Davis Faculty Association

Archive for 2003

Letter to Employee Relations regarding a new proposed consensual relationship policy

On November 23, the DFA Board sent the following concerns to Employee Relations:

First,
The proposed Consensual Relationship Policy should be explicit that it covers conflicts resulting from direct power or authority.  There are increasing numbers of situations in which spouses are faculty or staff in the same department, and given the fluid nature of authority delegation in university departments, this policy could be read to prohibit that situation.  Is that the intention?

Second,
It is important that the policy on sexual harassment provide some protection to the accused in the procedures.  One suggestion is that either in II.B.2. or II.B.3., the statement be added that the accused should be informed of a full statement of allegations and given some access to a source of objective advice, including the implications of early resolution (is it a de facto admission of guilt?).  A second suggestion is that in II.B.4.a, the statement should add that the accused be given a full statement of Policy and Procedures, which would include the right to representation as specified in II.B.4.d.  As the policy reads now, there is a clear presumption of guilt on the part of the accused.

I hope these comments can be incorporated into the final versions of these policies.

Cordially,
Kathryn Radke, Associate Professor
Chair, Davis Faculty Association

Report on the UCOP Budget Discussion and FA Government Relations Activity

by Charles Nash and Myrna Hays

UC Budget News: On November 3 we had our now-customary annual meeting with Assistant Vice PresidentAcademic Advancement, Ellen Switkes, and Vice PresidentBudget, Larry Hershman. From Dr. Switkes we heard that there REALLY ARE NO VERIPs in the works, but, some campuses are beginning to implement “negotiated recall” agreements with eligible faculty members. She said that UC recently lowered its “normal age of retirement” from 70 to 60. Apparently there is no downside to doing that, and it evidently opens a door that previously was for all practical purposes closed. She had nothing to give us in writing on the subject, but we surmise that what may be occurring is a creative application of Regents’ Standing Order 103.6. (See http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/regents/bylaws/so1036.html) Under this RSO retired faculty may be reappointed on a year-to-year basis, and in “special circumstances” multiple-year reappointments of retired faculty for up to five years at a time may be approved.

In all of our previous meetings, Larry Hershman had one or more bright spots to which he could point. This time the mood was pure black. In past years, in conjunction with the November Regents’ Meeting, UC published a 2”-thick budget proposal loaded with numbers and graphs. Mostly these budgets built upon a “Partnership” or a “Compact” that UC had crafted with Governors Wilson and Davis. Under these, UC expected agreed-upon budget increases in return for the fulfillment of agreed-upon goals. (The Legislature was never a party to any of these agreements.) This year all deals are off and the budget book is about the thickness of the telephone directory of a medium-size campus.

Instead of numbers, the Administration will ask the Regents to adopt a set of principles on the basis of which negotiations over the numbers can occur with the Governor’s Department of Finance. These principles could include (1) holding the line against further erosion of the quality of the institution (which translates into no further increase in the student/faculty ratio); (2) continuing to honor the Master Plan, but only if the funding which that document promises is providedotherwise freeze enrollments; (3) identifying additional fee increases as a viable option. (On this latter point, current CPEC policy provides that student fees should not provide more than 40% of the actual cost of education. At the moment, fees account for less than 25% of that figure.)

UC’s priorities include doing whatever can be done to improve faculty salaries. At the moment they are projected to lag those of the comparison institutions by 7 to 9 percent (The numbers are not all in yet.) Faculty merits will again be paid, no matter what. [ED comment: this could be due in large measure to the lawsuits in the 1990’s that the FAs supported.} Staff, of course, are not happy with that situation. Hershman said that if their merits cannot be funded at an appropriate level, other assistance such as improved health-care benefits might be sought.

Finally, he indicated that areas under scrutiny for budget cuts include Cooperative Extension (once again), Outreach, and targeted research funds. UC will insist that research cuts be made in legislatively-specified programmatic areas instead of the more typical “Here are the dollar-amounts, you guys figure out where to make them” kind.

Legislative Activity: The 2003 Legislative Session was a frustrating one because most legislators were almost hypnotically fixed on budget issues, while realizing as a practical matter that in the long run decisions would be made at the eleventh hour by a very small number of players. Consequently, there were very few hearings worth attending and even fewer bills worth following.

On the latter score we tracked 17 bills, of which only six related directly to UC. Four of these died between February and April of 2003. A fifth, AB 491 (Diaz), followed an interesting course (see below), but at the last moment its author asked that it be moved to the Assembly inactive file, from which it presumably could be resurrected at some later time by the same method.

As it was introduced in February, AB 491 was aimed at preventing instructional technology project and contract fiascos in the CSU system. In that form it passed easily (57:5) out of the Assembly and went on to the Senate, where, on September 4 in the Higher Education Committee, UC was added to the bill. In the amended version that passed the full Senate by a vote of 25:9 on September 10, UC and CSU would have been required to have all IT projects or contracts exceeding $3 million overseen by an auditor provided by the Department of Finance. Systemwide projects exceeding $20 million would be required to be submitted to the Governor for approval, be included in his/her budget, and reviewed annually. The bill was then returned to the Assembly for concurrence with the Senate amendments, but instead, on September 12 Assembly member Diaz asked that AB 491 be placed in the inactive file.

Only one of the bills we followed, AB 1230 (Hancock), passed the legislature and was signed into law. The bill establishes what is called a “card-check” recognition procedure for exclusive employee representational recognition at UC and CSU, in lieu of a secret ballot election. If an employer challenges the legitimacy of a union’s claim of majority support within a bargaining unit, a neutral third party may certify proof of majority support using information supplied through a signed petition, authorization cards, or union membership cards. If another organization claims at least 30% support, the third party will then conduct a secret ballot election to determine majority support of the employees. UC opposed this bill, arguing that it would deny employees the opportunity to make a decision in the voting booth free from outside influences, and to have “no representation” as one of the options on the ballot.

Only one other bill deserves to be mentioned here. AB 665 (Liu) is a two-year bill, which, if passed in a form similar to its present one, will profoundly affect higher education policymaking. It would combine the California Postsecondary Education Commission (CPEC) and the California Student Aid Commission into a new entity, the California Postsecondary Education Policy and Finance Commission. By statute, the new commission would be the principal fiscal and program adviser to the Governor and the Legislature on postsecondary educational policy.

Possible UC Options for Addressing Future Funding Shortfalls

Most of you probably have seen news releases stating that UC may need to make drastic cuts in order to cope with continuing state budget shortfalls. The issue of importance to faculty is that among the proposed options that the UC Regents are considering is the suggestion of reducing staff and faculty salaries; cutting back the number of faculty members; and increasing the teaching load.

Charlie Schwartz, a retired faculty member from UCBerkeley who has been outspoken on various issues, published a report (available on his web page http://socrates.berkeley.edu/~schwrtz/Part_6.html) in which he proposed increasing teaching loads. He spoke at the public comment period of the September Regents’ meeting, again espousing these ideas. At the meeting, it was stressed strongly that all of these are merely options to consider; no action is to be taken until the November Regents’ meeting or later. Nonetheless, the ideas are available to be considered by legislators and the general public.

I have also learned that the UCOP has prepared a report on this subject. See http://www.ucop.edu/planning/taskforcedescribingandreporting.pdf

The September 20 Sacramento Bee editorial comments on the list of proposed cutbacks by saying “asking professors to teach more courses [is] (a good idea).” We know that in the past, legislators have failed to understand how teaching loads are set and what they mean in terms of actual work performed by faculty. Bills were introduced to mandate teaching loads and studies were conducted re. how much time faculty work. CUCFA fought these bills and they did not pass. But, in this budget crisis environment, legislators might well see this area as one to focus upon. And despite Hershman’s expression at the meeting of strong support for faculty salaries and defense of the current teaching load as well as his vow to work closely with the Academic Senate during the budget process, I wanted to alert you to these issues so that you can determine what, if any, role the Faculty Association should play in the months to come.

With the election of Governor Schwartzenegger and the resulting turnover of staff in the Capitol, it will be even more critical for us to engage in re-educating legislators, the Governor, and critical staff members on these issues. Let us know your thoughts.

Grassroots Lobbying

Last Wednesday as budget negotiations began in earnest, the Council of Chancellors convened in Sacramento and concluded the day with personal visits to key legislators from both houses. The visits were an opportunity for Chancellors to discuss the effects of budget cuts at their respective UC campuses and urge legislators to resist cutting UC’s budget any further.

The Budget Conference Committee is working line-by-line to reconcile differences between the Senate and Assembly proposals for the 2003-2004 State Budget. Late last week the committee dealt with a few of UC’s smaller issues while leaving major items — an additional $80.5 million cut to UC’s base budget; restoring up to $33 million in K-12 outreach funding; and a funding reduction that would delay the opening of UC Merced — unresolved for further discussion at the “Big 5” level (the Governor and the four legislative leaders from both houses/parties).

June 15 is the Constitutional deadline for passing a budget and the new fiscal year begins July 1.

Faculty Association efforts:

Charlie Nash (CUCFA Vice President for External Affairs) authorized me to engage our lobbyist, Jim Bruner, to help us in lobbying, but we still feel grassroots lobbying is important. We urge all the faculty organizations to contact their members and ask them to engage in this effort. If you need information about how to do so, please let me know. If you have already contacted your legislators, THANK YOU, and please do so again.

DFA Board Elections

According to DFA bylaws, it is time for DFA Board elections. The Nominating committee, consisting of Alan Jackman, Lenora Timm, and William Lucas, have selected the following slate of candidates to fill DFA Board positions as listed below with the following code (C – continuing; E – elect):

Officers:
1. Chair: Kathryn Radke (Animal Science) C
2. Vice Chair: Rosemarie Kraft ((Human and Community Development) C

Board members:
3.Lynette Hart ( VM: Pop. Health) E
4. Daniel Link (Radiology: Med.) C
5. Floyd Feeney (Law) E
6. Peter Richerson (Env. Sci.) E
7. Andrew Waterhouse (Vit. & Enol.) E
8. Ian Kennedy (Engineering) E
9. Winder McConnell (German) E
10. Peter Rodman (Anthropology) E
11. Terrance Murphy (DBS) E
Charles Nash (Chem. Emeritus) [Ex-officio due
to CUCFA board position]

All nominees have agreed to serve. Their two-year terms of office will begin Sept. 2003. Further nominations may be made upon petition of 5% of the membership (15 members) in good standing as of April 1, 2003. Such petitions must be delivered on or before May 23, 2003, to the Executive Director at 1129 Fordham Drive, Davis, CA 95616. If no nominations are submitted, the slate shall be accepted as elected.

Members leaving the current DFA board are Bill Lasley (VM: Pop. Health) and James Cramer (Sociology). We thank them for their service which ends August 31, 2003.

Regarding Letters to Legislators Concerning the UC Budget

One role of the DFA is to keep you informed about the progress of UC’s budget as it moves through the Legislature and to apprise you of any actions you can take to help.  We sent an update on April 21 which referred to  a full report of President Atkinson and and V.P. Larry Hershman’s comments to the Legislature and to the Regents that is available on the following link. http://www.ucop.edu/regents/regmeet/mar03/502.pdf

Recently, President Atkinson sent out a newsletter entitled: “A BUDGET UPDATE FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA PRESIDENT FOR UC FACULTY AND STAFF” which is available on the web at www.ucop.edu/news/budget/issue7.html if you have not already seen it. In the Q&A part of that message he wrote: “Currently, the state Legislature is evaluating the Governor’s proposed 2003-04 state-funded budget for the University. One of the things you can do is to write your legislator, stressing the importance of continued strong state investment in UC by sharing your personal experience of how specific programs or services to students or the public are being or may be impacted by budget cuts.”

The Faculty Association legislative monitors agree that carefully crafted letters from individual faculty members could be very helpful to the University’s cause, but we think that they should be directed to members of the Assembly and Senate committees that at this moment are dealing with the UC budget in the trenches (see below) rather than their own local representatives, who will get into the act only when the horse trading is pretty much over.

Under no circumstances do we recommend saying word one about faculty salaries in general or merits in particular. The administration has already made a strong case for keeping salaries competitive, but the best that one could realistically hope for from such a pitch would be legislative support for a rapid return to parity with our comparison institutions when the state’s finances are healthier.

Faculty members are very credible sources of anecdotal evidence regarding the educational consequences of past, present and future educational policy and budget decisions. For example: in recent years the legislature has sought and obtained some significant changes in UC’s admissions policies. Partly because of them, UC is presently “overenrolled” by about 5000 students systemwide. What that really means is that we are underfunded by the dollar equivalent of 5000 students at the so-called marginal cost of instruction,  currently about $9,000 per FTE student. UC projects that in 2003-04 the over enrollment will be more than 12,000 FTES. Like it or not, on some campuses the student: faculty ratio will have to increase, even though our current systemwide figure is larger than that of any of our comparison-8 institutions. The inevitable consequences will be larger classes, fewer sections of required courses, etc., etc.

If you do write a letter or send an e-mail to one of the legislators listed below, please send a blind copy to Myrna Hays, Legislative Coordinator of the Council of UC Faculty Associations, 1129 Fordham Drive, Davis, CA 95616; e-mail address: dfamhays@dcn.davis.ca.us

Senate Budget Sub-committee for Education:
Chair: Jack Scott D-Pasadena, Senate District 21, Senator.scott@sen.ca.gov
Bob Margett R-Diamond Bar , Senate District 29, Senator.Margett@sen.ca.gov
John Vasconcellos, D-San Jose Senate District 13, Senator.Vasconcellos@sen.ca.gov

Assembly Budget Sub-committee for Education:
S. Joseph Simitian, Chair Dem-21 (916) 319-2021 Assemblymember.Simitian@assembly.ca.gov
Wilma Chan Dem-16 (916) 319-2016 Assemblymember.Chan@assembly.ca.gov
Lynn Daucher Rep-72 (916) 319-2072 Assemblymember.Daucher@assembly.ca.gov
Jackie Goldberg Dem-45 (916) 319-2045 Assemblymember.Goldberg@assembly.ca.gov
Carol Liu Dem-44 (916) 319-2044 Assemblymember.Liu@assembly.ca.gov
Sharon Runner Rep-36 (916) 319-2036 Assemblywoman.Runner@assembly.ca.gov

Report on the UC Budget Discussions

Discussion of  the UC budget is heating up in legislative budget hearings and in meetings of the UC Regents. While testimony is being taken, no real action is expected until after the May Revise. In addition to  concerns about enrollment funding and student fees, the other issues being seriously discussed in the Legislative hearings are the cuts to Outreach and the Subject Matter Projects in the Governor’s budget and the funding for UC Merced.  The LAO (Legislative Analyst’s Office) continues to cite the opinion that UC should increase the student/faculty ratio as a means of cutting enrollment costs, but I do not see any serious discussion of this issue. Nonetheless, I felt you would like to review some of the most salient points being made by UC  in reference to faculty interests. The full report of President Atkinson and V.P. Larry Hershman’s comments to the Legislature and to the Regents are available on the following link.  http://www.ucop.edu/regents/regmeet/mar03/502.pdf

Faculty Salaries and Merits:

UC continues to place a high priority on faculty (and staff) salaries despite the fact that the Gov’s budget provides no funding for either. It is particularly noteworthy that UC recognizes the need to pay faculty merits (due, at least in part, to the lawsuit in which  the Faculty Associations  played a major role when the merits were denied in the early 90’s).  However, no one has said where the funding will come from. Here is what UC does say in the report:

” In a survey conducted by the University spanning the last half of the 1990s, the reason most often cited by first-offer candidates for not accepting a UC appointment was that they had received a better salary offer elsewhere. Nothing is more certain to undermine quality than a persistent inability to offer competitive salaries. The University must be able to compete for the best faculty if its quality is to be maintained. This is particularly important during a time
of unprecedented enrollment growth when campuses must hire thousands of new faculty over this decade.”

Budget Challenges Facing UC in 2003-04 ($ in millions)

· Deep targeted cuts to the base budget covering nearly every
area of the Universitys budget (on top of $160 million in
cuts contained in the 2002-03 Budget Act) $159

· Student fee increases to avoid cuts in Instruction $179

· Unallocated reduction not covered by student fee increases  $35

· No funding provided for faculty merit increasesUC has no
choice but to fund faculty merits  $24

· Employee health benefit increases  $25

· Energy cost increases  $20

· Maintenance of new space  $6

· Price increases on non-salary budgets  $20″

The data above is based on the Legislature accepting the Governor’s budget–not a done deal by any means. Recently, the Republicans presented their budget based on their desire to avoid taxes.  If adopted, their proposals would cut UC as much as 10% more. Hershman told the Regents and the legislators that UC will fight any reductions beyond those in the Gov’s budget because those cuts are already deeper than they expected.  Hershman said that despite the Gov’s attempts to protect instruction, the additional $35M in undesignated cuts could affect instruction. He added that quality would be affected.  Further reductions could affect enrollment. UC is currently experiencing unprecedented growth: By 2003-04, total enrollment will be more than 12,000 FTE over the level envisioned in the 1999 plan. In the current year alone, the University has 5,000 students more than budgeted levels.  To accommodate an additional 10% funding reduction, UC would need to “reduce its student population by 32,000 people or raise tuition by 90%–$3,200–in a year’s time, said Lawrence Hershman. . .” (Sac. Bee March 26, 2003). At the Regents’ meeting, Hershman said that UC cannot reduce enrollment for 2003-04 because the students have already been admitted.  The Regents discussed ideas for reducing enrollment over the long haul, including sending more students to community colleges. They also discussed possible fee increases, noting that UC fees are still lower than those of our comparison institutions. One regent suggested a fee structure based on the student’s ability to pay–charging more to students who can pay more. Doing so would help the middle-income students who do not benefit from student aid. Hershman said that UC would be wise to negotiate matters of enrollment and fees with the Legislature to avoid possible negative consequences. He asked to have student fee increases placed on the May meeting agenda. The Legislature will continue budget hearings throughout the spring and summer until a budget is signed. Hershman pointed to two possibly positive signs for meeting budget deadlines: the Big Five has begun to meet and the court ruling that the state could not pay state employees any more than the federal minimum wage may put pressure on the Legislature to act. Nonetheless, there is great division among the politicians. It may be a long summer.

Notes From the UC Committee on Faculty Welfare Annual Report

(Renee Binder, Chair)

Legal Liability and Legal Representation: UCFW continued to investigate issues of legal liability and legal representation, issues that might arise if a Senate member is sued or threatened with suit for acts related to University employment, or is the target of a whistleblower’s accusation. UCFW is concerned that faculty members may be insufficiently protected by current policies that do not guarantee independent counsel for faculty members who are innocent of any wrongdoing, but whose self-interests may be in conflict with the self-interest of the University. UCFW is in the process of forming a Subcommitteee on Legal Liability Issues. This UCFW subcommittee will strive for revised policies that will be more protective of the rights and due process of faculty members.

Colas: Three Month Delay from Start of Fiscal Year: UCFW considered the Davis divisional CFW’s proposal to end the cost of living adjustment (COLA) offset. When COLAs are next funded, the COLA delay could be abolished simply by returning to  the historic practice of having the effective date of a COLA coincide with the start of the fiscal year, July 1 (rather than being offset to October 1). Ending the COLA offset would prospectively spare new retirees the financial prejudice that has been caused to retirees over the past decade, who have had their base income for retirement purposes diminished by the delayed receipt of annual COLAs. The coming year, in which range adjustments are expected to be small to non-existent, could be an appropriate time for UC to commit to the normal July 1 date. This was discussed in a preliminary way with Larry Hershman. The COLA offset discussion will need to be continued in the future.

Phased Retirement (Phased Employment): UCFW has been working with Administration to develop a proposal for a new, voluntary phased-retirement program that would allow Senate members to enter into pre-retirement contracts governing the terms and extent of postretirement teaching and service. Mutual agreements between the University and the individual employee, who would have to be at least 60 years old, would be drawn up to cover a period of three to five years. The employee would retire and immediately begin to draw full retirement pay while continuing to work on a pro-rated basis for any percentage up to 50 percent time. At the end of the agreement, retirement benefits would be recalculated, taking into account the additional (pro-rated) service and any merits or range adjustments received in the interim. Administration is gathering detailed information on the  strengths and weaknee]sses of existing programs at comparison institutions; full benefits implications also need to be worked out. Though a number of potential problems exist, specifically involving startup costs, laboratory and office space, steady progress has been made throughout the year on this proposal.

Parking Policy Principles — Approved by UCFW, June 12, 2002:[There are 7 principles listed; I am quoting only #4. If you want to see the others, contact me.]

4. When existing parking is destroyed to accommodate campus development, the cost of constructing replacement parking should, to the greatest extent possible, be included in and charged to the cost of the new development.

New construction should result in an increase in the amount of parking available in order to ensure that both pre-existing and new parking needs are met. Unfortunately, construction projects often destroy parking spaces and may even result in a net decrease to the total number of spaces available on a campus. The practice of requiring that parking budgets be levied to pay for replacement spaces amounts to an inappropriate subsidy of the University’s capital costs by permit holders. There is no prohibition on the use of State funds to pay for parking expenses, and State funds have been used to pay for parking construction on at least one UC campus. Even if such a prohibition existed, it would be unreasonable to apply it to spaces that have already been paid for one or more times by permit holders.

The normal expectation should be that, to the greatest extent possible, the full, current cost of replacement parking will be incorporated into the cost of new construction and that this policy will apply to both state-funded and non-state-funded projects. However, when the cost of replacement parking would make it impossible for a campus to undertake a state-funded project deemed crucial to its academic mission, a campus administration may propose an exception by consulting the body designated under principle 6 with the understanding that the burden of proof rests with those advocating that the policy on replacement parking be overridden.

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