University of California Faculty Walkout.

Interesting development of UC situation vis-a-vis furloughs and the issues surrounding it. Take a look, this is important:

(to support this action, send your name and affiliation to:

An Open Letter to UC Faculty

August 31, 2009

Dear Colleagues,

We are grateful for Provost Pitts’ letter of 21 August—sent at the opening of a late summer weekend, with unimpeachably cowardly timing—for clarifying certain matters. Foremost among them is the farce of shared governance, in distinction to emergency powers. It is now finally inarguable that the polling of the faculty on significant matters is a fig leaf for the will of the Chancellors and the Office of the President. We stand corrected: shared governance is merely the polite name for emergency powers.

The rest of the information is here.


8 thoughts on “University of California Faculty Walkout.

  1. I think it’s interesting that they couldn’t find a single signer of that letter outside the ‘soft’ humanities; they’re all from English, Rhetoric, Women’s and Cultural Studies departments and the wifty old interdisciplinary History of Consciousness program at Santa Cruz. Professional dreamers all. My kind of people, in short, but no one with any kind of responsible nuts-and-bolts expertise on how large-scale institutions like the UC system and the State of California actually work. Hence the hand-waving rhetoric and symbolic approach to collective action. They might as well just issue clown suits and round red noses and be done with it. Which, come to think of it, might be a more effective way to dramatize their point about the status of the faculty as decisionmakers in their own universities.

    • I think it would be interesting to see what happens in this case, I’ve read somewhere that CSU system reacted to the same policies with good old fashioned negotiations/bargaining, plus their faculty is unionized and I can’t find it now, but their guidelines vis-a-vis furloughs were basically something like “if an administrator tells you that you have to do X, tell them to go screw themselves and refer to par.Y of this document or that document” – plus they released a flyer explaining the implications of furloughs with an application to join the union attached (nice!). I agree with you that this might be just a rhetorical gesture on the part of those who finally get to do something about something (not all, of course), but I’d like to see what happens…

    • Hey Carl,

      If you’d spent a little more time paying attention to those soft-headed clowns in the humanities classes, you would be able to read and process basic information: one of the first signatories is Richard T. Scalettar, Professor
      Department of Physics, UC Davis.

      Comprehension: fail.

  2. Damn, Swill, you’re right. There he is, six places down after noted steely pragmatist Judith Butler.

    And I couldn’t agree more that physicists are expert, based on their experience with the non-equilibrium thermodynamics of elementary particles and the politics of grant farming, to understand the operation of large complex human institutions.

    My bad.

  3. Gird your literacy loins, Carl, for the next release of the letter. It will have several hundred more names of faculty members affixed; do keep us updated if you see any from disciplines that have earned your stamp of approval for mastery of large complex human institutions.

  4. Ah, Swill. If only my stamp of approval, your snark or the faculty’s pique were the critical variables here. But like Mikhail I look forward to seeing what happens.

  5. Thanks for the update, Eric. By the way, I believe the number of new signatories is around 700 and counting.

    Carl’s first line of dismissal — that all the signatories were humanists — didn’t pan out upon a reading of the actual letter, which hasn’t stopped every Glenn Beck fan in the blogosphere from voicing precisely the same line. His putative objection then switched to the fact that physics itself isn’t pragmatic enough to engage in political action. Since many of the new signatories are from both hard scientific and pragmatic disciplines (medicine, engineering, etc.) one breathlessly awaits his next category error innovation.

    I, for one, predict an attack on the futility of collective protest per se.

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