memo

Got the Monday blues? Start your week off right with a helping of useful information and informed opinion. 

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For the week of October 12, 2009

Some three hundred students, staff and faculty occupied a closed Berkeley campus library for 24 hours as part of a “study in” to reclaim public space lost due to budget cuts. After discussions about the budget and inequality at UC, about 80 of the participants stayed to pull an all-nighter or bedded down in the stacks, waking up to a day of another day of discussion and studying. Library staff, in solidarity with students, came to an agreement with management to keep the library open without arrests.

In Los Angeles, students and union reps met with the chancellor over demands arising out of the September 24 walkout/strike. The chancellor agreed “conditionally” to appearing at a town hall meeting on October 19.

Also at UCLA, a colloquium on defending the public university is scheduled for October 15.  UCSB students, faculty and staff will be holding a teach in on October 14 about the UC crisis.  On October 15, UCLA will hold a UCSD activists have a new website to coordinate activities, including a teach-in planned for October 14. On October 24, Berkeley will host a free statewide conference on saving public education, K-12 through higher education.

At UC Davis, activists plan an October 29 “day of the dead” party to respond President Yudof’s recent comment that heading UC was like managing a cemetery.

These educational events are meant to build support for demonstrations at the November 17-19 regents’ meeting in Los Angeles. At that meeting, the regents may vote to charge higher tuition to undergraduates majoring in engineering and business. Critics say that would bring “market-based pricing” to California’s public education and continue a trend toward privatization.

Two UC Davis professors published a thoughtful piece in which they note that “modeling the university as another corporation has bankrupted [UC’s] thinking. A premier university differs dramatically from a corporation. A university serves as a fountain of knowledge to ensure a free flow of new ideas that can transform knowledge for future prosperity. A corporation makes money.”

The basic letter to the editor is a useful tool in voicing objections to UC’s policies. The last letter in this column in the conservative San Diego Union tribune asks, why no budget cuts for UC brass? Students are continuing their support of union workers, as noted in this student letter to Berkeley’s Daily Cal and as part of campus coalitions.

More discussion this week on UC Berkeley’s move to hire corporate consulting firm Bain & Company, which rammed through the failed UCSF/Stanford medical center merger in the 1990s.


Meanwhile, UCSD provides a possible model for other campuses by lending itself $40 million to get through this year’s budget shortfall. Drawing on reserves and sparing vulnerable programs, the plan also establishes a budget task force that includes students, faculty, and staff. As one national education professional comments in the article, UCSD is practicing “basic budget management.” Why aren’t other campuses following the same sensible protocol?

Be alert for local UC campus forums on “post-employment benefits.” The university is eyeing rollbacks of retiree health benefits, which it says are “too expensive” to maintain. This major benefit of working at UC may soon be reduced unless employees make their voices heard. _____________________________________________________________________________________

The Monday Memo is edited collectively by a group of UC administrative professionals who are working for union representation with UPTE-CWA. We publish most Mondays, unless it is a university holiday, or we just need a mental health day off. We welcome your submissions, either credited or anonymous, at mondaymemo@upte-cwa.org.

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