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