Welcome Back Letter from UC President Mark G. Yudof

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.

Sincerely,

Mark G. Yudof

UC President

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Welcome Back Letter from UC President Mark G. Yudof

  1. Bronwen Rowlands

    Well done, UCMeP.
    This one sizzles.

  2. surprised ucmep did not address the Ric Chavez -Regents Meeting issue in any post – must have been on vacation all summer- you should catch up on the headlines over the summer- whistleblower rights – a few anyway finally were won and the Regents refused to allow a citizen to film the regents meeting- they did not know about the Bagley-Keene Act – or so they say…
    would have loved to have seen ucmep’s take on the matter
    here is one of the op eds on it:
    http://www.insidebayarea.com/opinion/ci_15589635

  3. moravecglobal

    Sorry Tale of UC Berkeley Chancellor’s Office: easily grasped by the public, lost on University of California’s President Yudoff. The UC Berkley budget gap has grown to $150 million, & still the Chancellor is spending money that isn’t there on $3,000,000 consultants. His reasons range from the need for impartiality to requiring the consultants “thinking, expertise, & new knowledge”.
    Does this mean that the faculty & management of UC Berkeley – flagship campus of the greatest public system of higher education in the world – lack the knowledge, integrity, impartiality, innovation, skills to come up with solutions? Have they been fudging their research for years? The consultants will glean their recommendations from faculty interviews & the senior management that hired them; yet $ 150 million of inefficiencies and solutions could be found internally if the Chancellor & Provost Breslauer were doing the work of their jobs (This simple point is lost on UC’s leadership).
    The victims of this folly are Faculty and Students. $ 3 million consultant fees would be far better spent on students & faculty.
    There can be only one conclusion as to why inefficiencies & solutions have not been forthcoming from faculty & staff: Chancellor Birgeneau has lost credibility & the trust of the faculty & Academic Senate leadership (C. Kutz, F. Doyle). Even if the faculty agrees with the consultants’ recommendations – disagreeing might put their jobs in jeopardy – the underlying problem of lost credibility & trust will remain. (Context: greatest recession in modern times)
    Contact your representatives in Sacramento: tell them of the hefty self-serving $’s being spent by UC Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau & Provost Breslauer.

  4. moravecglobal

    UC Berkeley faculty, staff, administrators, employees have lost trust in Chancellor Birgeneau’s Operational Excellence (OE) initiative. Here’s why. Public universities are into a phase of creative disassembly where reinvention and adjustments are constant.. Even solid world class institutions like the University of California Berkeley under the leadership of Chancellor Birgeneau & Provost Breslauer are firing staff, faculty and part-time lecturers through “Operation Excellence (OE)”. Yet many employees, professionals and faculty cling to old assumptions about one of the most critical relationship of all: the implied, unwritten contract between employer and employee.
    Until recently, loyalty was the cornerstone of that relationship. Employers promised work security and a steady progress up the hierarchy in return for employees fitting in, accepting lower wages, performing in prescribed ways and sticking around. Longevity was a sign of employer-employee relations; turnover was a sign of dysfunction. None of these assumptions apply today. Organizations can no longer guarantee employment and lifetime careers, even if they want to. UC Berkeley senior management paralyzed themselves with an attachment to “success brings success’ rather than “success brings failure’ and are now forced to break the implied contract with employees – a contract nurtured by management that the future can be controlled.
    Jettisoned Cal employees are finding that the hard won knowledge, skills and capabilities earned while being loyal are no longer valuable in the employment market place.
    What kind of a contract can employers and employees make with each other? The central idea is both simple and powerful: the job or position is a shared situation. Employers and employees face market and financial conditions together, and the longevity of the partnership depends on how well the for-profit or not-for-profit continues to meet the needs of customers and constituencies. Neither employer nor employee has a future obligation to the other. Organizations train people. Employees develop the kind of security they really need – skills, knowledge and capabilities that enhance future employability.
    The partnership can be dissolved without either party considering the other a traitor.

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