2323053026_267013487a_mThe next time you hear a professor complain about a pay cut, just mention the following fact. According to a report by the American Association of University Professors, UC Berkeley professors are among the top-earning in the nation. Berkeley has landed number 13 on the list of highest average annual salaries of university professors with a respectable $149, 100.

The highest paying university is Harvard (because no one was expecting that) with an average annual salary of $193, 800. And right above us on the list is fellow UC, UCLA, with $153,700. With all these budget cuts, it’s nice to see that at least some people at Berkeley are still getting money.

Image Source: ArghMonkey under Creative Commons
The Highest-Paying Colleges: American Association of University Professors Study [Huffington Post]

Have you been keeping up with the latest in California budget politics? Because if you haven’t, you might read more »

empty lecture hall

Nothing like some Swift-style irony to make light of a half-way calamitous situation. In this smirk, maybe chuckle inducing article, Steven Clifford ponders the ultimate cure-all for Berkeley’s budget woes: just get rid of us, and let our highly esteemed faculty carry on their academia without the pesky burden of, you know, teaching. A faculty:student ratio of infinity does entice. If the prospect of a more expensive semester has got you down, we suggest you take delight in this.

Image Source: inio under Creative Commons.
University of California at Berkeley to Eliminate All Students on Jan. 1 [Huffington Post]

3761900551_0ea9790126Yes, we regret to inform you that the university isn’t looking too good. All these budget cuts have led to some kind of gangrenous infection, and it’s spread too far too fast. You might have to lose that leg. But, if you like, we can replace it with some kind of insanely badass gadgetry.

Okay, so this isn’t the real scenario. But you have to admit, it sounds pretty flippin’ awesome. Could we turn our university into a cyborg? Well, UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau seems to think so: he’s considering turning Berkeley into a state-federal “‘hybrid’ that receives basic operating funds from the government.”

You had us at “hybrid.” Our ailing university will now come back stronger than ever, howling with revenge-lust for its lost workers and ready to kick some financially unstable ass. Libraries will always be open … in the matrix. Lectures will be downloaded into our consciousness. No one will ever have to wait in line again.

Apologies, we exaggerate. Essentially the UC system is in the poor house, and we’re going door-to-door in Washington asking for scraps of federal funding. Our state is obviously not helping enough.

It really is a shame Berkeley isn’t a human/machine hybrid, though. With the Terminator as governor, we’re going to need all the help we can get.

Image source: Daquella manera under Creative Commons
State-federal ‘hybrid’ eyed to save UC [Daily Democrat]


Last Wednesday, Erik Tarloff for The Atlantic wrote a blog post entitled ‘UCB RIP’ and Chancellor Birgeneau decided he wasn’t going to take that sh*t. Indeed, the future looks dim as the-deficit-that-shall-not-be-named and other forces of darkness tighten their stranglehold around UC Berkeley’s already emaciated neck, sending our dear headmaster to the ends of positivity that he is obligated to occupy. For those of you who don’t feel like reading through their call and rebuttal, allow us to summarize: read more »


For all our bitching, it seems that our fair city has kept its economic footing remarkably well throughout this whole recession thing. The Berkeley City Council passed a neat budget this week; no layoffs and about one percent growth. Whether a result of good governance or just another manifestation of our singular un-normalness, we could care less. We’ll take it, and we’re not about to toss out the recession card either, which has nicely excused our financial shortcomings thus far. For the curious, here’s the scoop and a theory or two on our unique little prosperity: read more »

It’s not news that the UC system is facing money problems that are worse than normal (Who isn’t? Answer: bars) but what hasn’t been clear is how the system plans on addressing them.

Among the proposed changes are a freeze on hiring new staff (even positions that are already “open”), mandatory furloughs and reduced work hours without getting rid of sick leave or vacation time.

The good news is that read more »

Say what, now?
We hope this isn’t some kind of cruel “gotcha!” moment or something. All we’ve heard for these past few months has been some version of “the economy is failing and we’re gonna have to cut funding.” Maybe UC President Mark Yudof, the brains of this new proposal, is a secret Second Life addict and has started confusing virtual reality with reality. We see no other plausible explanation.

In response to Arnie’s proposed 9.3 % fee increase to next year’s UC tuition, Mark “Yu Crazy” Yudof is set to propose a $3.1 million per-year plan before the UC Board of Regents in early February. His plan will fully fund undergraduate California students whose household incomes fall below the state median of $60,000, bascially making the UCs into a state-funded version of private schools. Hmm … read more »

As the Daily Cal reminisces about what it was like in the Summer of Love back in 1967, the Associated Press (via the Chron) took a look back at how California’s dream for free public education has failed.

Free public education? Really? No way! What a concept.

That’s what former UC President Clark Kerr’s dream was—essentially free public education for all California residents.

The AP story shows us how, in the last 40 years, that vision has changed. It tells the story of three different Cal students going to school at different times.

When John Garamendi went to school, it cost about $170 a year. Jeff Chang had to pay $1,300 in the 1980s, and today, well, we all know how much we have to pay for school.

bq. “We are making a fundamental policy error, a strategic policy error in allowing the fees to increase,” says Garamendi, who has children in the UC system and now sits on the system’s governing Board of Regents in his role as lieutenant governor.

The reason for the fee increases comes from the growing expenses the state has to deal with from prisons to infrastructure—and then there’s always Proposition 13.

As the story points out, in 1970, 7 percent of the state’s budget went to UC. Today only 3.5 percent goes to the university.

So essentially, Kerr’s Master Plan has failed, but not because of poor planning.

We’ll never go back to paying $170 per year to go to school in California, but students don’t have to and shouldn’t have to pay higher and higher fees just to get a decent (or world class) education.

Anyone want to take that De Lorean and travel back in time with us?

40th Anniversary of the Summer of Love [Daily Cal]
California dream of free college wilts under fiscal pressure [SF Gate]

Usually, we talk about what happened in the UC system last week or stories written about other UC schools in UC Roundup.

But this week, since the UC Regents met at UC Santa Barbara, we decided to take a look at what the Regents are doing—since it only affects the entire system and since they control most of the money.

*First Off…Chancellors’ Spouses Able to Use Purse*
For a long, long time, the spouses of the various chancellors of the UC system have conducted special “hostess” type events. They’ve gone around to fundraisers, they make appearances, but didn’t really get much compensation for it.

Not anymore. The Regents approved to expand the benefits of the most active of chancellors’ spouses.

Under the new policy, the top leaders’ spouses who are significantly involved in promoting the university will be reimbursed on all university-related travel and entertainment and costs associated with cell phones and other portable electronic devices. They will also be able to use a university laptop, and receive business cards, a UC parking permit, travel insurance and workers compensation coverage. They will not receive a salary.

Aw shucks. No salary? At least they get a card with the nice UC seal on it.

*No Vote on Tobacco*
The Regents postponed a vote that may have banned professors from accepting money from tobacco companies.

Instead the Regents through out the ‘C’ word—compromise.

One option would have faculty committees evaluate grant proposals for tobacco industry funding and monitor whether the research is used responsibly.

Another would let departments and other school divisions decide not to take tobacco money.

The question that UC administrators and UC faculty bring up is whether or not a ban on receiving funding from Big Tobacco is an infringement on academic freedom.

What about the public’s right to know that research done by UC isn’t being skewed by tobacco companies?

*Yaay! More Fees!*
UC professional sent a proposal to the Regents last week, asking them to change the structure of the graduate school fee policy. This would mean that there could be a substantial fee increase for UC’s graduate schools.

Under this new policy, fee levels would be set by each individual campus.

Haas and Boalt are asking for a huge fee increase.

UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and the Boalt Hall School of Law have requested the largest increases, asking for fees to be raised to $44,154 for the graduate business program in 2010-11 and $43,932 for Boalt Hall graduate students in the same year.

We, as undergraduates, always bitch and whine about fee increases, but what about the grad students? Don’t they deserve some help too? Where can they bitch?

*Regents Complain About Budget Cuts*
So, the California state legislature and not the state’s governator is looking like the bad guys when it comes to UC’s budget.

Governor Terminator promised UC a four percent increase in its budget for the upcoming fiscal year. However, the state legislature is looking to cut the budget by $2 billion. That would mean only a three percent increase in the budget, instead of the promised four percent, and a loss of about $30 million.

And if UC loses $30 million, it might mean an increase in student fees.

Regent John Moores said the proposed $30 million decrease could potentially result in a fee increase.

“Once again, the university may have to consider raising fees, as distasteful as it is,” he said.

Great. Who would have thought that we would want the Governator to win a battle against the state legislature?

But of course, the Regents have their hands tied. That letter they sent to Sacramento is the only thing they can do to stop this. Kind of sucks, huh?

UC Professional Schools Recommend Higher Fees [Daily Cal]
Regents: Proposed Budget Cuts Would Violate Compact [Daily Cal]
Traditional roles shift for college leaders’ spouses [SignOnSanDiego]
UC professional programs face steep fee hikes [SignOnSanDiego]
Compromise sought on taking tobacco money [SF Gate]