19 September 2009

LA Times advocates extending furloughs into 2010-11

In an unsigned editorial, the LA Times laments the effects of the proposed fee hike on UC students and their families. The University runs the risk of losing the best middle-class students to private institutions offering more and more purely merit-based financial aid (which benefits the middle class), especially at a time when UC fees are within sight of tuition at private colleges and universities. It is true that a large part of the fee increase is slated for return-to-aid, but that only exacerbates the fact that middle class students are "taxed" in favor of lower-income families.

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.

1 comment:

  1. Slash the $3,000,000 UC Berkeley Chancelor Birgeneau is spending on consultats to do the work of his job as Cal's ethical world class faculty can do the work of the consultants. Use the $3,000,000 for faculty, students and more classes