More than 400 university professors and academic staff have sent a letter of protest to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, objecting to his veto last month of $5.4 million for a University of California labor research program and asking that the money be restored.
At a time when unemployment in California is reaching a level not seen in decades, the letter said, the governor's action appears to be politically motivated and an excuse to ax a program his fellow Republicans have sought to kill. Its critics have said it is too close to unions.
"It violates the basic principle of the freedom to speak out and conduct research even on controversial topics," said the letter signed by the professors and staffers from UC and other California colleges and universities.
Schwarzenegger has said his veto of money for the Miguel Contreras Labor Program, named after the late Los Angeles labor leader, was "difficult but necessary" because the Legislature chose not to make other cuts to balance the budget.