Re "Lowered expectations for model of higher education," July 31
As a California State University system faculty member, I applaud The Times for its ongoing coverage of the impact that devastating budget cuts will have on a generation of Californians seeking a college degree. Thanks to the intransigence of the washed-up action hero in Sacramento and of his party's fanatical ideologues in the Legislature, the dismantling of public higher education in California is now well underway.
However, The Times neglects to mention California's retention of obscenely profligate corporate tax breaks, despite the severity of the budget crisis, and AB 656, a crucial bill in the state Assembly that would generate a steady stream of funding for public higher education by taxing oil extraction.
Why not cut 33% instead of 10%?
Having been a student in the University of California system, I found it bloated, arrogant, silent on too many issues and out of touch. The career preparation I received from higher education was of little value. Yet the faculty and bureaucrats command lavish salaries, pensions, benefits and take frequent leaves of absence. If some in higher education can find higher-paying jobs elsewhere, I say go -- but give me a refund first.
Kudos to The Times for demonstrating that the UC system's "sky is falling" scenario is greatly exaggerated. The pie chart accompanying the article shows that only 17% of the university's funding comes from the state. The reduction in state funding to the system could be easily covered by its reserves.
In addition, although student fees are being raised and faculty and staff are being threatened with furloughs and layoffs, UC executives continue to receive raises and bonuses. Can you imagine the president of a public institution making almost $1 million a year? UC President Mark Yudof does.
The writer is a study coordinator in UCLA's neurology department.