Friday, October 9, 2009

Questions for Mark Yudof: Big Man on Campus (NY TImes article)

UC President Mark Yudof commenting on faculty furloughs.

"Already professors on all 10 U.C. campuses are taking required “furloughs,” to use a buzzword.
Let me tell you why we used it. The faculty said “furlough” sounds more temporary than “salary cut,” and being president of the University of California is like being manager of a cemetery: there are many people under you, but no one is listening. I listen to them."

"The word “furlough,” I recently read, comes from the Dutch word “verlof,” which means permission, as in soldiers’ getting permission to take a few days off. How has it come to be a euphemism for salary cuts?
Look, I’m from West Philadelphia. My dad was an electrician. We didn’t look up stuff like this. It wasn’t part of what we did. When I was growing up we didn’t debate the finer points of what the word “furlough” meant."

Yudof has subsequently said that the report was "zany" so his responses were also "zany." Disappointing for the chief executive of a major university system to be less than earnest.

Questions for Mark Yudof: Big Man on Campus
New York Times Published: September 24, 2009

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