Notice, December 1996

Letters to Notice: TIAA Insurance; Meetings
Of the Senate's Universitywide Assembly

To the Editor:

Professor Harold Simon's excellent article on long-term care insurance in the November Notice needs clarification on TIAA's policies. You do not now have to be a TIAA member to buy a policy but need only to work for a not-for-profit educational or research institution. All University of California employees should be eligible to apply. Unlike PERS, TIAA has open enrollment all year round. Also, unlike PERS, domestic partners may buy TIAA long-term care insurance.

Thanks for a wonderfully informative publication.

--Professor Robert Hopkins, UC Davis

To the Editor:

A constitutional crisis has developed between the universitywide Assembly of the Academic Senate and the Academic Council.

With regard to the Assembly meetings, Bylaw 110A.3b states that "the Chair . . . shall schedule at least three regular meetings of the Assembly for the ensuing academic year. With majority approval of the Academic Council, the Chair may cancel a regular meeting, but there must be at least one regular meeting in each academic year."

For the past several years, the Assembly held only one regular meeting at the end of the academic year (May). In each year, The Chair's justification for canceling the other two regular meetings was, consistently, that the agenda did not contain sufficiently relevant items for discussion. This reason is not credible.

During the same years, the University of California was confronted by a series of crises: reduction in state funding, affirmative action, renewal of laboratories' contract with the Department of Energy, President Atkinson's new budget initiative, new admission standards and guidelines. The Assembly, however, was never given the opportunity to discuss and contribute to any of these vital topics.

According to our bylaws, the Assembly is vested with the authority to consider any and all matters of concern to the Senate as whole. All Academic Senate committees, including the Academic Council (whose majority of members are appointed), are subject to the Assembly's authority.

By calling only one regular meeting at the end rather than at the beginning of the academic year, the Assembly (which is the only elected organ of the Senate), is reduced to a rubber-stamping body.

It is time to restore the dignity and the authority of the Assembly by respecting the spirit of the bylaws and calling all the regular meetings of the Assembly. The matters of concern have not been lacking.

—Quirino Paris, Elected UC Davis Representative to the Assembly

Council Chair Duncan Mellichamp Replies:
At the October meeting of the Academic Council I recommended that thescheduled November Assembly meeting be canceled "because of budgetary and staff limitations," not because of any lack of "relevant items for discussion" as might be understood from Professor Paris' letter. During the past several years the Universitywide Senate has been subject to the same budget cuts as academic units. And we are momentarily short two staff (of seven) as a consequence of the ongoing move of our offices from Irvine to Oakland.

The Assembly has always met once per year, as required by our Bylaws. In recent years, it has met no more than once, but this year we are planning to meet twice. I have already been in contact with Assembly members by mail this year and we have, in the past month, put into operation an Assembly web-site. In short, if anything has "developed" this year it is an increase in Assembly communication and activity. I look forward to hearing from Assembly members, and to seeing them at our meetings in February and May.