This week marks the start of the 2010-2011 academic year at the UC. What better way to welcome everyone back than to post a very special welcome back letter from the president of the University of California himself, Mark Yudof.
Due to the president’s extended summer vacation touring the tea leaf farms of Sri Lanka, UCMeP took the opportunity to ghostwrite this letter by President Yudof for the fair and balanced Cal Disorientation Guide. You can read the full Disorientation Guide here.
Full text below:
Dear Stakeholders of the University of California,
It is with tremendous pleasure that I welcome you to what promises to be another highly bankable year at UC Berkeley!! The fact you can actually afford the high cost of admission is quite the enviable accomplishment. You should be extremely proud of yourself.
As I am certain you are well aware, Cal once had the reputation of being the world’s most renowned public university. Thanks to the efforts of yours truly and my opportunistic team of portly administrators, that disgraceful past is fortunately a thing of – well – the past!
When I first took the helm of the UC just three years ago, life was a lot different. Not only did I have two million dollars less in my bank account, but the very thought that the UC Board of Regents could ever pursue its dream of dismantling public higher education in the state of California with such ferocity and swiftness was all but unthinkable. Who could ever have imagined that the UC Regents and I – in the course of just a single year – could have instituted student fee hikes of 40% all while slashing services and cutting jobs? By making the most of California’s insolvency, we have deftly made lemonade from the rotting lemon of public education. Realizing our dream of a privatized UC has not come without some sacrifices, however. But to make an omelette, you’ve got to break a couple eggs. And if those eggs include fiscally reckless priorities like student diversity, free speech, the living standards of UC employees, and the quality of UC courses, then so be it.
All these food metaphors are making me hungry… LOL!!
While I could go on detailing all the astonishing things I had a hand in pushing through last year, I would prefer that you not linger too long on what’s past – particularly those ugly memories of the mass protests, occupations, and general hullabaloo that tarnished an otherwise pristine year at the UC. Instead, I encourage you all to look to the future in eager anticipation of the many surprises I have in store for you this next year. To this end, here is just a taste of three wondrous changes on deck at the UC to whet your appetite.
UC Kuala Lumpur (UCK)
The most exciting development we have planned is the much-hyped launch of the UC’s 11th campus: UC Kuala Lumpur (UCK). Now you might be saying to yourself, “How can Kuala Lumpur have a campus in the UC system, it isn’t even in the United States!” That may be true – but only if you lack entrepreneurial imagination.
With the magic of the internet, Kuala Lumpur can now be anywhere you want it to be, as can UC Kuala Lumpur – especially since it will not be a real campus! That’s right folks, UCK will not be another one of those anachronistic high-overhead campuses (with ceilings over your head): UCK will be a cyber-campus.
Under the impeccable guidance of UC Berkeley Law Dean Christopher Edley (who btw has close to four decades of experience setting up such online education programs!), the UC Regents are investing hundreds of millions of dollars into a brand spanking new campus located right on the internet. The rationale is clear: why should the UC waste resources on improving the campuses we’ve got when UCK will allow the UC brand to penetrate the darkest corners of the planet that have yet to see the shining golden light that is the University of California. Fiat Lux, baby!
What’s even more ingenious is that Dean Edley has not hesitated marketing the development of cyber-campuses as a “civil rights issue” for the new millennium. While I don’t really know what he’s talking about, this rhetoric sure appeals to deep-pocketed investors with liberal sensibilities!
Sure, there’s a lot of criticism that a cyber-campus like UCK will only further institutionalize the exclusion of marginalized communities from brick and mortar universities like UC Berkeley. While that may be, I want to assure you that UCK promises to give a whole new meaning to the much maligned phrase “separate but equal.” With this said, I sincerely hope the UC considers using the following catchphrase when marketing our new cyber-campus to the aforementioned marginalized communities: “Just because we don’t want you on our campus, doesn’t mean we don’t want your money.”
Jonathan Poullard, UC Berkeley’s Grand Inquisitor
In recognition of his astounding commitment to revoking the civil rights of over 100 students at UC Berkeley students last year, Jonathan Poullard will be promoted. Beginning September 1, the current Dean of Students will become UC Berkeley’s very first Grand Inquisitor. Like Tomas de Torquemada, Spain’s legendary inquisitor of the 15th century, Mr. Poullard will be charged with overseeing an uncompromising and vindictive campaign of criminalizing student dissent through the use of anonymous denunciations, medieval torture techniques, and mass expulsions of any undesirable populations. While the duties of his new office are hardly any different from the way Mr. Poullard has done his job as Dean of Students, I and Chancellor Bobby Birgeneau agree that this new title is an appropriate nod to Grand Inquisitor Poullard’s unparalleled service in ensuring the proper campus comportment of UC Berkeley students.
The Expansion of UC Berkeley’s partnership with BP
While a lot is changing at UC Berkeley, one thing will assuredly remain the same: UC Berkeley will continue its commitment to help out anyone facing difficult times. To this end, UC Berkeley has begun exploring how best to expand its corporate partnership (currently worth a paltry $500 million) with the Oliver Twist of multi-national corporate empires, BP. It has been a rough year for BP, what with the recent resignation of its impeccably dressed CEO and that slight hiccup down in the Gulf of Mexico. In an effort to get a struggling BP back on its feet, UC Berkeley will soon be announcing an ambitious 5 year plan to help BP continue bringing oil to American shores any way possible. The full details of this proposal will be revealed at the November Regents meeting.
These are just a sampling of the exciting developments you can expect to see in the coming months. And for those of you who want to do your part to make changes like these a reality, all you have to do is sit back and do nothing at all.
Mark G. Yudof