Monday Memo: news & views about working at UC

For the week of August 22, 2016

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UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks announced his resignation in a campuswide email August 16, following “months of criticism by faculty and others over his handling of sexual misconduct cases, a major budget deficit and other campus issues,” reports the Los Angeles Times. The resignation comes just a week after UC Davis chancellor Linda Katehi resigned “amid allegations that she had misused her office,” reports the San Francisco Chronicle, adding that UC President Janet Napolitano had said Katehi “exercised poor judgment and violated multiple policies.” UCB chief's exit
Berkeley’s chancellor will stay until a successor is in place, and will then return to teaching. Some faculty members want Dirks out sooner, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. They see Dirks as “a figurehead chancellor” and also think “his $532,000 salary is a poor use of public funds – especially as the campus tries to close the $150 million deficit.”

Dirks assumed the post in 2013, and has presided over a series of embarrassing scandals, from a tepid response to sexual harassment cases, to a $700,000 security fence around his house, to allegations of improper use of university resources for personal benefit. Earlier this year he narrowly avoided a no confidence vote by the Academic Senate. Napolitano has vowed to replace Dirks as quickly as possible.

The Chronicle also reported that Berkeley “spent more than $200,000 on consultants hired to boost the chancellor’s image, even as Dirks announced this spring that 500 staff members would soon lose their jobs to the budget crisis.”

Students who work in Dining Services at UCLA are demanding equal pay for the same work as career staff, according to the Daily Bruin. Over 100 student workers have signed a petition saying that because their job duties are the same as career staff, they should be paid the same wages ($16.32 an hour instead of $10.50 an hour).
 
“With tuition heading up” and spending by the UC Office of the President nearly doubling in recent years, reports the San Francisco Chronicle, state legislators have “authorized an audit of UC’s Office of the President to determine whether its $686 million annual budget — more than twice that of the Legislature — is money well spent.”

Non-tenured faculty at the University of Illinois went from organizing to a strike to a contract in just two years, according to a new article from the American Federation of Teachers. They are part of a nationwide movement of mostly community college teachers, like those represented by UPTE-CWA, to change the conditions under which they labor.

Excitement is building for UPTE’s administrative professionals’ organizing conference on August 27 in Los Angeles. If you haven’t yet registered, check out the details here or contact your UPTE local.

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