Thursday, November 5, 2009

Send this letter to UCLA Chancellor Block

Dear UCLA Community Members,

The UC Regents are meeting at UCLA November 17-19th, to vote on YET ANOTHER FEE HIKE FOR WINTER QUARTER and other measures of grave concern. If you are concerned about these hikes, faculty and staff furloughs and layoffs, and cutting of core academic services—which will undermine quality and equity in our public universities—please send a letter to Chancellor Gene Block expressing your disappointment.  Concerned students have asked Chancellor Block to participate in a student-led Town Hall meeting sometime prior to the November Regents Meeting, in the hope that he will hear and consider our concerns before final decisions are made at the November meeting.  But the Chancellor says he is “too busy” to meet until after the UC Regents meeting—which would defeat the entire purpose of the Town Hall and leave student voices unheard at the budget meeting.  Now is the time to put pressure on the Chancellor to truly consider the concerns of all those affected by the proposed decisions! Please consider sending the following letter to Chancellor Block as soon as possible.  Feel free to tweak or edit the letter as you like and please pass along to others.

Thanks so much,

UCLA Fights Back organizers

TO: Chancellor Gene Block


RE: Student Fee Hikes and Privatization of our Public Universities

DATE: October 28, 2009

Chancellor Block:

Like many UCLA students, faculty, and staff, I am very concerned about the current budget decisions being considered by the Regents.  I am equally disappointed to hear that you have not been more attentive to the concerns of students like me. Student organizers have very reasonably requested that you attend a student-driven Town Hall meeting prior to the meeting of the Regents at UCLA on November 17-19, 2009.  It is essential that this meeting occur before the Regents meeting if student concerns are to be considered in any real way when critical decisions are made that affect them in extreme ways.

[See Daily Bruin article from Oct. 7, 2009, "Undergraduates, graduates, union representatives meet with Chancellor Gene Block about financial crisis. Chancellor agrees ‘conditionally’ to town hall forum, but dates still to be confirmed."]

I sympathize with the very busy schedule you must keep; however, it would seem that in the face of such extreme threats to the very foundation of what has always been a high quality and accessible public university system in California (indeed, the best in the Nation!)—in the face of the high toll students, faculty, and workers would pay as a result of these decisions—I would think that hearing and addressing the concerns of those you represent would be your highest priority.

Inviting over 33,000 students, not to mention staff and faculty, to sign up lottery-style for one of six slots during one office hour will not suffice given the growing awareness and deeply felt concern of the entire campus community in the face of devastating budget cuts.  We will not be satisfied with a response that there are "official" avenues of communication that you must privilege.  Our request is simple—we want a public forum.

Further, while it may be reasonable under normal circumstances for you to have a meeting proposal deadline for those who request meetings with you, it seems highly unreasonable of you to hold to this rule, given that students have had only so much time to react to the proposed fee hikes.  This request was made of you when there were still several weeks until the Regent's Meeting, and there are still 2 weeks to go now.  It is hard for me to believe that you cannot free up an hour or two to address student concerns in an open forum prior to the Regents meeting—if that were what you wanted to do. The fact that instead you have given these excuses about timelines and schedules implies that making the Town Hall as useful as possible to students is not a high priority for you.

As a stakeholder in the UCLA community, I am writing to hold you accountable to the community you are entrusted to lead, and I ask you to reconsider this decision and meet with students prior to the Regents meeting.  Our education, our state, and indeed our democracy are at stake.  Please do the right thing.


[your name]

1 comment:

  1. I am a UCLA grad class of 2009. I'm trying to figure out ways I can help as an alumnus. For now, please consider using to get UCLA students/faculty/staff to petition Chancellor Block via his Twitter (but looks like he doesn't have one, so maybe @UCLA?). You could also wallbomb his facebook page: to produce a reply.