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Comments by GeoffreyRaymond

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Posted on October 2 at 10:52 p.m.

Perhaps you didn't understand the import of the question. If you look, you will find that it is appended to the paragraph about the faculty senate. I'm asking: what happened to the faculty senate (which is supposed to keep faculty informed of such changes)?

If read the post, you might notice that the paragraph before that (which deals with the change in benefits) takes note of the the longterm trend at the UC (which you claim faculty have ignored -- on what basis?)

Anyways, here's the sentence:
"Unfortunately it's exactly the sort of cavalier approach to employee benefits that one has come to expect from UC."

I'll sign mine: dadof4 -- but then you know my name.

On UCSB FA Calls on Cottage Hospital and the University of California to Provide Local Medical Care for UCSB Staff and Faculty

Posted on October 1 at 9:57 p.m.

What Banjo suggests may appear to be a reasonable solution, but it overlooks the key distinction between an HMO plan and a Tier One PPO. Count yourself lucky if that distinction is unfamiliar to you. But for people receiving ongoing care for a serious medical condition, switching to an HMO won't work if their doctors aren’t part of the system. For example, if you have cancer and the doctors you are seeing are not part of the Blue and Gold HMO you will be forced to change medical teams in the middle of your treatment. And make no mistake such changes can have serious, long term consequences (e.g., if you need three separate surgeries, but are forced to change medical teams while you are still recovering from the first one).

If you are healthy Banjo, that’s wonderful. But don't assume that others are. UCOP has completely ignored the needs of UCSB employees who have selected Anthem PPO to gain access to local specialists and surgeons that don't take other forms of insurance. The people responsible for this debacle at UCOP should be ashamed. Unfortunately it's exactly the sort of cavalier approach to employee benefits that one has come to expect from UC. I’m very grateful for UCSB FA’s efforts on our behalf. I’ll be there Thursday.

Though its a much smaller matter, I’m having a hard time understanding why the members of the UC Senate Faculty Welfare Committees delayed informing the faculty about this change. Drastic changes like this should never be a surprise to faculty in a system founded on shared governance. What happened?

On UCSB FA Calls on Cottage Hospital and the University of California to Provide Local Medical Care for UCSB Staff and Faculty

Posted on March 7 at 9:11 p.m.

Beach Bum,

Three points:
1. You claim that California has the highest paid university professors in the nation. That's just not true. Every reliable measurement puts our pay well below comparable systems in the US. In addition, our salaries fell by 9% between 1997 and 2007 (in inflation adjusted dollars). I suspect that your the other "facts" you list are just as valid.

2. When I was hired as a professor at UCSB I took a 30% pay cut (in take-home pay) from my private sector job. This difference went to pay for my pension. I'm not being "given" a pension by the tax payers of California. I earn -- and pay for -- my pension as I work.

3. For 12 years, the California state legislator collected money for my pension but did not allocate it to the pension fund that will ultimately distribute my retirement payments. Now the shortfall is so large I will never get what I actually earned (the UC is in negotiations with the faculty regarding just how substantial those cuts will be). In fact, I (and other UC employees) subsidized California tax payers for those 12 years with our pension payments.

If you look at the data -- that is, what state employees actually earn and how their pension plans are paid for -- its very difficult to sustain the kind of argument you are making. This article makes the very reasonable point that those who game the system should be stopped, but that pensions are not a major cause of CA's budget problems.

best wishes,
Geoff

On Cap Pensions, Don't Destroy Them

Posted on May 24 at 2:32 p.m.

This coverage is unfortunate; by focusing on the drama the reporter has side-stepped the important issues raised by both sides. For example my main point was that the charges officer is the wrong venue for handling student complaints about course content. Insofar as such complaints, by there very nature, invoke issues of academic freedom, they should not be handled via quasi-judicial procedures established to deal with quid pro quo arrangements, failure to teach, and other such failings. It would be far better to handle complaints regarding course content as disputes (where both sides could learn important lessons); As it currently stands the use of the charges officer isolates the parties and sets them into conflict with one another. That undermines the educational mission of the university.

Just to be clear: I am not to saying that the students don't have a right to complain; rather there are many better ways to handle complaints of this sort. Punishment is not the answer to every problem. More generally I believe that we should be very cautious about claiming a person who articulates their deeply held views has committed an ethical violation.

As for those who claimed that this amounts to "fiddling while Rome is burning". In what way can this be treated as mere entertainment? I spoke to many students after the event -- some who came to support the students who complained, others who came to protest the treatment of Robinson. Everyone of them claimed to have been deeply interested in the discussion, and to have learned from it. More than a few said that they will remember it as the most important event they participated in as a student at UCSB. Why is that a bad thing? Why is a discussion about freedom and education a distraction? The organizers should be proud of the event they put on.

I've always enjoyed the Independent; you could have done better in this case.

Geoffrey Raymond

On Panel Defends Robinson

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