Issue Heating Up

We noted in yesterday’s posting (in the update portion) on the Regents public comment session that there were spokespeople complaining about anti-Israel activities on UC campuses including course credit on one campus, pushes for divestment, etc.  Earlier postings noted statements by the UC prez and several chancellors (including Block) opposing an academic boycott of Israel by several academic societies.  Today, the LA Times reports:

A group of lawmakers has formed the California Legislative Jewish Caucus to weigh in on issues of priority to members, including immigration, civil rights and Israel, according to its chairman, state Sen. Marty Block (D-San Diego)…  So far, the new caucus has nine full members, including Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento)…

Among the issues the group will address: In the last two years, some University of California student organizations and governments have approved resolutions urging the U.C. Board of Regents to divest from companies linked to the Israeli military. Block said there was also concern about incidents of anti-Semitism on California university campuses and cases in which professors have taught anti-Israel lessons…

Full story at http://www.latimes.com/local/political/la-me-pc-lawmakers-form-new-california-legislative-jewish-caucus-20140122,0,7883863.story

We have also noted on this blog the progress being made in getting the state to assume responsibility for the UC pension. [Indeed, the UCLA Faculty Assn. made the first break-through with the Legislative Analyst’s Office on that issue.] The Regents also noted the progress so far and also the need for UC to be treated the same as CSU regarding pension funding.  (CSU is part of CalPERS for which the state assumes liability.) Thus, calls for political use of pension and other UC funds (including continued calls on the Regents to divest from fossil fuels) could end up being costly for UC by undermining that progress.  At present, UC gets about the same funding as CSU, but UC has to make pension contributions out of its state funding while CSU does not.  As time goes on, and pension contributions have to be ramped up, this difference – if it persists – will be a source of an ongoing budgetary squeeze of UC and upward pressure on tuition.

Thus far, no one seems to have noted the interconnection between these various issues.  So you read it here first.

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Somewhat related update: http://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2014/01/29/ny-senate-passes-bill-punish-boycott-backers

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