Tuesday, March 2, 2010

UCB Faculty Thinks You're Stupid

Sorry, this was posted earlier, but it's so amazing it has to be posted again, this time all by itself. Christopher Kutz, the chair of the UC Berkeley faculty senate, sent this email out yesterday:
Dear all,

Like many of the readers of this list, I am very excited about the March on the 4th in Sacramento -- SAVE has done
an incredible job organizing.

Perhaps like many of you, I am also getting pretty concerned by all the reports about plans for more occupations, "actions,"
and more confrontational kinds of campus protests next week, including on the 4th. I know a lot of this is just smoke, an attempt deliberately to rattle the cages of those of us who think we need to make the public, political case for higher education. But Durant Hall is evidence that some things will happen -- things that have the potential to get students hurt, and to shift the focus from the insistent demand to restore educational funding, to violent internecine conflict on campus. I really don't want either of those.

The students bent on occupation and confrontation will do what they do, and will take the consequences. But I am especially concerned to avoid another Nov. 20th-like event, where the real chaos and danger lay outside, with large groups of protestors. My fear is that there may be many students, eager to support the inside protest or simply curious, who will not know how to protest safely, without putting themselves at risk of arrest, on campus discipline, or injury, especially when they hear voices of some activists urging them to rush the police lines.

So I thought the Senate might directly recruit some "Casque bleu" peacekeepers from among the faculty, who could be counted on to play the role some faculty (particularly SAVE members) did in November, of trying to calm the crowd and instruct them, via bullhorn or leaflet, on "Peaceful Protest 101." If you would be willing to play this role, or know someone who would, could you please write me directly to let me know? You won't be representing the administration, or any particular principle except informed consent on the part of students -- how to engage in protest without (unwittingly) risking injury or academic career.

Students: the faculty thinks you're stupid. Prove them wrong. Strike March 4!


  1. Faculty-bureaucrats, join with us as equals or be cast out with the cops and garbage!

  2. UCB Chancellor Birgeneau Loss of Trust,Credibility
    The UCB budget gap has grown to $150 million, and still the Chancellor is spending money that isn't there on expensive outside consultants. His reasons range from the need for impartiality to requiring the "innovative thinking, expertise, and new knowledge" the consultants would bring.

    Does this mean that the faculty and management of a world-class research and teaching institution lack the knowledge, impartiality, innovation, and professionalism to come up with solutions? Have they been fudging their research for years? The consultants will glean their recommendations from interviewing faculty and the UCB management that hired them; yet solutions could be found internally if the Chancellor were doing the job HE was hired to do. Consultant fees would be far better spent on meeting the needs of students.

    There can be only one conclusion as to why creative solutions have not been forthcoming from the professionals within UCB: Chancellor Birgeneau has lost credibility and the trust of the faculty as well as of the Academic Senate leadership that represents them. Even if the faculty agrees with the consultants' recommendations - disagreeing might put their jobs in jeopardy - the underlying problem of lost credibility and trust will remain.