Use it to teach your students, your friends–or yourself–about the budget crisis at the UC, and how it connects to state and national political and economic issues. Then come back to our site for more info on what’s going on across UC campuses and how to get involved. If you’re planning something on your campus, contact us and we’ll post a link and help spread the word. (Note: the specific information on buses included here is UCSC specific. Folks at other campuses may consult their UAW 2865 campus organizers for details specific to their campuses. Find contact info at: http://www.uaw.org)
Don’t forget these other useful materials:
Short on time? Make a class announcement instead. Use this script as a guide.
It should come as no surprise to anyone who reads this blog that the UC Regents are corrupt. But this article gives some thorough and much-appreciated detail into how Regents Parsky, Wachter, Blum, and Lansing channeled pension funds into their own business investments.
Here’s a brief summary, followed by a link to the article:
UC’s Pension Fund Corruption
According to this article, a group of key UC Regents wrecked the university’s pension fund by dissolving the in-house staff of financial analysts and hiring outside firms, (who happened to be large Republican donors,) at a cost of tens of millions in brokerage and consulting fees paid by the university—and tens of billions of dollars in losses to UC worker pensions.
A Brief Summary of the Article:
In 2000, Regent Gerald Parsky, who had worked in the Nixon Administration and was a major powerbroker in California’s Republican Party, became chair of the Regents’ Investment Committee, and inaugurated a series of drastic changes to the UC pension fund’s investment strategy of the UC’s pension fund. The fund had until that point been managed in-house by UC Treasurer Patricia Small and a small staff of analysts. Under Small, who had put in 28 years at the UC, the fund outperformed comparable funds, with an average return of more than 15%. Part of this success was due to Small’s knack for mitigating risk. During the dot-com bubble, she had hedged bets by investing in long-term bonds, which proved to be a smart move. In fact UC’s pension fund was managed so well that it paid for itself. For 17 years, employees gladly accepted wages that were 10-20% below market value because they did not have to make pension contributions. But this winning strategy was put to an end in 2000.
Once ensconced as investment chair, Regent Parsky worked quickly to shut out Small and pressure her to retire. The committee then decided to out-source investing decisions to Wilshire Investments, another large Republican donor, costing the university tens of millions per year in fees. Still worse, the new outside fund managers opted move a large portion into riskier private equity and real estate investments, which are not subject to federal oversight.
The trio of regents supporting this change—Parsky, Paul Wachter, and Richard Blum, are financiers and are heavily invested in private equity and real estate markets. Under their stewardship, the fund has made investments that raise serious questions about conflicts of interests. According to a recent report, since 2002, the university has “invested $748 million in seven private equity deals in which [Richard Blum] or his firm, Blum Capital Partners, was a major investor.”
Since Small’s ouster in 2000, investment fees and brokerage commissions paid by the UC went from $5.5M–to $52M in 2006. Though the UC pension fund had been running a surplus from 1999 to 2000, in the years that followed, “[n]early every pension portfolio in the country [was] doing better than the university’s … 86 percent of large US investment trusts outperformed the UC pension fund from 2001 to 2006.”
The UC has blamed workers and faculty for pension fund shortfalls, explaining that the problem is that they have not been making contributions. The UC is currently seizing up to 8% of paychecks to cover the billions that have been lost to bad investments.
“California State University and the University of California will each lose $100 million, bringing to $750 million in cuts this year from each university’s budget.
“But the deepest impact will be at community colleges, where the cuts will cost $102 million, for a total loss this year of $502 million from the system’s $5.9 billion budget.”
Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/12/13/MNFV1MBVNN.DTL#ixzz1gX6X2RwB
Hundreds gathered for the Nov. 17 Rally in downtown SF, which was followed by a march through the financial district in which protesters stopped at several Regents’ offices to invite them to join students and workers in demanding California Refund education. See coverage:
In related news, OccupyCal continues to find new and creative ways to occupy Sproul Plaza at UC Berkeley. See coverage:
But police responses to Occupy Davis continued the troubling trend of disproportionate violence against peaceful protesters. In the video below, UCD cops mercilessly target protesters with pepper spray aimed directly in their faces and into open mouths. Protesters respond by peacefully asking police to leave. Be sure to watch the video to the end:
The response of UCD administrators to obvious police brutality followed the now all-too-familiar model of feigning ignorance about the violence of the tactics they ordered, while vowing to “investigate,” and congratulating themselves for guarding the “security” of the campus:
Finally, Occupy UCLA was dispersed shortly after it began, resulting in 14 arrests:
NOTE: This is just a round-up of Occupy California stories that we’ve been following, but there is always more going on. If there is something you don’t see here and would like to see, please post it in comments.
On Nov. 9, 2011, more than 600 students, workers, and faculty attended a noon rally in Quarry Plaza on the UCSC campus.
A group of about 500 students then marched to the base of campus in a dance party fueled by chanting, drumming, and a roving amp playing hip-hop and dance music. At the base of campus, students rallied, rested, danced, snacked, and had an impromptu poetry reading, then headed downtown to join a rally with local workers and K-12 teachers planned to take place at the clock tower on Water and Pacific.
Their March continued down Bay and took a left at Mission St., where they blocked traffic, and police quickly closed off the street. Students danced down Mission and workers and residents came out of their businesses and homes to wave or stare. Marchers waved and greeted spectators.
Here’s a video from the Noon rally:
When students got to the clock tower, the crowd was too big to fit around the clock tower without blocking traffic. The large crowd stood in the intersection of Pacific and Water while deciding for a while but then opted to gather around the steps of the post office in order to keep traffic moving on Water St. so that workers could arrive. But the actions were not over! See video and pictures below, but keep scrolling for more about the day of action.
Los Mejicas performed at the UCSC Rally.
Students gather at the base of UCSC’s campus.
When workers and K-12 teachers arrived, the community rally began. It featured local labor and community leaders: Nancy Abbey, a long-time activist with the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom; Jenn Laskin, a teacher for Pajaro Valley School District, secretary for her union, and activist in the Brown Berets; Cesar Lara, Executive Director for the Monterey Bay Labor Council; Rafael Gomez, President of the California Faculty Association at CSUMB, and Rocio, a UCSC student active in the Brown Berets.
Before the rally could conclude, organizers received word that more than a dozen activists who had been milling around inside the Wells-Fargo lobby had been locked inside by police. When this was announced at the rally, the crowd of around 600 decided to go to the bank just a few blocks away. Once there, protesters surrounded the bank, chanting “spank the banks” and “we are the 99%”, and wrapping it in crime tape. One protester scaled an awning above one of the bank’s entrances and hung a banner.
A student read a list of the crimes that Wells-Fargo had committed against the community and the crowd repeated the charges using the “human microphone”. Charges included predatory lending targeting communities of color and students, and heavy investment in detention centers for undocumented migrants. After finding Wells-Fargo guilty of crimes against the community, the crowd repeated “we must love and take care of each other,” and dispersed peacefully, with more than half heading to Occupy Santa Cruz to participate in an Action Assembly there.
Here are some important links for getting involved in the November 9 Week of Action and the movement to ReFund California and empower the 99%:
Teach the Budget
- Check out the curriculum developed by graduate students about the UC’s budget challenges. Download it and teach it yourself, OR
- Request a presenter by filling out this form. An informed student will visit your class or section to do a 10- or 20-minute presentation of the Teach the Budget message.
Get on the Bus for the Nov. 16 Day of Action!
UCSC students and workers will join in an action targeting UC Regent George Marcus, and then on to a mass rally at the UC Regents’ meeting at UCSF-Mission Bay and a march through the financial district to join Occupy San Francisco! Buses will be leaving the UCSC campus at 7:45am on November 16th and leave the Bay Area by 3pm.
Support the Movement!
- Spread the word about the November week of action to defend public education. Download this flyer and post it around campus and the Santa Cruz County community.
- Show your support. Download and display this pledge of support outside your office or workspace.
Join the Movement
- Come out to the UCSC General Assembly on Thursday, Nov. 3, 7pm-9pm, in Stevenson 151, at UC-Santa Cruz! Download a flyer and pass on the news.
- Sign up to help activists with tabling. Students are spreading the work on campus by talking to students and workers about the issues and the actions we are taking to make change. Spend a couple hours spreading the word and meeting the campus!
The DisGuide is a resource for getting informed and involved in the UCSC and Santa Cruz activist communities. Check it out for info on the UC and ongoing social justice struggles on campus and beyond!