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UC Regents Recap – Nov. 13

The governance committee of the University of California Board of Regents approved a motion to greatly restrict the outsourcing of employees at the second day of its November meeting. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299 went on strike the same day over concerns about outsourcing at the University. (Daily Bruin file photo)

By Elizabeth Sherwood

Nov. 15, 2019 6:48 p.m.

The governing board of the University of California met for the second day of its November meeting Wednesday. The Board of Regents discussed potential improvements to the UC Education Financing Model, better ways to accommodate underrepresented student groups and reforms to environmental policy.

Board of Regents

  • A number of representatives and supporters for American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299 and Teamsters Local 2010 urged the UC not to raise pensions for workers by 1.5%, adding it will cause pay cuts that will hurt the workers who are already struggling to support themselves and their families. The union went on strike across the state Wednesday to protest outsourcing.

  • Aidan Arasasingham, the government relations committee chair of the UC Student Association, and Samantha Warren, a UC Berkeley student, requested the regents dedicate $23 million toward programs that are aimed at recruiting and retaining students of color. Arasasingham said fewer students of color have enrolled in the UC system because of Proposition 209, which prohibits the use of race, sex, and ethnicity in college admissions, effectively banning affirmative action in public institutions.

  • Representatives from the California Nurses Association, including registered nurses and the chief nurse at UC Davis Medical Center, said the 1.5% increase in the pension would have a negative impact on the retention of nurses and the quality of patient care in medical centers across all the UC campuses.

  • Representatives of the UC’s Integrative Pest Management program said the UC must adopt an herbicide ban on its campuses, along with a clear mandate and extensive staff training about environmental care.

  • Recent UC Berkeley alumnus Kevin Baum urged the regents to implement all-organic groundskeeping to prevent exposing the UC campuses to toxic materials. He also presented the board a petition with the signatures of 12,000 individuals in agreement.

Academic and Student Affairs Committee

  • Shawn Brick, director of student financial support at the UC, proposed improvements to the UC’s Education Financing Model, including reforms to the Cal Grant program and better allocation of tuition to financial aid funding.

  • Brick said the self-help financial model, under which students are enrolled in work-study to help cut tuition costs, is becoming unmanageable. Students who are working 15 or more hours a week exhibit dramatic drops in GPA, he said. He added he believes a $30 million increase in funding is needed to bring the student working hours to a manageable level.

  • Michael Brown, provost and executive vice president of academic affairs at the UC, said better preparation for teachers could help the UC reach its 2030 goal to produce 200,000 more degrees. The UC system has implemented many successful programs for teacher education by recruiting teachers of color and offering mentored residencies for STEM instructors, Brown added.

  • Pamela Brown, vice president for institutional research and academic planning at the UC, showed the committee new data from yearly student surveys on the UC website’s new longitudinal dashboard. The program, which can display a breakdown by campus, ethnic group or major, displayed a decline in overall student satisfaction from 83% to 79% in the past few years.

  • The committee also found that satisfaction of UCLA students has declined from the student surveys. UCLA Chancellor Gene Block attributed the decline in satisfaction to UCLA’s recent population growth. Block said large classes have resulted in a slipping student-to-faculty ratio, and students in impacted majors struggle to enroll in the classes they need.

Finance and Capital Strategies Committee

  • Peggy Arrivas, associate vice president and systemwide controller of financial accounting at the UC, said financial statements were continuously on the incline and that the University was financially strong.

  • Arrivas added unfunded need increased because of the incorporation of seismic projects and maintenance projects. This caused the University’s capital need to increase from $37 billion to $52 billion in the past year.

  • Zoanne Nelson, associate vice president of strategy and program management at the UC, said the budget for the UC Office of the President was $876.4 million for fiscal year 2018-2019, but added the budget was underspent by $25 million.

  • Mark Cianca, associate vice president of operational services, said there are 138,000 employees served by UCPath at nine UC locations, as well as the Associated Students of UCLA. Cianca added they expect to complete the deployment of UCPath by May 2020.

Compliance and Audit Committee

  • Alexander Bustamante, senior vice president and chief compliance and audit officer, said this year, the Office of Ethics, Compliance and Audit Services changed their annual report to better explain the function of the committee and its relationship with the campuses. They also aimed to make it more mainstream and readable in general, he said.

  • Bustamante added that some campuses have databases that track compliance and auditing, but a centralized system does not yet exist. He said ECAS is currently working with Human Resources on formalizing the mechanics of its reporting relationship with the campuses.

  • Irene Levintov, chief of staff at ECAS, said the California State Auditor provided an opportunity for recipients of its audits, which includes the UC, to give an update on their recommendations in October. ECAS submitted nine additional recommendations as complete this year, Levintov said.

  • Kurt Sjoberg, vice president and board chairman at Sjoberg Evashenk Consulting, and Marianne Evashenk, president at Sjoberg Evashenk Consulting said UCOP believes that they have 10 of the 12 recommendations that are due April 2020. However, Sjoberg Evashenk’s report concluded that only eight recommendations have been completed, primarily because the report was completed prior to the completion of the other two recommendations.

  • Ken Smith, executive director for the Environment, Health and Safety team at the UC, said the Herbicide Task Force has met six times since its previous update in September. Smith said the task force completed its report and submitted it to the president by Nov. 1 for review. He added the president will consult with the chancellors and the Herbicide Task Force in order to fully understand the potential impact of these recommended changes.

  • Smith said the task force recommends the temporary suspension of the use of glyphosate-based herbicides remain in place until the UC President Janet Napolitano reviews the recommendations. The task force will present its report to the entirety to the board at the meeting in January, along with the decisions of the president.

Public Engagement and Development Committee

  • Kieran Flaherty, associate vice president of state governmental relations, addressed the committee’s concerns about the Fair Pay to Play Act, a recently passed bill which permits college student-athletes to benefit financially from the promotion of their name or image. Flaherty said his team would keep in constant communication with the legislature and the National Collegiate Athletic Association until the act comes into effect in January 2023.

  • Aidan Arasasingham, government relations committee chair for the UC Student Association, and Varsha Sarveshwar, UCSA president, spoke about the UCSA’s involvement in the state and national legislatures, pushing for reforms such as further state support for mental health, reauthorization of the Higher Education Act and increased recruitment and retention of students of color in the UC system.

  • UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ introduced Rebecca Bourges, a third-year environmental economics and policy student at UC Berkeley, to raise awareness about the student population on the UC campuses that grew up in foster care. Bourges, who spent her first years of college sleeping on couches and living in boxes on breaks from school, asked the regents to implement better programs to ensure proper food and housing for foster youth.

  • Christ also introduced McArthur Hoang, a formerly incarcerated fourth-year sociology student at UC Berkeley. Hoang said his experiences at Berkeley have shown him there is a need for postgraduate programs and specialized mental health support for formerly incarcerated students in the UC system.

Governance Committee

  • The committee approved a motion to reschedule the next regent’s meeting from July 14-16 to July 28-30.The meeting will also change locations and will now be held at UC San Francisco instead of UCLA to accommodate scheduling conflicts of many of the regents.

  • The committee also approved a motion to greatly restrict outsourcing of employees. The new policy ensures that UC employees will receive the same pay and benefits as contractors doing the same work. The UC system will prioritize its own workers before turning to contractors, said Regents Chair John Pérez.

  • The committee voted to approve the creation of a new systems management position to oversee operations at the UCLA Health center. This motion had been previously approved by the Health Sciences Committee, and the position will be offered to an incumbent manager.

Contributing reports from Kaitlin Browne, Seth Freitas, Eshan Uniyal and Saumya Gupta.

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Elizabeth Sherwood | Assistant News editor
Sherwood is the 2020-2021 Assistant News Editor for the City & Crime beat. She was previously a contributor for National News and Higher Education. She is a second year political science and communications student and digital humanities minor at UCLA.
Sherwood is the 2020-2021 Assistant News Editor for the City & Crime beat. She was previously a contributor for National News and Higher Education. She is a second year political science and communications student and digital humanities minor at UCLA.
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