Archive for 2001
by Charles Nash
To date, the active lobbying efforts of CUCFA have been devoted almost entirely to faculty salary matters. The “original” State Budget for UC, which the Governor submitted in January, as well as the budget proposed by the Regents in November, underestimated the increase that would be needed to maintain UC faculty salaries at parity in fiscal year 2001-2002 according to the customary CPEC methodology. Consequently, the Governor’s budget proposed a net 3 % salary increase for faculty under the umbrella of UC’s “compact” with the Governor. UC and CUCFA hoped that the May Revise would provide an additional 0.9% (or ca. $7 million) augmentation to bring faculty salaries to parity.
CUCFA representatives sitting side by side with UC Vice President Hershman formally testified in favor of the above funding before Legislative committees at every available opportunity. In addition, Jim Bruner and Joanne Bettencourt from our lobbying firm of Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe, LLP, met individually with key legislators. At one point they had even convinced a legislator to put in a “member’s request” to try to capture the “additional” 0.9%.
As you of course now know, because of energy costs and other drains on the State treasury, all of this was to no avail. UC’s gross funding augmentation under the “compact” was essentially cut in half, and faculty and staff merits and promotions will consume virtually all the remaining monies in that particular budgetary pocket. UCOP has yet to announce the size of the COLA for 2001-2002–or if there will even be one.
Along with the budget CUCFA has been tracking several bills of particular interest to the UC faculty. Two of them, AB 1063 (Aroner) and AB 1611 (Keeley) deal with possible means for assisting the construction of student, faculty and staff housing near UC and CSU campuses. Of the two bills, AB 1611 is making the best progress toward passage. AB 1063 has evidently stalled in an Assembly committee, but AB 1611 has passed the Assembly and was up for hearing in the Senate Housing and Community Development Committee on August 20.
In brief, AB 1611 would create a California Educational Facilities Authority that could enter into agreements with nonprofit entities to finance the costs of construction of the housing types in question. UC supports both of these bills in concept, but has asked Member Keeley to amend his bill to include a Higher Education-Related Housing Loan Program proposed by a UC Housing Task Force. UC’s governmental relations staff report that so far Mr. Keely has shown no interest in doing so.
CUCFA has formally supported SB 1061 (Alarcon). This bill would require the Regents to submit annual reports to the Public Employee Relations Board by March 1 on specified activities relating to the obligations of the University under the Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act. PERB would in turn be required to submit reports to the Legislature by September 1 on the status of specified labor relations at UC. The bill is supported by essentially all UC’s employee organizations but opposed by CPEC (turf warfare). The University has taken no public position on the bill but there can be no doubt that they would be very happy to see it quietly vanish into the night. SB 1061 was passed by the Senate on June 6, passed out of the Assembly Higher Education Committee, and is now in the Assembly Appropriations Committee
by Ben McCoy
The Davis Faculty Association has maintained a deep interest in the faculty personnel review process since we learned of and reported the shocking statistics that UC Davis faculty were seriously behind other UC campuses in salary and rank. In the first DFA Email Bulletin (http://www.dcn.davis.ca.us/~dfamhays/) issued by the DFA Board in October 1999 we noted that UC Davis Full Professor average salaries were lowest of the seven major campuses. Assistant and Associate Professor salaries also ranked near the bottom. Soon thereafter, the Academic Senate Special Committee on Academic Personnel Processes (SCAPP) was appointed. Based on the SCAPP report, the Special Committee on Personnel Process Reform (SCPPR) was formed and has now released its report with 21 concise and convincing recommendations (http://www.mrak.ucdavis.edu/senate/committee_scppr_report.htm).
Among the important issues addressed in the report is the definition of CAP’s role, limitations on its purview, and revised procedures to appeal its decisions. These are key factors addressing the perception that CAP has played the role of sole arbiter of scholarship quality at Davis. The SCPPR recommendations provide a balance in clarifying CAP’s purpose, while still allowing it to intervene when problems occur. Part of the reason that CAP assumed so much responsibility was its presumed objectivity, distant from internal departmental conflicts. The new recommendations throw weight back to departments, where unfavorable majority reviews can be coerced by influential senior faculty, and where reviews based on quality of research might not be questioned by deans or CAP. We would suggest that CAP should report to the faculty each year the number of cases where it has contravened any prior recommendation, and where it has intervened in any actions outside its normal purview, for example, in normal merit actions. The appeal process should also be reviewed after one or two years of experience. The report attempts to strike the right balance between providing an avenue for genuine appeal, yet makes the barrier high enough to avoid appeals of every negative action.
We agree that a positive change recommended in the report is to establish standards based on departmental and college criteria, and we endorse this move. Departmental standards should be appraised by the faculty of each college, and must be open and available. This will ensure a greater uniformity of quality and forestall concerns of unfair standards in particular departments. Because of differences among subdisciplines and departmental cultures, the process will not be straightforward for all departments. Patience and thoughtfulness will be required as the discussions develop. It is vital that all faculty members know that their academic accomplishments will be rewarded appropriately, including accelerated advancement when merited. Department chairs should be reminded of their obligation to evaluate their faculty each year, and to use this evaluation for possible recommendations of acceleration.
We applaud the call for reorganization and simplification of review files. Most routine merit actions would require simple documentation of teaching, research, and service, plus an invitation to the candidate to attach any other appropriate materials. Usually a publication list, a summary of teaching evaluations and a list of committee service should suffice. Faculty members spend far too much time preparing paperwork when they could be attending to scholarly activities.
Changes in the policies of CAP (as well as other committees) should be proposed by the committee on a regular basis, for approval by the Senate prior to implementation. In that way there will be adequate time for notice to reach the affected parties. The suggestion in Ren. 42 (B) 6 that revisions in procedures or criteria can be approved after the changes have already been applied will seem unfair to faculty whose review actions have been affected by the changes.
We conclude by commending members of SCAPP and SCPPR for their outstanding work, which has resulted in thoughtful and compelling recommendations for change. Their efforts will improve the fairness of the faculty review process, increase faculty support of the process, and enhance the level of collegiality at UC Davis. The SCPPR report will be considered by the Representative Assembly on Thursday, May 24, at 3:30 p.m., in the Cabernet Room of the Silo. It is important that faculty attend and participate.
by Peter Rodman
A few weeks ago, Dateline ran an article on a small committee formed spontaneously to discuss issues of smoking on the Davis campus. I initiated the discussion because, like all UC campuses, UC Davis has a “Free” policy (See PPM Section 290-10), but despite this, cigarette smoke regularly enters Smoke through the air vents into my office and the classrooms where I teach. This smoke is toxic and its presence inside a building violates Federal and California laws guaranteeing a smoke free workplace. Even in comparatively smoke free California, environmental tobacco smoke contributes to all forms of cancer and other cardiopulmonary disease, exacerbates osteoporosis and other diseases of aging, increases risk of pneumococal infection, increases the suffering of asthmatics, and generally wreaks undeserved havoc on the health of those exposed to it.
So far the comments sent by readers of the article run 5 positive to 1 negative—not an overwhelming response, but interesting. My favorite is the negative, in which the author wrote: “You have no idea of how much discrimination and relentless humiliation smokers have to go through in California. I often feel welcome as a Jew in Nazi Germany. You don’t like the smell of cigarettes, and for that reason only you want to ban us even from open air spaces….And don’t tell me that you care for my health. You couldn’t care less. You just don’t like the smoke.” My correspondent is right. I don’t like the smoke. Where thereWhere there is the smell of cigarette smoke, the carcinogens are present. ’s smoke, there is ill health. Nicotine is a Class A carcinogen, and nicotine is only one of many carcinogens and other toxins dispersed when tobacco is burned. Some people with allergies suffer very negative consequences from breathing smoke.
But my plaintive correspondent was wrong about my concern for the smoker’s health: I am, and we all should be, concerned for smokers’ health because smokers contribute so disproportionately to health care costs in California. The Centers for Disease Control recently estimated that medical costs related to smoking amount to more than $5 billion per year in California. Medicaid expenditures attributable to smoking in California for fiscal year 1993 amounted to nearly $1.75 billion. Medical benefits are used disproportionately by smokers, and as far as I know, smokers at UC Davis pay no more for health benefits than non-smokers. Calculations of the charges for health benefits necessarily take into account the cost of smoking related illness. In other words, we all pay for the smokers’ risks, whether we smoke or not, whether we can isolate ourselves from the smoke or not, whether we want to or not.
And, darn it, we get none of the pleasures of smoking! I must confess to being a former smoker. The memories linger of that wonderful, relaxing rush that comes with inhaling fresh smoke: as we inhale, the peripheral circulation shuts down, the pulse surges, and blood pressure skyrockets. Somehow this feeling always seemed to enhance a crisp autumn morning in the mountains or a sparkling northwest breeze across the water at the end of a day of sailing—or a dark coffee house encounter of the romantic kind! Happily for me and others who stopped smoking reasonably early in life, quitting by age 40 avoids more than 90% of risks of smoking according to an extensive epidemiological study of smokers in Britain since 1950, published last year by Sir Richard Peto and his co-authors in the British Medical Journal (321: 323-329).
Sadly, our colleagues who continue to smoke throughout life can anticipate many more visits to the doctor, more years of disability, and an acceleration of the diseases of aging as they near death’s door simply because of the smoke. Those who are fortunate may die suddenly of heart attacks or strokes—as we all may– but smokers are likely to do so sooner than non-smokers. Those less fortunate may simply lie in bed hooked to lines of oxygen, or may live a little longer without surgically removed cancerous parts. Strangely, it is likely that the first thing a cancer patient with one less lung, or no larynx and a new tracheotomy, will want after surgery is another cigarette.
A macabre upside for the rest of us to the dire predictions of early death for smokers is that an average of 13.2 years of life are lost for each death due to smoking in California (CDC statistics for1990-1994). This is an “upside” because the early deaths leave that much less tobacco smoke in the air for those of us who live a bit longer.
The last comment is callous to make a point. Smokers, no matter how intelligent, usually are unmoved by the scary truths known about their habit, but those of us who care about any or all of them would rather not share their misery in the future, let alone their smoke today.
Clearly we all would be better off without cigarettes and other tobacco products in our environment. Failing a truly smoke free policy that stops smoking at the campus borders, we can all contribute to a healthier environment by “enforcing” the existing smoke free policy at UC Davis. Those who smoke may comply by conscientiously reading and following the policy, and those who do not smoke may comply by civily reminding smokers of the policy, when appropriate.
by Charles P. Nash
Readers of this newsletter may recall that in 1994-95 the University instituted a three-month offset of the payment of faculty and staff cost of living increases (COLAs) from the July 1st beginning of the State’s fiscal year. As we documented in an earlier article, the effect of this offset is a reduction in the annual take-home pay of faculty members that can range from ca. $450 for Assistant Professors to as much as $1,000 for high-step Full Professors. For academic year appointees these losses can actually persist into retirement.
The Council of UC Faculty Associations (CUCFA) recently detailed these findings in a letter to Professor Judith Gruber (Political Science, UCB), the current Chair of the University Committee on Faculty Welfare (UCFW). In that letter UCFW was urged “…to take a leadership role in abolishing the COLA delay; an outcome that would immediately benefit virtually every UC employee, not just the Senate faculty, while costing the State very little. It was further stated that CUCFA “…would be pleased to join with UCFW in pursuit of this objective, and to take advantage of (its) independence and (its) contacts to lobby the matter vigorously in the Legislature and in the Governor’s office.”
In her reply Professor Gruber acknowledged that CUCFA had “…rais(ed) an important issue, though unfortunately at a difficult budgetary moment.” She stated that the UCFW agenda for May was already set and very full, but that she would “…try to have a preliminary conversation in June, time permitting.” She further observed that “There is a virtue in waiting until fall since there is likely to be a considerable turnover in the committee and it is unlikely that this matter can be resolved in a single meeting.” On this last point we very much agree with her. This battle will probably go on for a very long time.
by Charles Nash and Myrna Hays
On May 14, reacting to a $5.7 billion deterioration in the state’s fiscal condition, the Governor proposed reducing the University’s General Fund augmentation for 2001-2002 from an original (January) figure of $202.5M to $185.8M. Some of the changes are discussed below.
Proposed increases beyond the original appropriations included:
· $100.6M to address increases in natural gas costs. This includes $55.9M in onetime funds to address current year costs. These funds are also available to promote conservation consistent with the Governor’s goal of reducing peak-load energy use by state agencies by 20 percent.
· $12.8M to fund a projected enrollment increase of 1,400 full-time equivalent students. This brings total budgeted enrollment growth, including summer enrollment, to 10,522 FTE students.
Proposed Reductions: The change from the January budget which will clearly have greatest impact on the faculty is an $89.9M reduction in the so-called partnership budget. IF the Legislature concurs, the effect of these cuts will be:
· A reduction of $47M in the compensation and benefits budget.
· A reduction of $29M in the budgets for maintenance, equipment, instructional technology, and libraries
· A reduction of $8M which was originally proposed to effect a small reduction in the UC student/faculty ratio.
· A loss of $5M in inflation adjustment funding.
Faculty Salary Impact: The $47M figure mentioned above would have funded faculty and staff merit promotions, a 2% COLA for all employees, and a 1% parity adjustment for faculty and eligible staff. Having learned a lesson from 1991-92, UC has stated that merits and promotions will not be affected. Building that firewall will leave 0.5% or less for COLAs.
These issues are currently before the Legislature. Further reductions could occur because the Governor’s proposed budget leaves only $1 billion in reserve. CUCFA has been lobbying strongly for faculty salary increases and other interests, and we will continue to do so.