Davis Faculty Association

Archive for 2004

FA Representatives Meet with UCOP reps re. UC budget

On Monday of last week we enjoyed another productive meeting in the UCOP with VP Larry Hershman and Assistant VP Ellen Switkes. The focus of the meeting was he UC budget. Although he did not know for sure what the Governor will present in his budget proposal which is due in January, Hershman was optimistic that UC’s part of the document will be based on the Compact and reflect many, if not all, of the requests in the Regents’ proposal. Of perhaps most interest to faculty, the Regents’ proposal includes $40.6M for an average 1.5% COLA adjustment for all faculty and staff, and $46.8M in merit increase money–equivalent to 1.78% of the faculty and 1.5% of the staff salary budgets, respectively.

We asked for clarification of a $23.7M item labeled “Funds to support health benefit costs plus parity and equity compensation for faculty and staff.”  We came away with the distinct impression that this item is a place-holder.  Although open enrollment is over and the amounts that employees will have to spend out of pocket have been established, the actual overall cost of health care to the University had not been determined as of the date of the November Regents meeting. Historically, UC and PERS have provided omparable funding for health benefits. Accordingly, the item in question is large enough to match PERS funding for health care costs with some left over.

When we asked who might get the “leftover” parity and equity compensation, Hershman noted that a bigger percentage of the merit money had been allotted for faculty than for staff (1.78% vs. 1.5%) so the staff might have first call, but some of these funds would probably go to faculty as well. We asked whether “staff” could include Chancellors and/or senior UCOP Administrators.  Hershman replied that some of the money might go to one or two Chancellors, but the Administration certainly would not use up the entire pot.

At this point in the conversation Hershman said that because faculty salaries are well below those of our comparison institutions, making it increasingly difficult to recruit new faculty and retain the ones we have, the Regents have given a very high priority to bringing faculty salaries back to parity.  He also reminded us that there is an “elephant sitting in the corner.”  At some time not too far downstream, employees will once again have to pay into the UC Retirement System.  With that realization, it would be desirable, if we can, to get a little ahead of both the faculty and staff salary curves in an effort to minimize the effects later on of a global reduction in everyone’s purchasing power.

The other major area of the UC budget of interest to faculty is enrollment growth. The Regents’ proposal includes funding enrollment growth for 5,000 FTE students.  The proposed amounts needed to do nothing but that are $38M in state funds and $29M in student fee funds. The Regents approved mandatory systemwide fee increases in the amount of 8% ($457) for resident undergraduates and 10% ($628) for resident graduate academic students, beginning in the summer 2005 academic term. These fee levels are about $1,000 (for undergraduates) and $2,300 (for graduates) below the estimated average of UC’s four public comparison institutions.

After the Governor presents his budget, the Legislature will meet to discuss it and the final negotiated budget will not be determined until July or later. Hershman said that he had been been unable to glean any clues whatever about any aspects of the Governor’s budget.   He noted that the state is facing very difficult budget restrictions. He surmised that because of the very difficult budgetary climate Gov. Schwarzenegger will propose deep cuts in many areas, including health and social services and perhaps K-12 education.  To counter these, some legislators will more than likely propose tax increases, and the battle will be joined.

Letter to Legislators regarding UC Budget

You have a daunting and difficult task before you. The Davis Faculty Association, a dues-paying organization of faculty at the University of California, Davis, realizes that there are no easy solutions as you craft a budget proposal that balances the diverse needs that exist. Nevertheless,  I am writing on behalf of the DFA Board to seek your support and assistance on  the University of California’s budget.

Governor Gray Davis’ May Revision budget proposes no additional budget cuts for UC. The University of California strongly supports the governor’s May Revision budget, recognizing that it offers a balanced approach despite the deep cuts it imposes.

By 2003-04, campus enrollments will have increased by about 18% over a three-year period, while our state-funded budget will have decreased by 6%. UC has already made deep cuts to essential programs and cannot absorb more cuts without significantly damaging the quality of the University. Cuts occurring already include reductions that equal 10%-50% of program budgets in such areas as libraries, student services, public service programs, and administration.

Now we hear that legislators are considering proposals that could further cut the University’s budget by $80.5 million or as much as $400 million. The University has limited options in addressing these additional cuts and we are very concerned that access for many students will be threatened.

The University of California is renowned for its research, faculty, and outstanding educational experience. The state’s historical investment in education is a key to California’s dominance in the global arena. Severe cuts will precipitate an exodus of our best faculty, causing damage to our educational system and its reputation.  This will take decades to reverse, after the cuts are restored.

Any assistance you can provide on supporting the governor’s May Revision budget for UC and opposing any additional cuts proposed by the Legislature will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,
Kathryn Radke, Chair
Davis Faculty Association

Faculty salary increases discussed at Regents’ Meeting

At today’s meeting of the Finance Committee, the UC Regents discussed UC’s 2004-5 budget. The main focus was on the elements of the Compact which UC President Dynes and the Governor negotiated. See the following link: http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/compact/compact.pdf

The only action item was proposed increases in student fees in accordance with the Compact. That discussion was complicated by an announcement from Hershman and others about possible state-funded augmentations to UC’s budget. The Assembly budget subcommittee for higher education last night presented information only/possible action items including funding 3% enrollment growth (rep. 6,000) students, 2.41% COLAs for faculty and staff, a 25% General Fund subsidy for professional schools, restoration of funding for the Institute for Labor and Employment, and funding for Outreach programs. The Assembly budget subcommittee is scheduled to convene late today to determine whether to act upon these proposals. If they approve them, the Senate subcommittee and then the full Legislature as well as by the Governor would need to agree with them as well. Nonetheless, I felt you would want to hear this news.

That news created intense debate among the Regents regarding whether or not to adopt a fee structure (increase) for 2004-05. On the one hand, they want to give the Legislature time to provide more funding which would make the fee increase unnecessary. On the other hand, they feel they are legally bound to inform students “in a timely manner” about the fees they will need to pay if UC adopts the fees outlined in the Compact and no augmentations are provided. Bill statements are due to go out in the very near future; the state budget may not be final until July or much later. Some Regents suggested sending out letters that state that fees will be increased unless the Legislature and the Governor agree to provide funding; the UC Counsel agreed that such a “waffling” letter could serve to meet the legal obligation. Some Regents wanted to at least “sleep on it” and wait until tomorrow to decide. Hershman reminded the Regents that summer school students begin at Berkeley in just two weeks and must be told what fees to pay. The chair of the committee pressed for a vote; the result was a tie. So the full Regents’ board will need to act on it tomorrow. In the meantime, the UCOP will draft a letter for their consideration that will fit the elements of the discussion.

In their discussion, many Regents expressed concern about the Compact. Some feared that it will weaken UC’s bargaining power and that it does not really assure future funding. Hershman stated that the Compact is a floor. It represents an agreement for base funding as well as allowing for UC to request augmentations when funds are available. But, the Speaker of the Assembly said that it is merely “a promise between the Governor and the UC that may or may not be kept.” He felt that the Compact “takes the wind out of the sails of those who would like to provide all that is possible for higher education.” Several Regents agreed that it may weaken our bargaining power. Others expressed support for the Compact, feeling that it does provide for a “baseline, a Gentleman’s agreement” that has some value in future budget years.

News from Sacramento

by Charles P. Nash, Vice President  External Relations, UCFA

UC Budget Activity:

At this writing there are hot and heavy goings-on in Sacramento.  The so-called “May Revision” of the Governor’s Budget has been submitted to the Legislature for its consideration, and as documented below, it has not been well received there.

In the good-news category, the May Revision would increase the 2004-2005 General Fund support for the UC and CSU systems by $20.8 million vs. the January budget proposal.  Among the changes, it is now proposed that undergraduate fees be increased by 14% rather than the 10% figure in the January budget, and instead of the original 40% increase in graduate student fees, they be increased by 20% for “academic” graduate students and credential candidates and about 30% for students in professional schools.

As widely reported in the press, the May Revision also announced that the Governor had established a six-year “compact” with UC and CSU (ed. reminiscent of earlier agreements the institutions thought they had forged with Governors Wilson and Davis.  When budget problems arose, said agreements essentially wound up in the circular file.)  In substance the “compact” with the current Governor provides that beginning with the 2005-2006 budget year the institutions would receive compounded General Fund base budget increases of 3%, 3%, 4%, and three of 5%.  They would also receive General Fund support for annual enrollment growth of 2.5%–roughly 5,000 students at UC and 8,000 at CSU. (Not surprisingly, the six-year duration of the agreement has raised eyebrows in many Sacramento venues.)

On their part, the universities agreed to increase undergraduate student fees by 8% in 2005-06 and 2006-07, and in subsequent years by the growth rate of per capita income.  Graduate student fees would gradually rise toward a goal of 150% of undergraduate fees. The systems would be allowed to retain all their fee revenue, thereby giving them new funding on top of the General Fund increases mentioned above.

As has always been true, the Legislature is not a party to the “compact,” but as a practical matter future Governors’ annual budget messages will most likely reflect its provisions.  If this year’s budget activities are indicative of Legislative attitudes, future Governors will face some very bumpy roads.  In May, the Higher Education Budget Subcommittees of both houses of the Legislature took dead aim at the May revise and proposed 2004-2005 budget augmentations totaling more than $200 million.  With some differences between the actions of the two committees, said proposed augmentations included inter alia employee cost-of-living increases of 2.41%, fully-funded enrollment growth ignoring the Governor’s proposed redirection of 10% of the freshman class to the community colleges, a reduction in the undergraduate fee increase to 10% from the proposed 14%, restoration of funding for outreach, restoration of funding for the Institute for Labor and Employment, and the restoration of campus-based student financial aid funding to 33% of the student fee revenues, up from the Governor’s proposed figure of 20%.

If things proceed as expected, the full Budget Committees of both houses will begin considering the various subcommittee reports in late May and shortly thereafter could have budget bills up for votes by their respective colleagues.   In theory, differences between the versions passed by the Assembly and the Senate will be reconciled in a two-house, bipartisan conference committee.  Recent practice, however, has put most of the final responsibility in the hands an extra-legal “big five;” namely, the Governor and the majority and minority leaders of the two houses of the legislature.  It will be very interesting to see how things unfold this time.

Legislation:

On a totally different front, the Council of UC Faculty Associations has formally supported AB 2800 (Mountjoy), a bill that would, in effect, make it illegal for individuals to offer to produce and/or sell, or for students in California High Schools to buy written material of any kind that is to be turned in for academic grading and credit.  (Few if any faculty members know that the Donahoe Act, aka the Master Plan for Higher Education, already makes this practice illegal in colleges and universities.)  Assemblymember Mountjoy has agreed to consider our request that the bill be amended to proscribe the preparation and/or sale of  the “personal statements” that are now required of applicants to virtually all the four-year Colleges and Universities in the State.

DFA Board Election

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

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

Board members:
3.Lynette Hart ( VM: Pop. Health) C
4. Daniel Link (Radiology: Med.) RE
5. Floyd Feeney (Law) C
6. Peter Richerson (Env. Sci.) C
7. Andrew Waterhouse (Vit. & Enol.) C
8. Ian Kennedy (Engineering) C
9. Winder McConnell (German) C
10. Peter Rodman (Anthropology) C
11. Terrance Murphy (DBS) C
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. 2004. Further nominations may be made upon petition of 5% of the membership (15 members) in good standing as of April 1, 2004. Such petitions must be delivered on or before May 23, 2004, to the Executive Director at 41 Camrosa Place, Sacramento, CA 95835. If no nominations are submitted, the slate shall be accepted as elected.

DFA Response to Proposed Rec Hall fees increases

Date: Feb. 26, 2004
To: DFA Members
From: DFA Board Chair, Kathryn Radke

One of our members requested DFA assistance in dealing with an issue that affects many of our members–the proposed increases in Rec Hall fees. Below is a copy of a petition, signed by many people, including a number of our members. It addresses their concerns. Following it is a copy of the response they received from Janet C. Gong, Assistant Vice Chancellor – Student Affairs. The DFA Board voted to support  this petition and we are inviting individual members who support it to respond ASAP by “reply” to this email. Our desire is to be supportive to the concerns of our members. Thank you.

Petition to:

Bruce Madewell, Academic Senate
Cathi VandeVoort, Academic Federation
Zack O’Donnell, Staff Assembly

Dear Sirs and Madam,
We the undersigned faculty and staff request that the Academic Senate,
Academic Federation and Staff Assembly request a formal reevaluation of
the Rec Hall business plan to determine what if any justification there
is for raising UCD employees use fees of the expanded Rec Hall to $480 per year, including a $5 per month locker fee. These fees are higher than fees charged by several of the Davis athletic clubs and provide members with fewer services and facilities than any of the local athletic clubs. The argument that the university cannot charge less than local businesses (the so-called town and gown argument) really should not apply to campus employees. Fees this high are particularly hard on retirees and staff. Additionally, it is not clear why Benefits should pay for part of these fees as has been suggested by the Rec Hall administrators. We have been given no real justification for why employees should pay so much. These fees are more than 200% last year’s fees.

However, we have been told at meetings with the Rec Hall administration that it would make no difference to the Rec Hall budget if the 600 faculty and staff who use the Rec Hall dropped their memberships. If this is indeed the case then there is even less justification for charging us so much.

There are a number of reasons why it is in the university’s best
interests to encourage faculty and staff to use the Rec Hall.

*  It is well-documented that increasing the fitness of employees lowers the costs of health benefits. It adds to the ‘Quality of Life’ at UC Davis (http://worklifebalance.ucdavis.edu/). Having healthy, engaged, non-stressed faculty and staff is very highly desirable. All major corporations offer free athletic facilities to their employees.

*   Having faculty and staff present in the Rec Hall means that there are always university employees present in case of accident or emergency.

In the past 5 years or longer the “old” Rec Hall facility has become steadily more and more run down and dirty. At the same time the use fees paid by faculty and staff have steadily increased by 3-7% each year. These are not conditions you would encounter in athletic clubs. Every year there has been more and more broken equipment. We’ve put up with leaking plumbing, filthy restrooms and showers, and extended periods without access to parts of the Rec Hall. Last year when we paid more for only 9 months access than we’d paid for any previous year we were unable to use the indoor track for more than half the year, went days without being able to use the Rec Hall at all because it was closed for events or construction, and put up with days of no hot water. There are also continuing problems with garbage not being picked up both within the facility and outside the facility, and probably as a consequence there are rats visible during the day outside the old part of the facility. Finally, we have seen little evidence that relying on part time student labor has worked in the past and it does not seem likely that the larger facility can be run this way.

Given this:

*   We are requesting that the business plan be thoroughly re-examined by an independent committee.

*   And we want a reasonable fee, with a clear, well-justified
reason for the fee amount charged faculty and staff.
Response from Janet C. Gong
Assistant Vice Chancellor – Student Affairs

Thank you for including me in your correspondence to the Chairs of the Academic Senate, Staff Assembly and Academic Federation.  I continue to appreciate your concern and your desire to re-examine the issues concerning recreation membership on our campus.

As I promised you, I want to let you know that since reading the advance copy of the petition that you kindly provided me on Tuesday of this week, I have had an opportunity to discuss both the petition and the concerns that you and I discussed in our telephone conversation with Tom Compton.  As I think you know, Tom is the Executive Director of Campus Unions and Campus Recreation and in addition to his several other responsibilities, has supervisory responsibilities for the Rec Hall/Activities and Recreation Center.  We have agreed to review these issues, including the methodologies and options related to the principal member fee, the fee for spouses/significant others, locker fees, payroll deduction approaches and overall customer service. We are already beginning this effort and, as you know, will additionally be meeting with Dennis Shimek tomorrow morning to review the benefits-subsidy possibilities.   While I think that it would be premature at this point for me to suggest what the outcome of our review will be, I can commit that we will undertake this review quickly and with appropriate consultation.  I will also commit to you that I will keep you apprised of our efforts, at each step.

Tom and I also discussed an additional option of perhaps extending the expiration date of the recreation membership/eligibility privilege cards of our current users, at least for a short period of time beyond the March-April expiration period of the currently priced cards, while we conduct this re-assessment.  While I need to investigate this option further, it may provide us with a bit more time to complete the work and re-establish our discussion with you and those you represent, without any financial disadvantage to our members.  I will certainly keep you informed of this option within the next week.

I do trust that you will take these steps as a the good faith effort that we are making to be responsive to your concerns.  I have elected to copy Bruce Madewell, Zack O’Donnell and Cathi VandeVoort on this correspondence, simply so they will know that we are in touch with you, are aware of your concerns, and are endeavoring to respond in an expeditious manner.  While I will certainly remain in touch with you, please do not hesitate to contact me at 752-8787.

With best regards,

Janet C. Gong
Assistant Vice Chancellor – Student Affairs

Web Page Info re. Health Sciences Retirement Proposal

On behalf of the DFA Board, I am sending this information because we feel it is of interest to our members in the Health Sciences. In order to reach the largest population, the Office of the President has constructed a web site (posted 1/04) that has Questions and Answers about the Health Sciences Retirement Proposal.

The web address is as follows: http://www.ucop.edu/acadadv/acadpers/q-and-as.pdf.

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