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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 October 11, 2010

Another dissenting opinion is now out on UC’s proposal to gut the pension plan. The Coalition of UC Unions, writes union blogger Bob Samuels, calls UC’s drive to cut pension  benefits divisive and unfair noting it won’t solve the plan’s fiscal problems. Instead, the union coalition calls for reinstating the historical ratio of 5:1 between employer and employee contributions, as well as long-overdue salary increases to help employees pay for any increased costs. In addition, the unions want to end extra pension perks for execs, and revamp the plan’s governing board to include plan participants (like almost every other public employee plan in the country).

California's new budget increased support for higher education, but celebrations are likely to be short-lived according to the Los Angeles Times and the Chronicle of Higher Education. UCSB Professor Chris Newfield also notes that UC's "permanent base budget share of the General Fund for 2010-11 will be about $100 million below expectations."

The shakiness of funding for higher education funding is shown in a new poll of five states by the Pew Center on the States and the Public Policy Institute of California, which showed "that the public is much less likely to back tax increases for higher education than it is for elementary and secondary education."
October 7 was a day to defend public education all over the country. According to one source, while California "remained a center of protest . . . the national character of the event seemed, if anything, more on display."
As the protests began, the San Francisco Chronicle's Nanette Asimov related "how three students - one middle-class, another low-income, and the third an undocumented immigrant - are paying for school at UC Berkeley.

Here are highlights of some of the protests:

Occupy California reported on events at a number of campuses, including Davis and Irvine.

At UCSD, hundreds participated in a "funeral march" to protest education cuts.

At UCLA, "students and faculty protested against tuition increases, concerns about the privatization of the university and wage cuts for university workers."

Berkeley events were covered in a Daily Californian live blog and other media outlets. The San Francisco Chronicle focused on protestors questioning UC's priorities.

At the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, students displayed report cards grading the university on its performance.

A comprehensive list of links to articles and videos is available here.

A day later, thirteen arrests marked the opening of UC Berkeley's Blum Center for Developing Economies, devoted to ending global poverty. AFSCME, which led the protest, represents service workers, the lowest-paid and most impoverished UC employees.

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