The UC Commission on the Future will convene at UCSB today to discuss how the University aims to survive despite suffocating budget squeezes.

Today’s working group forum will be held in Campbell Hall from 2 to 4:30 p.m. and will tackle the topic of funding strategies for the UC. Created by UC Board of Regents Chairman Russell S. Gould in July, the commission will use five different working groups to poll the entire UC community — as well as experts from outside the education institution — in a system-wide ‘listening tour’ to examine crucial questions about how the UC will need to change in the future.

The other four working groups will address the size and shape of the UC, its education and curriculum, access and affordability and research strategies. The next working group will convene prior to an upcoming Board of Regents meeting at UCLA from Nov. 17-19.

According to UC Office of the President spokesperson Steve Montiel, the forum is a venue for concerned community members to offer their input on the administration’s handling of the UC system.

“The people are really there to listen to students, faculty, employees, anyone affected by the UC budget and UC matters,” Montiel said.

Today’s speakers include Executive Vice Chancellor Gene Lucas, Chancellor Henry T. Yang, UCSB professor Cynthia Brown, UCOP Associate Vice President for Policy & Analysis Marsha Kelman, Student Regent Jesse Bernal and others.

According to English professor Aranye Fradenburg, the event will allow the student body to voice complaints about policies before it’s too late.

“I believe, along with many of my colleagues, that the commission will likely be rubber-stamping Yudof’s and Schwarzenegger’s plans to undo accessible public higher education in this state and that its conclusions are already foregone,” Fradenburg said. “But this is an opportunity to try to turn that Titanic around, and we will make that effort.”

Germanic, Slavic and Semitic Studies Dept. Chair Elisabeth Weber said she will attend the event to discuss how budget cuts will compromise the future of the foreign language and literature departments

Dept. of Physics Chair Mark Srednicki said he blames the UC’s financial hardships on ineffective leadership.

“The crisis at the UC is due to a failure of leadership by Regents Chair Russell Gould, Regents Vice Chair Sherry Lansing and UC President Mark G. Yudof,” Srednicki said. This event will provide a chance for students, staff and faculty to be heard by those who are charged with making decisions about the future of the UC. What could be more important or necessary than that?”

For those unable to attend the forum, it can be viewed via Web cast at The commission will hold seven full meetings until March 2010. After those, commissioners will hand over their recommendations to the Regents on how to make changes to the UC system.