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 reply.

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.