Academic Senate Approves Suspension of Admissions to CCS Literature Major

The Undergraduate Council of the Academic Senate recently voted to temporarily suspend admissions to the College of Creative Studies Literature major, effective Fall 2014, following a request from Executive Vice Chancellor Gene Lucas to consider suspending CCS Literature admissions dated Dec. 20, 2013.

The Undergraduate Council voted on the suspension as a temporary measure to provide time for the program to address alleged issues in program leadership, Senate faculty involvement and development of the program’s relationships with other departments. The release cites the 2012-2013 Program Review Process report as well as the 2012-2013 External Review Committee as indicators of the CCS Literature program’s need to increase their number of ladder-ranked faculty, improve curriculum planning and administration and form better relationships with cognate departments. However, no students currently enrolled in the major will be affected by the new freeze.

According to College of Creative Studies Dean Bruce Tiffney, the hold on admissions for 2014 will provide time for resources to “be aligned in a sustainable manner” in order to improve the program in coming years.

“The structure of CCS allows students … a unique opportunity to use the resources of a world-renowned campus,” Tiffney said in an email. “Developing strong relations with faculty in cognate departments will broaden these opportunities in future years. This integration will enhance creative endeavors among CCS students working with faculty outside the College as well as within.”

Chancellor Henry T. Yang also said the suspension is only temporary and that the Undergraduate Council’s report on the suspension will be on the agenda of a Faculty Legislature meeting taking place next Thursday, March 13.

“It is worth noting that this temporary suspension would not affect the course of study of currently enrolled Literature students,” Yang said in an email.

But while College of Creative Studies Records Assistant Frank Bauman also said that the program will not be cancelled, he also said it is unlikely an appeal will be lodged.

“The Academic Senate voted to freeze admissions to the program, pending improvements,” Bauman said in an email. “Something was said about the possibility of their decision being appealed, but no one seems too optimistic about this.”

Despite administrative statements assuring the CCS Literature program will not be cancelled, many CCS Literature faculty and alumni have expressed frustration with the decision and even contest that the admissions freeze is in fact a transition phase into the program’s dissolution. CCS Literature professor Shirley Lim, for instance, said that she declined to elaborate on the situation due to her anger toward the situation.

“I have nothing positive to say about the suspension and only scathing observations to make of the current events,” Lim said in an email.

Likewise, alumni like CCS Literature graduate from 1991 and current Community Manager of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Tony Pierce said the admissions suspension is simply a step in the Academic Senate’s path to the CCS Literature program’s eventual cancellation.

“The worst part about it is they won’t be honest about it. They won’t say what their problem truly is,” Pierce said. “One of the things they wrote is that CCS Lit kids don’t go to Letters & Sciences as much as they want them to … if you want it that badly, make the requirement. Instead you’ve got to freeze out all CCS on your road to totally dismantling it?”

CCS Literature program graduate from 1979 and current textbook writer with a Master’s in English from UC Berkeley Robyn Raymer said the PRP report reveals that Tiffany knew in August 2013 that the CCS Literature program needed to get more ladder faculty teachers into their faculty and had “six or seven months to do that,” but did not.

“I don’t understand why there was a gap of six to seven months, and I don’t think it’s the fault of the lecturers,” Raymer said. “I don’t understand why the CCS Lit program — distinguished for over 50 years — is getting punished for just going on the way it was and still having really good teachers. It’s not just that there’s not enough ladder faculty.”

Pierce agreed and said the potential cancellation of the CCS Literature program is based on administrative issues involving views that are misguided and problematic.

“Santa Barbara has this one jewel that, instead of saying, ‘Wow look at that thing sparkle,’ They’re like, ‘Oh, it’s blinding me! It’s blinding me! It’s making all my other things look like shit,’” Pierce said.

According to Pierce, the cancellation would be detrimental to the university and its current possession of a one-of-a-kind, self-motivated, creative program.

“There’s nothing like it in all of the USA. There is no college or any university where you can truly be a creative person and not be punished for trying new things,” Pierce said. “Unfortunately, when you try to break boundaries in letters and science … you’re punished. With CCS, you’re rewarded, and there’s nothing like that in UCSB.”



This story appeared as an online exclusive on Friday, March 7, 2014.

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  1. Robyn Raymer says:

    When I say I’d like the College of Creative Studies Literature program to stay the same, I don’t mean that I’d like CCS Lit to be a clone of what it was when I was there—it never could be, since all the teachers are different. I mean that I want it to be a straightforward program in which excellent teachers and bright, motivated, talented students read lots and lots of literature together—not just English literature, but Japanese, Russian, Indian, French and whatever else in translation (rather, read the literature separately and discuss/analyze the works together); and then analyze the works in (required) critical essays.

    Also, of course it would be a program in which students study (practice) all different forms of creative writing, including poetry, fiction, memoir, nonfiction, screenwriting and whatever else students want to write these days, and receive feedback from classmates and from brilliant teachers who are writers themselves.

    If the CCS Lit program survives (and I fervently hope it will) changes will probably include studying literary theories of many different sorts and digital humanities. I like some literary criticism. I just don’t like the kind that is so theoretical and vague and based upon itself rather than upon literature that you can’t understand what the writer is saying unless you personally subscribe to that particular literary theory. I don’t think it is necessary for undergraduate literature students to read literary theory or criticism. In some ways it’s better that they first develop their own opinions and feelings about literature by reading a lot, talking a lot with great mentors and classmates, and writing a lot of their own criticism. CCS Literature students—any students—should read and study literary criticism and theory if they want to; it just shouldn’t be required.

    Another change I’d make would be to make the requirements a little more flexible as regards Milton/Shakespeare/Chaucer. I’d have students choose three among a longer list that included Tolstoy, Jane Austen, George Eliot, and some others who were not white Europeans. I am very, very glad I studied M/S/C, though. I never would have studied Milton and Chaucer if it had not been for CCS Literature. I also studied Chaucer in graduate school. Since I mostly prefer to read novels written between the 1700s and now, I would never have studied Chaucer in grad school if it were not for CCS Literature.

    Here’s a major worry I have about the suspension/moratorium/freeze/hiatus/short break/whatever you want to call it: the Undergraduate Council of the Academic Senate did not mention a deadline for accomplishing all the goals it lists. This means that the moratorium could go on and on until there are no more Literature students.


    Robyn Raymer
    BA, CCS Literature, 1979
    MA, English, UC Berkeley, 1984
    K-12 textbook writer since 1987

  2. stan klein says:

    Jeanette (sp): Your comments are hurtful (I do not care much about what the rest of you think of me; all I care about is the “level” of the discourse). We had many discussions about you, your husband, the difficulties of rehearsing in a rented house, etc.

    I thought you were someone to feel positively toward and in a reciprocal sense.

    Sorry I had such a misguided positive opinion of our small time as co-workers.


  3. stan klein says:

    Aw. Someone alerted me that you folk were actually a little group of like-minded folk who had upwards of 40 emails about baiting me, hoping I would have an aneurism, and the like: e.g., ” Let’s let him sputter into silence. I think he’s truly upset. He’s not used to being challenged. I guess that’s the way it is now on campus–students don’t question what their teachers say, don’t engage in real debate.”

    that quote is emblematic. I have serious challenges daily as reviewer, editor and writer. I like serious debate, particularly when it is rational. I do not like politically organized failure to engage in substance.

    By your internal emails it is clear you still fail to understand. And by your assumptions (there is a shock)you opine about my student professor interactions sans clue. And btw — the student who defended me is (a) unknown to me and (b) would in no way shape or form be beholden to me for a positive or a negative comment. Such unabashedly groundless commentary.

    But now that I see your a little clique I recognize the futility of trying to discuss rationally.

    Thanks again for the kind remarks about hope for my physical well-being. Certainly speaks volumes about you and perhaps your personal merit.

    • Dr. Jo Perry says:

      In case your buddy doesn’t share this “internal post” with you: “Stan is right that we needn’t wish illness upon anyone. ‘Sputter into silence’ referred to his anger, not his health. But Stan’s provocative, nasty, snarky personal attacks made people understandably cranky. Maybe they spoke heatedly in self-defense. Anyhow, We wish you well, STAN. Long may you live and argue with others. May you read 100 more years of PRP reports! Same to you, mole or spy. Be well!

      • stan klein says:

        Thanks DR Jo.
        The sincerity oozing from your semi-apology is overwhelming (just like the original health wishes). Of course, my insulting remarks flowing from my perception of your debating strategies certainly goes some serious way toward excusing wishes I have a stroke. But I suppose false equivalence is lost on you and your humane group of concerned citizens. I hope that “Dr” designation is not medically related.

        The Mole? The Spy? Again, you folk are so off the mark that it verges on delusional paranoia. But don’t let me stop you from hunting down one of your own.

        • Dr. Jo Perry says:

          Mr. Klein,
          Once again: Sincere good wishes for your good health, happiness and success in all future endeavors, research, and Academic Senate committee work. You must admit that this debate has become heated in unfortunate ways, i.e. you lashed out and have been pretty hot under the collar.
          I never wished you ill. Or illness upon you! Only responded to your public remarks and the personal attacks you lodged against commenters this forum. Which was about the admissons freeze the Academic Senate approved for a beloved program. Let’s hope for an elevated debate if the debate continues. Once again–I wish you well.

  4. Well. That was edifying. Here is this poor man making such an effort to uphold the dignity of the Academic Senate against the assaults of a few ignorant and irrational people (nobodies, as he quite rightly insists) who don’t even have a right to address it in person. We find ourselves quite powerless against the Academic Senate’s august mightiness, but Mr. Stein is so jealously protective of its standing that he invents new prerogatives for it and descends to the website of the Nexus in his zeal to defend them; for instance that the Academic Senate’s decisions should not be discussed by people with whom he disagrees. Such zeal is touching, as is his simple certainty that such people must be intellectual incompetents. My God it’s enough to bring a tear to my eyes to watch the way he threw everything he had into the struggle and then when he didn’t have anything left, threw insults. If I were the Academic Senate, watching Mr. Stein’s efforts on my behalf, I’d feel a bit the way I did when this one cat I used to live with would make me gifts of dead lizards. The cat of course was driven by instinct and love to make these loathsome offerings. Mr. Stein is a far more complicated person, I’m sure; after all, the motive of someone who willingly adopts the methods of the cheesiest internet chatroom brawling to defend institutional power and impunity against a few powerless critics–I admit, that’s really beyond my ability to conceive except unkindly. Mr. Stein certainly has me there.

    • current student says:

      The fact that you didn’t even manage to get prof. Klein’s name right kind of diminishes the bite of your snide paragraph. Yes he is rude, but he is correct in all his points (excluding insults, which I think are largely for effect and should def not be taken to heart). I understand why so many here are becoming defensive in reaction to that though, but some people just have an obnoxious manner of communication. I don’t understand why he is being bombarded with accusations of hypocrisy and some kind of sinister commitment to secrecy, but it’s probably again because of his verbal jabs. I’ve had him as a professor and saying that his primary aim is to “defend institutional power and impunity against a few powerless critics” seems to me quite a mischaracterization, especially after reading through what he has actually said below. At least he was bringing up relevant contentions in his comments

      • Robyn Raymer says:

        Dear Current Student:

        Which points of Dr. Klein’s do you think are correct? Wasn’t his main point (in his first post) that the other posters knew nothing about the issues and so they should not comment? I know a lot about the issues, yet I still disagree with the Senate Legislature’s decision. What is your opinion? It’s true that the discussion went haywire because everyone started insulting each other. Nobody likes being insulted.


      • My bad LOL please convey my apologies to Mr. Klein for spelling his name wrong. It was not at all intended. Everything else I said was, though. I can’t speak to Mr. Klein’s behavior in the classroom but here we have his own confession that he has a habit of insulting people, something that you yourself feel you can’t omit from your attempt to defend him against a little bit of snark.

        I don’t know why mr. Klein dishes out insults if he can’t bear to take a little criticism himself. Or maybe your defense of his right to impunity is at your own initiative. The difference between me and you is that I don’t need anything from Mr. Klein, not a good grade, not a letter of recommendation, not a leftover pumpkin pie, not even his good opinion. I can’t imagine any other condition under which I would defend the claims of some professor that he has the right to attack those (students for instance) irrespective of whether they deserve it, and in full consciousness that they can’t fight back. Or if they do fight back they are not to expect the indulgence he demands for himself. He must enjoy the freedom to be as insulting as he pleases, but others around him are not to enjoy the freedom not to be insulted. This is what you are defending. He may have Asperger’s, but what do you have?

        • current student says:

          ? I don’t need anything from Klein, his class was an easy peasy A…I’m not a psych major…and pie? what? Anyway, his first comment: “I would urge responders to at least demonstrate basic awareness of what actually was voted on, why the vote was necessary at this time, and why the outcome of the senate votes supported the recommendations (and votes) placed before it,” looks like it’s in response to comments asking, in a very general sense, that the program be preserved. What I understood from this was he was asking for commenters to be more specific in their admonishment of senate actions. How was “intellectual dishonesty” involved (real question, not trying to be facetious in any of this)? The decision, from info in the article, wasn’t to get rid of the college, but to in some way improve it’s function, structure, ect. How, exactly? I don’t know, I’d like if someone elaborated on why they disagree with the decision to freeze admissions, in context of the “issues,” meaning the specific reasons why the freeze was voted on. The fact the commenter, Klein, who brought this up is an asshole isn’t the point.

        • current student says:

          And now on a personal level, since this is what you and quite a few others brought up yourself, I have no qualms defending Klein partially because he was a great professor whose ideas/questions provoked me and many of my psychology peers to think about/do independent work related to a field which too often is studied without critical thought, and to challenge popular, vague, easily accepted responses to difficult situations/realities. Even if I don’t like some of his idiosyncrasies that come out in communication, it’s not related to the topics he brings up. Do I see many of my other professors engaging in discussion on the newspaper site? No, probably because most of them don’t give two #*&$@’s. This wasn’t relevant to the discussion, it’s a personal note as to why I’m bothered by seeing reactionary responses to his comments not furthering discussion about the academic senate and their decision, and now in light of the cruel gossiping that has surfaced. I’m anon because what I’m saying I know a lot of my peers would say and I don’t care for Klein or anyone to know who I am, as it doesn’t matter! Do you think the students who rate him well on rmp were bartering for a grade? Is such pettiness what you expect? all of you have a right to any level of “impunity,” and what has been dished out is not even worth being offended by, save possible attacks on health

  5. stan klein says:

    Harris (again!)
    ” You have certainly confirmed the suspicions of many that this was not a fair-minded review but a hostile venture. It’s hard to miss your condescension towards the UCSB community, including such terms as “heavily defended skulls,” “pathetic,” and so forth. Do you see your own inconsistency by criticizing us for not knowing certain details and then threatening us for having more familiarity than you care to reveal? You clearly don’t believe in transparency or democracy despite your earlier claim of the importance of having “demonstrate basic awareness of what actually was voted on.”

    How many times do I have to state trivially obvious facts for you to get it through your thick skull??!?

    Parse this carefully — VERY CAREFULLY.

    1. I did not denigrate the UCSB community — only those who, like you, appear unable to follow simple prose. to conflate this with your stereotypical assumption is a reflection on you (note –one can restrict oneself to the issues in the particularization merited if one exercises just a little intellectual honesty and insight!)

    2. I DIN NOT fault folk for not knowing what went on in the meeting. I never suggested anyone outside should know.

    3. I DID fault those – like you and other members of this board — for drawing conclusions about what went on in the apparent absence of knowledge of what went on (I was unaware that some of you were taping and transcribing the session — which seems to be a clear violation of Senate ethics — we will see).

    4. My intent ( a chronological review of my comments will make this quite apparent to anyone not blinded by too-active biases and presumptions) was SIMPLY to request that all those hollering about the perfidy of the Senate’s motivation withhold calling the Senate names or imputing ill-intent unless they have direct knowledge of what transpired at the meeting. Is that really hard to understand? Is that unreasonable?

    5. Since apparently I cannot say this enough — I did NOT say people SHOULD know what happened in the Senate meeting. I said they should know IF, and ONLY IF they are going to criticize what happened. If they do not know, then they are arguing nonsense based on ignorance.

    Is this really that challenging for you? If so, YES that is pathetic. And even more so for someone who, as I have been informed, who once was an academic!

    Assuming that my responses to a subset of individuals who may or may not be members of the UCSB community shows condescension toward the ENTIRE community is both ignorant and a prime example of stereotypical thinking.

  6. stan klein says:

    I have Aspergers. It colors the nature of my responses once I get frustrated.

    I try to write information on the comments to benefit student understanding (I have tried to make clear the sad reality of PTSD — which many on site have brushed off as sissy behavior; I have argued that hollering for the dismissal of a professor who appears to have violated the first amendment rights of two pro-life individuals, is an unwarranted rush to judgment in the absence of full evidence in the context of a legal forum, etc). I try not to be controversial. I expect (my unwarranted belief in a just world) that the responses on the Nexus cite (if any) will be rationally considered and on topic.

    When they are not (in my opinion, obviously) I get easily frustrated and can get (as one respondent labeled me) “snarky”. It is out of my personal frustration with not being able to prevent a clear line of argument or discussion from being twisted out of intended form by off-topic comments.

    So, the pointedness that devolves after a few rounds of “clarification” is largely my issue.

    • Robyn Raymer says:

      I don’t know much about Aspergers except that Sheldon Cooper on “The Big Bang Theory” (which I love) may possibly have it. Maybe you don’t quite understand how condescending and dismissive and closed minded you sound in writing. Maybe you don’t understand how it feels to be insulted the way you insult people. In other words, you are not coming across as a mensch. For instance, why did you assume, right off the bat, that none of us knew anything about what went on in the meeting? And why do you assume that, if we do know, we have no right to know. Maybe it would help you to understand people if you started with the assumption that they might know what they are writing about. You have called me a child and furniture and you have hoped that I do not work in education. (I am an educational writer, and I told you this when I first wrote to you.) I have called you a name, too, but not in public. So, maybe we should stop attacking each other and have a real discussion about the issues that have gotten CCS Literature into the fix it is in now, and how to get it out of this fix. As you pointed out, it is a program that focuses on teaching, and that is good, right? Can you not tell that all of us passionately love the program and are in mourning for it? Maybe you have some constructive suggestions on what to do in the future. And maybe you can make those suggestions without insulting any more people.

  7. stan klein says:

    No Jason, I was NOT (caps so you can identify the relevant constituent of the proposition) arguing from authority. My sentence read “As a member of the Academic Senate who voted on 20+ years of PRP recommendations…”

    Let me help.

    1. “As a member of the academic Senate” (For several months. This is a fact, not an appeal to authority. The “authority” of what? 6 months of experience? The two meetings I attended?)

    2. ” who voted on 20+ years of PRP recommendations…”
    This does NOT say I was a member for 20 years. It says I am a member who voted on X (where X = 20 years of PRP reviews). If I had intended to say I have voted for 20 years with my votes having been concerned with PRP reviews, that is what I would have said.
    Your interpretation is like assuming the sentence “As an historian who reviewed 300 years of historical events…” and concluding the historian is unusually old.

    I CAN see how the sentence could have been better constructed to avoid possible ambiguity. Your interpretation is natural PROVIDED one starts with a biased agenda and then looks for evidence in support of that agenda. The sober approach would be to question overtly whether a “possible” (not agenda-driven) parsing is indeed the intent of the communication. Jumping to “conclusions” speaks to biased perception.

    But in your apparent haste to offer an ill-considered response to a comment that clearly WAS appeal to authority, you cherry picked, adopt a procrustean attitude and fit the sentence to your needs. Not very scholarly for a person who served as an editor.

    As for (I can’t remember who. Perhaps not you, but in all the off-point exchange (noise) transpiring in this comment section) the idea that my comments somehow make clear my antipathy for CCS — well that is just plain stupid.
    I like CCS, support it (not in each and every of its actions), and find it a valuable aspect of the university teaching mission. Since you have taken the time to look me up and even quote (what a silly quote to make a barely tangential point, but I digress), take the time to track down my teaching interests, awards and ratings. I take teaching very seriously as a key part of the academic mission and find the CCS a very valuable venue in that regard.

    Now please go away and work on your science fiction.

    • Robyn Raymer says:

      Dear Dr. Klein:

      I just want to remind you that it was I, not Jason Harris, who listed his degrees. He was not trying to “speak from authority.”

      I am glad that you see the value of good teaching. I read your teaching reviews from students and they like you a lot. I am thinking that maybe in person you must be a lot funnier and less condescending. And hopefully you do not yell at your students in ALL CAPS and call them furniture and so on.

      Thank you,
      Robyn Raymer

    • Dr. Jo Perry says:

      Dr. Klein,
      THANK YOU for the clarifications and exegisis.
      I get it (IT) now:
      You have been a member of the UCSB Academic Senate for six whole months! During your tenure as Academic Senator you reviewed twenty years of PRP reports! I salute you for taking time away from your research and from you the teaching that matters to you so much to YOU for slogging through these documents and for participating in the highly serious and smart and hidden-from-view stuff that the Senate does and doesn’t want recorded or discussed.
      Even the SCOTUS allows recordings.
      I know you’re busy and a tiny bit irritated, but I have a few questions, Doctor/Sir: Have you ever taught a class in the College of Creative Studies? Have you ever attended the literature symposium? Have you ever walked over to that weird little yellow bungalo and sat in on a literature class or one or two? Have you ever read a book by Marvin Mudrick or a short story by Max Schott or poem by Alan Stephens or Barry Spacks?
      “Just go away”! or did you really mean JUST GO AWAY! ?
      We hear you (YOU) Dr. Klein. Just as we heard the University Information Officer who wanted to deny our request, as we heard the Senate silence a colleague defending the CCS lit program after THREE WHOLE MINUTES.
      Thank you for illuminating so clearly to UCSB students (for whom this newspaper and forum exists) the way this university really works.

      • stan klein says:

        No I do not think you get it.

        First, 20 years of PRP amounts to 1993-1994, 2002-2003 and the current report. So nobody slogged through 20 continuous years (another presumption. Look if unclear, stop stipulating and ask for clarification).

        I did not speak against the UCSB community — just a subset of dullards like you.

        What the hell does it matter if I teach in CCS? Don’t answer — that’s rhetorical (look it up).
        We were not asked to vote on the content of the material being taught — rather on a bureaucratic issue. Assuming you are privy to all that transpired, you already know this and so are dishonest. disingenuous or some combination in voicing your “views”.

        Since it is clear you have cause to re-iterate your biases and ignore (or fail to comprehend) the simple, repeated statements I made, and you will NOT GO AWAY, I will and (ala the Princess Bride) “this time a mean it”.

  8. Robyn Raymer says:

    Dear Dr. Klein:

    Before the Faculty Legislature meeting, I asked the Chair if alumni and former faculty were allowed to attend. She graciously said that they were allowed, but they could not speak. I have written to her to tell her about your threat and to say that, had my fellow alum known that it was illegal or against University rules to record the meeting, no doubt he would have refrained from doing so. I also told her that I did not hire or ask him to do so, but I was very grateful that he did. Otherwise, we alumni would not have been able to read Professor O’Connell’s eloquent remarks.

    Robyn Raymer

  9. stan klein says:

    Jo Perry “How can you fault commenters for ignorance when the truth has been so carefully hidden from them?”

    Learn to learn. I never faulted them for ignorance. I faulted them for expressing firm opinions of proceedings for which they were ignorant. Can you fathom the distinction?

    • Dr. Jo Perry says:

      That’s catchy. It really is! “Learn to learn.” Almost as good as “graduate school for undergraduates.” You didn’t answer my question at all, Dr. Klein–why so secret? Are members of the Academic Senate afraid to reveal their votes on this matter?

  10. stan klein says:

    This is so tiring!

    First, it is my understanding the proceedings do not involve the public and are not for public consumption. If you were at the meeting as you imply and know the details and decide it is useful to make them public, then go ahead. I do not ask secrecy from you! What is stopping you? I won’t because I think it is not correct policy. If you feel otherwise and apparently have the info, I am not your moral compass.

    Second, everyone was held to a time limit (scant minutes, however one conceptualizes “scant”?) Most adhered. Pro-CCS folk were given considerable leeway and used it.

    Is there a coherent point you wish to make?

    • Dr. Jo Perry says:

      Come on. Three minutes. Among colleagues. You’re a failure as an apologist, and only serve to demonstrate everything wrong with the way the Academic Senate does its business–full of snark, hostilty and smoke.
      I am the parent of a current student in CCS lit by the way, and a graduate of the program. The value of the degree earned is one of the issues that concerns me. The Senate has lessened the value of that degree considerably.

  11. Dr. Jo Perry says:

    Why all the secrecy Dr. Klein? Why should workings of the Academic Senate be so occult? This is not Hogwarts, Dr. Klein. These are not private employment records being discussed. These, according to your comments above, are important debates about the future of a long-established major in a long-established program on the campus of a public university supported by taxpayer funds.
    A number of CCS literature alumni read the PRP report after making a FOI request to the UCSB Public Information officer–it was complete except for a few redacted names.
    So what, sir, did they miss in the report?
    It’s clear that the Academic Senate carefully selected the details they wished to rely upon when deciding to impose or not to impose the freeze. These details slanted in one direction–and one direction only.
    I agree with you on one thing: Hostility to CCS and to CCS literature is not new. Because it is small, it is cultish. Because the curriculum favors depth, it lacks range. Because the students enjoy the classes and the freedoms offered, it is inward-facing and incestuous. The students are too free! Too mouthy!
    Yet 45 years after its beginning the students are doing okay, doing well actually. Able to handle graduate work in English and in other disciplines.
    What upset me about the meeting of the Academic Senate last Thursday was the grindingly insulting and officious way it was conducted. To only allow an emeritus professor three minutes to make his argument seems mean-spirited to me. To restrain a collegeague from speaking seems just plain wrong, heartbreakingly wrong. Oh I’m sure there are reasons you can offer for the bureaucratic machinery that silenced the voices of two highly respected professors of English. Are questions–any questions–in themselves objectionable and to use your term, orthoganal? Or was the discussion of the appeal just an empty exercise?
    How can you fault commenters for ignorance when the truth has been so carefully hidden from them?

  12. stan klein says:

    Now I truly have had enough. No more engagement with you folk.

    But one last word( don’t worry, you will have plenty of opportunity to get many many last words in).

    Quote:’ Because Professor Klein is trying to make Dr. Jason Harris sound stupid…”

    No, he apparently does not need the help.

    BTW: argument from authority (look it up) is an intellectually impoverished way of demonstrating the veracity of an argument.

    • Jason Harris says:

      Thank you, Prof. Klein, for your contributions to this event. I hope that many students and faculty of the UCSB community bear witness to your attitude. So, you close by reminding us of the fallacy of ad veritatem, the appeal to authority, and yet you began your first post by emphasizing your experience in the Senate. Then you accuse people here of being ignorant since they could not be at the meeting or have access to the facts. Many of us read the review, as well as other reviews in the past, which is one of the reasons we are skeptical about the honesty of this bureaucracy. You have certainly confirmed the suspicions of many that this was not a fair-minded review but a hostile venture. It’s hard to miss your condescension towards the UCSB community, including such terms as “heavily defended skulls,” “pathetic,” and so forth. Do you see your own inconsistency by criticizing us for not knowing certain details and then threatening us for having more familiarity than you care to reveal? You clearly don’t believe in transparency or democracy despite your earlier claim of the importance of having “demonstrate basic awareness of what actually was voted on.” How about a review into the review that was performed? If this is the leadership of the UCSB academic community, it’s high time students, alumni, parents, and faculty demanded better.


    • “I’ve had enough!!!! By the way, I wasn’t trying to make him SOUND stupid…he just IS stupid. Just to clarify.”

  13. Robyn Raymer says:

    Because Professor Klein is trying to make Dr. Jason Harris sound stupid, and because Jason probably won’t do this himself, I’m posting his information:

    Jason Harris
    B.A., CCS Literature, 1995
    Ph.D., English Literature, University of Washington, 2001
    Adjunct Professor of English, American River College, 2002–2004
    Visiting Assistant Professor, Writing Rhetoric and American Cultures,
    Michigan State University, 2004–2008
    Assistant Professor, Humanities and Communication, Florida Institute of Technology, 2008–2012
    M.F.A., Fiction Writing, Bowling Green State University (TBA Spring 2014)
    Fiction Editor, Mid-American Review, 2013–present

  14. stan klein says:

    Brilliant. I just informed the senate that unauthorized individuals were taping, transcribing and sharing senate business with non-senate members. I copies the email. Hopefully, if true, we will get to the bottom of this. Expect an email from the university.

    Just brilliant.

  15. stan klein says:

    Thanks Robyn. Let us know at once the name of this tape recording friend — as this seems a clear violation (if true!?) of protocol and a reason for dismissal from the Senate. If true (and I seriously wonder), I am sure your friend thanks you.
    Way to go — and no need to put you in your place (that might require I actually would have to go to “your place” to do the “putting”).

  16. stan klein says:

    From Harris:
    “I must add, Prof. Klein, for someone who is focused on “many of the largely unwarranted (either empirically or theoretically) assumptions that are stipulated to pertain to self, memory and consciousness” that you are curiously making many assumptions about this bureaucratic process when alluding to: ” I also am interested in many of the largely unwarranted (either empirically or theoretically) assumptions that are stipulated to pertain to self, memory and consciousness.” How about you share with the UCSB community what those recommendations were, how you can empirically prove that lack of partiality on the part of the reviews, the actual value of those recommendations, and that the CCS Lit program did not respond to the recommendations. Bring light into our darkness.”

    1. if you want to know my positions on consciousness self and memory — then, for recent views, see Klein (2013, JARMAC; Klein, 2013 Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience; Klein, 2012 Social Cognition; Klein, 2014, OUP; Klein, 2014, Review of Philosophy & Psychology…). Get back to me when you have a coherent question ( won’t hold my breath).

    2. When did I mention I knew what was on the mind’s of anyone? I can’t read minds. In fact, in your case I wonder if there is anything to read?

    ALL I SAID (seems I cannot say this loud and bold enough to penetrate the heavily defended skulls of many on this site) was that you should know what transpired (i.e., the observable facts) in the Senate PRIOR to passing judgment on their behavior. IS THAT SUCH A DIFFICULT CONCEPT? Do you need to confound things with continual errors of “logic” and false equivalences?

    And if you weren’t there, then you are passing gas and little more.

  17. Robyn Raymer says:

    Dear Stan Klein:

    None of us was at the meeting but a fellow alum was and he recorded the meeting and provided us with a transcript.

    Thanks for putting us in our proper places. I must say I admire the dignity with which you comport yourself.

    Robyn Raymer

  18. stan klein says:

    Oh god. This is just so very stupid.

    Harris opines that “we know” those petitioning the committee did not get more than “scant minutes” (beautiful construction by the way?) to address the Senate.

    If “we know” this, then “we don’t know what we are talking about”, do we?

    Opposing voices not only got the bulk of the Senate’s time, they often went beyond the limits they were given (which were in some cases [actually most cases] double the limits given to anyone else — in one case by approximately twice the time they were allotted. And allowed to continue until they had finished.

    You people should say hello to the facts before claiming to be friends with them.

    Really pathetic.

  19. stan klein says:

    To R. Raymer accused me of “doublespeak” and “abstraction” apparently typical of academics (generalize much do we?)

    I don’t know why I reply. Like having conversations with furniture.

    Look up the word doublespeak and then abstraction. Get a good dictionary and perhaps someone who can help with comprehension.

    Thus far (and this is as far as “thus” goes”) I have said (a) I do not have the authority to discuss points of discussion in the Academic Senate meeting and (b) that I hope all parties wishing to comment do so from a fully informed position.

    If either of those positions constitutes doublespeak or abstraction to you, well I hope you are not in the educational field.

    Good grief.


  20. stan klein says:

    Previous post should read:

    Rather, A LACK OF caution prejudging the acts of others — which is a far from becoming practice at a so-called place of higher learning — is embarrassing to the university community as a whole to the specific organization you purport to represent.

  21. stan klein says:

    Since you folk have manged to drag this comment site down to the level of a Yahoo discussion forum, I doubt much I say will have any influence. Thus I do bow out.

    Discussion was not the intent of my email. I am sorry if you thought so — as I clearly and explicitly stated I cannot discuss details of a Senate meeting.

    Rather, caution about prejudging the acts of others — which is a far from becoming practice at a so-called place of higher learning — is embarrassing to the university community as a whole to the specific organization you purport to represent.

    Let me reiterate the few simple points I tried to convey for a few simple folk. (Sorry for the occasional capitalization below — but some of you apparently have issues in comprehension — and I felt (perhaps misguidedly) that calling attention to a few key words might help).

    1. I do not have the authority to make an academic order of business public. I made that clear. Is reading comprehension an issue? If so, I apologize. Thus, your complaints about my refusing to engage in discussion are not totally off the mark, but amount to little more than orthogonal concern.

    2. The nearly exclusive thrust of my comments WAS that prior to slinging mud at the University and Senate, it would be prudent to know what ALL of the issues are AND what WAS actually discussed in the Senate meeting. If you were not there, then you are tilting at windmills — or engaging in juvenile mudslinging, or both.

    3. If you were at the meeting, you WOULD know there was serious, extended debate. And you WOULD know that the issues are contentious and ongoing and have been identified by more than a decade’s worth of serious efforts by various committees with no particular axe to grind. To opine otherwise (as many commenters have) is irresponsible and shines a rather sad light on the the acumen of those associated.

    4. If you were not at the debate then how in the name of god can you rationally react to a process you were not privy to?

    The irrationality exemplified in these comments is more akin to Yahoo debates than what I would expect from folk associated in some manner with an institution of higher learning. I withdraw from this “discussion” because it is neither rational nor informed. Have at it if you like, but I have better things to do.

    One last thing. Since Miriam Liberatore has such strong opinion and apparent knowledge, I have a simple question. Yes or NO — were you at the Senate meeting?

    If YES, then how can you say there was no serious debate and that 20 years of material relevant to the current (not aspects of the program from 30+ years ago) program were not given voice (were you asleep at the time)?

    If NO, then why are you talking about things for which you have no knowledge?

  22. Robyn Raymer says:

    The reality is that CCS Literature is either going to be “reconstructed” to the satisfaction of various deans, the EVC, and non-CCS ladder faculty members, or the program is going to peter out. Here is what I think is horribly unfair about this: the reconstructors will not include CCS Literature alumni, or former CCS Literature faculty, or even former CCS provosts. Correct me if I am wrong, but I do not think the reconstructors will include current CCS Literature students or current CCS Literature faculty, either. Maybe this is just the way things go in universities, but it is not right and not fair. And it is wasteful: why take a so-called “flagship” program and reconstruct it without asking for input from those who made it into a flagship program?

  23. stan klein says:

    By the way — one LAST thing.

    Arguing and hurling accusations (e.g., at the Senate) from a position of either (a) ignorance or (b) a complete failure to comprehend the scope and intent of the vote is nothing I would personally be proud to display publicly in print.

    • Robyn Raymer says:

      I have been taking many measures to inform myself about the issues. I’ve corresponded with Professors Bhavnani, Karoff, Plane, and many others. I’ve studied the PRP report, the UgC memo, and a transcript of Thursday’s Academic Legislature meeting in depth. I do understand the issues. Yet, I still disagree with the vote. You (like many other academics) speak doublespeak and in abstractions. You are not interested in having a real conversation about these matters. And now you are flouncing out altogether.

      Thank you,

      Robyn Raymer

      • Jason Harris says:

        Agreed, Robyn. It’s quite telling that Prof. Stan Klein choose to exit the debate without actually participating in debate but instead just dishing out some invective. Considering that we know the Senate did not give those petitioning the committee more than scant minutes to confront the critiques of the review, we can only conclude that honest inquiry was not the purpose here. If you, Prof. Klein would like to elucidate these matters furthers, this is a great place to do it–unlimited by arbitrary rules of order. There’s certainly no limits on what you’d like to say. Please do explain further and stick around to engage in a free-spirited democratic forum.


  24. stan klein says:

    Your largely uninformed rant is little more than a poster child for exactly the type of silly discourse substituting form informed opinion that I noted in my initial post.

    Shame here, shame there, you say. I say shame on you. But arguing with those not fully familiar with the issues involved is as productive as arguing with early earth creationists.

    So, I withdraw from this so-called forum, sorry that I attempted to place some stress on the utility of rationally responsibility debate into the ongoing emotion-driven, apparently ill-informed discussion.

    Pathetic — from a supposed institution of higher learning.

  25. stan klein says:

    As a member of the Academic Senate who voted on 20+ years of PRP recommendations — as well as those of other reviewing agencies — I would urge responders to at least demonstrate basic awareness of what actually was voted on, why the vote was necessary at this time, and why the outcome of the senate votes supported the recommendations (and votes) placed before it.

    The arguments expressed in this thread evidence a profound ignorance of the issues involved, the reasons for action taken, the nature of the action taken (and its implications for the future of a part of the College of Creative Studies), and a reliance on testimonials from folks whose testimonials are orthogonal to the actual issues under discussion.

    You do yourself no favors by espousing theories and offering arguments directed at a target you appear to have manufactured in the absence of any serious appreciation of (a) what actually was voted on (b) the actual consequences of the vote, and (c) the reasons the vote was seen as necessary after several decades of largely unheeded recommendations by a number of impartial review committees.

    Shame on members of the UCSB community for engaging in such an uninformed, angry discourse directed at targets with no actual relevance to the issues at hand.

    • Miriam Liberatore says:

      Shame here, shame there…what a lot of shame going around. But the angry discourse by alumni and members of the USCB community is neither uninformed nor irrelevant. No amount of name-calling on either side will ever bring the two sides to a mutual understanding or agreement, not that this issue was ever a true negotiation. Negotiation explicitly refers to two entities hoping to reach agreement, and this was never the case in the issue of the CCS Literature major.
      I too am disappointed by the Academic Senate’s vote to suspend the CCS Literature major. The Academic Senate showed a stunning lack of either awareness or concern—or possibly both—for the message it has sent to current Literature majors in CCS: “Your program is so fundamentally bad that we can’t possibly allow a single new student to begin until the entire program has changed to our liking.” If I were a student now, I think I would be shopping for a more progressive and less politically driven university about now, and take my tuition dollars with me.
      Further, I am disappointed that the Academic Senate still seems to completely miss the mark with regard to the value of the CCS Literature program. The elements that make it such a valuable environment in which to read and write and study are the very elements that the Senate would abolish.
      I wish the University good luck ahead. I hope that it will draw on the impressive resources it has in its alumni, who have certainly expressed a willingness to help, when reshaping the future CCS Literature program. And I hope they will ask and listen to the current CCS Literature majors to find out what in the program was so attractive to them, so that the University doesn’t reprogram all that creativity and excitement right out.

    • Jason Harris says:

      I must add, Prof. Klein, for someone who is focused on “many of the largely unwarranted (either empirically or theoretically) assumptions that are stipulated to pertain to self, memory and consciousness” that you are curiously making many assumptions about this bureaucratic process when alluding to: ” I also am interested in many of the largely unwarranted (either empirically or theoretically) assumptions that are stipulated to pertain to self, memory and consciousness.” How about you share with the UCSB community what those recommendations were, how you can empirically prove that lack of partiality on the part of the reviews, the actual value of those recommendations, and that the CCS Lit program did not respond to the recommendations. Bring light into our darkness.

      • Jason Harris says:

        Pardon me, copied the wrong part of your quote, Prof. Klein: ” reasons the vote was seen as necessary after several decades of largely unheeded recommendations by a number of impartial review committees.” So do explicate this further.

        • Jason Harris says:

          Notice, Prof. Klein that Prof. Robbin’s application of the CCS Lit model elsewhere proved highly successful–how’s that for some empirical evidence?
          When I left my post as CCS Academic Coordinator in 1990 to lead the English Department at Cate School—which was and still is on every list of top U.S. boarding schools—I brought the fundamental features of the Literature program with me. Remembering the excitement I felt (as both student and teacher) at the constantly changing list of CCS courses, I created Cate’s first full-scale offering of English electives; it is an integral part of the school to this day. Into a department with a standard four-year writing curriculum, I brought an emphasis on imaginative work, and by the fall of 1994 Cate School was routinely winning the UC Prize Competition.

    • I’m starting to think that this dude keeps forgetting his hat on purpose…

  26. Jeanine Natale says:

    Having been a pretty much ‘straight-laced’ regular English major at UCSB when I met Tony Pierce my first few days working at the Nexus (ca. 1990-91), I just want to say that being exposed to CCS through Tony (et al.), completely rocked my world. (Sorry for the run-on sentences, but, well…I just gotta say this!) I learned so much more about “thinking outside the box”, taking responsibility for what I do in this life, realizing that it’s possible to do amazing and wonderful things if I just realize that these things ARE actually possible…these are just some of the valuable life lessons I learned by taking a few (extracurricular) courses at CCS. I don’t know the full story of the politics behind this decision to suspend admissions to CCS, but, well, don’t all students pay the same price of admission to UCSB? How is it possible that any party (not a fun one apparently!), could just summarily do away with this program?
    Some of the most amazing and life changing things I learned while being a student at UCSB (for five years since I paid my own way!), (and having the privilege of sitting in on CCS classes), were that there are SO many things to learn!! There is SO much more going on than we all EVER thought possible! Contrary to popular belief, here are some of the few things most people won’t tell you in your everyday run-of-the-mill life: you really are-can do-have been-will do-are capable of-just step up to the plate for-it’s more than you could ever even imagine!!!–we’re all here for you-and then some! Huh! These are all the things you can actually do, and even more importantly, WANT to do.
    To be able to be creative in your own way (and please! Don’t detract from ALL of those individuals who want/need/must do it “by the book” – they’re doing their own thing in their own way. Please always have respect for all beings that conduct their business in a kind, decent respectful manner…just don’t hurt/harm others…)
    All I’m trying to say is that CCS is one of the most amazing and wonderful programs I ever got to experience…sure – clean it up, fine-tune it, etc, etc…just please make sure it’s gonna be around for a while. I honestly am so thankful for every day of my life that I get to do the things I love do: being a bench jeweler, kickin’ ass on guitar, knowing even the slightest thing about martial arts, having a great working respect for guns, finally getting to learn how to surf, being honored to know so many “different” kinds of people in this world, and be able to greet them with a smile and a hug…if I would’ve listened to my stepmother I probably would have been quite unhappily marri…oh never mind! Mostly, I just want to say, Dear Universe: Thank you for allowing me to be a dorky tomboy type goof-girl… I LOVE tools and surfboards, martial arts and guitars SOOOOOOO much more than everything else I’m “supposed” to like…rock on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Please let’s keep CCS around for a while… You “suit-n-tie/bureaucratic/financial” types…please! I don’t wanna mess w/y’all…but PLEASE be a bit more “creative” and re-assess your decisions…please understand…there’s SO much MORE you can do with this program as opposed to all the LESS you are poised to do away with at this point in time… PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE… just be the tiniest bit creative in this stressful endeavor…and realize that this is such a relatively small effort to make in favor of such a hugely wonderful impact on a lot of young people who could be so much better off/productive/meaningful to this world we all live in.

  27. Robyn Raymer says:

    My former teacher at CCS Literature, Dr. Ross Robins, has given me permission to post his letter addressed to Dean Tiffney and leaders of the Academic Senate:

    As one of the first graduates of CCS and as its first Academic Coordinator –and also as someone who used what he learned there to create a widely respected English curriculum at one of the best boarding schools in the country—I’m writing to express my alarm at the CCS Literature admissions moratorium and the proposed changes to the Literature program.

    As I understand them, those changes constitute a repudiation of the experiences that have brought me and so many other CCS alumni the professional success and personal satisfaction we’ve enjoyed as writers and teachers. Forty years after graduation, during which time I’ve published scholarly essays (Oxford U.P. and elsewhere) and delivered conference papers on work first conceived at CCS, I’m convinced that the program has been the most important academic influence in my life. I urge you to do everything in your power to protect the bold, potentially life-changing elements of the program that Marvin Mudrick created.

    Your task is a difficult one because CCS Literature has consistently drawn criticism from the outside. The sad truth is that the program is almost always misunderstood by people who haven’t experienced it themselves. The reasons for that misunderstanding are many, but the effects of it are usually the same: perplexity and suspicion. As a result, there has been one attempt after another over the decades to change its “inward” nature by bringing in “fresh perspectives.” Those efforts have been made by people with no knowledge of the essential character of the Literature program—a program so original and so exciting to students that it has thrived in the face of continuous challenge.

    In this letter I’ll try to define the distinctive feature of CCS Literature, to explain how I used it to transform the writing curriculum at Cate School, and to propose an alternative to the action you seem to be contemplating.
    Before I explain what the Literature program is, however, I should explain what it is not. It is most definitely not a typical university English department; because of its emphasis on creativity, the CCS program is actually the antithesis of that. As you may know, in the last twenty years English departments across the country have made a deliberate attempt to separate the reading of imaginative literature from the writing of it. There are now many new theoretical approaches to literary study, and each one of those was consciously designed to diminish the significance of the actual process of creation by focusing on historical, psychological, or linguistic analysis. In academic circles it has become unacceptable to speak of artistic success or failure because each work of literature is now a culturally produced artifact: a work of art without an artist. University programs of the last generation (including that at UCSB) have marginalized or entirely eliminated creative writing as an area of serious study because, in literary analysis, there is no longer any relationship between creativity and scholarly research.

    The CCS program couldn’t be more different. The feature of CCS Literature that transforms the work of its students is the continuous linking of creativity and analysis. At CCS I was trained to write fiction, and that training informed and sharpened my reading; I began to read like a writer. I began to see works of literature as individual acts of invention rather than embodiments of linguistic or historical theory. And I can report that, as I moved through the Ph.D. program in English at UCSB, the writing-based approach at CCS made me a very different kind of graduate student and a very different kind of writing instructor. My dissertation on D.H. Lawrence’s Women in Love was described by an international authority on the subject as the first convincing explanation of the writer’s creative process in that book. Early in my teaching career I published an anthology of college writing filled with imaginative work of such a high quality that it caused other teachers to consider adopting the CCS model. None of this would have happened if I hadn’t attended the Literature program at CCS, where students are encouraged—actually required—to practice the craft they wish to study. There isn’t another undergraduate program like it in the country.
    When I left my post as CCS Academic Coordinator in 1990 to lead the English Department at Cate School—which was and still is on every list of top U.S. boarding schools—I brought the fundamental features of the Literature program with me. Remembering the excitement I felt (as both student and teacher) at the constantly changing list of CCS courses, I created Cate’s first full-scale offering of English electives; it is an integral part of the school to this day. Into a department with a standard four-year writing curriculum, I brought an emphasis on imaginative work, and by the fall of 1994 Cate School was routinely winning the UC Prize Competition. Having overseen the CCS Literature Symposium for several years in the 1980s, I started the Cate School Visiting Writers Series, bringing in young poets and fiction writers (and eventually a few Cate alumni) to read and discuss their work. By 1995 we had several student-led writing groups, a vibrant literary magazine, and a prize-winning student newspaper. We still have them all today, and Cate students are widely recognized by college admissions officers across the country as able and original writers.

    As you can see, my experience at CCS was formative, and it has helped me shape the experiences of others. Writing is a permanent and irreplaceable part of the lives of my students because it’s more than just a tool for analysis. The Literature program is entirely responsible for this, which is why I’m so concerned at the prospect of wholesale changes to it. I hope you’ll consider alternatives to the course of action you seem to be contemplating, even if those alternatives aren’t the kind of “fresh perspective” with which CCS Literature has been threatened for decades. Rather than abandoning the new idea that Marvin Mudrick had nearly 50 years ago—an idea that, even at the time, drew a completely predictable skepticism—I urge you to return to it in the boldest way possible. This could be achieved most affordably by inviting one or more of the program’s most dynamic alumni to return and administer it, although there are undoubtedly other options that would achieve the goal of preserving the unusual—and unusually effective—nature of CCS Literature.

    If any of you has any interest in discussing this letter or these proposals, I’d be delighted to meet with you. In the meantime, please know that the College of Creative Studies at UCSB—and its Literature program in particular—have my greatest respect.

    Dr. Ross Robins
    English Department Chair
    Cate School
    1960 Cate Mesa Road
    Carpinteria CA 93013

  28. Jason Harris says:

    Exactly, Miriam. The CCS Lit experience offered engagement that was not otherwise available. The Academic Senate has acted shamefully and with intellectual dishonesty.

  29. Miriam Liberatore says:

    Doesn’t anyone get it– why WOULDN’T CCS students take the majority of their classes in CCS? The educational experience in CCS is why they are there at all. If they wanted the traditional classroom experience they would have enrolled as English majors in the College of Letters and Science, not CCS.

    • Carrie Murphy says:

      I completely agree with you, Miriam. CCS Literature was my dream program and the reason I chose to attend UCSB over my other options. It offered the kind of educational experience I wanted: small classes, taught by lecturers who were passionate about the subject matter they were teaching and were active writers/poets/academics. While at UCSB, I took some excellent classes in L&S and also studied abroad for a year. However, the classes that I feel helped me grow the most as a reader, writer, and thinker were found within CCS. I hope the admissions freeze on CCS Lit will soon be lifted so that other students don’t miss out on this unique and valuable program.

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