Responding to reduced State assistance and other budgetary pressures,
Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau announced that the University of California at Berkeley will eliminate all students beginning January 1, 2010. Rejecting the alternative of across the board reductions, the Board of Regents chose to preserve the "heart and soul" of the University, the faculty and the administrative staff.
Birgeneau called the decision "courageous and forward looking." "If the faculty and administrative staff continue in place, Cal-Berkeley will be well positioned to accept students if the economy recovers," he predicted.
Dr. Enid Ross, Associate Dean for Ratings, expected the elimination of students would propel the Cal-Berkeley, currently rated #21 by US News among national universities, into the top five.
"Eliminating students will place us at the top of many of the categories that US News uses to rate universities," Ross claimed. "We will be number one in selectivity. We don't accept anybody. We will be number one in student retention. We won't lose a single student. We will be number one in class size. You can't get smaller than zero. We will also enjoy the best Teacher/Student ratio and Financial Resources per Student. No one can beat infinity."
With no students, Dr. Louis Lowe, Vice Provost for University Reputation, expected the Universities academic reputation to soar since, "the faculty can now devote themselves entirely to research and publication without the bothersome duties of teaching."
Many leading scholars have already contacted Cal-Berkeley about non-teaching tenured professorships, including three academic superstars: Harvard's Dr. Richard Katz, a leading authority on LGBT Weaving in the Kingdom of Mali (c. 1400 C.E.), Dr. Rachael Winston of Princeton University, whose lectures on "Intersections of Identity in Balkan-American Communities: Women, Gender and Sexuality" have established a new paradigm for intersections of identity of women, gender and sexuality in Balkan-American communities, and University of Michigan sociologist Dr. Richard Blake, an expert on smaller cities in Ohio during the 1950s and author of the seminal work, Akron, Ohio 1950-55: A City in Transition.
Birgeneau reassured alumni that the Cal-Berkeley would still field a football team despite the absence of students. "We can now drop the pretense that football players are students. The football team will now be drawn form the administrative staff."
Cal Football coach Jeff Tedford was optimistic about fielding a team of administrative staffers. "We have been hamstrung by NCAA eligibility rules that require a certain combination of GPA and SAT scores. For example, a high school senior with a 2.5 GPA would need a combined 820 on his SAT's to be eligible. We have much lower standards for administrative staff," he noted. University regulations require only that administrative staffers read at a fourth grade level.
The Cal-Berkeley announcement prompted other universities to consider eliminating students. Lee Bollinger, President of Columbia University, observed, "At Columbia, our first priority is urban real estate development. The presence of students has become a distraction. Furthermore, if we eliminated students we would not need to hire football plays as administrative staff. Our administrative staff could whip the Varsity today."