Davis Faculty Association

Archive for the ‘Calls to Action’ Category

Public Forum: The Future of Higher Education in California

Friday, February 2, 2018

1:00-2:00PM
Presentations

2:00-2:30 PM
Discussion

Art Annex Room 112 (Technocultural Studies Building)
UC Davis Main Campus

DELAINE EASTIN
Candidate for Governor of California
Former Superintendent of California Public Instruction
Former California Assemblymember

AMY HINES-SHAIKH
Higher Education Director, University Professional and Technical Employees
Executive Director, Reclaim CA Higher Education Coalition

MICHAEL BURAWOY
Professor Sociology at U. C. Berkeley
Chair, Berkeley Faculty Association

The public, professors, students, researchers, medical professionals, staff and the entire university community is invited to join in this forum and help solve the problems facing us in higher education in California, and to discuss concrete ways to move forward.

Speaker Bios:

Delaine Eastin is the former Superintendent of Public Instruction for the State of California and a former California Assemblymember. In the Assembly Delaine chaired the Education Committee and sponsored major legislation to reform California’s education system. She is currently a candidate for Governor of California.

Amy Hines-Shaikh is a Mom, and the Executive Director of the Reclaim California Higher Education coalition, representing over 20 different constituency groups with over 3 million Californians. She has a Master’s degree in Labor Relations and Research from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and a Master’s in Organizational Development and Knowledge Management from George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia. Amy believes that students and workers uniting for justice can return us to the Master Plan of 1960 – tuition and fee free public higher education in the state of CA.

Michael Burawoy is a Professor of Sociology at UC Berkeley and is the Chair of the Berkeley Faculty Association. He has been President of the American Sociological Association (2003-4) and of the International Sociological Association (2010-14); and founding editor of the ISA magazine, Global Dialogue (2010-2017).

This event is sponsored by the Davis Faculty Association, the departments of Religious Studies, Sociology, and Cinema and Digital Media, the Center for Regional Change, UC-AFT Local 2023, and the Davis Humanities Institute.

This is a free event.

DFA request for your input on campus strategic planning

The Davis Faculty Association (DFA) board requests your input on the Chancellor’s strategic planning effort called To Boldly Go. Board members will be meeting with Faculty Advisor to the Chancellor and Provost, Professor Ken Burtis, on Thursday January 25 for a discussion of DFA priorities. We hope to receive your ideas no later than coming Tuesday, but sooner is better.

The Chancellor’s website for the planning is here:

http://chancellor.ucdavis.edu/strategic-plan/index.html

The idea is to get suggestions for high level, ten year goals with the format: (i) statement of the goal and then a (ii) statement of strategies for achieving it.

A list of questions from Ken Burtis is available. Please note that these are not intended to be exclusive. They are to stimulate conversation and to give a feeling for the level of goal that is of interest in the strategic planning. Ideas that are not mentioned on the list are very welcome.

We look forward to hearing from you very soon.

Thank you.

Joe Kiskis
On behalf of the Davis Faculty Association Board.

Nash Prize – DFA representative sought

One of the best things the DFA does every year is participate in the awarding of the annual Charles Nash Prize. You all are probably familiar with it; if not, some information about it is available at: http://ucdfa.org/nash-prize/

We need a DFA member to volunteer to assist with this. Below is a note from DFA Chair Richard Scalettar from a couple years ago asking for a volunteer for this task. He had volunteered to chair the committee the year previous and provides some information about the task. If you can take on this task, please let me know at info@cucfa.org

– Eric.


I am writing as Chair of the Davis Faculty Association to inquire if you might be willing to serve on the Nash Prize Committee.

The task is not so burdensome — reading the 5-10 applications, and 1-2 meetings to rank. The nomination deadline is early February, so the work is in the Winter quarter.

As committee chair two years ago, I can say that serving is also an interesting assignment — educating oneself about the really nice things that our colleagues are doing to promote staff/student/faculty welfare!

We only had one meeting, so that really reduces the likelihood of not being able to find a common time.  It is possible this year the choice will be more difficult and you will need two meetings, but that would do it.

Best Regards,
Richard

Taking a Stand Against Harassment

The DFA Board has voted to endorse the statement issued yesterday, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), American Federation of Teachers (AFT), and Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) calling on college and university leaders to defend members of universities and colleges from campaigns of harassment: “…anything short of a vigorous defense of academic freedom will only further imperil safety. Concessions to the harassers send the message that such odious tactics are effective. They have a chilling effect on the entire academic community.” See the full statement here.

Starving the Beast, the March for Science, and Nationwide May 1 Actions

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” Screening and Director’s Talk

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.

Statement on Betsy DeVos Nomination

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.

The $48 fix: Reclaiming California’s Master Plan for Higher Education

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.

Have a Drink on us, June 7th at Sudwerk

The Board of the Davis Faculty Association invites all DFA members to join company over a beer – or other drink – at Davis’s Sudwerk restaurant at 5:00 pm on Tuesday, June 7th. Bring your colleagues and we will treat them too.

Come discuss the issues confronting UCD. We want to hear about your concerns, your suggestions, and any other input you may have for the Board of the DFA. To be effective in representing you, we need your help.

Please forward this message to your colleagues! As the University of California continues to face challenges, we need concerted action as much as ever.

Please join us on the 7th.

We Supports the UC Academic Senate Resolution Rejecting the “2016 Tier Pension Plan”

On February 10, 2016, the Assembly of the Academic Senate of the University of California adopted the following resolution and sent it to UC President Janet Napolitano:

The Assembly rejects the imposition of the PEPRA cap on the University of California and the discontinuation of the current pension plan in the absence of any plan or program to fund or to provide compensating increases in total remuneration, so as to prevent harming the mission of the University of California by eroding its ability to recruit and retain the best faculty. [1]

The Council of UC Faculty Associations strongly supports this resolution and calls on President Napolitano and the UC Regents to reject this disastrous, ill-conceived and unnecessary plan.

Background:

In fall 2015, President Napolitano and Governor Jerry Brown, the so-called Committee of Two, engaged in private talks about UC’s budget and pension plan. As part of their negotiations, Napolitano agreed to a new “2016 tier” to UC’s retirement plan that would limit the amount of covered compensation that can be used in calculating retirement income based on the 2013 Public Employee’s Reform Act (PEPRA) legislation ($117,020 in 2016), which was designed to address instability and the high cost of the California Employee’s Pension System (CalPERS). In response to Napolitano and Brown’s deal, the Regents appointed a Retirement Options Task Force (ROTF) that proposed two plans for a new 2016 tier. [2]

The proposed 2016 tier and adoption of the PEPRA cap would create inferior retirement options for future faculty (who are more likely to be women or under-represented minorities), create a two-tier retirement system and further undermine total compensation for faculty. The proposals will greatly weaken the University’s ability to recruit and retain the top faculty, undermine UC’s ability to make the competitive offers necessary to recruit and retain outstanding faculty members, and increase inequities between the UC campuses while doing little to address the unfunded liability of UC Retirement Plan.

In addition, the process that led to the decision to adopt the PEPRA cap and institute a new retirement tier lacked transparency, careful deliberation, and adequate consultation with the Senate.

We continue to collect UC employee signatures in opposition to these proposed changes at: http://www.protectmypension.org/

 

[1] The full text of the resolution: http://senate.universityofcalifornia.edu/reports/documents/AssemblyPensionResolution2-10-16.pdf

The full Academic Senate letter and divisional reports on the new retirement plan: http://senate.universityofcalifornia.edu/reports/documents/DH_JN_ROTF_2-12-16.pdf

[2] For an analysis of the proposals, see Celeste Langan, “Retirement plan impacts entire community,” http://www.dailycal.org/2016/02/12/343390/

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