Davis Faculty Association

Archive for May, 2000

DFA Board Elections

by Myrna Hays

A nominating committee consisting of Terrence Murphy (Plant Biology), Kathryn Radke (Animal Science), and Roslyn Isseroff (Med: Dermatology) has proposed candidates to fill DFA Board positions as listed below with the following code (C – continuing; E – elect):

Officers:
Chair: Ben McCoy (Chem. Engr.) C
Vice Chair: Alan Elms (Psych.) E

Board members:
Judy Stamps (Evol. & Ecology/DBS) E
Charles Nash (Chem. Emeritus) C
Floyd Feeney (Law) C
Don Abbott (English) C
Peter Richerson (Env. Sci.) C
Andrew Waterhouse (Vit. & Enol.) C
Lynn Roller (Spanish & Classics) C
Bill Lasley (VM: Pop. Hlt.) C
Hugo Bogren (Med. Sch: Radiology) E

All nominees have agreed to serve. Their two-year terms of office will begin Sept. 2000. Further nominations may be made upon petition of 5% of the membership (15 members) in good standing as of April 1, 2000. Such petitions must be delivered on or before June 10, 2000, to the Executive Director (address above). If no nominations are submitted, the slate shall be accepted as elected.

Members leaving the board are Sid Gospe (Med: Neurology), and Bob Powell (Chem. Engr.). We thank them for their service to the DFA.

Dues

Since 1995, when the DFA last raised dues, faculty have received annual COLAs. The board has determined that a dues increase is now needed to meet normal cost of living increases of the organization. So, effective July 1, 2000, dues for active faculty will be $19.50 per month thru payroll deduction; emeriti dues will be $30 per year, due in Nov. 2000.

Parking Committee Update

by Ben McCoy

The Academic Senate Special Committee on Transportation and Parking was appointed in June of 1999 in response to growing faculty concern regarding escalating parking fees and the increasing practice of replacing existing parking lots, which had already paid for from parking fee revenues, with expensive multi-level parking structures. The Committee was given the charge “to investigate matters related to the availability and cost of campus parking and to make recommendations to the Senate regarding appropriate strategies aimed at securing convenient and affordable campus parking for all faculty, staff and students who have need for it.” Although commissioned to present its final report to the Academic Senate in the fall of 2000, the Committee has issued an interim report, providing some details on their investigations and findings, and putting forth a collection of principles and recommendations intended for immediate consideration by the Academic Senate.

The interim report lists five recommendations:

1. A moratorium should be declared on parking fee increases through June 2001, in order to allow faculty, staff, and students the opportunity to systematically review and discuss policies and plans of the Administration regarding parking and transportation on the UCD campus.

2. Budgets for capital construction should include replacement costs for any parking facilities and spaces removed by construction, or that have to be temporarily constructed because of building projects. Continuing projects such as the campus Center for Performing Arts should be included. In that specific case, the fund raising campaign should be expanded to cover the entire project, including the parking that the Center would require as a major regional venue for artistic events. Campus employees should not be asked to pay twice for capital costs of parking facilities.

3. A transportation and parking impact analysis should be required for each capital construction project that is embodied in the five-year planning document of the campus. The Academic Senate Divisional Committee on Academic Planning and Budget Review should review each analysis.

4. Campus Administration should investigate the financing of parking facilities on the campus of CSU, Sacramento, and neighboring community colleges. A study should determine how those institutions are able to provide parking for much lower fees than are charged, or projected to be charged, on the Davis campus. The Administration should report its findings to the Academic Senate.

5. The Divisional Academic Senate should adopt legislation that fixes responsibility systematically to review campus parking problems and policies by creating a Joint Standing Committee (DDB 30) on Transportation and Parking. That Committee should include representatives from all impacted campus constituencies (faculty, Academic Federation, UCD Staff Assembly, and students), and report annually to their various constituencies including the Academic Senate Representative Assembly.

Some Thoughts on COLAs

by Barry McLaughlin, who serves on the systemwide FWC and on the Faculty Association board at UCSC

Most faculty do not think about their retirement plan until late in their careers. They have heard that the University offers a good plan, but they do not know much about the details. They know that there is a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) built into the plan, but few faculty know how it is determined. In particular, few realize that the value of their benefit shrinks considerably as they get older. Presently, the UCRS Board makes certain adjustments to assure that the benefits of a given cadre (based on year of retirement) do not fall below 75% of the consumer price index (CPI) for the Los Angeles and San Francisco metropolitan areas. However, there is no guarantee that the COLA will stay above 75%.

The current formula for determining the COLA for retired faculty is a complicated one. The Regents allow 100% up to 2% COL increase; nothing additional between 2% and 4%; and 75% of everything from 4% to 9%. If the COL is between 2% and 4% in a given year, the faculty receive only a 2% increase. This is what happened this past year. The COLA allowed by Social Security, which is pegged to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), was 2.4%. However, the Regents’ formula only allowed for a 2% increase.

Over the years, this leads to a considerable loss in real income for retirees. For example, look at a hypothetical situation of a faculty member retiring in 1984 with a benefit of $50,000. In 15 years that amount would have grown to $68,302 with the COLAs allowed by UC. If COLAs were the same as those given by Social Security over this period, the amount would have grown to $78,665. If the COLAs were tied to the Consumer Price Index in California over that period, the amount would have grown to $82,394.

For some years now, the Regents’ cost of living assumption has been 4%. This means that that retirees’ future compensation is estimated with a 2% increase each year (the remaining 2% falling in the 2-4% gap). The difference between 2% and 4% is considerable over a period of time. Consider a UC faculty member retiring today with a $100,000 retirement income. In 15 years this amount would have grown to $134,587 with a 2% increase annually; with a 4% annual increase the amount would have reached $180,094.

Presently the retirement fund is at an all-time high—over $32 billion. This is a staggering amount of money. In 1991 when the University was concerned about the surplus in the fund and began the VERIP programs, the amount of the fund was about $12 billion. The fund has almost double that amount now—after the VERIPs. No one has paid into the retirement fund since 1992. Indeed, active faculty will have two sources of retirement income—their benefits from the retirement fund and their required 401(a) contributions.With the enormous surplus now in the UC retirement program, it seems appropriate to discuss ways to assure that the real value of faculty retirement benefits does not suffer severe erosion. Two actions seem especially worth considering: (1) eliminating the 2%-4% gap, and (2) providing retired faculty with a guarantee that their income will not fall to less than 85% of the cost of living in California.

Active and retired faculty should be concerned about the Regent’s conservatism regarding the retirement fund in the light of future economic realities. It is true that the University of California has a very good retirement program. The benefits exceed those of many other programs. Most retired faculty are happy with the program. However, current and future retirees can expect to live longer than their predecessors—with increasing health care costs. As matters stand presently, they can expect to see a severe decline in the real value of their income relative to the cost of living in California.

AB 1773 Legislation Update

by Charles Nash

The following is a brief update regarding the status of AB 1773, legislation which the UC and CSU Faculty Associations are co-sponsoring. The bill attempts to delineate the role played by the faculty in controlling the subsequent use of original material presented in their lectures, and in particular preventing the posting of class notes on off-campus commercial web sites. This issue strikes home because Versity.com lists some 40 UCD courses in their recent ad in the California Aggie. In at least several cases that we know of, the faculty members whose courses have been so posted on the Web did not know of it and, furthermore, they object to such posting. The notes are inaccurate and potentially damaging to the faculty members’ reputations.

The Faculty Associations and the Administrations of UC and CSU have very different views about the content—and indeed the very existence of such legislation. The FAs believe that case law has established that Section 980 of the California Civil Code gives faculty members an exclusive ownership of original material presented in their lectures. The University Administrations have adamantly opposed the inclusion of any language in the proposed legislation that would give the faculty such ownership either overtly or by implication. In testimony before the Assembly Judiciary Committee the Chair of the UC Systemwide Academic Council opposed the very existence of legislation dealing with disposition of lecture materials, arguing that this subject would better be dealt with via “shared governance.”

The members of the Council of UC Faculty Associations believe otherwise. The 1969 California Appellate Court decision which confirmed that a faculty member could (and did successfully) sue a commercial note-taking firm for damages arising from the sale of unauthorized course notes contains the caveat: “We are…convinced that in the absence of (contrary) evidence the teacher, rather than university, owns the common-law copyright to his lectures.” We see a real possibility that “shared governance,” which often implies that each side gives a little, could result in “contrary evidence” which would afford the university intellectual property rights which we believe it does not currently have.

The faculty ownership of classroom utterances has been clearly recognized in both English and American law since Abernethy v. Hutchinson in 1825, and we have no wish to allow that situation to change so early in the 21st century. The UC and CSU Faculty Associations commissioned an independent intellectual property practitioner to prepare a White Paper on the current status of State and Federal Copyright laws as they pertain to classroom lectures. The interested reader can find this document on the DFA website on the Current Activities page. Copies of it have also been sent to all the members of the new UC Standing Committee on Copyright, which had its first meeting on May 3.

The fate of our proposed legislation (AB 1773) is by no means certain. Indeed, the text has been changing virtually on a daily basis in an attempt by ourselves and the bill’s author, Assemblymember Gloria Romero (herself a CSU Professor of Psychology), to find compromise language that would induce UC and CSU to rescind their present formal opposition to the bill in question. Whether it succeeds or fails, our hope is that the introduction of AB 1773 may have raised the consciousness and attracted the interest of enough faculty members across the system to insure that any policies stemming from “shared governance” will not jeopardize the existing rights of the faculties in California’s public post-secondary institutions.

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