Thursday, September 03, 2009

Won't Somebody Think of the Children

Just saw this post on Leiter about a proposed walkout by UC faculty on 9/24 because . . . drum roll please.

Forced furloughs on days when they're not teaching or holding office hours. This, the fine academics consider an unacceptable violation of their umm well I'm not sure what it's a violation of, but they'll be damned if they have to give a talk on Renaissance art in Florence and not get paid by the UC for it. Meanwhile, students with stabbing wounds from the years of mugging by the Legislature and the Regents will now be forced to take that final step and teach themselves in September--instead of the usual December.

Memo to faculty: you look silly. It's something like complaining about a no smoking rule because without a pipe in your mouth, how else will you look prestigious? California is leading the nation in jobless claims, a nasty brushfire is exposing the dearth of resources that actually save lives, and you're complaining about WHEN you have to take furloughs? But to top it off, the complaint is that you can't screw over students to make a statement when taking your furloughs? THAT is your beef? Two words come to mind.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

So basically the argument of this post is that faculty should shut up and do the same amount of work for less pay. That's ridiculous - if we pay less, they should work less. It's the only fair outcome.

9/04/2009 10:21 AM  
Blogger Armen said...

It's actually not the fair outcome because UC students are not suddenly getting more bang for their buck. In fact, everyone else on the public payroll or in the private sector is hurting because of a bad economy. But suddenly when it affects one of the cushiest jobs, it's economic cutbacks are unacceptable? If a professor loses pay for a day during fall break, I'm not going to shed any tears. Welcome to the real world, profs.

9/04/2009 10:26 AM  
Blogger Armen said...

*the economic cutbacks.

9/04/2009 10:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not anti-labor, really I'm not. But I hate the argument that "getting paid less means [they] should be able to work less." Excuse me, but no. By that logic, every pay increase over the years should have been accompanied by an increase in the amount you work. No one's being asked to work double-time for half pay. It's basically a COLA rollback of 2 or 3 years. Feh!

9/04/2009 2:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'm still confused. it seems that the anger is directed at the timing of the furlough, right? so the professors are angry because the furlough won't inconvenience students? that can't be the motivation, can it? can someone take baby steps and explain what it is about the timing of the furloughs that has the faculty so ticked off?

9/04/2009 3:31 PM  
Blogger Beetle Aurora Drake said...

Professors work pretty much on their own schedule, and their scheduled activities, as far as the university is concerned, is pretty much just teaching (and maybe faculty meetings or some such). Research isn't something they can just do less of, especially if they're still building their career (and if they're not, they barely have to do any). So telling them to take furlough days, but not on the days they're teaching, is essentially telling them to do the same amount of work for less money.

9/04/2009 5:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the explanation is here: the union really wanted the furloughs to be on teaching days so that there would be more public outcry.

"The ten Academic Senates unanimously mandated furloughs taken on instructional days for good reasons. These reasons exceed the particular interests of the faculty; they pertain to the collective interests of all workers and students. Instructional furloughs pressure the state to cease defunding the UC system, and they pressure the Office of the President to confront the fact that its overall approach to budget reform is unsustainable and unjust. "

9/04/2009 6:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that interested parties should read the content of the UC Faculty Walkout letter ( or perhaps look at Catherine Cole's letter before rushing to conclusions about the motivations of the faculty. The furloughs are hardly the only issue; among other things, this protest is about one person (President Yudof) making huge decisions that restructure an entire university. Don't forget that it's the students who will be affected adversely if the UC loses its top faculty and continues to structure its budget so as to raise pay for its executives and decimate the university's staff -- AND force students to pay exorbitant fees. UC students would do well to educate themselves about how these budget cuts affect them and join the protest on the 24th. The writer of this blog seems not to realize that much more than faculty pay is at stake.

9/06/2009 7:19 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

"So telling them to take furlough days, but not on the days they're teaching, is essentially telling them to do the same amount of work for less money."

I thought that much was obvious. In the business, we call this "a paycut," and it happens to people in down economies.

9/06/2009 11:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The university told all faculty and all staff they would get paid less but could take furlough days. All staff are taking off certain days when they would otherwise work. The President's unilateral interpretation really changes it to a pay cut.

9/07/2009 11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

furloughs already are pay cuts. otherwise we'd call them "extra days off with identical salary!"

the specific problem with these furloughs is the one the protesters identified in their own statement: by having furloughs fall on days when they won't affect students, there will be less of a public outcry.

9/07/2009 11:57 AM  
Blogger Armen said...


9/07/2009 12:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pay cuts are the same amount of days for less pay. Furloughs are days off for less pay. Ask UC staff the difference.

9/07/2009 3:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know my professors are generally much more reasonable people than the UC brass, but come on. From a student's perspective this looks _really_ bad. There may be other issues in play, and this may make a lot of sense from your perspective, but if so you are doing a terrible job of conveying your message. As things stand you look like a bunch of whiners.

Let's recall a few things over which I am not staging a campus-wide protest. I am being cramped into a windowless, air condition-less room with more students than chairs. I am being taught by adjuncts and faculty, not the premiere professors my admissions brochure promised. I am taking on an inordinate amount of debt to buy the newest editions of your casebooks, readers, supplements, and in one case this semester, syllabus. Yes, that's right, I had to pay for my syllabus.

My point is that there is plenty of griping to go around, and if you want me to take time from my own beefs with the UC system in order to support your cause, you need to do a lot more work to convince me. That's not an unreasonable request. After all, I am borrowing money to pay your salary.

9/07/2009 3:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What the faculty are really concerned about is the decline of the UC system. The best professors will not stay at Berkeley if their pay is consistently cut (a furlough on non-teaching days is essentially a paycut since they are paid to teach). They will move to other, better paid positions (just as I assume you would). Unless there is a public outcry about cutting state education budgets, the UC as you currently know it, will not be around in another 10 years. By moving the furloughs to teaching days there is more likely to be such an outcry, both from students and their parents. The argument is really between the faculty and the voters (taxpayers) - do we want UC to remain a public university or not? The university administration is essentially rolling over to the state legislature and accepting the decline of the university (i.e. that good professors will leave) or gambling that the professors won't leave. The faculty would like to see more of a fight, and are using the students as pawns in the opening moves of that fight.

9/08/2009 10:10 AM  

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