Davis Faculty Association

Archive for March, 2002

Summary of Faculty Responses to DFA Memo about the UC Davis Committee on Privilege and Tenure

Background: Last November, the Davis Faculty Association put out an e-mail Bulletin which informed the faculty that a Yolo County Superior Court Judge had ruled that in its handling of a faculty member’s grievance case the Investigative Subcommittee of the Divisional Committee on Privilege and Tenure (P&T) had contravened the Bylaws which govern their actions, and he consequently ordered the campus to hold a P&T Grievance Hearing within 90 days. The DFA memo invited faculty members who had dealt with P&T to evaluate the performance of that committee in the context of their own particular cases. We received more than a dozen (anonymous) responses that we are herewith summarizing for the faculty at large. We plan to send a comprehensive compilation of the responses to the Chair of the Davis Division, members of the current P&T Committee, and the Vice Provost–Faculty Relations.

“Personnel” Problems Comments Positive: Generally speaking, respondents who had gone to P&T with “personnel” problems were satisfied with their reception by the Committee and with the outcomes. Comments included: (1) “I thought P&T did a good job though they were slow…an outrageous judgment (by) CAP was overturned by P&T. I was well treated and have no complaints.” (2) A faculty member who felt “repeatedly abused by the personnel processes at UCD” presented his/her case to an ISC member who was “outraged by my mistreatment…. The full P&T sent a strongly supportive recommendation to the Provost.” (3) “My dealings with P&T in recent years (have been) rewarding and excellent.” (4) “In…a promotions issue I found the committee’s work timely, appropriate, informative and ultimately supportive of my position as a faculty member with regard to….an incorrect reading of the policy manual. The administrator in question was unresponsive…until informed by the P&T committee that his position was incorrect.”

Other Grievances Critical of P&T: On the other hand, nearly all of the respondents who had taken other kinds of grievances to P&T were highly critical of the Committee’s performance. Comments included: (1) “I filed a case with P&T (a few) years ago. P&T found that a prima facie case had been established, however the end result was no action. This emboldened the department leadership (ed: to continue the mistreatment). Given the previous lack of action in spite of having established a firm case, I am reluctant to revisit P&T. I am currently seeking a new position elsewhere.” (2) In the recent past “…I have been party to three separate grievances filed with the committee. One case has advanced to the investigative stage. To my knowledge no action has been taken on the other two. It has been my experience that far from protecting faculty rights, P&T has served to seriously erode them. Faculty often appeal to this committee after exhausting attempts to resolve their grievances through (ed: Administrative channels). The extensive delays and lack of action…serves only to deplete already diminished stamina…..For many this results in giving up…for myself it leads to a search for employment elsewhere.” (3) “Based on (what) I have witnessed over the years I do not think that P&T is coming anywhere close to doing an appropriate job of safeguarding faculty rights. The experiences have been universally frustrating and almost devoid of anything positive. I now see P&T as a significant part of the problem for faculty members whose rights have been violated.”

In her Annual Report to the Representative Assembly which appears in the Call to the Meeting of June 2, 2000, Faculty Privilege Adviser Martha West discussed having met with several members from one department who complained about unfair treatment by the department chair and faculty members aligned with the department chair. She subsequently wrote: “This is the second year that I have commented on the difficulty of dealing with possible abuse of power by department chairs….We do not have many (dysfunctional) departments on our campus, but the few we do seem to be well-known, with administrators and faculty members aware for several years of the problems that exist in (them). If the campus is addressing these long-term problems, the faculty members involved are unaware of any such efforts.”

Given this report, it should be no surprise to have had a respondent to the DFA report that in the year 2001 a group of 11 faculty members had requested and (apparently with some reluctance) gotten a mass meeting with P&T (which reportedly the Committee Chair did not attend.) The author then writes: “However, since then six months have passed and we have no indication that they have even started the process.” The letter began with: “I believe that P&T is a sham which is internally corrupt and which has deteriorated into nonexistence.” and concluded: “In summary it would be better to abolish P&T and not to fool the faculty with an illusion that there are faculty rights and academic freedom on the UCD campus.”

DFA Board Comments:

We would like to thank those faculty members who took the time to respond to the survey and share their experiences.

We believe that the Committee on Privilege and Tenure should be commended for the success expressed in the survey in the highly important and very difficult task of resolving the personnel disputes that come before the Committee.

We believe that the Committee on Privilege and Tenure and the faculty as a whole should give serious thought to the results of the survey concerning the Committee’s work in non- personnel cases. Although the high level of dissatisfaction expressed in the survey cannot and should not be taken as a full assessment of the Committee’s work in the non-personnel area because of the nature of the survey, we believe that the dissatisfaction expressed should lead to a careful study of this part of the Committee’s work to determine if it is possible to achieve better results.

We welcome any and all comments about this very important topic.

The Davis Faculty Association Board

Legislative Report

by Charles P. Nash

On January 10, 2002, Governor Davis submitted his budget recommendations for the fiscal year 2002-2003 to the Legislature. They included current-year (2001-2002) cuts in the base budgets of many agencies, including UC, as well as greatly curtailed augmentations for the upcoming one because his advisers were projecting a revenue shortfall in the target year of ca. $12.5 M. More recent estimates by the Legislative Analyst’s Office suggest that the shortfall could be as large as $16.5 M.

The Governor’s recommended permanent cuts, amounting to $36 M, would not affect the core educational programs of the University. His suggested one-time cut of $5 M in the clinical teaching support for UC’s hospitals, neuropsychiatric institutes and dental clinics was rejected in the first meeting of the Joint Legislative Budget committees.

His proposed UC budget for 2002-2003 included total increases under the so-called “partnership” of $181.9 M. The Regents’ budget adopted last November asked for $353.9 M in these same categories. If there is any good news it is that the Governor’s budget fully funds a projected enrollment increase of 7100 FTE students (a 4.3% enrollment increase). Gov. Davis’s salary budget provides barely enough money to fund faculty and staff merit increases and promotions, with nothing left over for a general cost of living increase (COLA). [N.B. The COLA for the current year (2001-2001) was only 0.5%.] The cu rrent estimate is that with no COLA in 2002-03, UC faculty salaries will be 7% behind those of our Comparison 8’s at the end of that fiscal year. To continue with the bad news, the Regents asked for a 10% increase in the state appropriation for employ ee health and dental benefits, the Governor’s budget provides only 6.7% (a difference of $12.4 M), and UCOP’s current guesstimate is that the cost increase could be close to 15%.

The proposed budget freezes student fees for the eighth consecutive year. This time, however, there is no recommendation for a State appropriation to “buy out” the lost revenue. The attendant loss (taking into account both undergraduate and graduate/professional fee requests that were included in the Regents’ budget) is almost $39 M. This figure is so large that at the January Regents Meeting Vice President Hershman actually uttered the words “fee increase.” The student regent obviously opposed even considering one.

On February 20 the Legislative Analyst’s Office released its analysis of the budget situation, including the larger estimated revenue shortfall noted above, and made recommendations in several areas of the UC operating budget including student fees, state-supported summer instruction, financial aid, outreach, teacher professional development programs, and UC-CSU joint doctoral programs in education. Of particular interest to the faculty is their recommendation for a one-time cut of up to 5% (i.e., $16.8 M) in the University’s General Fund Research Budget. Our contacts in UCOP tell us that they were prepared for such a recommendation because one appears every time the State is in financial difficulty, and they were already working on counter-arguments when the report came out.

Also in the research context, the capital funding for the four California Institutes for Science and Innovation is currently mired in partisan political wrangling. The Governor believes that construction of the Institutes will contribute significantly to the State’s economic recovery. Senator Steve Peace (D, San Diego) plans to introduce a bill to fund all the Institutes’ remaining construction projects with lease-revenue bonds rather than from the heavily impacted General Fund. UC and the Governor want the bill to be considered immediately. They fear that delaying or deferring the projects could threaten the matching funds provided by California industries, which so-far have provided a 3:1 match rather than the 2:1 match called for in the enabling legislation passed in 2001-02. The Assembly Republican caucus prefers to consider the Peace bill as part of the overall budget process.

Legislative budget hearings have just begun, with overview presentations to the Assembly Budget Committee on March 13 and the Senate Budget Committee on March 20. The CUCFA team including Lobbying Coordinator Myrna Hays, Council Vice-President Charles Nash, and Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe professional Lobbyist Joanne Bettencourt have now met with Senator Jack Scott, Chair of the Education Committee, Assemblymember Joe Simitian, Chair of the Higher Education Budget sub-committee, the principal staff aide to Assemblymember Jenny Oropeza, Chair of the full Assembly Budget Committee, and Assemblymember Elaine Alquist, Chair of the Assembly Higher Education Committee. All of these individuals warned us that this year would be very difficult. To his credit, Simitian (a realist) told us that as rocky as 2002-03 might appear, 2003-04 will likely be even worse.

CUCFA’s lobbying team are also tracking several bills of possible interest to the faculty, including one to limit salary increases for high level administrators to the same percentage as those for the unionized staff, several bills having to do with student fees, and two bills by Assemblymember Aroner; one deals with impasse procedures in higher education labor relations and the other with funding for higher education student housing. As the latter bill progresses we may ask the author to consider extending its scope to include faculty housing.

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