As one of the measures the LA Times proposes to address the situation, the Board of Regents
should closely examine Yudof's desire to end work furloughs after this academic year. We understand that most UC faculty work for modest salaries and can ill afford pay cuts, but we also are not convinced that they would leave in droves if furloughs of a few days a year were extended into 2010-11.It's difficult to enumerate the ways in which this just a stupid idea. But one leaps to the front, namely the odd logic of the claim that economic pressure would lead the "best and the brightest" among UC students to move to private institutions, but not — inexplicably — the best and the brightest among the UC faculty. (By comparison, look at this also unsigned, but more constructive piece by the SF Chronicle.)
It might be true that faculty would not leave "in droves," but the most respected faculty most certainly would — those who bring in much needed research grants and those who can boost a program's rankings with their teaching, service and research.
It is true that the middle class is getting a raw deal, but the answer is not to pit the faculty against the students, or lower-income families against middle-class students. The only way to save the University of California is through politcal action to change the State's funding process and priorities. It takes a lot of effort to build up excellence, but only a little to destroy it.