Monday Memo

Monday Memo: Week of September 25, 2017

A planned series of incendiary far-right events at UC Berkeley turned out to be an embarrassing flop, as the tiny student group sponsoring it pulled out, and UC officials were left with over $1 million in security costs, according to the Mercury News and a San Francisco Chronicle editorial.

More than 350 UC Berkeley faculty cancelled classes to boycott the events and circulated a open letter, citing the safety of the campus community and saying their most vulnerable students were at risk. The claim of the chief far-right organizer that UC was censoring him was, according to Salon, a “massive troll,” while the Guardian called it “rank hypocrisy.”

UCB students walk out earlier this year (photo: Pete Forsyth)

Another attack on UC pensions and retirement security for UC workers came this week in an article in the Los Angeles Times pitting students against workers over pension costs. The article cites the worst examples of extravagant top executive and faculty pensions to build a case against pension plans.

Higher education faculty, like the community college teachers UPTE represents, have seen quality of work life plummet as their institutions have eliminated stable jobs and replaced them with “contingent,” part-time positions without benefits or job security. In England, contingent faculty are called “fractionals.” Fractional faculty at the University of London won a key victory recently, as Global Labour Column reports.

Distressed by national politics? Take heart in this new study released by Tufts University’s Institute for Democracy and Higher Education, which found that more students voted in 2016 than in previous years and that the diversity of student voters increased as well.

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