November 18, 2009
TO THE CAMPUS COMMUNITY
Dear Colleagues and Students:
Today I am attending the UC Regents meeting at the UCLA campus. As you know, one of the most important items being discussed is a potential mid-year increase in student fees. I have been listening attentively to the concerns expressed during the public comment periods about rising student fees and other issues related to the budget crisis and its impact on our students and their families, and on our entire university community.
The rally on our campus this week and other activities are a testament to the passion of our students, faculty, and staff about a wide range of issues that have as their common thread the dire financial circumstances of the university. Concerns have been voiced on issues such as the accessibility of classes, program closures, furloughs, support for student services, student involvement in decision-making, the substantial fee increases, and more. It is clear that members of our campus community are deeply concerned about these issues. I share these concerns, and I am personally carrying and forcefully conveying these messages to the other Chancellors, the UC President, and the Regents today and tomorrow.
As a member of the UC Commission on the Future and co-chair of the Research Strategies Working Group, I have also been participating in the Commission’s listening tour to the UC campuses. This has provided me with an opportunity to hear the concerns and feedback from students and colleagues not only on our own campus, but at our sister campuses as well.
A recurrent theme I have heard is the need to keep the lines of communication open on campus, among campuses, with the Regents and the Office of the President, with elected officials in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., and with the public. Consequently, I want to reassure our campus community that I will continue to hold meetings with students, staff, and faculty to hear your ideas and concerns and, of course, to continuously seek your input.
As part of that effort, I would like to propose a series of three town hall forums. The first will be a student-focused town hall meeting, to be held on Monday, November 30, at 3:30 p.m. in Campbell Hall. Of course, our faculty and staff colleagues are encouraged to participate as well. I invite our students to bring questions about how the budget cuts will be affecting future admissions, how financial aid may be affected currently and in the future, whether they will be able to enroll in classes to complete their degrees, how AB540 students are affected, how student services may be affected, and any other issues and concerns. Representatives from our Financial Aid office, Admissions office, the College of Letters & Science, Student Affairs, and other offices will be present to help address questions and listen to your input.
Our next town hall forum will be focused on faculty and staff issues and will be held on Friday, December 4, at 3:30 p.m. in Campbell Hall. Students are also encouraged to participate. Our administrative colleagues, Academic Senate leadership, and I will be there to listen to your input and concerns, and to discuss the evolving budget situation and its impact.
We are also planning another town hall forum to be held after the holiday season; the date and other details will be announced when this is scheduled. This meeting will be for all members of our campus community. Our vice chancellors are currently engaged in consultation within their divisions and with the Coordinating Committee on Budget Strategy regarding their plans for budget reductions this year. We will hold this forum to provide an additional opportunity to listen to the input from our campus community about the current-year budget reductions and their impact, and the expectations for UC’s budget next year.
As with our previous forums, in order to provide access to those at off-campus sites or with scheduling conflicts, each of these meetings will be webcast and archived online.
These unprecedented budget shortfalls are affecting all of us, and it is important for us to keep coming together as a community to listen to each other, to support each other, and to find ways to work together on behalf of our university.
I very much appreciate all of the thoughtful comments, suggestions, and concerns you have shared with me, and I hope all of you will continue to participate in our broad and ongoing campus dialogue about these important issues affecting the future of our campus and UC.
Henry T. Yang