Archive for 2003
On November 23, the DFA Board sent the following concerns to Employee Relations:
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?
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.
Kathryn Radke, Associate Professor
Chair, Davis Faculty Association
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.
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.
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.
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):
1. Chair: Kathryn Radke (Animal Science) C
2. Vice Chair: Rosemarie Kraft ((Human and Community Development) C
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.