Davis Faculty Association

Archive for June, 2017

State Senate should reject Governor’s unconstitutionally nominated Regents

You have, no doubt, seen the near constant barrage of news stories critical of the way UC has been managed — the latest being articles about the state legislature withholding funding from UC in the recently passed state budget because of behavior turned up in a recent state audit such as a large hidden reserve fund, interference with the auditor’s survey, and executive compensation far in excess of compensation for similar positions at the state. The budget also redirects nearly $350 million from UC’s core mission as the legislature tries to gain direct control of UCOPs budget. And before that it was articles decrying the Regents’ spending over $250 a head on dinner
parties for themselves.

These articles demonstrate the eroded level of trust the state legislature and the people of California have in UC. We believe a large part of that erosion is because of the closed and insular method by which Regents are appointed — a method that is in direct contradiction to what is specified in California’s Constitution.

For six years, we have been writing letters to Governor Brown asking him
to obey the Constitution when nominating Regents,  letters to the UC Regents asking them to follow their own bylaws and not accept improperly nominated Regents and letters to the California Senate asking them to use their authority of approval of Regents to enforce the Constitution.

Three weeks ago, Governor Brown again nominated Regents without
following the consultation process mandated by the Constitution. Our
past efforts on this issue at least paid off this time with several newspaper articles noting the Constitutional violation

Yesterday we sent another letter to the Senate, calling on the Senate Rules
Committee to enforce the California Constitution by immediately rejecting (without prejudice) the Governor’s nominees. Regent terms begin as soon as the Governor nominates them, so these improperly nominated Regents can vote on issues at the upcoming Regent’s meeting unless the Senate Rules Committee acts quickly to reject them.

We also requested that the Constitutionally-required advisory committee
be more than a pro forma process and that the Senate declare that it will only consider Regent nominees that have been vetted through an open public process, in a series of meetings held around the state and conducted in accordance with the Bagley-Keene Act (proper public notices of meetings with opportunities for public comment).

A more representative Board of Regents would have likely done a better
job of assuring accountability of the UC Office of the President and given a higher priority to vigorous efforts to restore high quality, accessible, and tuition-free higher education to the people of California as envisioned in the California Master Plan for Higher Education. A recent report that we and other organizations released through the Reclaim coalition, The $48 Fix,  shows that this goal is achievable in California, yet there has been no discussion of restoring the Master Plan by the current Board of Regents. The fact that it is dominated by wealthy interests for whom the steadily increasing costs would not be a practical problem may help explain the lack of urgency in building the confidence of the public and policymakers needed to restore
tuition-free education at UC.

You can read our full letter to the Senate Rules Committee here.

Sincerely,
The Board of the Davis Faculty Association

News and Updates from the DFA, June 10, 2017

Prepared on behalf of the DFA Board by Joe Kiskis and Eric Hays.

 

Topics:
State Budget negotiations: UCOP budget may be separated from the rest of UC funding
UCOP independent investigator selected
Regents appointments
What’s the Problem at UC? by Dan Mitchell

 

STATE BUDGET NEGOTIATIONS: UCOP BUDGET MAY BE SEPARATED FROM THE REST OF UC FUNDING

The state budget should be finalized next week. We are hearing that state funding of UCOP may be separated from the rest of UC’s budget, as suggested by the recent State Auditor’s report. See this Sacramento Bee article.

 

UCOP INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATOR SELECTED

You will likely recall that in the State audit of UCOP, UCOP was accused of inappropriate interference with campus survey responses. This was a fairly serious charge. It was previously reported that the Regents decided to hire an independent investigator to determine the facts of the incident. Regents Chair Lozano has now announced the selection.

“The University of California Board of Regents has retained former California Supreme Court Justice Carlos R. Moreno and the law firm of Hueston Hennigan LLP, to conduct a fact-finding review of actions undertaken by the Office of the President with respect to surveys the California state auditor sent to UC campuses as part of the recent audit of the Office of the President.”

 

REGENTS APPOINTMENTS

Governor Brown has nominated four new people to serve as UC Regents. Official announcement:

Maria Anguiano is currently a financial officer at the Minerva Project Inc., a rather unconventional, for profit, undergraduate educational institution. She has previously worked at UCOP and UC Riverside. Because of her role in the pilot of Activity Based Costing (ABC) at UCR, she is a controversial nominee. The Governor has been a strong promoter of this pilot at UCR and the smaller associated ABC pilot at UC Davis.

Howard “Peter” Guber has had a career in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles. He is currently chairman and chief executive officer at Mandalay Entertainment Group and co-owner of professional sports teams including the Golden State Warriors.

Lark Park is Governor Brown’s senior advisor for policy. She has had numerous positions in California state government.

Ellen Tauscher is a strategic advisor at Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell and Berkowitz, which is a large law firm and lobbying group. It was founded by James F. Baker whose son was a US Representative and whose grandson was Howard Baker, Jr., who was US Senate Majority Leaderand Chief of Staff for President Ronald Reagan. She is also chair of the Governor’s Military Council. If you’re like me, you didn’t even know that the Governor had a military council. See http://militarycouncil.ca.gov. She has also been undersecretary of state for arms control and a Representative in Congress for California’s 10th District, which includes Modesto.

Thus Governor Brown continues his quest to reshape the University. Starting in 2014, Brown has made six appointments to the board that do not follow the tradition of selecting most Regents from the upper layers of California business. In this group, only Guber is a person I would call a traditional choice. The positive side of this is that it has brought a welcome diversity of background and perspective to the board. This is evident in discussions at Regents meetings. The downside is that not much has been done to add people with strong experience in and orientation to the academic core of higher education. Also some of these appointments are perhaps a bit too closely associated with Brown and some of his favorite projects, e.g. Anguiano and Park in this group.

Regents nominees must be confirmed by the State Senate within one year of their nomination. In the meantime, they can serve on the board. Before the Senate floor vote, the Senate Rules Committee holds a hearing on the nominees.

 

WHAT’S THE PROBLEM AT UC? BY DAN MITCHELL

Dan Mitchell, who is Professor Emeritus at UCLA in the Anderson School of Management and the School of Public Affairs, has a nice article that adds historical context to the issues above and others we currently face at the University.

News and Updates for June 2, 2017

Prepared on behalf of the DFA Board by Joe Kiskis.

FLASH: four new Regents appointed today, June 2. See next edition for comments.

Topics in this news update:
Davis Faculty Association membership building
Phil Kass to Vice Provost Academic Affairs
L&S Deans office reorganization and open positions
Senate Chair Chalfant’s comments at May Regents meeting
Regents actions at May meeting Changes to Lecture with Security of
Employment series Changes to UC Retirement Savings Program fees
Davis Division Senate budget letter
May revise of Governor’s budget
Systemwide Senate salary letter

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DAVIS FACULTY ASSOCIATION MEMBERSHIP BUILDING

The Board of the Davis Faculty Association encourages each member to
recruit one new member. That would greatly improve our ability to
function effectively. It is now possible to join online.

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PHIL KASS TO VICE PROVOST ACADEMIC AFFAIRS

Professor Phil Kass will take over as Vice Provost of Academic Affairs,
succeeding the retiring Maureen Stanton, effective July 1.

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L&S DEANS OFFICE REORGANIZATION AND OPEN POSITIONS

Dean Elizabeth Spiller, has written to the College of Letters and Science commenting on the appointments of six Associate Deans and an Executive Dean.

Associate Dean of the Faculty in the Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies
Associate Dean of the Faculty in the Mathematical and Physical Sciences
Associate Dean of the Faculty in the Social Sciences
Associate Dean, Academic Senate Liaison, Undergraduate Education and Advising
Associate Dean, Undergraduate Programs and Planning
Associate Dean, Research and Graduate Programs
Executive Assistant Dean, Finance and Administration

This does not mean a net increase of seven positions, but I’m uncertain about what the correct net increase is.

There will be internal searches for the second, fifth, and sixth of these. The others have been filled.

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SENATE CHAIR CHALFANT’S COMMENTS AT MAY REGENTS MEETING

Academic Senate Chair Jim Chalfant provided remarks to the University of California Board of Regents May 2017 with pointed comments on perceptions of UC vs. reality, the audit of UCOP, and other items.  Video and pdf.

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REGENTS ACTIONS AT MAY MEETING

The full Board, meeting on May 18, approved three actions. Two were UCOP budgets for 2017-18, and the other is the much-discussed non-resident cap. For more detail, see:
http://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/aar/mayb.pdf
or for even more detail, see the agenda items here:
http://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/meetings/agendas/may17.html

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CHANGES TO LECTURER WITH SECURITY OF EMPLOYMENT SERIES

The Office of the President is now formally proposing changes to the Lecturer with Security of Employment (LSOE) series. This topic has been discussed less formally for the last couple of years with a variety of opinions expressed. Recall that faculty in this series are Senate members. Perhaps the most visible change would be to rename the title to “Teaching Professor.” Another significant change will be that a new Teaching Professor step system will be developed that is closer to that used in the Professorial series. Scholarly achievement is added to the advancement criteria.

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CHANGES TO UC RETIREMENT SAVINGS PROGRAM FEES

If you have investments in the UC Retirement Savings Program and read all of your email very carefully, you will have noticed a change in the fee structure for the Retirement Savings Funds. The administrative fees (as opposed to the investment management fees) are now being charged as a flat rate of $35/year per person. This change is disadvantageous to investors with relatively small balances and advantageous to investors with larger balances. The detailed rationale for why this change is overall advantageous is unavailable.

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DAVIS DIVISION SENATE BUDGET LETTER

The Davis Division of the Academic Senate has a letter critical of both the process leading to and the content of the budget framework letter for 2017-18 from the Interim Chancellor and the Interim Provost.

Budget Framework letter

Senate Budget Letter

And there is now a response to the Senate letter from Chancellor-Designate May and Interim Chancellor Hexter

Basically these letters reveal the stresses in attempting to address the ongoing deficit in the campus core funds budget. It will be very difficult to reverse the decrease in educational quality that has resulted from the substantial increase in students that has been made made without the necessary corresponding investment in faculty and facilities.

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MAY REVISE OF THE GOVERNOR’S BUDGET

Overall the Governor’s May budget revise contained no major changes for the University. The modest base budget increase per the budget agreement between the Governor and University President is maintained. However, the May revise states “In response to the State Auditor’s review of the UC Office of the President, the May Revision sequesters $50 million in UC funding until such time that the Auditor’s recommendations and other UC commitments are implemented.” The other commitments refer to follow through on piloting activity-based costing (lack of progress at UC Davis is specifically mentioned) and in meeting transfer student goals at a few campuses.

The Regents action to increase tuition by 2.5% increases the State’s Cal Grant cost. As a consequence of that, the Governor is redirecting $4M from the University budget to Cal Grants for students attending private California institutions. The logic of this change is a bit obscure.

The May revise also contains a statement about out years. “Rising Cal Grant costs from tuition hikes will also limit the state’s ability to increase General Fund support in the future. The state has increased General Fund spending by at least 4 percent annually since 2012-while tuition has been flat. Going forward, the universities should plan for 3-percent growth annually beginning in 2018-19. If the universities raise tuition in the future, additional downward adjustments to state support may be needed to cover the higher Cal Grant costs.”

During the next few weeks, the legislature will be working to pass a budget for 2017-18. The Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) recommends that the legislature adopt the Governor’s May revise changes. Nevertheless it is always possible that there will be significant changes before a final budget is passed and signed.

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SYSTEMWIDE SENATE SALARY LETTER

Basically the letter expresses a Senate preference for applying funds available to faculty salary increases to the base salary scales rather than splitting them between the base scales and addressing other targeted concerns such as equity, inversion, and compression. The targeted issues could be addressed with campus funds.

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