Dear Members of the Senate Executive Committee,

 

As your colleagues in the Academic Senate, we write to you of our concern regarding the administration’s stated intention to divert 14 FTE to a planned Silicon Valley campus which, we fear, will erode UCSC’s ability to fulfill its core mission and will have clear implications for both undergraduate and graduate education at UCSC .Members of this very administration have told us repeatedly that the budget cuts of the past seven years are now compromising our ability to carry out the University’s core research and teaching functions. We had hoped that some portion of the new funds from rebenching and international student fees might be allocated to redress the more negative impacts of those cuts, but we have seen little to encourage this hope. Instead, resources are being committed to new, as-yet-unspecified programs on an as-yet-unbuilt campus in Silicon Valley to serve a market whose demand has yet to be determined.

Senators and Senate committees play central roles in UCSC’s research and teaching mission, but we cannot effectively carry out our responsibility to shared governance in the absence of the information required to make sound judgments and have an informed discussion about the administration’s plan for Silicon Valley. The groundwork for such a discussion was laid down at the Academic Senate meeting of February 18, 2015, at which Chancellor Blumenthal acceded verbally to Senators’ calls to bring the plan as a whole to the Senate. This will not be possible, however, if we are not well-informed about the plan beforehand. We therefore ask, in preparation for the April 22, 2015 Senate meeting, that the chairs of the Senate committees, as members of the SEC, request from the administration all documents required to discuss the initiative as a whole, including those that address how “UCSC at Silicon Valley”will affect the capacity of “UCSC at Santa Cruz” to carry out its core missions and responsibilities.

If the 14 FTE currently committed to the project are to be treated as an “investment,” as the administration has said, the Senate needs to know the basis for this claim and the likely return on that investment. We need to know potential risks, the long-term costs of the initiative, and the consequences for UCSC should the project fail (not an impossible outcome, given the record of previous efforts in Silicon Valley). We need to see how much money the Administration believes the project will return to the main campus, short- and long-range budgetary projections and an analysis of how this plan comports with the campus’s short- and long-range priorities. Only if that information is made available will an informed discussion allowing the Senate to decide on the wisdom and feasibility of the Silicon Valley initiative be possible.

In conclusion, we ask again that you request all necessary information from the administration and distribute it to Senate Committees and to all Senators, if possible by the beginning of Spring Quarter but no later than April 7, in order to facilitate an informed discussion.

Thank you for your attention to this request.

Yours sincerely,

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