“The Police didn’t beat us with batons; the administration beat us with police”

by zunguzungu

That was one of the chants at Monday’s rally against police brutality. The UC administration, on the other hand, has been trying to deflect attention from themselves by saying stuff like this:

“It’s not all about me, and it’s not all about Yudof. It’s about the university, and people have to decide whether they support the university in a very difficult time.”

Beyond the “with us or against us” crap, what gives Birgeneau the right to be the sole voice of authority speaking for the entire campus community? And what legitimizes Mark Yudof to speak for the university when he seems to open every conversation with the announcement that he’s just a lawyer from Philadelphia? Who are these people that act as chief executive officers in the UC system? (for those of you who aren’t familiar, the UC is a single university with ten campuses; it has a single President (Mark Yudof) and each campus has a Chancellor).

I googled, and this is what I found. I don’t offer the following as an argument, exactly, but it was sort of eye-opening to note how the UC chancellors who actually came from the campus they now serve as CEO of are the rare exceptions; only one chancellor (of ten) was from his own campus, and only one other came from the UC system. And I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing, necessarily, for the CEO’s of universities to come from outside; certainly it is part of academic culture to embrace a kind of cross pollination of thoughts and ideas. But I wonder if Birgeneau would have called the police (and outside police) out on his students so quickly if he had deeper roots in this campus. I wonder if Yudof’s loyalties are influenced by being hired by a group of political appointees who themselves have very little in the way of UC roots. I wonder what the effect is of a state of affairs where the entire class college presidents seem to be as rootless as Methodist ministers, and if (as it was for Wesley and the Methodists) switching jobs before they can build a personal attachment to a place and a community isn’t exactly the point.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Before he became Chancellor of UC Berkeley, Birgeneau was the president of the University of Toronto.
  • Chancellor of UC Davis, Linda Katehi was provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
  • Before Chancellor Drake went to UCI, he was vice president for health affairs at the University of California’s Office of the President.
  • UC Santa Barbara Chancellor Henry T. Yang had been the dean of engineering at Purdue.
  • UCLA’s Gene D. Block had been the provost of the University of Virginia.
  • Timothy P. White became chancellor at the UC Riverside after being president at the University of Idaho, and had previously been provost and executive vice president at Oregon State University.
  • Marye Anne Fox became chancellor of the UC San Diego after serving as North Carolina State University’s chancellor.
  • Susan Desmond-Hellmann became chancellor of the UC San Francisco, after being president of product development at Genentech, where she “was responsible for Genentech’s pre-clinical and clinical development, process research and development, business development and product portfolio management.”
  • UC Santa Cruz’s George R. Blumenthal, on the other hand, is an actual product of UCSC, though it will perhaps not be surprising that he became Chancellor in an unusual way, stepping in as acting chancellor when the previous chancellor (who had come from the University of Washington) unexpectedly passed away.
  • And Steve Kang became the Chancellor at UC Merced after serving as dean of Engineering at UC Santa Cruz, which is at least a sister campus within the UC system.