Davis Faculty Association

Archive for September, 2009

Walkout and rally

The rally was well attended, although not a massive turnout. Plenty of media coverage, both locally and around the state. The California Aggie ran an article in this morning’s edition, ahead of today’s events, and the Keep California’s Promise website has a collection of pre and post rally articles from around the state.

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Teaching materials

UCD faculty who are teaching on the 24th may want to consider using the opportunity to inform and teach students about the issues that have caused the University to reach its current state. As mentioned in an earlier message, the Council of UC Faculty Associations has created a website with useful information at http://keepcaliforniaspromise.org/, including a PDF designed for use as a classroom handout, available at http://keepcaliforniaspromise.org/?p=230

Another good resource is the website http://utotherescue.blogspot.com/, which is the work of UCSB FA member Chris Newfield, former Chair of systemwide Academic Senate Planning and Budget. The top left corner of his blog has a list of materials faculty have created to communicate with students about the current crisis.

Rally on the 24th

Students, faculty and the UPTE union are organizing a rally at noon on the Quad on the 24th September. If you intend to teach that day, you might want to inform your class of this activity.

Shared governance is alive and well at UC

by Ian Kennedy

A letter from the Academic Council should allay your fears that Shared Governance is under threat.

——————–

September 9, 2009

Gary Rhoades, General Secretary, AAUP
Cary Nelson, President, AAUP
Executive Committee, AAUP
Collective Bargaining Congress Executive Committee, AAUP

RE: An Open Letter to UC Faculty From the AAUP

Dear Colleagues:

We strongly disagree with your assertion that the recent decision by University of California administrators to not allow faculty furlough days on days of instruction is dismissive of the historic role of the UC faculty in governance. Indeed, your statement demonstrates an unfortunate lack of understanding of the unique nature of faculty governance in the University of California.

The recent decision rejecting the advice of the UC Academic Council was, in our opinion, wrong-headed and has led to unfortunate consequences and disillusionment among faculty. We also recognize, however, that President Yudof has important and sound policy reasons to support the decision he made. He has indicated that the decision was necessary as part of his effort to insure that the faculty furloughs will not be continued into a second year. In addition, and, contrary to your description of the faculty’s voice as being unanimous, while there was a unanimous vote of the Academic Council, that position was derived after lengthy debate, including discussion with the Administration, in which numerous faculty members expressed strong opposition to taking furloughs on instructional days. That having been said, it is important to understand that the fact that Administration and the Senate in the University of California disagree on an important policy question does not mean that faculty governance is not strong. Indeed, the process that led to this decision is demonstrates the continuing vitality of shared governance within the University.

Under the Standing Orders of the Regents of the University of California, the President, and through the President the administration of the University, is delegated specific authorities, including recently an authority to declare an extreme financial emergency and to waive otherwise applicable policies as necessary. Likewise the Standing Orders delegate specific authorities to the Academic Senate. Shared governance in the University of California is more than the shared governance at any other institution of higher education in the United States; it is a system of shared management authority within designated policy realms. In some instances, these authorities are exercised by the Senate or the administration in disagreement with the other partner. This disagreement has gone both ways. In addition, the Standing Orders of the Regents provide for a number of areas in which authority is delegated to the administration with requirements for consultation and advice from the Academic Senate. The President’s authority to implement salary reductions and furloughs is one such area.

Over the past several months the UC Academic Council on behalf of the UC systemwide Academic Senate, and Senate councils on each of the ten campuses, have been heavily engaged in conversations with the systemwide administration and the campus administrations regarding the development of and the detailed implementation plans for the unfortunately necessary salary reductions within the University. The salary reduction and furlough plans have been shaped by consultations with the Academic Senate at every step of their development. The Senate leadership at the system level and on each campus have been active participants in this evolution. Faculty members on every campus were heavily engaged in the discussions. Indeed, it was the presence of this extensive consultation that has created widespread unhappiness with the ultimate decision.

As representatives of the UC Academic Senate who are beholden to the policy judgment of our colleagues on the UC Academic Council, we are not in a position to comment on your endorsement of a faculty walkout. We can assert, however, that while faculty at the University of California have every right to disagree with the administration to overrule the judgment of the faculty, and we have communicated our views on this issue to President Yudof, there is no basis to fault President Yudof’s and Provost Pitts’s extensive efforts to consult with the faculty on every aspect of the decisions leading up to and required by the financial emergency faced by the University of California. Shared governance at the University of California operates through robust consultation and debate. Sometimes we agree, sometimes we disagree. At the end of the day, we must respect each other’s exercise of judgment and decision making authority and move on to the next issue based on our collective judgment of what is good for the institution, and for the good of our students.

The faculty of the University of California have a system of shared governance that is precious and that has served us well for many decades. It is more than a system of collective bargaining. It is shared management. Our shared management is one of the principal reasons that the University of California is recognized around the world for its model of faculty governance. Our robust shared governance is one of the principal reasons for the uniformly high quality of our ten campus research university. We as faculty can do as much damage to this precious institution by throwing sticks and stones at our administrators, as they may do to us by ignoring the unique principles of our shared governance. We believe that President Yudof is as committed to shared governance in the University of California as we are, and we have seen multiple instances where he has conveyed that attitude to his subordinate administrators by action.

We sincerely hope that you will post our views along with your open letter.

Sincerely,
Henry C. Powell, Chair
Daniel L. Simmons, Vice Chair

Cc: Academic Council

Chris’s Blog Archives: Indirect Cost Distribution Table for UC

If you wonder where Indirect Cost Returns go as they trickle down to you, or dry up along the way, you may find Chris Newfield’s web site informative. Go to:

http://toodumbtolivearchive.blogspot.com/2009/09/indirect-cost-distribution-table-for-uc.html

Recruiting poster

dfa_posterIan Kennedy has produced a recruiting poster for our organization. You may have already seen it around campus, as a few of the DFA board members have already started putting some up.

We’d love your help spreading the word about our organization. I’ve printed a bunch of these up on 11 x 17 paper (the largest size UCD bulletin board posting rules allow). We are targeting bulletin boards and other locations (perhaps your office door) where we have authorization to post. We hope these posters can stay up for a while before they get taken down. Contact me (info@cucfa.org) or Ian if you would be willing to help us put some of these up around campus.

You can also download PDF files of this poster in both 11 x 17 and 8.5 x 11 if you would like to print your own.

Outrageous Sac Bee editorial

Over the weekend the Sacramento Bee wrote an editorial outrageously insulting to faculty. The original editorial is available online at:

http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/story/2161639.html

It has since been republished in slightly modified form at:

http://www.modbee.com/opinion/story/845602.html

The Bee had earlier written a news article (that actually was quite editorial in tone) on the same subject. The article is available at:

http://www.sacbee.com/ourregion/story/2157486.html

Individual FA members have posted responses in the comments sections of the online versions of these articles. Richard Scalettar, a DFA board member who was mentioned by name in one version of the editorial, is preparing a response that the Bee has indicated it will print so long as it meets a strict 400 word length requirement.

Meanwhile, the Davis Faculty Association also sent an official response which we hope the Bee will publish in their letters section (again, strict length restrictions apply, this time 200 words). The response reads:

This weekend we saw the Bee disparage and mock the actions of faculty members at UC Davis who are attempting to draw attention to dire conditions at the University. Although the Davis Faculty Association has not participated in the planned walk out by faculty, we understand the concern for the University that has motivated our colleagues to take this measure. It is not motivated, as the Bee suggested on Saturday, by a selfish desire to maintain a fictional ivory tower. The faculty of the University are dedicated teachers and researchers. It is ironical that the Professor singled out by name in Saturday’s editorial is the recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Mentoring. The Bee should understand that the faculty are acting out of a sense of frustration and concern about the demise of a great public University.

Sincerely,
Ian Kennedy
Chair, Davis Faculty Association (ucdfa.org)

Teach in, not walkout

by Ian Kennedy

The imposition of furloughs on non-teaching days, on top of budget cuts and other draconian reductions in the operation of our university, demand a reasoned, effective, and broadly supported response from the faculty in consultation with the other interested groups in the campus community. Some faculty members have called for a walkout on the first day of classes of this quarter. In my opinion, there has not been sufficient time to organize the broadly supported movement necessary to back this up. We run the risk of garnering minimal support and creating a possible public relations disaster. Furthermore, many faculty members do not feel that this is the correct response to our present crisis; they are loath to walk out on the students on the first day of class.

I propose that we take more time to organize thoroughly and institute a so-called “teach-in” during which we will take time from our class to educate our students about the problems facing the University, the history behind this crisis, the potential directions the university may take, and their impact on students, families and the State. The Council of UC Faculty Associations has prepared a two-page hand out that we can use in this educational activity. It can be found on the Web at the following address

http://keepcaliforniaspromise.org/?p=230

Staff unions are planning industrial action. It would probably be most effective if we were to coordinate with them and call for our teach-in at the same time. To make this effective, we need to have serious input from the faculty, we need to coordinate with the unions and the students through ASUCD, and we need to ensure full coverage by the media. We should also try to coordinate similar actions on other campuses. This takes time and it takes effort. I cannot, and will not, do this by myself. I need help from faculty volunteers. I need help coordinating with the unions, with student organizations, and organizing media coverage. If no one steps forward to help, I will let the idea lapse, at least from the DFA perspective – when DFA should be leading this effort.

If you have any thoughts about this plan, or more importantly, if you want to volunteer your help, please let me know. The teach-in date is yet to be determined and that may require consultation with the unions.

Keep California’s Promise: Understanding the Crisis at UC

CUCFA has assembled an analysis of the history of the UC financial problems on a web site. We hope that you will help us disseminate the information. It is also intended to form the basis of a “teach-in” action this quarter in which we will take a class session to discuss the University and its problems with our students.

http://keepcaliforniaspromise.org/?p=230

AAUP Newsletter to UC faculty

The following message was written by CUCFA’s managing director Craig Flanery:

The AAUP Newsletter below about the UCs went out to all UC faculty today — or at least those for whom we have emails, which is about 90-95% I believe.  It was drafted by Cary Nelson and Gary Rhoades yesterday with some revision I made to make it conform closely to CUCFA positions we discussed Tuesday.  It’s a strong expression of support for faculty mobilization and collective action.  This is one way AAUP as a national organization can support our efforts in California and demonstrate to our members and UC faculty generally that they are receiving national attention. Please forward to other faculty and listserves, with a message such as “you may have already received this, but I wanted to be sure you do.  And if you are not already a member, please join AAUP and your campus Faculty Association.”

Craig Flanery, Ph.D.

________________________________

An Open Letter to UC Faculty From the AAUP

We support the faculty’s collective assertion of their central role in shaping the future of the University of California, and we support the calls for collective action (most recently of a walkout) by UC faculty members to publicly voice their concerns. The UC system’s historic strength was embedded in substantial public financial support and a strong faculty voice in governance. Both have deteriorated to unacceptable levels. The rejection of the faculty’s unanimous voice about implementing furloughs, through a vote of the Academic Council on July 29, 2009, is at best unwise and at worst dismissive of a cornerstone of the UC system’s strength, its faculty.

The principles of the American Association of University Professors hold that the managerial assertion of financial emergency powers does not justify failing to incorporate the full and meaningful participation of faculty in shared governance. Moreover, despite the current challenges higher education faces and as a recent resolution of the AAUP’s Collective Bargaining Congress Executive Committee asserts, it is time to turn around decades-long patterns of decreased funding to and within the academy:

http://www.aaup.org/AAUP/newsroom/2009PRS/prnogivebacks.htm <http://lyris.eresources.com:81/t/5272492/5960838/1671/0/>

The real challenge is to reverse long standing trends of:

* defunding public universities;
* shifting shares of institutional expenditures from education to administration;
* raising tuition and fees; and
* decreasing the proportion of tenure-track faculty.

For too many years university presidents have accepted and preached the pattern of public disinvestment as inevitable, advanced the privatization of public universities, and suggested that we can do more and more with less and less. By their actions, university presidents have advanced a model of academic capitalism that has compromised educational quality, and now that model is collapsing financially.

It is well worth faculty considering taking some furlough time on instructional days. That sends a clear message that disinvestment in colleges and universities reduces the quality of education and does harm to students, faculty, and the public interest.

It is time to acknowledge the obvious: this emperor has no clothes.

Less public support does not translate into more educational opportunity. Escalating tuition does not increase educational access and success for qualified students. Increasing class size does not increase faculty-student engagement. Increasing virtual education does not increase actual educational quality.

We support the lead taken by University of California faculty, the faculty associations, and faculty groups mobilizing independently in their fight to change the long term course of the UC system. Their collective votes and actions serve the best long-term interests of students, faculty, the universities and society. The faculty’s voice is central to the quality and future of our educational institutions.

Gary Rhoades, General Secretary, AAUP
Cary Nelson, President, AAUP
Executive Committee, AAUP
Collective Bargaining Congress Executive Committee, AAUP

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