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Regents Meeting Public Comment for Job Stability


Instructions for Public Comment at Board of Regents Meetings

UC lecturers are faculty dedicated solely to the education mission of the UC. Yet, the turnover rate for teaching faculty is alarmingly high: 26% systemwide annually. We are represented by UC-AFT, a volunteer member-driven union that represents librarians, K-12 educators, and lecturers at the UC. We’ve been bargaining for a new contract for over 18 months now, and UC still refuses to acknowledge our core demands for increased job security when we need it most. Read more at our bargaining blog. Even though most want to keep teaching, the average UC lecturer is pushed out after less than two years. This summer amid global pandemic and impending recession, 2000 UC teaching faculty were laid off, leaving families without health care or pay to put food on the table. The UC’s teaching mission is largely carried out by part-time gig workers. The quality of a student experience degrades when the UC refuses to rehire experienced, qualified faculty without cause. There is another way. Follow the instructions below to email your request for public comment at the Board of Regents meeting on behalf of UC teachers, because teaching conditions are learning conditions!

  1. Choose one day/time for your comment: Nov 18, Nov 19 (8:30 am)

    a.  For more information about the schedule, agenda or UC regents meeting and public comment, see the Board of Regents official website

  2. Register: email no later than three business days prior

    a.  Subject line: Public comment Regents meeting [Nov 18 or Nov 19]

    b.  Body: Dear Secretary and Chief of Staff Shaw, Please add me to the list of speakers for public comment on [Nov 18 or Nov 19]. I will comment on [Academic and Student Affairs on Nov. 18th] [Item B.4 (budget) of the Board's afternoon agenda for Nov. 19th] as well as [teaching quality/educational continuity/lecturer faculty/contingent faculty/student need for consistent mentorship/use of temporary workers/lack of competitiveness in faculty working conditions/need for lecturer job security/UC-AFT bargaining/need for a fair UC-AFT contract/whatever]. My phone number is [555-555-5555]. Sincerely, [your name, job title, campus].

    c.  If asked whether you are speaking on behalf of UC-AFT, answer NO, you are speaking for yourself. When there are many speakers from one organization, sometimes Secretary and Chief of Staff Anne Shaw will try to consolidate them and have just one representative speak for everyone. We’re trying to avoid that and have as many people as possible speak to the same issue.

  3. Draft your one-minute comment on the need for job continuity.

    a.  Brief salutation: something like, “Good morning, Regents,” or “Hello Chair Pérez and Board of Regents.”

    b.  Identify yourself by name, job title, campus, and union membership.

    c.  Articulate the problem in personal terms. Focus on what you love about your job and how the current situation deprives students of something important. Examples: “I can’t support my first-generation students the way I want to because I have to have another job to make ends meet.” “I want a career teaching UC students but current policies make it impossible.” “Every year I have to reapply for my own job even though there are more than enough students to fill my classes.” “I love teaching at UCSD but will have to quit because my department won’t offer me a job with health insurance.” “It’s an open secret in my department that lecturers will be churned out after a year or two.” “I live in constant fear of being purged for some arbitrary reason.” “I worked hundreds of extra unpaid hours in the spring because I wanted to make sure my students got the best possible education. Now my department won’t even tell me if I have a job for fall.” “My department chair wants to give me a three-year appointment and can’t.” “I taught 600 students last year but still don’t know whether I’ll be teaching again this coming year.” “Last year I got hired three days before classes started. Students didn’t get the full benefit of my expertise because I had so little time to prepare.”

    d.  Articulate the problem in structural terms. Examples: “When the University refuses to retain its best teachers, the system is broken.” “Black and brown faculty are being profoundly disadvantaged by the University’s failure to retain lecturers.” “The turnover rate for teaching faculty is alarmingly high: 26% systemwide annually.” “Even though most would jump at the chance to keep teaching, the average UC lecturer teaches for less than two years.” “Most teaching faculty are forced out of the university after a short time.” “1600 lecturers lose their jobs every year, and this summer 2000 were laid off during a pandemic and impending recession.” “The UC’s teaching mission is largely carried out by part-time gig workers.” “The quality of a UC education will degrade if the UC isn’t rehiring experienced, qualified faculty.”

    e.  Articulate the solution. Examples: “Reemployment preferences and multi-year appointments for lecturers are necessary to protect students’ education.” “If I’m qualified and doing a good job teaching, I should be able to keep teaching.” “Lecturers need rehiring rights now.” “The University has to recognize that teaching faculty are more than merely disposable widgets.” “Reemployment preferences for contingent faculty already exist at every California State University campus and at every California community college. The UC needs to catch up.” “A process for rehiring lecturers will save time and money for everyone involved.”

    f.  Request action from the Regents. Examples: “UC-AFT members deserve a fair contract now.” “Please insist that UC management bring a real proposal to the bargaining table on job stability for lecturers.” “Now is the time for you to invest in teaching by investing in teaching faculty.” “Make it clear to Labor Relations staff that constantly purging teaching faculty is not consistent with UC values.”

  4. Rehearse your comment. Read it several times out loud and revise so that it fits into 60 seconds at a relaxed speaking pace.

  5. Day of:

    a.  have your phone close by with the ringer on.
    b.  Answer calls from unfamiliar numbers for a half-hour window on your chosen date
    c.  Best practice is to NOT be watching the online stream of the meeting because of possible delays and feedback. (Just as you don’t listen to the radio when you call in to a radio station.)
    d.  When you pick up the phone, the person managing the callers will greet you and let you know that they’ll patch you in to the meeting soon. Secretary and Chief of Staff Shaw will call five names. You may start speaking when it’s your turn within the group of five.
    e.  They don’t place people on hold, meaning not much time will elapse between getting the call and your turn to speak. You should be fully prepared to speak before you answer the phone.
    f.  Read your written and rehearsed statement. Be prepared that Secretary and Chief of Staff Shaw may cut you off after one minute.
    g.  Hang up and pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

  6. Example   (but variety is good so please make yours unique):

Good afternoon, President Napolitano, Chair Pérez and Board of Regents,

I am XXXX, a lecturer and scholar at UCXX. I stepped up for the UC and worked hundreds of extra unpaid hours in the spring to support my students during ongoing crises. Now, I’m asking the UC to step up for me! According to UC diversity dashboards, Non-tenure track faculty are over 50% women while tenure-track faculty are 75% male on most campuses, creating a two-tier engendered system. The highest wages, benefits, full time status and job stability go to the mostly male faculty sector! Nearly 2,000 lecturers were laid off over the summer, and we regularly suffer the consequences of UC treating education like an Uber ride. UC education is not a gig, this is my career! Teachers need time and experience to continually improve our craft, but how can we do that when even with good reviews, we are terminated for no reason other than our short-term contract expires. Classes still need to be taught. UC students deserve better. During this pandemic, lecturers need job security now more than ever! Tell Peter Chester and UCOP negotiators to stop playing games with the future of the UC, to stop degrading our students’ experience, and bring a real proposal for job stability and educational continuity to the bargaining table. This is an opportunity for UC to be an economic engine for California in an historical moment of crisis! It’s long past due for you to invest in teaching at the UC, by investing in teaching faculty.