Monday Memo: news & views about working at UC

For the Week of January 13, 2013

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With budget revenues surpassing expectations, Gov. Brown has released a budget that proposes paying down California’s liabilities rather than restore funding that has been cut over the past five years. He urges restraint in allocating the revenue and first wants to pay down what he says are debt liabilities totaling $355 billion.

Among them are UC employee pensions and retiree health care benefits, which rank fourth and fifth in this summary of state of California’s debts, though a report issued by Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research finds that pensions are only a minor factor for financial straits in the nation’s public sector.

The Orange County Register reports that UC and the California State University system have pledged to freeze tuition again this year while Gov. Brown has proposed an increase of $142 million or 5% to each system. This is part of a deal last year to provide moderate budget increases for four years in exchange for the universities’ not raising tuition.

The Santa Cruz Sentinel reports that faculty in California’s higher education system do not reflect the demographic diversity of the state. 76 percent of UC’s faculty is white, while at the CSUs it is 68 percent, and Stanford is at 74 percent.

UC Riverside has signed an agreement with SunPower to build a solar generator plant on campus. The solar panels will generate about 30% of the campus’s daily load, or 3 megawatts.

Three San Joaquin Valley legislators have introduced a bill to "speed the launch of a new medical school at University of California Merced to address a physician shortage in rural areas" and the projected demand from millions of newly insured people statewide. "A handful of future doctors are being trained at UC Merced" through a partnership Program in Medical Education (PRIME) with the UC Davis School of Medicine and UC San Francisco Fresno PRIME, but the UC regents haven't yet gone beyond conceptual approval for a medical school.

Business arguments about the detrimental effects of paid sick leave have not borne out in Connecticut, according to an 18-month study of more than 250 employers. Positive results of providing paid sick leave include reduction of employee turnover by 3.3 percent; a 14.9 percent increase in productivity; an 18.8 percent reduction in employees coming to work sick; and an estimated 14.8 percent decrease in the spread of illness.

CNN reports that over three-quarters of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck.

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