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An open letter to Carol Christ

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JULY 03, 2017

Dear Chancellor Christ,

It’s our pleasure to welcome you to the position of chancellor.

We’ll admit, you have a pretty good record. From your early days as UC Berkeley executive vice chancellor and provost to your time at the helm of Smith College, everywhere you’ve been, people seem to like you.

Smith especially seems to collectively adore you, if glowing faculty and newspaper reviews are any indication. You check off a lot of the right boxes. You have a lot of experience, and you surely already have a better reputation than former chancellor Dirks did with faculty.

We clearly already have high expectations for you. We’re open to the possibility that you’ll be good at your job.

But, unfortunately, we’ve been duped before.

We were hopeful when Janet Napolitano was tapped for UC president. Now she’s fumbling through allegations from the most recent state audit while keeping students at arm’s length.

We were hopeful when Dirks was tapped for chancellor, and we made a request for him to be more accessible. Then he put a fence up around his mansion and flubbed on serious sexual misconduct allegations. Time and again, our leaders have disappointed.

Don’t do us dirty, Christ. We understand that you have a very good reputation. But we’re not going to have the wool pulled over our eyes again. When it comes to your chops, we’ll believe it when we see it.

You’ve dealt with big financial dilemmas before, at Smith and at this very campus. Yet Smith and UC Berkeley are highly different animals.

Your deficit reduction plans scare us. Sure, our absurd deficit demands reform, but we won’t abide by cuts that place undue burden on students, staff or faculty.

And frankly, we’re a bit worried about your commitment to our values. We saw your missteps and dismissiveness of the 1999 ethnic studies protests. All that in the name of budget cuts.

We also hear that you might build student housing on top of People’s Park. But you must realize how much this community cares about that sacred place. With the homeless community inhabiting the public park as it does today, building on People’s Park is effectively displacing displaced people.

All in all, we’re wary. While state divestment and budget cuts continue to imperil our educations and our culture, you can’t forget to listen to the people here like too many of your predecessors did before you. Regard our values with dignity. We’re excited about your promises and your newfangled ideas, but never forget that you work for the students.


The Daily Californian Editorial Board

Editorials represent the majority opinion of the Editorial Board as written by the opinion editor.

JULY 03, 2017