1939: Bert Lahr (1895-1967) in costume as the cowardly lion in the musical 'The Wizard of Oz', directed by Victor Fleming for MGM. (Photo by John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images)
To: California State University trustees and University of California regents
From: Prop Zero
Re: Your bad habit of canceling meetings
Lame. Lame. Lame. That's how you guys look after canceling meetings in the face of protests of your decisions to raise student fees and tuition.
First the UC Board of Regents called off a November meeting in the wake of unsubstantiated reports of possible violence. Now the Cal State trustees have postponed a committee meeting, citing the protests (and broken glass) from their last meeting.
Your move to cancel is understandable. But it isn't smart. In fact, it's a missed opportunity.
You should recognize that the protestors will simply show up at the next meeting.
They may come in even greater force, given the very real sense that you are dodging them. In the process, you look sneaky, secretive, afraid.
That's not good.
So the question you need to ask yourselves is: since we're going to face angry protestors wherever we go, how can we make the protests work for us?
The best answer to that is: move the meetings. And the obvious place to move them is: Sacramento.
Specifically, the state Capitol.
Why not have the regents gather on the West steps of the Capitol, with the crowd at the lawn?
If tuition and fees must be raised, doing it there would demonstrate, clearly, that such increases are necessary because of state cutbacks.
Protestors might voice their anger not just at regents -- but at the people who put together budgets in the Capitol. (And if someone breaks a window, the legislature, not the university, has to pay to fix it).
Heck, the regents or trustees could end their meeting by joining the protestors.
They might walk into the Capitol and join the protestors in their civil disobedience.
Think what a terrific visual it would be if UC President Mark Yudof and Cal State Chancellor Charles Reed were arrested in such a protest and carted away in handcuffs. That would send a message.
It's time for the protestors and the people running the universities to realize they're on the same side. Stop fighting back amongst themselves on campus. And start fighting together in Sacramento.