Monday Memo: news & views about working at UC
For the Week of August 26, 2013

Governor Jerry Brown’s push for pension reform may cost the state billions of dollars intended for transit projects. That’s according to the US Department of Labor, which the Sacramento Bee says wrote Brown this month warning him that efforts to limit government pensions appear to violate a federal mass transit grant regulation that requires transit agencies to protect employees' collective bargaining rights.

California legislators have ordered an audit of the University of California, Berkeley and three other state college campuses, due to complaints that sexual assault allegations were ignored. Nine students had filed a federal complaint about Berkeley’s compliance with Title IX.

Charles Schwartz, UC Berkeley professor emeritus of physics and budget gadfly, continues his informative series “Educating Napolitano,” with a segment on overgrown administrative bureaucracies. It’s the fourth installment of missives which Schwartz hopes will give Napolitano the real background on UC, and start a debate for change.

Falling state support is part of the reason that the cost of public education went up 46 percent in the last decade, according to Bloomberg News. Meanwhile, outrage is building after a paper by the Center for Investigative Reporting documented that UCLA executives were bending the rules to gain first class travel for themselves. One UCLA graduate, writing in the Daily Bruin, calls the excesses “absurd” and “disturbing.” An editorial this week in the Orange County Register (subscription required) called “UC the place for higher-paid education.”
Growth of employment for all of UC
Graphic by:Charles Schwartz, Professor Emeritus, UC Berkeley

An overview of lab safety at UC appears in Chemical & Engineering News today, a year after UC "entered into a lab safety agreement with the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office" as a result of the December 2008 lab fire that led to the death of research assistant Sheri Sangji. Coincidentally, Sangji's PI, organic chemistry professor Patrick Harran, was back in court today, where the judge ordered him to stand trial on three felony counts of violating workplace safety standards. The next hearing date is October 3.

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