Friday, November 16, 2007

What Do 'UC' In Berkeley?

Is this what 'UC'?

Aw, what a sweet video. So clean, so rich with knowledge and opportunities. Oh look, a minority! Oh, there's another one doing some dancing twist. Wow, UC Berkeley is "for the people," it really is...

I swear I stepped foot on this campus with an angry-ethnic-meter, which keeps getting hotter and hotter. Three years of BS, and this is what has pushed me to the breaking point:

The Chancellors of the UC system have been granted a raise in their salaries. In a time of major budget crisis and rising costs of 'public' education, somehow this is supposed to be a good idea. SacBee's Dorothy Korber reported, prior to the authorization of this increase, that:
A brief executive summary released by UC President Robert Dynes says the pay increases are necessary to "address particular recruitment and retention needs." According to Dynes, UC chancellors' pay lags 33 percent behind similar universities.

The proposed salary hikes for chancellors heading the 10 UC campuses would total $3 million.

For UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgenau, a 33 percent increase would boost his current annual salary of $416,000 to $553,280. For UC Davis Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef, the increase would take him from $300,000 annually to $399,000.

Paul Schwartz, a spokesman for Dynes, said the pay increases are part of a university-wide initiative established by the regents two years ago.

"The aim is to make sure that we are able to pay competitive wages and benefits to preserve the university's quality," he said. "In September, the regents approved a four-year salary plan for faculty. This follows other actions the regents have taken that have provided raises for our lower-paid workers."

So I'm sitting here thinking damn, Chancellor Birgeneau's salary at UC Berkeley was just not enough due to the tremendous stress of having to deal with years of protests from the university's custodians receiving poverty wages. So in his case, this salary is looong overdue. Take every graduation ceremony in the last few years for example, where the Chancellor has had to fill in for the speech because the honored guest speakers keep flaking out on him!

This last spring, Danny Glover canceled his speech at the 2007 graduating class ceremony because he refused to cross the line of protesting custodial women. While Glover conveniently fell through with his commitment to the latest elite coming out of Cal, the Chancellor had to go beyond the call of duty and once again give the commencement speech. After a long day of work, he probably came home to his on-campus mansion over-worked and his head pounding from the ringing cries of cleaning ladies.

Of course there was a kind of 'agreement' made between the UC system and the custodians' unions this summer, but there has virtually been no news about it. Whether it happened or not, I'm sure they got as little as an increase as the system was able to manage to shut them up for a while, and overall it still doesn't change anything. These Chancellors do not need wage increases.

We keep insisting that these are public institutions we are talking about but I can't stress enough how rich and elitist and exclusionary UC Berkeley is--depending on who reads this, you should know why it is, and if you don't know, then that's the problem.

This is the problem*:

Why aren't there any signs saying "my dorm bathroom is cleaned by an overworked Latina working two jobs and living off poverty wages" or "This classroom is disproportionately white" or something?

*The video is of Kansas State University, not UC Berkeley--but you could have fooled me.


1 comment:

  1. 1)when they say that the university is by the ppl, for the ppl, etc, they need to specify which people. It's obviously not by, of, or for all the people of california. it's the ones that created it, own it, and can afford to send their kids there. any other students (like us) are just there so there isn't an uprising against the university. there's about 1000 blacks at Cal, so if they admit 30 more each year, they can say they had a 3% increase and call it progress!

    2)that video is so typical. college students lamenting about how difficult their lives are. four years of struggle for a lifetime of benefits that most of the world can't even imagine. excuse me if i don't really sympathize. and putting in 10 seconds of socially conscious things like "this laptop cost more than some people make in a year" doesn't do a damn thing for those people. way to go U. Kansas.

    I'm mad.