The UCSC Emeriti Association has just published its Newsletter 1.3. The UCSCEA newsletter is a much appreciated new feature started by the current President, Professor Todd Wipke, and maintained by volunteers. In this new issue, pages 5–8, Professor Wipke tells the extraordinary story of the secretive, inexplicably rushed, and incomprehensible management decisions—a series of them—that led to the botched selection and outrageous pulping of about 80,000 titles kept by the Science & Engineering Library (=SE Library).
Reading this article and the documents attached to it made me realize how risky and potentially ruinous management decisions have become in the new uncharted waters we find ourselves navigating presently—a public university on its way to privatization, among other things—and how much more important than ever it is to consult widely with faculty and staff. This is true of the series of decisions involving the SE Library as well as those behind the building of new residences by private partnerships. In the case of the SE Library, Wipke’s article makes clear that a major component of the catastrophic decisions was the absence of real consultation of the faculty.
The newsletter article reminded me of my own puzzlement and later shock at discovering in December 2016 that books in the history of ancient technology and historical atlases that I expected to find on the shelves had disappeared. I’ll tell that story in the coming hours. For now, I encourage readers to go to Professor Wipke’s newsletter article cited above.