Got the Monday blues? Start your week off right with a helping of useful information and informed opinion. 

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For the week of August 17, 2009

In the wake of last week’s press about UC giving raises to executives while furloughing and laying off staff, other media began to cover the story, including bay area TV stations KTVU and KNBC, as well as newspapers such as the East Bay Express and the SF Appeal. For a columnist at the Bay Area News Group, the executive raises show that the UC regents are insulated and “severely tone deaf.”

Meanwhile, the chairs of the Board of Regents and its compensation committee defended executive pay in the August 12 San Francisco Chronicle with their oft-repeated refrain of “top talent requires competitive compensation.”

The Chronicle’s editors didn’t buy the argument, pointing out that UC worked hard to “mask the pay increases as stipends” on top of existing salaries and reclassified existing jobs into higher pay categories. “These top earners may be handling extra duties,” explained the editorial, “but so are many other workers in a shrinking economy where colleagues have departed.” 

Readers chimed in with critical letters, including one that calls for UC President Mark Yudof’s resignation, and another that calls UC’s spin on the executive pay raises “Orwellian newspeak.”

The president of the UC-AFT posted a new study of salary trends in the UC system, showing where the money is going. Using a salary calculator developed by an UPTE member at UC Davis, the study shows how “the poorest workers subsidize the wealth of the richest employees.” A second post details what groups of employees earn the highest salaries at UC.

And what do those high salaries bring us? While UC crumbles, Yudof tweets – about things like pancakes, pastrami sandwiches and the newest Harry Potter movie. A UC Berkeley professor’s editorial in the Sacramento Bee describes Yudof’s twitter activity while making a compelling case for supporting UC faculty, staff and students at a time when the state needs its top university more than ever.

Not everyone is lamenting the likelihood of UC’s “irreversible decline” as faculty flee. The director of a University of Texas entrepreneurial center argued in The Statesman that Texas legislators should increase spending on faculty as this crisis “hollow[s] out the University of California’s most important asset: its world-class talent.” _____________________________________________________________________________________

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