Monday, June 02, 2008


Here is a petition to restore funding to the UC Berkeley English Department. You should sign it and help save my friends' jobs and keep it so that undergraduates can get the education they pay for and graduate on time.

For people in the UC Berkeley community:

For everyone else:


We, the undersigned, protest cuts to the UC Berkeley English Department that will leave hundreds of undergraduates without the classes they need to graduate.

Despite the state’s longstanding commitment to the “access, affordability, and quality”1 of public higher education, and its recent renewed promise to “provide students... access to the classes they need to graduate,”2 the May Revision of the state budget proposes to make up for a budget shortfall by cutting the UCs, CSUs, and Community Colleges. UC Berkeley has shifted the cost and burden of these state cuts directly and disproportionately onto students, so that even while tuition goes up by 7%, UC Berkeley is cutting classes, such as Reading & Composition (R&C), which are required for nearly all undergraduates.

Last year, nearly 500 students were turned away from already over-full R&C classes across the university; next year, dozens more will be eliminated. In 2008-09, the English Department alone will have to discontinue 17 R&C classes—meaning more than 300 students will be turned away. At the same time that they are paying an increase in tuition, many undergraduates will have to either pay to take R&C at Community Colleges, or, enroll for a 5th year to graduate.

These cuts also threaten to dismantle graduate programs by cutting off funding for PhD students who teach to pay their tuition. With these cuts, 17 out of 140 students in the English Department alone—more than 1/10th—will lose their means of support. The English Department (#1 in the country3) has taken decades to build its reputation; these cuts will decimate the department, reduce its ranking, and undermine Berkeley’s overall ranking. And English is just one example; the cuts will also affect other departments, such as East Asian Languages & Cultures, which will have to cut 19 teachers, and eliminate places for as many as 1700 students. These cuts threaten to undermine the quality of both teaching and research at UC Berkeley, and diminish the value of a Berkeley degree.

Therefore, we, the undersigned faculty, staff, students, alumni, family, and friends of UC Berkeley, ask Chancellor Robert Birgeneau, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost George Breslauer, Executive Dean Mark Richard, and Dean Janet Broughton to honor UC Berkeley's commitment to the students it admits, and restore funding to the TAS (“Temporary Academic Staff”) budgets at UC Berkeley.

Also, we, the undersigned faculty, staff, students, alumni, family, and friends of UC Berkeley, ask Governor Schwarzenegger to rescind his cuts to state-funded higher education. We also ask the Assembly Members on the Education Committee of the California State Assembly—Assembly Members Anthony J. Portantino (Chair), Shirley Horton (Vice Chair), Juan Arambula, Jim Beall Jr., Paul Cook, Cathleen Galgiani, and Ira Ruskin—and the Senators of the California State Senate Standing Committee on Education—Senators Jack Scott (Chair), Mark Wyland (Vice Chair), Elaine Alquist, Jeff Denham, Abel Maldonado, Alex Padilla, Gloria Romero, Joe Simitian, and Tom Torlakson—to work to restore funding to higher education in California.

1 from California’s 1960 Master Plan for Higher Education

2 from California’s 2004 Higher Education Compact, signed by Governor Schwarzenegger

3 according to US News & World Report, 2005

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