Dear Chancellor Blumenthal,
The past 14 months have been an audition of sorts, but now it’s official: you are the Chancellor of UC Santa Cruz.
As a distinguished professor in both astronomy and astrophysics, in addition to serving as the chair of the UC Academic Senate, you are certainly qualified to be the head man at UCSC.
Reports of your official appointment were positive.
The Santa Cruz Sentinel wrote that the faculty lobbied heavily to give you the job permanently, and numerous sources praise your leadership.
The article also mentioned that your appointment brings continuity to the head position at UCSC. While UC President Robert Dynes and the Regents Board may have made it official, there are some that still remain wary.
You are no longer the “acting” chancellor, but the jury is still out on whether you are the leader faculty and administrators think you are.
Just ask members of the Santa Cruz community that are concerned with university growth or UCSC undergraduates that are worried that their university is starting to become more concerned with financing research projects than looking out for the well-being of their students.
In the inaugural campus address, you called UCSC a “place that fosters a culture of excellence, inquiry, creativity, diversity, and public service,” yet something is still lacking in all of those areas.
UCSC does not maintain a standard of excellence when it comes to providing undergraduates with on-campus housing, for example.
Some just cannot afford the convenience of on-campus housing, while others were turned away due to a large freshman class. The university needs to do a better job in providing assistance for the increasing number of students in need of off-campus housing.
In the area of creativity, there are legitimate concerns about the university’s research goals.
There are new programs cropping up in computer gaming and the sciences, but the arts program and other humanities majors are facing cuts to funding.
The chancellor needs to take an active role in making sure that the research focus of the university is more well-rounded.
Campus diversity and public service remains the final and biggest concern.
According to fall 2006 admissions statistics, students of color account for less than half of the campus community.
There needs to be more support for Academic Preparation Programs, because they reach out to K-12 schools and provide more support for kids that would not normally make it into a university.
Also, more attention should be directed towards Student Initiated Outreach Programs, because these are student-run programs that are dedicated to achieving a more diverse student body.
We hope that you will listen to our concerns and help create a more comfortable atmosphere for the student body.