Thursday, July 23, 2009

Abuse of Emergency Powers at Tulane After Katrina

After Katrina, a number of south Louisiana institutions of higher education had to restructure in order to handle the costs of repair and the likelihood of fewer students. The presidents of these institutions consulted with a number of other university presidents around the country. After financial exigency was declared, faculty no longer had a voice in the changes planned and implemented by the president. The situation had to be handled quickly and, due to the dispersal of people after the hurricane, there was no mechanism for consultation, we were later told. The rationale for the changes was to make Tulane better ("leaner") and to handle the cost of financing the debt we incurred (almost half a billion dollars) to clean and repair the university. I think that these measures have been successful from a fiscal perspective.

So, some of the results were extremely beneficial. The campus was up and running by spring semester, and the President's availability to students, parents, and ultimately faculty, helped create a public perception of an energetic and fully functioning university, so that many students (even first year students who had been on campus for only a day or two) returned. But some of the actions were dubious, and some seem to have been undertaken not because they saved money or even improved the campus but rather to transform the university in ways that the faculty had previously rejected.

Some of the dubious actions were the firing of tenured professors rather than untenured professors: of course, tenured professors cost the university more, but we have a clear procedure outlined in our faculty handbook for such situations. The response to queries concerning this practice included telling the faculty that the handbook is not the language of our employment contract, as we had been told when hired, but rather simply a guide for administrators that they may choose to ignore. When challenged on this point, faculty were told that we could take the issue to court if we liked. Whole schools were closed, including the School of Engineering (which had been a thorn in the side of administrators for many years).

It seemed clear to us that actions were being taken not necessarily because of their impact on the bottom line but because they enabled certain policies to go forward that the faculty would not approve in the past. For example, the undergraduate women's college, which has its own large endowment, was closed (yes, there is a lawsuit pending on this) as a means (to date unsuccessful) of bringing that specific endowment into the general endowment.

One further action that has both good and bad points: we transformed our adjuncts (New Orleans has a small pool of people who are even able to serve as adjuncts) into "full-time faculty," a second-tier "faculty" (many of whom do not have terminal degrees in their field) known as "professors of the practice of..." This "faculty" counts as full-time in all the materials sent to students and their families, even though they are not faculty caliber in many cases. They can be employed for no more than six years, but in the meantime, they get better salaries and some benefits.

My point is this: financial exigency can be used to cover a multitude of actions, some which are absolutely necessary for the viability of the institution and some which are not. In this current crisis, no one can say that there is no mechanism for consulting the faculty. You are all easy to find. Insist on being heard and insist on having some power. Look to Tulane and other southern Louisiana institutions for examples of actions that fall into both categories--necessary for fiscal health and unnecessary for that purpose but useful for other reasons. Then decide, in both categories, whether the action actually serves the interests of educating students.


Molly Anne Rothenberg
Department of English
Tulane University
New Orleans, LA 70118

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Continued- The Furlough Debates: Making the Cuts Visible

The debate does not reflect a refusal of UC employees to "do their part in the crisis." It is a response to all the things that the Regents' last meeting made invisible:
  • opposition to the all-cuts budget strategy from Senate agencies (above)
  • Prof. George Lakoff's 1000+ signatures in 5 days on a letter looking for better solutions
  • the "stop the cuts" petition (2700+ signatures in 5 days)
  • UC Faculty Associations' objection to the emergency powers (J1), and its demand letter claiming that passing the cuts (J2) would violate the Regents own standing orders.
  • the documents collected on this blog, by Option 4, and elsewhere
  • angry dissent from campus administrators that masks itself for official channels
The invisibility of faculty, staff, and students was continued by the membership of the Regents' Commision on the Future, which rounds up the principal authors of current policy, omits even one known dissident or independent voice, and has seven members from business, five members from the medical sciences, two JD's, one engineer, two others from professional schools, and not one dean, faculty, or staff representative from an actual campus.

There is also the background invisibility of two decades in which UCOP swept the negative educational effects of declining state funding under the rug. And there is the blind eye guaranteed by official rules that prevent the Regents from being addressed directly without their consent (Bylaw 16.10b).

This total sovereignty of the Regents over the huge UC community isolates them from the university's real life, impairs their knowledge, blocks the free exchange of ideas and information, and in general violates the basic precepts of the proverbial "learning organization."

That said, many faculty and staff are concerned that visible furloughs (e.g. UCSC's Senate proposal) will produce a public and political backlash that could lead to higher teaching loads. There is always this possibility, but the counterarguments are stronger:
  1. this is a prefab argument that can be made against anything that makes someone uncomfortable: "X won't like it"
  2. the Leg does not control UC teaching load. An increased teaching load would be the result of campus decisions in response to the Regents' budget cuts
  3. the Regents' cuts have already effectively raised our teaching loads (big cuts from TA and lecturer budgets -> increased class size, more grading, more supervision of independent studies and other workarounds for cuts)
  4. 20% cuts are politically possible only because there is no effective oppostion, and there is no opposition because the base constituency (students, their parents, extended families and communities) does not yet understand what these cuts mean.
Meanwhile, pro-furlough comments keep coming in. Some examples:

  • Cutting back on service. The Academic senate has not exactly distinguished itself recently in the battle to defend the University. It's reasonable to ask why we should volunteer our time and energy for administrative committees who do the work of, and work for, the UC leadership, not us? And are there ways we can de-bureaucratize ourselves without cutting too deeply into our own mission?
  • cutting the "pro bono" work we do when we supervise theses and dissertations, honors contracts and independent studies, and when we teach special Honors sections for lecture courses. A faculty member can have a half-dozen honors contracts from one course. Could we begin a conversation about how we feel about these volunteer activities under the current circumstances? I know we all feel that we hate to hurt our students, but our dedication is the petard on which we are always hoisted by those who don't value (public) education.
Further comments are of course more than welcome.

Excerpts of Academic Senate's Negative Comments on UC Furloughs

UC Faculty Responses to Proposed Amendment to SOR 100.4

“The two proposals give an enormous amount of power to the President which, because of its scale, threatens the ability of the senate to effectively participate in shared governance. The Office of the President has consulted with counsel in the course of preparing the two proposed policies. It would also behoove the Academic Senate to also consult with counsel in this process to be sure that all concerns about faculty rights and responsibilities are addressed.”
—Anthony W. Norman, Chair, UC Riverside Academic Senate, May 25, 2009

“…[N]o single item in my experience as Divisional Chair (and Vice-Chair) has attracted such strong and unanimous condemnation from ALL parties….
“In our view, what this amendment would do if approved would be to foster a lack of foresight and planning by UCOP, since UCOP would know that emergency powers could always be invoked in the instance of financial downturns—and this amendment not only codifies but, in our view, regularizes the process of declaring a ‘financial emergency.’
“…The accompanying guidelines state that the ‘financial crisis must be so severe that it jeopardizes the ability of the University to sustain its current operations in fulfilling its tripartite mission.’ Although we understand the challenges of coming up with something more specific, without such criteria the Senate would have very little by which to evaluate the legitimacy of a proposed ‘emergency,’ or to distinguish a true emergency from chronic mismanagement. This represents a major consideration: inept system-wide management (whether related to poor legislative advocacy, inadequate fee structures, or—for example—lack of retirement-system withholding) could simply be glossed over through the declaration of a financial emergency.
“… Given both the lack of information and prior consultation, we consider it entirely unacceptable for the Regents to vote on this amendment at their July meeting….
…[F]or a policy that has the level of prospective consequences that this ‘Emergency Powers’ Act has, the complete lack of analysis and contextualization, coupled with the short timeframe for comment, implies either shoddy vetting and/or lack of concern for substantive comment that many of our committees viewed as simply contemptuous of the Senate.
… “Our viewpoint is that the institution of Emergency Powers on financial grounds is a blunt and draconian tool with dictatorial overtones.
—Quentin Williams, Chair, UC Santa Cruz Academic Senate, May 22, 2009

“…[T]his is wide open invitation to unchecked presidential power of declaration, implementation and sanctions with no institutional safeguards for long established principles of academic freedom, federal and regential mandates for affirmative action, and many other procedural safeguards for the hiring, promotion and retention of faculty, the establishment and disestablishment of departments and programs, and binding legal agreements with unions affecting tens of thousands of university employees.”
—Francis Lu, Chair, University Committee on Affirmative Action and Diversity (UCAAD), May 22, 2009

“The Academic Council cannot overstate the grave situation that confronts the University. The cumulative effects of decades of diminishing state support, combined with the current budget crisis, has brought us to a critical turning point in the evolution of the University of California…. [F]urloughs and salary cuts should not be considered by the Regents in isolation from other budget cutting measures and revenue enhancements such as halting capital projects; increased non-resident student enrollment borrowing; property and asset sales, administrative efficiencies; streamlining administrative positions and salaries; and strategic program cuts…. [W]e must restore employees’ total remuneration in the face of market lags, salary cuts, increasing health care costs, and the restart of employee contributions to UCRP.”
— Mary Croughan, Chair, Academic Council, July 8, 2009

“There is substantial risk that state funding levels may not be restored; the University now faces significantly greater structural deficits in its operation. A multi-year steep reduction to salaries that already lag the market, however, will be devastating to faculty morale, particular those in early or mid-career…. We urge President Yudof to make clear to the people of California that a 20% cut in state support will damage, perhaps irrevocably, the University’s mission of teaching, research, and building the state’s economy. We are deeply concerned that the Administration offers no concrete plan for revenue enhancement in concert with proposed reductions.”
— Mary Firestone, Chair, and Christopher Kutz, Vice Chair, Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate, July 6, 2009

“The combination of an 8% reduction in compensation, the expected increase in the cost of health care benefits, and the expected rapid escalation in contributions to the retirement system will simply be too much for many of our faculty and staff to bear. The fact is that the University must quickly find a way to cushion these blows. If not, the quality of the entire University, no less its basic ability to function is at dire risk.”
—Michael S. Goldstein, Chair, UCLA Academic Senate, July 6, 2009

“Salary cuts, by definition, involve the employees returning their earned dollars to the system. It is vital that the accounting process for this money be transparent and include how the cuts were made, how much money was generated, and how the money was used to meet the savings goals of the campus and the system at large. This accounting should also include a description of how the percentages that are used to make the cuts were derived….”
—Mary Gauvain, Chair, UC Riverside Planning and Budget Committee, June 23, 2009

“In particular, we are concerned that younger faculty will be offered positions in other institutions and UC will lose some of the more recent hires who are expected to lead UC into the future. Although the hiring of faculty has slowed down everywhere, it will likely take UC (and the State) longer to recover and be in a position to rebuild it stellar faculty. The loss of faculty talent is potentially very significant for UC’s stature as a first tier research institution and must be considered very seriously as this plan evolves.”
—Joel Michaelsen, Chair, UC Santa Barbara Academic Senate, June 29, 2009

“I would be remiss if I did not mention that there is wide-spread skepticism about ‘input’ to the current process, since whatever proposal does emerge from OP will be placed in front of the Regents 9 days hence; as will a revised set of amendments to SOR 100.4, in spite of the enormously critical Senate response to the initial draft of this revision to the Standing Orders. With such little opportunity for vetting and analysis of the final proposal, the algorithm that ultimately emerges will inevitably be viewed by many as unworthy of a system that has prided itself on something called ‘shared governance.’
—Quentin Williams, Chair, UC Santa Cruz Academic Senate, July 6, 2009.

“On the one hand, the cuts are forcing the University more toward a state university model where faculty are asked to teach more for less. On the other hand, the need to generate revenue has UC looking toward the private school system, where more out-of-state students would be accepted and higher fees would be charged. The danger seen is that the quality of a UC education will erode, and best faculty members will leave, thus making it harder to justify higher fees because the University will no longer be providing the same, high level of education….
“A few months ago, President Yudof stressed the importance of making targeted, strategic budget reductions that would preserve and enhance the quality of the research and educational missions of UC. As the budget crisis has worsened, we had an expectation that the Office of the President would produce a thoughtful, forward-looking, and detailed plan to achieve budget reductions. Instead, we have been asked to choose between three overly simplistic, across-the-board, naively conceived budget plans that will do more harm than good and which will ultimately threaten to undermine the underlying essence of quality in education, research, and service that we all try to achieve at UC San Diego and indeed, throughout the system.”
—Daniel J. Donoghue, Chair, UC San Diego Academic Senate, July 7, 2009

“Unfortunately, we have been given no data on the impact of the short- and long-term salary reduction differentials on morale, recruitment, etc., and so cannot evaluate the proposals meaningfully. Further, the limited progressivity of the proposals does not convey the degree of fairness and equitability UCORP feels necessary.”
—James Carey, Chair, University Committee on Research Policy (UCORP), July 6, 2009

“Clearly, UC is faced with a historic, long-term budget problem that requires a response which is similarly long-term—one based on strategic planning that will put UC on a more sustainable path.
“… Academic Council’s Budget Planning Principles state that “Budget decisions should strive above all to protect the quality, affordability, and accessibility of UC’s two core missions—teaching and research—through which the University serves the state of California and the nation.” The Academic Senate has the critical responsibility to maintain the quality of education and research at the UC. The options we have been given place that quality at risk; hence, we cannot support them as a sustained solution to the UC budget problem, even for 1-2 years….
“The Regents must ensure that UC has a sound long-term fiscal plan to restore competitive total remuneration for all employee groups. Waiting for the State’s financial situation to improve before UC creates such a strategic plan is no longer an option. It is safe to assume that the academic job market will rebound long before California’s budget woes are sorted out, and the inevitable result threatens to inflict irreparable damage to the quality and reputation of the UC. We are already hearing indications of an increase in the number of UC faculty who are being recruited by competing institutions….
“Therefore we call on the President and the Regents to exert their leadership at this critical time by working with the Senate to develop a comprehensive plan that balances the budget in the short term, ensures that UC is on a sound fiscal basis in the long term, and restores competitive total remuneration for all employee groups.”
— Patricia Conrad, UC Planning and Budget Committee, July 2, 2009

“…[W]e profoundly regret that in the recent correspondence from the President on the implementation of budget cuts the Senate has not been addressed according to the singular situation that Senate faculty hold relating to our particular and special position in the system, as scholars, teachers, and tenured and tenure track employees of the University. These are: 1) Shared Governance rights and duties regarding authority of the Senate over the curriculum and instruction of undergraduate and graduate students; 2) the rights and privileges of individual faculty as guaranteed by the APM and the campus CAPMs.
“In regard to the curriculum and instruction of graduate and undergraduate students there has been no serious analysis or proposal put forward by UCOP of how a reduction in salary and positions (of staff and TAS) will affect curriculums and classes at UC system-wide and on specific campuses… It is not difficult to foresee that instructional and curricular crises will result as a consequence of lack of planning and foresight in this current budget situation….
“We would like to add the following points here: A strong recommendation that UC administrators set a salutary example within the University and for the State by taking a larger pay cut than either faculty or staff and that, if furloughs are implemented, that they be required to take furloughs to the largest extent required for the faculty, whether on a 9-month or 12-month salary.”
—UC Privileges and Tenure Committee, July 2, 2009.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Letter From UCSD Doctoral Student Praising UC Merced

Letter to the Merced Sun-Star

I am a lecturer teaching at UC Merced who will complete the Doctorate of Philosophy in literature this fall. My graduate work was completed at UCSD where I studied for 8 years, where I am still affiliated, where I earned my Master’s and C. Phil degrees, and where I taught summer session last year. I remain involved with the literature department at UCSD, which probably accounts for my visceral response to Professor Scull’s letter. I chose to accept the offer to teach at UC Merced as the central valley is where I grew up and was the best of possible options for me; as First Lady Michelle Obama pointed out in her landmark graduation speech, the best use of a UC education is to stay local and utilize the myriad benefits to the community afforded by a UC education. The claims and contentions put forth by Professor Scull et al must not go unanswered, notwithstanding the fact that his proposals will most certainly not be enacted. The hubris in Scull’s tone, to say nothing of his conclusions is outrageous. Scull laments that recent cuts “deprive the excellent along with the less so.” Scull uses the term “excellence” throughout his proposal, which strikingly proves the argument in Bill Reading’s The University in Ruins wherein Reading logically designates the term as “empty,” or vacuous, and states that the university has come “"to understand itself solely in terms of the structure of corporate administration," and so it seems in the minds of Scull and his cohorts. It is well known that much of UCSDs “excellence” by Scull’s definition is derived from the multi-million dollar contracts it has historically won from government and corporate entities. As noted scholar David Harvey states, “difficulties attach to applying corporate logic when the "product" is something as undefined as "an educated student" and when there's a modicum of significance to the distinctions between getting an education and getting a qualification, between thinking and mere information processing, between producing knowledge and consuming it. Higher education for what and for whom?” For whom indeed? Scull suggests that the “pretence” be dropped that “all campuses are equal.” I would be very interested to know his definition of equal, though apparently “equal” in his optic is predicated on “excellence” as government and corporate funding. Indeed, and tellingly, he evidences his argument by likening the current university crisis to the solutions arrived at by automobile corporations. I find it particularly odd that Scull would make such determinations regarding equality and excellence as a Distinguished Professor of Sociology, given his web site message that sociology is “The study of the organization, culture, and development of collectivities… This includes the causes and consequences of collective action by groups, movements, and organizations.” UC Merced is nothing if not an exciting, dynamic, albeit embryonic, example of the consequences of organizational action. Scull has done a great disservice to the students of UC Merced by designating their campus as “less equal.” Apparently he has not done his homework. For instance in the last year UC Merced students of the National Society of Black Engineers took first place at the Conference of Black Engineers held in Redmond, Washington – incidentally besting teams from Stanford, USC and Cal Poly. Also, a team of UC Merced engineering students won Austria’s International Robotics Rescue Simulation competition which develops technology for disaster rescue, and included teams from Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Iran, China, and Austria. How dare Scull and his signatories deem this campus “less than equal?” Having taught both campuses, I beg to differ. I have had the privilege here of teaching students who show brilliant promise in each of my classes. Not one of them have told me they are attending the university “because my parents want me to” as I heard repeatedly at UCSD, but many have voiced their desire to contribute in the fields of science, engineering, politics, and yes, the humanities. Some specifically chose UC Merced with the foresight to see that they would receive a more individual educational experience and have the opportunity to emerge as leaders in such a new school They include brilliant students who might otherwise have not had the opportunity to attend a UC, not because they didn’t “measure up” but because many of their parents could not afford to finance living expenses in such locales as La Jolla, and who work incredibly hard in their studies and outside jobs to foot the bill. Given the discrepancy in parent economic status between UCSD and UC Merced, one can’t help but wonder if the attendance demographics figure into Scull’s thinking; after all, UC Riverside has an enrollment of 25.3% Chicano/Hispanic students to 19.3%, “white” while UC Merced, while not posting ethnic breakdowns, would appear to be at least 40%. Many UC Merced students hail from the central valley, are first generation scholars and they will and have, despite Scull’s cursory dismissal of their “equality,” excel. While UC Merced contracts may not approach the income generation afforded a school that is 45 years established and strategically placed in a part of the state that thrives on the military and industry, UC Merced graduates will contribute greatly to society, not in the least to the underserved central valley, a society that Professor Scull so easily dismisses using corporate standards as judgment.

Monday, July 20, 2009

CUCFA President Bob Meister's Statements to UC Regents, July 15

You can’t declare a financial emergency today without violating your own rules. Adopting J1 [the power to declare a financial emergency] violates the 30 day notice requirement for amending By-laws (By-law 130). And you can’t adopt J2 [the declaration of emergency itself] without following the stepwise procedure required by J1, which can’t begin until J1 is adopted. Procedural objections were first raised by the Academic Council’s letter (of July 8); we hired a lawyer to find out how bad they are, and now you know.

Your present situation is less like an “emergency” than like GM’s first step toward bankruptcy—a long-term insolvency with no long-term plan to get out Even if you declare an “emergency,”,you can’t simply renew it. You have to decide what business you’re in and then put all your other assets on the line to support that business.

You have no choice about what business to be in: UC is a public trust created for the purpose of public higher education. So, you can’t just say that that there’s no plan to fund UC’s educational mission, and then use your “emergency” power to protect UC’s “genuinely entrepreneurial” activities from being a source of funding for public higher education. [NB UC’s furlough-based approach to pay cuts completely exempts bonuses. In a simple insolvency, bonuses would be on the table before base pay is cut—and should certainly be cut before base pay is cut again.]

Before declaring this emergency, please think hard about the legal and political consequences of renewing it. [E.g., increased supervision of all UC’s assets and activities, and the use or reversal of UC privatization to support its public mission.] Fortunately, you don’t have to think that hard today. Your own rules prevent you from doing anything until next time.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Compact, Fees Up; No Compact, Fees Up Even More

UCSC Professor Bob Meister and I were on UCPB for most of the 2000s, and have been remembering the battles we had with UCOP trying to persuade them that the Compact was bad financial math for UC. Bob had a darker take, though, and here he summarizes his many arguments with then-Budget Director Larry Hershman:
UC has certainly suffered insofar as the Regents relied on the Compact with Schwarzenegger, but they were NOT innocent victims, as Blum suggests. Schwarzenegger had a budget director who believed that the state should not "subsidize" the large number of UC students who could afford to pay much more [buy using state General Funds to keep fees low]. So Schwarzenegger offered to let UC keep it tuition increases (without imposing offsetting cuts in state funding) if UC promised to become increasingly tuition-dependant in the future. That was the real deal--a green light for Michiganization. Dynes leapt at the opportunity, and the Regents (Blum included?) went along.

This was the moment when the Regents (most?) finally signed on to the "net tuition" concept--i.e., that the real cost of UC is not the total fee, but what the median student pays net of financial aid. The compact was ESSENTIALLY an agreement between UC and the Governor to raise net tuition--otherwise increasing fees would not offset declining state support.

So the real fiscal model was to replace state financing with personal DEBT financing--parental mortgages and student loans. (The full amount of UC's planned reliance on private debt would be increased: net tuition multiplied by total enrollment.) Events have obviously derailed the Regents' plan for an increasingly debt-financed UC (to which several of us objected at the time). It remains true that Schwarzenegger's failure to fund enrollment growth has made things worse.
It was clear to Bob and I - and to other Senate members - that the Compact was a recipe for raising fees 10% every year. But under the Compact, there would also be mediocre and inadequate but nonetheless some kind of General Fund stabilization and minor growth. GF would be kept just a bit above inflation and below real cost increases. Operations were always squeezed and fees always went up, faster during cut cycles, so that cost would be shifted from the public to the private user. This was not a political decision or popular desire, but an effect of budgetary engineering that originated in Arnold Schwarzenegger's Department of Finance and his appointed director, Donna Arduin.

Public cuts could mathematically be offset with high fees, but these were undesirable and politically unpopular. What we got instead were fee increases of 2 to three times the rate of inflation every year, coupled with general fund increases that didn't cover increased costs. There was the appearance of normalcy but no improvement, especially given constant (and often unfunded) enrollment growth. Ambitious leaders of smaller units who could do the math raised fees enormously: Berkeley Law's fees rounded $30,000 a couple of years ago and are heading for $40,000.

Were UC to keep its current financial structure and maintain quality by charging adequate fees, and use fees to make up the whole shortfall (no furloughs, etc.), fees would go next year to $14,500. Charles Reed has already announced a similar program at CSU - meaning that the Governor's 20% one-year cuts mean CSU fees will climb in one year by 30%.

My ideal: UC Regents find their nerve and announce true fees - $14,500. They accompany this with announced upgrades in the undergraduate programs. Students, parents, and the public balk when they finally see a real number of what a Michigan-style semi-privatized but high-quality university actually costs. They get upset and fly into action which causes media coverage and turns the downgrading of UC into a statewide story. This persuades legislators to restore public funds. This in turn stimulates a discussion of how public cuts raise private costs, and that public services are a more efficient way than for-payment contracts for delivering common goods like an educated public.

UCOP says this will never work but it has yet to be tried.

The state

I'll try not to get carried away. In the meantime, think $14,500 - and how to avoid it with something besides crappifying UC.


Le déclin démographique entrave l'essor de la Russie

Le Monde: Article paru dans l'édition du 16.07.09

Liée à l'alcoolisme et aux mauvaises conditions de vie et de santé, la surmortalité masculine atteint des sommets

Faire de la Russie le pays « le plus attrayant du monde en termes de qualité de vie n'est ni absurde ni fabuleux », expliquait récemment le vice-premier ministre Igor Chouvalov. Certes. Mais engagée, ces huit dernières années, sur la voie de la prospérité, hantée par la restauration de sa puissance sur la scène internationale, la Fédération russe doit pour cela relever un défi majeur : sa démographie déclinante.

Dans la plupart des pays industrialisés, la mortalité baisse et l'espérance de vie augmente. Pas en Russie. La natalité, comme dans de nombreux pays d'Europe, est faible (1,4 enfant par femme en 2007, 1,2 en 2006), mais la mortalité est particulièrement élevée, surtout chez les hommes.

« Un homme sur trois meurt entre 20 et 60 ans. Si nous ne venons pas à bout de ce problème, la population va décroître encore plus vite », explique Anatoli Vychnevski. A la tête de l'institut de démographie de Moscou, ce chercheur vient de signer une étude intitulée « Les enjeux de la crise démographique en Russie » qui a été publiée, en juin, par l'Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI). Les hommes russes ont aujourd'hui une espérance de vie de 61,4 ans (73 ans pour les femmes) alors qu'elle était de 63,8 ans dans les années 1960 (75 ans dans les pays développés).

Cette surmortalité masculine s'explique par la situation socio-économique défavorable. Mais les mauvaises habitudes - alcoolisme, tabagisme, alimentation inadaptée - comptent pour beaucoup dans cette dégringolade qui place l'espérance de vie des hommes russes en deçà d'un pays pauvre comme le Bangladesh.

Par ailleurs, les moyens alloués à la protection de la santé sont insuffisants. En 2007, la Russie y a consacré 4,2 % de son produit intérieur brut contre 8 à 10 % en moyenne dans les pays occidentaux. Il en découle un solde négatif et une baisse durable de la population, passée de 148,9 millions d'habitants au début de 1993, à 141,9 millions en avril 2009, selon le comité d'Etat aux statistiques (Rosstat).

Contrairement à une idée reçue, cette crise démographique n'a pas débuté avec la difficile transition économique et politique des années 1990. « Le pays ne participe plus à la baisse générale de la mortalité depuis plus de quarante ans », souligne l'étude. D'autres facteurs négatifs - vieillissement, modification de la répartition par tranches d'âges - vouent la démographie russe à un déclin durable. Cette perspective contredit l'ambition affichée par le Kremlin de hisser la Russie au rang des premières puissances économiques mondiales.

Conscientes du problème - « le plus grave du pays », avait déclaré Vladimir Poutine en mai 2006 -, les autorités ont tenté d'encourager les femmes russes à procréer. Les allocations familiales ont doublé, une « prime de maternité » de 325 000 roubles (environ 7 386 euros) est proposée à la naissance du deuxième enfant.

Cette politique a payé. Au premier trimestre, la natalité a augmenté de 4 % par rapport à la même période en 2008. « Malheureusement, cette croissance est temporaire, le «calendrier» des naissances change, mais l'essentiel, la fécondité des femmes, n'augmente pas. Et les générations de femmes elles-mêmes sont numériquement faibles », indique Anatoli Vychnevski.

Pour le chercheur, il est impossible « à court et à moyen termes d'inverser les tendances ». Seule une « politique réaliste » pourra changer la donne. Le recours à l'immigration pourrait compenser le décroissement naturel.

Mais l'hostilité tenace de la population à l'égard des migrants et l'absence de consensus sur ce sujet font obstacle. « Dans les consciences populaires domine l'idée simpliste que la démographie est facile à redresser. Plusieurs politiques encouragent cette vision », déplore Anatoli Vychnevski.

Dans sa « conception de la politique démographique », élaborée en 2007, le gouvernement prévoit une espérance de vie de 75 ans « pour les deux sexes ». Une perspective qui semble utopiste comparée au scénario médian dessiné par Rosstat en 2008. La Russie va perdre en dix-sept ans (de 2008 à 2025) 11 millions de personnes. Les prévisions de l'agence gouvernementale des statistiques font froid dans le dos : 463 000 en 2010 ; 600 000 en 2017 ; 800 000 en 2025.

Marie Jégo

Saturday, July 18, 2009

George Lakoff Post-Regents Letter to Endorsers


To: All those who endorsed my letter to the Regents:

From: George Lakoff

Date: July 17, 2009

More than a thousand of you responded to my letter to the Regents. I wish I could thank you each personally. I have never experienced anything like the warm flood of support from you all. The endorsements came in much faster than I could transfer them to the letter, and some are still coming, even well after the Regents meeting. I will make sure that all endorsements are posted soon on Chris Newfield’s blog "Remaking the University."

That flood of support alone was an important consequence of the letter. It means that we can actually organize over a thousand UC faculty, and we will need to do so. But what the support was for is vital.
a. It was support for maintaining the quality and the research and educational integrity of UC, as opposed to merely opposing salary cuts and furloughs. This is crucial because Yudof is trying to represent opposition as a matter of self-interest alone by faculty.

b. The support was for using all UC resources, including “entrepreneurial” resources to maintain UC’s primary educational mission. That would include money from athletics, corporate sponsorship, hospital profits, new buildings, and so on.

c. The support was for real teaching and against a “new educational delivery system,” which means an online university, an end to real teaching, and a University of Phoenix approach. There will be a “commission on reinventing the university,” presumably chosen from among the Regents and campus administrators. The faculty must insist on changing the constitution of that commission so that they are truly represented.

d. The support was for activism by the regents, alumni, and students against the current minority rule by Republicans in the legislature. The current 2/3 requirement to pass legislation for budget and revenue allows 1/3 plus 1 of the conservative Republican minority to block legislation unless they approve. Such minority rule is bankrupting the state, as well as the university.
In short, you took the high ground, as you should. You were backed up by Lt. Governor John Garamendi, who challenged his fellow regents and the alumni to support Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico’s bill to raise money for higher education by taxing oil extraction, that is, charging for our oil instead of giving it away for free. All proceeds would go the higher education—UC, CSU, and the community colleges.

We need to keep taking the high ground and we need to organize all of you who wrote to me, and others as well. Here is what we must avoid:

We must avoid looking weak or fragmented. Yudof is trying to portray us as a small bunch of spoiled extremists complaining that our salaries were cut and that we have to go on furlough. He wants us to make the cuts and the furlough the issue. Then it will look like we are just being self-serving. And Yudof will rest his case. The press will simply follow suit.

That has already been happening. Fox radio called me to talk about the furloughs and the cuts. I rejected their framing, pointing out that the real issue is the long-term quality of the faculty and whether our great university will be destroyed.

Some faculty are talking of strikes and coordinated furloughs and cancelling classes for teach-ins. If such attempts fizzle, that is, if they draw only marginal support, it will only strengthen Yudof’s position that the faculty supports him. We must be absolutely assured of overwhelming active participation before we call publicly for any such action.

Then there is what we positively need to do:
  • • We must, following Garamendi, support Assemblyman Torrico’s bill that supports higher education by charging oil companies for our oil that they extract and sell. Right now, we give our oil to oil companies for free.
  • • We must shift the “entrepreneurial” frame. University entrepreneurs can get their funding because they are using the academic reputation of UC, the University of California brand established by our faculty and graduates. Entrepreneurs should be paying a significant royalty to the academic mission of UC for using the brand we established. This is exactly the opposite of what Yudof has proposed.
  • • We must get ahead on the Yudof “commission on reinventing the university.” Perhaps we should set up our own commission. Or make sure that active faculty, especially in letters and science, not just regents and administrators, and not just people from professional schools, make up the bulk of the commission. And we need to make sure that certain proposals put forth so far, like canceling departments to get rid of tenured faculty, have no support.
  • • We must organize, organize, organize. Both in support of higher education and against the tyranny of the minority. Not just faculty, but students, their parents, and alumni. They must be organized to do very specific things, not just once, but by regularly writing to their legislators, writing letters to the editor, speaking out in their communities.

We are at two tipping points. The life or death of our great university, and the life or death of a functioning state government.

We have never faced anything like this before.

We need to gain active support, from each other, and from those who care about our university and our state. We can take courage from the more than 1,000 responses to my letter. The names have been listed publicly. None of us is alone.

I wish that this were simply a disagreement about how to best proceed. But today President Yudof went on the radio (KQED’s forum) and told three lies. First, that only a handful of faculty disapproved and that just a few malcontents were sounding off. I had personally delivered 1,000 faculty endorsements of my letter to him at the meeting. He knew he was lying. Second, he said that “the elected representatives” of the faculty all supported his position. But all the faculty senates opposed his position. He knew he was lying. Third, he said that the alumni had already been sent a letter asking them to be active in supporting the university with legislators and others throughout the state. That letter has not been sent out, and though it is scheduled, it is not clear that a final version has even been drafted.

There was no rational reason for our president to lie. He could have admitted that the faculty overwhelmingly disagreed with his course, and then given his reasons for making his decision. Lying will come back to haunt him. When he lies, it creates unnecessary antipathy within university ranks. We need an administration that works with us, not against us. I call on President Yudof to publicly correct those statements. He needs to establish trust. Leadership requires trust.

Many of us are angry. Anger won’t help. We have a university to save — and to serve.

Thank you again,
George Lakoff


Contin: Budget Town Hall at UC Irvine - A Report

hi all, we just had a town hall meeting with chancellor drake, and i had a few thoughts/ideas that i wanted to share to see how we could proceed.

1. it was striking that all the groups that had unions, or in his words "representation," are not having the furloughs/cuts hit them until the admin negotiates with their reps. it seems like a good time to think about faculty unionizing so that the next round of cuts can't be imposed on us but rather must be negotiated. at least then we could demand a quid pro quo for any cuts, like free tuition for children or something. clearly our senior administrators are not able to protect the interests of rank and file faculty appropriately. any thoughts on this issue as i have not followed the faculty unionization issue/saga in the past.

2. i was able to ask the last question and i asked drake 2 things:. 1) why have the chancellors only yesterday at the regents made a strong public declaration of what this will cost us. why no full page ads in the major CA papers, opeds by senior administrators, etc. drake agreed that a lot more work needs to be done to take the case more aggressively to the people of california and admitted that this kind of advocacy was something that needs to be done, by faculty as well as senior admin. 2) what are we supposed to do as faculty with furlough days. if we don't do them on teaching days then neither students, parents, the public will even notice them. i specifically mentioned that there is discussion among many faculty about collectively not teaching x number of days/classes and letting the students know why etc, to make the ramifications of the furloughs as publicly experienced as possible.

3. in speaking with about half a dozen colleagues from different departments here, there seemed to be general support for doing something collective where we could make a statement. but i think for it to work it would have to be done not merely school wide, or even campus wide, but uc/csu/cc wide, and very publicly. one senior colleague, however, warned that there might be a boomerang effect with parents who already think we're just privileged knowledge workers who should suffer like everyone else, etc. and so be potentially counterproductive. but i think if we frame and explain our actions fully that won't happen and perhaps we could get support of parents but sharing with students the realities of what's going on.

4. based on my discussions i would like to throw out an idea to start a discussion of how we as faculty could respond to this situation at all uc/csu/cc campuses. the idea would include

- begin serious discussions about unionizing faculty in campuses/sysetms where they are not, so that we can better and more aggressively represent and protect ourselves when the next round of cuts happen.

- agree to go to our colleagues, first within our own departments and then schools, campuses, etc., with a plan to take our furlough days during week 10 of each quarter (perhaps week 14 on those campuses that are on the semester system). some of us might have 2-5 days per quarter/semester depending on our salaries, but if we all use them during the last week of class and specifically on teaching days, it will have the most impact. as one of my colleagues imagined it, we would show up for class on that week and explain to students that while the subjects to be taught that class/week are very important for the course and their larger education, because of the cuts and furloughs we cannot teach them what remains on the syllabus nor offer them support in their reading/work on it. and then we can use that class time to discuss issues related to the budget, the future of the university, how to more effectively motivate students and profs and staff together to challenge what's happening. perhaps organize sit-ins or teach ins at our chancellor's offices, or go to sacramento or go volunteer in public schools, or whatever. anything but business as usual.

- reach out to staff and student groups on our campuses and try to develop a coordinated response across the board. perhaps staff should also not work on week 10 where possible (obviously not including health centers and places that provide vital care functions) and students could 'strike' on them as well.

any thoughts?

finally, i am still not finding in one easily accessible place all the relevant data about issues such as

1. how much would it cost to fund all three systems at healthy levels?

2. what would this cost the average CA tax payer?

3. what is the negative impact of the budget cuts on the larger CA economy. what do bigger class sizes, less loans, less profs, closed programs, etc. cost the california economy--ie, is the cutting of x hundreds of millions of dollars actually costing CA more than that in lost productivity, taxes from college grads working better jobs (assuming there are jobs, of course), etc

i know in my own discussions with friends outside of the university, they still have no real grasp of what's happening and that the implications are for them and their families. without having an accessible argument to make with comprehensible data that impacts them, it will be very hard to get support from a public that is already suffering with its own immediate problems.

For some good data on educational decline and higher ed budgets, see "California at the Edge of a Cliff" (Part III for budgets).

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Peril of the UC Budget Crisis: Death of a Community

By Gregory Levine
Associate Professor - History of Art
UC Berkeley

Educational lingo now includes the term “learning communities;” both learning and community are in grave danger in California. The UC Regents vote on July 16, 2009 to approve President Yudof’s emergency powers and furlough/salary reduction plan (Lt. Gov. Garamendi opposing) — in possible violation of UC bylaws and in a format of near suppression of public comment— makes a mockery of the core educational mission of the University, the charter principal of shared governance, and the conception of a University as a learning community rather than a meritocracy, economic engine, or market-driven or dependent corporation.

Yudof has spun the notion that protest is coming from only a “few loud voices” (Forum, KQED, July 17, 2009), but this characterization rings hollow given the vociferous and carefully articulated protests from UC’s Chancellors, UC members of the National Academies of Science and Engineering and Institute of Medicine, UC Faculty Associations, and countless others (signatories of many letters run in the thousands). To dismiss their concerns is to abrogate the social and moral contract of the University as a unique place of discussion and exchange.

Yudof exclaims that it “hurts a lot” (California Report, KQED, July 17) to see what is happening to UC. But the “shared pain” Yudoff refers to repeatedly will not be shared fairly, as is indicated by analysis of the furlough/salary cuts by Jeffrey Bergamini (July 16, 2009) Yudof’s additional graduation of salary reductions beyond his initial proposal may sound progressive, but it fails to recognize that many low and middle-wage employees will be pushed toward a financial tipping point., not merely cutting their “discretionary funds.” Many are arguing that it doesn’t have to be this way.

Numbers aside, however, those of us who send our children to UC or who work at UC are being asked to comply with a profoundly warped and de-humanizing understanding of a university community. The community Yudof and the Regents appear to understand best is one that is conceptualized principally in terms of administration and development: managing, governing, fund-raising, building, and so forth. That is their job, one might say, but the differential between their specific culture of policy-making and institution building at this time of crisis and what will now happen in the classroom, lab, department, and research center is widening to the point of deep, perhaps irreparable alienation. Yudof and Regent’s Chair Gould fail to recognize that the language (of matching private sector salaries, restricted funds, and so forth) they speak is nearly un-translatable to the realities of teaching and learning, unless one is making an object lesson of UC’s crisis. To lay blame solely upon the state legislature, even if there is a long history of the betrayal of education, is to over-simplify UC’s complex fiscal organization and the acute bifurcation of privatized enterprise in the university and its lucrative revenue streams from the grossly under-supported core mission of teaching. To explain that all possible funds that might reduce or eliminate furloughs, staff cuts, library closures are restricted, as Yudof and Gould recently did (SF Chronicle, July 14), is to reveal an astounding lack of leadership in developing and managing funds that would enable UC to protect the welfare of its employees and its educational mission in a fiscal crisis or any other crisis.

Why have there been no programs announced alongside the furloughs to protect the financially most vulnerable employees? That Yudof and the Regents have not, to my knowledge, proposed no-interest loans from discretionary funds to assist those unable to make rent or mortgage payments, keep a child in daycare, or care for an ailing family member, etc.— is an appalling failure in human terms or at least a public-relationships blunder. Perhaps they are simply passing such creative thinking to the Chancellors, but if so this is a community whose highest level of leadership sees fit to hurt its own before demonstrating with the utmost clarity and deliberate discussion that all other options for meeting the deficit and softening its impact have been examined (including open scrutiny of UC’s athletic programs, for instance).

In protesting the vote of Yudof and the Regents, I, like many members of the UC community, do not fight to protect exceptional compensation packages or soft-money perks and bonuses; the majority of faculty and staff do not receive such bounty. Many of us are struggling to make ends meet while maintaining our loyalty to our institutions and those we work and study with and teach. We are firstly residents of California fighting for education as the most important renewable resource we have. We fight for the availability of education for California’s diverse population (diverse in race, ethnicity, socio-economic level, religion, age, gender, and political viewpoint). We fight for excellence in teaching and the creation of new knowledge that can benefit us all. We challenge Yudof and the Regents to protect and empower the University community.

In 1949-1951, my grandfather, Carl Epling, Professor of Botany at UCLA and Vice Chairman of the UC Academic Senate, helped lead protest against the Special Test Oath (Loyalty Oath), in which faculty of UC campuses were ordered to deny membership in the Communist Party and any organization advocating overthrow of the government of the United States. The Loyalty Oath Controversy was a critical moment in UC’s history in which faculty defended their rights under the First Amendment and challenged the pernicious intrusion of morally bankrupt state and national politics into the core educational mission of the University. We are not being asked to sign a Special Test Oath, but we may have entered an equally dark moment of the misguided exercise of power and its painful impact upon individual lives. We comply with the rationale and rhetoric of emergency powers and “shared pain” to our great peril as individuals, members of the university community, and residents of California.

Gregory Levine
Associate Professor
UC Berkeley

The Math on University of California's Theoretically Required Fee Hikes

We ran fee numbers in the Cuts Report, page 16, which gives the background for the summary below.

We calculated that every $2500 fee increase nets something under $300 million. For UC to make up over $800 million in cuts with fees alone (2008-2010), they would need to raise fees about $7250. Folding in the already-voted 9.3% by using the 2008-09 base fees ($6262 for in-state), plus campus fees (averaging $500 excluding 2 outlier campuses), yielding $6762, we get about $13, 500 in total Ed fees for 2009-10; add in the Reg fee ($900) brings total fees to about $14,400.

Another possible 10% cut in General Funds in 2010-11 would require another $300 million or so, adding $2500, getting UC tuition to around $17,000 in 2010-11.

These dramatic increases would merely sustain flat nominal revenues, meaning they do not cover mandatory cost increases any real program improvements or upgrades, to say nothing of addressing terrible backlogs in deferred maintenance. Keeping up with changes in education and society in general would require larger increases. Actual leadership - which no one is mentioning at all - would cost even more beyond $17,000 in 2010. Educational elites - the top 1% that goes to "Ivy Plus" institutiions - pay twice that in tuition per year, and there is a reason for this: they get hands-on, interactive instruction tailored to their needs. To even get in the game, UC fees would need to be double what they are today. And they would need to increase at four times the rate of inflation that has been the average rate of increase among the privates for decades.

Why I Care Enough To Fight For UC (July 16th 2009)

Nancy Scheper-Hughes

A few colleagues from the Berkey campus who I trust and value suggested that the current crisis was not worth getting riled up about, either because it was already a fait accompli, or because in the larger scheme of things it was tempest in a teapot about elite faculty preserving elite privileges, or because they view UC as a shockingly mean-spirited employer compared to other (mostly private and elite) institutions where they had previously taught and are too alienated to fight back. Their loyalties are to their discipline, their students and their research, but not ‘the university’. There are generational differences and the image of the grand old public university at risk bore little or no resemblance to many new faculty members experiences of Berkeley. Were those mostly older professors who showed up to protest the Yudof plan fighting windmills? What motivates us to put our energies and our bodies on the line? I can only speak for myself. I announced my plans to retire in June 2010 long before this latest crisis in order to make room for the recruitment of younger colleagues (now threatened by a virtual freeze on new faculty hires) and to pursue fulltime my research, writing, and medical human rights work. So why should it matter to me? I care because I believe this to be a noble fight and a consequential one. I want to leave a public university that is as great today as it was in 1969 when I first came here, after a 4 year hiatus in my undergraduate career during which time I went south to Alabama as a civil rights worker and further South to Brazil as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I came to Berkeley via Queens College in NYC because of Berkeley’s illustrious tradition of truly great professors and of free speech. When I registered for the first time in Sproul Hall the little old lady with wire rim glasses behind a banker’s cage, explained to me exactly what I needed to do to became a state resident and so reduce my out of state fees (extremely modest at the time) as quickly as possible. She wrote down a few numbers for me to call, and she warmly welcomed me to UC and said that I had come to right place to study. She was right. This university has shaped my life and I have shaped parts of its life as well. In 1970 I met my husband as part of a small activist contingent that was busy 'occupying' buildings (first Girton Hall, then the basement of a new student dorm) and conducting sit-ins (with our infants and toddlers) in the Chancellor's office to get childcare funded and recognized as a valid UC-sponsored unit. At that time we were running Girton Hall as a parent cooperative. (Michael was an infant-toddler teacher, fresh from Harvard College and full of feminist ideals of male nurturing that was part of the child day care philosophy at the fledgling UC day care program and I was a single Mom). I went on to get my PhD in anthropology at Berkeley (choosing it over Harvard) and then ventured forth for several years, teaching at SMU in Dallas, Texas and at the University of North Carolina before returning to Berkeley in 1982 to develop a new joint PhD program with UCSF in medical anthropology. And except for extended research/ fieldwork abroad and a special leave to teach at the University of Cape Town during the glorious political transition of South Africa, I have taught here and ‘acted up’ here ever since. My recruitment to South Africa by Chancellor Saunders to serve as interim Chair of Social Anthropology (1993-1994) was based on his belief that UCT could learn something from the Berkeley experience and its particular (Bob Laird) model of affirmative action which was internationally admired. I love this university as a public treasure and a public trust. I cannot sit back, despite my own pressing research and writing and teaching commitments, and see this precious gem tarnished and potentially demolished by galloping privatization or attempts to turn UC Berkeley into a mail order, cyber-University as suggested by President Yudof. While this crisis may not be as urgent as global warming, the Middle East situation, ending US occupations abroad, or the continued proliferation of nuclear weapons ( for which I have been arrested several times at the anti-nuclear protests at the Lawrence Livermore Labs) the current proposals are destructive of our unique and historic charter and its bold promise of first class higher education extended to a broad base – though severely damaged by the end of affirmative action - of California residents. I am so proud each time I see our diverse UG students on graduation day and meet their parents and am reminded how much they struggled to get educated here. One of my greatest fears is that all those first generation college educated Cal students will now (due to tuition increases) be replaced by more affluent students whose parents can no longer afford to send their children to the Ivy League colleges that were among our competitors for our state’s brightest students. We have had courageous administrators at crucial times, among them, the late great Chancellor Chang-Lin Tien. Tien stood up to the Regents, though he didn’t prevail. Nor did justice and equity. But Tien, a diminutive man, stood tall and defended, with wisdom and with grace, the greatness of the University of California. This is an urgent public issue.

Is George Orwell’s phantasm “Big Brother” reborn?

Is George Orwell’s phantasm “Big Brother” reborn in the twenty-first century as the Corporate CEO disguised as the “University’s Top Dog?”

In the 1980’s American Corporations were given huge tax breaks as an incentive to fund higher education. However, the goals of the corporate sector have now caused a drastic shift in the mission of Higher Education. What is the result of replacing the power of scholarship with the accumulation of wealth, the development and ability to think critically with ability to fit into a corporate workplace?

Faculty, once the primary body of decision makers, are now like the corporate employee, pressured to align their research and opinions with those of the institution.

The New American Dream seems to define education as being employable within the limits of a constrained economy. “Success,” the ability to fit in and contribute to the environment of a huge corporation rather than pursue an individual idea or vision. This view may seem realistic given unemployment rates, however, is America still the exporter of the original idea? Are we graduating men and women with the critical skills necessary to be able to contribute, to act and to criticize their leaders as franchised citizens in this republic?

I urge the faculty of the CSU and UC public education systems to force the administration or the Governor to open the books, to immediately initiate a State Audit in order to reveal how tuition dollars, corporate investments, private and public funding was allocated in order to suddenly thrust upon the faculty and the people of California a budget deficit of over 800 million dollars. I'm sure most of you understand that this action by the administration has been initiated without DUE PROCESS, the 14th amendment of the US Constitution. There are labor lawyers within your universities that must be contacted in order to review faculty contracts and rights.

Your colleagues across this continent are being targeted and blacklisted for speaking out. This is the result of unorganized protests. Please protect yourselves. Do not allow the upper administration to force measures, as drastic as a pay cut, without knowing your rights! Ultimately, this will give a very strong message to students, that faculty in California are essentially "work for hires" in the public university system.

Sharyn C. Blumenthal

Film maker/Professor

Former Chair of Film and Electronic Arts, CSULB

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Cont: Furlough Plan Analysis Shows Bias Against Low-Wage Workers

Fellow Workers (and others),

I have spent some time over the last two evenings analyzing Mark Yudof's proposal for UC pay cuts/furloughs. What I have found is troubling. The proposal tilts heavily against low wage earners. I think there are obvious better solutions, two of which I propose here.

Graduated Approach Biased Against Low Wage Earners

Although the proposed cuts are "graduated", an unnecessary burden is placed on those with lower salaries. Cutting more from the top makes more sense all around.

1. When your monthly gross salary is around $1,600 (Tier 1), a $70 pay cut is significant. It can force decisions like whether to buy food or pay an electricity bill. As we will see below, UC doesn't really need to take those $70 from you.

2. If, on the other hand, your monthly salary is anywhere from $16,000 to $40,000 (medians in Tiers 6 and 7), what difference would the cut make? Maybe your part time personal chef will have a "furlough" day as well, or you might have to spend your vacation in Athens rather than Paris.

3. The graduations are weak: Those making 10 to 25 times more than the lowest tier only have 2.2 to 2.4 times the pay cuts, proportionally.

Other Solutions are Available

For the sake of this analysis, let's assume that salary cuts (i.e. furloughs) are the appropriate response to this financial problem. One can make a convincing argument against that idea, but for now I will leave that aside.

I have created two alternative proposals, as examples of how the same shortfall could be accommodated with much less effect on people's lives.

Note how easy it would be for the higher salary tiers to absorb most of the cuts proposed for the lower tiers, without much effect on the lives of those with higher tier salaries. An extra $300/mo from a salary of $10,500/mo, or $800/mo from a salary of $37,000/mo, could drastically reduce the effects on lower wage earners. Even those in Tier 4 can be cut less, if those with extravagant salaries will put in a bit more.

In fact, the first three tiers in Yudof's proposal could avoid pay cuts altogether if the upper 4 tiers would accept modestly higher monthly cuts. There is little reason to cut the wages of those with lower salaries.

See For Yourself

You can obtain the spreadsheet I used to make these calculations from the email address below. Feel free to play around with the numbers. You will quickly see that Yudof's proposal masks unfair cuts with a language of fairness.

I welcome your thoughts, but I suggest that action is better. Contact UCOP. Better yet: If you're represented by a union, use it.

Answers to Predictable Questions/Arguments

"But we need to be fair."
  • It takes only a few seconds of thought to realize that the proposed cuts will have a much larger effect on the lives of lower wage earners than on those of higher wage earners. We should not confuse fairness with a numerical/statistical illusion of fairness.

"But we need to stay competitive."

  • As I demonstrate in my proposed alternatives, the extra sacrifice by high wage earners would be almost unnoticeable.
  • I'm sure most of us realize on some level that the myth of the "highly valued executive" is reaching its end in our society's collective consciousness. Let's face it: Highly paid administrative positions don't require rare talent. They would still be highly paid, and there will always be people who want the jobs.
  • As for other very high wage earners, e.g. coaches and certain medical professionals: They would still earn a lot. Just slightly less.
"30 days of furlough is too many."
  • Yudof already proposed 24-26 for the highest tiers. And I submit that temporary salary cuts may be more appropriate than furlough days, especially for high wage earners.

"This is unamerican."

  • Red baiting is so passé.

Data Methods and Caveats
1. I used the Sacramento Bee's data on UC salaries in order to measure the number of employees in each of Yudof's proposed tiers. In order to approximate the number of employees in each of Yudof's tiers, I linearly interpolated the ranges in the Bee's data. (The Bee has totals for those earning <$30K, $30-40K, $40-50K, $50-60K, $60-70K, $70-80K, $80-90K, and >$100K. I hand-counted the number of people in the $100-240K and >$240K tiers. See spreadsheet for details.)
2. Estimates of savings and salaries were made using the median of the low and high ends of each salary tier. This assumes a normal distribution of salaries within the range, which may (for example) slightly underestimate the actual savings from Tier 1 cuts. It may also underestimate savings from higher tier cuts as well. But on the whole the numbers are meaningful, especially given how little Yudof's Tier 1&2 salaries affect the budget in general.
3. I chose an upper limit of $750K for the highest tier somewhat arbitrarily. Some people earn more than that, but not too many. The goal was to make the median of the highest tier more representative.
4. The estimates mentioned most certainly introduce some element of error into the calculations; however, the foundation of the analysis is strong, and any errors introduced are unlikely to be significant.
Jeffrey Bergamini
Programmer/SysAdmin, Hart Interdisciplinary Programs, UC Davis / 530-752-9332

UC San Diego Chancellor to Regents July 15 2009

Marye Anne Fox Comments to UC Regents
(July 2009)
Impact of the Budget Crisis on UC San Diego
Focus on Loss of Key Faculty and Staff

UC San Diego, like our sister campuses, is struggling with the impact of the steady reductions in our budget. We have laid off 200, and have eliminated or frozen about 800 staff positions. We have halted the hiring of all faculty, freezing 100 positions. This freeze on the hiring of ladder-rank faculty will worsen our undergraduate student-to-faculty ration from approximately 20:1 a few years ago to nearly 40:1.

We do not plan to recruit faculty in the 2009-2010 academic year, despite the exodus of faculty to retirement. Our emphasis will be on faculty retention.

We, too, are cutting in every possible area while trying to maintain the excellence of a UC education. But rather than focus on areas for reduction, my message today is about the “brain drain” of talent from UC. Our best and brightest are leaving the Golden State. Some examples of alarming losses of our star faculty and staff:

Professor V. Ramanathan, preeminent climate researcher and Victor Alderson Professor of Applied Ocean Sciences at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, is in the final stages of negotiating an appointment as the Science Director of the new Climate Institute in Potsdam, Germany. Indeed, it has been announced in the German press, we think as a preemptive move. We’re negotiating with “Ram” in the hope that we might split his time at UC San Diego, but the nearly 10% salary reduction comes at a key point in the discussions with Professor Ramanathan.

Rich Liekweg, CEO of the UCSD Medical Center, is leaving for Barnes-Jewish Hospital in Missouri. Under Rich’s leadership, the UCSD Medical Center moved into the black.

Edward Yu, professor of electrical and computer engineering, is moving his lab to the University of Texas at Austin. Professor Yu was named to a $2.5M endowed chair, income from which will support his salary and research group.

John Carethers, professor of medicine and role model for African-American students, is leaving for the University of Michigan. A long-standing member of our faculty and active in diversity activities, Dr. Carethers’s departure is a loss to our cancer research program.

Charles Zuker, professor of Biology, is leaving for Columbia University, where he will be provided research support from a $20M endowment.

The most important determinant of the quality of the University of California is the quality of its people. In order to retain the best and brightest, the Chancellors will need the authority and flexibility to restructure their campuses and to provide competitive compensation. Institutions outside California and in other countries are targeting UC campuses to lure away top faculty and staff. While there may be little the Regents can do to reduce the magnitude of the budget cuts, the Regents can ensure that the Chancellors have the flexibility that’s vital to manage their campuses in these trying times.

Testimony of the Ten Chancellors: Transcripts

San Diego (original page)
Santa Cruz

Cont: Chancellors to Regents - Crisis on the Campuses

My paraphrase. The Chancellors also vowed to do everything they could to protect their campuses. But it was terrible, sad testimony. Regent Blum called these campus reports “devastating.” It seemed from the remarks of some Regents that it was mostly news to them.

The chancellors spoke in 2 groups. First came the 5 with medical centers, and then the 5 without. Their remarks show that the medical centers are a huge financial problem that we need to understand much more clearly. How are they really affecting the UC campuses – both the ones they are attached to and the rest?

I have one other preliminary comment: the proverbial “knowledge economy” is not a set of departments and programs and extramural research. It is a social process that creates innovation out of insubstantial and continuous interactions among all sorts of people on campus and off. This innovation process is undermined by the undermining of CSU and UC, since it depends on network effects, social fabrics, unique regional infrastructures, local concentrations, and perhaps most importantly informal knowledge or “know-how.” Much of that comes from the classroom. A lot of it comes from small seminars, conversations in the hall before class stars, office hour conversations were one thing leads to another, academic counseling one-on-one, running into people from your discussion section in the coffee line, the outside speaker you accidently went to that opened the door to a new field, and the “here, try it this way” transactions at 11:40 pm in the computer lab. This unending and unbounded sociality – THIS is the university.
This “commons” –this “learning community,” this everyday mutual presence, this thinking sociability is what is most important to knowledge, and most vulnerable to cuts. It is exactly what is being destroyed. Chancellor White of Riverside and Chancellor Drake of Irvine gave some of the best testimony on this fabric and its destruction that I have heard.

Here are rush steno-notes. Thanks to Roddey Reid at UCSD for useful additions.

San Francisco (Chancellor Michael Bishop): There was a discussion of the financial precariousness of the UCSF Medical Center that is important but that I omit – the point was that these are not “cash cows.” On campus, the faculty is 14% down, there have been 25% admin cuts, closed programs, and others delayed by years, the downgrading grad financial aid. Perhaps most importantly, 9 of 11 major grad program areas have cut enrollments from 11-52%. This is a major harbinger of declining training, research output, hence quality, ranking, and funding. This is a potential disaster for the university and the state. We are the principle engine of the knowledge economy and we are facing a significant decline in quality. Our ability to fulfill our responsibility of educating a group that looks like the state is slipping from our grasp.
Davis (Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef): 60 TAs gone, 400 work-study jobs gone, 1 VC position gone ,our med center’s bill for “charity care” (we get nothing back) went from $95 M to $163 M in a couple of years, bad debt boom too so we never collect. We serve Sacramento County’s indigent medical care facility. The county paid only $34 M of their $90 M before they too ran out of money. medical centers are "scared to death about what is to come. Their retirement bill will increase $30-40 M when employer contributions to the pension restart. On the campus, 200 faculty positions are left unfilled. We can't do the Engineering building for the foreseeable future. Same with other projects. "it's trouble across the board."

San Diego (Chancellor Marye Anne Fox): academic hiring freeze, 200 staff layoffs. 800 unfilled staff positions freeze is good in a way because the asst profs weren't coming anyway – we’ve had a very dramatic drop in success of recruitment. Our class size is going to 40 average Note the contrast with peer student: faculty ratios: Harvard 8:1, Cal Tech 3:1. Money for recruiting is now going into retention. We are having a brain drain.

We’ve gone from 95% to 70% success in retention in 1 year. Chancellor Fox discusses 5 very senior departures (CEO of UCSD Med Center to Missouri. . . after he couldn't hire a CFO by matching the salary the candidate already had at Washington State). Loss to U Texas of a major lab scientist who got a $2 M start-up. Loss of an African-American faculty member, longstanding big contributor and leader on diversity issues, in cancer research, to U Michigan. A biology prof went to to Columbia U where he will be able to use the income from 20 M endowment from research All 5 have left just since the first of July. as we "restructure," our competition is going to be very severe, and there will be a loss to the state of California I hope you insure we have flexibility in handling those cuts.

Los Angeles (Chancellor Gene Block): WE have seen $131 M cut, $21 M unfunded increases, and are facing still a nearly 100 M gap even after salary cuts etc. We have imposed a 50% research fund reduction, increased taxes on housing and parking, 20% cut in Chancellor’s off campus programs including scholarships, etc. We are a huge institution and we are making only 15 hires. We have seen a 20% increase in class size in 3 years. Class size will be above 60 in fall. We will have 165 fewer courses, or 10% fewer. We will have fewer TAs, much less interaction between faculty and students, we will need to reduce our undergraduate enrollment to maintain graduation rates and quality. All this will have a negative impact on diversity. Faculty workload will increase, adversely affecting scholarly output, the hallmark of a great faculty. Faculty recruitment, when cut to 20 per year, will hurt critical mass in all sorts of ways and mean a much bigger concern for faculty retention. The impact is profound and painful, and we're going to do our best to manage through it.

Irvine (Chancellor Michael Drake) The feel of everyday life at Irvine is different. Here are some of the smaller things that are important but are often overlooked. We cancelled the small infrastructural projects fund ($5- 7 M a year. We ended the Chancellor’s speakers series, which was something that brought people from the campus and the community together, thus ending their big humanitarian impact on that campus (for example the former president of Mexico Vicente Fox’s visit, which ended up creating a program that sent wheelchairs to Mexico). We started a new nursing program, had our first class graduate, most of whom are now working in our own hospital where there was a deep need. We are freezing the nursing program at 50, 1/4 of its intended size. Instead of growing the faculty by 50 a year as we need to do because of our constant growth (about 1000 more students each year), the faculty shrank by 15 this year with 1250 extra students. Our normal 150-200 unfilled faculty positions, with money we use to hire instructors etc., has grown to 300. He Vicki Ruiz in an Inside Higher Ed piece. We are down 309 staff, 102 through layoffs already in 2008-09. We all remember important teachers and special mentors that made a huge difference in our careers, and these mostly came from small classes. We've now eliminated the freshman and transfers seminar program, many discussion sections. We’ve ended the desktop initiative for renewing faculty computer equipment, ended support for academic travel, and imposed a 20% library cut including the electronic collection. We have stopped heating water in public bathrooms. The distinguished professor program is suspended, as are career awards, partnerships with the community and industry. In 37 years I've never seen a time so troublesome. We all know that the difference between A and A+ is huge. that's specifically why we came here. That’s the story of UC and the story of California. The cuts threaten that margin of excellence that made us so special.

Berkeley (Chancellor Robert Birgeneau): we’re for furloughs because they will save 450 layoffs at Berkeley. Chancellor reports he went to a meeting and spoke with the presidents of Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Princeton. They told him they were shocked that faculty were included in the furloughs. It’s fair but we’re the only ones who have faculty participating this way – competitivity issue here. Our salaries already lag. Now our 25k gap per year just went to a 40 k gap. Ok to have furloughs for one year but this is not sustainable. Normally we have 100 searches (60 successful on acreage). They have gone to 10 searches a year, on a large campus. Faculty numbers are down by 100 short term. Grad teaching down 20% in some units. We’re closing libraries on Saturday, curtailing at other times. We estimate that course cutbacks mean students will take about a half a year longer to graduate. This is absolutely an extraordinary challenge as you have already heard.

Riverside (Chancellor Timothy White). 44% state funding is our Achilles heel. A very high percentage of our students are first generation college students, many fro poverty, hence their slope to succeed is steeper. These are unique and important students, and when we cut support services we hurt the students we most cherish. Our 300:1 advisor ratio will go to 500:1 in one year, which will impact our unique students graduation rates. We will double class sizes, thus seeing diminishing opportunities for our best students to be with our best faculty. We cancelled our freshmen discovery seminars. eliminating tutoring services will hurt our students’ competitiveness esp students of color and students in the sciences. Our medical school is on hold and therefore so is a Kaiser Permanente grant. Our public policy school and all other new, innovative projects are on indefinite hold. We are reducing our staff in our government relation’s offices and thus our ability to seek augmented funding at the moment when we need it the most. We have a $45 M general fund cut, or 25%. This year we had 17 new faculty, just a handful if any next year. 100 staff gone, more layoffs coming. We are a growth campus staff and faculty will be permanently down 15%. Still this is a campus poised for greatness, ready to serve, and all we are doing is making the least lousy decisions. but let me be clear, there are no white flags at the Unit of California at Riverside.

Merced (Chancellor Steve Kang). We are the newest campus, just starting up. 50% of our students are first-generation, 30 % are Asian, 30% are Hispanic, 8% African American. Our students come from Northern, Southern, and Central California in equal proportions We have only three buildings, no funds to build, and a funding formula based on enrollment without the enrollments that bring in the funds to build, which would then allow us to bring in enrollments. We are now facing a reduction of 40%, huge for a fledging campus. 60 courses cannot be taught. We already had insufficient staff support. We have lost 2 promising assistant professors in the last month. We have a lack of research space, startup support and thus no power of recruitment. Students are starting to worry. A parent of a student planning to come wrote to say his kids are going to Oregon and Washington instead of Merced because of the budget problems. We recruited 10 of 30 offers made, and the difficulty in recruiting hurts federal funding. In some areas there will be a real danger of failing accreditation. We have made plans for stopping operations for many days. WE are endangering access and continuation for students that come from less privileged backgrounds.

Santa Barbara (Chancellor Henry Yang): We are down 30% over the last 7 years in state general funds. Down $16 M this year, $45 M in the coming year. What have we done to deal with this? Workforce reductions - down 235 staff FTE w/ layoffs, separations, and reducing time. We have suspended 2 vice-chancellor searches. (3 of 5 VCs are left to meet this year's 3 times larger reduction. I must sincerely thank my remaining colleagues on campus for working so hard and helping each other out. Faculty losses: 2 of our National academy members have been recruited away by an Ivy League school in Boston. A 3rd is leaving next month. We are 30% down in admin services, 15% of our academic budget is cut. We are concerned about increased class size, faculty workload increasing which hurts productivity. Extension has been cut in half, we have 100 projects to save 1.3 M in energy costs. Many of our faculty and staff are up in arms about pay reductions. and are asking for delay. At our town hall they said that they are concerned about the survival of UC as a great university. They asked me to convey their request that you move from defunding the university to defending it.

Santa Cruz. (Chancellor George Blumenthal): If you look at various measures you can see that we are as a campus super high quality and high impact. But we are $50 M down since mid-2008. $3000 has been cut per student. Our frosh class down 750. We no longer have many academic advisors. We have eliminated 130 administrative positions. We are down 55 faculty members, 8% of the budgeted faculty, and we will defer all faculty recruitment. We are shutting the door to opportunity compared to the experience of earlier generations. We have eliminated the Institute for Science and Global Policy, another for environmental research. Lick Observatory is cut way down. If you add up all the cuts, how many courses will go untaught, and how many breakthroughs in knowledge will be delayed or undiscovered. 160 admin positions gone, 2/3 of total cuts. now the cuts are becoming more devastating, fundamentally affecting student access and academic quality. California is fundamentally disinvesting in higher education. We must be creative and focused - there's too much at stake to do anything less.


Cont: What Happened to the "Stop the Cuts" Petition at the Regents Meeting"?


Dear Colleagues,

Just back from the RUC Regents meeting. I am sorry to report that your petition was assigned a number and then cut off by the Regents before the number was called to the podium and Paul Rabinow who was assigned to read the petition was ignored. We were blind-sided and perhaps should have made a scene. But it happened in a split second.

The only recourse left was to hand the petition in for the Regents to read at their leisure. Faculty members who were present and were given the first numbers had 1 minute each to speak and were cut off if they went over a few seconds. After the rushed "public" forum there was all the time in the world for the in coming and out-going members of the Regents to celebrate each other and salute President Yudof, and for the other half of the room -- the room was divided in half and the 'dissenters' were roped off -- the Regents' people to present a corporate powerpoint.

We clearly have to be 'cuter' ( as the Irish would say with reference to the fox) and as dogged and 'digging in' our heels as the hedgehog.

We'll do better next time,

Nancy Scheper-Hughes


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Cont: Faculty and Staff Respond to Regents

Legal angle:
CUCFA raised serious procedural concerns about the process. UCOP and Regents failed to abide by Regents' own procedures requiring notice and consultation over fundamental decisions involving the structure and future of the university.

UCOP originally said that to implement the furlough/salary cut plan, the Regents needed to amend an existing Standing Order to grant the President new powers and duties. But UCOP did not comply with (a) the process for amending standing orders, or (b) the process under the proposed amended Standing Order that would allow him to exercise emergency powers.

Now, having recognized they did not adhere to the proper procedures for the invocation of any such emergency powers by the President, the Regents are claiming the inherent authority to adopt the Plan. It is extremely troubling that the Regents are coming up with a last minute, never before articulated argument about the legal basis for adopting this plan.

The shifting purported basis for adopting the Plan calls into question the integrity of the entire process. Vast sectors of the university community -- faculty, staff, students, provided constructive input with the good faith hope that UCOP was listening. But it is clear now that the process was a sham. UCOP intended to force through the draconian, myopic plan from the outset - regardless of any input from the University community. UCOP claimed to set forth a process involving consultation before implementing that Plan. But having failed even to comply with UCOP's own proposed process, UCOP is now claiming that no consultation was required anyway b/c the Regents could simply have adopted the Plan pursuant to their "inherent authority."

Because the future of the University of California is at stake, a more deliberate, honest, transparent decisionmaking process is necessary.
Professor Tim Clark, UC Berkeley:
My name is Timothy Clark. I am George and Helen Pardee Chair at UC Berkeley. This is my 21st year at the university.

I want to tell you a simple story - but one, I'm afraid, that can stand for hundreds of others at the present moment. Two years ago I agreed to chair a search committee charged with finding a professor to teach the culture and art of the Middle Ages. It was the kind of job one is proud to take on toward the end of one's career. Not just because it seemed so important to many of us that this aspect of world history - the great age of the cathedrals, the conflict of Islam and Christianity, the emergence of an urban, capitalist Europe - be taught to young Californians at the highest possible level. But also because for more than half a century Berkeley has been a center of world excellence in just this subject. The names Walter Horne and Jean Bony - both victims of, or refugees from, Nazism - stand for that fact.

We made a great appointment. We persuaded a young German scholar, whose extraordinary first book had just been published, to take the position. She was and is a world leader in her field. She took some persuading, because of course she already had an excellent job at the University of Zurich. She was a realist: she knew the
costs of moving to the other side of the globe, she did her sums, she heeded our promises. She asked us to put off her arrival for a year, as she learnt just at that moment that she was expecting her first child. In a few days time she arrives in San Francisco, with her husband and newborn.

My questions for you are these. What shall I find to say to her? How shall I look her in the eye? She took a decisive life-decision, and we are about to betray the promises made to her, on the basis of which that life-choice was made. I feel that I and others, though we did not know it, brought this outstanding intellectual here on false pretences.

What shall I say to her? Well, at least I know one thing. I shall not repeat to her the words the President used at his press conference a few days ago. I shall not say: "Maybe this will encourage people to be entrepreneurial and go out and get those grants." What is my young medievalist supposed to do, I wonder: go tout her services as consultant to a Spamalot theme park?

This, sadly, will be my alternative: "Welcome to California, and here is the name of a good lawyer. I'm told he's a specialist in breach of contract suits."

I have described one painful case, but it points, I believe, to the realities of the policy you are being asked to adopt. The policy will destroy the belief in one's word on which a university is founded. I appeal to you to look again at the options; put
everything on the table, open to scrutiny; shake yourselves free of the special interests; and save the UC system from irreparable harm.

Look hard, in particular, at the remarkable letter from the system's combined Faculty Associations, which both unpicks the logic of the administration's search for emergency powers, and points a real way forward, round which the university as a whole and the California public could rally. Go in that direction. Draw back from the brink.
SJL writes:

The goal to keep in mind is this: last week the request at the Town Hall Meeting was: Please postpone until we have examined the situation in its entirety following due legal and collective (democratic) process. Essentially the Regents have ignored this message. There may be actual labor laws that are being transgressed by the Regents. Their solution may be both draconian, unnecessary and ineffectual. And if we return to work/or continue to work blindly accept their word in this matter, then we are exposed to any further cuts, not to mention demotions and any other procedure which they have now pirated out of the hands of the collectivity.

Laurie has a sensible point here: but to accept passively this "verticality"
[the term in Argentina which is a euphemism for dictatorial rule] can potentially destroy the university and the lives of tens of thousands of people.

yours truly, sjl