Acting Chancellor George Blumenthal is not a businessman. He previously served as department chair of astronomy and astrophysics, and has been an astronomy and astrophysics professor for over 30 years. He is first and foremost an educator.
We at City on a Hill Press (CHP) would like to voice our support for Blumenthal in his candidacy for permanent Chancellor. He has made a concerted effort to reach out to individual members of the UCSC community by making personalized video messages for the student body and encouraging students to let their opinions be heard. In these messages, Chancellor Blumenthal encourages every student to come to his office hours or make an appointment with him to voice opinions or simply introduce themselves. He is doing exactly what every chancellor should be doing: opening up lines of communication.
Judging by the communication blocks and various poor decisions made by chancellors in the past, there has been a great leap of improvement of the state of our university. Former UCSC Chancellor Denice Denton dealt with various criticisms about inappropriate use of UCSC money (Creating a $200, 000 position for her life partner, making a $30,000 dog run for her canines, etc.). UCSC Chancellor Greenwood was questioned for compensation practices during his time as chancellor. At the time, certain UC employees were apparently receiving funds (wage increases, special bonuses, etc.) from a pool of hidden UC money. Blumenthal still maintains a relatively clean record.
On an environmental note, what is nearly every UCSC community member (tree hugger or not) adamantly against? Expansion. What was one of the first actions that Chancellor Blumenthal took once in his position of power? A rejection of the UC Regents’ expansion proposal.
Chancellor Blumenthal possesses qualities that CHP admires. At the UC Regents Protest on Oct. 18, 2006, Chancellor Blumenthal looked out on at the swarm of student protesters to show support, and served as mediator between regents and students. When asked about his choice for the support of the student population, the Chancellor told CHP, “This is the campus. I want to be able to hear students’ oppositions so that I can take those concerns to the Regents.”
Admittedly, no Chancellor is perfect. Some have viewed Blumenthal as a politician. But we ask you- any administrator who has never once let politics affect the decision making process: cast the first paperweight.
CHP gives our seal of approval for Acting Chancellor George Blumenthal and his candidacy for permanent status as Chancellor. He has a fairly clean record, and given the questionable practices of his predecessors, he is taking steps in the right direction.