Davis Faculty Association

Archive for July, 2009

Furlough Survey Results To Date

We have received 57 responses to the furlough survey to date. On the main question of whether furlough days should be scheduled on instructional days, 43 said at least some furlough days should be scheduled on teaching days, 7 were opposed to doing so, and 7 respondents managed to avoid the question in their response.

Of those in favor of furloughed instructional days, most feel it is important for the furloughs to be coordinated — the whole campus closing together — so as to produce the most cost savings, as well as to cause the least confusion. Also, a majority favor scheduling the furloughs near already existent breaks in the schedule.

These ideas all echo the proposal from UCSC’s Academic Senate. In fact, eight survey respondents specifically mentioned the UCSC proposal, seven of them favoring the UCSC approach. The one respondent who mentioned the UCSC proposal as being the wrong approach felt, as a few others did, that making too much effort to minimize the pain would fail to get the point across.

Click here to view the actual responses collected so far.

Davis Division Academic Senate Furlough Survey

We encourage our members to add their comments to both the DFA and the Davis Senate web sites in regard to furlough implementation plans. The DFA site is also open to the FA members from other campuses and we plan to share the responses with our colleagues at those campuses. In that respect, the DFA survey will have a broader audience. It would be appropriate to add the same comments to both sites.

(The DFA survey is no longer available as we have completed the collection of data.)

The Academic Senate survey is available at:
https://asis.ucdavis.edu/

Make up of the Commission to explore UC’s future

Chair of the UC Regents, Russell Gould, has announced a Commission to consider the future of the UC system. We are desperately in need of long term planning for an on-going financial crisis. However, the composition of the Commission is cause for grave alarm. The members of the Commission are:

1. Board of Regents Chair Russell Gould, Co-Chair
2. President Mark G. Yudof, Co-Chair
3. Regent Jesse Bernal
4. Regent Sherry Lansing
5. Regent Monica Lozano
6. Regent Yolanda Nunn Gorman
7. Student Regent-designate Jesse Cheng
8. Chancellor Gene Block
9. Chancellor Michael Drake
10. Chancellor Henry Yang
11. Dean Chris Edley
12. Academic Senate Chair Mary Croughan
13. Academic Senate Vice Chair Harry Powell
14. Additional faculty representative
15. Staff Advisor Ed Abeyta
16. DC Berkeley Alumnus Warren Hellman
17. California Chamber of Commerce President Allan Zaremberg
18. California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, Executive Secretary- Treasurer Art Pulaski

Ex officio members:
19. Provost Larry Pitts
20. Executive Vice President Katie Lapp
21. Executive Vice President Peter Taylor

You will note that there are only 3 faculty representatives who are not administrators, and only one who may not be drawn from the top level of Senate leadership. We will be promised representation perhaps on sub committees, but the composition of the Commission itself will not sufficiently reflect the views of the rank-and-file faculty members. We will question the composition of the Commission via CUCFA.

Read the letter from Chair Gould at
http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/documents/commissiononthefuture.pdf

View from the trenches: faculty retention and furlough implementation

Please share this message with as many colleagues as possible. We invite input from all members of the Faculty, including those not currently members of the Faculty Association.

The Administration is moving ahead on plans to implement the furloughs without faculty input at this stage. We need constructive ideas about how best to handle the implementation. We do not want the furloughs to have zero impact on any of the mission of the University – the logical conclusion would be that more furloughs and extended furloughs and other cuts will have no effect. On the other hand, we need to be sensitive to the way that a significant impact on teaching will be portrayed in the media. The Faculty Association wants your ideas. Please post them anonymously at:

http://cucfa.org/survey/public/survey.php?name=furloughs

We will send these ideas onto the campus Senate leadership, the campus Administration, and to our affiliated Faculty Associations. Time is short on this issue and we plan to wrap up this survey in one week.

Also, the loss of high quality faculty due to our ongoing budget cuts, and now the furloughs, has been cited by many sources, including the Academic Senate leaders, as a threat to the quality of the University as a whole. If at all possible, we should document these cases – facts would make the case stronger. We have created a web based form to collect these stories at:

http://cucfa.org/survey/public/survey.php?name=retention

Please provide the names of colleagues whom you know are leaving due to the current climate at UC; where they are going; and if at all possible a brief statement from them about their reasons for leaving. Please include any information you can provide about failed recruitments due to inadequate offers that were caused by the budget cuts. We will share this information, if appropriate, with UC Senate leadership, UCOP, Regents, Legislators, and other Faculty Associations.

Comments by CUCFA President Meister to Regents meeting

Council of UC Faculty Associations President Bob Meister addressed the Regents at their recent meeting at which they approved a furlough. Here is a summary of his comments to them (also available online at http://cucfa.org/news/2009_july15.php):

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You can’t declare a financial emergency today without violating your own rules. Adopting J1 [the power to declare a financial emergency] violates the 30 day notice requirement for amending By-laws (By-law 130). And you can’t adopt J2 [the declaration of emergency itself] without following the stepwise procedure required by J1, which can’t begin until J1 is adopted. Procedural objections were first raised by the Academic Council’s letter (of July 8); we hired a lawyer to find out how bad they are, and now you know.

Your present situation is less like an “emergency” than like GM’s first step toward bankruptcy—a long-term insolvency with no long-term plan to get out Even if you declare an “emergency,”,you can’t simply renew it. You have to decide what business you’re in and then put all your other assets on the line to support that business.

You have no choice about what business to be in: UC is a public trust created for the purpose of public higher education. So, you can’t just say that that there’s no plan to fund UC’s educational mission, and then use your “emergency” power to protect UC’s “genuinely entrepreneurial” activities from being a source of funding for public higher education. [NB UC’s furlough-based approach to pay cuts completely exempts bonuses. In a simple insolvency, bonuses would be on the table before base pay is cut—and should certainly be cut before base pay is cut again .]

Before declaring this emergency, please think hard about the legal and political consequences of renewing it. [ E.g., increased supervision of all UC’s assets and activities, and the use or reversal of UC privatization to support its public mission.] Fortunately, you don’t have to think that hard today. Your own rules prevent you from doing anything until next time.

Report from AAUP: Terrific decision from Colorado state court on tenure & handbooks

The following is a report from Rachel Levinson, Senior Counsel of the American Association of University Professors. So, for example, where the text below says “we submitted an amicus brief…” please read that as AAUP submitted an amicus brief.

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A Denver trial court handed down a really great decision last week in Saxe v. Metro State, a case in which we submitted an amicus brief at an earlier stage, and for which Matt Finkin provided crucial, dispositive expert testimony. See http://www.aaup.org/AAUP/protect/legal/2005-09+amicus.htm#tenure for a description of the case and of our amicus brief.

In the most recent decision, attached, the court concluded that when the board of trustees of the Metropolitan State College of Denver unilaterally revised the tenure provisions in its 1994 handbook relating to faculty priority and relocation, the revisions affected “vested rights,” and the changes were therefore unconstitutional under the Colorado Constitution.

In deciding whether the rights in the 1994 handbook were vested, the court used a three-factor test: (1) whether the public interest was advanced or retarded by the modifications; (2) whether modification of the rights as embodied in the 1994 handbook gave effect to or defeated the bona fide intentions or reasonable expectations of the affected individuals; and (3) whether the 2003 handbook “surprised” individuals who had relied on contrary provisions of the 1994 handbook.

The court – relying heavily on Matt’s testimony – made some important findings:

With respect to the first point, the public interest was damaged by the modifications: “[T]he public interest is advanced more by tenure systems that favor academic freedom over tenure systems that favor flexibility in hiring and firing. By its very nature, tenure promotes a system in which academic freedom is protected. Further . . . inherent in a tenure system is inflexibility in firing decisions; if the College wanted a more flexible system of employment, the College should not have utilized a tenure-based system. This weighs the public interest strongly in favor of academic freedom. The Court recognizes that the public interest is served by a public college with flexible hiring and firing policies. However, such policies are in direct conflict with the fundamental tenets of a tenure system. Indeed, a tenure system that allows flexibility in firing is oxymoronic.”

On the second point, although there was no evidence of the intentions of the affected individuals, the court determined that it is reasonable to consider industry-wide standards and that the industry-wide expectations (as described by Matt) are that tenure will be abrogated only as a matter of last resort. This was the case even though the college did not actually adopt AAUP policies. “Evidence of industry standards may be used to demonstrate the parties’ intent. . . . Mr. Finkin testified that the core notion of tenure is that the tenured faculty member will be terminated only as a last resort after all other avenues of reductions in force are exhausted. Mr. Finkin testified that questions of reductions in force are central to the notion of tenure, and tenured faculty members should be retained in preference to probationary appointees. Mr. Finkin testified that if termination is unavoidable, relocation, if possible, is an inherent expectation. Finally, Mr. Finkin concluded by testifying that the 2003 Handbook provisions regarding priority and relocation did not give effect to the reasonable expectations of tenured faculty.” Because no other evidence regarding the plaintiffs’ expectations was produced by the plaintiffs or the defendants, the court concluded that the 1994 handbook, not the revised 2003 handbook, gave effect to the reasonable expectations of the faculty members.

Finally, although there was no direct evidence that the faculty members were surprised by the changes in the 2003 handbook, the court concluded that there was enough circumstantial evidence to suggest surprise. Among other things, the court pointed again to Matt Finkin’s testimony regarding the reasonable expectations of tenured professors, and inferred that the plaintiffs must have been surprised by the 2003 handbook changes.

The changes in the 2003 Handbook pertaining to priority and relocation were therefore “retrospective changes of vested rights” and were invalid under the Colorado Constitution.

Matt thinks it is extremely likely that the college will appeal, but it also seems more likely than not that the decision will stand; the trial court’s job here was to make a finding on the factual record, which it did, and an appeals court is likely to be fairly deferential to those findings. This is a terrific victory, and well worth circulating not just to the Colorado chapters but also more widely. We’ll update the description on the website, too. I was in touch late last week with reporters at the Chronicle & Inside Higher Ed, and these pieces appeared on Friday and today:

http://chronicle.com/news/index.php? id=6593&utm_source=pm&utm_medium=en

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/06/08/metro

Kathi also suggested that we get in touch with the Post and the Wall Street Journal, to play up the financial angle of this (i.e., that even in a time of financial crisis, tenure can trump other considerations), which I think is a great idea. I’ll forward it to the reporter at the Wall Street Journal who’s been interviewing folks here about tenure & academic freedom issues; Martin and Robin, are there other contacts that we should send it to?

Thanks –
Rachel

Report from CUCFA President on Regents meeting and legal argument

Council of UC Faculty Associations President, Bob Meister, argued before the Regents this week that their vote on the furloughs was not legal. His report of the meeting and the reception that our legal arguments met is available at http://cucfa.org/news/2009_july15b.php. Although we did not prevail, some legal points were made and the Regents resorted to claiming “inherent rights” to make decisions about our future.

CUCFA’s Legal Demand Letter to Regents

The attached demand letter was submitted earlier today to the Regents by counsel retained by CUCFA.

FA members Chris Newfield and Stan Glantz in yesterday’s SF Chronicle

Faculty Association members Chris Newfield and Stan Glantz authored a column about UC’s budget crisis published in yesterday’s San Francisco Chronicle.

The article is available online at:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/07/14/ED1B18NLJL.DTL

Fwd: UC Faculty Bulletin: July 14, 2009

DFA chair Ian Kennedy has asked me to forward this to the DFA members. Begin forwarded message:

From: UPTE-CWA info@upte-cwa.org
Date: July 14, 2009 10:48:12 AM PDT
Subject: UC Faculty Bulletin: July 14, 2009*

Communication from Professional and Technical Staff Union (UPTE) at University of California

*UC or Yudof?*

The cuts proposed by UC President Mark Yudof <http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/regents/regmeet/jul09/j2.pdf> make no sense and will do irreparable harm to UC.

The cuts are unnecessary: While Yudof has been forced to back off his initial proposal of furloughing non-state funded employees, the proposal to be put before the Regents on Wednesday still includes possible cuts for medical center employees and those with mixed fund sources. Less than 15% of UC’s income comes from the state and the shortfall should be met through other measures than discriminatory cuts to state-funded employees.

There are alternatives:

* UC could set up an aggressive job placement plan that would save jobs through the attrition of those leaving the University. Include re-training opportunities for those being laid off so
they can meet the qualifications of open jobs.
* UC has vast reserves and rainy day funds that can be used for one-time shortfalls until the economy recovers or attrition cuts enough.
* Halt all current plans for expansion.
* Implement a hiring freeze for all state-funded positions unless the hiring department can show there are no internal UC candidates eligible for the job.

The cuts will do irreparable harm: Before these proposed cuts 30% of research staff left UC annually, largely because salaries lag 20% – 30% behind market. UC will be unable to recruit and even less retain the quality staff required to do the work of the world’s premier academic institution.

This week, UC President Yudof will request the Regents for emergency powers to cut whenever and where he wants. We, the professional and technical staff at UC urge you to write UC President Yudof and Chair Regent Russell Gould today and tell them you do not support the emergency powers or the cuts.

We urge you to join the chorus of faculty, deans, and campus administrators and write Yudof and Gould from our website: Comment on Yudof Cuts <http://www.upte.org/yudofcuts.html>.

You can see what other faculty have written at: Faculty Letters <http://www.uclafaculty.org/FASite/UC_Budget_Crisis.html>.

Research and technical staff have responded to Yudof by calling for a strike authorization vote which will be held July 20-24, 2009. Our members are outraged by Yudof refusing to bargain with our union and seeking to intimidate our members into accepting his cuts.

We greatly appreciate your support and welcome any dialogue with faculty. Feel free to contact our local offices <http://www.upte.org/contacts/index.html>or UPTE President Jelger Kalmijn <mailto:president@upte-cwa.org?subject=Faculty%20dialogue>.

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