Archive for 2017
Dear Davis Faculty Association Colleagues,
Thanks to the many of you who came out to watch the film Starving the Beast and meet with filmmaker Steven Mims. I think we would all agree it is a valuable and well-made film. The Davis Humanities Institute reviewed the event for their recent newsletter.
If you missed the film screening, we may be able to accommodate a smaller screening. Contact the DFA if you are interested.
On another note, this Saturday April 22 is the National March for Science. The Davis Faculty Association is a co-sponsor of the Sacramento March for Science, and you can find more information on this link. Hope to see some of you there:
Finally, there is a national day of action planned for May 1 of this year initiated by numerous labor, social justice, and immigrant organizations. There is a call for university participation in support of these actions.
Feel free to forward this information to others you may know who are not currently DFA members.
Have a fun and safe Picnic Day!
Jesse Drew and Richard Scalettar
Co-Chairs of the Davis Faculty Association
Starving The Beast
Film Screening and Discussion with Filmmaker Steve Mims
Thursday, April 13, 2017, 4:30 PM
Art Annex Room 112 (TCS Building), UC Davis
This is a free event!
STARVING THE BEAST examines the on-going power struggle on college campuses across the nation as political and market-oriented forces push to disrupt and reform America’s public universities. The film documents a philosophical shift that seeks to reframe public higher education as a ‘value proposition’ to be borne by the beneficiary of a college degree rather than as a ‘public good’ for society. Financial winners and losers emerge in a struggle poised to profoundly change public higher education. The film focuses on dramas playing out at the University of Wisconsin, University of Virginia, University of North Carolina, Louisiana State University, University of Texas and Texas A&M.
Sponsored by: The Departments of: Cinema and Digital Media; French and Italian; Asian American Studies; Design; Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies; and the Davis Faculty Association, the Center for Regional Change, and the Davis Humanities Institute.
Dear DFA Colleagues,
We are reaching out to you concerning two matters regarding DFA governance.
The first is the DFA Board. It is time for us to prepare for our annual DFA board elections for the next Academic Year. The official procedure is that we form a nominating committee which selects candidates, followed by a vote by the membership. Suggestions from the broader DFA membership for the nominating committee to consider are most welcome. So please contact us if you have thoughts on this (including personal willingness to serve).
The second item is chairing the DFA Board. Several of our sister UC Faculty Associations have co-chairs, and we are considering implementing that as well, with Jesse Drew and Richard Scalettar serving in the upcoming year. Our thinking is that this is a particularly eventful time in the UC system and in higher education generally, and having additional breadth will enable us to be more active.
Indeed, one of Jesse’s foci will be on membership recruiting. This is obviously fundamental to a successful association. We would also like to take this opportunity to exhort you to become involved in this as well – think about colleagues who might be interested in what we do and chat with them
The DFA Board
Prepared on behalf of the DFA Board by Joe Kiskis.
As a service to Davis Faculty Association members, this informal newsletter will be emailed to members several times a year as developments warrant. The goal is to draw attention to items of likely interest related to UC Davis, the University of California, or higher education more generally.
The Davis Faculty Association is affiliated with the Council of UC Faculty Associations (CUCFA) and with the American Association of University Professors (AAUP)
4:30pm, Thursday, April 13
Art Annex main room
“The DFA is hosting a screening of STARVING THE BEAST followed by a talk by that film’s director, Steve Mims, on the current situation confronting public universities. “Starving the Beast” is a documentary about the crises in education that has been receiving acclaim around the US and has served to create community conversations about the way forward. The film will show on campus on Thursday, April 13 at 4:30 PM in the Art Annex main room.
“About the film: STARVING THE BEAST examines the on-going power struggle on college campuses across the nation as political and market-oriented forces push to disrupt and reform America’s public universities. The film documents a philosophical shift that seeks to reframe public higher education as a ‘value proposition’ to be borne by the beneficiary of a college degree rather than as a ‘public good’ for society.”
Jan. 26, 2017
“The nomination of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education raises alarms that the new administration will fail to support college access and affordability for millions of current and future college students. Her nomination signals a blatant disregard for not only the magnitude of college debt plaguing our students but also the widespread fraud that has been exposed in the for-profit sector across the country. It also reveals an irresponsible resistance to protecting students from sexual assault, gun violence, ensuring the rights of immigrants, and students with disabilities. […]”
UC Davis: New Chancellor and L&S Dean
Likely you are all well-informed about the recent announcements of a new Chancellor for our campus and a new Dean for a restructured and, to some extent, reunified College of Letters and Science.
Professor Christopher Newfield, UC Santa Barbara, speaking on The future of the public University. His February 1, 2017, talk is based on his recent book “The Great Mistake: How We Wrecked Public Universities and How We Can Fix Them.”
CUCFA President Stan Glantz met with UC President Janet Napolitano on Feb. 7, 2017.
They discussed the “$48 Fix” and the CUCFA letter to President Napolitano about President Trump’s Executive Order (see item below).
Feb. 7, 2017
“Dear President Napolitano,
“We applaud your clear denunciation of President Trump’s executive order restricting the ability of individuals from certain countries to re-enter the US as ‘contrary to the values we hold dear as leaders of the University of California.’ We also applaud the reaffirmation of UCOP’s commitment ‘to support all members of the UC community who are impacted by this executive action.” We see this as a natural and necessary extension of your November 30 statement committing UC to “vigorously protect the privacy and civil rights of the undocumented members of the UC community and will direct its police departments not to undertake joint efforts with any government agencies to enforce federal immigration law.’ […]”
Feb. 21, 2017
“Re: UC Faculty Support SB-201 (Skinner)
“Dear Senator Skinner,
“We of the Council of UC Faculty Associations (CUCFA) wish to alert you to the fact that many faculty support SB 201 (Skinner), which would allow UC’s Graduate Student Researchers (GSRs) to unionize. We affirm the right of all employees to organize and we also affirm the importance of Graduate Student Researchers helping to shape the contract stipulating conditions of their work. […]”
Legislative Analyst’s Office report considers design and cost of a “Debt Free College” Program.
“The Supplemental Report of the 2016-17 Budget Act directs our office to provide the Legislature with options for creating a new state financial aid program intended to eliminate the need for students to take on college debt. The reporting language envisions a program under which the state covers all remaining college costs (tuition and living expenses) after taking into account available federal grants, an expected parent contribution, and an expected student contribution from work earnings. Though not specified in the reporting language, our understanding of the intent is for the program to focus on resident undergraduate students attending public colleges in California.”
The following statement was released Feb. 24,2017 by Rudy Fichtenbaum, AAUP president, and Hank Reichman, AAUP first vice-president and chair of Committee A on Academic Freedom.
“Shortly after the 2016 election, the AAUP warned that we could be facing the greatest threat to academic freedom since the McCarthy period. It now appears that such a warning was not misplaced. Extremists in the administration, Congress, and several state houses have created an atmosphere in which “alternative facts” reign supreme, and which encourages the introduction of legislation that threatens the core principles of our democracy.
“The latest examples of extreme legislation come from Iowa and North Carolina. In Iowa, a bill has been introduced that would prohibit the hiring of a professor or instructor at a public university or college if his or her most recent party affiliation would “cause the percentage of the faculty belonging to one political party to exceed by 10 percent” the percentage of the faculty belonging to the other dominant party.
“In North Carolina, legislation (since tabled) was introduced that would require tenure-track and tenured faculty members to “reflect the ideological balance of the citizens of the state,” so that no campus “shall have a faculty ideological balance of greater or less than 2 percent of the ideological balance” of North Carolinians. […]”
Remaking the University: Higher Education after the Inauguration
Feb. 27, 2017
“The month since the inauguration has made it crystal clear that universities and colleges are going to face a wide range of challenges and attacks in the next few years. […]
“It is important to recognize one thing as we contend with this new era: the now traditional tendency of colleges and universities to mirror and incorporate the leading trends of the contemporary business and financial order will not protect its core functions of teaching and research. […]
“Colleges and universities will have to confront more directly their own role in the increasing inequality of American society. […]
“A new social contract that preserves access, funds quality, and ensures academic and intellectual autonomy must be developed and fought for. […]
“Until, and unless, higher education can reclaim a social purpose beyond return on investment it will be blow in the wind in the face of the challenges of the present moment.”
UC Structural budget issues: State funding short-fall, tuition increases, and non-resident enrollment.
Although the California budget and UC budget discussions are relatively low-key this year, there remain fundamental, unsolved structural problems. One manifestation of these appeared in the UC Davis 2020 Update reported upon in our previous newsletter. The State insists that UC enroll more California undergraduates, while it refuses to fund them and works to limit both non-resident enrollment and resident tuition. The implication is that UC quality is not among the State’s highest priorities. Recent statements from the Systemwide Senate leadership take the opposite tack of putting funding, whatever its source, first.
Thus the Regents, the Office of the President, and the Senate are each in their own way inside-the-box enablers of the State’s addictive habit of underfunding of the University. For an alternative, see The $48 Fix.
Regents Agenda Item B4 for Thursday, Mar. 16, 2017 ESTABLISHMENT OF POLICY ON NONRESIDENT STUDENT ENROLLMENT
“The President of the University recommends that the Regents adopt the following Policy on Nonresident Student Enrollment, effective beginning with the fall 2017 entering class:
“3. Nonresident undergraduates will continue to be enrolled in addition to, rather than in place of, funded California undergraduates at each campus. That is, campuses wishing to increase nonresident enrollment may not reduce enrollment of funded California students to accommodate this growth.
“4. For the University of California system as a whole, and at every campus that currently enrolls less than twenty percent of its undergraduates from outside California, California residents shall continue to represent a minimum of eighty percent of all undergraduate students.
“5. For individual campuses whose nonresident undergraduate enrollment (including new freshman and transfer students and continuing students) in academic year 2016-17 exceeds twenty percent of total undergraduate enrollment, the proportion of nonresident undergraduates enrolled in the future may not exceed the proportion in 2016-17. On these campuses, any growth in the number of nonresident undergraduates enrolled will be accompanied by, at minimum, a proportionate increase in enrollment of California resident undergraduates.”
“Last year, lawmakers threatened to hold back $18.5 million if the public university system did not put a cap on students from outside California. On Monday, UC finally acted, proposing a 20% systemwide limit on nonresident undergraduate enrollment and vowing to continue to give Californians top priority. Nonresident students numbered 34,673 in fall 2016, 16.5% of the system’s 210,170 undergraduates. The limit would be the first of its kind for the 10-campus public research university. But UC officials hope it will be enough to get state officials to release the funds. […]
“Faculty members are not enthusiastic, said UC Academic Senate Chairman James Chalfant. They oppose an ‘arbitrary quota,’ he said, that could force UC to turn away the best and the brightest and forgo additional needed dollars. The group has presented an alternative that would impose enrollment limits only on campuses at which the expansion of nonresident students hurts Californians and only after UC is given enough funding to maintain its quality.
“‘We do understand why this is happening,’ Chalfant said. ‘But we’re disappointed because we think the conversation should be about how those [nonresident] revenues benefit all students, rather than some fixed number.’ […]
“Under the proposal, which the UC Board of Regents will consider next week, the system’s three most popular campuses would be allowed to keep but not increase their proportions of nonresident undergraduates – 24.4% at UC Berkeley, 22.9% at UC San Diego and 22.8% at UCLA, Klein said. The proportion of nonresident students at the other campuses ranges from 18.9% at UC Irvine to less than 1% at UC Merced. Those campuses each would be allowed to grow up to 20% so long as the systemwide limit was not exceeded, Klein said.”
Inside Higher Education
Could Trump Cut Berkeley’s Funds?
Feb. 3, 2017
“Experts said they don’t think the president has the authority to do so.”
Chronicle of Higher Education
U. of California Leader Advises Patience as the Trump Era Dawns
Mar. 2, 1017
“President Trump ‘can tweet, but Congress needs to act, and those are very different things,’ [President Napolitano] said. ‘Just reiterating that message over and over again is important.’ “
The DFA is hosting a screening of STARVING THE BEAST followed by a talk by that film’s director, Steve Mims, on the current situation confronting public universities. “Starving the Beast” is a documentary about the crises in education that has been receiving acclaim around the US and has served to create community conversations about the way forward. The film will show on campus on Thursday, April 13 at 4:30 PM in the Art Annex main room.
About the film: STARVING THE BEAST examines the on-going power struggle on college campuses across the nation as political and market-oriented forces push to disrupt and reform America’s public universities. The film documents a philosophical shift that seeks to reframe public higher education as a ‘value proposition’ to be borne by the beneficiary of a college degree rather than as a ‘public good’ for society. Financial winners and losers emerge in a struggle poised to profoundly change public higher education. The film focuses on dramas playing out at the University of Wisconsin, University of Virginia, University of North Carolina, Louisiana State University, University of Texas and Texas A&M.
The nomination of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education raises alarms that the new administration will fail to support college access and affordability for millions of current and future college students. Her nomination signals a blatant disregard for not only the magnitude of college debt plaguing our students but also the widespread fraud that has been exposed in the for-profit sector across the country. It also reveals an irresponsible resistance to protecting students from sexual assault, gun violence, ensuring the rights of immigrants, and students with disabilities.
Equally troubling, at her confirmation hearing and in the disclosure of her extensive financial entanglements, DeVos refused to commit to enforcing existing laws protecting students from fraudulent practices. Her financial connections to a student loan collection agency and inexperience managing the trillion dollar student loan portfolio that would be her responsibility reinforce her unsuitability for the position.
Her responses to questions in her confirmation hearing raised concerns about the safety of students on our campuses. When asked about Title IX, DeVos indicated that as Secretary she would refuse to ensure that existing campus sexual assault prevention and response processes are respected and improved. She also refused to endorse a ban on guns in K-12 schools, suggesting that she would take a similar position with respect to college campuses.
DeVos also demonstrated a woeful ignorance of the federal scope of the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act; her lack of understanding puts the rights of all students with disabilities at risk. We also do not know if she would respect the protections of DACA on which DREAMER students depend for their safety and protection.
In short, we believe that Betsy DeVos is singularly unqualified to fulfill the Department of Education’s obligation to ensure that all students who seek a college education will have fair access and will receive the highest quality education possible with a minimum of debt. Her lack of experience and expertise is a black hole into which the nation’s students, faculty, and campus communities cannot afford to be pushed.
We urge you to call your Senators IMMEDIATELY urging them to reject Betsy DeVos’s nomination as Secretary of Education. More powerful would be calling key Senators in other states, if you have an appropriate nexus. A list of Senators and contact information for them is available here.
On Thursday, January 26, the UC Regents will consider and likely approve their budget for the University for 2017-2018. It and the Governor’s budget, to which it is closely tied, perpetuate decades of failed privatization and persistent under funding of the University and of public higher education more generally. At UC and as compared to both 1990-1991 and 2000-2001, total per student expenditures for instruction and the State general fund contribution to per student instruction are sharply down while the inflation-adjusted contributions from students through tuition and fees are 70% higher than they were in 2000-2001 and 135% higher than they were in 1990-1991. Students and their families are paying more and getting less.
It has become conventional “wisdom” that this continuing decline is inevitable and that viable alternatives do not exist.
The report The $48 fix: Reclaiming California’s MASTER PLAN for Higher Education demonstrates that there is an affordable alternative that restores public higher education in California.
“It turns out that keeping the full promise of the Master Plan-returning the state’s investment per CSU and UC student to 2000 levels (inflation-adjusted); eliminating tuition and fees for all in-state UC, CSU and CCC students; and funding seats for qualified California high-school graduates now refused access to the system-is affordable.”
“California’s two-decade experiment in privatizing higher education has failed, as it has failed in the rest of the country. Top-quality, accessible and appropriate higher education that affords opportunity to all California students has been replaced with a system that restricts access, costs students more and compromises educational quality. Exploding student debt constricts students’ futures and harms the economy as a whole. It is entirely feasible to reinstate California’s proven success in public higher education. Several reasonable funding options can be mixed and matched to make the costs remarkably low for almost all California families. Our state has the means and the opportunity. Will we recover our political will and vision?”
This report was produced by the Reclaim California Higher Education coalition, which includes the Council of University of California Faculty Associations and other organizations dedicated to affordable, accessible, and excellent public higher education in California.