President of the University of California Mark Yudof announced via press release on Friday, Jan. 18, that his tenure would come to a close this Aug. 2013.
“It has become clear to me,” said Yudof in the UC newsroom press release, “that the time has come for me to step away and return to the teaching of law on the Berkeley campus. The prior 18 months brought a spate of taxing health issues. Though these challenges have been largely overcome, I feel it is time to make a change in my professional lifestyle.” Yudof, age 68, said that while he plans to teach law on the UC Berkeley campus, he will miss his duties as the UC president.“UC remains the premier public university system in the world,” said Yudof, “and I was both honored and humbled to serve as its president for what has been nearly five years now. I will miss my daily interactions across the system with so many dedicated, capable, and intellectually stimulating people.”Since his 2008 appointment, Yudof has made a salary of $591,000 per year, and after retiring, is expected to receive a pension of at least $230,000 per year, according to the Associated Press. Yudof said the decision not only suits him personally, but is also a good decision for the UC system.“Beyond personal considerations,” said Yudof in the statement, “this also appears to be an apt time for the University to bring in fresh leadership. When I arrived in 2008, the economy had begun to unravel and state coffers were tumbling deep into the red. With its budget slashed, the University was presented with one of the most severe challenges in its history.”Helping the UC system weather the storm is the 2012-2013 budget presented by California Gov. Jerry Brown. The budget proposes increasing state funding for the UC by $250 million, a move made possible by the passage of Proposition 30.
Currently, no one has been discussed as potential replacements for Yudof come August. The Regents will create a committee to search for Yudof’s replacement, according to AP.
Word of Yudof’s decision to end his term quickly reached students across the UC system and UC Santa Barbara Associated Student President Sophia Armen informed those at UCSB of the news via the Associated Students Facebook page. “The racist, inaccessible man,” wrote Armen, “who brought you fee increase after fee increase, oppressive legislation and privatization of public education is ending his term in August.”
UCSB External Vice President of Statewide Affairs Nadim Houssain said he’s glad Yudof is not returning after August.“Honestly, I’m actually relieved that he’s resigning,” said Houssain. “I think that he took our university in a path towards privatization and I really didn’t like how it looked. I didn’t see this coming, but I’m not so much concerned or relieved about him leaving office. I’m more concerned about the process of whoever’s going to be his successor and how that’s going to be decided, sort of what they envision for the UC, what path they see the UC taking.”The search for Yudof’s replacement extends beyond the state to the rest of the country and is a process already codified by the Regents. A Special Committee appointed by the Chairman of the Board of Regents, Sherry Lansing, will pick potential candidates. An Academic Advisory Committee will also be created to assist the Special Committee in screening candidates, and it will be composed of at least one representative from each of the 10 UC campuses as well as the Chairman of the Academic Council.Houssain said he was concerned over the level of student involvement in the process.
“At the very least I think there should be student input,” said Houssain, “and they should be there for whatever interviews are taking place. They should be able to ask these potential candidates questions. I think the main thing is I hope it’s someone who’s going to bring in a new, fresh perspective that’s progressive and is willing to be innovative in terms of finding alternatives to tuition hikes when the state doesn’t fund our education and just someone that’s going to be honest and transparent with the student bodies is my main concern.”
Houssain warned against students relying too much on whomever is selected as Yudof’s replacement.
“I think that whoever it’s going to end up being,” said Houssain, “we can’t depend on them to change the system. We’re going to have to continue this momentum that we got from Prop. 30 and continue to take things into our own hands because we should never lay our fate in the hands of the President of the UC Office of the President.”