Archive for May, 2006
Let us introduce you to the Davis Faculty Association, a member of the Council of UC Faculty Associations (CUCFA). Independent of UC, we lobby on your behalf. If you find our goals and actions to be in your interest, we hope you will join (using the attached form). Below is but a brief preview of our activities; we invite you to learn more by exploring our web page at www.ucdfa.org. Current members, please share this information with your colleagues (in your department, with whom you serve on committees and/or jog or play tennis, etc.) and talk to them about why the DFA is important to you.
Did you know that the Office of the Provost recently appointed a professional “Investigations Coordinator”? Bruce H. Hupe now conducts investigations that in the faculty arena hitherto were done by academics such as Associate Deans or current or recent Department Chairs. The academics now review the Investigations Coordinator’s exhaustive report and make the recommendation to the Chancellor required by UCD 015 III-D-6-b regarding alleged university policy violations. The DFA is monitoring this administrative change in academic culture.
Did you know that a recent Chair of the P&T Hearings Subcommittee has stated: “The University is always represented by counsel. Faculty have lawyers only in about half the cases”? He estimated the cost of legal representation as being in the range of $25,000 to $50,000, leading to a decidedly unlevel “playing field.” (See “Mending the Wall” on the Senate web site.) In this climate we think that it would be foolish for an individual under investigation to meet with Mr. Hupe without having a third party present–preferably an attorney. By all reports Mr. Hupe is a highly competent and thorough investigator, and therein lies the rub. Faculty members tend to embellish when just a simple “yes” or “no” answer would suffice, and a good cop loves such behavior.
Did you know that the campus administration seems to be escalating its actions in the Faculty Code of Conduct arena? The report of UCD’s P&T to the Representative Assembly last fall noted that in one disciplinary case the sanction originally recommended by the Chancellor and agreed to by the Hearings Committee included a one-quarter suspension without pay, but the Chancellor later reneged. We learned from the affected individual that because APM 016 astonishingly states that Demotion is a lesser sanction than Suspension, the Chancellor was going to demote the (now-retired) faculty member from Professor, Step II to Assoc. Professor, Step III. To prevent such foolishness from ever happening again, the systemwide Academic Senate must revisit APM 016 ASAP.
Did you know that the Chancellor also overturned the recommendations of P&T in the Szabo case now publicized in the Sacramento Bee? The DFA is concerned about such actions in which shared governance is ignored. We are considering appropriate DFA action and will keep our members informed.
Did you know that faculty members can get advice from the DFA regarding rules and the process affecting promotion and tenure? We also serve as a source of information and assistance to faculty who feel they are not being treated fairly in such actions. We have conducted forums on these matters in the past and may in the future.
Did you know that you could lose your job if you overstay a leave? A revision of APM 700 proposes that if an academic appointee is absent without an approved leave or does not return to assigned duties after an approved leave, the University may presume that the academic appointee has resigned. While faculty should not be making excessive or inappropriate use of leave, the proposed policy is vague and does not contain proper safeguards or specify appropriate Senate review. The DFA Board wrote to Academic Senate Chair Simmons asking to draw the attention of the Academic Senate to these issues. [The letter is on our web page.]
Did you know that annuitant health care is not funded by the UCRS? Rather, it requires a line item in each year’s general fund budget appropriation, and its long-term future is currently under study by the Human Relations staff in the UCOP. A CUCFA committee will participate in the review of their findings and inform our members.
Did you know that the Regents are planning how to reinstate UCRP contributions? Plans being discussed include a multi-year contribution strategy under which contribution rates will increase gradually to 16 percent of covered earnings. Both employee and employer would contribute, but the employee’s share is yet to be determined. The change may be effective as early as July 2007 subject to future budgets. We will keep our members informed.
Did you know that new regulations regarding diversity in merits and promotions were added to the APM? Alarmed at the possible effects of this change, the DFA board questioned Vice Provost Horwitz about these regulations (210-D). She responded: “These are not new requirements. Rather . . . when faculty do engage in these efforts, which support the campus strategic plan, these efforts will be recognized in the department letter. . . . Implementation of the new language will not alter current criteria for assessing research. . . .The intention of the language… is to be more specific about activities that support the commitment to diversity, not to give those activities more weight than efforts that do not specifically support the commitment to diversity. . . .The campus strategic plan outlines the importance of increasing our diversity with respect to faculty, staff, and students. The new language . . . also outlines the responsibility of the dean and of the department chair to maintain an affirmative action program that is consistent with University affirmative action policies. In fact, deans and department chairs are evaluated on this responsibility. However, there is no language in APM 210 or in any guidelines to committees reviewing faculty that include the expectation that every faculty member will be an active contributor to diversity; and I am not aware of any discussion indicating that, over time, such contributions will be expected of everyone.” [The full letter is available on our web page.]
Did you know that the DFA belongs to the Council of UC Faculty Associations? By far the largest independent dues-supported organization representing the faculty at UC campuses, CUCFA coordinates activities of the Faculty Associations on a statewide level, acts as collective bargaining agent for faculty at UC Santa Cruz, and maintains an independent lobbyist (Jim Bruner at Orrick, Herrington, & Sutcliffe) in Sacramento. CUCFA tracks legislation of interest to faculty, monitors the UC budget as it moves through the Legislature, and lobbies strongly for faculty salaries. All of these efforts are supported by voluntary dues from faculty.
Did you know that CUCFA communicates independently on major issues facing the university? In mid January, CUCFA President Robert Meister sent a letter to the Regents stating: “It may sometimes be necessary to pay higher salaries to attract top people from the outside, but UC should not encourage its present administration to measure their own worth by the standards of the external market as the Mercer Report suggests they already do. We doubt, moreover, that they would want market standards to be consistently applied: if it is true that UC pays too little to attract top people to administrative positions, this is not a reason to pay more to the people we already have.” Subsequently, Meister wrote an op-ed piece in the San Francisco Chronicle denouncing the privatization of UC by the administration and board of Regents. In addition, CUCFA Vice President Charles Nash wrote to the state Senate Education committee prior to their first hearing on UC compensation issues informing its members of the sorry state of faculty salaries and the weakening state of UC in the very competitive academic recruiting market. [See full text of these letters on our web.]
To: Dan Simmons, Chair, Davis Division of the Academic Senate
From: Ian Kennedy, Chair, Board of the Davis Faculty Association
Subject: Formal review of draft APM 700-10
Date: May 8, 2006
The Davis Faculty Association Board is aware of the current formal review of proposed changes to APM 700, 710, 711 and 080. While many of the provisions in these are related to medical leaves and medical separations, the proposed new section APM 700-10 is much more general. This addition to the APM section on leaves adds the new concept of “presumptive” or “constructive” resignation. It proposes that if an academic appointee is absent without an approved leave or does not return to assigned duties after an approved leave, the University may presume that the academic appointee has resigned from his or her appointment with the University. While we certainly agree that faculty should not be making excessive or inappropriate use of leave, we are concerned by the vagueness of the proposed policy and by the absence of proper safeguards or any mention of appropriate Senate review.
This section was specifically noted in the Academic Council comments during the informal review last year, when it was referred to as 700-16. The August 3, 2005 Council letter by Chair Blumenthal contained the following comments:
“In addition, I wish to point out that during my own review of these policies, I noted that the proposed revision of APM 700-16, suggesting that the chancellor may make a final decision on a separation, contradicts the Standing Orders of the Regents and Senate Bylaws governing early termination, which require that the Divisional Privilege and Tenure Committee be notified prior to the intended action, and that the affected faculty member be given the opportunity for a hearing before the Privilege and Tenure Committee. This represents a major oversight in the draft policy that will need to be rectified.”
“There should be a specific minimum cutoff point designated for an absence without leave, beyond which continued absence would prompt separation proceedings.”
“The thirty-day response limit is too short for an action as serious as termination.”
The April 25, 2005 UCEP letter comments:
“The APMs should include explicit language outlining appropriate Senate involvement in the separation procedures for faculty falling under these provisions.”
“The APM language should explicitly state that the right to grieve such an action should automatically trigger Senate review through Senate Privilege and Tenure committees.”
“In addition, we believe it would be useful for the APM language to designate a specific, minimum cutoff point for an absence without leave, beyond which continued absence would prompt separation proceedings. This would help prevent proceedings from being triggered if an individual forgot to deliver official notification about a conference trip. Members made suggestions of both 30 days and 3 months for a cutoff period.”
To DFA Board members, it appears that the new draft APM 700-10 falls far short of incorporating the suggestions from the Academic Senate. The language is vague and still does not specify the appropriate Senate role. If adopted in its present form, the policy would allow widely varying interpretations and selective enforcement. The potential for misunderstanding and unnecessary conflict is evident.
The DFA Board wishes to draw your attention to these issues as the Academic Senate deliberates changes to the APM. We believe that this is a matter of concern for all Senate members, and we trust that the Senate will give it due consideration.
Ian Kennedy, Chair
Davis Faculty Association