Monday Memo: news & views about working at UC
For the Week of April 25, 2016
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Closing the UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program, or JMP, is one of the options management is considering in order to meet the “3 percent budget reduction target for all campus professional schools,” reports the Daily Californian. JPM students and advocates have launched a petition drive to save the program, which “receives only a small portion” of the funds it generates, according to director Colette Auerswald. In a private message, she said JMP “was named a model program by the American Academy of Medical Colleges in 2014.” It trains physicians who understand “the social context of our healthcare system and our health itself.”

The Los Angeles Times reports on “increasingly fierce reactions” from Berkeley faculty who say “they have been largely left out of the early planning efforts” to reshape the university. At an April 12 faculty meeting, “Dirks acknowledged that any changes to Berkeley's academic programs would probably save only a few million dollars,” the Times added, and that “the main reason to redesign them would be to settle on an academic vision in line with new budget realities.”

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Only one in four sexual harassment complaints against UC faculty systemwide “was formally investigated between 2012 and 2015, and only one-third of those were substantiated,” revealed the Mercury News, after UC issued a new report last week. The report “was unclear about what happened to the 76 percent of the complaints that were not investigated,” the paper added, as “erratic” record-keeping made it difficult to gather information. Tyann Sorrell, the Berkeley executive assistant “who came forward against the law school dean, said UC should hire an independent investigator to determine what happened with the complaints that weren't formally investigated.”

Non-tenure track faculty at the University of Southern California voted in January against representation by SEIU by a slim margin. Now the National Labor Relations Board has found that USC undermined the election by giving raises to some faculty and threatening that others would not be welcome on the Academic Senate and other university bodies. The NLRB nullified the election and ordered another one held.

A letter signed by all 10 UC chancellors plus UC president Janet Napolitano is drawing giggles from blogger and UCSB English professor Chris Newfield. “UC United!” wrote Newfield, as he speculated that maybe management would be “pledging new vigilance in rooting out sexual misconduct on campus, or agreeing to address administrative bloat, or reigning in non-resident enrollments, or capping executive compensation…?” No, writes Newfield, UC’s bigwigs were merely writing to an academic association to oppose a student- and faculty-led movement to boycott Israeli academic institutions. Two faculty members have already written strong letters questioning Napolitano & company’s move.
UPTE’s sisters and brothers in the Communications Workers of America are into their second week of a strike against Verizon, in the largest such action in decades, reports Labor Notes. Some 40,000 Verizon workers walked off the job in support of better wages, health benefits and job security protections. This interview in with a CWA leader lays out many of the issues, or check out Stand Up to Verizon to see how you can help.

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