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Archive for the ‘Faculty Governance’ Category

“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.

Alarming Changes to UC Regent’s Governance Structure

Today the Regents voted on sweeping changes to the way the University of California is governed.  The following articles describe some of the significance and context of this vote.

Regents Propose Centralization Without Real Justification, Tuesday, July 19, 2016, by Michael Meranze, Remaking the University

Alarming Changes to UC Regent’s Governance Structure,  July 19, 2016, Robert Meister as posted on the Council of U.C. Faculty Associations’ (CUCFA) website.

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/

Act now to prevent further degradation of our retirement system

The University of California is currently considering introducing a new  pension plan for its employees hired after 2016. These proposed changes  will dramatically reduce pension benefits for most new faculty.

The Davis Academic Senate is planning to have two town hall events  to discuss these proposals, one on Monday, January 25, at 10 am, at the  UCD Med Center’s Center for Health and Technology lecture hall 1341. The  other on January 28, at 10 am, in MU II. Please attend to learn more details or  to express your opinion on these issues.

The Davis Academic Senate has also set up a comment form at where you can express your concerns about this plan.

Your opportunity to provide input to the Senate lasts just a couple  weeks. For some purposes, it will be most effective to provide input  this week.

Please read on for additional background and contact information.

This ill-conceived and ill-advised plan, which was negotiated behind  closed doors by President Napolitano and Governor Brown without any  engagement with the Academic Senate, the Regents, the Legislature, or  the larger university community, will do serious damage to the quality  of the University of California.

While the details are highly technical

the implications are not:

1) This is a serious cut in benefits to faculty and many other  professional staff, such as staff scientists and nurses, hired after  July 2016. (See pages 44, 45 and 84 of the task force report.)

2) UC faculty are already much more poorly compensated than faculty at  UC’s peer institutions despite the fact that the cost of living in most  parts of California is very high.

This plan will make it much harder to attract faculty and other  professionals and keep them here.

3) This plan does not do anything to make the existing pension system  healthier and could actually decrease the rate at which the unfunded  liability is retired. (See page 57 of the task force report.)

We agree with the assessment of Academic Senate leaders J. Daniel Hare  and James A. Chalfant’s analysis who concluded:

“If salaries don’t increase to compensate for these reduced benefits,  then UC will have to settle for a lower-quality of faculty who did not  receive better offers elsewhere. Many UC faculty members were hired in  spite of more lucrative salary offers elsewhere, just as many have  either declined outside offers or declined to pursue them. It may have been true at one time that benefits made up for our uncompetitive  salaries. The 2014 Total Remuneration Study showed that no longer to be  the case. While salaries and benefits continue to lag, and we are  contemplating making the lag even greater with the new-tier options, it  is important to note that most of the non-pecuniary attributes of UC  employment also are declining.”

As Academic Senate Chair Dan Hare stated in his remarks to the Regents  in September:

“Any reduction in either salary or benefits surely will have  consequences for the ability of UC to build and retain a future faculty  that is as distinguished as the current faculty. As recommendations are  brought forward in early 2016, I encourage the Regents to carefully  consider not only the budgetary cost of future retirement options, but  also their impact on how faculty members behave in terms of recruitment  and retention. If we are not careful, small budgetary savings will risk  far greater costs to the University, our students, and the citizens of
California.”

We urge you to sign our petition http://www.protectmypension.org/to  express your opposition to proposed changes to the UC Retirement Plan.  We will forward the names of those that sign to local campus faculty  welfare committees so they are aware of local concern about this issue.

UCOP President Janet Napolitano has also invited faculty feedback. Please consider  sending a copy of your comments to us at newtier@cucfa.org.

Petition opposing changes to the UC retirement plan

The Davis Faculty Association, via the Council of UC Faculty Associations, is a member of the UC Union Coalition. A Union Coalition petition in opposition to detrimental changes to UC pension benefits is available here:

http://www.protectmypension.org/

Please read it and consider joining in the opposition to changes that would harm the quality of the university.

Some background material about this issue:

Following unfortunate developments in the Governor Brown/President Napolitano Committee of Two, the Governor’s budget May revise, and the final State budget, the 2016 Retirement Options Task Force has been working to modify key elements of retirement benefits for faculty and other employees hired after June 30, 2016. The Task Force sent its report to President Napolitano on Dec. 15, 2015. The report will be widely released on January 15.

Although we have not seen the report, the information that is currently available indicates that it will recommend changes that are detrimental to the University and to future employees. In particular, it will concede to the President’s decision in the Committee of Two to impose a lower cap on pensionable income for future employees. This will likely be only partly compensated for by a defined contribution supplemental plan.

Available information also indicates that the report fails to oppose the offering of a full defined contribution plan, which new employees can select rather than the current defined benefits of the UC Retirement Plan.

We have already written about the harm that will be done to the University if these changes are adopted:

http://cucfa.org/2015/11/uc-task-force-considering-pension-cuts/

By reducing total compensation, these proposals will reduce the ability of UC to recruit and retain top quality faculty and staff.

Please consider objecting to these changes by signing the petition at:

http://www.protectmypension.org/

CUCFA’s Letter to the Working Group to Develop New Principles Regarding Intolerance

October 23, 2015

UC Regents’ Working Group to Develop New UC Principles Regarding Intolerance:
Regent Eddie Island (chair)
Regent Norm Pattiz
Regent John A. Pérez
Regent Bruce Varner
Student Regent Avi Oved
Chancellor Linda Katehi
Academic Council Chair Dan Hare
Vice Provost for Diversity and Engagement Yvette Gullatt.

Dear Colleagues,

Thank you for your service on this working group, which the Board of Regents has tasked with developing new UC principles regarding intolerance. This effort arises from complaints about allegedly anti-Semitic behavior on our campuses and from requests that the University endorse as part of its policies against discrimination a specific definition of the term anti-Semitism. While we appreciate the desire some have for the University to discover a bright line redefinition of freedom of speech that allows unfettered expression yet enforces some standard of tolerance and civility, both current law and past experience suggest that doing so is at best elusive. While we appreciate the pressure for a specific response to this controversy, this controversy is not new or unique in either its general or specific characteristics. The success of the University in teaching, research, and public service depends on maintaining an environment that fosters and protects free inquiry and the competition of ideas.

The important point is that existing University policy and state and federal law, developed over many years for the purpose of dealing with exactly the sorts of challenges raised by recent events, provide an effective framework for resolving these issues. For these reasons, as detailed below, we urge you to affirm that there is no need to modify current policies.

The fundamental law at work in this issue is the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, and the extensive case law and judicial precedent derived from it. This long history of deliberation has defined free speech that all people enjoy, and the limits on said speech, working to create the line that defines speech that incites imminent lawless action (see Brandenburg v. Ohio, 1969), that defines appropriate restrictions on fighting words — words directed at a particular person that would tend to provoke an immediate violent response (see, for example, Cohen v. California, 1971), and what are appropriate restrictions on time, place, and manner (see, for example, Ward v. Rock Against Racism, 1989).

In keeping with the limits on free speech defined in federal law, unacceptable discriminatory acts, including acts by students, faculty, and staff, are already illegal under California state law. In particular, existing law already deals with the limitations on First Amendment protections for speech and with illegal activities and the circumstances in which they may become hate crimes. Students, staff, and faculty are all prohibited from acts of discrimination and hate crimes which are covered, for example, in California penal code sections 422.55 and 422.6. Section 422.55 defines hate crime:

“(a) “Hate crime” means a criminal act committed, in whole or in part, because of one or more of the following actual or perceived characteristics of the victim: (1) Disability. (2) Gender. (3) Nationality. (4) Race or ethnicity. (5) Religion. (6) Sexual orientation. (7) Association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics. (b) “Hate crime” includes, but is not limited to, a violation of Section 422.6.

Section 422.6 then says:

“422.6 (a) No person, whether or not acting under color of law, shall by force or threat of force, willfully injure, intimidate, interfere with, oppress, or threaten any other person in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him or her by the Constitution or laws of this state or by the Constitution or laws of the United States in whole or in part because of one or more of the actual or perceived characteristics of the victim listed in subdivision (a) of Section 422.55.

“(b) No person, whether or not acting under color of law, shall knowingly deface, damage, or destroy the real or personal property of any other person for the purpose of intimidating or interfering with the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to the other person by the Constitution or laws of this state or by the Constitution or laws of the United States, in whole or in part because of one or more of the actual or perceived characteristics of the victim listed in subdivision (a) of Section 422.55.”

The Academic Personnel Manual reminds us that the First Amendment applies to UC faculty, as it does, in fact, apply to everyone at UC. From APM-010: “Members of the faculty are entitled as University employees to the full protections of the Constitution of the United States and of the Constitution of the State of California. These protections are in addition to whatever rights, privileges, and responsibilities attach to the academic freedom of university faculty.”

APM-015 then continues to describe professional rights of faculty, which include:

“1. free inquiry, and exchange of ideas; 2. the right to present controversial material relevant to a course of instruction; 3. enjoyment of constitutionally protected freedom of expression; 4. freedom to address any matter of institutional policy or action when acting as a member of the faculty whether or not as a member of an agency of institutional governance…”

But these professional rights must be tempered by professional obligations to students. Hence, the APM prohibits:

“… 1. (b) significant intrusion of material unrelated to the course; … 2. Discrimination, including harassment, against a student on political grounds, or for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender expression, gender identity, ethnic origin, national origin, ancestry, marital status, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, medical condition (cancer-related or genetic characteristics), genetic information (including family medical history), or service in the uniformed services as defined by the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA), as well as state military and naval service, or, within the limits imposed by law or University regulations, because of age or citizenship or for other arbitrary or personal reasons… 4. Use of the position or powers of a faculty member to coerce the judgment or conscience of a student or to cause harm to a student for arbitrary or personal reasons. 5. Participating in or deliberately abetting disruption, interference, or intimidation in the classroom.”

Faculty also have obligations to the university. Therefore, the APM prohibits:

“1. Intentional disruption of functions or activities sponsored or authorized by the University. 2. Incitement of others to disobey University rules when such incitement constitutes a clear and present danger that violence or abuse against persons or property will occur or that the University’s central functions will be significantly impaired… 4. Forcible detention, threats of physical harm to, or harassment of another member of the University community, that interferes with that person’s performance of University activities. 5. Discrimination, including harassment, against University employees on political grounds, or for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender expression, gender identity, ethnic origin, national origin, ancestry, marital status, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, medical condition (cancer-related or genetic characteristics), genetic information (including family medical history), or service in the uniformed services as defined by the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA), as well as state military and naval service, or, within the limits imposed by law or University regulations, because of age or citizenship or for other arbitrary or personal reasons. 6. Violation of the University policy, including the pertinent guidelines, applying to nondiscrimination against employees on the basis of disability.”

And faculty have obligations to colleagues, so the APM prohibits:

“2. Discrimination, including harassment, against faculty on political grounds, or for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender expression, gender identity, ethnic origin, national origin, ancestry, marital status, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, medical condition (cancer-related or genetic characteristics), genetic information (including family medical history), or service in the uniformed services as defined by the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA), as well as state military and naval service, or, within the limits imposed by law or University regulations, because of age or citizenship or for other arbitrary or personal reasons. 3. Violation of the University policy, including the pertinent guidelines, applying to nondiscrimination against faculty on the basis of disability.”

As noted above, these time-tested policies and laws are more than adequate to provide a strong framework in which to ensure that all students and other members of the University community have recourse when the object of intolerant behavior.

If there is a problem to be addressed it would be to ensure that current laws and policies are properly implemented, including timely, sensitive and effective enforcement of these laws and policies done in a way that promotes rather than impedes the free expression of ideas.

If we can be of further assistance in this matter, please contact our Executive Director, Eric Hays, at info@cucfa.org or 888-826-3623.

Thank you for your consideration.

Best wishes,
Stanton Glantz
President
On behalf of the Board of the Council of UC Faculty Associations

Statement by CUCFA and AAUP on Regent Blum’s Remarks

The Council of University of California Faculty Associations and the American Association of University Professors write to protest the following remarks made by University of California Regent Richard Blum and then supported by Regent Hadi Makarechian during the discussion of a proposed Statement of Principles Against Intolerance at the Board of Regents meeting on September 17, 2015:

“I should add that over the weekend my wife, your senior Senator, and I talked about this issue at length. She wants to stay out of the conversation publicly but if we do not do the right thing she will engage publicly and is prepared to be critical of this university if we don’t have the kind of not only statement but penalties for those who commit what you can call them crimes, call them whatever you want. Students that do the things that have been cited here today probably ought to have a dismissal or a suspension from school. I don’t know how many of you feel strongly that way but my wife does and so do I.”

These remarks by Regent Blum explicitly invoke his wife, U.S. Senator from California Dianne Feinstein, and threaten negative political consequences for the University if the proposed Statement of Principles Against Intolerance is not revised so as to be agreeable to him and Senator Feinstein. As such, they violate the spirit, if not the letter, of Article IX, Section 9 of the California Constitution, which declares that “The university shall be entirely independent of all political or sectarian influence and kept free therefrom in the appointment of its regents and in the administration of its affairs.”

Whatever varied opinions we may hold on the proposed Statement of Principles or any other matter for University discussion, we should all join in rejecting any attempt by a Regent to influence University deliberations by calling on external political forces in this manner.

The complex and competing issues involved in developing a suitable Statement of Principles Against Intolerance are matters of discussion and intellectual inquiry within the University. The purpose of academic freedom is to protect such inquiry from external political interference, and it is the duty of the members of the Board of Regents to uphold academic freedom and to protect the university from external constraints on this freedom. So it is very troubling to hear a Regent make statements that directly undermine free inquiry and the independence of the University. It is particularly disconcerting in this case, because among the central issues are academic freedom and free speech.

We understand that individual Regents, in their private capacity, like many others in the community, may hold strong views on this and many other issues. However, in their official capacity, the Regents have the responsibility to uphold the rights of University administrators and faculty to determine internal University policies through established processes of shared governance free of external political pressure and threats from any source, including the Regents’ own spouses, relatives and friends. We call upon the Regents, the President, and the Provost to provide explicit assurances that they will support and protect the independence and integrity of the continuing discussions of a possible Statement of Principles Against Intolerance.

FA statement to the UC Regents about proposed new UCRS tier

Professor Celeste Langan spoke on behalf of the UC Faculty Associations at the July 22, 2015 UC Regents meeting during the public comment period. Below is a copy of her full comments:


 

As co-Chair of the Berkeley Faculty Association and on behalf of the Council of UC Faculty Associations, I wish to address the Regents concerning the third discussion item of the Finance Committee agenda, item F3, “Update on Final 2015-16 Budget.” The update, produced by the Office of the President, misleadingly claims that the final budget “incorporates the funding framework developed by UC and the Governor.” If you’ll recall, the “framework” of the May Revise proposed that the state make a contribution of $436 million toward the unfunded liability of the UC Retirement Plan. The final budget, however, promises only a “one-time payment” of $96 million; there is nothing in the budget that commits the state to two additional payments of $170 million. Yet even this meager one-time payment is contingent upon Regential approval of a cap on pensionable salary consistent with PEPRA (Public Employee Pension Reform Act) for employees hired after July 1, 2016.

The Council of UC Faculty Associations is opposed to the University making permanent changes in the structure of its retirement plan in exchange for a very modest one-time contribution from the State. We are especially opposed to the introduction of a full defined-contribution option. There is absolutely no justification for the proposed introduction of a full defined-contribution option; neither the Legislature nor the Governor called for the introduction of a Defined Contributions plan in aligning the UCRP with PEPRA. Yet UCOP seems bent on introducing such an option, to the point that their statement exposes their intention as a foregone conclusion rather than a possible outcome of consultation and deliberation — those elements of what we once understood as “shared governance.”

I call your attention to the third paragraph on page 3 of the F3 agenda item. First OP declares, “The President will convene a retirement options task force to advise on the design of new retirement options that will include the pensionable salary cap consistent with PEPRA. The retirement options will be brought to the Regents next year for review and approval.” But apparently the “design of new retirement options” is a fait accompli, for the penultimate sentence of that paragraph declares, “new employees will have the opportunity to choose a fully defined contribution plan as a retirement option, as an alternative to the PEPRA-capped defined benefit plan.”

Since the two minutes allotted in the public comments session is the temporal equivalent of Twitter’s 140 characters, let me ask: #What’s up with UCOP? If I had to speculate, I’d say that UCOP’s attempt to replace Defined Benefits with Defined Contributions suggests its preference for a mobile, “flexible,” precarious professoriate with a consequently short-term institutional memory — a professoriate that wouldn’t recall that only 6 years ago, the relative merits of defined contribution versus defined benefit plans were thoroughly, carefully, and widely discussed by UC constituents. Given substantial evidence that defined benefits are more cost-efficient than defined contributions in achieving the same level of benefits, it was agreed that the University of California was best served by continuing with UCRP as a defined benefit plan. Thus in 2010, when the President recommended and the Regents endorsed pension reforms, UCRP was preserved as a defined benefit plan.

Ironically, the paragraph in question concludes, “For represented groups, retirement options will be subject to collective bargaining.” Well, the UC Faculty Associations represent a good number of those faculty, members of the Academic Senate, without collective bargaining rights, and we say that UCOP has vitiated the interests of that faculty, both those vested in the current UCRP and those who will be hired after 2016. We deplore the introduction of a different tier of faculty benefits, but we firmly oppose the attempt of UCOP to introduce a fully defined contribution plan in this untoward and unjustified manner.

First round is on us, June 10th at Sudwerk

The Board of the Davis Faculty Association invites all UCD faculty to join us over a beer – or other drink – at Davis’s Sudwerk restaurant at 5:00 pm on Wednesday, June 10th. The first drink will be courtesy of the DFA.

Come discuss the issues confronting UC. 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 10th.

Deadline for input on Chancellor’s review is 4/30

This is just a reminder that the deadline for faculty to provide input into the Chancellor’s “2015 UC Davis Chancellor Stewardship Review” is this Thursday, April 30th. At this late date, the best option to respond would be via email to Davis.Chan.Review@ucop.edu.

This is an important opportunity for UC Davis faculty to provide their views as to the Chancellor’s performance: leadership ability, decision-making ability, administrative and managerial skills, commitment to shared governance, etc.

More details about the Chancellor’s review process have been provided by the Davis Division of the Academic Senate at:

http://academicsenate.ucdavis.edu/divisional-resources/2015-chancellor-stewardship-review.html

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