Monday, September 28, 2009

UC's Hidden Wealth: Why is UC Pleading Poverty?

Donohue points to UC's unrestricted assets at CUE event at UCI. Photo © Daniel C. Tsang 2009.

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Irvine -- It sure sounds like the University of California is in financial crisis, with layoffs, paycuts/furloughs, massive student fee increases and campus protests. But economist Peter Donohue thinks otherwise.

Looking at the UC's own financial reports, he has discovered billions hidden away in its unrestricted reserves. The UC likes to say these funds are already committed, but Donohue says these are not legally restricted. They could be freed up to offset the massive loss of state funding. But unlike the CSU system, UC funding is only 13% -18% dependent on state sources. We'll talk to Donohue about why the UC is pleading poverty.

The show airs Monday 28 September 2009 from 9-10 a.m. on KUCI, 88.9 FM in Orange County, California, and is simulcast via

Peter Donohue is an economist and head of San Francisco’s PBI Associates. Since 1982, he has assisted union, nonprofit, community and business groups with research, financial analysis, bargaining, arbitration and government relations. He advises clients in transport, construction, semiconductor, utility, printing, health care, retail, design, engineering, hospitality, transit, insurance, education and government. Donohue has taught at Portland State University, San Francisco State University, the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Texas at Austin and University of Missouri-Columbia.

He is currently compiling, for CUE (Coalition of University Employees), an updated analysis of the UC budget; see his earlier 1992 study: UC's Hidden Wealth: An Analysis of 10 Years of UC's Financial Reports.

See also Prof. Emeritus Charlie Schwartz's web site that tracks UC budget issues:

CUE's website, contains links to other resources, including our 20 July 2009 Subversity interview with CUE local president at UCI, Dianna Sahhar, and with Juan Castillo, union organizer with AFSCME local 3299.

Meanwhile, UC janitors are seeking to be in-sourced and represented by SEIU-United Service Workers West. A noon rally at UCI's flag pole is slated for October 2, 2009. 37 UCI janitors are under threat of layoff by cleaning contractor ABM. With workers laid off, UCI Labs are slated to be cleaned weekly only, but UCI offices only three times a year!

On the broadcast show, we also aired a clip from the 24 September 2009 rally at UCI of popular Sociology lecturer Chuck O'Connell talking about neoliberealism.

Monday, September 21, 2009

UCI Disorientation Week

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Irvine -- As incoming UC Irvine students converge on campus this week as part of Orientation Week, they will encounter a UCI in turmoil Not only will their fees increase, UCI's faculty and staff are undergoing paycuts, furloughs and in some cases layoffs. Opposing the increasing privatization of the university are local activist groups who will be out in force this week, which starts off with an Anteater Involvement Fair on campus. And on Thursday, faculty plan walkouts and teach-ins, while the UPTE union stages a strike.

UCI's Radical Student Union is premiering a historic first, UCI's Disorientation Guide, aimed at uncovering what is not widely known about the institution, and seeking to provoke students and other readers into action. In its introduction, its anonymous authors state: "Between these covers, you have a guide into the belly of the University. Use it wisely. But don’t let this be your only map of this place, add your own experiences into the mix." It adds, cryptically: "Just remember what you don’t see is probably more interesting and important than what you do."

In the show's first half hour, we talk with members of the Disorientation Guide collective, about why they put out this first Disorientation Guide.

John Bruning is a second-year graduate student in Sociology, and a member of the Radical Student Union and the Disorientation Guide collective. John was first exposed to radical ideas after receiving a Disorientation Guide during Welcome Week as a freshman at the University of Wisconsin, and got involved in campus activism shortly thereafter.

Tim Brown is a second year grad student, studying the art of sound design. He previously lived in Oregon and and sought out the RSU after being immersed for too long in the terribleness that is the home territory of the New Majority.

The paper version of the Disorientation Guide will be distributed at the Radical Student Union table at the Anteater Involvement Fair on Monday, 21 September at UCI, and throughout the week on Ring Road. KUCI is cited in the first Guide as a "voice of freedom" while Subversity is mentioned as follows: "It's like Disorientation on the radio!"

See also other campus disorientation guides: UC Santa Cruz | UC Berkeley | NYU.

Michael Moore speaks on Subversity. Photo © Daniel C. Tsang

In our second hour, we talk with a union leader from UPTE, which will be on strike on September 24 university-wide, to call attention to the misplaced priorities of the current central administration, where administrative salaries have headed skyward even as the university claims it is in a budget crisis.

Michael Moore is UPTE's Leadership Development Coordinator for the past four years.
Active in the labor movement for 14 years, he has worked for various unions throughout the U.S., organizing and representing a cross section or workers. Originally from Georgia, he was mentored by Hose Williams, one of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.'s organizers. His grandmother was one of the first presidents of the Newtown Florist Club, an environmental organization in his home town of Gainesville, Georgia.

The show airs Monday 21 September 2009 on KUCI, 88.9 FM in Orange County, Calif., and is simulcast via

For more on the hidden wealth within the UC's corporate structure, see UC Berkeley Prof. Emeritus Charlie Schwartz's latest analysis, posted at:

His analysis jibes with that of economist Peter Donohue, who last week held public sessions at UCI providing analysis with documentation on UC's hidden wealth. If the UC were really in an economic crisis, why would bond agencies increase UC's rating? Financial reports submitted by UC show clearly that millions are stashed away in the University's accounts, and are not legally restricted despite what the administration claims. The funds may be "committed" to some projects in some budget projections, but they are not legally restricted. See Donohue's earlier report

September 24, the first day of classes at UC Irvine, is also a day when faculty across the UCs plan to hold "walkouts" and teach-ins about the future of UC education. For more information, including flyers for a noon event at UCI's flagpole, see: Defend UCI.

See also: Remaking the University

And on Monday, 21 September, students protesting the closure of SAAS, which served first-generation, disabled and low-income students, plan to hold the first of two consecutive days of SAAS LOVE events at UCI, starting at 11 a.m. on Monday. See: Facebook page, SAAS Love.

Monday, September 14, 2009

UCI Dean Sharon Salinger on Closing SAAS

Dean Sharon V. Salinger. Photo © Daniel C. Tsang 2009

On the 14 September 2009 Subversity Show, we aired our exclusive interview with Sharon V. Salinger, Dean of Undergraduate Education at the University of California. The interview was taped the previous Thursday.

Under fire for closing an important unit on campus, SAAS (Student Academic Advancement Services), which served first-generation, low-income and disabled students, Salinger says it was budget cuts that led to the closure and layoffs of five staff members, including the SAAS director. The U.S. Department of Education recently renewed funding to UCI for the same services provided to SAAS, which closed August 31, 2009. A faculty member, with two academic advisors, will constitute the new team. The new federal grant provides more student financial aid as well as additional funding for student advisors. Salinger is hoping former SAAS student peer advisors will continue to work in the new restructured unit. Salinger is interviewed by show host Daniel C. Tsang.

In addition, we aired audio from the students' Save SAAS at UCI video (posted on YouTube) and part of UCI Chancellor Michael V. Drake's pep talk at a recent townhall, where he called on UCI employees to work more with less pay.

SAAS supporters, meanwhile, have organized a "SAAS Love" sit-in slated for Monday 21 September 2009 and the next day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. outside the old SAAS offices. Salinger says she may bring pizza. A Facebook event page has been set up: SAAS Love. The original Save SAAS at UCI Now! Facebook page continues. A video from SAAS supporters is posted here: video. OC Weekly recently covered the SAAS closure: Navel Gazing blog

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