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Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday, July 31, 2009
From CSU Long Beach, an overview of the furlough plan. To view the information, you do have to download the pdfs. It looks like the furloughs will fall on 6 instructional days and 11 staff days. And that there is now precedent for arguing that furlough days at UC should also include instructional days.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thursday, July 30, 2009
The Edge of the American West is an award-winning blog that deals with history, philosophy, and Muppets. You can see for yourself here. However, they have some very troubling evidence (anecdotal evidence?) about First Amendment issues and UC, which might be of interest to our readers. However, the AAUP is taking this seriously, so we'll see.

In light of the troubling anecdote, let me also say that I am in no way writing this blog as a function of my official duties, but as a private citizen who is concerned with the state of higher public education in the United States.
I have received news from my department (Asian Languages & Cultures) that, over the next few days, all state-funded lecturers who teach in the humanities and social sciences at UCLA, as well as a number of lecturers in the sciences, will be receiving layoff notices with an effective date of August 1, 2010. This seems to be a work-around by the administration to procure the maximum amount of flexibility in budget cuts while adhering to the legal requirements in lecturer contracts that a full year's notice in case of termination be afforded.

The Humanities Division at UCLA is emphasizing that it hopes the layoffs can be rescinded, and we all very much hope that this will is true, that this is merely a cautionary step. Still, departments here affected by the new development should prepare for the worst. In Asian Languages, we are trying to increase our summer offerings to offset the budgetary cutbacks and to protect our lecturers. Other departments might want to consider similar steps.
We are committed to equal access to all forms of higher education for the people of the State of California. We support the historic Master Plan’s vision of the UCs as providing the top 1/8 of California’s high school students with a world-class education, to the great benefit of both our students and our state.

We voice our concern that the draconian cuts enacted by the Regents threaten the integrity of that mission—by weakening and/or shrinking our superb institutions and their capacity to serve those students, by necessitating a reduction in in-state admissions in favor of more lucrative out-of-state ones, and by forcing tuition increases at a time of economic hardship and diminishing loan availability.

We deplore those who would use an economic downturn to permanently reduce or divest the state of its commitment to supporting our educational mission, and the mission of all of the state’s public institutions of higher learning—including the Community Colleges and the California State Universities. To damage any part of this system is to jeopardize equal access.

We are alarmed not only at the potential reduction in the availability of a UC degree, but also at its potential depreciation in value for our graduates seeking employment or advanced degrees.

We believe these consequences have not been adequately brought to the public’s attention during the budget debates. Many of these potential consequences will, nonetheless, become reality if we maintain this course, and some may prove to be difficult if not impossible to reverse.

William Marotti
Ra'anan Boustan
Andrea Goldman
Kelly Lytle Hernandez
Peter Stacey
There is a petition here for the UCSB community to sign, demanding that furloughs be used for the purpose of education.
According to this CHE article, the news for public education outside of California isn't very encouraging. Colorado public colleges are looking at a 10% cut, while the Democratic governor of Maryland has cut $37 million from public higher education.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Here is a link to the memorandum of understanding (MOU) from the CSU furlough plan. There are a number of items worth noting.

3a. CSU President has the right to "designate specific furlough days as campus closure days, or partial campus closure days."

3e. The salary reduction "shall be 9.23% of the annual salary.

3h. No more than one furlough day per week.

4b. Part-time employees "shall be subject to furloughs on a pro-rated basis."

5b. "Prior to starting their assignment for any term...Faculty Unit employees shall certify in writing that: i. They will not work on the assigned furlough day; and ii. They will not work beyond the duties assigned for the furlough week.

5d. Furloughs will "have no adverse effect on the eligibility for, and award of, tenure."

6a. Furloughs will not "impact the accrual of vacation and sick leave or the payment" of health benefits.

6b. Furloughs will not affect "compensation levels for the purposes of CalPERS retirement," which will "be based on the unchanged salary rate."

7a. Employees with 100% grant funding/contracts are not subject to furloughs.

7b. Employees partly funded by grants will be pro-rated.
Jeffrey Wasserstrom, a distinguished professor of Chinese history at UC Irvine, makes an argument for how the budget cuts might impact the field of Chinese studies at UC -- and what this means for UC's reputation and standing.
Remember, today from 12 to 1 pm, the UCSB Community Coalition for Option 4 is holding a press conference in the courtyard of the Student Affairs Building.

More information can be found at http://option4.ning.com/.

UPDATE: There is now a video of UCSB graduate student Aaron Jones speaking at the press conference up on the option4 site, as well as photos. Still waiting on an official update.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Many of you may have already seen this, but I thought it was worth reposting the link to CUCFA President Bob Meister's report on the Regents Meeting. Much of what Meister is discussing has to do with the legality of the Regents' actions on J1 and J2. There are a number of interesting points in the report, but let me highlight just one here. Meister notes,

Both General Counsel and President Yudof indirectly conceded CUCFA’s argument that J2 cannot be passed under the authority of J1 (as a declaration of “financial emergency”). Their new theory is that J2 falls under the Regents’ “inherent power” and does not (never did) require the Standing Order amendment in J1. If this is so, all the language in J2 declaring a “financial emergency” is irrelevant this time around. It will become relevant only if the “financial emergency” is renewed under the procedures specified by J1.

Like Meister, I find this very strange. If J1 isn't necessary for J2, then why pass J1 first and then invoke it? Either the Regents have the "inherent power" for J2 or they don't. Moreover, the question of what is meant by "inherent power" deserves much more scrutiny, and it appears that CUCFA will continue to press for clarifications. At present, it sounds a lot like legalistic buttressing for a theory of absolute (Schmittian) sovereignty.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Monday, July 27, 2009
From Erik Tarloff, a novelist and sometime speechwriter during the Clinton years: a personal lament over the end of UCB, published in the Atlantic.

Update: And a response by UCB Chancellor Birgeneau. (Thanks, Gerry!)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday, July 26, 2009
By Chris Newfield

- This year's cuts do not simply impair the University of Califorinia, but redefine it. They do this by ending the UC promise of broad access to a top quality undergraduate education.

-That quality had two elements: 1) a superb research faculty that brought cutting-edge knowledge into the classroom. 2) small classes, where face-to-face, active learning gave hundreds of thousands of California students access to "ivy League"-style abilities to invent, build, lead, create, and originate with the knowledge they had acquired. This innovative and yet large scale UC-educated middle class was a cornerstone of California's famed rates of economic and social progress.

- Prior to this crisis, California had already neglected to renew higher education at the necessary rate. Contrary to myth, state spending had merely kept pace with population growth for most agencies (Hiltzik, 5/09 LAT), while higher education had seriously lagged, threatening quality even before these cuts. The Regents were fully briefed in 2007 about looming budget problems, and took no action.

- State general funding is now cut back to 1999 levels, a year when UC had 170,000 instead of 220,000 students and when each dollar went about 30% farther. UC had not recovered from the 2002-05 cuts before this latest round, and now has been hit with the largest reductions in the history of modern higher education.

- The most influential units of UC - the professional schools - protected their revenues by ending the low-tuition tradition that was tied to public funding. UC Regents approved a plan to charge market tuition by 2011 or so at units like Berkelely law, where fees next year are over $36,000.

- UCOP and the Regents have not explained that UC as a whole had the same choice: to maintain quality, they EITHER receive strong general funding OR they are forced to charge high tuition. The result: more damage to core campus funds (highly dependent on GF) and to the core undergrad and "academic" PhD mission than to medical and law schools.

- The UC system is also being broken down into two tiers, one for research with no teaching mission, and the other (supposedly) research with teaching mission. Under the furlough plan, all personnel who teach students or support them administratively are cut 4-10%. Personnel who never see students (non-state funds) receive no cuts.

- Because of preexisting allocation formulae, the newest campuses with the highest proportion of undergraduates receive the least money per student (e.g. Riverside, Merced, and Santa Cruz, but also Irvine and Santa Barbara). In all cases but Santa Cruz, the poorest campuses are those with the highest proportion of students from underserved populations. Rather than look at all revenue sources in order to protect a high-quality instructional program for California's highly diverse (and educationally endangered) population, UCOP and the Regents allowed the largest cuts to be inflicted there ($3000 per student lost at Santa Cruz, according to its chancellor).

UCOP and the Regents must stop forming commissions to ask questions that have been repeatedly answered, and indulging in imaginary solutions like covering some large portion of the undergraduate curriculum to distance learning. They need to tell the public the truth about the choice between high state funding and high tuition, and tell them about the implications of lowered quality for the economy, racial equity, and social progress. When Sacramento makes a choice like it did this year, the public should at least understand what it means for the future of the state.
Santa Barbara campus
“The mind and intellect of man is the very essence of the soul.”
--St. Thomas Aquinas

July 24, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Please distribute widely
Aranye Fradenburg
Robert Williams
Jonathan Forbes
Sonya Baker
UC Community Coalition for Option 4
Press Conference
Wednesday, July 29
12:00 Noon
Courtyard - Student Affairs/Administration Building, near the Visitor Center (1102 SAAB)

The UC Community Coalition for Option 4 (UCCC4O4) will hold a Press Conference Wednesday July 29th, 12:00 Noon, at the Courtyard of the Student Affairs Administration Building, near the Visitors Center (1102 SAAB) on the UCSB campus. University of California faculty, staff, and students are mobilizing in response to recent decisions made by the UC Regents and UC President Mark Yudof. We span the 10 campuses of the UC system, with affiliates throughout the CSU, Community College and K-12 systems. We support top-quality public education for our state. We urge Californians to take back their schools and end the incompetent stewardship of the UC Office of the President (UCOP), the UC Board of Regents, and the Schwarzenegger administration, before it is too late.

• The UCSB CC4O4 rejects the Regents’ decisions (1) to ratify Yudof’s requests for emergency powers, and (2) to cut faculty and staff salaries and essential programs and services. We also repudiate the justifications for these decisions and the process leading up to them. Prior to the Regents’ meeting, Yudof asked for the UC community’s responses to only three options: salary cuts, furloughs, or both. The University can overcome the challenges it faces in other ways. We demand Option 4: no salary cuts, no furloughs, and the pursuit of alternative budgetary avenues.

• We demand transparency and democratic participation in financial planning and the budget process at all individual campuses and at UCOP. We call upon Chancellor Henry Yang to permit the full participation of the entire UCSB community in all determinations of our campus’s response to the Regents’ vote.

• The only vision of the University’s future acceptable to our coalition gives first priority to the needs of all of our students. We ask that Yudof redesign the Commission on the Future of UC to represent a real variety of viewpoints and student concerns. We ask that the Commission’s first actions be directed toward immediate redress of recent budget cuts, and general reform of education funding and the state budget process.
KTVU in Oakland featured a story on July 14 concerning the disconnect between increased UC administrative spending and the UC budget crisis -- which leads to criticism from the likes of Leland Yee. Their story is here. If UC employees don't want Leland Yee speaking on their behalf, there needs to be a UC response to the discrepancy between executive spending and employee furloughs.

On a side issue, note President Yudof's defense of the 27% salary increase (with a number of perks) for the incoming chancellor at UC Davis: he argues that she is the holder of 16 patents. (This is part of a larger argument. Elsewhere, Yudof has also argued for the need to pay market rates for the best and brightest administrators.) By pointing to the number of patents held by the incoming chancellor to justify her increased compensation, Yudof is (1) making a non sequitur; and (2) drawing on the myth of science-research profitability and self-sustainability (science research pays for itself) to justify her higher pay.

I'm not commenting the specific patents here, or trying to attack the work of science researchers at UC. Rather, I want to draw attention to Yudof's rhetorical maneuver. Chris Newfield, in Unmaking the Public University (which everyone should read), has noted how the majority of patents do not reap profits for universities. As he notes, "The market results of innovative research are, as research results, close to nil. This is as it should be: the purpose of innovative research is innovation -- discovery, invention, and scientific progress. This research has great long-term and social value that could not be captured as licensing revenue or estimates of the market value of patents" (Newfield, 204). Imagine now, if Yudof had hired a humanities scholar to the same post. Would his argument have been to highlight the three major books and numerous articles she had published? The problem is that scientific research is seen as inherently profitable, while humanities research is seen as costly (or cost-ineffective). In this way, then, the rhetoric of scientific productivity can be harnessed to then support increased spending in certain parts of the university, while cutting other parts. Scientific and humanities researchers should be on the same page -- none of our work should be "for profit"; all of what we do is in the pursuit of more information and education; indeed, all of what is done at the university is cost-ineffective and should be, at least, from the limited market perspective of short-term gains. If Yudof wants to justify higher pay for the incoming chancellor (during a period of drastic cuts to the faculty, staff, and employees), then he has to do so on other grounds than the number of patents she holds.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Saturday, July 25, 2009
This is a statement from 35 UCI faculty and graduate students:

"We, the undersigned members of the UCI Academic Senate who have come together to respond to the budget crisis affecting the University of California, petition the Academic Senate Cabinet to endorse the Furlough Implementation Recommendation passed unanimously by the Senate Executive Committee at UC Santa Cruz on July 17, 2009, the goal of which is to coordinate furlough days on campuses during teaching quarters in the most visible manner possible.

We further call for the Cabinet to support a statement calling on the UC Regents to reconsider and restructure the just established "Commission on the Future of UC" to be more representative in its make-up, and to include a wide range of faculty and staff from across the numerous schools that comprise each of our ten campuses.

We look forward to being in touch with the leadership of the Academic Senate and the UCI Administration in the near future to coordinate the most effective possible response to the current crisis."

A petition for UCI Senate faculty can be found here.

There is also a petition for the UCI community here.
CFA (California Faculty Association) at CSU has announced that the CSU faculty have approved Chancellor Reed's furlough plan by a margin of 54 to 46. Many found the choice a difficult one, citing the need to protect students and jobs. However, the faculty also voted no confidence in Reed in overwhelming numbers -- 79% voting "no confidence"; 17% voting "don't know"; and only 4% voting to support the chancellor. Over 8,800 members voted.

Also see the earlier announcement from CSU Employees Union (CSUEU). Here is the CSUEU FAQ page, which also provides a link to the tentative agreement between the union and CSU.

Update: Here's the San Diego Union Tribune on the story.

LA Times has the story on its blog here.

The NY Times has the story here.
By Bob Samuels
President, UC-AFT (American Federation of Teachers)

While President Yudof has argued for a salary reduction plan that is progressive and equitable, if we actually look at the numbers, we find the opposite is true. Using the recent salary database compiled by Jeffrey Bergamini (available at: http://ucpay.globl.org/), we find that the most well-compensated employees will face the lowest reductions because Yudof has decided to move off of his initial plan to base the salary reductions on total compensation, and instead, only base pay will be "taxed." This change has tremendous effects; for instance, in 2008, 8 people made over 1 million dollars for the year, and their collective base pay was 1.7 million, while their gross pay was 13 million. If they were really taxed 10% of their total pay, the university would save 1.3 million, but because only their base pay will be reduced, the university only saves $170,000. So if you are Jeff Tedford, you will lose only $22,000 instead of $230,000 of your 2.3
million gross pay. The unbelievable unequal distribution of wealth can be understood by the fact that 3,643 employees earn over $200,000 for a total gross pay of over 1 billion dollars. Remember the total payroll for the system is 9 billion for 180,000 people, so 2% of the people make 11% of the total pay. Moreover, the people making over $200,000 have a collective base pay of 640 million, so by taxing them 10%, we only get 64 million, but if we taxed the full pay, we would get 100 million, which is close to 70% of what the university will get by reducing everyone, except the people on external funds and all the other excluded groups. On the topic of which employees are being excluded from the furloughs because they are funded by external grants, I have discovered that some groups of employees funded out of state funds will be excluded. For instance, summer sessions at UCLA have told me that they are not being reduced because they are profit-making. And according to this strange corporate logic, people who make a profit should not be taxed. In fact, I was told that because my department, the UCLA Writing Programs, "only" teaches undergraduate students and has no external revenue, we will be cut the heaviest. We need to get a list of everyone who is excluded from the furlough program, and what types of profits and compensation they generate. The more I look at this whole plan, it looks like the poorest employees are subsidizing the wealthiest.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday, July 24, 2009
James T. Shea is a former fundraiser for UCSD and has written a critique of the much-discussed letter drafted by Andrew Scull of UCSD. Shea's editorial, published in the San Diego Union-Tribune, is here.

And here is more from Andrew Scull, published in the same paper.

Many thanks to Jorge Mariscal for forwarding this!
University Professional & Technical Employees (UPTE) have issued a press release on the large pay increases awarded to UC execs here. (Link is to pdf download.) The release documents the creation of new executive positions and the increase in administrative stipends without clearly defined new duties. It might interest some readers of this site that a certain law school dean is the recipient of a $43,000 bonus for serving as "Special Advisor" to President Yudof.
Partial position statements and opinions from various campuses have been crossing our screens every day, but so far we haven't seen anything that integrates them into an overall response to the massive operating cuts and furloughs passed by the Regents a little over a week ago.

Here's a shot at a synthesis of what we've read. Additions, subtractions, and all sorts of modifications are more than welcome.

- the furloughs and budget cuts redduce UC's educational quality, intensify pressure for huge fee increases in the near future, and reduce student access. Students will pay more and get less.

- the signers opposed these furloughs and cuts, and, in the absence of full budgetary transparency, still do. We cannot be sure that all budgetary avenues have been explored, and still have serious budgetary and governance questions that the Regents did not address.

- we do not believe the UC Regents decisions on emergency powers, cuts, and furloughs reflect the best interests of the University, its employees, its students, or the people of California.

- as for the Regents commission on the future of UC, we do not accept the Gould Commission's appointment of the same management team that has been unable, over many years, to stabilize and improve UC's financial position.
Therefore, concerned, faculty, staff, and students are operating on multiple fronts:
1. legal: we are investigating corrective action to the assault on our livelihoods and on the everyday operations of the University of California.

2. investigative: we are forming our own commission / committees to evaluate the full range of UC's current options. This will include an independent analysis of the UC budget.

3. public: we will communicate with the public about what we know about UC's future - the fee hikes built into the Regents current low-General Fund assumptions, the fee subsidies for research, the financial resources that may be better disclosed, the vision of higher education for a better California that UC is leaving behind. We will hear their ideas about what they want for their public universities, and rebuild a fully accessible and yet high-quality university with the ideas that a full public discussion would provide.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thursday, July 23, 2009
There is a video here of today's UCSC staff forum, in which Chancellor Blumenthal and EVC Kliger discuss the current situation both for UC and for UCSC. Blumenthal points out how the cuts for UCSC correspond to a cut of $3000 for every student, and how the state of CA is systematically disinvesting from public higher education. I'll try to watch the entire (90 minute!) video tomorrow and provide a bit more commentary.

UCSC has set up a site to disseminate information about the budget crisis here.
Aranye Fradenburg (Professor of English, UCSB) discusses the UC crisis on the Nick and Paul Show (AM 1490, Santa Barbara) here, as part of the Option 4 press push. More information on Option 4 can be found here, including the announcement of a July 29 UCSB press conference.
An interesting comment can be found third from the top, by the chair of the UCSD philosophy department. It seems that the now-infamous UCSD letter may have gone out without the full support of all the "signatories." From the Leiter Reports site.
Chronicle of Higher Education has an interview here with UC Berkeley Law School dean on the importance of online education. I don't doubt Dean Edley's sincerity in desiring that a UC education be afforded to as many students as possible, but there simply isn't any meaningful discussion about how, exactly, UC would not simply be replicating a University of Phoenix experience for the part-time and underprivileged students to whom it would be charging the full UC tuition. Some acknowledgment of the importance of dialogue and in-class discussion would also be nice.

It's fun to watch the visualization of the Gov's inner sadist. But the real marvel of this communication is the kind of budget idea currently deciding the state's future - in this case, a weird mix of nasty and silly.

Given the disastrous statewide effects of this one-way cutting the Gov has personally engineered, I do not appreciate the boyish bravado.

The effect of having this twitter governor plays out on a good episode of Which Way LA? (July 21), in which the Future of California is as follows:
  • the Republican Dream: no new taxes (Chuck DeVore: State Assemblyman (R-Irvine)
  • the Democratic Dream: that health and education programs aren't zeroed out (Bonnie Lowenthal: State Assemblywoman (D-Long Beach)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Jeffrey Bergamini of UC Davis has developed a UC pay search tool. One finding is that the furlough's pay reductions yield around $600 million, not the $184.1 million described on p 5 of Regents's J2. Charles Schwartz first raised the issue in mid-June of the gap between stated and projected furlough revenues. If there is a simple explanation for this, UCOP has not given it. It has not in fact addressed the question at all.

Bergamini also suggests that the lower amount of savings could come from the upper brackets.
UC to award honorary degrees to interned Japanese American students.
Should have been up last week with this great picture by Jeff Chiu, AP. Better late than never . . .
The UC Regents fundamentally redefined the University of California at their meeting last week. In the process, they imposed furloughs and campus operating cuts (Regents J2) on UC employees over those employees' strong objections (e.g. AFSCME's lawsuit, Academic Senate's 90 pager here, excerpts here). Now many are debating how to make the pay and operating cuts "visible."

They should. The reason is simple: given the top-heavy and one-way structure of the University of California, the practical effects of the cuts have no other form of expression.

The debate does not reflect a refusal of UC employees to "do their part in the crisis." It is a response to all the things that the Regents' last meeting made invisible:

continue reading
The various acts of genius in the current budget deal, according to the LA Times, include these gems:
  • eliminate "state funding for new textbooks for five years, get rid of a requirement that special education students must pass the high school exit exam to obtain a high school diploma and reduce the minimum length of the school year from 180 days to 175."
  • lay off about 2,000 teachers in LA City Unified
  • eliminat3 funding for half of the children in the Healthy Families program, the low-cost medical insurance program for the working poor.
  • stop "the one economic development program that the state of California has -- in the worst economic climate in 70 years."
  • Sell Orange County fairgrounds and drill for oil off of Santa Barbara County
Random, unwanted, clearly destructive, no public support, and happening anyway.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tuesday, July 21, 2009
The Legislature and the Governor have a budget deal that the Assembly and Senate are slated to vote on Thursday. The Gov says, "All around I think it is a really great, great accomplishment." Read it and weep. Higher ed got its full $3 billion cut. K-12 is cut. The cities and counties are cut. Some welfare programs didn't get completely eliminated. There are no new taxes. They didn't try to sell San Quentin to a condomium developer for the excellent bayfront views, but there is a provision for new oil drilling off the Santa Barbara county coast.

There is also the sheer irresponsibility of hitting the economy with cuts rather than spending and stimulus as it continues to sink (unemployment is at 11.6%). The Wall Street Journal got this right:
Economists said the spending cuts will bruise a California economy already slammed by rising unemployment and foreclosure rates. "It will certainly offset a fraction of the federal-stimulus effect this fall," said Roger Noll, a professor emeritus of economics at Stanford University. "That will mean the depth and duration of the recession [in California] will both be bigger than otherwise would've been the case," he said.
Which thanks to the genius of our leaders, will mean further cuts next year and/or mid year, leading to more economic recession, which may be good for Arnold Schwarzenegger's career, but is terrible for everything and everybody else.

The Chronicle of Higher Education is reporting that the cuts the Legislature will vote on are identical to those the Governor proposed - 20% whacked from the General Fund. California is a wealthy state and yet their plan for the future is cuts and more cuts.
By 2010, California’s public colleges and universities estimate they will be forced to reduce their enrollments by a total of about 300,000 students, nearly equivalent to the population of Pittsburgh. California State University officials anticipate a cut in enrollment of 40,000 students by the fall of 2010, which would be the system’s largest percentage decrease since World War II.
The Dems seem as clueless as the Republicans about John Maynard Keynes' 75-year-old critique of the whirlwind reaped by tight money policy. Only public opposition can put the brakes on this mind-numbingly dumb hole-digging and locked-in decline.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunday, July 19, 2009
Sorry about the delay in postng the announcement for "the Commission on the Future of UC." My Blogger software was rejecting it unless I typed in "Commission of the People Who Dug the Hole We're In.'
On Wednesday morning in finance comitttee, Regent Garamendi stirred things up a little. He called on the Regents to shift from defenese to offense, and triggered something in Regent Blum. We had this beautiful thing, he said, called the Compact for Higher Education. And the governor has reneged.

What is this Regentally-lamented Compact that we now no longer have? You can read the details in the Futures Report: the Compact forms our Scenario One. This much is true: the Governor reneged, the first minute it was in his interest to do so, which we cynics had claimed all along: the Compact sharply limited UC's state funding growth at a time when it needed big growth to get back to zero after the 2002-05 cuts, and yet the governor could walk away in a second and cut state funds, which is what he did. It created in the Regents a false sense of security, and helped them to the place they are now, which is in a full crisis and yet without ideas for an exit.

Even worse was its effect on fees. It locked in 7-10% annual increases in the good years. What happens now when the good years have run out?
continue reading
Why aren't CFA as well as the U.C. faculty and staff and all other state workers being asked to balance the State's budget difficulties on their backs making a huge stink about the fact that they are essentially being given the equivalent of an additional 9.5 to 19.5% minimum tax hike (not a paycut) while the remainder of the citizens, including those who could most afford it--the people making $250,000 or more, are being asked to contribute NOTHING to resolve the State's budget crisis because the governor wants to look as if he has refused to raise taxes !! ?? Fundamentally. this kind of illegal additional tax on only some of the State's citizens should be found illegal by the State Attorney General! What if we all wrote the Attorney General regarding this?

Professor Lynda Koolish
UCSC's Senate Executive Committee (SEC) has written a memo on Furlough Plan Implementation. It identifies 10 "common" furlough days to be taken during the academic year. Noing that President Yudof has delegated furlough implementation to the campuses, Santa Cruz's SEC states that,
we endorse highly visible campus closure during periods of instruction to achieve significant portions of our allocated furloughs as both recognition of our current fiscal emergency, and as the most fiscally responsible means for achieving cost savings to the campus.
There are currently debates among faculty on most campuses about how the furloughs might best be implemented, and I will post more news on this as I receive it.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Saturday, July 18, 2009
Ed: to be read to the end!

To: All those who endorsed my letter to the Regents:
From: George Lakoff
Date: July 17, 2009
More than a thousand of you responded to my letter to the Regents. I wish I could thank you each personally. continue reading
Chancellor Drake presided, and Mark LeVine has posted these notes. Also see his valuable suggestions at the bottom for assembling budget information in one place.
continue reading

Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday, July 17, 2009
Meister writes:
UC is using the language of "emergency"not to impose furloughs but to avoid supervision. It has no plan to use its privately funded activities (whether self-sufficient or not) to help fund the educational mission for which the state is unable or unwilling to pay. This is bad, but so is UC’s refusal to puts its non-education/research activities on the line to support the educational mission. Privatization could be a plan to support UC’s private as standalone, but not to replace state funding for UC’s educational reason for being.

In an emergency there is no excuse for squeezing conctractual minimal pay—janitiors, groundskeepers) and leaving the pay system in the medical centers intact. Not if the underlying enterprise (perhaps UC itself) is broke (Cf. AIG)
Click here for the show

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Thursday, July 16, 2009
The analysis by Jeffrey Bergamini is here
The results of our unscientific poll are in. The question: should the UC Regents Postpone the vote on furloughs and emergency powers so they can spend the summer finding better financial ideas?
200 people voted: the results:
Yes, but it will be hard
30 (15%)
Yes, because staff and faculty already have better ideas
136 (68%)
No, given the crisis this is the best we can do
19 (9%)
No, the Regents never have better ideas
11 (5%)
None of the above

Postponement won with 83% of the voters. Too bad it lost with the Regents.
Thank you for voting!
Earth to Regents: we're dying down here! The Chancellors broke the silence, and even notes on their moving remarks are well worth the time. continue reading.
Transcripts (3)
We received this description of the commotion during the public comment period at the UC Regents' meeting July 15th
continue reading

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wednesday, July 15, 2009
"An Epic Fall"

"This was a crushing defeat. There wasn’t really even a battle."

"The Regents are deliberately turning UC into the University of Michigan. They are enclosing the knowledge commons."

"I think we should refuse to teach under these circumstances: this is what we have to unite to do."

"The time for petitions and hectoring is over; it is time for careful thought, organizing, transforming furlough days into a weapon for communication, and starting the political transformation of California."
continue reading
Garamendi called for support for his bill for more higher ed money. The Regents declined on procedural grounds. Chair Gould agreed they needed to write a letter to the legislature. They joined Garamendi's rhetorical mode for 10 minutes - especially Regent Marcus. The rhetoric was good (see below). Finance chair Lavano, I believe, complimented "the passion around the table to take action, and to be bold."

Then they passed J2 (4%-10% pay cuts via furloughs) in a 30 second roll-call of the Committee on Finance. Garamendi was the only No vote that I could hear.

Chair Gould said, "excellent work. I think we all get to have lunch. 45 minutes."

My first thought: as usual, all talk, no walk.

They have known about the cuts and the damage since 2002. I personally spent years in mid-decade telling them about it in gruesome arithmetic detail. They did nothing except agree that the state wasn't supporting higher ed and that they needed to do something. Now they are saying it again.

The Regents may move a bit when the Chancellors' testimony sinks in. And we should all definitely bombard them with yet another wave of gruesome detail - since that did so much good on J1 and J2. It now appears that Garamendi's appeal turned into a drug to make them feel like voting for J2 was the strong thing to do.

The most obvious thing from this morning is that the campuses have enormous pain, and that UCOP and the Regents have no plan.

Regent Lozano, I think it was, said they should hold a press conference to stand in solidarity with the students, staff, and faculty of UC. But that is exactly what they did not do today.
On the furlough item, J2, the 10 Chancellors told genuinely moving tales of catastrophic cuts on their various campuses, both in stats and specific images. I'll try to include excepts later. terrible stuff: average class size at UCLA to go to 60, at UCSD to 40, declining staff and faculty numbers all around.

very rough steno notes.
Lt Gov Garmendi asks the 10 chancellors: are you willing to go out publicly and fight for revenue for the university, and support AB 565.
continue reading

There were a few questions, some from Lt. Governor Garamendi, the Senate chair expressed coauthorship for the new presidential powers and full support, President Yudof assured the Regents that this is not a "war powers act" as some have alleged, and then J1 passed unanimously on a voice vote.

The contrast with the views expressed during Public Comment was total.
Listen to the Regents deliberate J1 (President's emergency powers) and J2 (furloughs) link 1 link 2
Email the Regents to express your real-time opinion - regentsoffice@ucop.edu
Hope that the Regents see the light that has been shining on them from staff, faculty, students, parents and the public, and therefore table J1 and J2 until September
Continue planning for the rebuilding of UC as a replacement for the Regents/UCOP's one-way cuts.
From the letter:
Approval of Agenda Items J1 and J2 at the July Board meeting would violate University of California Standing Orders governing notice, and raise a cloud of illegality over already controversial actions. We urge that you not take the precipitous – and unlawful – actions requested by the President, and instead that you defer a vote of these weighty matters until a subsequent meeting so that you can fully examine the plan, its consequences, and alternatives. The exercise of your fiduciary duties requires nothing less.

read Altshuler Berzon letter
read Academic Senate Chair response

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tuesday, July 14, 2009
See Action Items for latest versions
Dear Chris,

I barely recognized you in your angry ad hominem attack on the “stop the cuts” petition writers.

continue reading

Monday, July 13, 2009

Monday, July 13, 2009
The Council of University of California Faculty Associations has stated to the Board of Regents that it "strongly opposes the grant of 'emergency' powers to UC’s President. continue reading

The profound lack of knowledge reflected in the petition is utterly
staggering. continue reading
Advocates of high-quality public higher ed should think seriously about - and respond to - the May 2009 comments of the Chair of the Board of Regents and the President of UC. They say the state funding model is broken, and in effect throw it away. Continue Reading
The Regents are regularly assured by UCOP officials that UC fee hikes are not hurting undergraduate access: see the minutes for the May 2009 Finance Committee meeting, especially pp 5-7). The recently announced Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan for students from families below the median family income in California ($60,000) is a good thing, and UC does enroll higher proportions of low-income students than other major research universities. But these are all statements about programs, not about impacts - they are about inputs rather than outputs for students. They are also not broken out by race and ethnicity. All recent students of affordability and student debt are alarming particularly for African American and Latino students. California does better than most states, in large part because of the community college system. See the remarks of Regent Chavez (pp 10-11) as an example of a Regent who, in contrast to President Yudof's assurances, believes the high-fee/high-aid model is already upon us. The Regents need real research about what is actually happening to students rather than simply hearing praise of programs for them.
Today's Inside Higher Ed story reflects a trend towards the kind of grisly coverage of the effects of cuts that may concentrate some minds. The first line of the piece: "There’s blood in the water, and Vicki Ruiz knows everyone can smell it." continue reading
The South Campus Way Caucus will be meeting on 6pm Tuesday 7/14, 962 West Campus Lane, Goleta (faculty condos). This is a group of UCSB employees who got organized for the Town Hall meeting and have been working together since on letter-writing, emailing etc. They are meeting to figure out what to do next, "since they feel this is only the beginning of our effort to take back the university." Staff and faculty are all invited to attend

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sunday, July 12, 2009
Charles Schwartz has a useful analysis of the final UC pay cut/furlough proposals. Scroll down to find the July 12 addition. The core issue: the money collected from pay reductions still appears to be far in excess of the amount to be applied to budget shortfalls. What is supposed to happen with the rest of our missing salary money?

Ann Adams has sent commentary on how much flexibility the furloughs will allow for teaching schedules.
This is a link to a petition and signature page for a call for postponement of the cuts pending a proper budgetary review
The administration at at least one campus is now inviting direct contact between faculty and the Regents. These are their addresses. Do this! It is especially important given the top-down disarticulated nature of UC.

See the first comment below for a model letter.
Received July 10
The chairs present at the meeting (Economics, English, Feminist Studies, French/Italian, History, and Law & Society) presented 11 points expressing a broad (though not necessarily unanimous) consensus among the chairs. Some of these points were developed by the chairs in caucus earlier in the day after reading the proposal that President Yudoff announced in the morning. The points include both those intended to be passed along to the Regents' meeting next week and those concerning implementation and contingency planning on our own campus:

1. We continue to ask that the Regents defer a decision on payrolls/furloughs until more study and consultation can occur.

2. We continue to think that there is no legitimate basis for the declaration of a fiscal state of emergency accompanied by emergency powers for the UC President.

to continue reading

Dear Friend,

As we suffer the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, our government has bailed out banks, corporations, and executive management. Now these hard times are threatening our California educational system and our children's future. Governor Schwarzenegger is demanding cuts to higher education. In turn, CSU Chancellor Reed is taking steps that will result in drastic cuts to the number of classes offered, mass furloughs, and possible layoffs of CSU faculty — with no guarantees of when this will end.

continue reading

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Saturday, July 11, 2009
The most interesting news is that one of UC's unions is suing the university for full disclosure of financial records. More on this front soon.

And here's a clip from the California Teacher's Association laying blame for the cuts at the door of Arnold Schwarzenengger, which UCOP and the Regents have been unwilling to do.

The Sac Bee has a piece on Sacramento's 90,000 state workers losing yesterday's pay. Please help me find new ways to say "Arnold Hooverman."

The San Francisco Chronicle has a piece on the UC cuts. The New York Times covers UC President Mark Yudof's annoucement of cuts as a done deal, but includes examples of what might actually be eliminated. The LA Times piece focuses on furloughs, one union's rejection of cuts, and ends with the new Chair of the Board of Regents, Russ Gould, saying the commission to study the UC future "will look at such areas as the university's use of technology and how big the UC should be."

Back to campus reactions, which do not focus on unbuilding UC and are not covered in the papers.
continue reading

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday, July 10, 2009
President Mark Yudof's recommendation to the Regents has been posted on the Regent's meeting agenda. I haven't absorbed all of this 28 page document, but here are some insta-highlights:
  • The recommendation is for furloughs (Option 2) rather than paycuts or a combination. This fits with the overwhelming majority view of the various Senate agencies that opined throughout the system.
  • the furlough has a finite time limit (ending August 31, 2010), though the President would retain powers of modification (p 24).
  • There is a sliding scale of reductions from 4% through 10% (see tables pp 7-8). An 8% reduction starts at $90,000 / year and equals 19 furlough days (or almost four weeks of working days).
  • non-state-funded employees are exempted (if 100% non-state), as are Berkeley Lab employees, various categories of student employees, and employees on H-type visas (pp 10-11)
  • pensions are not to be reduced by the pay reduction
  • the furlough plan is completely intertwined with the proposed change to the Regental Standing Order that grants the President emergency powers. Attachement A is itself the Declaration of Extreme Financial Emergency. The abundance of bad budget news within the document itself is, I assume, meant to satisfy the requirements of the proposed Standing Order that justifies this declaration.
  • there is no mention of greater student fee increases (beyond the 9.3% already voted for next year) or of any other revenue enhancements.
  • all emphasis is on downsizing and shrinkage, e.g. Attachment C is a summary of costs savings and includes notation such as "Most campuses expect between 10 – 15 percent reductions in faculty FTE and similar reductions in staff positions. Campuses have laid off 724 staff so far and most anticipate more layoffs in the coming year. Most campuses are deferring planned faculty hires by at least 50 percent; some are entirely freezing faculty recruitment, despite the fact that enrollment is continuing to grow for FY 2009-10." See also the long paragraph on page 5.
It appears that this document mirrors a strategy that has become familiar in the Governor's office: all budget cuts, no new revenues. Our Futures Report and Cuts Report (see Links) showed that this is a doomsday strategy.

The strategy leads, as I blogged only yesterday, neither to a stable privatized UC nor to a stable public UC but to a poor public UC with gated communities for small numbers that enjoy supplemental revenue streams. One reason it leads there is that state funds subsidize the non-state activity that is being exempted from the cuts; there are many other reasons as well.

This also continues UC's poor strategy with Sacramento and the public. If they know that we never fight, they will cut us first and most. This is exactly what Sacramento has been doing for 1990, and UCOP seems ready to continue the tradition.

The same goes for UCOP in relation to the campuses. It's easier to cut your own people's pay than to twist arms and make enemies in Sacramento and Silicon Valley. UCOP keeps doing this because, well, they always can.

If I am wrong, I would like to know why. I welcome reaction and discussion about next steps.
We get letters:


Enjoy your blog!

One aspect I have never seen mentioned as UC faces what it -- once again -- seems to hope will be temporary budget cuts is the use of unrestricted funds that sit as unexpended balances on the various campuses. I have heard a figure quoted for UCSD (from a reliable source) of about $ 0.75 B for such unexpended balances, and -- looking at the overall UC financial statements -- would not be surprised to learn this amounted to as much as $6 B across the whole system.

Are you aware of how much is available on the various campuses or at OP? Or even how one could find that out? Once that total amount is known, how would one learn the amount that is sensibly available for use? I am sure that some has been accumulated for particular purposes (e.g., new roofs on campus housing), but feel sure that much could be brought to bear on the present crisis.

On another note, it may well be that this budget crisis will encourage appropriate clarity and transparency, but somehow I doubt it. I have found how hard it is to actually reconcile (at least in my own mind) the expenditures for my own department in the UC Financial Schedules with the information we get in our own annual financial report, or that which is given to us in the form of a budget indicating how our "discretionary" funds (UC "core" funds + local ICR + unrestricted private funds) are allocated to various activities. This is -- in part -- a hazard of the fund-based accounting system; in part, I fear, a comfort with restricted transparency.

Other examples I have found to have limited clarity are: the amounts of money used to provide student aid; the costs related to the construction, operation, and maintenance of University buildings; the overhead on doing sponsored research (you addressed this in your
blog); the algorithms employed at UCOP to divide up funds between the various campuses; the extent to which other University services (e.g., Medical or Auxiliary Services) could be used to generate revenue to support the I&R aspects of the University; . . .

How can we (UC Faculty) pressure the system to improve? Your blog can inform, but it will take significant work to get the budget to make sense (perhaps a Quixotic endeavor?).

Regards, Andrew Dickson, Professor of Marine Chemistry, UC San Diego and Scripps
Member Emeritus, UCPB
Pending permission to use the more explicit accounts of this meeting that I've received, here's the most restrained of the bunch:
No concessions were made but, that said, turnout was surprisingly strong and I think [Chancellor] Yang and [Executive Vice Chancellor] Lucas were likely surprised by the degree of anger and condemnation and by the strong suggestion that they had mishandled things by not adequately representing the university's importance to the state. Comments and questions were quite pointed and I think they felt the heat, but they committed only to communicating our concerns to Yudof and the Regents. For what it's worth, there were particularly loud cheers at the suggestion that we needed a better President.

"UCs are located in US cities that have some of the highest costs-of-living in the nation. Santa Barbara consistently ranks in the top five and often in the top three. In managing numbers in the tens of millions, measuring percentages, and weighing funding options, we lose the human face of the impact of this salary cut. Except for a select few, UC employees, both staff and faculty, are not rich. When making a deep 8% salary cut, the UC threatens our ability to meet basic living expenses. which are not declining precipitously or even significantly in California. After paying the first tax to the government, people (not numbers) working for the UCs in these expensive locations pay half or more of their income on rent, two-thirds or more on mortgages. Where will employees go when we cannot afford housing, when we lose or are forced to sell our homes. We are not talking about reducing our contributions to retirement plans or our entertainment budget; this cut does not move us farther from yearly vacations and luxury items--for most people we are talking about cutting our ability purchase groceries, maintain utilities, pay for daycare. This cut damages our ability to take care of our children and ourselves. We cannot afford this paycut. We cannot afford this paycut. We cannot afford this paycut."
For what it's worth, here are my two cents re a statement to the Regents.

There are three fundamental issues that need to be stressed:

1) No cuts of any kind should be implemented until there is a satisfactory accounting of what will happen to all the funds "saved" via the draconian cuts (I have in mind here the kind of discrepancies articulated in Charles Schwartz's memo that I forwarded earlier); in other words no cuts till there is full transparency re the overall budget, savings, etc.. etc.

2) No changes should be made precipitously -- the rush to implement changes is not compatible with the need to think through carefully the kinds of budgetary changes that are necessary and sufficient. In general, UCOP has offered no justification for the rapidity with which its plans are to be implemented.

3) The proposed 4% and 8% cuts across the board (with or without furloughs) are a grotesquely blunt instrument designed to "solve" a complex problem. They show little imagination or sophistication in the management of complex academic and fiscal structures. As "solutions" they are rather crud and mechanical; they could have been devised as easily by lower rung university accountants in any of our large departments; why are we paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in salary (not to speak of perks) to high level financial types (at each campus level and at the UCOP level) if all they can do is come up with solutions that are as crude as the ones proposed? (As I said, temperance of speech is not my forte in these matters).

Abdul JanMohamed, Department of English, UC Berkeley

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Thursday, July 9, 2009
People ask me why I don't think we should just resign ourselves to cuts: look how bad the economy is, they say. People are really hurting.

Of course they are right about this. But UC and CSU were getting quietly squeezed or slammed before the current crisis. Part of the reason: public higher education leaders have generally had mediocre to terrible budget strategies for many many years. They have bought into a bunch of ineffective myths about what the public thinks of higher ed, among other things.

I described 7 of them in a Chronicle of Higher Education piece from last fall (Also see Links). Here I'll focus on two basic problems with public higher ed's strategy:
  1. the leadership has NOT been telling the public that cutting public money damages quality and hurts students and the state overall. (This is finally changing this year - a little.)
  2. the leadership raises fees year in year out.
Any reasonable member of the public would conclude that state funding cuts do not hurt universities, so they don't need to worry about that. They would also have a simple reason for why they don't have to worry. Tuition goes up every single year. Look at all that tuition money that universities have.

To top it off, UCOP has never made it clear that (a) instruction and related campus operations are far more dependent on state funds than is commonly stated, (b) tuition is the only source of funds large enough to replace lost state money, and (c) 10% annual hikes are still not enough - tuition needs to double to replace that money all by itself, within the next 20 years, and to climb and climb after that. (These are three of the undisputed findings of the Futures Report.)

Whether intended or not, higher ed's leaders have followed a strategy of silence and concealment. The result is that the public does not really much oppose using public funds to help universities stay good, because the public does not know it hasn't been helping universities.

"Who will tell the people"? So far, not our university leaders.

This failed funding strategy, with its crucial silences, set up public universities for their current crisis. Here's what it looks like at UC, in chart form (click on it for a larger version).

Look first at the green line, the Benchmark. That tracks the growth in state personal income. We don't have real figures for the current year, but state personal income has been growing steadily at about 4% a year.

People say that we've been living beyond our means and that the state doesn't have the money for UC. This statement is false. The state has been spending money on things other than higher education. Were the state to have given UC the same proportion of state personal income that it gave in 2001, UC would have had about $1.3 billion more in general funds in 2008-09 than it actually had.

Now look at line 1, the Compact for Higher Education between UC and the Governor (orange squares). This promised a slow recovery from the cuts of 2002-05. The recovery in nominal dollars was to happen in 2010-11. We would be at the end of the decade back to where we were at the start. Even were this to have happened - the Governor "suspended" the Compact last year - these are nominal dollars, and thus both inflation and enrollment growth would in fact still have put us well behind.

Line 2 (olive green triangles): the 2001 Pathway. This line started at the end of the last round of cuts and sought to return in 2010-11 to where we would have been were we to have grown at the rate of state personal income growth after 2001. That is, we would have fully recovered to our 2001 position by the end of the decade. This would mean that there would be a kind of lost decade of growth, but also a restoration of the principle of correct public funding and hope for building on that into the future.

That line looked relatively accessible compared to Line 3, blue with crosses - the 1990 Pathway. This was a measure of state funding before the 1990s cuts, and was a measure of the last time the university was funded at a healthy "master plan" level. It's a dismal picture: we are not much more than half of what we would have been had we not been cut repeatedly.

Here's where it gets worse. Look at Line 4, the Public Funding Freeze. This is a kind of "Michigan Model" in which the university decides that public funding will never recover, locks in a low amount, and then finds other funding sources to make up the difference. The Futures Report shows that these other sources do not include philanthropy and extramural research - a point I won't belabor here. That leaves tuition. The Public Funding Freeze requires that tuition rates double to $15,000 a year, and continue to rise to "market" rates for public universities that could reach $20,000-$25,000 year by 2015 if the lock-in level didn't reflect the complex functions of a major research university system.

Enter Arnold Schwarzenegger. Line 5, the Schwarzenegger Revision (yellow dots), shows cuts proposed in the spring of 2008. The Governor's budget ends Line 1, the Compact, and converts it to the Public Funding Freeze. There's a catch. Because higher tuition is so unpopular, and because there has been zero public teaching about the way state cuts lead directly to higher tuition, there is only partial replacement of lost money on the revenue side. As costs for students continue to rise, quality continues to decline. Michigan in fact it isn't.

This gets us to 2009 - Line 6, Extreme Arnold (plain red). It drops state funds below our previous worst-case scenario, with no obvious limit in sight. As with Line 5, there is no full revenue replacement on the horizon, only higher costs for students and lower revenues overall.

Line 6 is the new normal in 2009. The Regents and UCOP didn't want to fight when normal was Line 1. Will they now? Will they try to rally the public to get temporary tax increases, new bond issues, and other solutions on the revenue side? (These are of course always coupled with restructuring and improvements of the systems themselves.)

If they don't, and we don't get them to by hook or by crook, here's where Line 6 leads: neither to privatization, with high tuition and protected quality, nor to restored public status, with high general funds and protected quality, but to a poor public attached to private gated communities of Potemkin excellence

We will still have Berkeley Law or UCLA med, able to turn out $740,000 / year radiologists, attached to a highly diverse and yet strangely impoverished UC that is no longer producing the highly-educated and creative B.A.s that helped transform Grapes of Wrath California after World War II.
I believe that the heaviness of the blow Yudof and others propose to deal the University requires an equally strong response. The University has been getting along on a shoestring ever since the budget cuts of the early ‘90’s. Our libraries suffered gruesome cuts during years of relative economic prosperity. My department is smaller than it was twenty years ago. Our staff constantly have to cut their hours. This has been life on the ground before this crisis.
Our past approaches to protecting the University's mission have not worked. We have not been rewarded for our past cooperation, and we need new strategies. It is time for us to repudiate outright the defunding of the University. I ask that our Chancellor and our Executive Vice Chancellor repudiate the alternatives that have been presented to us, the impoverished nature of those alternatives, and the hasty and uninformative ways they have been presented. I ask that you insist other alternatives be explored, for example, the idea that the faculty loan the required monies to the University and recover those monies in future. Above all I ask that you initiate a new era of intense and deliberate focus on how the University can better take charge of guaranteeing its well-being, the well-being of our students, and California's future prosperity. If we do not, at least for a period of time, make this our highest priority, all of our other initiatives may be hamstrung for decades into the future. We must stop the bleeding, and we must seize this opportunity to begin, now.

Prof. Aranye Fradenburg, Department of English, UCSB

Regarding the letter from the UCLA sociology dept circulated to the chancellor, various administrators, the dean of social sciences, and the chairs of the other social science departments.

I am responding to one prominent feature of that message: the old refrain of creating two tiers within the UC system, this time with UCB, UCLA, and UCSD as the top tier. The UCLA sociologists do not seem aware that such moves have been proposed unsuccessfully various times during the last 25 years, at least. The UCLA sociologists signing the message also do not seem to realize that California already has a three tier system defined much as they are proposing: in effect, they are suggesting that 7 UC campuses be demoted to the CSU system; of course, that system too is facing severe budget cuts. [Some in the CSU system might be proposing demoting some of their campuses to the community college system.] All that might happen, but past efforts suggest that it will not.

Perhaps UCLA sociologists are convinced that the sociology departments at 7 UC campuses are inferior to those at UCB, UCLA, and UCSD. I doubt that people in most UC departments could form such a consensus.

As for excising programs within each campus: clearly, universities do change over time and waning research/teaching topics eventually disappear. For example, fifty years from now the UCLA history department will not include the same allocation of resources to the same topics as it does now. Obvious as that might be, I do not see the intellectual or political will to accelerate the process in departments and divisions across UC or CSU.

In a contracting ecology it is not surprising that some want to kick others out, rather than uniting to
* resist authoritarian decision making
* obtain transparent budget information
* engage in the hard work of reframing our mission and how to achieve that within a new budget ecology.

Sharon Traweek
UCLA Women's Studies and History
Lots of UC folks assume that we have to cut everything because the state is out of money. It's not, and I'll say more about this pretty soon. In the meantime, this Seeking Alpha piece is worth reading for its unstinting hostility towards the political leadership that has managed to turn a recession into a crisis that will make the recession worse. One key paragraph reads,
What did Governor Schwarzenegger and the California legislators do to prepare for and respond to this crisis? Nothing, nada, zilch. Instead of developing of plan to stem mounting costs, to issue municipal bonds to fund a portion of the shortfall and to temporarily increase tax revenues (with an automatic sunset), the bickering continued and the June 30 fiscal year ended without a budget in place for next fiscal year.
Opposing cuts will involve proposing better budget fixes that the Gov's all-cuts dogma. These fairly obvious suggestions, including the temporary (and carefully targeted) tax increases, are a good place to start.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wednesday, July 8, 2009
UC faculty have not in general been opposing any kind of salary cut or demanding a better range of choices. Instead, many have gotten deeply involved in a debate about whether the large number of UC staffs who receive their salaries from extramural grants and not from the state should be cut along with the state-paid staff. The official UCOP view is yes they should, but judging from the heat of the objections, I would say equity is getting softened up. See the comments of my pal Stan Glantz in the entry just below.

In general I think this is a terrible distraction from the main goal, which should be to oppose any pay cuts for anyone, and thus to avoid this quagmire of conflicts, demoralization and decline in order to pursue far more inventive solutions to the current problem than this standard industry practice of when the going gets tough, the tough hurt their own people.

That said, and without going into the details of the mindboggling array of contractual agreements UC hosts, there is one good reason why soft-money folks - paid by extramural funders and not by the state of California - should share the fate of the state side.

That reason is this: non-state research is subsidized by state funding, albeit to varying degrees. The state hosts non-state research - provides the buildings, support staff, cheap student labor, and many other things that go by the unpleasant name of "indirect costs" or, in federal language, "facilities and administration."

I analyze this at length in a recent book, and will write a bit about it here. Unless this state subsidy for federal and other research is understood, "hard" and "soft"-money staff will polarize, and weaken faculty and staff responses to the crisis.

Here goes. All researchers are tied to educational units of some kind. UCSF is different, since it has no undergraduates and thus none of the state funds attached to their enrollments. But a few years ago, my planning and budget committee was told by the then-budget director for UC that medical instructional programs didn't get the $10,000 or so per student that the state gave per student (actually full-time-equivalent student or FTE). UCOP allocated them more like $50,000 per FTE. The numbers that I saw two years ago for Berkeley Law School were about $33,000 in expenditures per student FTE, with an undeclared proportion of that coming from the state. I'm not saying these multiples of undergrad funding are inherently unjustified - science costs a lot of money. I am saying that these multiples are of state money that flows into units where non-state research also occurs.

But didn't the non-state money build the facilites etc in which it works? Actually, no.

At this point we have to take a look at indirect cost recovery (ICR). “Indirect costs” are little more than the overhead on an activity, and in particular, on research. The standard situation is that a university faculty member applies for and obtains a research grant from a federal agency. If that person’s university has a 50 percent ICR rate, or overhead rate, this means that 50 percent of the amount of the direct costs of the grant will be charged to the agency in addition to direct costs. If a faculty researcher obtains a grant of $100,000, an additional $50,000 will be given to the researcher’s institution by the granting agency. The cost of the grant to the agency will be $150,000, the researcher will have $100,000 to spend on conducting the specific research, and the university will have $50,000 to cover its overhead. Direct costs involve the costs of the specific grant—the portion of the salaries of the principal investigator and research assistants that are consumed by grant activity; buying equipment and materials to be used in the research; and travel costs and similar expenses. Indirect costs go to the university primarily to pay “facilities and administrative costs . . . that are incurred for common or joint objectives and, therefore, cannot be identified readily and specifically with a particular sponsored project.” Clear examples are power bills, building maintenance, capital upgrades required by a number of research programs that share a building, environmental mitigation, and staff costs in the grant’s primary departments. The actual formulae are often Byzantine, but the basic idea is that many of the costs of research are shared over a large number of grants and over a long period of time, and that each grant should pay for a piece of these common facilities and administrative structures.

Here's the catch. The costs the extramural grant provides to cover indirect costs are almost always less than those actual indirect costs. Accounting studies show that “research at [universities] is not fully funded by external funding sources.” allows and even encourages faculty members to accept grants from agencies that do not pay the full overhead costs of their grants. Such agencies include those of the federal government, where the negotiated ICR rate is almost always below actual overhead costs. Such agencies also include the many non-profit foundations that have explicit policies of not paying full overhead. A third group of agencies consists of corporate partners, who can negotiate lowered overhead on a case-by-case basis. In UC, if sponsored research is classified as a gift—meaning it requires no reporting and no deliverables—its overhead rate can be as low as 2 percent. In other words, virtually no external sponsor of research pays its share of actual indirect costs. A UC senate investigation concluded that “external studies of under funding have consistently put total recovered overhead at about 33% of modified direct costs—a dramatic shortfall as true costs appear to be in the 61–67% range.”

Here's a visualization of the issue, courtesy of one of UC's Vice Chancellors for Research who has been trying to spread the word to his faculty for quite a few years.

And here are some figures that compare indirect costs the sponsor covers with the indirect costs the research actually incurs. Column 1 lists the university. Column 2, "Most Recent Submission," indicates the actual indirect costs that the university in question submitted to the funding agency (e.g. Harvard to Heath and Human Services). Column 3, "Negotiated Rate," is the rate the university and the funding agency agreed would be paid to cover indirect costs. Column 4 is the funder.

The crucial issue here is that in most cases - including all UC cases, the rate at which funds are recovered (column 3) is lower than the actual costs (column 2). Universities actually lose money when they get big extramural grants.

The gap between actual and recovered costs would then be multiplied by the dollar amount of the research operation to yield the amount that scientific research actually costs each campus. Oddly enough, some of the largest gaps occur at some of the largest research operations in the country (Washington is always near the top in overall federal contracts, Harvard is a perennial front-runner, and the UC campuses as a whole have more than $2 billion just in federal contracts). If an “average” campus has $200 million in research, and the gap between actual and recovered costs is “only” 5 percent on a 50 percent negotiated ICR rate, the university needs to find nearly $7 million a year of its own money to cover the costs of conducting extramural

The actual situation, however, is generally much worse. The federal agencies listed in Table 6 come closest of all research sponsors to a full recovery rate, some percentage of research occurs with much less or even very little ICR. When all these sources are pooled together, the negotiated rate turns out to be far higher than the actual overall rate of recovery, which at UC is
only 33 percent. If the gap between actual and recovered indirect costs is not 5 percent as posited above but 50 percent, then the university needs to find ten times the subsidy money assumed above, or closer to $70,000,000 of its “own” money. The actual gap is somewhere in between these figures, but even if it hovers nearer the low end, such rough calculations suggest that the costs of research are a very serious chronic budgetary issue.

To wrap this up: since state money subsidizes non-state research, and since state funds are being cut, it makes sense for non-state research to share the cuts.

We need to oppose these cuts [addendum: see my remarks in response to AndrewD and Gerry in comments]. If the cuts are imposed, we need to talk about how non-state folks should be brought in to share the (unnecessary and destructive) pain. It should be done differentially, which is probably too hard for UC, but it would need to be tried.

The socialization of costs is crucial to the idea of the university, in which all knowledge is interconnected and all progress takes place through knowledge-in-common. I don't object to subsidies: I embrace them. The subsidies need to be accounted for and acknowledged by their recipients - so they can be continued and reciprocated, and so we can move forward together.
It makes no sense to cut salaries or furlough people who are not funded by state funds, thereby hurting them and the University’s larger mission, simply so that pain can be inflicted on everyone and all programs equally.

In addition, the great majority of people not funded by the state (non-FTE faculty and staff) have enjoyed little security because they are responsible for generating their own salaries from extramural and clinical sources. They have not enjoyed the security associated with an FTE and are quite angry about now being penalized in the name of “fairness” that they have not experienced in the past. (I am one of the few UCSF faculty with an FTE, and that FTE has already been substantially cut.)

University leadership also has to be frank with the public about the long term implications of the cuts that the Governor is pushing.

Unless the University wants to permanently reduce salaries (with the attendant loss in high quality faculty and staff), it will have to substantially reduce the number of students it can educate and substantially increase fees. CSU just announced a 20-30% increase in fees and a large reduction in enrollment. The President and Regents need to make it clear that any salary cuts and furloughs will be for this year only (and confined to state-funded positions, with corresponding reductions in services that the state used to provide to students and the state generally) and that next year there will be a combination of very large fee increases and enrollment reductions to get UC on a path to funding student activities at the level of 2001, the last year that UC was reasonably healthy and provided a reasonable quality education.

While I do not like advocating for this strategy of privatization, only by making the implications clear will there be a chance of avoiding it.

Stanton Glantz
Prof of Medicine (UCSF)
Past chair, UC Committee on Planning and Budget