Monday Memo: news & views about working at UC

For the Week of November 17, 2014

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With a November 25 open enrollment deadline rapidly approaching, anger at UC’s cost shifting in its employee medical plans is increasingly being voiced, especially with the new UC Care plan, which replaced Anthem Blue Cross last year. 

At UC Santa Barbara, the Faculty Association had harsh words in an open letter to UCOP for its “failure to address the manifest inequities and problems that the transition to UC Care has generated…” Calling UC Care’s lack of choices “dangerous and expensive,” the letter called on UCSB’s chancellor to appoint a committee to meet with UC President Janet Napolitano to reconfigure the plan at that campus.

While UC Care has some special problems in Santa Barbara, dissatisfaction with the plan is high at most campuses, UCSB English professor Chris Newfield writes on his blog, Remaking the University,with employee costs rising “from 2 to over 3 times the rate of HealthNet and other preexisting commercial plans.” Employees can share their thoughts on UC Care here. Other UC health plan premiums have also increased.

UC president Janet Napolitano is proposing a 5% tuition hike for next year, reports the Sacramento Bee, while California Senate president pro tem Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) made the case in the Los Angeles Times that UC should charge out-of-state students more instead.

Meanwhile, UC has failed to comply with a new state law requiring it to disclose, “for the first time, how it spends its money,” reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

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University of California Student Association, photo

“Faced with presiding over the ruin of the world’s best public university, UC’s administrators are up a creek looking for a paddle,” writes James Vernon, a UC Berkeley history professor and chair of the Berkeley Faculty Association in an op-ed in the Sacramento Bee. “If the UC is to continue to provide Californians access to a world-class education and bring prosperity to the state by helping make it a center of global innovation,” he writes, “we have to reinvest in it.” The cost? Surprisingly affordable: only about $50/year per taxpayer.

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