Monday Memo: news & views about working at UC

For the Week of February 01, 2015

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UC faculty are blowing the whistle on the administration for installing spyware across university servers, which they say constitutes “secret monitoring” and violates the privacy rights of staff, students and alumni. The UCLA Faculty Association has a piece on the issue, citing a news article from the San Francisco Chronicle. The Remaking the University blog and Inside Higher Ed are also covering the issue, and the UCLA Faculty Association published more on the spyware this morning.

Last week, about 50 UC Berkeley students and workers protested “unfair treatment and unsafe working conditions in UC jobs,” reports the Daily Californian. The group of students, union members, and contract workers has protested before over campus outsourcing, abrupt schedule changes, the need to take on additional duties when co-workers are sick, and limited-term employment.

Another demonstration – this one organized by UPTE-CWA and the Teamsters over layoffs at UC Berkeley’s Campus Shared Services – is scheduled for this Tuesday, February 2 at noon at Berkeley’s California Hall. Participants will deliver petition signatures against the layoffs (sign the petition here). A recent article in the Daily Californian describes UC’s plan for 28 layoffs in the division.
Spy graphic
Source: UCLA Faculty Association
UCLA Academic Senate faculty met on Thursday “to better understand faculty opinions before making recommendations to the systemwide senate” about a proposed new pension tier and reduced retirement benefits “for employees hired on or after July 1, 2016,” reports the Daily Bruin. The proposed change results from the May budget agreement negotiated behind closed doors between Governor Brown and UC President Napolitano.

Are you “feeling the Bern”? UPTE-CWA and national union CWA were among the first unions to endorse Senator Bernie Sanders in the Democratic presidential primary, and the union’s members are working for Sanders in the closest primary state to California – Nevada, which caucuses February 20. Members will travel to Reno on February 6 or Las Vegas on February 13, leaving early and coming back late on each of those Saturdays to do voter outreach work for Sanders. Sign up to participate (all costs will be covered).

"What have unions ever done for us?" a hilarious Moveon.org video asks. The answer will cheer up your Monday.

Following UC’s announcement three weeks ago that enrollment applications increased by more than 6 percent over the previous year to a new all-time high, the Legislature may finally have reached its limit with UC’s increasing reliance on out-of-state and international students as a revenue source. Two legislators have announced a bill to withhold state funding unless UC caps non-state enrollments at the current 15.5 percent. The bill would also require at least half of the money generated from these students to support enrollments of California students. UC committed to increasing in-state enrollments last year as part of a funding deal with the state, but those numbers actually fell. UC is not the only state university using non-state students to pad its budget.

Undocumented students in the UC system will now be able to receive financial aid under the California DREAM Loan Program. The university announced an initial $5 million in funding for the program, half of which is put up UC and half by the state.

All UC faculty and staff are now being required to take “two online training courses on sexual violence and harassment prevention,” according to the Daily Californian, to understand updated policies and legal requirements on sexual assault.

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