Davis Faculty Association

Archive for the ‘Working Together’ 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.

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.

Defense of Undocumented and other Vulnerable Categories of Students

The Council of UC Faculty Associations wrote the following letter, rafted with the assistance of the Davis Faculty Association, to President Napolitano on November 23, 2016. It concerns ways to ensure that undocumented students are supported in continuing their education at the University of California.

*************************************

Dear President Napolitano,

We applaud your timely declaration in the immediate aftermath of the election that the UC administration “remain[s] absolutely committed to supporting all members of our community and adhering to UC’s Principles Against Intolerance.”[1]

Like you, we are gravely concerned by the statements made by President-elect Donald Trump during the campaign, and in the aftermath of his victory, targeting particularly vulnerable communities such as undocumented Latinos and Muslim immigrants.

We support your subsequent statement to the UC Regents that “it is more important than ever that we preserve our core values, expand opportunity, and create and share knowledge in the public interest.”[2] We also support your decision to meet with representatives of undocumented students, and to institute a task force to help UC students who are in the country without legal permission and who may be at greater risk of deportation under a Trump administration.

We endorse the joint letter you wrote with CSU Chancellor Timothy White and CC Interim President Erik Skinner to the California congressional delegation asking for the restoration of year-long Pell grants.[3] CUCFA has long believed in the inextricable connection between affordable higher education and the benefits of all forms of diversity to knowledge-production, society, and democracy. We greatly appreciate the advocacy of our leaders on behalf of our students.

In short, we stand united with our administrators against any threats directed at our students and fellow employees, or any words or acts of hate that threaten our mission as a public research university committed to the betterment of our global society through teaching, learning, and the dissemination of new knowledge. We pledge to stand up for, support, and defend the most vulnerable among us, those deliberately targeted in the lead up to the election, and those who are now victims of hate in its wake – members of our community who are undocumented, people of color, LGBTQ people, Muslims (and other religious minorities), immigrants, people with disabilities, and women.

To implement these policy principles, we urge that, in collaboration with the chancellors and other appropriate authorities, you:

  • Explore all legal venues to refuse to act on behalf of federal agents, and to withhold information on the immigration status, religion, and national origin of our students, faculty, or staff;
  • Not enter into agreements with state or local law enforcement agencies, Homeland Security or any other federal department for the enforcement of federal immigration law;
  • Instruct university police not to honor immigration hold requests, and not to contact, detain, question or arrest individuals solely on the basis of being, or suspected of being, a person that lacks documentation;
  • Standardize a UC systemwide administrative office with responsibility for counseling DACA students on their educational situation;
  • Publicize that DACA student counseling services are available on a strictly confidential basis;
  • Continue to allow DACA-eligible students to pay in-state resident tuition;
  • Ensure student’s access to health care and financial aid within California law;
  • Invest in faculty and staff training for UndocuAlly modules developed by UC Davis;[4]
  • Commit to allow undocumented students to work on UC campuses in the event that the DACA provisions were repealed;
  • Take these measures before Inauguration Day so that DACA students can be assured of institutional support.

We are aware of the many calls to consider declaring all UCs “sanctuary campuses” before the inauguration of President-elect Trump.[5] While we support the spirit of this call, believing that Universities have an ethical obligation to assist undocumented students against threats of deportation, we are concerned that the idea of sanctuary campuses does not have any legal status, and agree with Cal State Chancellor White that declaring any public university a “sanctuary” may give a false sense of security “to the very people we support and serve.”[6] We urge you to study all legal and symbolic ramifications of declaring UC campuses “sanctuaries,” and to involve students, staff, and faculty in making that decision. Accordingly, we ask you to charge the announced task force on undocumented students with discussing explicitly the issue of sanctuary status and to make their findings public before January 20.

It is estimated that one third of the over 740,000 undocumented students in the US reside in California, and our state already has multiple progressive policies designed to support undocumented immigrants, including measures that help them access healthcare, driver’s licenses and student loans. We have a responsibility not only to reassure our students that we will stand by them in the face of deportation if laws were passed in that direction, but to lead the nation in rejecting policies opposed to the core values of our university.

For this reason we support your actions to date and reiterate our desire to work with you and other university leaders to advance these important goals.

On behalf of the Council of UC Faculty Associations Board,
Stanton Glantz,
President, Council of UC Faculty Associations
Professor of Medicine, UCSF


[1] http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/education/article113780763.html

[2] http://www.latimes.com/local/education/la-me-ln-uc-regents-20161116-story.html

[3] https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/uc-president-joins-california-higher-education-and-uc-student-leaders-support-pell-grants

[4] http://undocumented.ucdavis.edu/education/ally.html

[5] http://www.politico.com/states/california/story/2016/11/proposal-turn-californias-massive-public-higher-ed-system-into-sanctuary-campuses-to-stop-trump-107463

[6] http://mynewsla.com/education/2016/11/17/no-sanctuary-at-cal-state-university-but-no-cooperation-with-trump-immigration/

Faculty Associations’ Letter to the President of Long Island University

September 8, 2016 – As you may already know, three days ago, President of Long Island University Kimberly R. Cline and the Board of Trustees locked out the faculty of the LIU Brooklyn Campus. After contract negotiations on a new contract dragged to the start of a new academic term, the administration simply ended negotiations. Such a lockout has never happened before in higher education in the United States. The administration not only locked out the faculty, but they also cut off their pay, their benefits, their health care, and even their university email. (For more up to date information see https://academeblog.org/2016/09/08/lockout-of-faculty-at-liu-looking-down-into-the-abyss/).

Convinced that this gross violation of labor relations and shared governance practices must be met with swift and resolute denunciation, CUCFA has sent a letter to President Cline http://cucfa.org/2016/09/letter-to-the-president-of-liu/ inviting her to desist from her chosen course of action and return to the negotiating table. We invite all DFA members to pay attention to the unfolding of events and participate in the discussions that are likely to follow regarding how to deal with this dangerous precedent were LIU’s administrators to persist with the look out. You can also sign an online petition hosted by the AFT.
https://actionnetwork.org/letters/end-the-lockout-and-bargain-a-fair-contract-now

Statement in support of students occupying Mrak

We write to express our support and appreciation for the actions being taken by the UC Davis students who are currently occupying the 5th floor of Mrak Hall. These students are taking a firm stand in defending their belief that the administration should be held accountable to the public and that university affairs should be held to more transparent standards. Their actions represent a revitalization of active democracy and a commitment to the proud tradition of the University of California as a public good. In supporting our students, we express particular concern over the ways that they have recently been confronted with adverse repercussions or threats to their status as students at the University of California.

Respectfully,
The Board of the Davis Faculty Association

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/

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/

Master Plan Conference in Sacramento Sept. 26

You are no doubt aware that public higher education in California is founded on the ambitious 1960’s era Master Plan for Higher Education. Unfortunately, this plan was never fully funded by the state, and the ambitions of the plan have been greatly eroded in recent years.

In order to try to raise awareness of the history of California’s Master Plan among educators and policy makers in Sacramento, a coalition of public higher education supporters is holding a one day conference in Sacramento on September 26th. I highly recommend you try to attend this conference if at all possible. Registration is a modest $25. You can let me know you are attending by emailing DFA staff at info@cucfa.org.

Some further information about the conference is below, and the latest details will be available at the conference website.

Sincerely,
Richard Scalettar,
Davis Faculty Association Chair

STRATEGIC PLANNING CONFERENCE: Higher Education for a New Generation

As our public higher education systems raise tuition and accept fewer students in the face of chronic state underfunding, concerned citizens across California know that now is the time to stop the decline of our public colleges and universities. Providing our students with the opportunity to achieve at their highest potential is the surest way to keep our state economically competitive in the decades to come. We invite students, faculty, staff, and all Californians who are concerned about the future of California’s public high education to join us in planning for a brighter future for today’s and tomorrow’s students.

PLEASE JOIN US! Saturday, Sept 26th, 2015 * 8 am to 5 pm (8-9 am is registration) at Capitol Plaza Halls, Temple Ballroom, 1025 9th Street, Sacramento.

REGISTER HERE

Nash Prize reception and dinner

The Nash family, the Academic Senate, the Academic Federation and the Davis Faculty Association jointly sponsor the annual Charles P. Nash Prize to honor the outstanding achievement in promoting and advocating for faculty interests and welfare by a member of the Academic Senate or Academic Federation. This year the prize is being awarded to Eric Schroeder, Lecturer Emeritus in the University Writing Program, in a reception and dinner to be held on May 12th.

In the words of the selection committee: “Dr. Schroeder served all constituencies of the campus community unusually well, teaching and mentoring not only students but also new faculty. He is, indeed, the epitome of someone who believes in–and lives–the Principles of Community that the campus subscribes to and the principles of shared governance described in the prize call.”

Please respond by May 5th following the details in the attached Nash Prize Invitation with RSVP (PDF). For more information, call (530) 754-2262 or email Louise Uota, lfuota@ucdavis.edu.

What has the DFA been up to lately?

The DFA belongs to the Council of UC Faculty Associations (CUCFA). By far the largest independent dues-supported organization representing the faculty at the campuses of the University of California, CUCFA coordinates activities of the Faculty Associations on a statewide level, acts as collective bargaining agent for faculty at UC Santa Cruz, and maintains a lobbyist in Sacramento. The DFA Executive Director, Eric Hays, can be reached by email at info@cucfa.org and the 2013-2015 DFA chair can be reached at scalettar@physics.ucdavis.edu.

Here is a brief reminder of some of the things the DFA has been up to in the past year:

• The DFA and CUCFA continue to produce material that highlights the disinvestment in higher education by California’s governor. An example of such work includes the annually updated “How Much Would It Cost to Restore California’s Public Higher Education?” This document became the centerpiece of our response to UC’s proposal to raise tuition up to 5% per year for the next five years for undergraduate and graduate students.

• CUCFA formed a partnership with the American Association of University Professors in defense and promotion of academic freedom, shared university governance, and the economic security of all those engaged in teaching and research in higher education. Founded in 1915, the AAUP has helped to shape American higher education by developing the standards and procedures that maintain quality in education and academic freedom in this country’s colleges and universities.
• Concerns by the DFA resulted in a change in the practice of distributing materials from outside interest groups by the Chancellor’s office.  These materials are henceforth accompanied by a statement “that distributing material does not imply endorsement”.
• CUCFA produced a statement on academic freedom in response to a statement made by UCB Chancellor Dirks that evoked civility, echoing language recently used by the Chancellor of the University of Illinois, Urbana and the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois (especially its Chair Christopher Kennedy) concerning the refused appointment of Steven Salaita. It also mirrored language in the effort by the University of Kansas Board of Regents to regulate social media speech and the Penn State administration’s new statement on civility. “Although each of these administrative statements have responded to specific local events, the repetitive invocation of “civil” and “civility” to set limits to acceptable speech bespeaks a broader and deeper challenge to intellectual freedom on college and university campuses.”

• CUCFA objected that Governor Brown proposed Regental nominees prior to notification, much less consultation, with the advisory committee specified in Article 9 Sec. 9e of the Constitution and therefore requested that the California Senate’s Rules Committee reject the nominees proposed by the Governor.
• CUCFA lobbied for passage of AB 1476 which would have provided UC with $50 million in additional state funding in the current year. Governor Brown vetoed AB 1476.

• CUCFA objected when UC President Janet Napolitano rescinded the 1989 Guidelines on University-Industry Relations without consulting with the Academic Senate.

• The DFA opposed the demolition of Solano and Orchard Park Student-Family Housing without a plan to replace them with similar subsidized graduate student housing: “This change will seriously undermine the efforts that faculty and the university generally are making to bring a diverse set of graduate students to our campus.”
• The DFA, and FA chapters across the state, supported graduate student workers in their negotiations with UC. At the time of the negotiations according to UCOP’s own survey, student stipends lagged behind comparative institutions at least $2,697 making recruiting graduate students into UC programs difficult. A new contract was ultimately ratified in June of 2014.

• The DFA is one of the sponsors of the annual Charles P. Nash Prize, named for a former Chair of the DFA and longtime Vice President of CUCFA. The Nash Prize is awarded annually to acknowledge achievement in and commitment to promoting shared governance in keeping with Charlie Nash’s exceptional efforts in promoting and advocating for faculty interests and welfare. The 2014 Nash Prize was awarded to Linda Bisson, The Maynard E. Amerine Chair in Viticulture and Enology.
• CUCFA continues to produce material that details the persistent compensation gap between UC faculty and faculty at comparison institutions. This year’s report was titled “The Degradation of Faculty Welfare and Compensation.

• CUCFA, through its unionized Santa Cruz chapter, continues to work with UC to create online contracts that provide UC with the necessary clearance to distribute online coursework without requiring faculty to give up their intellectual property, their ownership of lectures and all accompanying materials.

• The restructuring of the university has led to a massive and costly expansion of senior administrative positions on campus. System wide, there are now more management positions than regular teaching faculty. Increasingly, significant policy decisions are made by administrators with inadequate direct experience and insufficient faculty input. We seek to reverse this process and make Davis again a faculty-led campus. We support the merit and promotion system and equitable salaries.
For more information on our activities, browse our website http://ucdfa.org. If you have colleagues who are not current members of the DFA who you think support the ideals of the organization, please encourage them to join at http://ucdfa.org/join.

 
With best wishes,

The DFA Executive Board

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