Monday Memo: news & views about working at UC
For the Week of January 23, 2012

A Cal/OSHA criminal investigation report obtained by The Los Angeles Times “provides insight into the basis for felony charges filed last month” against UC and UCLA chemistry professor Patrick Harran for the fatal lab fire in December 2008 that led to the death of 23-year-old researcher Sheri Sangji in January 2009.

Sen. Leland Yee has introduced a bill that would curb pay hikes for administrators in bad budget years. The bill would also limit pay increases of new administrators to no more than 105% of their predecessors.

The chancellor at UCSF has proposed gutting that campus’s relationship with the UC system. Calling UCSF’s contributions to the UC system a “tax” that is weighing down the ability of UCSF to make money, Chancellor Desmond-Hellmann said she wants to make UCSF autonomous and only loosely affiliated with UC, as are Hastings College of Law or the Lawrence Berkeley and Lawrence Livermore National Labs.

UC students have presented an alternative investment proposal that would replace tuition (as well as loans and debt) with “a stable, predictable fraction” of the income alumni make for 20 years. President Yudof was reportedly impressed with the proposal, and promised to study it. Today’s San Francisco Chronicle called the plan an example “of creativity in an age of financial scarcity.”

Applications to UC have jumped 13 percent, according to a recent UC report. The increase is driven by a jump in out-of-state and international applications as well as a relaxation of standardized testing requirements.

Despite decreases in state funding, reports the UC Berkeley Graduate Division, “Berkeley is thriving and innovating. “Other revenue sources have grown faster than state appropriations have declined.”
On Saturday, the UC Berkeley administration agreed to restore the Anthropology Library hours, which had been cut by 50 percent after the winter break, after an Occupy Cal library takeover that started on Thursday. Faculty members had “prevented a police crackdown” to prevent the administration from doing “things that would be unwise.”

Ward Connerly, former UC regent who demolished UC affirmative action programs designed to ensure a diverse student body, and who then spearheaded Proposition 209, which abolished affirmative action in public employment, has been accused of misappropriating funds of his nonprofit organization. A former director of the organization alleged irregularities, including compensation in excess of $1 million.

Lawrence 1912: The Bread and Roses Strike by Ralph Fasanalla
Lawrence 1912: The Bread and Roses Strike by Ralph Fasanalla

And, in labor history, this month marks the 100 anniversary of the textile strike in Lawrence,
, where workers, most of them women and immigrants, walked out for 8 weeks to demand better pay and respect on their jobs. It became known as the “Bread & Roses” strike because of the sign one female picketer carried, “We Want Bread, But Roses Too.”  The theme of Bread & Roses carries on today in many union struggles, signifying now as then that workers want not just economic benefits but also recognition of their basic human rights and dignity.

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