Davis Faculty Association

Archive for 2009

Disproportionate growth of administrators at UC

There is a new article on the KeepCaliforniasPromise.org website about the disproportionate growth of administrators at UC and how much it is costing us (four times the savings of the furloughs). The full article is at http://keepcaliforniaspromise.org/?p=469 and an excerpt is below:

Soon every faculty member will have a personal senior manager: Is this a good way to spend money?
by Richard Evans

…It’s true that UC’s share of the state’s general fund has been declining (from 7.5 percent in 1967-68 to as low as 3 percent in recent years, according to the California Postsecondary Education Commission), but that has been a steady trend. The more immediate reason for the current enormous increases in student fees, and for the sudden need for employee furloughs, is the startling recent growth of UC’s senior management. Data available from the UC Office of the President shows that there were 2.5 faculty members for each senior manager in the UC system in 1993. Now there are as many senior managers as faculty. Just think: Each professor could have his or her personal senior manager…

Presentation: Legal Threats to Academic Freedom and Shared Governance

Legal Threats to Academic Freedom and Shared Governance in Higher Education; a presentation by Rachel Levinson, Senior Counsel at the American Association of University Professors (AAUP).

November 13, Friday, at 12 noon, in the new Abbaszadeh Lecture Hall, Gallaher Hall (Graduate School of Management, across from Mondavi).

The question of whether principles of academic freedom protect faculty as they participate in shared governance activities at the University of California has been called into question by recent court decisions.  The AAUP is issuing an extensive report in November 2009, the Garcetti Report, on these legal developments and the need for universities to strengthen their policies on academic freedom to make sure shared governance participation is included.

Rachel Levinson as Senior Counsel at AAUP helped draft the report.  She has worked to alert faculty to cases that threaten academic freedom and the faculty?s critical role in shared governance.  In her presentation, she will discuss recent attacks on the academy—nationally and in California—and highlight some important warning signs for faculty—as well as opportunities for action.

This presentation is co-sponsored by the UC Davis Academic Senate, the  UCD Senate Committee on Academic Freedom, the AAUP, and the Davis Faculty Association.

November 18-20

Some UC faculty members, staff, and students are calling for a strike to protest the proposed 32% student fee increase. The strike is to roughly coincide with the upcoming UC Regents meeting: November 18, 19, and 20. The DFA has been asked to forward to our members the URL for a form where faculty can pledge solidarity with the strikers — essentially promise not to punish students, TAs, etc. who participate in the strike. The meat of the pledge is:

“We the undersigned thus pledge to not penalize undergraduate or graduate students who will not be attending class during the strikes. If we have midterms scheduled or papers due during the strike, we will do our best to reschedule exams, to extend deadlines, to create alternate assignments so that students can respond to events on campus as part of their classwork, or to accommodate students in other ways. We also pledge to protect the rights of graduate students working as TAs and GSIs in the event that they face retaliation from the administration as a result of their participation in a work stoppage. We will call on our departmental managers to refuse to report graduate students who will not be teaching classes or performing other work, and on the campus leadership to likewise protect graduate students.”

The full pledge, with sign-up form, is at http://ucstrike.com/solidarity_pledge.php

Minutes of DFA Board Meeting October 30, 2009

Guest Craig Flanery — Executive Director of the BFA, SCFA, CUCFA and West Coast Director of AAUP

Craig gave a brief history of the SCFA: founded in 1975, enabling legislation was passed in 1978 (HEERA) that meant UC had to recognize the UCSC faculty union. California is 1 of about 28 states that have passed enabling legislation. Because the whole UC system did not unionize, SCFA only has local bargaining rights. Most compensation issues have been established as systemwide issues, so SCFA can not bargain them. SCFA designated CUCFA as its collective bargaining agent. Using UCSC’s bargaining rights, CUCFA negotiated meet and confer rights on systemwide issues. Changes of terms of employment require advance notification to CUCFA. Thus CUCFA finds out about things faculty otherwise might not find out about – for example there was a benefits change at UCSC without any notification to anyone. Individual faculty came to collect on those benefits only to learn they had been written out. Because UC failed to notify CUCFA, they were required to restore those benefits. CUCFA also sued over arbitrary merit reductions in the early 1990s and got those restored.

Flanery was asked about dues at SCFA – he replied that SCFA dues are higher than most FAs, but he doesn’t know the exact number, something between $400 and $600 per year. Nationwide, association fees are usually in the range of .75% and 1.2% of payroll. If SCFA bargained more they would have to raise their dues. 50% of faculty must vote for representation, but those faculty who vote for representation are not required to join the FA. That said, Craig believes more than 50% of faculty did join SCFA in the 1970s. SCFA has been active enough on the significant issues that they have maintained good support. He thinks almost half of UCSC faculty are in SCFA.

Flanery was asked if the UCSC Academic Senate was less activist than at other campuses – if this could account for the higher participation rate at UCSC. Craig responded that UC is legally bound to negotiate with the SCFA while there is no legal requirement for UC to negotiate with the Academic Senate.

He was also asked how issues get arbitrated. Craig responded that arbitration was an expensive option for both parties, which creates an incentive for UC to bargain. He described how CUCFA can cooperate with the Academic Senate in the interests of faculty by taking an outlier position with UCOP and then agreeing to compromise with UCOP to abide by the Academic Senate’s vote.

Flanery was asked what is happening at UCSC with regards to the furloughs. He responded that they are currently forced to bargain for the right to bargain. When UCOP announced that furloughs would be decided at the local level that made it a local issue and SCFA notified UC of their intention to bargain the issue. UCOP now claims this is a systemwide issue and so not bargainable locally. SCFA’s goal is to have instructional day furloughs if the UCSC Senate votes to do so. SCFA may charge UC with unfair labor practices over this issue, or they may resolve this issue in exchange for something else.

Flanery was asked how the SCFA board manages a half-time unpaid job on top of their professorial duties. Craig described the work Bob Meister does on behalf of UCSC from his position as CUCFA President, as well as the fact that CUCFA has two staff members (himself and Eric Hays) to assist. He went on to say that, if the DFA were to collectively bargain, it would probably have to raise dues to pay stipends for faculty release time or to hire more staff.

Flanery was asked why Berkeley had not unionized. He responded that the BFA had become moribund for a time, but that now it had become rejuvenated and the issue of unionizing has been discussed again. Craig agreed that faculty don’t unionize when their pay falls behind peers, but they do when the whole structure seems threatened, when the university may become insolvent, when substantial loss of benefits are threatened, when significant changes in workload are threatened.

Since Craig, through his AAUP role, works with CSU faculty, he was asked about union action at CSU. Craig explained that the California Faculty Association represents both tenure and non-tenure track faculty at CSU (at UC non-tenure faculty are represented by AFT). The CFA is the most powerful faculty union in the US. Systemwide, 58% of CSU faculty are members of CFA. They have an agency fee of .75% of salary that all faculty pay (members and non-members), and a membership fee of 1% of salary. They are considering raising the agency fee to 1% of salary. CSU bargained furloughs with the CFA. They knew they had to. At CSU some furlough days are falling on instructional days.

Given that there are quite a few members of the DFA that are interested in unionizing, Flanery was asked what the next steps should be. He replied that he was not getting a strong sense that the majority of faculty are interested in unionizing on any of the campuses any time soon. However, the faculty at the University of Oregon, where things are much worse than at UC, is likely to unionize soon. If they do unionize, Oregon State is likely to follow. If those two systems unionize, the issue will rise again at UC. Unionization is a multiyear effort, so now is a good time to be laying the groundwork. Faculty visits sound awful, but they really aren’t. Stop in any faculty member’s office, ask them what they think about what is going on, and be prepared to listen for a long time.

NY Times article on privatization of public universities

An interesting article in today’s New York Times about the perilous condition of public higher education. UC is used as an example in the article, but there is also information about a lot of other states, making for useful comparison. The full article is available at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/01/education/edlife/01public-t.html

Here is an excerpt:

Mr. Shulenburger at the Association of Public Land Grant Universities cautions universities on the allure of out-of-state enrollment, because, he says, few can match the appeal of a Michigan or Wisconsin. There is a limited pool of out-of-state students, he says, and universities “will begin raiding ourselves pretty quickly.”

With a state economy in shambles, the University of Arizona was granted a waiver on its out-of-state enrollment cap, to go as high as 40 percent from an already high 30 percent. Robert N. Shelton, the university’s president, says he has yet to take advantage of that wiggle room, mostly because of a huge increase in applicants from Arizona.

Currently, only 10 percent of students at Rutgers’s New Brunswick campus come from outside New Jersey. The university could easily increase that number by tapping nearby New York and Pennsylvania.

“The temptation for us to recruit more out-of-state students is very, very strong,” says Douglas S. Greenberg, executive dean of the university’s School of Arts and Sciences. State residents pay about $12,000 in tuition and fees, which is high for a public university. Out-of-state students pay almost twice that.

Interesting Course Offering (for non-students too!)

Here is a new UC Davis course offering that will be all about the future of public higher education. Please note that interested faculty, staff, students, etc. are all welcome to attend:

————————-

SOC298/CST298 Winter 2010

Public Higher Ed at the Crossroads

We will be meeting every other week winter term to discuss recent publications focused on the fate of public higher ed and invite participants from all walks of university life—students (for credit or not, as they wish), faculty, staff, administrators—to join us. First mtg: Wednesday 1/13, 4-­6 PM in Art 203.

Here is our working plan, but let us know of your suggestions for other readings:

Wed 1/13 Mark G. Yudoff, “Exploring A New Role For Federal Government In Higher Education,” “Is the Public University Dead?,” “The Purgatory of the Public University,” “Higher Tuitions: Harbinger of a Hybrid University?,” and “Are University Systems a Good Idea?” George Lakoff, “Privatization is The Issue;” T.J. Clark, Speech on September 24th Judith Butler, “Save California’s Universities”

Wed 1/27 Clark Kerr, The Uses of the University, 5th Edition

Wed 2/10 Gaye Tuchman, Wannabe U: Inside the Corporate University, and/or Jennifer Washburn, University, Inc: The Corporate Corruption of Higher Education

Wed 2/24 Christopher Newfield, Unmaking the Public University: The Forty-­Year Assault on the Middle Class

Wed 3/10 Readings on the future of higher education TBD, perhaps including the following: Andrew Ross, “The Mental Labor Problem” and “The Rise of the Global University” Nick Dyer-­?Witheford, “Cognitive Capitalism and the Contested Campus”

Students seeking course credit can enroll for two units for reading and discussion only or four units with additional reading and a term paper in either SOC 298 (crn 60641) or CST 298 (crn 37917).

For PDFs of the first week’s readings: John Hall (jrhall@ucdavis.edu) or Blake Stimson (bstimson@ucdavis.edu)

Discussion Board

At a member’s suggestion, DFA has set up a discussion board for posting comments and fostering interactions between members. Please go to http://ucdfa.org/forum/ to access the discussion board. There is no login requirement at present.

UC Senate leadership responds to Yudof in New York Times

Senate leaders have had a letter published in the New York Times support of State funding of the University:

“We, the leaders of faculty governance of the 10 University of California campuses, read Deborah Solomon’s interview of President Yudof (Sept. 27) with concern. While we realize that these interviews are edited, we worry that the interview gives an impression that U.C. has given up on state financing. We, too, recognize a trend of definancing public education, but we are emphatically not ready to concede the defeat of California’s exceptional experiment…”

The full letter is available at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/18/magazine/18letters-t-003.html

The impact of University NIH-funded research on California’s economy

The Governor, Legislature, Regents and maybe even UCOP et al, lose sight of the fact the University generates large amounts of federal dollars that flow into the State and have a very positive impact on our economy. This needs to be stressed to our leaders. See

http://www.familiesusa.org/issues/global-health/publications/backyard-key-findings.html

UC financing bonds with student fees as collateral

An analysis by CUCFA has found that UC is using student fees as collateral to obtain favorable rates on bonds issued for construction. The details are now being made public. Here is an one page preview of a longer article, now available at http://keepcaliforniaspromise.org/?p=383, by CUCFA President Bob Meister:

UC Officials Hike Fees, Pledge 100% of Fees to Bondholders in case of default

How could UC sell over $1.6 billion in long and short-term bonds on favorable terms within one month of declaring an “extreme financial emergency,” cutting funds for instruction and research throughout the system, and cutting staff and faculty pay between 4% and 10%?

UC could sell bonds because UC now borrows for construction projects by using your fees as collateral. Higher fees means more collateral for UC’s borrowing for construction. Construction continues even as instruction and research are cut, and it is higher tuition –- supposedly intended to protect instruction -– that supports continued borrowing for construction.

Tuition increases are justified (to you) as a way to pay educational expenses that taxpayers refuse to pay. In fact, UC tells its bond trustee (Bank of NY Mellon Trust) and the companies that rate bonds (S&P and Moody’s) that tuition can be pledged as collateral. This means that in case of some problem with the bonds, your tuition must be used to pay off bondholders rather than be used to pay for education.

This means that UC officials have a financial incentive to raise fees, since it increases their ability to borrow to pay for projects for which they no longer have enough state money. It also means that the claims of bondholders and banks come before those of UC’s students, staff, and faculty.

UC started actively borrowing against your tuition in spring 2004 —- when a newly-elected Governor Schwarzenegger gave it a green light to raise tuition, a fact that now appears in every bond prospectus. By June 2008 (before the recession) UC’s pledged collateral had risen by over 50% ($4.2B to $6.72B) and your tuition, a large component of this, had risen similarly. The fact that UC can (and does) raise tuition in a budget crisis means that a bad budget year can be a good year for selling bonds.

At present, we simply can’t tell from any publicly available document how much funding UC diverts from instructional and research budgets to pay for construction that no longer has to be either state-funded or self-supporting. We do know that UC has promised to cut its budget as necessary to maintain its bond rating and/or to spend its revenues in ways that increase, rather than reduce, the amount of collateral in the pledge. To people in the financial world it’s obvious that UC committed itself to raise tuition and cut budgets –- year in and year out — when it decided in 2004 to secure its bonds.

Much of the UC community —- faculty, students and staff —- find it unthinkable that UC would raise tuition and cut instruction in order to fund construction. Other great universities, including Harvard, stopped construction projects in their tracks when their endowment income fell, because protecting people and programs were their highest priority. UC officials made the opposite decision, using higher fees -– and the capacity to continue to raise fees at will –- to continue construction.

UC officials have made a policy decisions to put bondholders and debt-funded construction ahead of educational programs. This policy choice needs a full analysis and justification, and, we believe, reversal. UC should not have financial incentives to increase fees. Its finances should be structured to keep fees as low as possible.

You are currently browsing the Davis Faculty Association blog archives for the year 2009.