Friday, October 7, 2016

A frustration with undemocratic processes...


Open letter to the UC Berkeley Chancellor Search Committee

We, the undersigned student leaders, urge that the Chancellor Search Committee move forward with increased student input and transparency. The undersigned student leaders hold that transparency is inextricably tied with principles of shared governance. A transparent process is defined by the dissemination and open flow of information between each partner in the shared governance model. Further, a good, trusting collaboration with students, particularly in affairs that apply to their interests, is also critical to a transparent process and one that abides by this understanding of shared governance. The search process for the next UC Berkeley chancellor has therefore fallen short of the principles of transparency, open information and shared governance that the search had ought to abide by consistently and dutifully. As such, we ask that the UC Office of the President take the following in consideration as the search moves forward.
To understand the importance of transparent engagement with students in this search process for the chancellor, it is critical to contextualize the search in historical background considering the current UC Regents Policy regarding the search process is dated to a previous time in California history. In the past, the state of California invested a far greater amount of funds than it does today, while in turn, students have had to shoulder an ever-growing proportion of the financial burden for the university through their tuition. According to the 2015-16 UC Budget for Current Operations, as of 2014-15, state general funds support 40 percent of UC core general funds, while tuition and fees support 44 percent. Given this, the clear reality is that students have become the largest financial stakeholder in the university.
The considerable financial stake students are responsible for ought to be reflected in the composition of this search process. According to the Regents Policy 7102: Policy on Appointment of Chancellors, only one graduate and one undergraduate student are invited to participate in the search. While adding additional students to the search committee may require a Constitutional Amendment to the Regents Policy, which may not be feasible in time for this search, it is imperative that the UC Office of the President consider other ways to gather student input that reflects this need for students to have an adequate say, given their investment in the future of this institution.
Beyond the lack of students included in the search committee, there are still larger systemic problems with how the search has thus far conducted engagement with students, which has failed to be open and transparent. An example of this lack of transparency is the Campus Day event scheduled for the search committee this week. Campus Day is a day in which the search committee is scheduled to meet with relevant constituent groups, including students. However, the only information made public in relation to Campus Day is that it will take place Oct. 6 and is a closed session. No public information, however, was released to indicate this event would feature a 20-student panel. No public information was released to explain how those 20 students were selected. No public information was released to reveal that these 20 students would be provided only 45 minutes to speak to the needs of 36,000 students. Even further, the limited public information that was released was so exclusively promoted and so widely obscured that the only conclusion one can reach with good conscience is that critical information has not thus far flowed openly or freely between concerned parties.
At this time, the student body would like to offer suggestions moving forward regarding the search process. The UCOP and the UC Berkeley Chancellor Search Committee ought to have been proactive in the acquisition of student input. The responsibility should have not been that of the ASUC president to be the sole architect of proactive student engagement. Possible options for gathering more holistic student input moving forward could include:
First, that the search committee actively follow the recommendations put forth in the ASUC chancellor survey and during the student forum Oct. 4 when making decisions on “behalf of student interests.”
Second, the chancellor search advisory committee should visit a meeting of the ASUC and the Graduate Assembly for 30 minute listening sessions in order to hear the priorities and concerns of the student body through the democratically elected representatives of the student body.
Third, the search committee should work to ensure there is a longer, larger-scale public event in the coming months for listening to student feedback that will better encourage student opinion rather than just the 20-member student panel for the Campus Day visit for only 45 minutes. Specifically, offering listening sessions with certain underrepresented community groups in a community-based setting could help educate the search committee on community-specific issues. One such example would be if the members of the search committee were to attend the scheduled Latinx Listening Session on Oct. 14 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the ASUC Senate Chambers (on the fifth floor of Eshleman Hall).
Fourth, it is highly encouraged that the search committee invite Student Regent-Designate, Paul Monge (a current UC Berkeley student), to sit in on meetings of the search as a nonvoting member, as he can provide valuable input into discussion as both a student and a participant in regents meetings.
Fifth, the search committee ought to ensure there are tangible recruitment efforts to guarantee leaders in academia and UC administration from traditionally underrepresented community groups and from backgrounds in student affairs feel welcome and encouraged to apply for the chancellor position.
And sixth, the search committee ought to offer transparent reports on the individual finalists being considered for the position. While we recognize that there is a need to respect the privacy of individual applicants (especially those who are currently in other jobs), we feel there are ways to anonymously share the broad plans and platforms of applicants in a way that could solicit general student feedback on these conceptual ideas.
In closing, the lack of transparency thus far in the search process for the next chancellor is in great need of a new arrangement more aligned with transparency, open information and shared governance. It is in the hopes of the students that such requests are reflected upon with the utmost diligence and respect. The aforementioned suggestions reflect the principles of which the students of this university abide by, and as both financial stakeholders and partners in shared governance, students deserve to have their interests meaningfully considered.
Anthony Carrasco is an ASUC senator, Will Morrow is the president of the ASUC and Paul Monge is the UC student regent-designate


"Press release from the UC Davis Graduate Student Association stating, “Last night the UC Davis Graduate Student Association (graduate student government) adopted a resolution calling for a halt in the designation of the next chancellor of UC Davis until a more transparent and democratic process for selection and appointment has been established.”"

Resolution Calling for a Halt in the Designation of the Next Chancellor of UC Davis until a more Transparent and Democratic Process for Selection and Appointment has been Established

Sponsor: Emily Breuninger, Sociology

WHEREAS, on April 27, 2016, UC President Janet Napolitano placed former UC Davis chancellor Linda Katehi on paid administrative leave for a period of 90 days, following months of student and community protest, faculty dissent, and calls for resignation among state lawmakers. During this 90 day period, independent investigator Melinda Haag was hired by the University of California at the rate of $595 an hour to investigate allegations against former UC chancellor Linda Katehi concerning nepotism, dishonesty surrounding social media contracts, and the
misuse of student fees;

WHEREAS, on August 9, 2016 former UC Davis chancellor Linda Katehi resigned from her position just moments prior to the release of a report issued by independent investigator Melinda Haag, confirming that, as chancellor, Katehi minimized her knowledge of and involvement with certain social media-oriented contracts, failed to report and receive proper authorization for seventeen of her twenty two outside board positions, and violated university policies regarding the reimbursement of travel funds;

WHEREAS, in line with UC Regents Policy 7102: Policy on the Appointment of Chancellors, an advisory search committee was appointed and announced on September 13, 2016, comprised of 17 members: President of the University, Chairman of the UC Board of Regents, 5 UC Regents selected by the Chairman of the Board, 5 faculty members selected by the UC President, one undergraduate student selected by the Associated Students, University of California, Davis (ASUCD), one graduate student selected by the UC Davis Graduate Student Association, one alumnirepresentative selected by the Cal Aggie Alumni Association, one foundation representative selected by the UC President, and one staff employee representative selected by the UC Davis Staff Assembly. The purpose of this committee is to advise UC President Janet Napolitano in her selection and recommendation of a candidate to the UC Regents, who hold the ultimate decision-making power in appointing the next chancellor of UC Davis;

WHEREAS, the advisory committee comprised of representatives from a variety of campus groups will assist with the recruitment and review of candidates, only UC President Janet Napolitano and the UC Regents hold the power to select and appoint the next chancellor of UC Davis. If the advisory committee or any other member of the campus community disagrees with this decision, there is no timely or practical mode of recourse to prevent such appointment;

WHEREAS, the asymmetrical balance of power inherent to the selection and appointment of chancellors under Regents Policy 7102 is further exacerbated by the composition of the advisory committee itself, with UC President Janet Napolitano and the UC Regents holding seven (or 41%) of the seventeen seats on the committee. The overrepresentation of top UC officials on the advisory search committee ensures that the interests of those holding the most power in the UC system are prioritized throughout the selection process;

WHEREAS, graduate and undergraduate students comprise over half of the UC Davis campus community, there are only two seats for student representation on the advisory committee. These two student representatives, who were selected by ASUCD and UC Davis GSA leadership rather than the wider student population, are expected to speak to and represent the diverse concerns of over 35,000 UC Davis students;

WHEREAS, of the five faculty members who serve on the advisory search committee, only three are currently employed at UC Davis: Diana Farmer, professor and chair of the Department of Surgery, Rachael Goodhue, professor and chair of Agricultural and Resource Economics, and Ari Kelman professor of History. UC Davis faculty have previously expressed concern over a lack of shared governance between UC Davis faculty and UC Office of the President in the handling of matters surrounding former UC Davis chancellor Linda Katehi. The undemocratic selection of faculty representation on the advisory committee by UC President Janet Napolitano serves as a further example of managerial overreach and the obstruction of shared governance by UC Office of the President;

WHEREAS, the singular faculty representative from the social sciences and humanities serving on the advisory search committee, Professor of History Ari Kelman, has been absent from UC Davis over the past two years due to taking a faculty position at another university. Faculty in the sciences and humanities were deeply divided in their support for former UC Davis chancellor Linda Katehi prior to her placement on paid leave, with those calling for her resignation overwhelmingly concentrated in the social sciences and humanities. Given that Professor Ari Kelman has only just returned to UC Davis in the Fall of 2016, he is less acquainted with the events of the past two years than professors who have been actively engaged with the campus community throughout the Katehi saga;

WHEREAS, of the seventeen members of the advisory committee, only eight are actual members of the UC Davis community. In this way, the majority of those serving on the advisory search committee lack the lived experience necessary to be intimately acquainted with the unique needs and concerns of the UC Davis campus community;

WHEREAS, the meetings of the advisory search committee are closed and confidential and, according to Regents Policy 7102, the advisory search committee “will solicit the opinions of other interested groups in whatever manner it considers appropriate,” there is a lack of transparency regarding to the processes through which the advisory search committee selects and reviews candidates. The lack of transparency inherent to the selection and appointment of new chancellors under Regents Policy 7102 is particularly harmful at UC Davis given the high levels of frustration and mistrust in UC administrators currently pervading the campus community;

WHEREAS, at the first meeting of the advisory search committee held on September, 27, 2016 at UC Davis “various campus constituency groups” were invited to speak.6 There is no publicly available information regarding which campus groups were invited and the process through which they were selected. Despite the fact that first meeting of the advisory search committee focused on student issues, the Academic Student Workers Union, UAW 2865, which represents over 16,000 graduate and undergraduate student workers across the UC, was neither notified of nor invited to the meeting. The failure to identify which campus groups are considered to be stakeholders in the selection of the next chancellor of UC Davis and intentional denial of access to important representative groups such as UAW 2865 adds another layer of murkiness to the entire selection process and obstructs democratic representation and participation;

WHEREAS, the University of California has hired private firm Isaacson, Miller to aid in the search for the next chancellor of UC Davis, despite the fact that Regents Policy 7102 neither requires nor mentions the hiring of a private firm. Former UC Davis chancellor Linda Katehi’s involvement with private corporate entities such as John Wiley & Sons and DeVry University sparked a national conversation surrounding conflicts of interest in public higher education and the contradictory goals of public universities and private corporations. In the wake of this scandal, UC leadership has chosen to ignore concerns surrounding corporate alliances and unnecessarily involve a private firm in the selection and appointment of the next chancellor of UC Davis. The services of Isaacson, Miller are also extremely expensive. For example, the University of North Carolina paid Isaacson, Miller over $150,000 in the search for a university president. In light of the UC’s budgetary crisis, the expenditure of public funds on private entities raises serious concerns regarding leadership’s ability to make sound judgments in the running of a public university;

WHEREAS, under the current timeline, UC President Janet Napolitano expects to make a recommendation of candidates to the UC Regents by January 2017. This three month timeline to recruit, review, and recommend candidates for the position of UC Davis chancellor is extremely truncated compared to the length of searches for high level university leadership at comparable institutions. For example, the current search for a chancellor at Dartmouth College is expected to take six to seven months. Furthermore, the 2012 search for an executive vice president and provost at Penn State University took seven months, and the 2014 search for a president at New York University took eight months. The short timeframe attached to the UC Davis chancellor search not only lends itself to hasty decision-making among members of the advisory search committee as well as the UC Regents, it also serves to limit the amount of opportunities for participation available to the wider UC Davis community.

WHEREAS, Regents Policy 7102 has not historically resulted in the appointment of strong and ethical campus leadership. Former UC Davis chancellor Linda Katehi and UC Berkeley chancellor Nicholas Dirks, both of whom were selected and appointed under Regents Policy 7102, have recently resigned from their positions following high profile scandals. The tenure of former UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi was ridden with ethical violations including the 2011 pepper spray incident, the unauthorized acceptance of multiple paid board memberships, the use of paid consultants to boost her image, and accusations of nepotism. UC Berkeley chancellor Nicholas Dirks, on the other hand, has faced public outcry over his mishandling of high profile cases of faculty sexual harassment, the expenditure of nearly $700,000 on a high security fence for the chancellor’s residence, and the misuse of public funds on university travel expenses;

THEREFORE LET IT BE RESOLVED, that the UC Davis Graduate Student Association condemns the current process for selecting and appointing chancellors under UC Regents Policy 7102 as lacking in transparency and democratic engagement;

THEREFORE LET IT FURTHER BE RESOLVED, that the UC Davis Graduate Student Association demands a pause in the process of selecting a chancellor for UC Davis until a transparent and democratic process for selection and appointment is adopted and established at the institutional level for all UC campuses.


"Why won't UC health centers provide birth control without a prescription?"
On Aug. 6, 2013, just weeks after Janet Napolitano was named the first woman president of the University of California, the institution offered its complete support for a bill, SB 493, known as the “pharmacist protocol.” After unanimous legislative approval, Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill into law, which permits pharmacists to furnish self-administered hormonal contraceptives (birth control) to women without a prescription from a physician. The law also outlines training standards to make implementation as practicable as possible.

Under the pharmacist protocol, women seeking birth control are no longer required to endure yearly pelvic exams or the wait times associated with them—which aligns with the medical consensus advising against annual exams for healthy women. It marks a turning point in feminist history, removing paternalistic barriers to women’s agency over their bodies.

Yet nearly three years after President Napolitano’s office supported the passage of the pharmacist protocol, no UC school has implemented it on campus or even made a sincere attempt to do so. Physician visits, and in many cases yearly pelvic exams, are still required, despite the well-known facts that unintended pregnancies are highest among college-age students 18 to 24 years old, and that half of all California pregnancies are unintended.

As women students at UC Irvine School of Law who pay for the UC system’s health plan and believe in public education, we are compelled to speak up. We were hesitant to comment publicly, especially in light of the offensive commentary and death threats aimed at Sandra Fluke for her advocacy regarding birth control at Georgetown University. But timely access to birth control is of paramount importance to women who may need it to prevent pregnancy, plan their menstruation, and control other important medical issues, such as endometriosis and primary ovarian insufficiency.

This is not our first attempt to engage with UC administrators about the pharmacist protocol. In May, we met on numerous occasions with the UC Irvine Student Health Center’s Clinical Staff Committee and the director of UC Health. The committee assured us they would implement the protocol in the Student Health Center by August.

Despite these assurances, and after months of advocacy, which included our Birth Control Access Petition signed by hundreds of students and alumni, the Irvine Student Health Center only removed the pelvic exam requirement for obtaining birth control refills. Women are still forced to schedule and wait—sometimes months—for an initial visit.  

This is a serious problem. Even the Irvine Student Health Center’s administrative director has acknowledged that women’s access to timely consultations and prescriptions has been hampered by primary care appointments. The UC system has a constitutional duty to provide services to students equally, yet its choice not to adopt the protocol in its health centers disparately affects women.

Why have UC Health administrators refused to implement the protocol that President Napolitano’s office supported? They claim that the protocol will burden students with long pharmacy wait times, but they have not produced evidence to support this assertion. Besides, under the current system women students are burdened with long wait times for primary care appointments.

UC Health administrators also claim that the protocol will diminish women’s privacy at the pharmacy window, but privacy concerns for birth control are no different than any other medication, according to HIPAA’s Privacy Rule.

Finally, again without evidence, they claim that the protocol will require hiring more pharmacists. The UC system has had more than three years to set aside funding for the protocol—years in which there has been plenty of funding for unnecessary pelvic exams.

The pharmacist protocol is the only option that doesn’t require women to jump through hoops to get to the pharmacy window. Incidentally, the UC system’s failure to put this law into practice across its student health centers hurts low-income, rural, and first- generation women students. These students rely on the convenience and low cost of student health insurance plans. In order to take advantage of the pharmacist protocol, they bear the burden of finding transportation to participating pharmacies off-campus and paying higher prices. UC advocated on behalf of these students before the pharmacist protocol became law, but has now forgotten them.

The UC system’s commitment to equality should not end in the admissions office. The University of California—and President Napolitano—must do better for women students. Women deserve equal access to reproductive health services, and the pharmacist protocol provides that.

Olivia Weber, Ali Chabot, and Laura Lively are third-year law students at UC Irvine School of Law.


UC Berkeley law students hold ‘Black Out’ demo on campus

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