At UC Regents meetings, lecturers demand response from Michael Drake

Zoom screenshot from the UC Regents National Laboratories
Rina Rossi/Staff
The UC Board of Regents held public comment regarding lecturers' demands, as well as reviewed the university's investment portfolio.

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On its first day of fall meetings, the UC Board of Regents heard public comment, reviewed the university’s investment portfolios and discussed recent developments at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. 

During the public comment meeting, the regents heard from numerous lecturers across the UC system demanding regular performance reviews, merit-based retention, consistent workload standards and livable wages for their work.

University Council-American Federation of Teachers, or UC-AFT, president and UCLA lecturer Mia McIver was among many who called on UC President Michael Drake to take action on the UC-AFT faculty contract.

“President Drake, don’t force us to strike to attain what most other employers and employees take for granted,” McIver said during the meeting. “Enact your commitment to equity by supporting lecturers who are more likely than tenure-track professors to be women or people of color.”

Continuing lecturer at UCLA Rahul Neuman alleged he had more job stability working at a pizzeria as an undergraduate student than as a lecturer.

Eileen Boris, feminist studies professor at UC Santa Barbara, expressed her support for the lecturers’ demands for performance review. She added lecturers often have the same degrees and training as UC senate faculty.

“The peoples of California deserve a UC that puts instruction first, not disposability of instructors,” Boris said during the meeting. “UC can lead the way for the nation.”

In the next meeting, the UC Investments Committee then delivered a presentation on the UC’s investment portfolios, endowment pool and retirement savings program.

UC Chief Investment Officer, or CIO, Jagdeep Singh Bachher said the university’s investment portfolios, which have grown by nearly $38 billion since June 2020, now total $168 billion in assets as of June 2021. This rapid increase represents the largest fiscal year growth in UC Investments’ history, according to the Office of the CIO.

However, Bachher cautioned against raising expectations for the following years.

“What goes up must go down, so with that backdrop we have to temper our expectations for this year and the years to come,” Bachher said during the meeting. “This type of rise in the markets is unprecedented, at least in a given one-year period.”

UC Chief Operating Officer Arthur Guimaraes then noted in a diversity report that of the five equity managers added in the past year, three have come from a diverse background.

Bachher concluded the presentation, which also featured testimony from The Asia Group President Sharon Yuan and UC Berkeley economics professor Christina Romer, by attesting to the importance of asset allocation and increased exposure to equities in UC Investments’ success this year.

The Regents lastly conducted a third meeting with Kimberly S. Budil, the director of the Livermore Lab, to discuss the lab’s recent achievements, diversity and inclusion plan and hybrid workplace structure.

Budil noted adapting to and mitigating the changing climate is “an enormous focus” for the lab. Researchers at the lab recently developed a report for the state of California called “Getting to Neutral” that examined the state’s plan for carbon neutrality by 2045.

The lab is also working to “infuse” diversity, equity and inclusion in the lab’s demographics and workplace culture.

Sam Hawgood, chancellor for UCSF, commended the lab for its “collaborative nature,” which has fostered partnership between UCSF and the lab for neuroprosthesis work.

Budhil next discussed the lab’s implementation of a flexible hybrid workplace. Budil noted the new approach allows employees to connect with more people without traveling and allows employees who previously had difficult commutes or rigid work schedules more flexibility.

Contact Anishi Patel, Tarunika Kapoor, and Rina Rossi at [email protected].