Tag Archives: UC

It’s Time to Take Back UC for California

With the passage of Proposition 30 last November, millions of Californians voted to make personal financial sacrifices in support of public education.  As an elected state representative and former UC faculty member, I feel a special responsibility to ensure that these hard earned funds are being utilized to increase access to UC by Californians.

To be sure, Prop. 30 funds have helped to blunt the assault on access and quality that the financial crisis brought to California’s schools, community colleges and our public Universities.  Some have even enacted additional reforms in order to protect students and taxpayers from future contingencies.

But some, like the University of California, have done just the opposite.

Billions have been squandered on risky investments and oversized executive entitlements.  And UC’s administrative staff-the highest paid public employees in California who have almost no contact with patients and students-have become the fastest growing segment of its workforce.

The UC isn’t just a university.  Through its 10 campuses, five medical centers, three national laboratories, and nineteen other facilities, it is one of the leading economic, research and health delivery institutions in America.  It serves 200,000 students and 4 million patients annually, and is responsible for 1 in 46 California jobs.  

In many ways, as the UC goes, so goes California.  And things are not going as well as they should be.

Student tuition has tripled, and out-of-state enrollment has skyrocketed.  Courses have been cut and student services slashed.  Debt has doubled.  Taxpayer-subsidized UC hospitals are shirking their responsibility to provide health care to the poor on public programs like Medi-Cal, and they have been hit with millions of dollars in government fines for patient safety violations and court-ordered whistleblower settlements.

Unfortunately, under our Constitution, UC does not have to play by the same rules as other public agencies-even other public schools in California.  

That’s why the real power to change UC lies with all of us-patients, students, faculty, alumni, donors, staff and California taxpayers.  We write the checks, fill the classrooms and hospitals, and maintain the facilities.  For generations, Californians have made the sacrifices necessary to build the UC into a crown jewel.  

If we are to preserve this legacy and strengthen it for future generations of Californians, we must take action to end the cycle of mismanagement that is putting UC students and patients at risk.  We must be vigilant and equally steadfast advocates for the reforms that are needed to get UC back on track.

In short:  we need to come together and TAKE BACK UC.

TAKE BACK UC is a grassroots coalition of opinion leaders, organizations, students, patients, workers and taxpayers from every corner of the Golden State.  Our cause is to raise awareness about problems in the UC system, and to mobilize the public in support of common sense solutions-like increased access to qualified California students with reduced student expense to earn a UC degree, access to UC hospitals and physicians, safe staffing at UC health facilities and campuses, and fair pension reforms.

Ultimately, the time for reform at UC is now.  Last month, a new President took the reins at UC.   Our coalition will show that not only is there a need for change at UC-but that there is a mandate for it.  This isn’t just about sharing our concerns today— but holding the Regents and top UC administrators accountable for results in the months and years to come.  

There are a few things you can do to help grow this watchdog movement right now.

1. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

2. Learn more and lend your name to our growing list of supporters by signing up at www.TakeBackUC.org.  

3. Sign our Change.org petition on fair pension reform for UC executives and safe staffing levels at UC hospitals – and share them with your friends!

Thank you in advance for your continued support of public education in California, and your commitment to restoring the University of California to its rightful place as the crown jewel of our Golden State.

Dr. Richard Pan

California State Assemblymember (D-9th District)

Janet Napolitano Welcomed by Legislative Letter About UC Employees

Striking Low-income Workers Had Pay Reducing Contract Imposed While Top Earners Get Increases

by Brian Leubitz

Janet Napolitano is just moving into her new offices in the East Bay Office of the UC President. And right on her first day, she got a letter calling out the treatment of some of the lowest paid workers in the system. But let’s back it up, and give some background. From the Davis Enterprise:

The University of California this week notified the union representing about 8,300 service gardeners, food service workers and custodians that would impose its final offer after more than a year of negotiations.

“Having completed all stages of the bargaining process, including state-assisted mediation and fact-finding, the university is legally entitled to implement its last proposal,” said Dwaine Duckett, UC’s vice president for systemwide human resources and programs, in a statement. …

UC will impose a new pension and retiree health benefits program that includes an increase in the university’s contribution from 10 to 12 percent and an employee contribution increase from 5 to 6.5 percent.(Davis Enterprise)

Of course, for workers that are making an average of $35,000 per year, that increase is a big deal. According to their union, AFSCME 3299, the imposed contract is a 1.5% reduction in pay at a time when the top earners are getting 3% pay increases.

Now, Napolitano obviously wasn’t involved in that background, but she is getting a talking to from legislators about the imposition of a contract on a group of workers that represent the most diverse and lowest income of UC employees. From the letter, authored by new Assembly member Lorena Gonzales and signed by nine more legislators:

UC has applied a different standard to its patient care and service workers – 90% of whom are immigrants and people of color.  Service workers are the only ones that have been singled out for a wage freeze.  These womenand men are already the lowest-paid UC employees.

We recognize and respect that UC’s administrative staff are people of good will.  We are confident that they are not consciously singling out employees of color.  But we also recognize that most often discriminatory practices evolve from equitable theories.

Whatever the reason, whatever the recent history, singling out the University’s largest population of minority workers for the harshest treatment at the bargaining table sends a deeply disturbing message.  Nothing could be less consistent with the values you have embodied throughout your career. (Full Letter on Scribd)

Labor negotiations are never easy, whether for the top employees or for the critical employees who make the educational environment possible at UC. But it is critical that all employees be treated fairly, and that is what this letter is all about.

This is hardly the only major contentious issue facing Napolitano as she enters the office, but it is clearly one worthy of her immediate attention.

Legislators Letter to UC President Janet Napolitano

Staffing UC Hospitals: How Much Care?

Leaders in SF team up with staff to protest cuts

by Brian Leubitz

The UC health care system is one of the best in the world. However, beneath the reputation, there is a serious staffing issue. While management costs have ballooned over the past few years, administrators are working to make big cuts to employees who actually provide care. In a recent report, AFSCME 3299 cited some disturbing trends.

Since 2009, management at UC Medical Centers has grown by 38 percent, adding $100 million to the annual payroll cost of management. Debt service payments have almost quadrupled since 2006. This diversion of patient care dollars results in management’s need to reduce expenses to increase margins.

While increasing efficiency and productivity doesn’t have to necessarily hurt patient care, if done incorrectly, it can have serious negative consequences. Often taking the form of aggressive cost-cutting measures, some translate into chronic short staffing, over scheduling of operating rooms, prioritizing “VIP” patients over everyone else, shortchanging charity care, and outsourcing essential services. These degrade the medical centers’ core mission.

UCSF Medical Center is a hospital on the rise, and the new city rising up in Mission Bay can attest to that. However, while the hospital is being built, with all the debt that comes along with that, the hospital itself is slashing costs. Hospital management recently announced cuts of over 300 staff, 4% of its full-time workforce. These cuts can have real consequences.

“Both at UCSF, and across the UC Medical system, misguided management priorities are putting providers at risk and degrading the quality of patient care,” said AFSCME 3299 President Kathryn Lybarger.   “That’s why we are coming together to demand safe staffing for UC patients, and basic fairness to the frontline care workers who devote their lives to our families, friends, and communities.”

On Thursday, around lunch time, local elected and labor leaders will join with AFSCME 3299 to protest the cuts at UCSF’s Parnassus campus. UCSF has an opportunity to truly work to maximize patient care, let’s hope they choose that option.

Brown and Yudof Bail on the Master Plan

On June 27 Governor Jerry Brown vetoed language inserted by both houses that would have tied UC funding to admitting a minimum number of students (the same as last 2011).  His veto message says as follows:


“Deletes provision 15 of item 6440-001-0001 from AB 1497, because the requirement contained in this provision that the University achieve an enrollment target of 209,977 resident full-time equivalent students creates unnecessary cost pressures on this item and is unnecessarily restrictive.”


This enrollment target, identical with what it was 2 years ago (c.210K), was missing from the Governor’s January budget and the May revise. The  legislature put it back after the LAO notedits absence. Governor Brown’s veto means that, although Master Plan eligibility still exists on paper the state will no longer monitor UC’s compliance with Master Plan expectations. (In some previous years it required that fund be “reverted” to the State if UC did not meet its enrollment target.)


The Council of UC Faculty Association’s Executive Director, Eric Hays has been keeping track of how far the Governor has moved away from Master Plan requirements in the past three budgets. As you can see (below), Jerry Brown is MUCH worse than Schwarzenegger in holding UC to Master Plan targets. By several measures he is also worse in funding UC, which may be why he no will longer hold UC accountable Californians with non-resident students, each of whom yields a surplus revenue of c. $22K . Who will keep these accounts if the DOF and the Governor don’t?

UC remains free to enroll more the 210K resident students even if the state no longer expects it to do so.  This year’s vetoed language contained no penalty if UC missed it’s target, so the Governor’s veto should probably be read as a purely symbolic repudiation of the Master Plan’s link between UC funding and if you want a sense of where things are headed, just listen to President Yudof crow: “[The] bill included California resident enrollment target language that is not consistent with funding levels provided from the State… In accordance with my request the Governor vetoed the budget provisions on the enrollment target ….” (Yudof to Regents, June 29, 2012)

On Friday, June 30, Eric Hays and Joe Kiskis (CUCFA’s VP for External Relations) attended a meeting at UCOP in which the likely outlines of the Governor’s  compact with Yudof were revealed. Joe reports as follows:

In the event that Brown’s ballot initiative does pass, the governor has promised to dust off the multi-year (4-year? 5-year?) UC funding agreement that was apparently worked out between OP and the Governor during the spring and has since been on hold. The present version of this has a 6%/yr increase in state support for UC. That is the 4% previously rumored plus 2% for UCRP. In that eventuality, OP would likely ask the Regents for a 6%/yr tuition increase. (You read that right.) In the event that the ballot initiative does not pass, OP will probably ask the Regents for a tuition increase sufficient to make up for the $250M trigger, the lost $125M tuition buy out, and some other increasing fixed costs for a total increase of 20.3% to be effective Jan. 1, 2013. Yes, mid-year.

But with without any stated expectations for California UC will be free to replace in-state students with non-residents, thereby reducing the budgetary quality of education at campuses that continue to honor the Master Plan. (See https://calitics.com/diary/… )


Here is relevant language from the last three state budgets as compiled by Eric Hays:


2010-11 (Schwarzenegger’s last): “The Legislature expects the University of California to enroll a total of 209,977 statesupported FTES during the 2010-11 academic year. This enrollment target does not include nonresident students and students enrolled in nonstate-supported summer programs.

The University of California shall report to the Legislature by March 15, 2011, on whether it has met the 2010-11 academic year enrollment goal. For purposes of this provision, enrollment totals shall only include state-supported students. If the University of California does not meet its total state supported enrollment goal by at least 512 FTES, the Director of Finance shall revert to the General Fund by April 1, 2011, the total amount of enrollment funding associated with the total share of the enrollment goal that was not met.” (page 604-605 of



2011-12 (Brown’s first): “The Director of Finance shall not [emphasis added] revert state funds appropriated to the University of California for the 2011-12 fiscal year pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 59 of Chapter 7 of the Statutes of 2011 even if the university does not meet its total state-supported enrollment goal.” (page 602 of



2012-13 (VETOED): “The Legislature expects the University of California to enroll a total of 209,977 state-support-ed full time equivalent students during the 2012-13 academic year. This enrollment target does not include nonresident students and students enrolled in nonstate supported summer programs. The University of California shall report to the Legislature by May 1, 2013, on whether it has met the 2012-13 academic year enrollment goal.”

Finally, A Real Chance for Public Higher Education Reform in California

As a recent graduate of San Francisco State University, I am thrilled that there is finally momentum gaining in the movement to achieve real public higher education reform in California. In particular, the Middle Class Scholarship Act is an economically feasible way to make public higher education more affordable for all Californians.

While I was a student at SFSU my tuition increased every semester. To make matters worse, I never qualified for financial assistance to help fund my education because the State determined that my parents could afford to pay not only my tuition but also those of both of my sisters.

California’s public college students are continuing to struggle. The CSU Board of Trustees’ recent decision to close Spring 2013 enrollment is just one of the devastating blows that our public higher education students have been forced to endure, with no end in sight.

Luckily, help for California’s public university students and their families could be on the way. The Middle Class Scholarship Act recently proposed by California State Assembly Speaker John A. Perez is exactly the kind of public higher education reform that California’s students and their families need in these difficult financial times.

If it is approved by two-thirds of the California State Legislature, the Middle Class Scholarship Act will provide scholarships to approximately 150,000 CSU students and roughly 42,000 UC students who have family incomes less than $150,000 and whom do not already have their fees covered. These Middle Class Scholarships will slash student fees by two-thirds. Additionally, our California Community Colleges will receive $150 million to address their unique needs. The Middle Class Scholarships will be paid for in full by closing a wasteful corporate loophole that only benefits out-of-state businesses.  

The Middle Class Scholarship is an innovative solution to California’s public higher education crisis that will help students achieve their dreams, while at the same time, ensure that our Golden State has a strong workforce that is prepared to meet the challenges of the 21st century economy.

I know that as a student, it is difficult just to make time to study and to work but I strongly urge all of California’s UC, CSU and Community College Students to do whatever they can to help pass the Middle Class Scholarship Act and to fight for the higher education reform they deserve. From signing and sharing this petition and tweeting and posting Facbook messages to your State legislators and Governor Brown (if you don’t know who your State legislators are, you can look them up here) to organizing on campus and gathering signatures, no action is too small or insignificant. Keep the faith and, most importantly, keep making your voices heard.

Please embrace the help of the politicians who want to help The Middle Class Scholarship Act become law. Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, Speaker Perez, Senators Darrell Steinberg, and Leland Yee and many other State leaders have consistently stood in solidarity with California’s college students and have fought tirelessly against every single higher education budget cut and fee increase. To pass the Middle Class Scholarship Act, the support and expertise of these politicians will be invaluable.    

If California’s public college students continue to come together and rally the support of our State legislators to pass the Middle Class Scholarship Act, I think we will finally see the dawn of real public higher education reform in California.

UC-Davis In Crisis

Chancellor facing calls for resignation after pepper spray incident

by Brian Leubitz

In case you aren’t one of the approximately 1.5 million viewers of the Davis pepper spray video, here it is, the video that changed Chancellor Linda Katehi’s life.

The pepper spraying of students was without a doubt overkill for the situation. After all, who would it really have hurt to allow the students to remain on the Quad. Instead, Davis administrators are now dealing with national scrutiny on their police policies, pay levels (officers make twice what those who actually teach), and their level of respect for their customers/students.

Chancellor Katehi is desperately trying to cling to her job.  After the silent walk of shame caught on video, she today addressed the students:

When Chancellor Linda Katehi took the stage at a rally of students held to protest last week’s pepper-spraying by police she was apologetic.

“I’m here to apologize,” said Katehi. “I really feel horrible for what happened on Friday.” (SacBee)

When you click through to that link you will see something of a live-blog and video of both Katehi’s apology and of the tents returning to the UC-Davis Quad. One has to imagine that pepper spray is not an option this go-round.  Katehi will continue to face increasing scrutiny as she is trying the time-tested “name a panel” stalling technique.  

The Davis panel is supposed to return a report within 30 Days, and then the matter will be handled further.  Legislators, including Sen. Ye, have been calling for something more substantial, but no additional word has emerged.

The student protesters are calling for a boycott on Nov. 28.

What of Higher Education?

SF State President says Gov. Brown hasn’t stood up for higher education

by Brian Leubitz

Yesterday we saw the scary fact that tuition would exceed state support in the UC system.  Today, the long-standing president of San Francisco State, Robert Corrigan, made his feelings known about the current budget situation and the governor’s leadership in an exit interview with the Bay Citizen.

The president of San Francisco State University said Monday that Gov. Jerry Brown “doesn’t seem to appreciate high-quality education in California.” …

“I think we are looking at a five-year budget] problem in California,” Corrigan said in a telephone interview. “At my age, I am not likely to be around for five years.” Corrigan plans to return to his research in American history after retiring. “The next president needs to deal with the Legislature and the governor as best that they can,” he said. ([The Bay Citizen)

President Corrigan is leaving after 24 years as president of the San Francisco campus amongst mixed opinions.  Many seem to think that he could have done more to protect students, while others seem resigned to the situation in Sacramento.  Ultimately, the question really can’t be answered at any of the individual campuses of either CSU or UC.  It is a failing of our state, our leaders, and our voters.  Together we have conspired to deprive our institutions of higher education of the necessary funding and then essentially required them to make the education cost prohibitive to much of the state’s population.

It is easy to question Gov. Brown, especially in hindsight.  But, with structural problems blooming like a stinking rose in Sacramento, the Governor is hardly the only person worthy of blame.  It is a sad fact that we once were wholeheartedly committed to education, today we cannot say that.

A Sad Day for Higher Education

Tuition will exceed general fund support for the first time for UC system this year

by Brian Leubitz

There was once a vision for education in California that allowed us to dream big.  It allowed the state to have expectations for the future, because we were investing in it through education.  We went so far as to build a master plan that included tuition free higher education.  Those days now seem like an extremely distant dream.

For the first time, the total amount that University of California students pay in tuition this year will surpass the funding the prestigious public university receives from the state. It is a historic shift for the UC system and part of a national trend that is changing the nature of public higher education.

Propelled by budget crises in California and elsewhere, the burden of paying for education at a public college or university, once heavily subsidized by taxpayers, is shifting to students and their families. (LA Times)

While the Right is crowing about class warfare, they are doing their damnedest to ensure that those below them can’t work their way up.  Higher education, for several generations, has been the most significant way of upward mobility.  Decreasing access further cements that the rich stay rich.  A sad day for the California dream, indeed.

Auditor: UC Needs More Transparency

State Audit reveals no major malfeasance, but a deep lack of transparency

by Brian Leubitz

Sen. Leland Yee has been all over the UC system, arguing that nobody knows what is going on with the system.  But while State Auditor Elaine Howle didn’t find anything legally wrong, she did find that much more could be done to shed light on the process

The University of California should justify to the public why it spends thousands of dollars more per student at four of its 10 campuses and also do a better job of explaining how it spends more than $1 billion it allots annually to “miscellaneous services,” state auditors said Thursday.

The audit found no major malfeasance in the university system’s budgeting or spending, but noted a lack of transparency in the way it handles its finances that could erode public trust.

For example, $6 billion was budgeted for the UC president’s office over five years, all of it falling under a line-item category called miscellaneous services. (SF Gate)

Now, most of the money can be traced back to legitimate expenses, but why was so much money just tossed into a “miscellaneous” file.  UC can do better than that. Heck, they have a whole fleet of accounting professors that can help them out with that.  But we would all be served by a bit more sunshine in the Office of the President.

The report also revealed that several campuses receive much smaller amounts of funding per student. UCSB receives $12,309 per student, while UC-Davis receives $17,660.  Much of this has to do with some important underlying factors such as percentage of graduate students, but once again, a little sunshine could make this whole process smoother.  If the UC just did a better job in keeping its books open, many of these issues wouldn’t get heated at all.

Meanwhile both the UC system and Yee are taking the report as a win. Hooray for that.

UC Follows CSU to the Tuition Increase Game

Yesterday, it was CSU’s turn to raise tuition.  Apparently, today is the UC’s turn:

University of California regents today voted to raise tuition by about $1,070, sending the total cost to $12,192 for the upcoming school year.

After a recently approved $650 million cut in state funding, UC regents said they had no choice but to raise tuition to close about a quarter of the system’s $1 billion budget deficit. When combined with a previous hike, tuition will be 18 percent more — about $1,890 — in fall 2011 than it was in fall 2010. Each campus also charges undergraduates about $1,000 in additional fees. (SacBee)

The university systems are both on the hook for another $100 million in the triggered cuts if we don’t reach the higher, hopeful, revenue figure. By the way, the Controller announced today that we aren’t actually $230 million behind where we need to be, but $85 million, because somebody forgot to tally a big check from the unclaimed property account.

That being said, the discussion about the additional cuts was bumped until a later date, but don’t be shocked if more increases aren’t on the horizon.

One vote against the increase: LG Newsom.

“The biggest threat to our democracy is income inequality, the loss of the middle class,” Newsom said. “And here we are once again, putting the nail in the coffin of the middle class. That’s exactly who gets hurt in this debate.”