Monday Memo: news & views about working at UC

For the Week of April 13, 2015

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A cap on UC executive salaries won bipartisan support in the Assembly Higher Education Committee last week, reports today’s front page of the San Francisco Chronicle. The bill is one of five related to undergraduate tuition, out-of-state admissions, admission guarantees for California applicants to CSU and UC, and restrictions on UC autonomy.

The five bills “get at the heart of the irritation” that students and lawmakers from both parties feel toward UC, writes Chronicle reporter Nanette Asimov: “the university keeps increasing compensation for its highest-paid employees while demanding that students pay more tuition and that the state contribute more toward its bottom line.”

Meanwhile, UC president Janet Napolitano is taking every opportunity to press for additional funding. In a CNBC interview this weekend, she said “UC students should blame state budget cuts – and not the universities themselves – for higher tuition bills.” On Thursday, in Riverside, she said “a bigger commitment from Sacramento is needed to keep tuition costs down and ensure that UC campuses ... can effectively teach students and conduct research.”

The California Faculty Association, which represents professors, lecturers, and librarians at California State University, surveyed more than 5,500 of its members in preparation for contract negotiations and “found widespread discontent and demoralization about their financial well-being,” reports the Los Angeles Times. “Some ... say their salary is so low that they must work two jobs, can’t afford to buy a home and at times depend on food stamps and other government assistance to get by.”

A community-labor coalition in Richmond, California is asking if UC’s new campus there will really benefit the community. “At meetings on campus, in local churches, and other venues,” writes labor journalist Steve Early in BeyondChron, “they are pressuring the university to sign a ‘community benefits agreement’ that would apply to the ‘Berkeley Global Campus at Richmond Bay’ (BGC) that UC-plans to build in partnership with private developers and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories (LBNL).”

A stolen computer at UC Riverside contained the Social Security numbers of 8,000 graduate students and graduate applicants, according to the Riverside Press-Enterprise. UC officials “don’t believe it contains material that would allow someone to gain access to other campus computers or networks.”

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