Regarding "California's Mr. Chips," Amy Wallace's Jan. 19 cover story about CSU Chancellor Barry Munitz, let me see if I have this correct: Among those people who were interviewed--chancellors, university presidents, celeb- rities, Sacramento politicians, heads of higher-education policy centers and film studios--never to be heard from was anyone from the university itself, faculty member or student.
As a sociology professor in the CSU system for 25 years, and after a career in the corporate world as well, I'd like to suggest that the article is as top-heavy as the CSU system itself.
Munitz was my professor at UC Berkeley. I still remember the buzz in the drama department: "A young genius from Princeton is coming." And I'll never forget my first class with that energetic, enthusiastic, charming and entertaining man. He eventually became not only one of our best teachers but our friend as well. He even had us to his home for enlightening bull sessions for which his wife baked cookies.
Thirty years ago, I couldn't have predicted the path his life would take, but I'm not surprised. He may be California's last, best hope for public higher education.
Judy Zimring Pomerantz
As I read the Munitz article in my Cal State San Bernardino office, the heat was off again in the trailer we'd been in for eight years, and rodent droppings lay on the floor. Someone opened the door during a wind gust and some ceiling tiles fell off.
I thought about calling the chancellor over for coffee and doughnuts to hear my concerns: outrageous class sizes, grade inflation, lack of library resources, the large number of students who fall well below the top third of their classes, poor faculty morale, dismal office and classroom space--stuff like that.
But I didn't call. Two years ago, I tried to talk to him as a member of a faculty group, but he wouldn't talk. Writer Wallace apparently didn't talk to faculty members either.
Perhaps we're irrelevant.
Morley D. Glicken
Professor of Social Work Cal State San Bernardino
Referring to Munitz as "California's Mr. Chips" might be an insult to all the beloved, dedicated, conscientious, low-paid teachers epitomized by that fictional professor.
Munitz is a big-money wheeler-dealer with embarrassingly close ties to a failed savings and loan. He says he wants to improve the reputation of the institutions he heads, but I've known him to avoid meeting with faculty members of Cal State Northridge to discuss such matters. Our reputation will improve only if faculty members, the true movers of any such institution, are given adequate resources and support and are allowed to demand high standards of entering students. From recent events on our campus, I am not at all optimistic.
Ray H. Pettit
Professor of Engineering
Cal State Northridge