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TribBlog: System of a Downturn

Mark Yudof vs. the crappy California economy.

When Mark Yudof quit as chancellor of the UT System to become chancellor of the University of California system in mid 2008, he was widely seen as trading a tough situation -- running a sprawling network of campuses in a state with little money to spend on higher education and parents and students foaming at the mouth over tuition deregulation -- for a blissed-out trade-up. After all, Cali has three times as many tier one institutions as Texas, along with (1) that weather, and (2) that guffenah. Alas, it hasn't turned out as planned for our friend Mark (whose cherubic punim was recently on display in the New York Times Sunday Magazine). It seems the economy of California really, really sucks, leading to the sharpest drop in state financing of higher ed since the Great Depression, a furlough amounting to an 8 percent pay cut for all UC System employees, and, coming this fall, an increase in undergraduate fees of 32 percent. "Among students and faculty alike," tomorrow's Times reports, "there is a pervasive sense that the increases and the deep budget cuts are pushing the university into decline."

Meanwhile, Mark's successor, Cisco Cigarroa, may soon be headed for Pasadena. And he'll be counting his blessings the whole way there.

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