UCSB’s Academic Senate passed a resolution last week formally censuring University of California President Mark G. Yudof and the UC Board of Regents for their poor management of the UC system-wide budget deficit.
The resolution was a formal expression of the complaints and concerns raised during last Wednesday’s teach-in protest, where students and staff members discussed the University’s handling of the budget crisis. The proposal outlined three overriding complaints about Yudof’s actions — that the UC Office of the President had misrepresented the UC’s financial situation in order to transform it into a profit-making enterprise, that it acted deceptively in declaring emergency powers to deal with the budget crisis and that its overruling of the Academic Senate’s concerns about the furlough system undermined the Senate’s chartered authority.
According to a press release, the Senate also reprimanded Yudof for his poor representation of the UC system during an interview with the New York Times.
“President Yudof’s recent interview in the [New York] Times was an embarrassment,” the press release said. “His statements showed him to be a cynical opportunist with no commitment to education. [His remarks] are an insult to the UC community he is well paid to serve and lead. They are unbecoming to the president of the nation’s leading public University. They call his fitness for his position into question.”
Yudof responded to the controversy surrounding his interview last Friday at a meeting held at UC Berkley. Yudof said it should have been obvious that his comparison of the UC system to a cemetery was made in jest.
“I think these people should get a sense of humor, is what I think,” Yudof said in a press release.
Yudof also reacted to accusations from UC students and faculty that the University is becoming more privatized every year. According to Yudof, the UC has been forced to increase student fees because the state is providing the University half as much money as it did a decade ago.
“I’m opposed to privatization, if by privatization you mean we want to turn this into a private university setting its own agenda, charging the students the full freight, I’m opposed,” Yudof said in a press release. “What we have is a mixed model where the state gave us $15,000 per student in 1990 in today’s dollars and gives us $7,800 today. The question is how do you maintain quality and one of the ways you do it is you raise prices.”
Lynn Tierney, Associate Vice President of Communications at the UCOP, said the financial difficulties the UC system is facing are palpable and that measures such as the staff furlough system, though unpopular, were made with students in mind.
“It is a very tough situation related to investments of the state and higher education,” Tierney said. “Over several years we wound up with a lot less funding per student than in the past, and we are devising every situation we can to make up for that, while maintaining quality and access. That was the reason the furlough was put in place.”