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For the Week of June 28, 2010
UC retirement planners continue to mull over proposals to institute a two-tier plan, according to reports from union reps who have attended recent UCRS advisory board meetings. Such changes have lead to dramatic weakening of other pension plans, according to the non-profit, pro-consumer California Progress Report.
A committee of California legislators has once again passed whistleblower legislation related to the University of California. Senate Bill 650 would provide UC employees with the same protections as other state employees when they report waste, fraud or abuse. Last time a similar bill came up the legislature passed it overwhelmingly, only to have it vetoed by the governor.
Following up on an item reported on April 26, UC police were ordered to return photos they confiscated illegally from independent journalist David Morse during a December protest at the home of Chancellor Robert Birgeneau.
As expected, California State University trustees voted to raise tuition for undergraduate, graduate and teacher credential students (by 5%), for education doctorate students (by 10%), and to lift the cap on nonresident tuition. State Lieutenant Governor Abel Maldonado voted against the proposal.
Prof. Suzanne Guerlac’s notes from the June 14 UC Commission on the Future meeting give a sense of where this “business enterprise” may be going -- and the entrepreneurial direction that the commission thinks UC needs to take because the state is an unreliable partner. “Self-supporting graduate degrees,” the need for a more centralized, “totalitarian regime” to reduce administrative costs, and underfunding of the pension fund were among the isues discussed.
Perhaps the commission is learning from Regent Richard Blum, who reportedly has invested $53 million in two for-profit educational corporations, AKA “diploma mills.” In the article, investigative reporter Peter Byrne asks if Blum has conflicting loyalties.
Gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman has become the butt of political satire by the California Nurses Association. With the slogan “Rich enough to rule,” “Queen Meg” has been turning up at engagements around the state, including a recent visit to the CNA headquarters. Whitman has responded to CNA’s opposition by demanding the union’s membership list so she could contact union members directly. CNA refused but offered her a chance to address nurses, alone or with Democratic party candidate, Jerry Brown. Whitman declined.