Davis Faculty Association

Archive for November, 2017

News and Updates for November 9, 2017

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).

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Topics:

MEETING WITH CHANCELLOR MAY
(DFA Board members meet with Chancellor May.)

OPEN ENROLLMENT
(Deadline 5pm, Tuesday, Nov. 21.)

OPEN ENROLLMENT AND WESTERN HEALTH ADVANTAGE
(Changes more modest than feared.)

RETIREE HEALTH INSURANCE
(Work group formed. Decisions delayed until June.)

FREE SPEECH CENTER
(President Napolitano creates free speech center.)

GRAD STUDENT RESEARCHERS GIVEN RIGHT TO UNIONIZE

UCOP FUNDING IMPACTS UPDATE
(Problems with line item funding for UCOP may be corrected.)

NEGOTIATED SALARY TRIAL PROGRAM REVIEW
(If you opposed it in 2011, you probably still won’t like it.)

MICHAEL BROWN APPOINTED UC PROVOST

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MEETING WITH CHANCELLOR MAY

Members of the DFA board met with Chancellor May on Oct. 6, 2017. Co-Chair Jesse Drew described the Davis Faculty Association. Board members brought up a number of topics including the importance of public higher eduction, shared governance, free speech and academic freedom, DACA students, diversity, retiree health insurance, and issues associated with the legislatively mandated changes in the mechanics of UCOP funding. The discussion was positive, future-oriented, and cordial.

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OPEN ENROLLMENT

Members are reminded that open enrollment closes at 5pm, Tuesday, Nov. 21.

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OPEN ENROLLMENT AND WESTERN HEALTH ADVANTAGE

During the last few months, there were statements concerning the change in relations between UC Davis Health and Western Health Advantage (WHA) and the impact that would have on UC employees using WHA for health insurance. In the end, the impact on UC employees is smaller than was previously anticipated. The UCnet now states “Although UC Davis Health has ended its ownership and commercial network participation in Western Health Advantage (WHA), UC and WHA have come to a special arrangement for UC employees. Through this arrangement, UC WHA members and their families may continue to see their current UC Davis Health primary care provider (PCP) or select a UC Davis Health PCP in the future. WHA members will not have access to the Advantage Referral program, which allowed you to self-refer to specialists within WHA’s network. Instead, starting in 2018, your PCP will refer you to an appropriate provider if you require specialty care.”

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RETIREE HEALTH INSURANCE

As previously reported in this space and elsewhere, UCOP threatened to remove the 70% floor for funding of retiree health. If adopted, this would pave the way for decreases in funding for retiree health insurance, i.e. increased costs and/or decreased benefits for present and future retirees.

Faced with unified and overwhelming opposition to a Regents Agenda action item that would effect such a change, OP has decided to delay any possible Regental action until after a work group on this topic issues a report — likely around June 2018.

OP comment:
Work group to be formed to study, make recommendations about health benefits for retirees

http://ucnet.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/2017/10/work-group-to-be-formed-to-study,-make-recommendations-about-health-benefits-for-retirees.html

Senate Chair letter:
Letters on Retiree Health, memo from Senate Chair White to President Napolitano (10/17)

http://senate.universityofcalifornia.edu/_files/reports/SW-JN-Retiree-Health.pdf

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FREE SPEECH CENTER

President Napolitano creates academic center without Senate consultation and appoints advisory board with herself as chair.

UC launches national effort to promote free speech and civic engagement https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/press-room/uc-launches-national-effort-promote-free-speech-and-civic-engagement
https://freespeechcenter.universityofcalifornia.edu

The National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement will engage in education, research, advocacy, and fund and run a fellowship program.
https://freespeechcenter.universityofcalifornia.edu/fellows/

Although the center will not be granting degrees, it will engage in the academic activities of education, research, and providing fellowships. Based on those activities, it appears to be an academic center that warrants Senate consultation in its formation. I understand that Senate consultation did not take place.

Some observers have noted the unusual makeup of the advisory board.
https://freespeechcenter.universityofcalifornia.edu/advisory-board/

It includes Barbara Boxer, former US Senator; Tamara Keith, White House Correspondent, NPR; Anne Kornblut, Director, Strategic Communications, Facebook; Bret Stephens, Columnist, New York Times; and George Will, Columnist, Washington Post. Noting those members and considering the politicized, relatively negative news coverage of free speech issues at universities in general and at some UC campuses in particular, a possibility that comes to mind is that a goal of the center might be to encourage more favorable coverage of the official UC positions on free speech. These have been articulated by Napolitano in her statements. In the preface of their recent book Free Speech on Campus, her two advisory board co-chairs Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of the Berkeley School of Law, and Howard Gillman, UCI Chancellor, state the similar view that “…the ability to express all ideas and viewpoints, no matter how offensive — is necessary at all colleges and universities.”

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GRAD STUDENT RESEARCHERS GIVEN RIGHT TO UNIONIZE

The Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act (HEERA) gave CSU and UC employees, including faculty, the right to unionize. Originally graduate students were specifically excluded. More recently TAs and Postdocs were included. With SB 201, now signed into law, grad student researchers (GSRs) will have the option to unionize. Many employees in non-managerial positions are unionized. Faculty at CSU are unionized. Faculty at UCSC are unionized, but faculty at other UC campuses have not voted to unionize.

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UCOP FUNDING IMPACTS UPDATE

Readers may recall that the legislature decided to fund UCOP as a line item rather than the normal practice of leaving it to the university to decide what share of UC funding goes to OP. In the way that the legislature chose to do this, there is a negative financial impact on core funding for the campuses. I.e. the net effect is to punish the campuses rather than the intended target, OP. There are now some who believe that this error may be corrected.

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NEGOTIATED SALARY TRIAL PROGRAM REVIEW

The program is complex and difficult to quickly summarize. In a nutshell and with considerable oversimplification, it is a mechanism by which individual faculty can negotiate higher salaries directly with the administration. Money to pay the higher salaries comes from non-state funds.

The Negotiated Salary Program (NSP) (APM 668 proposed) was proposed in 2011 and heavily criticized by the Senate and by various CUCFA-related individuals and FAs. In spite of that, a Negotiated Salary Trial Program (NSTP) has been running for several years on three campuses: UCLA, UCSD, and UCI.

A review of the trial program is itself out for full Senate review. At Davis comments are due by Nov. 10. i.e. very soon.

The review is mixed, but in the end, the reviewing taskforce recommended that the trial continue for four more years with other campuses given the opportunity to opt in.

Review
http://academicsenate.ucdavis.edu/rfc/view.cfm?or&id=1347

Senate review from 2011
http://senate.universityofcalifornia.edu/_files/reports/RMA_CarlsonreAPM668_FINAL.pdf

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MICHAEL BROWN APPOINTED UC PROVOST

In July Michael Brown of UCSB was appointed UC Provost

https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/press-room/uc-santa-barbara-s-michael-brown-appointed-provost-uc-system

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