May 30, 2005
Chancellor Denton says staff issues are high
By Jennifer McNulty
Staff issues, including salaries, recruitment, workload, and
reclassification procedures, are among Chancellor Denice D.
Denton's highest priorities, she announced during the spring
brown-bag forum with staff.
Chancellor Denton outlined some of her plans and took questions
on everything from parking to Tent Uity at her spring forum.
Photo: Louise Donahue
"Clearly, there's been way too much cutting of staff during
the last four, five, six years, and it's not a sustainable situation,"
Denton told a crowd of about 250 people.
For the first time in several years, the governor's proposed
budget includes funding for 3 percent increases in staff salaries.
Although salaries for represented employees must be negotiated,
Denton said she would like staff salaries to "be competitive
with the market."
In addition, Denton said she has done some "homework"
since her first staff forum in March and learned that UC Berkeley,
UCSF, and UCLA adopted higher staff salary structures in the
early 1980s. "Obviously we're not a lower cost-of-living
city than those three cities anymore," she said.
Denton will undertake a two-pronged effort to see "what
we can do as a campus without going through [the UC Office of
the President in] Oakland" while also seeing what can be
done systemwide to guarantee equity in staff salary levels among
the campuses and identify resources for staff salaries.
"It's really clear to me that there's a tremendous level
of frustration and anger over the salary structure--of staff
and faculty," said Denton.
While staff issues took center stage during the forum, Denton
also outlined her other top priorities for the coming year:
Enhancing academic excellence and diversity;
Identifying new opportunities for academic programs,
such as professional schools;
Enhancing the national and international reputation
Implementing plans for the campus that have been developed
in recent years.
Accomplishing those goals will require a balancing act between
resources and priorities, said Denton, who expressed appreciation
for the success of the Cornerstone Campaign, which surpassed
the $50 million fundraising goal by raising $65 million.
Alternative to formal inauguration
Denton also announced her decision to forgo a traditional,
formal inauguration in favor of a period of scholarly symposia
and fundraising activities that will culminate with the annual
Scholarships Benefit Dinner on November 5.
"Instead of spending money and staff time on ceremony,
we'll be investing in our campus's academic priorities and our
students," she said.
Responding to a question about Tent University, Denton provided
context for the decisions that were made by detailing several
incidents in the weeks prior to the student encampment that
involved a "level of physical aggression and violence that
hadn't been seen before on the Santa Cruz campus."
A student intern required surgery for serious injuries suffered
during the career fair, at which students protested the presence
of military recruiters on campus, said Denton. In addition,
staff members were knocked over during dining-hall gatherings
that preceded the recent AFSCME strike, and rocks were thrown
through the living-room windows of a provost's home and the
tires of the provost's family's vehicles were slashed, she added.
This "different environment" informed decisions made
by staff, administrators, and Academic Senate leadership as
they developed strategies for the Tent University protest, said
Denton, adding that Tent University participants chose to resist
arrest. "This wasn't civil disobedience," she said.
"It was not the typical month at UC Santa Cruz, and an
Academic Senate panel of students, staff, and faculty will review
Tent University in the context of the arc of events," said
Denton. "People were acting in good faith, people were
making good decisions. We did the best we could in a difficult
Responding to a question about recent strikes, Denton said
she has met with local labor leaders to better understand the
issues "so I can be a more effective advocate in Oakland."
Denton, who took office February 14, said there are several
other chancellors who would like to "increase the effectiveness
of bargaining sessions."
"I'd like to be able to avoid having strikes," she
Campus to charge for bus passes
As always at staff forums, parking and transportation were
hot topics. Rates for A, B, and R parking permits will not increase
during the next fiscal year, according to Wes Scott, director
of Transportation and Parking Services. Rates will increase
5 percent for participants in campus carpool and vanpool programs,
and a $2/month charge for bus passes will be implemented, said
Scott. In addition, parking enforcement will be extended until
8:30 p.m.; evening parking permits will be available for $2/night
for those who don't already have parking permits.
Some programs, including the carpool, vanpool, and bus-pass
programs, have been heavily subsidized in the past, and the
changes are designed to "spread it out a little bit,"
The campus is negotiating with Metro to provide regular service
to 2300 Delaware and Long Marine Laboratory, said Scott, who
responded to a question about the shortage of parking on campus
by noting that it will only get worse as infill construction
continues and buildings go up on the level sites in the core
of campus. Most of the parking planned for the future will be
on the periphery of campus, he added.
Regarding the campuswide diversity initiative, Denton is launching
quantitative and qualitative studies with an eye toward implementation
beginning this fall. Diversity is central to excellence, she
said, adding that her own definition of diversity encompasses
gender, ethnicity, race, class, physical ability, gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender,
and nation of origin.
One of the first tasks of the Committee on Affirmative Action
and Diversity will be to identify a campus definition of diversity,
"What we have to do is create an environment that really
does embrace difference," she said. "I'm not hearing
that we've achieved that environment."
Denton endorsed the Academic Senate's imminent "request
for proposals" regarding the development of professional
schools and other academic endeavors, perhaps involving external
partners and Silicon Valley links. David Kliger, interim campus
provost and executive vice chancellor, will work with the five
divisions to implement their academic plans, and he will examine
student-staff ratios this summer to assess staff workload levels.
Vice Chancellor Tom Vani will head a task force assigned to
streamline staff human resource processes, including recruitment
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