Sunday, September 27, 2009

Write the representatives again...

Dear Assemblymember Ammiano,

I wrote you a few weeks ago regarding budget cuts to the University of California, and to public education more generally.

Today I write as a faculty member at UC Berkeley, and one of your constituents, to comment on a quote in the San Francisco Chronicle from Assemblymember Julia Brownley. She argued that the campus protests at Berkeley and the other UC campuses last Thursday involve only an issue of how the University has cut its budget:

"'The state is facing an unprecedented fiscal crisis,' said Julia Brownley, a Santa Monica Democrat who chairs the Assembly Education Committee. 'The students are protesting how the university cut its budget. The Legislature left that up to the university.'"

As someone who attended that event, I can assure you that is only a small part of the story. Faculty and students are deeply distressed about the declining commitment of the state government in support of California's unparalleled tradition of public education. The UC system has long served as a cultural, scientific, and economic resource for the State of California, the preeminent example of access to the highest quality of education for all students, regardless of their background.

While the budget cuts imposed from UCOP are painful, the fundamental issue for which we are fighting is the restoration of support from state government, and our voters, for public education at all levels: K-12, community colleges, CSU and the UC. Please support education and the future of California. Please listen to our message more carefully than your colleague Julia Brownley seems to have done.

Respectfully yours,
Michael Lucey
Professor of French and Comparative Literature
Chair, French Department
UC Berkeley