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The REGENTS ...And How We Know They Care

The UC Regents, those compassionate overlords who love students and UC employees almost as much as they love nuclear bombs and money, are at it again, spending money they “don’t have? for “the good of the university.? The Regents quietly created a new $192,000 management position for the longtime partner of our new chancellor, Denice Dee Denton.
Gretchen Kalonji, a professor of materials science at University of Washington in Seattle, has been hired as director of international strategy development. She will also receive a tenured professionship at one of the UC campuses, most likely (drum roll please) UC Santa Cruz. According to UC President Robert Dynes, Kalonji’s hiring was part of the recruitment package offered to Denton, Kalonji’s partner of seven years. Denton will take over as chancellor in February and will receive a salary of $275,000, a 2% increase over the position’s current salary of $269,500. She will also receive a moving allowance of $68,750.

In addition to Kalonji’s $192,000 annual salary, the regents will provide her with an allowance of $50,000 to help her transition to California and pay for her moving expenses. This is quite a substantial increase from her $134,424 salary at the University of Washington, where she holds the Kyocera chair in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

As director of international strategy development for the UC system, Kalonji will be responsible for creating the first coordinated and comprehensive international strategy in UC history. UC President Robert C. Dynes said that her hiring is part of an “internationalization? strategy that is needed to keep the university competitive in the future and to enhance its role as a driver of economic progress. Don’t worry, the fact that Denton wouldn’t take the chancellor position without Kalonji has nothing to do with the fact that the Regents approved her hiring in closed session.

M.R.C. Greenwood, UC provost and former UCSC chancellor defended the hiring by saying that UC officials were talking about creating a strategy position when Kalonji became available. “This is one of the most talented women engineers in the country who has turned her skills to developing international strategies, something which the University of California doesn’t really have right now,? said Greenwood.

Mary Higgins, president of the Coalition of University Employees (CUE), which represents 16,000 clerical employees throughout the UC system, said she was concerned that UC would make such a hire at a time of cutbacks. “If you’re sitting there at the regents’ meeting, and you’re hearing the students talk about how difficult it is to make ends meet and then they turn around and do something like this, it’s just so arrogant. It’s so unethical,? commented Higgins to the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

“There is a moral issue here,? added Julian Posadas, executive board member for AFSCME Local 3299 at UCSC. “It’s kind of insulting that the university can create these high-paying jobs when they have workers on campus in poverty wages.?

At UCSC, CUE represents 625 administrative assistants, library assistants, program assistants, college and department advisors, secretaries, public safety dispatchers, childcare assistants, cashiers, and more. The majority of CUE workers on our campus earn less than $35,000 a year. AFSCME (American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees) Local 3299 represents 550 low-wage service workers on our campus. These are the hard-working folks who clean our classrooms and dorms, prepare and serve our food, maintain the grounds and buildings, and drive our shuttle buses. The average service worker on our campus earns $23,317 per year, which comes out to $11.17 per hour. According to the Community Action Board in Santa Cruz, working 40 hours a week, an employee would need at the very least $18.84 an hour in order to survive in Santa Cruz.

It is nice to know that the Regents have their priorities in order. Assuring that the UC system can stay competitive in the future is much more important than ensuring the survival of UC employees.

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Re: The REGENTS ...And How We Know They Care

The UC Regents care??? What?

I am a UCSC alumni preparing for graduate study in Public Policy. UCLA is one of the schools I applied to. I just found out today that the UC Regents decided to add a $4000 "Professional Fee" to Public Health, Public Policy and International Relations graduate programs, UC-wide. That brings in-state tuition to $11,000. I'm looking at schools in other states, where even as an out-of-state student it will cost me less.

I can't fathom why the UC Regents would want to DISCOURAGE students from attending California professional graduate schools.


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