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What is it really like to be “at Berkeley” — ?

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Here’s one UC Berkeley graduate student-activist’s critical response to the film At Berkeley, posted with the author’s permission. Full link below:

At Some Other Berkeley

12.3.13

Frederick Wiseman’s At Berkeley mistakes the enemies of public higher education for its defenders.

The University of California at Berkeley has long been considered the gold standard of public higher education in the US. But the university’s “public” character has come under attack in recent years.

Every semester, jaws hit the floor when I tell my students how much it cost to study at Berkeley when I started there as an undergraduate in 2002. Their tuition today is roughly $14,000 a year; mine, just ten years ago, was roughly $4,000. As a result, the university has become less and less accessible to disadvantaged and under-represented students and, except for those wealthy students whose numbers have risen, the undergraduate experience at Berkeley, as elsewhere, is today shaped to a large extent by the experience of indebtedness and economic insecurity.

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[photo: Michael Moore/ Flicker, via]

Frederick Wiseman’s latest film At Berkeley, shot at the university in the fall of 2010, documents daily life at the university during the second year of the financial crisis. The film is motivated by an admirable commitment to advancing the ideal of a public world-class university open to students from all walks of life at a moment when that ideal is under threat as never before.

But Wiseman’s message, implicit in the film and explicit its promotion, is that it is the campus administration that has mounted the defense of public higher education in California. A look at the recent history of austerity at Berkeley shows that students and workers are the ones who have made tremendous sacrifices to defend the public university, despite the violence and repression sanctioned by the very administrators At Berkeley appears to celebrate.


The four-hour documentary is a celebration of the intellectual environment (and aesthetic beauty) of the Berkeley campus, showcasing star instructors teaching classes in a variety of fields to bright and engaged undergraduates. These scenes, characterized by a certain quality of timelessness, are spliced alongside scenes of administrators’ meetings on how to manage the budget crisis. The effect is to underline for the viewer how much, and what exactly, the California public stands to lose through the defunding of its universities, creating a sense of urgency through a lovingly-rendered documentation of this public good.

The administration’s line has always been that students should join them in pushing for more funding from the state house in Sacramento; in lieu of higher levels of funding, however, difficult decisions would have to be made by administrators — and accepted by students and workers — on the campuses.

Students and workers, on the other hand, while pressing for increased funding from the state, have always maintained that in the absence of higher levels of funding, administrators must prioritize maintaining access and equity at the university for low-income students, students of color and campus workers.

Despite the budget crisis and the supposed need for austerity, the number of non-academic managerial positions, and average pay for these positions, has ballooned during the same period that low-wage workers were being fired and furloughed and tuition was skyrocketing. The statewide and campus governing bodies of the public university systems have become heavily stacked with business and finance leaders, predictably resulting in the increasingly corporatized character of these public entities.

The crisis at the California universities, therefore, has been as much a crisis of administrative priorities as it has been a crisis of the state budget. And by repressing student and worker protests on the campuses, which were arguably the most effective form of pressure on legislators, administrators actually made it less likely that higher levels of funding would be forthcoming from the state. In fact, the administration has consistently played the role of enforcer of UC’s privatization through the use of police violence and legal repression.

But Wiseman’s film lacks any context for understanding the dual crisis of university administration priorities and social welfare state retrenchment during the financial crisis. Without this context, the dramatic high-point of the film – a student protest directed at campus administrators – reads as little more than a misguided non-sequitur. This is an egregious oversight on Wiseman’s part, but one that should not have been difficult to anticipate — he basically embedded his film crew with the administration, producing a film that reads more like an advertisement put out by the university’s public relations department than a serious political documentary.

The neoliberal response to the global economic crisis has included the privatization of public goods including education, which has propelled the development of massive, militant student movements in the UK, Chile, Puerto Rico, Quebec and California, among other places, since 2008. Privatization dispossesses students of a social good, our universities, created by and for the public at the same time that university workers are dispossessed of their livelihoods and pensions.

In 2009, a year before Wiseman’s film was shot, students at the University of California, the California State University and the Community College systems faced unprecedented tuition hikes, and workers faced unprecedented attacks on their livelihoods, due to cuts in state funding and administrative refusal to reorganize budgets in order to maintain equity.

In response, students across the state from California’s three-tier public university system, the largest public higher education system in the country, engaged in a series of… [To keep reading, see the original article here, on Jacobin.]

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12 thoughts on “What is it really like to be “at Berkeley” — ?

  1. I’m afraid that Ms Fox-Hodess has gotten carried away by her own polemic, which undercuts the value of her position. There’s a lot wrong with UC – don’t start me on that one – but several of her generic barbs just aren’t correct. Let’s look at two items she states that have become matters of faith among those criticizing UC’s forced privatization (at least no citations are included to back them up):

    KF-H: “…the university has become less and less accessible to disadvantaged and under-represented students and, except for those wealthy students whose numbers have risen, the undergraduate experience at Berkeley, as elsewhere, is today shaped to a large extent by the experience of indebtedness and economic insecurity.”

    Here’s another way of expressing the current reality:

    -More than 40% of UC students are from low-income families and more than 40% are first-generation college students.

    -50% of UC students pay no tuition because grants cover the full cost of their tuition

    -Four UC campuses EACH (including UC Berkeley) enroll more Pell-grant eligible students than the entire Ivy League combined.

    -Nearly half of UC students take out no loans whatsoever, and for the 51% who do take out loans, average total indebtedness is less than $20,000, compared to an average of $26,000 at 4-year institutions nationwide.

    Details on accessibility, affordability, loan indebtedness, etc. are published annually in the University’s Accountabiity Report: http://accountability.universityofcalifornia.edu/

    A second charge:

    K F-H: “…never once does the viewer learn that top administrators were the only group of employees in the UC system who not only did not take pay cuts or furloughs during the crisis, but continued to receive annual raises and enormous annual bonuses.”

    Again, not really true. Here’s what can be gleaned from online, public UC reports:

    -When UC instituted furloughs in 2009 due to massive state budget cuts, the furloughs were implemented on a progressive sliding scale with the highest-paid people furloughed the most number of days. The highest level administrators received the highest cuts and, furthermore, were not allowed to actually take the time off, but simply took a pay cut.

    -No UC chancellor has received a raise since 2006. In the past two years when staff have received increases of roughly 3% each year, all senior administrators have been specifically excluded from the increase programs. An unrelated item is the market in high level academic positions. Most recent chancellors have taken pay cuts from their former jobs to serve at UC.

    -No Berkeley administrators receive bonuses. By policy, UC provides bonuses only to employees in the medical centers and those who manage UC investments (both of those programs have incentive programs that pay bonuses in years when returns exceed industry standards by predetermined amounts). There are no such employees at UC Berkeley.

    So, what’s my point? Let’s be factual and honest in our critiques, even if they are counterintuitive. This is a complicated situation, and it requires a complicated analysis. The simple “Administrators and Regents are bad, students and staff are good” model does not adequately address the situation. I admire Ms. Fox-Hodess’ passion and spirit, but let’s step back and support our positions with data before firing our polemics.

  2. California has a perverted, inverted form of split role commercial property taxes which put a serious strain on state revenue.Unlike other states with split role which have a rate that is 2 times the residential rate for commercial property and 2.5 times for industrial property ,which is a progressive form of taxation ,California not only has a flat rate but because it has so many loopholes commercial property owners pay less than residential property owners in many cases.This is the crux of the problem and the revenue is made up by new homeowners and through sales taxes which are the highest and most regressive in the country especially on the poor . Our poor pay twice what poor people pay in many other states on sales taxes. We are a so called blue state with a reactionary accent, cities and towns are constantly polling and scheming to raise sales taxes on their local residents because it would jeopardize a few campaign contributions from local elites who own commercial property. The Regents and students should get together and help each other out by analyzing how much we are getting shortchanged by our irrational, dishonest commercial property tax system , estimated as a loss of $8billion a year . It would be an eye opening educational experience for both groups.

  3. Dick Walker replied to my comments:

    You’re right that Katy has exaggerated things, but I will respond to your overly sanguine position:

    •Yes, UC covers a lot of low-income students, and student debt load is not horrific at UC (the worst offenders are the private degree mills). Nonetheless, there are still a lot of students over the low-income threshold who are (or whose families are) suffering from the rising costs.

    •UCB in particular has been letting in more and more out of state (esp Asian) students to bolster its tuition take. That’s not bad in itself, but in these times it excludes a considerable numbrer of California kids.

    •The biggest issue about tuition is that it violates the fundamental principal of free education for all deserving students (in the Master Plan that’s 12.5% of high school grads in CA). Education is an investment in the young by parents and the old. We don’t ask kids to repay their parents for keeping them housed, nor do we charge for first grade. In the postwar era, California led the way in opening college education to all — a thoroughly admirable thing, which we could still afford if we taxed property and corporations enough.

    •Top administrators (and not a few star faculty) are overpaid, period. Sure, they haven’t gotten raises and they did take furlough cuts, but the basic problem is one of a too wide gap that was established over the last 20 years. of course, they all point to corporate execs or Ivy league faculty and say, “see, they get more than us”, but that’s CLASS argument and not one based on merit and usefulness. Sorry if anyone’s local administrator is wronged, but my brother was a an adminstrator at USC for 40 years and always out-earned me for not discernable reason of qualification (except, perhaps, being a better human being!).

  4. Response to Dick Walker:

    Thanks for your reply, the first on this subject.

    1. No argument that high fees are bad, and hurting many deserving families/students. I just think that we need to be accurate as to where the burden is being shifted, and credit institutional mechanisms that reduce that pain on the most needy students.

    2. I agree that the increased numbers of full-freight out-of-state students looks bad, but it’s a reasonable institutional response to years of stagnant state support and increasing student enrollent. Those students’ higher fees subsidize state students (whose cost of education is only half covered by 19900 funds). The Master Plan’s been broken for some time now, and is seriously in need of support and review. That would be a worthy campaign to get behind.

    3. I totally agree with the “taxing property and corporations enough.” But everybody agrees with that position, administrators and students alike.

    4. Here we go – unfair compensation. That’s a really slippery slope. What’s too much? Jerry Brown thinks that faculty – not just you stars – get paid too much for what they do. Is the proof in the market? Do we say that UC faculty pay is dropping to the point that they’ll go elsewhere? Challenging the entire system of fairness in pay would require a revolution. I have a hard time seeing the Unversity of California run as a worker-owned collective like Inkworks, but hey, who knows. In the mean time, let’s look at what I think is a useful metric of institutional economic justice – the ratio of highest to lowest paid. I’d suggest that UC has a lower ratio than does corporate America, or private colleges – as it should. There are, of course, odd outliers that distort meaningful analysis – like head coaches and hospital administrators – but it makes sense to look at the compensation of core tiers of employees. How has that ratio changed over the past 5, 10, 25 years? What’s a desirable ratio for a public institution? I don’t know, but if it’s increasing under this austerity that’s a trend most people will agree should be halted.

    So, where does the problem lie? We all agree that reduced state support is at the root, and should be pushed back. The various mechanisms to fill that gap – everything from increased corporate support to more out-of-state students – should be reviewed. I’m not convinced that this is caused by evil capitalist-roader university administrators who conspire in ways to penalize poor students of color. Sure, as in any bureaucracy there’s some waste, corruption, duplication, bad judgement, and class antagonism at play. But we need an analysis that’s honest and accurate.

    I see some of this through a similar lens in my job at Kaiser Permanente. Do I think that a single-payer model is the more pure and socially-responsible one than what we have now? Sure. Does KP approach health care as a business? Sure. And, if SEIU-UHW gets it on the ballot, California voters can choose to set a limit on nonprofit hospital executive compensation. Will that improve health care? That, I’m not sure about. It makes a good political point about pay inequalities, but doesn’t necessarily help those at the bottom.

    As we used to say, and I still do,
    yours in struggle.

    Lincoln

  5. Dick Walker replies:

    1. You’re missing my point: fees are not just bad because they are high, but because they violate an essential principle of a rich, educated society, just like having crappy health care and millions uninsured.

    2. Taking out of state students is an easy fix, and I understand why it was done to paper over the problem. What UC administrators and faculty DON’T understand is that by papering over they are not taking a political stance to wake up the people and politicians of the state to the problem of lousy state support and what it means for the children of California.

    3. Yes, everyone agrees (maybe), but how do we get there? Only by political means. Everyone is so used to treating the university as apolitical, for good reason, that they forget that a crisis calls for something different. What we have for leadership is mostly people who are good bureaucrats but lousy politicos, who have a hard time even thinking in those terms. They’re used to inside deals, cosy relations with governors, etc.

    4. Jerry Brown thinks everyone gets paid to much. He is a neoliberal wolf in sheep’s clothing who loves austerity for moral reasons. His belt tightening approach supports neoliberal budget cutting, when the California budget needs to grow. For example, we have a huge state and local debt, another issue Californians don’t know much about, and Jerry wants to pay it down. Ths makes sense, but NOT all at once in a weak recovery and not without educating people that the lack of tax revenues is what ran up the debt. (yes, it’s a weak recovery, despite what it looks like in the Bay Area).

    4.5 Top administrators are overpaid and that’s the truth. This is a society-wide problem, especially in the US. Haven’t you noticed all the studies of growing inequality? It’s not all wealth of the superrich, it’s also the top few percent of executives and professionals coming along for the ride. Yes, we CAN say that they’re overpaid and push back against it. Saying that UC admins are a bit better than corporate America won’t cut it. And, yes, football coaches and doctors are among the worst perpetrators of the overpayment hustle of that last 30 years.

    5. btw, so are star faculty overpaid (though many lower faculty are underpaid). We used to have a ladder system and, yes, UC was a bit of a collective run by its workers, at least the faculty ones. But since the 1990s, UC administrators decided we had to match salaries from the increasingly rich privates and our ladder system went to hell with ‘off-scale’ increases. Most of these are for stars who are actually the least productive in terms of serving the university and its students. If they want to go elsewhere, let them. The great mistake lies in buying the market logic that very high pay is a good measure of human worth, rather than a way of gleening more of the social surplus. No one remembers that the way UC became great was by hiring promising young people, evaluating them carefully for promotion and tenure, and keeping them because they loved being in a great PUBLIC university. Now, too many faculty want Berkeley (and UCLA, UCSD, etc) to be protected as semi-private universities, because their bread is buttered by huge Federal grants for labs.

    6. Helping those at the bottom is, I agree, down by other means, especially minimum wages, social health insurance, and unions.

    DW

  6. Appreciate the thoughtful debate and the attention to the nuances. I also appreciate the original piece quite a bit, and I would caution that while the intricacies coming out here are important and should be explored, too much hair splitting may also distort something very important being expressed here. Volumes can be, and have been, written on the details of funding cuts, aid, etc. anyone interested can do the research. What Ms. Fox-Hodess is capturing is the lived, net effect reality of students’ and workers’ actual experiences in the face of the (yes, forced) privatization of the UC, and I find her account to do a much better job of capturing the problems at hand than the cherry-picked facts offered as counter-arguments. For example, when lcushing1 claims that actually student aid is working for low income students, what about the study that came out a few years ago showing that when all costs and aid are accounted-for, as i understood it (sorry, I havent looked at it in some time and not in a space to cite at the moment, but this study is easy to find), that the UC is more expensive to attend than several Ivy League schools? And what about recent studies that have shown that low income and minority students at private, high-tuition high-aid schools (the model that the UC is now using) encounter insurmountable barriers despite financial aid, that spell dropout for a high percentage of students? It ignores that many of us who are or were students when the fee hikes came had to drop out and/or had much higher debt than the average touted here. What about the fact that students at some “lower ranked” UC schools now pay the same tuition as students at Berkeley and UCLA, and a good chunk of their money goes to those two “flagship” schools and benefits them not one bit?

    Similarly, while it is true that overt faculty / admin furloughs were tiered by salary and that chancellors took paycuts, this argument obfuscates many other actions that were taken simultaneously that far canceled out these safeguards. For example, this view ignores the million dollar + salaries that hospital executives, for example, were receiving as worker pensions were being cut and not a dime of hospital profits were making it back to instruction. It misses the fact that at a time when austerity has been the name of the game for student and worker needs, that the university has opted to vastly expand its management execs, staff, and PR departments… Not to mention there have been no cuts i have known of, to the highly overpaid and distressingly abusive UCPD. Why would an educational institution that has traditionally been faculty run suddenly need so many new managers when there is no money, if students and workers of the UC are the priority?

    Finally, my biggest critique of the argument made, that the negative changes we are seeing are just the UC doing its best in response to cuts in Sacramento, is that it makes a false distinction between UC admin and the politicians making cuts. We all know by now that the UC regents are deeply entwined with the Democratic Party in CA and ARE the ones making the cuts. Not to mention the blatant conflicts of interest being allowed to remain in effect, in which regents vote on and influence decisions that benefit their own personal companies, and which have been investigated and proven? The UC regents are criminals and pirates who have plucked for themselves the gems that these public institutions are. They have stolen wealth and power from the people. Period. There is no distinction between those making the cuts and those running the university, and it is a safe bet that any managers they hire were brought on to serve their criminal intentions, wittingly or no.

    So yah, I believe that wealthy administrators and politicians are the problem, and that students, faculty, and workers are the solution. And I do not agree that Ms. Fox-Hodess has exaggerated. I happen to know firsthand the vast amount of research and careful analysis she and her allies have undertaken, to understand what is really happening to our beloved UC and other public higher ed institutions. And with all factors considered, I think her analysis is pretty accurate and captures what things are actually like.. Not just what the numbers say.

  7. Mr. Cushing, thank you for your thoughtful engagement with my piece. You’ve argued that my statement that “…the university has become less and less accessible to disadvantaged and under-represented students and, except for those wealthy students whose numbers have risen, the undergraduate experience at Berkeley, as elsewhere, is today shaped to a large extent by the experience of indebtedness and economic insecurity” is an exaggeration and you have provided some figures to support your argument. The problem is that the numbers UC provides only tell part of the story. Instead, I would encourage you to read UC Santa Cruz Professor and Council of UC Faculty Association President Bob Meister’s widely circulated open letter from 2010 detailing the ways in which UC Berkeley’s “Blue and Gold Plan” has simply shifted the debt burden for students to those whose family’s are just above the $80,000 cut-off. As you must know, a family of four in most of California with an annual income in the $80,000 range is certainly disadvantaged. You can find Professor Meister’s letter on the Council of UC Faculty Association website here: http://www.cucfa.org/news/2010_nov15.php

    The last year for which I could find family income data on admissions and enrollment is 2010. You can check the numbers yourself here: http://data.universityofcalifornia.edu/student/admissions/data-tables/Freshman-Applicants-Admits-Enrollees-by-Campus-Family-Income-Fall-1994-2010.pdf I ran the numbers and among students for whom family income data was available, the story told is clear: students from families in the $80,000-$120,000 had by far the lowest enrollment rate (12.5%) among admitted students. (Enrollment rates for admitted students from other family income categories are as follows: 23% for the $0-40000 range; 17% for the $40000-80000 range; 21% for the $120000 plus range; and 27% percent for students in the “unknown” income category.)

    Since 2011, the problem of the high cost of tuition for students of families with annual incomes above the $80,000 mark has been mitigated to some degree at Berkeley by the expansion of financial aid to students of families earning up to $140,000. However, this has likely come at the cost of admitting fewer students from this income range, as the short-fall has been directly made up by subsidizing “middle class” student tuition through admitting greater numbers of out of state and international students. (Note that I’ve put “middle class” in parentheses because, as I noted above, a family of four with an annual income in the $80,000 range in most of California is a disadvantaged family.) UC only provides data on admissions and enrollment on the “UC Infocenter” website (above) up to 2010 so I can’t verify that this is the case, but it seems likely since UC administrators have publicly discussed plans to admit greater numbers of higher paying students to make up for the shortfall. Furthermore, the “Berkeley plan” only covers Berkeley students — not only are disparities becoming greater within campuses, they are also likely becoming greater among campuses.

    In any event, as Professor Walker notes, the bottom-line is that UC is a political entity with a political problem. The UC public relations machine has been quite savvy at spinning the numbers and rolling out proposals that sound impressive, but it’s imperative that members of the UC community and the broader California public do our own research to understand the full story, rather than relying on media-friendly cherry-picked information for public consumption like the UC report you’ve cited.

    The fact that the numbers UC chooses to emphasize do not tell the full story is obvious to members of my union, UAW 2865, which represents front-line educators (graduate student instructors) at UC. It is most often teaching assistants, rather than faculty, who undergrads come to with their problems. As our members have emphasized again and again in recent years, the number of students reporting that they are falling behind in school or suffering from an array of personal problems related to financial insecurity has skyrocketed. This is why we’ve joined them in the fight against privatization of the university. Additionally, our own members — who are primarily graduate students at the university — have experienced increased financial insecurity in recent years. The fact that our wages have not kept up with inflation, combined with increasing class sizes and cuts to the number of job appointments available, have meant that an increasing number of graduate students in doctoral programs are now experiencing severe economic insecurity, including levels of indebtedness that might surprise you.

    Finally, I would be remiss if I did not say that though I think it’s perfectly valid to debate the nuances of UC’s finances, I find it disturbing that you’ve failed to acknowledge in any way the campus administration’s persistent use of repressive legal tactics and police violence to quell student and worker dissent — the subjects which, after all, were the focus of my piece and the primary basis for my critique of Wiseman’s film. You are right to say that the university’s finances are complex and require a complex analysis, but I don’t believe the same can be said for the university’s resort to repressive tactics that have been quite traumatic for many members of our community (not to mention the chilling effect this has had on campus politics). These abuses should be roundly condemned.

    • Katy, Dustianne:

      I don’t want to drag this out, but your replies didn’t answer my point. We all agree that there are serious and problematic fee increases, but I questioned Katy’s statement that it was most affecting disadvantaged and underrepresented students. Katy replied that the burden has been shifted to students of less modest means. I believe that to be true as well, but that’s not the politically charged point she originally claimed. I also agree that excessive management salaries are a problem, especially in the case of hospital executives (which I specifically mentioned). But Katy’s article targeted all top administrators as profiting from the situation, and that’s simply not true. It’s also not true that U.C. administration has “vastly expanded” its ranks during this crisis.

      And don’t be disturbed by my not mentioning repressive actions – that simply wasn’t a part of my criticism of Katy’s presentation. I feel that critiquing the filmmaker for not making an accurate portrayal of the class struggle in higher education is pointless, since he was not accountable to anyone to begin with. A review is, however, a legitimate platform to raise other concerns – as you have attempted to do. But I am not a running dog simply because I have asked for a more accurate portrayal of the problem. Believe it or not, I’m trying to make your argument more effective, not less. I do know something about how this situation hurts. As a union member I was “let go” from Berkeley not once, but twice, as the budget withered on the vine more than a dozen years ago.

      The elite have been looting the kitty long before this crisis, but the staggering lack of state support for education – coupled with unprecedented student populations – has dramatically deepened the situation. Until we succeed in public demand to reverse the state shortfall we’re never going to see some progress.

      • Mr. Cushing, increases in executive salaries and the ballooning number of administrative positions at UC have been well-documented in many places over the past several years. I encourage you to read the following:

        1) Administrators now outnumber faculty at the university: http://keepcaliforniaspromise.org/2001/ucs-administrators-crossed-the-line

        2) One of many examples of Regents approving salary increases and bonuses at the same meetings where they voted to have lower-level workers were taking cuts: http://www.upte.org/about/press/2009-07-23.pdf

        3) On Emeritus Professor Charles Schwartz’ analysis of this situation: http://changinguniversities.blogspot.pt/2009/11/more-on-executive-growth.html

      • Ms. Fox-Hodess:

        Thanks for reminding me of the UCOP report (cited in Keep California’s Promise). I assume you’ve looked at the data, rather than just the KCP analysis, so you realize that the increase in non-academic positions is very unevenly distributed. At Berkeley, 2007 nonacademic FTE were 8,697 and faculty 5,464; by 2011 those numbers had moved to 8,080 and 5,613 respectively. Again, one’s gone down and the other’s gone up, but not in a bad way.

        At the heinous mother ship of UCOP, the 2007 nonacademic FTE was 2,001 and by 2011 was 1,474. That’s a reduction as well – by a lot. If you look at the campuses where the most nonacademic growth has taken place it’s those with medical schools. I’d suggest that it might prove to be a more strategic analysis to look at the specific impact of the medical schools in both quantity of nonacademic positions as well as salaries – a subject at least partly revealed in the the Accountability Report I cited the first time.

        And surely there’s more current and neutral data on executive salaries than an UPTE press release from July, 2009!

        Again, I am not an apologist for bad practices and policies of the administration and Board of the University of California. Give ’em Hell, keep them honest. Just keep your critique as honest and precise. That’s what we really need right now.

  8. The number of low income students seems very high. Non other than Larry Summers bemoaned the fact that only 5 percent of the students in America’s top 180 colleges came from the bottom half of the income equator . Maybe Tiger Mom are breaking the trend in California.The real long term problem in education may be that we send too many kids to college . In several European countries over 50 percent of kids under 22 are in apprenticeship program leading to skilled occupations needed for the fierce global competition while in the U.S.its only 5 percent mostly in the building trades.Countries with larger apprenticeship systems have more mobility than the U.S.
    Also the quid pro quo between the chancellor and regents in terms of salary requests might be worth comparing to corporate governance.CEOs make so much because the appoint and can fire board members who also have plum gigs. Their top priority for CEOs is to approve the CEO salary request. These requests are rarely if ever challenged. Does the same relationship hold true for UC? The corporate inside game has led to crisis of inequality. A similar cozy deal can’t be good for the UC system.

  9. The problem with a walking into “any” issue with a a ideology is that the ideology blinds one to the truth- If sociology really were practiced as a science one would enter with a blank mind- as a physical scientist approaches an experiment- You have no conclusion for quite some time, you would need to spread out all the facts, perhaps quantify them, value, weight them as to their social importance, with that data displayed, and let that lead to a solution, not polemics- which solves nothing. Sadly, each time you approached a problem or an issue, you would have to enter with no a priori- the fact is, when considered, social science is likely more complex that physical science due to the unpredictable nature of human- ness. Any other approach is not scientific or rational, but rather an expression of a political bias which seems to dominate some discussions

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