23 September 2009

A letter to my students

As you no doubt know by now, our first day of classes, Thursday Sept. 24 (tomorrow) has been designated a day of protest by UC students, faculty and staff. A number of staff unions will be striking against the University's handling of the budget crisis, and many faculty have indicated that they will participate in a "walkout" for the same purpose. UCSA, the UC Students' Association has endorsed the walkout, as have a a group of graduate students.

No doubt, the University's handling of the current crisis leaves much to be desired. While the ultimate cause of the dire situation of UC must be traced back to the State's failure to live up to its commitments to higher education in California, it must also be noted that it is too easy to address the present crisis by hiking up  student fees, cutting faculty salary and laying off staff. If in addition one considers the lack of transparency that has characterized the Administration's dealings with its employees, the students, their families, and the public at large, one begins to understand why many people on campus feel that they must make their voices heard.

With the latest fee increases, students are now the primary source of revenue for UC. This means, among other things, that this is, now more than ever, your university. If you don't like the way the University of California is increasingly hollowed as a public institution and turned into a corporate entity, if you want to restore the University's mission of providing a high-quality education to every qualified student in California — you have the power to bring about those changes.

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