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Monday, February 10, 2020

Monday, February 10, 2020
February 8, 2020

Dear Chancellor Larive and iCPEVC Kletzer:

We, the undersigned faculty members, are writing to express our unequivocal opposition to the practices and principles underlying the “Notification of Class and Section Disruption” Google form accessible through the notify the campus hotlink in the February 7, 2020, Public Affairs communication titled “Unsanctioned strike by some graduate students” (pasted below).  In addition to concerns about academic freedom, we are extremely alarmed by the culture of surveillance and reporting encouraged and facilitated by such an approach.

As you are well aware, the foundation of any research university is the creation and free exchange of knowledge, principles reflected in the tenure system and, in the University of California, through guarantees of academic freedom (APM 010). Additionally, the University of California has sought to reiterate these principles with the recent creation of a National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement. The free exchange of knowledge—the very cornerstone of the university—is compromised when everyone in our community is encouraged to survey and report on conversations occurring in the course of instruction. Indeed, we all—Senate faculty, lecturers, graduate student instructors, TAs, and students—work tremendously hard and conscientiously to create learning environments in which everyone can speak freely to discuss a wealth of subjects and to address a range of different perspectives. This is an increasingly challenging task in a social/cultural/political moment when discourse is highly fractured and fractious, and a mechanism for reporting “class and section disruption,” especially one haunted by the specter of McCarthyism, only exacerbates this trend of fractious and fractured rhetoric. Within such an environment, genuine dialogue and the free exchange of knowledge are nearly impossible. This inhibits academic freedom and ultimately undermines the core mission and values of the University of California and UCSC.

In addition to our fundamental opposition to these practices of surveillance and reporting, the Google form for reporting class and section disruptions raises a number of red flags in terms of academic freedom. Our reading of both APM 010 and the AAUP 1940 statement on academic freedom is that we have a basic right to teach our subjects as we see fit, which we understand to include changing the day’s activities to respond to immediate learning opportunities provided by current events or news of previously unknown research innovations. Moreover, even when AAUP notes the limits to such a right (i.e., that instructors should “be careful not to introduce into their teaching controversial matter which has no relation to their subject”), it nonetheless acknowledges that such a limit is primarily intended to “underscore the need for teachers to avoid persistently intruding material which has no relation to their subject.” Such rights and protections not only safeguard the ability to change the material and/or the sequence of activities in our courses in order to respond to emergent circumstances but they also allow for the introduction of new material not specified on the syllabus if related to the overall course, so long as we are able to articulate those connections.

Like you, we are concerned about the quality of our students’ education, and we want to hear from them about their educational experiences. That said, we believe that students already have processes for sharing their experiences, both positive and negative, including grievance procedures and student evaluations of teaching. In addition, we are certain that students make regular use of publicly available email addresses for campus administrators in order to register their concerns and complaints.

Given the gravity of our concerns about the free exchange of knowledge, we hope that you will disable the link to the Google form and refuse to use any data collected through that mechanism as the grounds for disciplinary measures against faculty and students.

1. Kimberly Lau, Professor, Literature
2. Jessica Taft, Associate Professor, Latin American & Latino Studies
3. H. Marshall Leicester, Professor, Literature
4. Christine Hong, Associate Professor, Literature and CRES
5. Irene Lusztig, Professor, Film + Digital Media
6. Megan Thomas, Associate Professor, Politics
7. Muriam Haleh Davis, Assistant Professor, History
8. Josh Brahinsky, Lecturer, College 10
9. Hunter Bivens, Associate Professor, Literature
10. Rick Prelinger, Professor, Film + Digital Media
11. Dorian Bell, Associate Professor, Literature
12. Gail Hershatter, Distinguished Professor, History
13. Thomas Serres, Lecturer, Politics
14. B. Ruby Rich, Professor, Film + Digital Media
15. Peter Limbrick, Professor, Film and Digital Media
16. Neda Atanasoski, Professor, Feminist Studies and CRES
17. Grace Pena Delgado, Associate Professor, History
18. Matthew Lasar, Lecturer, History
19. Catherine Jones, Associate Professor, History
20. Christine King, Lecturer, Kresge & Porter Colleges
21. Leslie Lopez, Continuing Lecturer, Community Studies and Oakes College
22. Boreth Ly, Associate Professor, HAVC
23. Christie McCullen, Lecturer, Sociology & Oakes College
24. Hillary Angelo, Assistant Professor, Sociology
25. Edmund Burke III, Research Professor of History Emeritus
26. Deborah Gould, Associate Professor, Sociology
27. David H Anthony, Associate Professor, History
28. David Brundage, Professor, History
29. Edward Kehler, Lecturer, History & Stevenson College
30. Regina Day Langhout, Professor, Psychology
31. Vanita Seth, Associate Professor, Politics
32. Ben Leeds Carson, Associate Professor of Music and Kresge College Provost
33. Alma Heckman, Assistant Professor, History
34. Jody Greene, Professor of Literature and Associate Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning
35. Chris Chen, Assistant Professor, Literature
36. Fernando Leiva, Associate Professor, Latin American & Latino Studies
37. Daniel L. Selden, Professor of Literature
38. Megan McDrew, Lecturer, Sociology
39. Amanda M. Smith, Assistant Professor, Literature
40. Sylvanna M. Falcón, Associate Professor, Latin American & Latino Studies
41. Eric Porter, Professor, History of Consciousness, History, and CRES
42. T. J. Demos, Professor, History of Art and Visual Culture
43. Nicolas Davidenko, Associate Professor, Psychology
44. Shelly Grabe, Professor, Psychology
45. Zac Zimmer, Assistant Professor, Literature
46. Irene Gustafson, Associate Professor, Film and Digital Media
47. Jason Samaha, assistant professor, psychology.
48. Martin Devecka, Assistant Professor, Literature
49. Heather Bullock, Professor, Psychology
50. Margarita Azmitia, Professor, Psychology
51. Jeff Erbig, Assistant Professor, Latin American & Latino Studies
52. Jackie Gehring, Associate Teaching Professor, Politics and Legal Studies
53. Kyle Parry, Assistant Professor, History of Art and Visual Culture
54. Marcia Ochoa, Associate Professor, Feminist Studies and Interim Provost of Oakes College
55. Carla Freccero, Distinguished Professor, Literature & History of Consciousness
56. Amy Mihyang Ginther, Assistant Professor, Theater Arts
57. A.M. Darke, Assistant Professor, Digital Arts and New Media, Games and Playable Media
58. Anjuli Verma, Assistant Professor, Politics Department & Legal Studies Program
59. Dard Neuman, Associate Professor, Music
60. Maureen Callanan, Professor, Psychology
61. Karlton Hester, Professor, Music
62. A.Laurie Palmer, Professor, Art
63. Felicity Amaya Schaeffer, Feminist Studies and CRES
64. Julie Guthman, Professor of Social Sciences and Community Studies Program
65. Rob Wilson, Professor, Literature
66. Cynthia Lewis, Professor, Education
67. Madhavi Murty, Assistant Professor, Feminist Studies
68. Juned Shaikh, Assistant Professor, History
69. Carolyn Dean, Professor, History of Art & Visual Culture
70. Warren Sack, Professor, Film & Digital Media
71. Amy Lonetree, Associate Professor, History
72. Amy Beal, Professor, Music
73. Dee Hibbert-Jones, Professor, Art
74. Ron Glass, Professor, Education
75. Phillip Hammack, Professor and Chair, Psychology
76. Noriko Aso, Associate Professor, History
77. Christina Ravelo, Professor and Chair, Ocean Sciences
78. Larry Polansky, Emeritus Professor, Music
79. Russell C. Rodríguez, Assistant Professor, Music
80. Kent Eaton, Professor and Chair, Politics
81. Sara Niedzwiecki, Assistant Professor, Politics
82. Vilashini Cooppan, Professor, Literature
83. Lindsey Dillon, Assistant Professor, Sociology
84. Donna Haraway, Distinguished Professor Emerita, History of Consciousness
85. Elizabeth Stephens, Professor of Art lee valley
86. Marcelo D. Viana Neto, Visiting Assistant Professor, Art & Design: Games and Playable Media
87. Elisabeth Cameron, Professor, HAVC
88. Anjali Arondekar, Associate Professor, Feminist Studies
89. Saskias Casanova, Assistant Professor, Psychology
90. Kim Cardilla, Lecturer, Psychology
91. Susan Strome, Distinguished Professor & Chair of MCD Biology
92. Mark Anderson, Associate Professor, Anthropology
93. Elliot Anderson, Associate Professor, Art
94. Martha Zúñiga, Professor, MCD Biology
95. Miriam Greenberg, Professor, Sociology
96. Massimiliano Tomba, History of Consciousness
97. Nathaniel Deutsch, Professor, History
98. Andrew Mathews, Anthropology
99. Jerry Zee, Assistant Professor, Anthropology
100. Lars Fehren-Schmitz, Associate Professor of Anthropology
101. Mayanthi Fernando, Associate Professor of Anthropology
102. Jon Daehnke, Associate Professor, Anthropology
103. Matt O’Hara, Professor, History
104. Jeremy Lee, Teaching Professor, MCD Biology
105. Lindsay Hinck, Professor, MCD Biology
106. Peter Weiss, Continuing Lecturer, Chemistry and Biochemistry
107. James Clifford, Professor Emeritus, History of Consciousness
108. Alan Kawamoto, Professor, Psychology
109. Don Brenneis, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Anthropology
110. Mathis Hain, Assistant Professor, Earth and Planetary Sciences
111. Nirvikar Singh, Distinguished Professor of Economics
112. Nidhi Mahajan, Assistant Professor, Anthropology
113. Anna Friz, Assistant Professor, Film & Digital Media
114. Nina Treadwell, Professor, Music
115. Catherine Ramírez, Associate Professor, Latin American & Latino Studies
116. Flora Lu, Professor of Environmental Studies
117. Barbara Rogoff, UCSC Foundation Distinguished Professor of Psychology
118. Campbell Leaper, Professor, Psychology
119. Chris Benner, Professor, Environmental Studies and Sociology, Dorothy E. Everett Chair of Global Information and Social Entrepreneurship.
120. Tanya Merchant, Associate Professor, Music
121. Julie Bettie, Associate Professor, Sociology
122. Eva Bertram, Associate Professor, Politics
123. Robert Majzler, Lecturer, Psychology and College 10
124. Abel Rodriguez, Professor, Statistics
125. Kevin MacClaren, Lecturer, Stevenson College
126. Lindsey Kuper, Assistant Professor, Computer Science and Engineering
127. Owen Arden, Assistant Professor, Computer Science and Engineering
128. micha cárdenas, Assistant Professor, Art and Design: Games and Playable Media, Critical Race and Ethnic Studies
129. Noah Wardrip-Fruin, Professor, Computational Media
130. Benjamin Storm, Associate Professor, Psychology
131. Noel Smyth, Lecturer, History
132. Karen Bassi, Professor, Literature and Classics
133. Alice Yang, Associate Professor, History & CRES and Stevenson Provost
134. Eileen Zurbriggen, Professor, Psychology
135. Manuel Ares, Jr. Distinguished Research Professor, MCD Biology
136. Joshua Arribere, Assistant Professor, MCD Biology
137. Sheeva Sabati, Lecturer, Feminist Studies, Oakes, Colleges 9/10
138. Micah Perks, Professor, Literature
139. Cynthia Polecritti, Associate Professor, History
140. Upasna Sharma, Assistant Professor, MCD Biology
141. Hiroshi Fukurai, Professor, Sociology and Legal Studies
142. Brij Lunine, Lecturer, Writing
143. Gerald Casel, Associate Professor, Theater Arts
144. Dean Mathiowetz, Associate Professor, Politics
145. Melissa Gwyn, Associate Professor, Art
146. Christopher Connery, Professor, Literature
147. Rebecca Covarrubias, Associate Professor, Psychology
148. Peter Alvaro, Computer Science and Engineering
149. Diane Gifford-Gonzalez, Distinguished Research Professor, Anthropology
150. Elizabeth Beaumont, Associate Professor of Politics and Legal Studies
151. Mark Baker, Continuing Lecturer, Writing Program and Oakes College
152. Bryan Holbrook, Lecturer, Psychology
153. Janette Dinishak, Associate Professor, Philosophy
154. Lisa Rofel, Professor Emeritus and Research Professor, Anthropology
155. Seshadhri Comandur, Associate Professor, Computer Science and Engineering
156. Kirsten Silva Gruesz, Professor and Graduate Director, Literature
157. Dion Farquhar, Continuing Lecturer, Crown College
158. Camilla Hawthorne, Assistant Professor, Sociology
159. Banu Bargu, Associate Professor, History of Consciousness
160. Caren Camblin, Continuing Lecturer, Stevenson College & College Ten
161. Ronnie D. Lipschutz, Professor of Politics
162. Susan Gillman, Distinguished Professor of Literature
163. Kiva Silver, Continuing Lecturer, Stevenson, Writing & History
164. Ellen Newberry, Continuing Lecturer, Writing Program
165. Sandy Archimedes, Continuing Lecturer, Writing Program
166. Luca de Alfaro, Professor, Computer Science and Engineering
167. Zeb Rifaqat, lecturer, Stevenson College
168. Erica Halk, Continuing Lecturer, Writing Program
169. Patty Gallagher, Professor, Theater Arts
170. Phokion G. Kolaitis, Distinguished Professor, Computer Science and Engineering
171. Martine Schlag, Professor and Chair, Computer Science and Engineering
172. Megan Moodie, Associate Professor, Anthropology
173. Gabriela Arredondo, Associate Professor, Latin American & Latino Studies
174. Judith Scott, Professor, Education
175. James Davis, Professor, Computer Science and Engineering
176. Katia Obraczka, Professor, Computer Science and Engineering
177. Maywa Montenegro, Assistant Professor, Environmental Studies
178. Constance Rockosi, Professor and Co-Chair, Astronomy and Astrophysics
179. Sarah-Hope Parmeter, Lecturer in Writing
180. Robin King, Continuing Lecturer, Writing Program and Oakes College
181. Jeremy Gauger, Lecturer, Kresge College
182. Alan Christy, Associate Professor, History and Provost of Cowell College
183. Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz, Professor, Astronomy and Astrophysics
184. Nico Orlandi, Associate Professor, Philosophy
185. Raja GuhaThakurta, Professor and Co-Chair, Astronomy and Astrophysics
186. Ruth Murray-Clay, Associate Professor, Astronomy and Astrophysics
187. Megan McNamara, Lecturer, Sociology
188. Nameera Akhtar, Professor, Psychology
189. Maria Elena Diaz, Assoc Prof. History Dept.
190. George Bunch, Professor, Education
191. Robbie Kubala, Assistant Professor, Philosophy
192. Enrique Martinez Leal, Assistant Professor, Art Department
193. Patricia Pinho, Associate Professor, Latin American & Latino Studies
194. Maya Peterson, Associate Professor, History
195. Jenny Reardon, Professor, Sociology
196. Nicol Hammond, Assistant Professor, Music
197. Emily Honig
198. Noah Finnegan, Professor, Earth and Planetary Sciences
199. Claudie Beaulieu, Assistant Professor, Ocean Sciences
200. Andy Skemer, Associate Professor, Astronomy & Astrophysics
201. Melanie Springer, Associate Professor, Politics
202. Judith Aissen, Professor Emerita, Linguistics
203. Mark Nash, Professor, Arts
204. Isaac Julien, Distinguished Professor, Arts
205. Jennifer Derr, Associate Professor of History
206. Juan Poblete, Professor, Literature
207. Greg O’Malley, Associate Professor, History
208. Robert Boltje, Professor of Mathematics
209. Jeremy Hourigan, Associate Professor, Earth and Planetary Sciences
210. Camilo Gómez-Rivas, associate professor, Literature
211. Alex Pang, Professor, Computer Science and Engineering
212. Faisal Nawab, Assistant Professor, Computer Science and Engineering
213. Catherine Carlstroem, Lecturer in Humanities
214. Ronaldo V. Wilson, Professor, Literature and Creative Writing, and CRES
215. Hinrich Boeger, Professor of Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology
216. Heiner Litz, Assistant Professor, Computer Science and Engineering

Below is a copy of the form referred to above:
Notification of class and section disruption
Students who wish to notify the campus about a class or section disruption are able to do so with this form. The form can be used multiple times.

Your email address (ucsc e-mail address is automatically inserted here) will be recorded when you submit this form. Not you? Switch account

What class would you like to provide information about (e.g., MATH 1)?

Did this disruption concern....
o   Primary Lecture or Seminar
o   Required Section, Laboratory, or Studio
o   Optional Section, Laboratory, or Studio
o   Office Hours

What type of disruption occurred?
o   Cancelled
o   Moved to an alternative location or delivery method
o   Held, but the topic was not as described in the syllabus
o   Examination or major assignment cancelled
o   Grades withheld
o   Other:

What day did the disruption happen?

What was the scheduled meeting time?

Who was the teaching assistant or instructor?

Please provide any additional comments, including letting us know if you need additional support so that we can connect you with resources.

Posted by Michael Meranze | Comments: 0

Friday, February 7, 2020

Friday, February 7, 2020

Gavin Newsom took an axe
And gave the budget 40 whacks.

When they saw what he had done
The Board of Regents praised the sun.

Student support all cut out
Diverse publics? Funds in doubt.

The state brought shortfalls far and wide

More degrees? 200,000!
More state funds?  You'll do without them!

Note that UCOP in its wisdom
Said poor kids need high tuition

Though low tuition made more sense
 Such proposals brought offense

Fixing buildings - $20 billion!
The state might give you $50 million

More doctorates! we thought you cared
Yes but no, your costs aren't shared

State income's rising, that's quite true
Lots of growth, just not for you.

Posted by Chris Newfield | Comments: 5

Monday, February 3, 2020

Monday, February 3, 2020
Chris here: you may remember that in May 2019, UCSF was pressured into suspending its negotiations to form an umbrella partnership with Dignity Health, where medical care is limited by the Ethical and Religious Directives and other teachings of the Catholic Church.  UC officials pulled together a task force to study / reopen the issue, which produced a report in record time, yielding a split decision, with an administrative majority favoring expanding affiliations with Dignity Health. 

This letter, co-authored by one of the faculty members of the task force, Vanessa Jacoby, has informational links and a request to support Option 2, no affiliations with Dignity Health and similar health care providers, by sending a public comment to the UC Regents.
Dear Colleagues and Community, 

This week, the University of California (UC) released a report with request for public comments (sample text below) that considers whether UC should affiliate with religious hospitals that prohibit basic reproductive health services for women and LGBT people.

The report describes OPTION 1, supported by UC Health, in which UC would expand affiliations with restrictive religious hospitals and OPTION 2, which we support, that prevents UC from affiliating with entities that discriminate against women and LGBT people by prohibiting  contraception, abortion, assisted reproductive technology (eg IVF), and gender-affirming surgery for transgender people as outlined in this LA Times article and this letter to UC President Napolitano. Also consider UCI Law Prof. Goodwin’s assertion that it is illegal for UC to restrict care based on religious directives.

The UC Regents will take up this matter in May, but first they need to hear from you! Please post a public comment by February 21 (sample text below) to tell the Regents that you support OPTION 2 because UC doctors, nurses, and patients must not be subject to religious restrictions that deny women and LGBT people essential care. Share your story and why this issue is important to you.

Thank you for your engagement and support of our core UC values,

Vanessa Jacoby, MD, Lori Freedman, PhD, Dan Grossman, MD, Jody Steinauer, MD, PhD

Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences
University of California, San Francisco
Posted by Chris Newfield | Comments: 3

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Saturday, January 25, 2020
In recent weeks, supporters of Prime Minister Modi's government have increased attacks (both physical and verbal) against secular institutions of higher education in India--particularly in response to protests against the passage of a new citizenship law that is discriminatory against Muslims.  You can find a first person account at Academe and further coverage here.

In January, the Executive Council of the MLA issued a statement in protest of the violence against students and teachers.   You can find the link here.  I am also posting the Statement itself:

In January 2020, the Executive Council approved the following statement.
We condemn the physical assaults on students and teachers in India, most recently at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Jamia Millia Islamia University, and Aligarh Muslim University, and the continued violence against students and members of the press, the opposition, and the public, who exercise their rights of assembly and dissent in opposing the national Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). These protests question new steps that allow state discrimination against citizens purely on the basis of religion and thus contravene India's own constitutional commitment to secularism. The Indian government is advancing Hindutva (the idea that Hindus are united in a Hindu nation-state that privileges Hindus) while legitimizing discrimination against other denominations, fanning polarizing rhetoric in public discourse, and setting the stage for confrontation and violence that plays out on campuses and affects academic life. The CAA establishes expedited pathways to citizenship for Hindu, Sikh, Zoroastrian, Buddhist, and Christian (but not Muslim) refugees. It also excludes a range of refugees from Myanmar, Bhutan, China, and Sri Lanka. The act, which represents an escalation of Hindu nationalism, simultaneously and exclusively casts "Muslim" states as perpetrators of violence against minorities and does not recognize Muslim groups as victims of state violence on a par with those of other religions seeking asylum and, ultimately, citizenship. The Indian government has responded to protests against the act with unprecedented violence on campuses and in the public sphere and routinely criminalizes the assembly of five or more people in order to sanction its brutality in suppressing the protests.
We urge India, a signatory and drafting member of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, to consider the declaration's basic tenets, which the passing and implementation of CAA appear to violate (in particular, articles 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 14, 18, 19, 20 [1]).  We urge the government to honor the rights of assembly and dissent, to protect academic freedom, to protect teachers and students in its educational institutions against violence on campus, and to create stable conditions for open dialogue on any proposed changes in the university and on state policy, citizenship, immigration, and assembly. We urge the government to take immediate action to penalize the perpetrators of violence against students. We urge the government to give ownership of, and jurisdiction over, university curricula, research, and institutional positions to the faculty and to safeguard the basic rights of students and faculty members to pursue their educational goals without suffering violence, poverty, and the loss of life. We condemn, unequivocally, and call for the immediate cessation of sanctioned violence on campus in India and the assault on the democratic principles of equality, freedom, and the right to espouse viewpoints without fear of reprisal. 

Posted by Michael Meranze | Comments: 1

Monday, January 13, 2020

Monday, January 13, 2020
By Eric Hays (CUCFA)

Governor Gavin Newson presented his 2020-21 state budget proposal last Friday. The full budget summary is here; the detailed budget for higher ed can be found here.

UC Board of Regents Chair John Pérez and UC President Janet Napolitano quickly put out a statement wherein they essentially thanked the Governor for his generosity. The concluding sentence is “UC appreciates the governor’s strong continued support of higher education and looks forward to our ongoing partnership.”

While there is something to be said for the politics of maybe getting more of what you want by being polite rather than by being rude, I think there is real harm in UC making such a public statement as it probably gives the public the idea that UC is being generously funded by the state while that is absolutely not true. And this proposed budget, should it pass, will simply make things worse.

Let me start by pointing out that California public universities are provided less funding per student than any state except Florida (see the "Total Education Revenue per FTE" data).

Governor Newsom can, and did, at the his budget release press conference point to a 5.8% increase in general fund base support for UC to try to make this budget proposal look generous, but that ignores so many things.  The first point to make about the increase in funding to UC is that this is a 5.8% increase only if you just look at the general fund base budget. In past budget years, the state has provided UC with substantial one time funds. This year there is substantially less one time funding. So, when you look at total state funding of UC, base plus one-time moneys, the overall increase to UC is actually 1.3% in 2020-21 relative to 2019-20. This compares to a 3.5% increase in state revenue overall,and a 2.2% average increase in state spending across all departments,
indicating that UC is not a priority in this budget.

To be fair, the table on page 25 of the budget summary link above shows that, at the macro scale of looking just at the grossest division of expenditures in the state budget, Governor Newsom is proposing cutting spending to almost every program in state government except Health and Human Services, which gets a 13% increase, K-12, which gets a 1.6% increase, and Higher Education, which gets a 0.1% increase.  

Public higher education, and UC specifically, then are getting a small increase in funding, but such a small increase will likely be completely countered by inflation.  More importantly, while funding is growing modestly, enrollment is growing quickly. University wide headcount grew from about 200,000 in 2015 to 222,493 in 2018.  State funding for UC would have to grow at least as fast as enrollment is growing if we were just to maintain the current funding per student (and remember, California is 49th of 50 states on this metric), and this low rate of growth in funding to UC is just not going to do it.

What's more, the budget numbers above don't consider big portions of UC's budget that the state has basically walked away from since the recession: namely paying for UC's pension and paying for facilities.

The state used to pay pension costs for UC's state paid employees. But, after the contribution holiday (when the UC Retirement System was more than fully funded such that neither employer nor employee had to make contributions into it for nearly 20 years) ended in 2010, the state refused to restart their employer contributions to UCRS. Note that the state continues to pay its share of retirement contributions for other state employees, such as faculty at CSU. As 
UC's 2019-20 budget proposal indicates, the state has shorted the UC Retirement System a total of about $3 billion since contributions restarted in 2010. (160)

Newsom's budget last year included a $3 billion supplemental pension payment to pay unfunded liabilities of the CalPERS retirement plan over fiscal years 2018-19 through 2022-23 plus $2.9 billion for CalSTRS (the K-12 teachers’ pension) to pay unfunded liabilities over the same period. Although at one point debated, in the end there was no similar debt relief for UCRS in last year's budget. This year's budget proposes accelerating the payout to CalPERS so that the 2020-21 through 2022-23 moneys would be paid in 2019-20 -- but still no money for UCRS.

For facilities, the state is short $20 billion in education and general facilities capital funding for UC -- the buildings and other infrastructure that UC needs for its core mission of teaching and research (about 1/4 of which is seismic repairs and upgrades, 1/4 is repairs and replacement of aging plant, and half is needed for expansion of educational programs caused by past and ongoing rapid enrollment growth).
The bottom line is that California public universities have long had to do more with less, causing real long term damage, and this budget proposal is not going to change that.

Posted by Michael Meranze | Comments: 0

Friday, January 10, 2020

Friday, January 10, 2020
Earlier this week, the AAUP issued a new statement entitled In Defense of Knowledge and Higher Education.   In it, the AAUP offers both a defense of the importance of knowledge opposed to opinion and a critique of the growing efforts to undermine the authority of scholars and expertise.  It helps clarify the relationship between Academic Freedom and Free Speech and marks the importance of defending the ongoing collective work of scholarly and academic communities.  As it concludes:

In 1915 the founders of the AAUP characterized the university as “an inviolable refuge” from the “tyranny of public opinion,” as “an intellectual experiment station, where new ideas may germinate,” but also as “the conservator of all genuine elements of value in the past thought and life of mankind which are not in the fashion of the moment.” On that basis they asserted “not the absolute freedom of utterance of the individual scholar, but the absolute freedom of thought, of inquiry, of discussion and of teaching, of the academic profession.”21 They pledged, as do we, to safeguard freedom of inquiry and of teaching against both covert and overt attacks and to guarantee the long-established practices and principles that define the production of knowledge.
It is up to those who value knowledge to take a stand in the face of those who would assault it, to convey to a broad public the dangers that await us—as individuals and as a society—should that pledge be abandoned.
I urge everyone to read and share it.

Posted by Michael Meranze | Comments: 1

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Tuesday, November 12, 2019
The short answer seems to be yes.  At least one large campus is in and out of negative, two other big ones are heading towards it, and the state of the rest is unknown.   All of these have been prize pupils of revenue diversification--going into every kind of private alternative to state funding they can find.  How is this working out for them?  This is a question the UC Regents should consider when they meet this week, as they ponder the main budget request that UCOP has put together, and its apparently large 7.5 percent increase from the state.

UC Berkeley had struggled for years with reorganizations and other deals that didn't pan out as expected (e.g. Operation Excellence and its aftermath). In late 2013, then-VC for Administration and Finance John Wilton announced that Berkeley's "current path is financially unsustainable" (page 2), and said that only prudent preparation (aka building reserves) had prevented the campus from already being in deficit.  In early 2016, that deficit officially surfaced, prompting layoffs and other measures to get rid of it, as well as a one-time campus earmark of $25 million from the legislature for 2018-19.

Berkeley appeared to have stopped losing money on operations in FY 2018. In September 2019, the chancellor claimed the deficit was gone, crediting alternative revenue streams.  But current information suggests the campus has gone right back into deficit again. It projects a $43 million deficit for 2019-20, or a swing of $128 million from last year's surplus (slide 7).

Onward: here's UCLA's Budget Discussion for 2018-19.  Slide 7 contrasts the revenues the campus controls (yellow range) with those it doesn't (blue), comparing years at the beginning and the end of the period.

Ten years on from the last pre-cuts year of 2007-08, UCLA is still down $200 million in state funding.  It made up a lot of that with triple tuition from non-resident students (this is a gross, not a net).  It grew other tuition funds by taking more students.  (This is a more expensive way to grow revenues than charging the same student body more, since you also raise your costs.) UCLA expanded Self-Supporting Degree Programs (SSDPs) aggressively, and the revenues reflect another triple-tuition strategy in which you charge three times as much for what you hope are programs already in the can on the state side so you don't have to invent new things and staff up.  And UCLA is also investing various kinds of unspent funds.

It's worth noting a few visible weaknesses: tuition loses 1/3rd off the top for financial aid, which state funding does not. (Non-resident tuition now has a 10 percent contribution for return-to-aid.)  So $526 million gross tuition (excluding SSDPs) is actually $351 million net. Were SSDPs bringing in free money (more on that later), they would add about 6% of new funding to the core budget after 10 years of growth.   The reasonable idea is that you put together a lot of smaller private revenue solutions and they add up to enough to make up for lost public funds.

UCLA has worked its buns off, and  Slide 9 shows the reward.
The reward is to run an operating deficit of 21 percent of core funds by 2023.

Note that UCLA proposes to cut this projected deficit in half by positing no pension increases and expanding teaching revenues with no new staff of any kind.  Neither of these assumptions hold up.  Even if they did, UCLA would still run an 11 percent deficit on its core.

There's also UCSD-- a poster child of corporate-friendly non-state revenue growth.  But after years of hustle, it too faces an operating deficit, though smaller, growing to 4 percent of its $1.5 billion core budget ($58.3 million) in 2022-23.  This slide is courtesy of Mohamed al Elew in his thorough Triton treatment of the issue.

These three are best-case UC campuses in different ways.  All the system's campuses have distinct mixtures of resources and liabilities.  For example, UCOP has been insisting that UC Riverside mostly self-fund its start-up medical school, creating hardships for other academic programs that it now acknowledges (page 13).  Whatever their local situation, all of the campuses have been scrambling to find non-public revenues, and they have been enthusiastic and generally done well.  So why these deficit troubles?  And will next year's overall system budget, even if passed, really help?

Not so much, because of structural issues.  Turning now to systemwide materials prepared for the Board of Regents meetings this week, we can see that 4 big problems are not being addressed.

1. First is instructional revenues.  UCOP calculates that per-student funds available for instruction are about 20 percent below their 2000-01 level and still under their 2005-06 level (reduced by a second round of cuts--see Display 5).  We're jaded about the cuts in state funding (still down 24 percent at UCLA below their 2007-08 level, for example [slide 8]).  But these overall shortfalls should shock people because the figures include gross tuition and tuition paid by Cal Grants.  Tuition  revenues were supposed to have rescued our budgets: I assume state leaders, including the one now chairing the Board of Regents, still believe it.  But tuition hasn't rescued overall revenues.

2. There are also research costs. Research is essential and also expensive, and costs the host university money out of pocket to perform.  In FY 2015, Berkeley spent $174 million, UCLA spent $213 million, and UCSD spent $186 million of institutional funds to support it.  UCOP is still unable to talk about these major costs that governments and corporations ignore, or explain to the state that research is (a) the most important core function of the University of California and (b) a cost rather than a profit center. Campuses will continue to need to cover a share of research expenditures (22 percent at UC Berkeley, 21 percent at UCLA, 17 percent at UCSD).  The state and other research sponsors are going to have to fund these eventually, or we'll risk permanent deficits.

3. Pension contributions.  Ten years ago, neither employees nor UC paid into the pension fund.  Now both do.  UCOP estimates that $400 million a year of operating funds go toward these costs across the system. Total resources have to be discounted by that amount.

4. Facilities and maintenance.  While it was cutting back on everything else, the state also stopped floating bonds to pay for new construction or paying to cover deferred maintenance.  Both have degraded teaching and research conditions all over the system. The state's response to complaints was to pass legislation (AB 94, 2013) to allow UC to use operating money on capital projects. This made  the shortage of operating funds even worse.

UCOP is now proposing a major new construction program, as well as one-time deferred maintenance funding.   More remarkable images ensued.

UC has a capital need of $52 billion. Half of that has no funding source.  Display 2 shows that most of the unfunded capital need is on the campuses.  Educational activities can't fund their buildings and maintenance, while the businesses can--which is a fact of life that policymakers should face.

If we use the category loosely to include seismic and life safety issues, UC has a $14 billion deferred maintenance issue.  In recent years, campuses have had nearly nothing to spend on it.  I learned from one campus that it covers such a small fraction of its actual maintenance backlog each year that it would have to double its expenditures to catch up with its 2019 maintenance backlog by the year 2119.

There are plenty of related charts to enjoy, but you see the drift.  UC will never recover, not ever, unless it can get the state to fund solutions that match the scale of the problem.  There are no alternative revenue streams that can do this.

To stick with the last two problems I've noted: the state should provide the $2 billion it saved during the pension contribution holiday to UCRP,  in a multi-year funding plan it works out withe UCOP.  And the campuses maintenance problem needs a $14 billion general obligation bond issue.   The "alternative revenue streams' model has dug quite a hole. Let's admit how deep it is so we can eventually climb out of it.
Posted by Chris Newfield | Comments: 1

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Wednesday, October 30, 2019
Each of the fifty states supports a public research university of some kind, and yet many legislators act as though they don't know what research is or that the state needs to help pay for it.  Or so UC officials are saying again about California's legislature. We are supposedly a world leading knowledge economy and yet, UC leaders claim, the legislature doesn't want to hear about funding UC research.  "Most of them graduated from Cal State," it is explained, though of course Cal State faculty also do research.  I first heard this statement from UC's longtime VP for Budget Larry Hershman, a Sacramento veteran if we ever had one.  That was 2002.  We seem to have made little progress in the intervening 17 years.

Research is a joint product of faculty, staff, and (mostly doctoral) students.  But for various reasons, it has to be designed and led, and in non-STEM fields, largely performed by, tenure-track (TT) faculty.  Contingent faculty teach too many courses, don't have research facilities or funding, and don't get paid enough to do more than the most basic self-funding of scholarship.  Research universities need high shares of TT faculty or they can't conduct research.

In its 2018 Accountability Report, UCOP reported that 76 percent of faculty are tenure-track, which is a proportion that academia overall hasn't seen since the 1970s (Indicator 5.1.1).  That's a good thing.

Another is that most of the campus's non-tenure track (NTT) faculty are Lecturers, and a share of those have Security of Employment (SOE).  Lecturers without SOE are represented employees at UC, and have contracts along with a complement of health and retirement benefits.  They have high teaching loads (around 8 quarter-courses per year in fields where  TT (what UC calls "ladder") faculty teach 4-5 per year). They are not expected to conduct research (though in my experience most do).  (There are issues with UC personnel counts that may hide many adjuncts in the lecturer figures, and represented lecturers are in protracted negotiations with the University--please write if I have missed a leaden lining in this partially sunlit cloud.)

You can see that UC did pretty well at limiting adjunct hiring through the 2002-05 budget cuts.  That's partly because it can use graduate students as contingent instructors (another feature of the research university). Also, with 5 going on 6 medical centers, it has many other series of NTT faculty. The chart below was last seen in the 2010 Accountability Report.

That turquoise band of adjunct faculty grows, and yet stays fairly small, particularly in comparison with lecturers.

Here's another expression of the same trends, from 2014

Again, I don't swear by UCOP's definition of "Ladder Rank and Equivalent," but even taken with a large grain of salt it's a relatively good number.

Arts and Humanities faculty numbers have also held up fairly well.  There's a reason for this. While the number of majors has declined (see Ben Schmidt's gory details), the number of enrollments (or Student Credit Hours) has been stable.  (STEM field enrollments have grown, however, so the humanities enrollment share has also declined).   This chart, also from 2014, covers two multi-year cuts cycles (2002-05 and 2008-2012).  The main change across these 15 years seems to be that some Arts and Humanities faculty shifted into Social Sciences and Psychology.

Why, then, is the humanities job market so terrible?  Why do we have an entire "death of the humanities" genre like Eva Cherniavsky's valuable "Brave New STEM University?"

The first and most important reason is that the University of California, in spite of significant labor problems, is a kind of best-case scenario for low percentages of contingent faculty. It is completely atypical. 

Another issue becomes visible when UCOP started to express Faculty by Discipline somewhat differently in 2017.

Ignore the middle pair of bars, which are mostly med center employees, and also the jarring change of color scheme.  The right-hand pair are shares of Lecturers by field (I assume, very crudely, true adjuncts are excluded here).  Not only has Arts and Humanities Lecturer hiring held up during this decade of cuts and only partial recovery: these fields dominate Lecturer hiring (1404 of 3683 total positions).

But here's a final chart, this from 2019.  It shows Arts and Humanities to be unlike any other set of UC disciplines.
Adjunct numbers are still small.  But Arts and Humanities is the only set of UC non-medical disciplines that is about half non-ladder faculty.   In other words, though UC is a kind of best-case public university in terms of its high share of faculty that are on the tenure track, it has a two-tier faculty in Arts and Humanities.  It has had these two tiers for a long time.

The Accountability Report states that this is because these fields do so much teaching in small groups, by which they must mean writing, acting, music, and studio art courses.  That is indeed the historical rationale, and also one that continues to circulate.  Given their budgets, administrators at public universities don't see any other way of staffing small scale courses in anything, including arts, language, music, or writing classes. Also, there are coherent uses of expert "professors of the practice," like an experienced theater director or insurance actuary who teaches a course or two on campus to bring practical experience into the classroom.  Novelists and poets are often hired in this way, and many want to teach only part time.

At the same time, private universities are always boasting of the high share of senior tenured faculty in small courses. Small courses support active learning and are generally more intense intellectually. They are good at speeding up the academic development of all students.  Any small course, whether fourth-year Persian or advanced flute or programming for artists, would benefit from being taught as a "research learning" course, by someone who is an active researcher in the field.  I see budgetary rationales to use NTT faculty in small courses, but not educational ones. 

I'm concerned in this post with how Arts and Humanities' unusually high share of non-ladder faculty  affects research.  US academic research funding is hurting, and its Arts and Humanities fields get about 1 percent of national research funding.  This on its face assigns third-class status to history, philosophy, the various studies of human expression, and most of the study of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and other determinant aspects of socio-cultural life.  However, research universities use salaries to support research, so that a 4-5 course teaching rotation leaves a third of the working week for their research.  (This assumes a 60+ hour workweek, but I leave that aside.)  Here's the problem: if half of UC's Arts and Humanities faculty are actually lecturers, then this major research university is not paying half this faculty to do any research at all.

This employment structure obviously reinforces the job market crisis.  Leaving aside the parallel crisis in STEM, the employment of Arts and Humanities research faculty cannot recover if only half are hired to do research at one of the country's leading and largest research university systems.  I'll briefly extrapolate from Jonathan Kramnick's useful analysis in the Chronicle of Higher Education not long ago. Kramnick compared 1995-1998 to 2015-18, and found that tenure-track jobs have fallen from 2/3rds to just under 1/2 of those advertised.   (Still less overall literature and language hiring TT, since so much NTT hiring is local and thus not in the MLA's national job list.)  Nearly half of the list's hiring is in writing (composition and creative writing came to 44% of 2015-18 jobs).   This means that nearly half of the nationally advertised hiring in literature and languages occurs in the areas that our best-case public university assigns largely to lecturers, who are paid to teach rather than to do research.

UC has largely avoided the worst of the adjuncting crisis.  But it has done this by making its numerically largest faculty only 1/2 research-intensive.  This certainly could be fixed, but not without a funding model that supports lower student:faculty ratios and more research faculty.  The current model created a two-tier Arts and Humanities teaching force, which suppresses research output while encouraging rampant adjuncting in less prosperous and less unionized institutions.  If we want to expand research in the Arts and Humanities, senior managers, arts and humanities deans, directors of humanities centers, and above all numbers of TT faculty will need to push, as we never have before, for a budget model that fully funds research.

Posted by Chris Newfield | Comments: 0

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Sunday, September 29, 2019
After UC president Janet Napolitano announced her resignation, effective August 2020, the prospect of searching awoke a quotient of dread. "The Regents will pick," one Senate elder told me.  "They won't listen to us. They don't care what we think."  The idea here is that a small group of uber-regents will pop out another person whose remoteness from educational functions and faculty they will deem a virtue.  This has become a national trend: secretive searches that look for a chief executive who will preside over the university rather than develop it from within, and reflect the interests of the governing board ahead of those of the university's multiple constituencies.  Examples include presidential searches in South Carolina and Colorado this past spring.  The conflict is also present at UC (see this post for national as well as local background). 

But the UC Regents do have a formal search process.  Called Regents Policy 7101, it requires a number of steps.

The first is that the Board Chair forms a Special Committee comprised of six Regents and other ex officio members (paragraph 1).  The membership of the new Special Committee is posted here.

The Chair of the Special Committee then "consults with the full Board of Regents at the beginning of the search for the purpose of reviewing the relevancy of the criteria to be considered and approved by the Board of Regents and discussing potential candidates (paragraph 4). During the search, "all Regents will be invited to all meetings with all constituencies."  The Regents then make the final appointment, although Policy 7101 does not specify whether the full Board votes or how that vote proceeds.

The important features here are (1) the Board retains exclusive decision rights over the selection of the president and (2) every member of the Board has equal access to the meetings that constitute the search.  The Policy protects the rights of regents whom the Chair does not appoint to the Special Committee--the process is not to be controlled by the Board Chair's Special Committee or a small group of allied Regents--and affirms the Board's sovereignty over the search.

But there is also (3): in between the beginning and the end of the Policy comes a potentially huge and dynamic systemwide consultation process conjured in luxuriant description.

B. The Chair of the Special Committee will invite the Academic Council to appoint an Academic Advisory Committee, composed of not more than thirteen members, including the Chair of the Academic Council and at least one representative of each of the ten campuses, to assist the Special Committee in screening candidates.
C. The Special Committee will consult broadly with constituent groups of the University, including the Academic Advisory Committee appointed by the Academic Council, Chancellors, Laboratory Directors, Vice Presidents, students, staff, and alumni. To facilitate consultation, there shall be appointed advisory committees, each with no more than twelve members, of students, staff, and alumni. The student advisory committee shall be appointed by the Presidents of the graduate and undergraduate student associations and shall include at least one student from each campus. The staff advisory committee shall be appointed by the Chair of the Council of UC Staff Assemblies and shall include at least one staff member from each campus. The alumni advisory committee shall be appointed by the President of the Alumni Associations of the University of California and shall include at least one alumna or alumnus from each campus. Such consultation will be for the purpose of (1) reviewing the relevancy of the criteria approved by the Board of Regents and (2) presenting the nominee or nominees to members of the groups at the conclusion of the search.
In classic UC style, the executive decision making body has parallel advisory groups that allows the appearance of consultation but which it can also ignore.  Hence the pessimism of some Senate elders. On the other hand, the advisory committees have a power of self-constitution and also activity.  The only stated rule is a cap on the number of members. The named advisory committees are:
  • Academic Advisory Committee
  • Student Advisory Committee
  • Staff Advisory Committee
  • Alumni Advisory Committee
The Policy puts no limitations on the activities of the committees.  How do these Advisory Committees (ACs) actually influence the Special Committee and the overall Board?

The standard theory is prestige: find the most prominent or trusted insider from each campus and create what management theorist Clayton Christensen likes to call a "heavyweight team."  In the case of the Academic Advisory Committee (AcAC), prestige theory assumes that the regents recognize academic (or senate service-based) prestige and would honor it by adapting their views.  Each heavyweight would be recognized as speaking authoritatively for the (leadership of the) particular campus.

Here's the problem: I know of no evidence that the last three presidential searches have worked this way; the evidence I do have suggests the opposite.  Business culture does not respect academic culture, the class gaps between professors and most regents are too wide, and the key feature of Christensen's heavyweights--decision rights--is stripped from the ACs. 

If this isn't enough to undermine AC leverage, there's also the structural weakness of the committee.  With the AcAC, each campus gets one person to represent its ladder faculty; this committee has a maximum of 13 people for a systemwide ladder faculty of over 11,000 (pdf p 94).   This faculty is divided among 10 campuses, between campuses and medical centers, across all the disciplines, which have diverse needs, and across racial groups, which also have diverse needs.  The idea of one person representing hundreds or thousands of their colleagues makes no epistemological (or political) sense.  It is also a recipe for an incoherent voice coming out of the AcAC, which Senate handpicking of membership can ease only at the price of lost diversity of views.

But the UC advisory committees could affect the presidential search, by using their committees to prompt campus discussions about the presidential search in the context of the immediate future of UC.  All of the Advisory Committees could set up a series of events in which they talk with their constituents on each of 10 campuses.  They listen to hopes and fears, gather ideas about leadership needs, hash them over, and then transmit the resulting comments, recommendations, or demands to the Special Committee.  One faculty member suggested a "UC Day" in which town halls happen across the UC system at the same time. The ACs would have to identify a deadline that would fall before the Special Committee's long-listing and short-listing of candidates such that it (and the Board overall) could fully consider the input.  Each committee could do its work in about 6 weeks--2 campus visits a week (if not all done at once), plus a week to debate, formulate, and forward recommendations.  The scope of the issue is limited and the reports should be short.

Another benefit of using the ACs as a public fulcrum: town halls and other public events would be newsworthy.  Whatever they think of professors, unions, and students, governing boards do care about institutional reputation, media coverage, and what they hear back from VIPs as a result of that.  They also care about the public debates and collective movements that shape public opinion and apply political pressure.  A recent example is the issue of food insecurity and student homelessness.  For years, the Board were told UC financial aid took care of low-income students and they took no action to mitigate student poverty.  Then, sometime after Bernie Sanders put free college on the political map in late 2015, the media started covering student hunger and homelessness.  The UC Regents responded by forming a Special Committee on Basic Needs in late 2018.  The actual results have a long way to go, but the point is that governing boards do respond to public discourse, eventually, academic discourses included.

In short, though UC governance has a top-down 19th century structure, the Regents are most likely listen to faculty, students, alums, and staff under three conditions: their Advisory Committees (A) represent a real constituency brought together by a consultation process that (B) speaks publicly about its views of the University in a way that (C) publicly (re)frames the University's needs for its next president.  The idea is to create an interest, a buzz, an excitement, a university-wide discussion over what we do and don't need, and, more importantly, to construct a constituency which then builds discourses that have an institutional and political existence.  There are no guarantees, but the wager is that the state's media would cover a process in which a university system holds a discussion about its current goals and consequent leadership needs on all ten campuses.   The process would upgrade the level of public discussion about California higher ed both inside and outside the University.

This process would also help locate potential presidents with one vital skill, which is gathering exactly this kind of information from their own institutional grassroots.  This might seem irrelevant to the president's main job of political lobbying, but it is not. Recent history shows that a president without deep knowledge of the university's daily life simply cannot make the statewide case for the University's public benefit and fiscal needs.  UC's advisory committees could set an example of the creation of this kind of profound, inspiring knowledge that the University needs in its next president. 

I do hope the current Academic Senate leadership, Chair Kum-Kum Bhavnani and Vice Chair Mary Gauvain, rapidly set up a systemwide faculty fact-finding and deliberative process via the Academic Advisory Committee, details TBD. UC needs a new president with deep understanding of the University's issues, people, and potential, and the ability to learn directly from them.

Photo credit

Posted by Chris Newfield | Comments: 0