Dear Faculty Association Members,
In wishing you all a happy 2015 we would also like to celebrate with you a year of growth and give you a preview of upcoming activities.
Since the Fall of 2013 our most urgent concern has been to challenge the dramatic changes in health care coverage that have affected a great proportion of the active faculty whose Tier 1 benefits were severely compromised by the replacement of Anthem Blue Cross with UC Care. Having been instrumental in pushing newly appointed UC President Napolitano to negotiate a partially successful deal with a local hospital and medical group, our association has not let UCOP off the hook. We have continued to collect complaints from our members and voiced them to administrators and in public forums. In April 2014 we ran our own meeting on Health Care, and this past November we wrote a letter to Chancellor Yang and President Napolitano protesting the lack of resolution of the problems we had been highlighting for an entire year, and demanding the constitution of an ad-hoc UCSB staff and faculty committee “empowered to meet with UCOP officials, including President Janet Napolitano, in order to make certain that UC Care and other UC approved insurance offerings are thoroughly revised and reconfigured so that Central Coast employees of UCSB have access to quality health care on a basis not inferior to that at other UC campuses.” We are happy to report that this committee has been formed and current FA President Nelson Lichtenstein is part of it.
Our concentration on health care has not absorbed all our energies. The academic year 2014-15 began with some very welcome news from our umbrella organization CUCFA (Council of UC Faculty Associations): UCLA rejoined the affiliation of UCFAs and CUCFA signed a partnership agreement with AAUP. According to this agreement AAUP will make its resources available to CUCFA, providing expertise as well as nation-wide exposure for our initiatives. In addition, individual members of each FA will be allowed to join AAUP—and thereby enjoy full member benefits—for a special reduced rate (more info on how to join will be coming soon). In coordination with CUCFA our board contributed to drafting and approved a statement on “Civility” and Academic Freedom in September 2014, as well as statements in reaction to the most recent Regents meeting and plans to increase tuition over the next 5 years. Last, but by no means least, our board has welcomed the initiative of our member Kim Yasuda to serve as liaison with grass root community and student groups operating in Isla Vista after the tragic events of last Spring. In fact, the cultivation of a more interactive relationship between officers and members of our association is going to be the leitmotif of our activities in the forthcoming months.
As we hope you have all been able to appreciate, over the past Summer our website was completely redesigned by our new graduate assistant Shari Sanders. We look forward to make it more dialogical over the next few months with the implementation of interactive blogs that will allow all members to participate more actively to the discussion of relevant issues. Along these lines we are going to resume the tradition of holding at least one meeting of our full membership, which will be held on January 21, 4-6 PM, in the Mosher Alumni House. We look forward to seeing your all there so as to give you a more accurate report on our activities, but above all listen to your comments, concerns, and suggestions for action on current or new fronts. At the meeting we will also present some amendments to our bylaws and announce the modalities for upcoming elections to the Board in the Spring.
Please COME TO THE MEETING and CONSIDER RUNNING FOR A POSITION ON THE FA BOARD!
Happy New Year,
The Board of SBFA