is understood that administrative tasks, such as structural and financial decisions, exist and must be addressed within a large complex university system. Yet, the functional priority of management is lost in our current system.

The austere beauty, the legacy, and the function of the UC relies not chiefly on the administrators or regents. Nay, the fundamental purpose of the educational institution is to provide the implied quality education. Thus, priorities therein and management of such must rely on an understanding of the true structure of education. Primarily, students retain their right to education and all other inherit necessities that enable it. As a logical corollary, those that directly enable the existence of the educational environment establish a necessary mandate. Without educators and workers that maintain the basic functions of campus, no education or research would be possible. Finally, administrators/regents compose a tertiary layer, neither directly involved with the day to day function of education nor designed to be the primary benefactors of the educational directive. Albeit the case for administrators can be made, that a body without a head cannot function, such analogies remain dissonant from the truth: the primary and secondary tier are directly causal in the creation of administrative tasks and must exist in order to fulfill education physically. In short, the mandate of education, within the definition of the university, overwhelms and diffuses current corrupted notions that establish high market salaries and job security for administrators alone. It is clear that administrative choices inflicting greater damage upon students, workers, and educators, relative to themselves, are blatantly paradoxical to education. Despite the fact that individual students are temporary residents of the university system, the combined forces of students, workers, and educators create the dominant university populous best defined as those with an immediate stake in the well being of the university, or stakeholders. Although stakeholders may not currently hold a defiant and powerful treatise of it’s own, it is clear that such an argument, if unadulterated, would differ substantially from that of administration and regents.

Organizing Stakeholders

There are divisions among stakeholders. There are different groups of workers, different echelons of educators, and different identities of students. Each group of stakeholders holds their own history, their own understanding of the implications of budget cuts, and their own tactics which they may feel comfortable employing. Despite attempts to forge solidarity and coalitions, success of such has been limited. Currently, it seems many groups prefer to retain autonomy in order to better qualify their individual concerns. Despite these necessary concerns of autonomy, an understanding as a broad coalition must coalesce to forge an equitable university system. The fundamental problems of the UC will not be changed otherwise: institutionalized racism, corporatization, poverty wages, and budgetary threats will not be abolished without a serious concerted effort. To seek change in one aspect means a system wide revolution of the UC.

Despite difficulties and beyond necessity, there is an even more powerful motivation for solidarity: we all suffer under the divisive priorities set at the top. But, we are the university, and our collective will can change it. Whether it’s crisis or shortfalls that characterize the budget, there is no good excuse for gutting programs, creating inequality and clearing opportunities, especially as stakeholders continue to be marginalized. Administrative priorities, their lucrative salaries, their comfortable job security all come at the expense of stakeholders as a result of the flawed prevailing notion that the structure and hierarchy of the UC, as it stands, is necessary and natural.

Tactics will change and adapt as the union of stakeholders diversify. Hopefully this article may guide unified stakeholders to retain a strategy and consistent voice calling for the systemic overhaul of the UC among ever evolving demands. Furthermore, it may be of substance to acknowledge that the value of higher education and the value of the economy created by the UC can be clearly demonstrated without the harmful onslaught for university prestige alone. The inherent value of public education and free academic research that the UC creates is worthwhile on its’ own accord.

The Struggle Within

The terms exploited by the administration, perhaps unknowingly, in its description of the budget, disarm individuals fighting for education. The numbers used by administrators can make sense, but the difficulties of working to fix the budget within such terms misses the point. A paradox is formed in the process, in which personal values of education and human rights are cast aside by the immense complexity and futility of fighting budget cuts in order to understand and work in unison with administrators to balance the budget. In other words, two opposed groups of victims form: those stakeholders that understand the paradox and refuse to succumb to it, and those that see the other group as unwilling to compromise and understand the devastation of the budget “crisis” and the failing economy. The problem is that both groups have important points. Compromise is sometimes a valuable tool for affecting change and opening minds, yet it is equally important that we not be blindsided by shiny numbers and submit to the status quo. The fundamental issue is not numbers or individual personalities, but the overall structure of the university! Thus, the fight to organize around is the corrupt system, yet still be wary of tactics and ideologies carried by individuals that may halt progress.

We are on the Precipice

Admittedly, it seems counterproductive to fight the logic of budget cuts when the existing rhetoric of those in office overpowers the voice for change. Using the rhetoric and numbers from the perspective of administration and regents, it is abundantly clear that budget cuts are necessary. To protest and cause disruption may seem foolish and mute in sensible language. However protest and disruption are only tools to argue and deny the “truth” of this rhetoric. It is to defy the logic that things are set in stone, not to deny the possible existence of financial woes. It is to defy continued undemocratic forms of governance and continued support for the disconnected individuals at the top.

We are on the precipice looking down towards potential ruin. If we are to avoid this and if we seek a future brighter than that of which the budget cuts offer us, we must defy those that tell us to leap in faith to the fatal depths that they have created.

Stand up or fall down

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May Revision-Outlook for the UC

The governor released his May Revision for the California State budget, and the news is much of the same. Education continues to be at the forefront of the cuts, taking arguably the worst cuts we have seen in decades. There are two basic proposals that have been put out. Decisions are really hinging on the May 19th special election, which has propositions to address a $42 billion dollar deficit (which since then has been projected to balloon $15 more even after the election).  Here’s the low down:

Current cuts are as follows (and this is the mess we’re facing right now)

$450,000,000 million dollar reduction to the UC Budget–which is made up of the following:
:::$115 million in new permanent reductions
:::$122 million in underfunded enrollment
:::$213 million in unfunded mandatory costs (inflation, utilities, health benefits, etc.)

All of this has been spread out in the forms of a 10% reduction in campus’ budgets across the board. Our fees have just been increased by 9.3%.

The cut for UC Santa Cruz we know is $13 million. Academic divisions were proposed to be cut/reduced anywhere from 2-10% (this is where the CMMU and LALS problem arose from). $3 million reduction to Student Affairs (our student services).What is not known, is what lays ahead. Increases in the cost of graduate student health care programs (GSHIP) of around 8-15%.

Here’s what the outlook will most likely look like after the failure (which is what the polls are showing) of the May 19th special election propositions

:::$125 million reduction in state funding
:::$115 million in previous permanent costs
:::$50 million new reduction in state funding
:::$31 million cut to UC Academic Preparation Programs
:::$210 million in underfunded mandatory costs and enrollment.
TOTAL: $531,000,000

Overall, the statewide situation is horrible. The distribution of these very cuts is still relatively unknown because it is still up in the air due to the election. One key factor to acknowledge though, is that these cuts have been calculated even with the incoming Federal Stimulus package. The severity of it all  is overwhelming.  More information as I get it.

Saludos y Adelante.

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Connect and Rise

by Gazuedro, 4 may 2009
The views expressed here do not necessarily represent the views of the entire coalition.

blum-and-slug

The inter-connections between organizations, students, and movements at the UC are perhaps the most important critique held by the newUC project. It is that, beyond the rhetoric of each individual organization there is a broader connection that proves to unite us.

The mandated and equitable functions of the university have become a joke lately. The university has acted out of step with what many students, among other stakeholders, feels as necessary. For instance, the university consistently acts to expand the university rather than stabilize and provide a consistent bedrock for an indefinitely successful department, program, or other endeavor. Indeed, the criticisms of the UC are various and stem from multiple voices and perspectives, but the underlying implicit outcry of resistance relies on the lack of democratic stakeholder control of the university.

Even the anti-corporatization movement itself does not fully comprise all the other movements vying for a change in university practices and policies and thus cannot speak for everyone. The criticisms held by some as to the approach of the anti-corporatization movement’s perceived amalgamation of other movements holds particular importance. One such view includes the fear that the anti-corporatization movement seeks to capitalize, ironically, on the success of the other movements; another view criticizes the lack of apparent connection between the anti-corporatization movement and others. However, it is that existing connection that legitimizes solidarity actions and joint actions between diverse movements. For instance, the coalition to save community studies, or CSCS, at UCSC may directly speak to the diminishing of the CS department, but this criticism has roots in a larger critique. The larger critique includes the elimination of necessary faculty and the diminishing of programs that do not provide corporate financial support. The anti-corporatization critique relies heavily on the view that education is a human right and that as a corollary, curricula depend not on what may be viewed as valuable by private institutions, but rather what is valuable to those that seek the education. Furthermore, the speaking of ‘values’ is not intentioned to mean what may provide profit in the future for students, but rather what the interests held by students may be. For instance, the value of understanding one’s own heritage & history that may differ from traditional studies of western civilization cannot be viewed as a commodity to be slashed or ignored. Indeed, the related issue of the lack of students that come from marginalized communities exists as another derivative, if only in part, from this same connection and larger critique. It is within this connection that we find bonds, and it is because of these bonds that we must fight for a new University of California.

It is not the intention of the anti-corporatization movement to hijack other movements, but it is the understanding of the anti-corporatization movement that something systemic is awry. It is the heart of the matter that this flawed system be addressed. As such, there is no compromise for real democratic stakeholder control and a real end to the lack of transparency, a real end to the lack of accountability, and a real end to the increasing corporatization that currently exists at the UC. At the same time, it is not beyond the movement to progress through negotiation and public discourse. In fact it is that public discourse that must be attained to create a university that can see beyond corporate-styled practices. Ultimately, it is diverse discussion and conversation that must be held within the university to solidify a unified movement to foment real change beyond band-aid measures. The movement needs as many people involved as possible to encourage creativity for ways to change the university and for the ability to have an honest democracy.

Deteriorating conditions at the UC have been excused by budget issues or assigning blame to the economy. The reality of the situation cannot be properly analyzed or comprehended given the tools, or lack thereof, that the UC provides. Stakeholders are expected to submit to the all-knowing administration about the budget, but the inability to view options and create solutions independently suffocates opportunities. Indeed, the design of administrative structure is at fault here, not for any budget shortfall that may come from the state, but certainly for cumulative mistakes and errors in judgment due to the narrow perception that private industries stress on the UC institution. It is by that nature that the anti-corporatization movement seeks to alter the administrative structure of the UC, if only in small steps and if only at one campus at a time. The benefit that can be provided by stakeholder democracy include a refocusing of interests towards a more equitable education for everyone within the means of the UC. Furthermore, an honest stakeholder democracy can result in progress that is mediated both by practical issues, such as financial reality, and socially responsible practices.

If the movement is to grow, it must be understood by everyone that the term ‘stakeholder’ is not restricted to people in the Community Studies department, to the Latin America and Latino Studies department, or any specific organization, person, or identity. The future of the Physical and Biological Sciences are no more nor less important that the future of the Humanities or Social Sciences, as this inherent diversity creates a strong education for us and future generations. Furthermore, those affected by the logic of scarcity that the UC administration and regents espouse span across the divisions they have created. The talk of cutting one area above another, pitting one program or department against another, pitting students against each other other –this creates further problems. Through restructuring of the UC and through the massive reservoirs of untapped creativity and experience that forms the collective wisdom of the UC stakeholders, it is possible to overcome this so-called “budget crisis”. More importantly, the resistance against divisive regent and administrative practices will create a better future for anyone who seeks an education at the University of California.

see also The Project (volume 5 issue 2) for more informative articles

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UCB Professor Blasts UCOP

The UC office of the president, or UCOP, recently released a document called “UC Myths and Facts” which explains the claims leveled by critics of the budget cuts to be false and inaccurate. Physics Professor Emeritus of UC Berkeley, Charles Schwartz, recently produced this response to the UCOP’s propaganda.

What you call the “funding for per-student education at UC” is a piece of accounting fraud that I have repeatedly criticized. The numbers you use to calculate that actually cover all of the costs for faculty research work throughout the academic year as well as undergraduate plus graduate educational programs. When I disaggregate that bundle of expenses, it turns out that undergraduate student fees now cover the full per-student cost for UC to provide undergraduate education. So the reduction in state funding is really a cutback in the faculty’s research program. That is a lamentable loss, but it is totally unjustified to dump that cost onto undergraduate students (and their families).

-Professor Emeritus, Charles Schwartz

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UC Unions Speak Out Against Executive Pay

Check out this new article by CUE and UPTE in the SF Chronicle about executive pay at the UC.

The bottom line is that the number of UC executives earning more than $200,000 nearly tripled in recent years

(note: thanks john)

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Reportback: UC Budget Meeting – Student Affairs

UC Budget Meeting (Th – Mar 12)
Hosted by SUA – Guests: Administrators of Student Affairs

A 2 hour meeting approximately. A presentation was given by SUA with intermittent discussion periods in between slides. Then a question and answer period with Student Affairs administrators, among which included Felicia McGinty.

According to Felicia McGinty:
-115 million dollars in cut to the entire UC confirmed
-Another 50 million dollars in cuts possibly, depending on the Obama Stimulus
-Net Cut can reach 450 million dollars (to UC system)
-Total UCSC cut totals 13 million dollars
-Of which, UCSC Student Affairs will be cut 3 million; 1.5m in programs and 1.5m in housing
-UCSC endowment has been affected by the budget crisis to some extent

Additional Notes:

-questions were raised regarding the general state of and how cuts will affect: AB540 students (undocumented), outreach to communities of color, among other things. Michelle Whittingham indirectly answered some of these questions by giving examples of successful programs in place (note: the lack of direct answers were abundant at the meeting and may have been partly due to the unfinalized nature of where the cuts were going)
-Most students in attendance seemed unwilling to submit to any cuts at all.
-In response to a question about student fees, Felicia McGinty said that certain fees (reg. fees?) go to UCSC, while some other fees are given to the UC system to divide up. She stated that most of the fees that students pay that go to the UC system are from there disproportionately distributed to the campuses with medical centers (particularly UCLA and UCSF). In other words, a good chunk of the money that UCSC students pay to the UC doesn’t actually go to UCSC. According to Felicia McGinty, George Blumenthal has been a strong advocate for this issue and has been lobbying the Regents to change the redistribution system of fees.

There was a comprehensive powerpoint presentation by SUA. For more information contact SUA. SUA Commissioner of Academic Affairs: Matt Palmer: mpalm@ucsc.edu or coaa.sua@gmail.com

For those interested: Student Affairs Organizational Structure

Budget Forum Powerpoint (courtesy of SUA)

Quote of the night:

“Its pathetic we live in a state that has a larger budget for prisons than education” -Felicia McGinty

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