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November 27, 2006

Blumenthal addresses Senate, outlines priorities

By Guy Lasnier

In his first meeting with the Academic Senate since being named acting chancellor, George Blumenthal pledged to push hard for new child care facilities.

Listen to an audio recording of Acting Chancellor Blumenthal's remarks to the Academic Senate.

The child care issue must be solved if "we are to be a family- friendly campus," Blumenthal said, calling it a key factor in recruiting and retaining top-notch faculty and staff. He said it is "somewhat embarrassing" that UCSC is the only UC campus not to have used money for child care offered more than 10 years ago by the Office of the President.

"We have to finalize plans, raise money, and get it done," he told members of the Senate at the group's first meeting of the academic year, held November 17 at the Colleges Nine and Ten Multipurpose Room.

Blumenthal, who chaired the Academic Senate from 2001 to 2003, noted that one of the pleasures of being appointed acting chancellor has been the ability to "view the campus from a broader, 40,000-foot perspective and see all of the wonderful things that are going on here." He said it is truly impressive how many departments campuswide have developed a national reputation and impact.

He also reiterated a goal of former chancellor M.R.C. Greenwood to get UCSC elected into the Association of American Universities. "We are getting very, very close," Blumenthal said.

He also said that all salaries, and particularly faculty salaries, must be improved. Currently, they are at least 10 to 15 percent below comparable institutions. "We have a long way to go," he said.

Blumenthal also talked about his priorities for the campus, the Long-Range Development Plan and relations with the city, the university budget, and other systemwide issues.

Also speaking Friday were Academic Senate Chair Faye Crosby and Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor David Kliger. Deans introduced more than two dozen new faculty members.

Crosby led a minute of silence for the late Chancellor Denice D. Denton who committed suicide in June. She remembered Denton as "a woman and person who lived briefly and loudly among us."

Crosby said in light of violent protests over the past several months, the Senate Executive Committee is considering ways to condemn violence and encourage positive activism among students. "We need to join together to reassert the principles of community," she said.

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