Dear President Yudof,  

In a recent New York Times interview, you shared your view that “being president of the University of California is like being manager of a cemetery: There are many people under you, but no one is listening.” This is a particularly interesting image; it might be more accurate, however, had you not so detached yourself from the UC’s demise. You are not the manager who thrives above ground. In fact, you are a much more sinister, capitalistic figure who has destroyed the UC system. If we are underground, you are most certainly down under with us, demanding more money for fee hikes. I picture you in the role of the mythological Greek character Charon, who ferried souls across the River Styx to their final resting place in Hades. Charon, however, would only admit the deceased to the underworld after collecting a compensation of one coin from each of the deceased. 

Because you refuse to accept any responsibility for murdering the UC and because you have the audacity to maintain that “Schwarzenegger … gets it with regard to higher education,” the guillotine of guilt falls sharply upon you. Of UC staff and faculty members at all 10 UC campuses, 9,600 signed a vote of no confidence against you. Do you want to escape this purgatory? Then identify the only person who eclipses you in guilt. Call out your boss — “Schwarzenegger.” Identify the ruler of California’s “upper” education underworld.  

It is embarrassing that I need to explain to you your job description and why California needs a healthy, free UC system, but here it goes: Mr. Yudof, your job is to lobby for us, to procure the money we need, not to grieve for our inflicted demise. In 2002, UCs created more than $16 billion in economic growth. In tax revenue alone, the state makes $1,580 annually from each college grad. The UCs have created nearly 370,000 jobs directly and indirectly; this represents more than 2 percent of all California employment.  

The UCs can make huge contributions to the state of California, but instead of shared prosperity, you’d rather privatize the university and profit financially with the cronies who appointed you. You’d rather keep your $540,000 paycheck. You’d rather sell UC bonds, and then increase student fees to recover huge returns from them. Thanks to you, UC bonds have earned an Aa1 bond rating (the second best rating possible). In the last decade, the number of UC administrators, and their collective salaries, has doubled. That suits you quite well also, doesn’t it, Mr. Yudof? All the while, UC students’ fees have increased and their services have decreased. Still, you repeat, “It’s the system that’s broken, not the people.” 

In your UC eulogy, at the board of regents meeting in September, you defended your 32 percent student fee hikes, explaining, “The state has stopped building freeways to higher education, they are now toll roads.” But who mans these toll roads, Mr. Yudof? You. Yes, Mr. Yudof, I’m ready to march but I think I’ll skip Sacramento and go straight to your office at 1111 Franklin St in Oakland. You are the profiteer in the tollbooth, seeking compensation before admitting us to the “cemetery” of higher education. You are Charon.