Monday Memo: news & views about working at UC
For the Week of October 08, 2012

At the beginning of 2012, UCSF chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellman proposed that “a small working group be formed to help UCSF explore options to secure its financial future” – a proposal that many saw as the harbinger of privatization of UCSF. That working group received its go-ahead from the regents on Wednesday.

UCSF’s “options to secure its financial future” also include a partnership with Big Pharma. UCSF is the first school to get a partnership with Pfizer, worth up $85 million over 5 years – leading to concerns among observers over the increasingly blurred line between academic freedom and commercialization of public universities.

For their part, agriculture watchdogs and food activists have long criticized what they say are too-close ties between UC Davis researchers and agribusiness. Michele Simon, a contributor to the Huffington Post’s “The Blog,” revealed that one UC Davis professor’s recent op-ed articles against Proposition 37 in regional newspapers reproduced almost verbatim several passages from the “No on 37” website. Monsanto and DuPont corporations lead the campaign against Prop. 37 with $12 million in political contributions
between them.

Yes on 30!
UPTE members say 'YES" on Prop 30. Photo: Joe Biegner
"I understand that to people making $40,000 a year, $290,000 seems like an awful lot of money,” said a senior vice president of a national organization that aids universities in president searches. But that figure doesn’t even reach the average base pay for CSU presidents, which is $298,000, according to an analysis by the Contra Costa Times of pay rates for CSU chancellors. Incoming CSU president Tim White will receive more than $450,000. UC president Mark Yudof, incidentally, at $581,232 weighs in as the top earner among public university presidents in California.

At the same time that top-heavy university priorities are favoring executives, relentless budget cuts and short-sighted public policies are grinding California’s higher education system to bits, as detailed in this article in Mother Jones magazine, “The Slow Death of California’s Higher Education.”

One of the nation’s most trusted political groups, the League of Women Voters, has come out in opposition to Proposition 32, which it calls a deceptive and misleading proposition. The league joins a long list of newspapers and citizen organizations opposing Proposition 32, which would silence unionized workers’ voices while allowing big corporate donors to continue to pour money into politics.

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