Statement to the Regents of the
University of California
Meeting on April 13, 2006
I am Charles Schwartz, Professor Emeritus at UC Berkeley.
President Dynes and Chair Parsky had promised release of this Task
Force Report much earlier; and your credibility is further damaged by
not releasing the report before today. How can members of the
public comment on it with no opportunity to read it? I filed a
complaint about this procedure a few days ago and have received no
But let me move to issues of substance. The recent newspaper
revelations of so many excesses in monies paid out to top UC executives
has caused much harm to this great public university. Your line
of response has been that there needs to be improvement in the system
of reporting and oversight of such dealings. But you have missed
the most important question: Why should UC's top executives be getting
such exorbitant pay packages at all?
I understand that most members of the Board of Regents come from the
world of private business, where it is commonly thought that the top
executives of any enterprise deserve very large pay because they play
decisive roles in determining the success of the business. But a
research university, like UC, is a very different place. Here it
is the thousands of faculty members, acting on their own initiative and
authority, who decide what to teach and how to teach it; what
research projects to undertake and how to pursue them. Thus,
while we recognize the need for some administrative structure in this
large organization, it seems there is no good reason for extreme pay to
the top executives.
This is not just my personal view; it was formally adopted by the
faculty at UC Berkeley. I submit their Academic Senate Resolution
of May 6, 1992, which concludes with the following recommendation:
It should be the policy of any
institution of higher learning that the total compensation paid to any
executive officer should not exceed twice the average amount paid to
its Full Professors.
You, the Regents, understand that you have to do something substantial
to restore public confidence in this institution. I suggest this
statement of principle is a good place to start.