Friday, November 21, 2008

an open letter to Santa

Dear Mr. Claus,

I am writing you to request, as a Christmas gift, funding for the California State University in the amount of six bajillion dollars. It is my contention that this gift is well-deserved and needed, that the CSU collectively and I personally have met a reasonable standard of being good, and that supplying this gift will promote and provide the resources for the CSU and myself to continue being good.

First of all, it should be plain that the CSU is in dire need of six bajillion dollars. State funding has been decreasing in relation to real financial needs of the University for many years, due in part to the political climate in the legislature. Their intransigence and partisanship, clearly rising to naughty levels, have resulted in chronic underfunding of higher education.

Despite this, the faculty and staff of the CSU have continued to educate more students each year. Our dedication to students and to the cause of education are demonstrated by our efforts to support and defend the CSU. Personally, I have spoken out on numerous occasions and rallied with my colleagues in the California Faculty Association in protest against budget cuts and student fee increases. Meanwhile, I remain passionately devoted to teaching, as you are, no doubt, aware.

I freely grant that neither I nor the University are always at our best. I have made mistakes in the past year, but I maintain that at no time have I acted with malicious intent - not even that thing about the guy and the thing, you know what I'm alluding to. The truth is, I meant well.

Likewise, the CSU always aims at providing the best education it can. Some of our higher level administrators and executives act in ways that are hard to explain; however, I do not stipulate that these actions are in fact or intent naughty. Further, the University's overall level of niceness clearly and overwhelmingly outweighs the alleged naughtiness of a few (see Harper v. Delbon, Ca.Su.Ct. 2001-0104).

Six bajillion dollars is a very large gift, but it is neither excessive nor inappropriate. The University would use these funds to assure access to high-quality education for the public, and unused portions of the gift would be held in reserve to use for later needs. Apportionment and allocation of the gift would be regularly reported through the University's accounting firm, so there should be no question of the gift going to good use.

I advise you that the details, ways and means, and weights and measures of this request are still to be negotiated. I look forward to your reply.

Chris Nagel

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