Running a statewide public university system is difficult. I hope you understand that. And as regent, sometimes you have to make tough decisions. Sometimes you’ve got to suck it up and do the things you don’t want to do—cut funding, lay off staff, bust unions, etc. etc., the list goes on. Still, whatever happens, I want you to know that everything I do here, huddled up behind closed doors, with all these other “shadowy figures of authority” around me, is done with your best interests in mind.
Look, I’m not saying you’ve been a bad student body. Far from it. You’ve been great—you get good grades, you eat your vegetables, no problem. But something that I need you to accept is that what I say goes, plain and simple. My word is final—that’s just the way it is. And frankly, I don’t see you appreciating what I’ve been doing for you around here nearly to the extent that I think you should be. This is why, in order to get you to come to terms with your actual position within the administrative hierarchy as well as reflect on what you can perhaps do to show your gratitude to me a little more, I am now reducing winter break from two weeks to one.
When first I moved the start of Fall quarter a week forward in order to accommodate the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, I expected you to play nice with the Jewish kids. I expected you to think: “Oh, what a kind gesture on the part of the regents. I’m so glad I could be a part of such a diverse academic community that respects the beliefs of each and every individual”. Is that what I got? No. Instead I got a bunch of whiny undergrads knocking on my door, starting petitions, calling me out for doing something that frankly, you all could care less about if it didn’t affect you on a direct and personal level. Selfishness is what I’d call it. Plus, in any case, isn’t tolerance something we pride ourselves in, here at the University of California? Didn’t I educate you guys to go out of your way to make others feel welcome?
Ok, I get it. I’m a hypocrite. Yes, I’ve made mistakes. In 2009 I didn’t change the move-in dates at Berkeley and Merced for practicing Muslims during the month of Ramadan. That doesn’t mean I’m the villain here. Hell, already I’ve done so many nice things for you this quarter: I’ve put a roof over your head, brought in quality professors from around the globe, for many of you your bathrooms get cleaned once a week thanks to me. Too often we forget these things, do we not?
I understand: you want to go home and hang out with your “families” over break. You want to be one of the cool kids who spends Christmas in the den bragging about all your sweet college adventures to your aunt Nancy and uncle Ted while you leave the poor ol’ UC Board of Regents alone to fend themselves. It’s not like I don’t mind not having you around (jesus, it gets lonely here…) but I know you feel the need to express your opinions. So sign your petition, go ahead. Whatever happens, it won’t change fact that I’m still the boss around here.
Alright, we’ll talk about this tomorrow, ok? Maybe I’ll have changed my mind, maybe not. Whatever. Now beat it. ❖