Thursday, November 17, 2011

Lt. Gov. Newsom Calls for Open Trustees Meeting

Lt. Governor Newsom issued this statement after yesterday's CSU Board of Trustees meeting:

"The CSU Board today adopted yet another student fee increase, continuing an alarming trend of passing more of the cost of public higher education onto hard working students and their families.

"Even more alarming was the manner in which the decision was made. With many members of the Board not even attending the meeting today, and after protesters interrupted the proceedings, the CSU leadership chose to continue behind closed doors with no members of the public or media in attendance.

"Whatever the rationale, this issue is simply too important to not allow for a full and thorough public discussion or to contribute to the perception that this process is anything less than open and transparent. By doing so, I fear we are unintentionally inflaming the widespread confusion and acrimony that continues to build around the issue.

"Because so many members of the Board were unable to attend, and the actions were taken out of the sight of the public and media, I call on the CSU to place this issue back on the agenda for the scheduled special meeting of the Board on December 5.

"At that time the full Board can hold an open debate, with full public comment and members of the media present, so that the people of California can be confident that these decisions are being made in the open and decision-makers — myself included — are being held to account."


CSU's Own 9-9-9 Plan, More News Links

The CSU has its own 9-9-9 plan: a 9% student fee increase, the 9th in 9 years.

Yesterday the CSU Board of Trustees recessed then reconvened in secret, excluding the public and the press. During that closed meeting, Trustees voted to raise student tuition fees by 9.1%. Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, a member of the Board, argued against the cuts:

"In today's economy, the timing of the proposed 9 percent tuition increase could not come at a more difficult time," said Newsom, who called cuts to higher education a "catastrophic trend."

The six Trustees who voted against the tuition hike were Bernadette Cheyne, Steven Glazer, Henry Mendoza, Gavin Newsom, Tom Torlakson (State Superintendent of Public Instruction), and Melinda Guzman.

Trustees removed the tuition "buy out" option from their budget proposal to the legislature, which would have asked the legislature to fund the CSU at a level sufficient to prevent the ninth fee increase in nine years.

Newsom opposed the Trustees' decision to vote behind closed doors and urged the Trustees place the fee increase on the agenda for the scheduled special meeting on December 5.

The CSU issued a statement about the Trustees' decision to reconvene out public view, but seems not to have read some of the Bagley Keene Act excerpt they cite:

Nothing in this section shall prohibit the state body from establishing a procedure for readmitting an individual or individuals not responsible for willfully disturbing the orderly conduct of the meeting. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, only matters appearing on the agenda may be considered in such a session. Representatives of the press or other news media, except those participating in the disturbance, shall be allowed to attend any session held pursuant to this section.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Photos from Trustees Meeting Protest

We have a few photos from Wednesday morning's ruckus at the Chancellor's Office.

Protestors at the side of the building:

Purple SEIU United Service Workers West shirts dotted the crowd:

News crews spotted included radio stations KFI, KFWB, and KNX as well as television stations KNBC, KTLA, KTTV and KCAL.

After protestors were pushed out of the meeting room and the building:

Trustees Flee Public Eye to Raise Tuition

This morning, the CSU Board of Trustees' Committee on Finance voted 4-3 to pass the tuition increase. Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, a member of the Board, objected:

"We're absolving our opportunity to put pressure on the government and the legislature by giving them every excuse to focus on those other hungry mouths up there," Newsom said, noting that the CSU has raised tuition 20 percent in the last year.

Later, the Trustees ordered police to clear ReFund California protesters from the meeting room and retired to a private room rather than continue the meeting in its normal (and now demonstrator-free) location.

Trustees then reconvened out of sight of the public to pass the tuition increase by 9-6. Most observers in the room at today's meeting were peaceful and not disruptive. The Trustees' actions show the extent of their respect for the public's right to observe their deliberations and votes.

After demonstrators were pushed outside, they attempted to re-enter the building while police held the doors to keep them (and anyone else) out. With people tugging/pushing from both sides, one of the glass doors shattered and cut an officer's arm. Police used tear gas or pepper spray (reports differ) on the crowd. Several people were arrested.

Police were also gathered at a park near the Queensway Bridge, apparently staged to respond to protests at the CSU or elsewhere in Long Beach today.

Note for those who haven't been to the Chancellor's Office: The doors at the entrance to the Chancellor's Office are glass, with no enclosing frame. They look like bigger versions of the type of doors used in home showers, which sometimes shatter (with or without someone present at the time) and injure people.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Union Plus Scholarships

CSUEU members, their spouses, and their dependent children can apply for the Union Plus Scholarship Program, now through January 31, 2012.

Applications are submitted online. Scholarships are awarded based on academic ability, social awareness, financial need and appreciation of labor. Awards range from $500 to $4,000.

From the Frequently Asked Questions list:

Current and retired members of unions that participate in any Union Plus program, their spouses and their dependent children (as defined by IRS regulations) can apply for a Union Plus Scholarship. Grandchildren are not eligible unless a legal dependent (as defined by IRS regulations).

CSUEU members are eligible as members of Service Employees International Union (SEIU), a Union Plus participant. CSUEU is SEIU Local 2579.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Board of Trustees Meeting: Budget, Student Fee Increases

The CSU Board of Trustees is scheduled to meet this Tuesday and Wednesday, November 15-16, 2011, at the Chancellor's Office in Long Beach.


  • A closed session of the full board, for Executive Personnel Matters at 10:00 on Tuesday.
  • Closed session for Committee on Collective Bargaining is scheduled for 11:00.
  • The open session of the Committee on Collective Bargaining is estimated to begin at 11:30.
  • After a lunch break, additional committee meetings take up the rest of Tuesday.
  • Wednesday begins with the final committee meeting, Committee on Finance, at 8:30.
  • The full Board of Trustees meeting is scheduled for 10:15 on Wednesday.

The various committee meetings happen one after another, and actual start times may not match the published schedule exactly. The published schedule represents someone's best estimate regarding when the Trustees will finish one topic and begin another.

On the Agendas

  • Contract ratification for Bargaining Unit 1, represented by the Union of American Physicians and Dentists (UAPD)
  • 2012-2013 Support Budget:
    The proposal includes $138,348,000 for a buy-out of the planned student fee increase, $154,930,000 for a 5% enrollment increase, $30,000,000 for urgent maintenance, and $84,978,000 for a 3% compensation pool, with a total increase of $397,262,000. See page 16 of the PDF Agenda for Committee on Finance, November 2011 meeting for full details.
  • Tuition fee increases:
    The increase for full-time undergraduate students is $498 per academic year, or about 9.1%. See page 20 of the PDF Agenda for Committee on Finance, November 2011 meeting for full details.
  • Updates on this year's assigned audits, including:
    • Auxiliary Organizations
    • Delegations of Authority
    • High-risk areas including
      • IT Disaster Recovery (Campuses on this audit list are Channel Islands, Dominguez Hills, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Bernardino, and San Francisco.)
      • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
      • Sensitive Data Security/Protection (Campuses on this audit list are Fullerton, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, and Sonoma.)
  • Follow-up on past assignments, including
    • Special Investigations (this apparently includes whistleblower investigations and alleged embezzlements and conflicts of interest)
    • Auxiliary Organizations
    • IT Disaster Recovery
    • Intercollegiate Athletics
    • HIPPA
    • Business Continuity
  • Seismic Safety Program Annual Report
    Several projects which merit special note are listed, all identified as Seismic Priority List 1, meaning they should be retrofitted as soon as practical:
    California State University, East Bay, Warren Hall
    Warren Hall is essentially vacant except for a small cadre of essential campus functions that remains operational pending relocation. These functions are the main campus telephone switch gear in the basement, campus Information Technology (IT) servers on the third floor, and various antennas. To address IT needs, the campus will relocate the data center to the Student Services Replacement Building or possibly utilize cloud computing.
    San Francisco State University, Library
    During this reporting period, a new shear wall was removed and replaced due to faulty construction. Despite this setback, this large renovation/addition of the campus library is ahead of schedule and expected to be operational in spring 2012.
    California State Polytechnic University, Pomona Classroom/Lab/Administration (CLA) Building
    [D]ue to a range of extensive deficiencies, including seismic, its demolition and replacement was included in the trustees' 2011-2012 capital program request, but it did not make it into the final state budget; it has been proposed again in the 2012-2013 capital program request. … [T]he campus is reinvestigating if it is economically feasible to seismically upgrade and renovate at least the non-tower portions of the CLA building. The CLA tower remains a Priority List 1 concern.

About Trustees Meetings

For the most part, the discussion happens in the Committee meetings, and then the full Board meets in plenary session and approves whatever is before it. The Board seldom says no to the CSU.

Meetings are supposed to be open to the public, but in practice the CSU has sometimes prevented would-be attendees, including (non-disruptive) employees, from entering the building. With student fee increases on the agenda, and faculty striking this week, this may be a problem again.

The (as yet unapproved) minutes of the previous meetings are in the agendas for the current meetings.

Anyone can address the Board of Trustees, or write to them. See page 4 of the PDF November 2011 Board of Trustees agenda for specifics.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

CFA Pickets Today and Tomorrow, Strikes Next Week

California Faculty Association (CFA) will be doing informational picketing on CSU campuses statewide today and tomorrow, and plans a one-day strike on November 17 at CSU East Bay and CSU Dominguez Hills.

CFA's Board of Directors voted unanimously to authorize the strike after CFA's membership voted 93% in favor of a one-day strike on one or more campuses. CFA President Lillian Taiz said we must now send the Chancellor a plain and simple message about his skewed priorities.

CFA's most recent bargaining update notes that:

the Chancellor recently rejected a second neutral fact-finder’s recommendations that faculty be paid part of the salary increases negotiated in our last contract. That action, his relentless push for hikes in student fees, and his lavish giveaways to executives bespeak a vision for the CSU that hurts students, faculty, and the CSU itself.

Informational Picketing Schedule

Here's the list of scheduled picket lines, from CFA:

  • CSU Bakersfield, 4:30-7 pm, start at Stockdale, Hwy & Don Hart Dr. East, end Recreational Center Gym, where Wes Moore will speak at 7 pm
  • CSU Dominguez Hills, 11:15 am-1:15 pm & 5-7 pm Union Loker Student Union walkway
  • Humboldt State U, 11 am-1 pm, Campus Quad
  • Cal State Los Angeles, 3-5 pm, King Hall then march
  • CSU Northridge, Noon-2 pm, Sierra Center
  • Sacramento State, 7:30-10 am, Two main entrances
  • San Francisco State, 11 am-1 pm, 19th & Holloway
  • Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, 11 am-1 pm, University Union
  • Sonoma State, 7:30-9:45 am, main entrance (off Sequoia Way & East Cotati Ave.) & the Green Music Center entrance (on East Redwood Drive)
  • CSU Stanislaus, 11:30 am-1 pm, Campus main quad (Peak time 11:45 am-12:30 pm)
  • CSU Chico, 11 am-1 pm, Creek Bridge
  • CSU East Bay, 7:30-10:30 am, Carlos Bee & Loop Road
  • CSU Fresno, 11:30 am-1:30 pm, Shaw & Maple
  • CSU Fullerton, 11 am-1 pm, Humanities Bldg quad
  • CSU Long Beach, 8-10 am, 7th Street entrances
  • California Maritime Academy, 11:30-1 pm, Quad
  • CSU Monterey Bay, 11 am-1 pm, Library Circle
  • Cal Poly Pomona, 7:30-9:30 am, Corner of Temple Ave. & South Campus Dr. near the campus sign
  • CSU San Bernardino, 8:30-10:00 am, at flagpole at main entrance of campus
  • San Diego State, 11:30 am-1 pm, North Library Walkway
  • San Jose State, 9-11 am, Front of MLK Library
  • CSU San Marcos,12:15 - 2 pm, Dome to Kellogg Library


Monday, November 7, 2011

Several Long-Term Presidents Retiring Shortly

Presidents of 5 CSU campuses — California Maritime Academy, Northridge, Fullerton, San Bernardino, and San Francisco — have announced they will retire this year or next year. The Los Angeles Times points out this is on top of the 2011 installations of new leaders for San Diego State, San Jose State and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and an interim appointment at Cal State East Bay.

Searches for all 5 positions are expected to be completed, and appointments made, by early next summer.

Despite state budget woes, and CSU's repeated student fee increases, and the annual decrease in real dollars of staff salaries, CSU continues to prioritize executive pay:

Cal State leaders were criticized this summer after they decided to pay Elliot Hirshman, the new president of San Diego State, an annual salary of $400,000, $100,000 more than his predecessor. That vote followed the board's controversial decision in January to pay $380,000 to the new president of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

Reed and other officials said the salaries were necessary to attract talented administrators for the jobs of running large campuses and raising millions of dollars in private funds.

Gov. Jerry Brown disagreed, and several lawmakers have proposed limiting trustees' ability to set compensation of campus presidents.

Retiring San Francisco State President Robert Corrigan doesn't seem to think California's colleges are a bottom-of-the-heap destination:

California's Master Plan for Higher Education has long been the envy of other states. Its colleges are still sought-after, despite the state's dismal economy, said Corrigan, who attended a recent meeting in Boston of university presidents and chancellors.

"There's hardly a state that's not dealing with the kinds of issues we are, although they may be more pronounced in California," the San Francisco State leader said. "We have what had been a strong economic base, a large state with a large population and very smart people. I don't think it will be a situation that prevents us from getting good candidates."

The article mentions a 10% yearly turnover rate for public and private colleges in the US, citing the increase in the age of college presidents. A report from the American Council on Education (ACE) shows an increase in age of college presidents from 1986-2006. The executive summary for ACE's 2007 edition of American College President states:

The average age of presidents increased from 52 years in 1986 to 60 years in 2006. More telling, the proportion of presidents who were aged 61 or older grew from 14 percent in 1986 to 49 percent in 2006, suggesting that many institutions will lose their presidents to retirement in coming years.

The report also notes an increase over that period of length of time in the presidency:

Presidents had served an average of 8.5 years in office at the time of the 2006 survey. Length of service has increased since 1986, when the average time in office was 6.3 years.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

BUC 9 Report for November 5, 2011 Meeting

Bargaining Unit Council 9 (BUC 9) met yesterday evening at the CSUEU Board of Directors meeting in Sacramento. Here is the Chair's report, being delivered to the Board today:

Bargaining Unit 9 Report
November 5th, 2011

Unit 9 currently faces the most extreme challenge since it was created. From our work rapidly migrating to "the cloud", to the on-going increases in layoffs and outsourcing, never have the more than 6000 members of Bargaining Unit 9 faced such a direct and real threat to our jobs. Unit 9 employees appear to be a significant target for the CSU. In the past two years, the unit has experienced more real and/or potential layoffs than any other unit, and it is obvious from management's current behavior that additional layoffs are being considered. Please let every member know that our activities are squarely under the CSU's microscope, watching everything we do. As the CSU budget continues to shrink, such scrutiny will continue to increase as the campuses look for ways to save money wherever possible. To help protect our jobs, it becomes the duty of each employee to ensure that their job description is both accurate and complete. As technology changes, employees often fail to make written records of new skills, assignments and job duties. If layoffs were to suddenly hit your campus, having an accurate written documentation of your skills and duties could make the difference between keeping and losing your position.

The Chancellor recently mandated that campuses retain all e-mail, both sent and received, for 90 days. This is in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed against the CSU by a group of students upset with recent student fee increases. While we do not yet know how this will affect our day to day operations, one thing is certain: The Chancellor has the right to mandate how state equipment is used. This could have a profoundly chilling effect upon the Union's use of a campus e-mail system, especially in matters of representation. For this reason, it is recommend that no confidential Union business be conducted using either a CSU email address, or on state-owned equipment. The risk of revealing either representation issues or internal Union strategies to the CSU is too great to allow this to happen, even if it is only remote possibility. Each chapter should obtain and use only off-campus e-mail accounts (i.e. Gmail, Hotmail, etc.) for each steward. Chapters should also use non-state-owned computers for their Union activities, and store all Union data on secure external hardware such as an encrypted flash drive.

The Unit 9 Council heard from Teven Laxer and Alisandra Brewer regarding the bargaining issues which are most important to Unit 9. These include contracting out, student assistants performing our work, movement through the salary range, and the CSU's proposal to allow campuses to raise parking rates as they see fit. In addition, significant discussion was held concerning the percentage of duties performed within a higher classification, and what might happen if red-circle rates were eliminated, which could lead to demotions and pay cuts. The next bargaining session will be held December 5th at the Chancellor's Office.

The conversion from Library Assistants to Library Services Specialist classifications is, as Joan Kennedy reported "being done 23 different ways at 23 different campuses". While a few employees have successfully completed the process, others are having great difficulty in doing so, as it appears that management is unable to comprehend what we see as a simple, straightforward process. CSUEU is monitoring the process and is working to resolve problems as they are discovered.

Several months ago, the CSU notified CSUEU that they were ready to meet to update the classifications within the Accounting Series, which consists of more than a thousand individuals from Unit 7 and 9. In order to study the needs the of those staff within this classification, Unit 9 is seeking input from any staff member who might have insight into this classification. If you're interested in helping, please let your Bargaining Unit 9 Representative know. A few examples of questions we need answers to: What parts of the current Classification and Qualification Standards (CQS) don't fit the jobs as they're being done now? Do the current individual classifications make sense, or do they need reorganizing?

There are currently two at-large vacancies on the Unit 9 Council. A letter of interest will go out via e-mail to all BU 9 representatives next week soliciting interest in those positions.

A reminder about upcoming CSUEU election cycle: Chapter elections must be completed by early April, 2012. The Bargaining Unit Representatives (BURs) from each campus will then meet as a group to elect a Chair, Vice Chair and the 6 At-large Bargaining Unit Council members. You must be elected as your chapter's BUR to run for any of these positions. If you are interested in running, begin planning your election campaign at your local chapter now.

Rich McGee, Chair
CSUEU Bargaining Unit 9

Sunday, October 30, 2011

New On-Line Degree Program?

CSU plans to begin marketing "CSU Online" in February, in an effort to attract additional online students to a vaguely-defined set of course and degree offerings. Using $50,000 from each CSU campus (that's $1,150,000) and what the San Francisco Chronicle terms a cross-your-fingers plan to get $20 million from the state, the hope is to make money down the road from the new students.

Faculty, meanwhile, are concerned about the lack of faculty involvement, the diversion of CSU resources, and the possibility that the CSU will buy pre-packaged courses from publishers rather than having actual CSU faculty design the courses offered under the CSU name. The Chronicle states the CSU refused to meet with concerned faculty, claiming it was too early. CSU also declined to answer a series of questions about CSU Online from the California Faculty Association (CFA), which represents CSU faculty.

In an open letter to CSU Chancellor Reed, CFA asks Why is Chancellor Reed developing a separate and competing system to the California State University?

Describing "CSU Online" as an opening wedge in an effort to enlist the CSU's resources and good name in damaging the CSU's own status as a public entity, the letter points out:

Were Reed genuinely interested in coping with the perceived shortfall in the CSU's ability to meet the next generation's higher educational needs, he would be proposing that CSU enhance its existing offerings in house, both online and traditional face-to-face courses, including through CSU's long-standing Extended/Open University.

Instead of taking that logical and reasonable step, Reed is laying the groundwork for "CSU Online" to compete with the existing CSU, funneling revenue away from the CSU into for-profit companies' coffers.

CFA describes the breathtaking contempt for instructors exhibited at the kickoff meeting for "CSU Online" last February:

[T]he outside team hired by Reed to promote "CSU Online," features as its very first content slide the following: "CSU Online: Why Do This?" accompanied by a picture of an imaginary robot teacher and the words: "I have designed the teacher of the future. Instead of using people I have chosen cyborgs because they don't need to be paid."


Friday, October 28, 2011

Unit 9 Council Agenda for November

Bargaining Unit 9 Agenda


November, 2011

  1. BUC 9 Member Introduction – Each BUC 9 Member

  1. Chair’s Remarks – Rich McGee

  1. Vice-Chair’s Remarks – Alisandra Brewer

  1. LA - > LSS Conversion Update – Teven

  1. E-Mail Archiving - Rich

  1. Layoff Update – Teven

  1. Bargaining Update – Alisandra

  1. New Business – Group
    1. Vacancies on BU 9 council
    2. Reminder about upcoming election cycle

  1. Questions/Open Forum – As time permits

Monday, October 3, 2011

Executive Compensation from Foundations Questioned

At a recent Senate Education Committee hearing, CSU officials were pressed about the source and size of executive compensation.

The Press-Enterprise reports:

Sen. Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, said the use of foundation funds for executive compensation also raises questions about accountability. If presidents get part of their salaries from foundations, would they become increasingly accountable to private interests, rather than the state?

Senators also expressed concern about the salary surveys the CSU uses to justify ever-rising executive compensation:

Lowenthal and Sen. Elaine Alquist, D-San Jose, told CSU officials they wanted to have state input into which universities would end up on the new list.

Lowenthal pointed out that CSU's current comparison list includes Arizona State University , where the campus president is among the highest-compensated public university executives in the country, according to a recent study by The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Governor Brown has previously described the CSU's presidential salary surveys as rigged, saying They create a false paradigm that ensures that college presidents are always 'underpaid.'


Friday, September 30, 2011

More on Faculty Work Action

Misplaced spending priorities on the part of Cal State University leaders has spurred the union representing faculty members to plan work actions, according to a local union leader.

The faculty union plans to conduct "informational picketing" at its 23 campuses and stage a one-day strike at two schools.

The union announcement was made this week in response to CSU administrators' rejection of a union proposal to partially restore canceled faculty pay raises in the 2009-2010 school year.

The retroactive raises - which would be paid from the current budget - are unaffordable amid state funding cuts, said CSU spokesman Mike Uhlenkamp. The raises would cost $20 million, he said.

"Our position is that there's no money for the raises," Uhlenkamp said.

The California Faculty Association represents 23,000 professors, lecturers, librarians, counselors and coaches. Their membership includes faculty at Cal Poly Pomona, Cal State San Bernardino and 21 other Cal State University campuses.

The planned picketing is coupled with a demand for partially restoring scheduled raises that were withheld. But faculty members are also unhappy with negotiations over a new contract, said Gwendolyn Urey, president of the union's Cal Poly Pomona chapter.

"I think if you look at the other things that they're spending money on, it's hard to believe (they can't afford raises)," said Urey, a professor of urban and regional planning. "They're

spending $7 million for consultants to be on their side of the bargaining right now."

The union said it plans to conduct "informational picketing" on Nov. 8 or 9 at all campuses. The picketing will not be coupled with a walkout.

"Concerted actions," which are expected to include a strike, are set for Nov. 17 at Cal State Dominguez Hills and Cal State East Bay. A one-day systemwide strike could follow if approved by members.

The union's prior contract with CSU took effect on July 1, 2007, and expired June 30, 2010. Faculty members are still working under the contract because a new agreement hasn't been reached.

The contract called for annual raises, but the raises were contingent on projected state funding levels being met, Uhlenkamp said.

Because funding levels were lower than projected, CSU withheld two rounds of faculty raises. Faculty members also agreed to furloughs in the 2009-2010 school year that amounted to a pay cut of nearly 10 percent, Uhlenkamp said.

Faculty members at Cal Poly Pomona and Cal State San Bernardino are scheduled to picket Nov. 9. Some local faculty members are also expected to join picket lines Nov. 17 at Cal State Dominguez Hills, Urey said.

"The actual shape of the event is not known yet," Urey said. "It could be a picket line. It could be much bigger."

Urey said the Cal Poly Pomona chapter of the union is encouraging members to vote in support of a systemwide one-day strike, which would come after the Nov. 17 actions.

The Cal State University system finances its budget through state contributions, and through tuition and fees from students, Uhlenkamp said.

The state's contribution to CSU has fallen from $2.97 billion in 2007-2008 - its highest ever - to the current school year's $2.14 billion, which could be lowered to $2.04 billion if state revenues come up short, Uhlenkamp said.

Since 2007 annual student tuition has more than doubled, going from $2,700 to $5,472. But tuition increases haven't made up for losses in state funding, Uhlenkamp said.

Urey said, "I think there's a budget issue, but there's also a priorities issue."

She said CSU has been spending money developing an online university envisioned as a "24th campus." She said she believes the online program is "mostly about displacing faculty."

Source: SB Sun

Thursday, September 29, 2011

CSEA Retirees Change Name

What's in a name? A state retiree organization hopes it's bigger membership.

CSEA Retirees Inc. is not only changing its name to California State Retirees, but it's redefining its mission to include state retirees from all departments and agencies, not just CSEA-represented bargaining units.

California State Retirees is launching its new branding campaign Friday at 10 a.m. with a news conference at the Robert Carlson Auditorium, 400 P St., Sacramento. Listed speakers include Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento, and the organization's president, Roger Marxen.

The group now counts some 31,000 members, most of them from SEIU Local 1000, the California State University Employees Union and the Association of California State Supervisors. Officials now want to make clear that anyone who has retired from state government may become a member.

The name change was made official when the group filed legal papers with the secretary of state. Conference delegates approved the change in August.

Learn more about the organization at


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Faculty Calls for Work Action Nov. 17th

The California State University faculty union on Wednesday called for a one-day strike at two CSU campuses to protest the administration's decision to withhold negotiated pay raises.

The California Faculty Association said it plans to hold "concerted actions" at the East Bay and Dominguez Hills campuses on Nov. 17. Those actions could include a strike if union members authorize it.

The faculty union, which represents professors, lecturers, coaches, counselors and librarians, also plans to conduct informational picketing at all 23 Cal State campuses on Nov. 8 or 9, union leaders said.

The faculty association decided to call for the job actions after administrators decided not to pay salary increases negotiated for the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 academic years.

The CSU system rescinded the raises after the state cut higher education funding, but a state-appointed fact-finding panel recently recommended that the university provide a small fraction of the negotiated raises.

The faculty union is currently in negotiations for a new contract and isn't satisfied with the administration's proposals, which could lead to pay cuts over the next few years. Faculty members are also upset over the administration's decisions to dramatically raise student tuition and increase the salaries of some executives, Taiz said.

"We have a responsibility to take action to preserve our profession and to protect our students," Taiz said. "It is simply not possible to predict what kind of university this will become if there is not a dramatic change in course."

CSU spokesman Mike Uhlenkamp said a strike would be "very disruptive to students." He said it would be inappropriate to give roughly $20 million in salary increases to faculty members when the university is facing a severe financial crisis.

Over the past three years, the cash-strapped state has sharply reduced funding to California's public colleges and universities, which has led to steep tuition hikes, course cutbacks, staff layoffs and reduced student enrollment.

For the current fiscal year, the CSU and University of California systems each lost $650 million in funding, about 20 percent, and could lose another $100 million each if the state takes in less revenue than anticipated. To offset those cuts, Cal State raised tuition by more than 20 percent this academic year.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

CSU Trustees Make Campus Visits Optional

Chico Enterprise-Record

By LARRY MITCHELL - Staff Writer
Posted: 09/22/2011 12:06:01 AM PDT

LONG BEACH -- Finalists vying for the presidency of aCalifornia State University campus won't necessarily have to visit that campusto meet faculty, students and community members.

The CSU Board of Trustees voted Wednesday to make suchvisits optional.

The apparent aim of the new policy is to allow thoseseeking a campus presidency to keep their names confidential. It's felt somewell-qualified people won't apply if their job seeking were to become knownwhere they work.

The trustees' vote disappointed Lillian Taiz, presidentof the California Faculty Association, which represents professors at the CSU's23 campuses.

In a phone interview, she said, "I think we andpretty much every single voice on the campuses were firmly opposed to thisdecision."

She said it's important to people working on the campusand to the wider community to get some idea of who might be coming to makeimportant decisions about the university.

Chico State chemistry professor Jim Postma, who heads theStatewide Academic Senate, which is elected by the CSU faculty, also expresseddispleasure with the board's decision.

Typically, when a search is made for a new campuspresident, the list of applicants is whittled down to perhaps three finalists.The policy has required those finalists to each spend a day at the campus,meeting people and giving a public lecture.

A subcommittee of the board has been studying howpresidents are selected and how much they should be paid. That panel developedand recommended a new policy for selection in which the campus visits would beoptional. The issue of pay still has to be taken up.

Wednesday morning, the trustees voted 15-1 to adopt thenew policy, said Mike Uhlenkamp, a spokesman for the CSU. He said the onlydissenting vote was cast by trustee Bernadette Cheyne, a professor fromHumboldt State University who represents the CSU faculty on the board.

Uhlenkamp said the board modified the original policy togive people from the campus a voice in whether or not campus visits would berequired in any specific instance.

Under the amendment, in deciding whether to require acampus visit, the chancellor and the trustee in charge of the search wouldconsult a campus advisory committee that's involved in every presidentialsearch. That committee consists of faculty, staff, students and others.

Chico State University President Paul Zingg, who hasspoken of the importance of campus visits, said the amendment to the policy washelpful.

In an email to the E-R Wednesday, he wrote, "Thefinal resolution is a compromise that reflects the input of all those,including myself, who argued for the importance of a campus dialogue for boththe campus and the candidates."

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

CSU Loaned the State $700 Million Dollars

Despite slashing $650 million each from the California State University and University of California, lawmakers also hit two systems up this summer to loan the state some cash.

Senate Bill 79 established a new investment fund for UC, CSU, California Community Colleges and the Judicial Council. Under the bill, the UC loaned the state $1 billion while the CSU fronted the state $700 million—a total of $1.7 billion in public university funds. They expect to earn a return from the state, apparently more than they get elsewhere but less than the state would have to pay Wall Street.

Source: CFA's website

Salary Cap for Campus Presidents?

A new committee of California State University's governing board said Monday that it will consider such options as a state-funded salary cap in response to recent criticism of the hiring and compensation of campus presidents.

"It wouldn't preclude the system from alternatives such as foundation funding and grants to supplement compensation," said Cal State Trustee Steven Glazer, a member of the panel. "There are pros and cons of establishing a maximum ceiling but it would allow us to report to our big bosses — the taxpayers — that only a certain amount would be provided from state coffers."

The committee also said it would look at tying salary to performance, essentially a merit system that would reward presidents for meeting or exceeding goals in such areas as graduation rates and fundraising.

The hearing in Long Beach of the trustees' special committee on presidential selection and compensation drew little attendance and no public comment. But trustees acknowledged the intense scrutiny brought about by recent salary decisions.

At its July meeting, the board approved an annual salary of $400,000 for Elliot Hirshman, the new president of San Diego State, at the same time it increased annual student tuition by 12%. Hirshman's salary, $350,000 from the state with an annual supplement of $50,000 from the campus foundation, is $100,000 more than his predecessor's.

The actions drew a scathing rebuke from lawmakers — several of whom are drafting legislation to enforce stricter compensation policies for Cal State — as well as from Gov. Jerry Brown, who criticized university leaders for recruiting highly paid, outside candidates.

Committee members addressed the latter point, saying that they will seek ways to groom current campus executives for the top jobs and facilitate their candidacies. In a presentation, Chancellor Charles B. Reed said that nine of the 23 current presidents had been promoted from within the system.

But Reed also told the committee that Cal State needs "to amend or have alternatives to our recruitment and selection process if we are going to grow more of our own."

Committee Chairman Lou Monville said trustees recognize California's tough fiscal condition; the recently approved state budget slashed funding for the California State University and UC systems by $650 million each, with additional reductions possible.

"We're very sensitive to concerns raised by the governor and Legislature to issues of compensation, but we're also sensitive to making sure we bring in the best and brightest," Monville said during a break in the meeting.

But Kim Geron, a political science professor at Cal State East Bay, said the trustees were tone deaf.

"They don't seem to be addressing what the real concern is about," Geron said. "The point is, these are public servants and why should they be making more than the chief justice of the United States?"

The committee is scheduled to meet at the chancellor's office in Long Beach on Aug. 24.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Gov. Brown on CSU Presidents Salaries

Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday criticized leaders of California's public universities for recruiting highly paid "hired guns" from across the country to run campuses instead of looking for home-grown talent that might be willing to work for lower salaries.

The governor said officials at California State University and the University of California appeared in recent salary decisions to have adopted a mindset that market forces trump public service, but he said that must change, especially as the state struggles to close a budget deficit that has forced severe cuts.

The remarks were in response to the continuing public outcry over the decision by the Cal State Board of Trustees this month to approve an annual salary of $400,000 for Elliot Hirshman, the new president of San Diego State, at the same time the school increased annual student tuition by 12%.

Hirshman's salary — $350,000 from the state, with an annual supplement of $50,000 from the campus foundation — is $100,000 more than his predecessor's.

Cal State officials have argued that a competitive salary and benefits were necessary to attract a qualified candidate. But Brown suggested that plenty of officials heading key departments in the state were willing to work for far less and said they should be the model for public university administrators.

"I believe on the campuses now there are many people who don't make near that salary that should have been groomed for leadership," the governor said in an interview.

Hirshman, in a separate interview, said the offer to him came months before a new round of state funding cuts and tuition hikes. He traveled to Los Angeles to interview with the search committee in late April and visited the campus in early May, when he was offered the position. Hirshman also said he had been approached by several other institutions.

He would not say whether he thought his compensation was fair, nor would he speculate on whether he would have taken the job at a lower salary.

"What I would emphasize is that the compensation was determined by the chancellor and the Board of Trustees," Hirshman said Wednesday. "They looked at the national market and recent salaries in the Cal State system. And obviously, they looked at the fact San Diego State University is a rising public institution, and the reputation of the institution was very attractive to me in coming here."

But the trustees' decision to award Hirshman the lucrative contract continues to reverberate as several lawmakers prepared legislation that would establish stricter policies for setting compensation.

State Sen. Elaine Alquist (D-Santa Clara) has already drafted a bill that would prevent Cal State from giving current and incoming executives raises above 10% in years when it also increases tuition.

"You don't get the money on the backs of students who may have to drop out of school because they can't pay the difference," Alquist said.

Cal State officials have pointed to a compensation study, commissioned by the university, which that found its campus presidents receive about 52% of the salary of their peers at public and private comparison institutions such as Arizona State University, Rutgers, the University of Connecticut and Tufts.

But the March survey, conducted by the consulting firm Mercer at a cost of $194,000, also found that Cal State offers far better health and retirement benefits than most of the other systems, reducing the gap to about 26%.

In a July 12 letter to the Cal State trustees, Brown criticized Hirshman's compensation package and the board's use of the salary survey to justify it.

Cal State officials said the compensation survey, which also included faculty, was used as a benchmark but didn't drive individual salary decisions.

"We want the best for our students and for our faculty and when we're out there recruiting on a national level, that is the reality of the marketplace," Cal State spokeswoman Claudia Keith said.

As the salary dispute has become a political hot potato, many observers said the larger issue of the severity of the funding cuts to Cal State and UC is being overlooked. The recently approved state budget slashed funding to each system by $650 million, with additional reductions possible.

William G. Tierney, director of USC's Center for Higher Education Policy Analysis, described as "flat-footed" the two university systems' recent decisions to raise tuition and the salaries of highly paid executives in the same board meetings. (UC leaders this month also approved a nearly 10% tuition hike for the fall, at the same time granting a large pay raise to the chief executive of UC San Francisco's medical center.)

"But the real problem is that the governor's strategy with higher education is simply to give them less money, and I don't think the systems have been good with how to make strategic cuts," Tierney said. "The governor's letter … wins political points, but it doesn't solve the education problem."

Source: LA Times

Friday, July 22, 2011

Another Round of Layoffs

Layoffs for CSUEU represented employees have recently been announced at both Fresno and Stanislaus.

CSUEU is requesting formal meet and confers at these campuses as soon as dates can be arranged.

Remember, if you hear any talk of pending layoffs from management on your campus, please report it to your chapter officers and to your LRR, as CSUEU headquarters is keeping track of them.