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An Open Letter to Chancellor Birgeneau
by The Undersigned UCB Geography Grad Students
Sunday Nov 22nd, 2009 1:40 PM
Dear Chancellor Birgeneau,

We write this letter in response to your email sent out on Friday, November 20, 2009, at 10:49pm (posted at, regarding Berkeley’s campus-wide protest of UC fee hikes, lay-offs and other cuts that have decreased the accessibility and quality of public education across the University of California’s campuses. We feel that this email misrepresented Friday’s protests and is a disservice to the democratic debate that continues over the UC regents’ actions.

While we understand the spirit of your email, it does not bear much resemblance to the events that took place. Indeed, we are insulted by the euphemistic claim that “a few members of our campus community may have found themselves in conflict with law enforcement officers.” What we observed, and what is well-documented, was the police indiscriminately striking, shoving, and knocking over unarmed and non-aggressive students who were fully within their constitutionally guaranteed rights. Further, to argue that the protests “necessitated significant police presence to maintain safety” makes a mockery of the fact that the only threat to safety on Friday was the police presence itself. The broken fingers sustained by two protesters and the bruises and welts sustained by many were not inflicted by their fellow peaceful demonstrators, but by the police themselves. We deplore these actions, as well as the entrance of heavily armed Alameda Sheriffs onto our campus at a time when faculty and students were engaged in peaceful negotiations.

Such a misrepresentation of the events does not speak to the good faith of the Office of the Chancellor, particularly in how it deals with democratic protests on campus. No irony was lost in the fact that Friday’s protests and police violence took place steps away from UC Berkeley’s “Free Speech Café”. We believe that the student body and the general public deserve to hear a more honest summation of events from Berkeley’s administration, particularly regarding the violence inflicted on students.


The undersigned UC Berkeley Geography graduate students,

Javier Arbona, Jenny Baca, Teo Ballvé, Rachel Brahinsky, Sandy Brown, Liz Carlisle, Jennifer Casolo, Erin Collins, Alicia Cowart, Shannon Cram, Juan David De Lara, Lindsey Dillon, Zoë Friedman-Cohen, Anthony Fontes, Sapna Elizabeth Gardner Thottathil, Jennifer Greenburg, Ju Hui Judy Han, Katy Guimond, Leigh Johnson, Julie Klinger, Sarah Knuth, Jessica Lage, Miri Lavi-Neeman, Nicole List, Seth Lunine, Diana Negrin, Youjeong Oh, Shaina Potts, Kao Shih-Yang, Rajshekhar Singh, John Stehlin, Jason Strange, Alex Tarr, Alberto Velazquez, Max Woodworth

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Chancellor Birgeneau makes $436,800 plus car allowance of $8,916 and a UC provided (TAXPAYERS) mortgage of $434,100. See

This very useful table (can be read at 125% magnification) is Table 3, breakdown of the senior "leadership" found at:

which is linked to the website of UC Emeritus Physics Professor Charles Schwartz, Part 19, Financiing the University, June 23, 2009 at
which is linked to his main site at

THE GANG THAT RUNS UC, INCLUDING BIRGENEAU, SHOULD RECEIVE NO MORE THAN $200,000 A YEAR WITH NO CAR ALLOWANCE OR MORTGAGE, but simply healthcare and a pension, the same as all other employees, as these managers are nothing more than budget managers for which they simply need an accounting degree. NO ONE AT ANY UNIVERSITY SHOULD MAKE MORE THAN $200,000 a year plus healthcare and pension. They can pay for their own cars and housing, the same as the rest of us.

This thug had the unmitigated gall to have armed thugs, namely the police, wearing very expensive clothes and outfitted with tons of deadly ammunition, all at taxpayer expense, attack unarmed students who simply want an education and are faced with absolutely no future if they do not demand it. Clearly, they have lots of money and would rather spend our money on terrorist cops than on education.

Birgeneau and his fellow thug, Yudof, should be fired immediately; the Board of Regents should be abolished, and the entire UC system should be put under the California Department of Education, the same as the rest of the state university system. We do not need an elite finishing school; we need a top quality 4-year university with graduate schools for all areas providing masters and doctorate degrees, all paid for with the progressive income tax, known as tax the rich, increasing the taxes on those who make over $200,00 a year.

The Democrats and Republicans have been busy cutting the progressive income tax, which is why you should vote Peace & Freedom or Green.
Peace and Freedom Party at
and Green Party at

The Democratic majority in the state legislature should have put the issue of changing 2/3 to majority vote for the state budget on the November 2008 ballot; all of this would never have taken place. Now we have a UC professor George Lakoff sponsoring such an initiative for November 2010. Here it is from
"1386. (09-0037)
Changes Legislative Vote Requirement to Pass a Budget or Raise Taxes from Two-Thirds to a Simple Majority. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.
Summary Date: 11/13/09 Circulation Deadline: 04/12/10 Signatures Required: 694,354
Proponent: George Lakoff (510) 848-7465

Changes the legislative vote requirement necessary to pass the state budget, and to raise taxes, from two-thirds to a simple majority. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Unknown state fiscal impacts from lowering the legislative vote requirement for spending and tax increases. In some cases, the content of the annual state budget could change and/or state tax revenues could increase. Fiscal impact would depend on the composition and actions of future Legislatures. (09-0037.) (Full Text) "

Hopefully, there will be enough signatures obtained in time for the November 2010 ballot. Please circulate this petition on campus to save our schools.
by Milan Moravec
Monday Nov 23rd, 2009 8:52 AM
University of California President Yudof Approves $3,000,000 to Outsource UCB Chancellor’s Job
The UC President has a UCB Chancellor that should do the high paid job he is paid for instead of hiring an East Coast consulting firm to fulfill his responsibilities. ‘World class’ smart executives like Chancellor Birgeneau need to do the analysis, hard work and make the difficult decisions of their executive job!
Where do consulting firms like Bain ($3,000,000 consultants) get their recommendations?
From interviewing the senior management that hired them and will be approving their monthly consultant fees and expense reports. Remember the nationally known auditing firm who said the right things and submitted recommendations that senior management wanted to hear and fooled government oversight agencies and the public?
Mr. Birgeneau's executive officer performance management responsibilities include "inspiring innovation and leading change." This involves "defining outcomes, energizing others at all levels and ensuring continuing commitment." Instead of demonstrating his capacity to fulfill his executive accountabilities, Mr. Birgeneau outsourced them. Doesn't he engage University of California and University of California Berkeley (UCB) people at all levels to help examine the budget and recommend the necessary trims? Hasn't he talked to Cornell and the University of North Carolina - which also hired Bain -- about best practices and recommendations that might apply to UCB cuts?
No wonder the faculty and staff are angry and suspicious. Three million dollars is a high price for Californians to pay when a knowledgeable ‘world-class’ Chancellor is not doing his job.
Please help save $3,000,000 for teaching our students and request that the UC President require the UCB Chancellor to fulfill his executive job accountabilities!
by MIlan Moravec
Sunday Nov 28th, 2010 10:43 AM
Chancellor Robert Birgeneau’s eight-year fiscal track record is dismal indeed. He would like to blame the politicians in Sacramento, since they stopped giving him every dollar he has asked for, and the state legislators do share some responsibility for the financial crisis. But not in the sense he means.
A competent chancellor would have been on top of identifying inefficiencies in the system and then crafting a plan to fix them. Competent oversight by the Board of Regents and the legislature would have required him to provide data on problems and on what steps he was taking to solve them. Instead, every year Birgeneau would request a budget increase, the regents would agree to it, and the legislature would provide. The hard questions were avoided by all concerned, and the problems just piled up to $150 million of inefficiencies….until there was no money left.
It’s not that Birgeneau was unaware that there were, in fact, waste and inefficiencies in the system. Faculty and staff have raised issues with senior management, but when they failed to see relevant action taken, they stopped. Finally, Birgeneau engaged some expensive ($3 million) consultants, Bain & Company, to tell him what he should have been able to find out from the bright, engaged people in his own organization.
In short, there is plenty of blame to go around. But you never want a serious crisis to go to waste. An opportunity now exists for the UC president, Board of Regents, and California legislators to jolt UC Berkeley back to life, applying some simple check-and-balance management principles. Increasing the budget is not enough; transforming senior management is necessary. The faculty, Academic Senate, Cal. Alumni, financial donors, benefactors await the transformation.
The author, who has 35 years’ consulting experience, has taught at University of California Berkeley, where he was able to observe the culture and the way the senior management operates.