Wednesday, February 24, 2010

March 4th: UC Faculty Step Up Their Efforts to Defend Public Education

Two recent letters written by UC senate faculty show how professors are getting engaged in defending the importance of public education in the state of California. One letter, originating from UC Santa Cruz, begins in the following manner: “The future of the University of California, and public education in California more generally, is under extreme threat. Governor Schwarzenegger and the State Legislature have slashed funding, and the UC Regents, Office of the President, and campus administrations have responded with measures that undermine the core teaching, research, and service mission of the university: student fees have been raised dramatically, hiring has been frozen, faculty and staff have been furloughed, lecturers have been fired, and many staff positions have been consolidated or eliminated, even as salaries of the highest UC executives have been increased. Market standards have superseded the values of intellectual creativity and excellence. Next year’s planned cuts will only accelerate these trends. The defunding of public higher education makes a college education inaccessible to many Californians, especially those already most disadvantaged; it endangers the vibrancy and livelihood of the state; it lowers the quality of life of all of its inhabitants” (click here for the entire letter)

Faculty and Chairs from UCSB have also circulated the following letter in support of the March 4th protests and rallies: “We, as Department Chairs in the Social Sciences and Humanities and Fine Arts at the University of California, Santa Barbara, endorse the statewideDay of Education on March 4, 2010. We support the efforts, organized by representatives of the entire educational community--administrators, teachers, staff, students, alumni, and concerned parents and students of
the UC, CSU, CC and K-12 systems--to demonstrate the need for a renewed commitment to public education. As UC faculty, we struggle with increased workloads and reduced pay. We see austere student fee hikes, overcrowded classes, graduate students squeezed, overworked and demoralized staff, worker layoffs, shrinking departmental and curriculum budgets, and eroding funding to student services. How long can the UC maintain itself as a top quality, Tier I research university? Meanwhile, K-12 schools face severe budget cuts and curricular pressures created by the demands for standardized testing, a situation of concern to us since the products of the K-12 system become our students and the country's future citizenry.
It's time to stop and reverse this steady defunding and degradation of our educational system and to defend a first-rate public education. We urge you to support our students' organizing efforts in support of the statewide March on Sacramento on Thursday, March 4.”

These letters show that the UC faculty are not only concerned about their own institutions, but they are also worried about the plight of public education in general in the state of California. Moreover, these letters call for all of us to participate in actions on March 4th. Next week, everything changes.

5 comments:

  1. We just visited the Checking Education site--
    there is something seriously wrong
    when a professor (several professors actually) has to sign a letter of protest with this sort of anonymous signature:

    "xxxxxxxx,
    University of California", etc

    It is no doubt done in fear of retaliation.

    We sincerely hope that all of the faculty who feel the need to sign a letter of protest anonymously will also make efforts as private citizens to support SB 650 currently in the state legislature:

    In July 2008, the California Supreme Court ruled (Miklosy v. the Regents of the University of California (S139133, July 31, 2008) that UC employees who are retaliated against because they report wrongdoing cannot sue for damages under the state’s Whistleblower Protection Act, so long as the University itself reviews the complaints in a timely fashion. The ruling uncovered an oversight made by the Legislature when the Act was amended in 2001, which provided legal standing for all other state employees to seek damages.

    “This is the classic case of the fox guarding the hen house,” said Yee. “UC and CSU executives should not be judge and jury on whether or not they are liable for monetary claims. This was not the intent of California’s whistleblower law.”

    In the Miklosy decision, three of the seven judges urged the Legislature to consider changes to the law, as the current statute undermines the purpose of the Act.

    All in the UC community should feel free to protest, or speak up against wrongdoing without fear of retaliation-and this goes for any student, alum or other community member for that matter.
    Bob, you say "Next week, everything changes." --with regard to freedom from retaliation for UC employees and whistle blowers all we can say is:
    "One day, one day soon - hopefully."
    The machine is very powerful.

    ReplyDelete
  2. As far as I understand, that's how the signature appears when faculty sign their name but request that it not appear on the website. I know of at least one colleague who is in the process of applying for a green card through the university and signed in this manner for fear that the University would somehow delay or derail the application. It is indeed done in fear of retaliation and the fact that UC employees do not have whistleblower protection is all the more worrisome.

    ReplyDelete
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