UC workers voice concerns at 2nd day of regents meetings

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“Napolitano step off it, put people over profit,” was the chant, referring to UC President Janet Napolitano, that echoed through the Robertson Auditorium at UCSF Mission Bay on Wednesday as the public comment session of the second day of the UC Board of Regents meeting came to an end.

Although the public comment sessions of regents meetings typically last 20 minutes, the session was extended by 40 minutes on Wednesday to accommodate more than 60 individuals who wished to voice their opinions.

The public comment session of the regents meeting was followed by meetings of several committees, including the Public Engagement and Development Committee, the Academic and Student Affairs Committee, and the Finance and Capital Strategies Committee.

Many university workers appeared to voice their concerns about the system’s outsourcing of jobs to other companies, especially in regard to jobs at the UC Davis Medical Center; when the proposed Aggie Square campus at UC Davis is built, the new center’s staff will be outsourced.

Jasmine Tobin, who worked at the medical center for six years, called for the UC system to recognize this outsourcing as an issue.

“You owe it to us workers to give us the respect to acknowledge this as a problem,” Tobin said.

Members of the UC-Wide Student Coalition for Campus Labor Justice laid out demands including livable wages, the end of job outsourcing and the cessation of the deployment of police forces against student workers engaging in their right to protest, adding that all of the demands of the UC labor unions must be met.

During the Finance and Capital Strategies Committee meeting, there was also concern aimed at UC Santa Cruz’s Student Housing West project, which would add 3,000 beds, according to UC Santa Cruz Chancellor George Blumenthal. UCPath, a recently implemented payroll system that has led to hundreds of reported errors, was also discussed.

During the Academic and Student Affairs Committee meeting, UC Davis student and soccer player Hailey Rittershofer discussed her experiences as a member of the LGBTQ+ community within the UC sports community. She put forth suggestions to the regents, including asking the regents to “recommend that the UC campuses adopt a visible public policy concurrent with the NCAA guideline to allow transgender and nonbinary athletes to compete.”

UC Center Sacramento, or UCCS, was also discussed by the Academic and Student Affairs Committee, with UC Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Michael Brown discussing goals to expand the program. Members of the committee showed concern for the fact that disproportionate numbers of students from each campus participate in the program. UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ commented that part of the reason why numbers were so low from UC Berkeley is that UCCS works on a quarter system.

“One of the great challenges, I believe, of our times is the skepticism that has invaded our country about our public institutions and our public leaders,” Brown said when introducing UCCS as a topic of discussion.

Contact Boyce Buchanan at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @BuchananBoyce.