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Saturday, December 3, 2022

Mystery Message

Chancellor Block circulated an email about the student worker strike that is so vague it is impossible to know to what he is referring. Excerpt:

...While our university unequivocally supports the rights of those who are lawfully striking, this past week individual members of our community were deliberately sought out and intimidated by certain protesters. We condemn these actions, which are in direct opposition to UCLA’s Principles of Community — the set of values and commitments agreed upon by our faculty, staff and students... 

Full message at https://view.bp.e.ucla.edu/?qs=36999eb0066da97b1fbc89dfb6cd6f72af71c168cc7f877490a9d20d5942b8b0cec4b8fd6dabf9b8a1931c0518c7af8738a537493bc19eaeabbaf41ce51f4f866ee70a046524ff78800fa26d92573b870071bc14a2c59db4.

Comment: Mysteries are fine in movies, books, etc. But is it too much to ask what happened?

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To hear the text above, click on the link below:

https://ia601402.us.archive.org/25/items/big-ten/mystery.mp3

Friday, December 2, 2022

Strike News: Additional Developments

The San Francisco Chronicle reports several building occupations at Berkeley and one at UCLA.

Hundreds of student workers in the third week of a massive strike across the University of California system occupied the UC Berkeley chancellor’s office Thursday, disrupted a meeting of undergraduates and administrators and held sit-ins in buildings across campus as part of a series of planned actions up and down the state, union officials said. Shortly after 10 a.m. at UC Berkeley, about 200 “picketers rushed the doors at California Hall,” the campus administration building, said Janet Gilmore, a Cal spokesperson. UC police were standing by, and campus leaders met to “monitor and evaluate” the situation, she said. Chancellor Carol Christ was not in the building and all staff except security left. Several occupiers brought sleeping bags and planned to stay all night, union officials said.

At about 2:30 p.m, another 100 or so student workers burst in on a meeting of the undergraduate student government and administrators in Eshleman Hall, the student union building, and demanded better treatment, the union said. Strikers also staged sit-ins at other classroom buildings across campus, including Stanley Hall, Dwinelle Hall and Wurster Hall.

...On Wednesday, student workers at UCLA occupied the Wilshire Center, an administrative building, for several hours without incident, the union said.

Full story at https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Striking-UC-student-workers-occupy-chancellor-s-17625116.php.

We noted in a prior post that it appeared that UAW Local five eight one oh workers (postdocs and researchers) would remain on strike only until their tentative contract is ratified with voting next week.* (As we also noted, the contract might not be ratified.) That understanding is confirmed in the Daily Cal:

UAW Local 5810 and the UC system reached tentative contract agreements for academic researchers and postdoctoral scholars the night of Nov. 28, 2022. Until union membership ratifies the contract agreements, academic researchers and postdoctoral scholars are on strike “in sympathy” with the units still at the bargaining table: student researchers and academic student employees.

Full article at https://dailycal-projects.netlify.app/2022-11-22-bargaining.

Note the word "until."

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*http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2022/12/strike-news-it-aint-over-til.html.

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To hear the text above, click on the link below:

Something added (strike) and something still missing (Big Ten)

Yesterday, we posted a screenshot of the Regents' webpage showing the schedule of upcoming meetings.* We noted an odd omission. Although the Regents made a big deal about having a special meeting on December 14th to discuss UCLA's move to the Big Ten, no such meeting was to be found on the website. The meeting shown for December 14th was only for the Health Services Committee, a meeting that had been set long ago. The Big Ten meeting would have to be of the full board and it wasn't there.

Since that posting, however, a meeting was added, this one for December 5th. See the screenshot above. It is a full board meeting, but it is closed and the only topic listed when you click on it is collective bargaining. We can readily assume that the collective bargaining it refers to is that related to the student worker strike.

At their November meeting, apart from public comments, there were only a couple of very brief references to the strike in the open sessions.** Having an off-cycle special full board meeting to discuss collective bargaining is unusual and has to reflect growing concern by the Regents.

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*http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2022/12/something-missing.html.

**http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2022/11/student-worker-strike-drags-on.html.

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To hear the text above, click on the link below:

https://ia601402.us.archive.org/25/items/big-ten/missing%20added.mp3

Strike News: It ain't over 'til...?

As noted in prior blog posts, one of the local UAW unions involved in the student worker strike (Local 5810 representing postdocs and researchers) reached a tentative settlement with UC. However, to take effect, that agreement requires a positive vote of the membership. And it is not clear whether a vote to ratify will get a majority. 

The local is holding online forums for its members at which the proposed contract is explained and members of the negotiating committee then answer questions. This coming Monday through Friday, the voting will take place. From LAist:

...Now UAW 5810 has the task of convincing its 12,000 members that the agreement it has reached after months of negotiations is the best deal possible. That effort may be complicated by the ongoing negotiations of two other UC workers’ unions whose members are wondering what kind of agreement they’ll receive, and whether they want more than what's in the postdoc union deal...

Full story at https://laist.com/news/education/university-of-california-rank-file-student-workers-bargaining-deal-strike-reactions.

Yours truly listened to one of the online presentations by Local 5810 and to the subsequent questions and answers. It's important to note that individuals who object to the proposed deal are probably going to be overrepresented in such sessions. However, the questions were almost all by persons who were either going to vote "no" or who were dubious about the proposed deal. It appears from the presentation that if the local's majority approves the settlement, the strike will be over as far as those covered by the deal are concerned. (Individuals could, of course, continue to withhold services, but it would not be a union-led strike.) I am not 100% certain on this point but it seemed to be implied. (Union contracts typically have a no-strike clause during the life of the agreement, but the precise wording is important.)

Most of the discontent expressed concerned the pay element which was said to be inadequate and not much above what UC was offering before the strike. It was said that the pay increases were below current inflation levels. A related complaint was that the proposed contract's very long duration - five years - was excessive given uncertainty about future inflation. There were also complaints about the timing of the ratification vote and suggestions that it shouldn't be held until the other local unions also reached tentative settlements. There was a concern about "bridge funding," i.e., funding of pay when research grants have expired and new grants are awaited. Apparently, some campuses have such funding but it is considered a campus issue, not a systemwide issue, and will be addressed by campus-level committees. 

The bargaining team generally emphasized non-economic features of the contract, e.g., the grievance procedure, and stressed that a "no" vote by itself would not increase the ability of the union's negotiators to obtain more from UC. There were references to participation rates in the strike of 40% or less; the bargaining team felt that absent more participation, getting more pay from UC was unlikely. It would be better to settle with UC now and concentrate on organizing for the future. (Note that news accounts of the strike, which feature the 48,000 number - or 12,000 covered by the tentative contract - refer to the number of workers covered by the dispute, not the number who are union members or who are actually striking.) The bargaining team noted that UC considers the number of actual participants in the strike in gauging union bargaining power.

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To hear the text above, click on the link below:

https://ia601402.us.archive.org/25/items/big-ten/uncertain%20vote.mp3

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Sometimes No (US) News is Good News - Part 8 (Davis)

As we have noted in earlier blog postings, not all law schools are going along with the wave of non-participation in the US News and World Report listings. But another UC law school has decided to cease participating. From the Sacramento Bee:

UC Davis School of Law will no longer participate in the influential US News & World Report rankings, a move that follows similar announcements by other top law schools that have criticized the magazine’s methodology as misleading and flawed. Dean Kevin Johnson announced the school’s decision on Monday, saying it followed consultations with faculty, campus leadership, students and alumni...

Johnson said that the failures in the ranking are too many to list, but said the process punishes schools for encouraging public service fellowships, overemphasizes standardized test scores, and fails to take resources at public law schools into consideration...

Full story at https://www.sacbee.com/news/local/education/article269401677.html.

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To hear the text above, click on the link below:

https://ia601402.us.archive.org/25/items/big-ten/davis.mp3

Something Missing?

The image above is a screenshot of the Regents' website as of this morning - December 1.* We are now two weeks away from December 14th, the date the Regents agreed at their November meeting - or so they said - to have a special meeting to make their Big Decision on UCLA's planned move to the Big Ten. And yet, when you look at the listing of upcoming meetings, the only thing listed for December 14th is a meeting of the Health Services Committee, which has long been on the schedule. That committee alone can't make a decision on the Big Ten. A meeting of the full board would be required. 

Is this an accidental omission? Or has there been a change of plans? The policy is to provide a preliminary agenda ten days before a meeting. So, not only should a meeting be listed by this time, but an agenda for it is due to be posted in the next few days, assuming the meeting is still planned.

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*Source: https://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/meetings/

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To hear the text above, click on the link below:

https://ia601402.us.archive.org/25/items/big-ten/missing.mp3

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

A Joint Effort With the State?

Here's something you probably didn't know about from SFGATE:

California has a new tool in its effort to regulate the state’s unruly pot industry: an $11 million cannabis testing lab, run out of the University of California, San Diego. The lab’s first task? Shutting down labeling fraud in California’s multibillion-dollar pot marketplace. Pot labels have become deeply controversial in California. 

The state’s Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) requires every marijuana product to be tested by a private lab for safety and potency, and then labeled with the percentages of several components, including THC, the primary intoxicant in cannabis. Although such testing facilities are licensed by the DCC, industry insiders have for years accused labs of fraudulently inflating THC levels to lure more customers. In the past month, rumors turned into court action, when lawsuits hit some of the state’s largest pot companies over claims they’ve been lying about how much THC their products contain...

The new lab at UCSD is a key part of the state’s plan to rein in testing fraud. In February 2021, the state signed a deal promising the university $11 million over five years to build and operate a “reference laboratory” for legal cannabis inside UCSD’s Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research, including $2.3 million in laboratory equipment the first year and just under $1 million each year for staff. The lab, run by university professors Igor Grant and Jeremiah Momper, has struggled with delays; despite receiving initial funds in February 2021, it has yet to meet a single deadline for testing capabilities. That includes a July 2022 deadline to complete International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certification proving the lab’s staff and equipment are capable of running contamination and potency testing...

Full story at https://www.sfgate.com/cannabis/article/california-cannabis-lab-rocky-start-17610822.php.

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To hear the text above, click on the link below:

https://ia601402.us.archive.org/25/items/big-ten/joint.mp3

Sometimes No (US) News is Good News - Part 7 (Not Everyone Joins the Exodus)

We have been tracking law schools that have withdrawn participation from the US News and World Report rankings. At UC, these include Berkeley, UCLA, and Irvine. As blog readers will know, it all started with Harvard and Yale and then began to spread. But not all top schools are going along. From Inside Higher Ed:

The law schools of the University of Chicago and Cornell University may not love the U.S. News & World Report rankings, but they aren’t walking away from them. University of Chicago dean Thomas J. Miles wrote to students that “my past practice has been to avoid direct, public comment on the U.S. News ranking. The ranking is not our guide, and I prefer to shine a light on the substantive attributes that make our Law School the home of the most intellectually ambitious faculty and the most powerful legal education. Most of the data we supply to U.S. News are already public, and the rest is information we have no reason to withhold...

Cornell’s law school also announced that it will still participate in the rankings of U.S. News & World Report. “My own view is that the rankings distort academic decision-making, fail to adequately capture institutional quality, and create perverse incentives that are not in the best interests of students or the legal profession,” said Jens David Ohlin, dean of the law school. He added, “However, withdrawal from the rankings process will not have the desired impact that many assume that it will have. For one, U.S. News has said that it will continue to rank all law schools regardless of their level of participation...

Full story at https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2022/11/29/u-chicago-cornell-law-schools-will-stay-%E2%80%98us-news%E2%80%99-rankings.

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To hear the text above, click on the link below:

https://ia601402.us.archive.org/25/items/big-ten/not%20joining.mp3

This Just In: Partial Tentative Strike Settlement - Update

Our last post - yesterday - had only a portion of the tentative labor agreement covering some of the strikers participating in the student worker strike.* The union local, UAW 5810, has now posted a more complete summary:

Postdocs 

The University proposed a comprehensive proposal to Postdocs that the bargaining team has tentatively agreed to... Highlights include:

  • Compensation that addresses cost of living
  • Most Postdocs will receive a 20-23% salary increase (up to $12,000) by October 2023; over the course of 5 years as a Postdoc at UC, the current lowest paid Postdoc would see a 57% salary increase;
  • For 2024-2027: 7.2% annual increase for Postdocs on the scale (3.5% scale increase and 3.7% experience step), 3% annual increase for above-scale Postdocs
  • Faster timeline to first experience-based step
  • Increase from 4 weeks to 8 weeks of Parental and Family Leave paid at 100% for all Postdocs
  • Childcare subsidies that will start at $2,500 annually and increase to $2,800 annually – the first time Postdocs have won a childcare subsidy after 12 years of fighting
  • Lengthened initial appointments from 1 year to 2 years to ensure job security and longer visas
  • New Respectful Work Environment Article including industry-setting protections against abusive conduct and bullying that are fully grievable and arbitable
  • New Immigration Article with guaranteed leave time for immigration appointments and protections if immigration laws change
  • Protections for workers with disabilities that go beyond the ADA, guaranteeing interim accommodations while the interactive process is ongoing
  • Commitment to implement free transit passes within 3 years, and a commitment to bargain if free passes have not been implemented in that timeframe
  • E-bike discount of at least 15%

Academic Researchers

Tonight the University also made a comprehensive proposal to Academic Researchers that the bargaining team has tentatively agreed to. Highlights include:

  • Compensation that addresses cost of living
  • A typical Academic Researcher will receive 29% in salary increases (between scale and merit increases) over the life of the contract
  • An Assistant Project Scientist hired in July 2022 would see their compensation increase by $3,078 by July 2023, by an additional $6,395 by July 2024, and by $19,423 by the end of the contract.
  • A Junior Specialist hired in July 2022 would see their compensation increase by $5,459 by July 2023; if they continued as an Assistant Specialist their salary would increase by an additional $6,668 by July 2024, and by a total of $20,620 over the life of the contract.
  • 8 Weeks of Parental and Family Leave paid at 100%, up from 70% pay
  • Better job security: Longer appointments before merit review, and fewer exceptions to 1-year minimum appointments
  • All ARs are now eligible to apply for PI status and UC commits to meet with the Union to discuss the expansion of Bridge Funding Programs at each campus
  • New Respectful Work Environment Article including industry-setting protections against abusive conduct and bullying that are fully grievable and arbitable
  • Protections for workers with disabilities that go beyond the ADA, guaranteeing interim accommodations while the interactive process is ongoing
  • Commitment to implement free transit passes within 3 years, and a commitment to bargain if free passes have not been implemented in that timeframe
  • E-bike discounts of at least 15%
  • An improved Union Security article to keep our union strong, and a better Grievance and Arbitration process to enforce the contract

Full description at https://uaw5810.org/2022/11/29/major-victory-tentative-agreements-for-ars-postdocs/. (A more complete version is available at this link.)

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As previously noted, workers covered by the tentative agreement remain on strike since other locals have not reached a tentative contract. However, there could well be a tendency for others to follow the model that has been established. If not, our comments in past posts about the use of some form of arbitration and possible intervention by the governor remain. The fact that the tentative deal is for five years - a long duration compared to most labor agreements - suggests that UC is anxious not to have frequent repeats of such disputes.

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*http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2022/11/this-just-in-partial-tentative-strike.html.

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To hear the text above, click on the link below: 

https://ia601402.us.archive.org/25/items/big-ten/tentative%202.mp3

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

This Just In: Partial Tentative Strike Settlement

The Hill is reporting a settlement with some of the student worker strikers. 

UC researchers, postdoctoral scholars reach tentative deal, still on strike

By Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech, Nov. 29, 2022 

University of California officials and the school system’s postdoctoral scholars and academic researchers have reached tentative agreement after more than two weeks of striking. Bargaining teams from the University of California and the United Auto Workers, the union representing the school system’s academic workers, have potentially reached a deal on a new five-year contract for postdoctoral scholars and researchers. Postdocs and academic researchers will remain on strike until the contract is ratified and in solidarity with the roughly 36,000 academic student employees and student researchers who are still striking.

Once officially ratified, the new contracts will be effective until Sept. 30, 2027.  

“We are proud to have reached agreements that address the soaring cost of living, and reflect the value of our contributions at UC,” said Neal Sweeney, President of UAW Local 5810. “These agreements represent a new, best-in-class model that will improve quality of life – and the quality of research – for scientists across the US. It is now time for UC to make serious proposals to Academic Student Employees and Student Researchers and to reach fair agreements that recognize the contributions these workers make.” 

About 48,000 University of California teaching assistants, graduate researchers and other workers walked off the job 15 days ago calling for higher wages and better benefits.  

As a part of Tuesday’s tentative agreement, most postdocs will receive up to $12,000 more in their annual salary by October of next year. UC officials have agreed to expand paid parental and family leave for postdocs from four to eight weeks as well as provide at least $2,500 a year in childcare subsidies. Postdocs will also get longer appointments, more transportation subsidies, better protections from workplace bullying and guaranteed leave time for immigration appointments and protections if immigration laws change...

Academic researchers will also get eight weeks of paid parental and family leave starting in January under the contract as well as a 29 percent salary increase over five years...*   

Full story at https://thehill.com/changing-america/respect/equality/3755317-uc-researchers-postdoctoral-scholars-reach-tentative-deal-still-on-strike/.

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*Note: Twenty-nine percent over five years is an average of about 5.3% per year, although the proposed contract is probably front-loaded, i.e., more in the first year and less in the later years. (The university has talked about 7% in the first year.) That's quite a bit less than the initial union demands and may require a significant "selling" job by the union leadership if expectations of members are much higher.

The settlement will likely put pressure on the remaining groups to agree on something similar.

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To hear the text above, click on the link below:

Enough Said

A sampling of news links from today's UCOP Daily News Clips:

'Unconscionable': Academic Workers Accuse UC of Stalling as Strike Enters Third Week

KQED (Emma Silvers)

https://www.kqed.org/news/11933284/unconscionable-academic-workers-accuse-uc-of-stalling-as-strike-enters-third-week

Chaos over grades, finals and ongoing classes erupts as UC strike continues

Los Angeles Times (Teresa Watanabe, Howard Blume and Debbie Truong)

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-11-29/chaos-over-grades-finals-ongoing-classes-erupts-as-uc-strike-enters-third-week

Hundreds of striking UC student educators, researchers march to UC president’s office

San Francisco Chronicle (Michael Cabanatuan)

https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Hundreds-of-striking-UC-student-educators-17617082.php

What’s at Stake in the University of California Graduate-Worker Strike 

The New Yorker (Jay Caspian Kang)

https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/whats-at-stake-in-the-university-of-california-graduate-worker-strike

How the University of California Strike Could Reshape Higher Education

Time (Katie Reilly)

https://time.com/6237230/uc-strike-higher-education-implications/

Hundreds of UC Faculty Members Stop Teaching as Strike Continues

Chronicle of Higher Education (Grace Mayor)

https://www.chronicle.com/article/hundreds-of-uc-faculty-members-stop-teaching-as-strike-continues

University of California faculty join teaching assistant strike

Times of Higher Education (Paul Basken)

https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/university-california-faculty-join-teaching-assistant-strike

With final grades due soon, hundreds of UC faculty pledge support for striking academic workers

EdSource (Michael Burke)

https://edsource.org/2022/with-final-grades-due-soon-hundreds-of-uc-faculty-pledge-support-for-striking-academic-workers/681772

WhatMatters: UC, CSU campuses in the hot seat

CalMatters (Emily Hoeven)

https://calmatters.org/newsletters/whatmatters/2022/11/uc-strike-csu-black-students/

Disability rights are workers’ rights’: Disabled UC Davis workers on strike advocate for greater accessibility on the picket and in the university

Capital Public Radio (Janelle Salanga)

https://www.capradio.org/articles/2022/11/28/disability-rights-are-workers-rights-disabled-uc-davis-workers-on-strike-advocate-for-greater-accessibility-on-the-picket-and-in-the-university/

State Board Slaps UC with Six Labor Complaints as Academic Workers’ Strike Enters Week Three

Santa Barbara Independent (Callie Fausey)

https://www.independent.com/2022/11/28/state-board-slaps-uc-with-six-labor-complaints-as-academic-workers-strike-enters-week-three/

Finals at UC Irvine set to start soon as student workers strike enters 3rd week

ABC 7 Los Angeles (David Gonzalez)

Additional ABC 7 placement: California Today: New York Times

https://abc7.com/university-of-california-student-worker-strikes-campus-uc-irvine/12504448/

No deal in sight between University of California and faculty members

KTLA (Chip Yost)

https://ktla.com/news/local-news/no-deal-in-sight-between-university-of-california-and-faculty-members/

UC strike enters third week ahead of quarter ending, finals

CBS Sacramento (Shawnte Passmore)

https://www.cbsnews.com/sacramento/news/uc-strike-enters-third-week-ahead-of-quarter-ending-finals/

Strike of higher-education workers at UC schools impacting students

ABC 10 Sacramento (Kurt Rivera)

https://www.abc10.com/article/news/local/protests/uc-worker-strike/103-46b594e2-e502-4f32-ac08-5ab5971566aa

UC strike enters third week as finals approach

CBS 8 San Diego (Jasmine Ramirez)

https://www.cbs8.com/article/news/local/uc-strike-enters-third-week/509-7d12b5db-23ac-44fb-bdba-04d56c9a01c4

STUDENT PRESS: Campus releases plans for final exams, grades amid ongoing academic workers strike

Daily Californian (Riley Cooke and Anna Armstrong)

https://www.dailycal.org/2022/11/28/campus-releases-plans-for-final-exams-grades-amid-ongoing-academic-workers-strike

STUDENT PRESS: Op-ed: Academic workers are striking to create a better campus for everyone

Daily Bruin (Alexa Barger)

https://dailybruin.com/2022/11/28/op-ed-academic-workers-are-striking-to-create-a-better-campus-for-everyone 

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And there is this from the systemwide Academic Senate:

https://ucla.app.box.com/s/5m9hqapf7i78jppy23yeexh4a0q9ltq9.

Student Worker Strike Drags On


The student worker strike continues to drag on. As we have noted, there is a point at which the parties come face to face with the costs: missing paychecks, missing grades, missing sessions with TAs, missing labs, missing research on funded grants, etc. And - as we have also noted - there are potential solutions at that point, particularly some form of arbitration that can bring the dispute to a close.*

Let's first note that the Regents, although they heard directly about the strike during the public comment periods of their last meetings, took no particular action. Indeed, we also noted that, aside from a comment that negotiations were underway, there was only one very brief comment on the strike at the Regents by President Drake - essentially putting the cost of the pay demands at $2 billion - that seemed to quash any further discussion. You can see that brief episode at the link below:


To help you understand the clip, here is a summary: On Nov. 16, 2022 at a meeting of the Finance and Capital Strategies Committee.** UC President Drake said the demands of the UAW would cost $2 billion. He said it indirectly, referring first to requests by nonunion staff which would cost $200 million. Drake then referred to "other" demands, later qualified as those of the UAW, and said they would cost ten times as much, i.e., $2 billion. It was then clarified that not all of the $2 billion would come from "core" funds, i.e., educational funds supplied by the state. Some would come from research grants from outside sources, e.g., federal research funding. In the clip, first we see Regent Pérez saying it would be important for those making requests to understand the costs of their demands. Then we see Drake's comment. Nathan Brostrom, chief financial officer for UC, makes the point about core vs. non-core funds. Regent Cohen then says we'll allow the amount of the costs to sink in.

It's worth noting that the political ex officio Regents - the governor, lieutenant governor (who is technically the presiding officer of the state senate), the speaker of the state assembly, and the state superintendent of public instruction - have chosen not to intervene. In particular, the governor - who got the Regents all in a tizzy over the summer about where UCLA should play football - was notably absent from any discussion at the Regents about how UC is to function when the two sides to the dispute are so far apart on money. 

It might be noted that yesterday, President Biden - while saying it would be best if the parties to a threatened railroad strike could come to an agreement on their own - called for Congressional action to impose a settlement if they couldn't. We may be nearing the time when Governor Newsom will need to do something similar.

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*Our prior coverage of the strike is at:
http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2022/11/the-strike-if-it-drags-on.html. (Our note about arbitration is contained in this last link.)

**Video of the full session of that committee can be found at: 

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To hear the text above, click on the link below:

Monday, November 28, 2022

The One Percent

From the Century City-Westwood News:

...39 UCLA faculty members were named among world’s most influential researchers in the sciences and social sciences this week. The Highly Cited Researchers list, compiled annually by analytics firm Clarivate, identifies scholars whose work has been cited most often in papers published by other researchers in their fields over the past decade. Those chosen for the 2022 list have authored studies that rank in the top 1% in the number of scholarly citations worldwide. Several UCLA scholars were among the most highly cited researchers in more than one of the list’s 22 research categories.

“The Highly Cited Researchers list identifies and celebrates exceptional individual researchers at UCLA who are having a significant impact on the research community as evidenced by the rate at which their work is being cited by their peers,” said David Pendlebury, head of research analysis at the Institute for Scientific Information at Clarivate. “These individuals are helping to transform human ingenuity into our world’s greatest breakthroughs — and it is an honor to celebrate their achievements.” Current UCLA faculty members named to the list, along with their primary UCLA research field or fields, are:

Nasim Annabi, chemical and biomolecular engineering 

Matthew Budoff, medicine

Jun Chen, bioengineering 

Bartosz Chmielewski, medicine

Giovanni Coppola, psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences 

Xiangfeng Duan, inorganic chemistry 

Bruce Dunn, materials science and engineering

David Eisenberg, biochemistry

Richard Finn, medicine 

Gregg Fonarow, medicine 

Edward Garon, medicine 

Daniel Geschwind, neurology

Tamir Gonen, biological chemistry

Michael Green, psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences 

Sander Greenland, statistics and epidemiology 

Steve Horvath, biostatistics and human genetics 

Elaine Hsiao, integrative biology

Yu Huang, materials science and engineering

Michael Jerrett, environmental health sciences

Richard Kaner, inorganic chemistry 

Baljit Khakh, physiology 

Nathan Kraft, ecology and evolutionary biology 

David Liebeskind, neurology 

Yuzhang Li, chemical and biomolecular engineering 

Aldons Lusis, medicine 

Carol Mangione, medicine

Bengt Muthen, education

Aydogan Ozcan, electrical engineering 

Mason Porter, mathematics 

Steven Reise, psychology 

Antoni Ribas, medicine 

Lawren Sack, ecology and evolutionary biology 

Jeffrey Saver, neurology 

Michael Sawaya, molecular biology 

Michael Sofroniew, neurobiology 

Marc Suchard, human genetics

Christopher Tang, business administration

Edward Wright, astronomy

Yang Yang, materials science and engineering

Full story at https://centurycity-westwoodnews.com/nearly-40-ucla-scholars-are-among-the-most-highly-cited-researchers-in-their-fields/.

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To hear the text above, click on the link below:

https://ia601402.us.archive.org/25/items/big-ten/1%20percent.mp3

 

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Or direct to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6oGytt0Hiw.

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Watch the Regents Afternoon Meeting of Nov. 16, 2022

We are finally catching up with the one segment of the Regents' meetings of November 16 and 17 we haven't previously discussed: the afternoon of November 16.

At the Investments Committee, there was discussion of the degree to which pension and endowment funds could be used for such things as student housing or university office space. When this item was first put on the agenda, yours truly suggested that if someone was looking for subsidies for such purposes, they were going to be disappointed. And, indeed, the legal analysis was that while pension and investment funds could contain real estate holdings that might be used by a campus, commercial market rates would have to be charged and such facilities would have to be open to all renters, not just those associated with the campus.

At Academic and Student Affairs, there were some changes in residency policy designed to follow revised federal and state legal requirements. Pandemic effects on the faculty were discussed. Not surprisingly, the emphasis was on the added work caused by the switch to remote instruction. Faculty generally feel that in-person learning is better. It was noted that there were direct and indirect negative effects on research.

The committee then turned to what was supposed to be an evaluation of required DEI statements for promotions and new hires. But - again as yours truly predicted - the discussion was all on inputs, not results. That is, there was discussion of the history of DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) statements at UC, how they evolved, etc. Regent Park picked up the point that there was no discussion of results. How do we know the statements are not "performative"? There was a following segment on diversity of students and faculty, but the presentation was not related to the statements. 

The Governance Committee endorsed the appointment of a new secretary to the Regents. There were some changes to the appointment process for new campus chancellors. It was unclear, however, how concerns about faculty participation in the process were dealt with in the new process.

At Finance and Capital Strategies, UCLA received approval for renovations of the mid-Wilshire hospital and office building it had acquired to treat mental health patients. During the discussion of the UC budget, President Drake made a reference to the ongoing student worker strike and indicated that the pay demands were very costly. Apart from this brief remark, there was no discussion of the strike (except for what was heard in public comments).

There was a review of what was happening under the pension tier that began to be offered to new hires as of July 2016. Of new hires since then, 36% directly elected the pension choice option. Another 27% made no election and were thus defaulted into pension choice. For the remaining 37% who elected a defined contribution-only option, there is an option after five years to opt into pension choice. Of those within the 37% who actually became eligible at five years, 15% made the switch to pension choice. In short, the current system ends up with something around two thirds in pension choice. There was no discussion of whether this outcome was a Good Thing or a Bad Thing.

As blog readers will know, we preserve recording of Regents meetings since the Regents delete them after one year. You can find the links below.

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To hear the text above, click on the link below:

https://ia601402.us.archive.org/25/items/big-ten/nov%2016%20pm.mp3


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Links to the meetings:

All afternoon sessions: https://archive.org/details/investments-committee

Investments: https://ia801409.us.archive.org/11/items/investments-committee/Investments%20Committee.mp4 [Note: Official recording is incomplete and starts several minutes into the program.]

Academic and Student Affairs: https://ia601409.us.archive.org/11/items/investments-committee/Academic%20and%20Student%20Affairs%20Committee.mp4

Governance: https://ia601409.us.archive.org/11/items/investments-committee/Governance%20Committee.mp4

Finance and Capital Strategies: https://ia801409.us.archive.org/11/items/investments-committee/Finance%20and%20Capital%20Strategies%20Committee.mp4

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Upward Creep

Our weekly review of data on new California weekly claims for unemployment insurance is showing an upward creep, so perhaps those highly publicized layoffs in tech are having a toll. We will be watching.

As always, the latest claims data are at https://www.dol.gov/ui/data.pdf.

The Big Ten Rumor Mill Continues to Spin - Part 2 (Carrots and Sticks)

We noted after the Regents kicked the decision on whether to reverse UCLA's move to the Big Ten to December 14, rumors started appearing in news sources about what might happen. Some of these rumors can be seen as indirect bargaining leaks designed to influence the Regents' eventual decision. One was that maybe the Pac-12 would somehow offer to pay off the Big Ten to compensate for its not getting UCLA.* Presumably, the payment would be a "carrot" to go away. 

Now we have another rumor, but this one is more of a "stick." Under this scenario, if UCLA isn't allowed to move, the Big Ten will grab other Pac-12 teams, thus undermining the Pac-12 so that the net effect could be less revenue for UCLA and Berkeley.

From Larry Brown's Sports Blog:

The University of California regents are meeting in December to determine whether the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) should be allowed to move to the Big Ten. UCLA and rival USC plan to move to the Big Ten in 2024. The move will result in a financial windfall for both schools, which is especially needed by UCLA, whose athletic department is reportedly around $100 million in debt. The UC system is concerned about the amount of money that will be spent on travel, as well as the academic impact to student-athletes, when moving to play in a conference where schools are located across the country rather than closer along the West Coast. They are also concerned about their other flagship school — UC Berkeley — being left behind in the weaker Pac-12. If the regents were to prevent UCLA from making the move, CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd believes that the Big Ten would respond by taking Oregon and Washington from the Pac-12. That would leave UCLA in a conference without USC, Oregon or Washington. 

The Pac-12 would be significantly weakened at that point, having just UCLA, Cal, Stanford, Oregon State, Washington State, Utah, Colorado, Arizona and Arizona State. 

The regents better not test the Big Ten about whether or not this is a threat; the Big Ten is expanding, and plenty of schools would love to be a part of the conference if UCLA is blocked from going.

Source: https://larrybrownsports.com/college-football/big-ten-big-backup-plan-ucla-blocked/607596.

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*http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2022/11/the-big-ten-rumor-mill-continues-to-spin.html.

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To hear the text above, click on the link below:

https://ia601402.us.archive.org/25/items/big-ten/carrot%20stick.mp3

Friday, November 25, 2022

Sometimes No (US) News is Good News - Part 6 (Irvine follows)

The saga of law schools boycotting the US News and World Report rankings continues with UC-Irvine joining the list. Our most recent post on this topic featured UCLA deciding to boycott the rankings.* The LA Times article on which that blog posting was based has since been updated to note the addition of Irvine. More on Irvine from another source:

UC-Irvine Is First Non-Elite Law School To Join U.S. News Rankings Boycott

Austen Parrish (Dean, UC-Irvine), University of California, Irvine School of Law Withdraws From Participating in U.S. News Annual Law School Rankings:

I write to share our decision to withdraw from participating in the U.S. News & World Report annual law school rankings — a decision that we have not reached lightly. Over the last several days, faculty have met to discuss as a group, and I have had conversations and meetings with staff, student leaders, alumni, and others. With thoughtful feedback and strong encouragement within our community, we will not be submitting proprietary data this year to U.S. News for use in its law school rankings. We are a young school, whose founders in 2008 had a vision for creating an extraordinary public law school. As part of a leading public research university, we committed ourselves to providing exceptional experiential and lawyering skills training, while underscoring the need to understand changes affecting the legal profession, and the value of interdisciplinary approaches to legal problems taught by faculty who are leaders in their fields. In all that we do, we emphasize public service, social justice, and global engagement, and we recruit students who share our vision...

Full story from the TaxProf blog at https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2022/11/uc-irvine-is-first-non-elite-law-school-to-join-us-news-rankings-boycott.html.

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*http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2022/11/sometimes-no-us-news-is-good-news-part.html.

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To hear the text above, click on the link below:

https://ia801402.us.archive.org/25/items/big-ten/irvine%20joins.mp3