Monday, September 28, 2009

Higher Education Leadership for the 21st Century!!!

Commentator Elizabeth alerted me of this Times interview with University of California president Mark Yudof. I guess Yudof didn't consult with his press agent before giving this interview. Or he just didn't care. Some lowlights:

Q: U.C. is facing a budget shortfall of at least $753 million, largely because of cuts in state financing. Do you blame Governor Schwarzenegger for your troubles?
A: I do not. This is a long-term secular trend across the entire country. Higher education is being squeezed out. It’s systemic. We have an aging population nationally. We have a lot of concern, as we should, with health care.

Q: And education?
A: The shine is off of it. It’s really a question of being crowded out by other priorities.

Q: Already professors on all 10 U.C. campuses are taking required “furloughs,” to use a buzzword.
A: Let me tell you why we used it. The faculty said “furlough” sounds more temporary than “salary cut,” and being president of the University of California is like being manager of a cemetery: there are many people under you, but no one is listening. I listen to them.

Q: The word “furlough,” I recently read, comes from the Dutch word “verlof,” which means permission, as in soldiers’ getting permission to take a few days off. How has it come to be a euphemism for salary cuts?
A: Look, I’m from West Philadelphia. My dad was an electrician. We didn’t look up stuff like this. It wasn’t part of what we did. When I was growing up we didn’t debate the finer points of what the word “furlough” meant.

Q:When you began your job last year, your annual compensation was reportedly $828,000.

A: It actually was $600,000 until I cut my pay by $60,000. So my salary is $540,000, but it gets amplified because people say, “You have a pension plan.”

Q: What about your housing allowance? How much is the rent on your home in Oakland?
A: It’s about $10,000 a month.

Q: Does U.C. pay for that on top of your salary?
A: Yes, and the reason they do that is because they have a president’s house, it needed $8 million of repairs and I decided that was not the way to go. Why the heck would I ever authorize $8 million for a house I didn’t want to live in anyhow?

Q:What do you think of the idea that no administrator at a state university needs to earn more than the president of the United States, $400,000?
A: Will you throw in Air Force One and the White House?

Wow, talk about dialing it in. Yudof just wants to get paid. The shine is off education, so why bother fighting for it. Instead, he'll just hang out with celebrities.

Higher education in the 21st century! Fantastic!