MINUTES OF THE JOINT MEETING OF THE COUNCIL OF UC EMERIT ASSOCIATIONS AND THE COUNCIL OF UC RETIREES ASSOCIATIONS
UC SAN FRANCISCO

Minutes of the Meeting
The Council of the University of California Emeriti Associations
April 28, 2005
Faculty Club, UC San Diego Campus


Attending:

CUCEA Officers: John Craig (SF) Chair; Dericksen Brinkerhoff (R) Chair-Elect; Julian Feldman (I) Past Chair; Lyman Porter (I) Treasurer; Norah Jones (LA) Archivist

CUCEA Campus Representatives/Alternates: Louise Taylor (B); Charles Hess (D, EA President); Kivie Moldave (I, EA Chair); Charles Berst (LA); Lewis Cohen (R), Marvin Goldberger (SD, EA Chair); John Craig (SF, CUCEA Chair); David Sprecher (SB); Stanley Flatté (SC)

Ex Officio Members: Charles Berst (Chair, Emeriti Biobibliographic Survey Committee); Adrian Harris (Chair, Joint Benefits Committee)

CUCRA Representative: Robert Oakes (SD)

Other Attendees: Murray Rosenblatt (SD); Avrum Stroll (SD); Shelley Glazer (Director, UCB Retirement Center); Eddie Murphy (Director, UCLA Emeriti/Retiree Relations Center)

President's Office Representatives, by Teleconference: Mel Stanton (Associate UC Treasurer); John Fox (Coordinator of Communications for the Treasurer's Office); Michele French (Executive Director, Human Resources and Benefits Policy and Program Design)

* * *

It was a dark and stormy morning. Sloshing through sheets of spray from downpours and traffic on the I-5, twenty indomitable souls congealed at UC San Diego's Faculty Club for CUCEA's spring meeting. After explaining that for reasons of health, distance, or weather Secretary Lawrence Waldron, Information Officer and Web Manager Marjorie Caserio, and Historian Ralph Nair could not attend (and enlisting former Secretary Charles Berst to pinch-hit by taking notes), Chairman John Craig launched the agenda at 9:42 by introducing David Miller, the campus's affable Acting Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. Miller, in turn, was pinch-hitting for Chancellor Mary Ann Fox who, he said, would be there were she not currently in the East.

Most members hardly realized that the rain and Mr. Miller's welcoming remarks were about to contrast dramatically with CUCEA's gathering at the same hour in the same room just four years before. At that time the sun was beaming and his predecessor (not Acting) predicted that to meet systemwide needs in the coming ten years the campus would grow from its then-current 18,000 students to 28,000, a 56% increase. This challenge, she had remarked bravely and brightly, would call for much new construction and offer opportunities to greatly expand graduate enrollments as well as to hire many new faculty of the highest caliber.

Now, sans sunlight, Vice Chancellor Miller dwelled in shadows cast by UC's current challenges. Instead of more students being better served, he lamented, the campus offered less service under an inadequate budget for faculty positions and pressure from the governor to inflate the campus's student-faculty ratio from 18.7 to 1, to 20 to1. Instead of a trajectory to upgrade faculty, he detailed a sharp descent into hiring temporary lecturers and fears that in the future many of these will have to be given security of employment, perpetuating a decline in quality. Such prospects, combined with UC salaries presently 15% under the competition, have increased incentives for faculty flight, especially among the best associate professors lured by attractive packages put together by East Coast universities. Meanwhile the real estate boom (besides making local housing unaffordable for many faculty) has led to cost over-runs of 20% to 50% on new campus buildings, burdens to be funded by the campus.

Aiming for a glimmer amidst this gloom, a Council member asked if emeriti might be utilized to help compensate for the loss of highly qualified faculty. Miller responded that departments are free to do so and can negotiate salaries, whereupon Louise Taylor observed that this is the case at Berkeley. In fact San Diego has some funds, said Miller, taking up the ball, but they apply at less than one-ninth salary.

Dericksen Brinkerhoff and Charles Berst observed, however, that their respective campuses have not been aggressive in employing emeriti, and that administrators could well be more imaginative in tapping this distinguished resource for only a modest amount of funding-all that many emeriti would ask. Miller conceded that he had not really considered this closely, and said he would do so.


UC Treasurer's Office Report

A member's comment that the state maintains a fiction that it supports UC more than it does segued into a teleconference report on UC investments from Mel Stanton, Associate UC Treasurer, and John Fox, Coordinator of Communications for the Treasurer's Office. Compared with the state in recent years, this office, governed by a sharp Treasurer and prodded on various occasions by our Joint Benefits Committee, appears to be model of realism, sensible policies, and solvency.

Briefly surveying the performance of fund categories making up the UC investment portfolio, in which the UC Retirement System is the major player, Stanton noted that most have performed considerably better than their benchmarks..

Julian Feldman, proving the Council's wisdom in recently extending membership to more of its past chairs, sought pertinent specifics: How much are management fees for the funds?
Answer: Less than for most mutual funds, except for the (very low) rates of a few.

Who sets the benchmarks? Answer: The Regents do, annually.

What is the current amount of the retirement fund? Answer: $41 billion. At the start of the year it was $41.9 billion.

What is involved in the upcoming coordination with Fidelity? John Fox: Separate service centers will be discontinued in favor of just Fidelity. Valuations of funds' performance will be far more efficient and prompt. There will be new investment options. Letters detailing these changes will be in the mail shortly.

Stanton: No existing funds will be eliminated. New ones will include six “UC Pathway Funds,” which will address stages of faculty aging, proportioning individuals' balances in portfolios as persons age (to be increasingly more conservative risk-wise), plus some specialty funds.

Feldman again: And the management costs of these? Stanton: Fifteen basis points. In short, there will be more options, including a Vanguard index fund at 13 points for management, and other index products.

Feldman: Will advice be available about these funds? Fox: Counseling services are planned to start in 2006. In the interim, Fidelity will provide them. Their cost will be included in the 15 basis points of most funds. All services will be adjusted and employed with an eye to offering them under the cost basis. Arrangements with Fidelity regarding services are still being worked out.

John Craig: Could the UC Treasurer's Office provide information about all of this in New Dimensions? Response: Yes, this will be done.


Report on Benefits and Health Care from the Office of the President

Also via teleconference, the perennially faithful Michele French, Executive Director of Human Resources and Benefits Policy and Program Design (!), reported on the current status of health and retirement plans.

Under the governor's compact with the University, she began, UC will receive a 3% COLA this year. There is still a question as to how much of this will be available for benefits.

Significantly, this question turned French to UC-managed laboratories: The University's bid for Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory was successful, and benefits details there must be worked out. Other laboratory bids are pending or in preparation, yet there is still no request for proposals about the Los Alamos Laboratory, and although the Department of Energy has expressed a desire to extend the Livermore contract for two years, there is still no final word on that.

Although the fate of UC's affiliation with the laboratories raises serious issues about their retirees' participation in the UC Retirement System and the system's funding, French passed by that complication to focus on the governor's proposed pension reforms for state employees, reporting that he has backed off his original, problematic approach, as has Assemblyman Richmond. Instead, to consider legislation he has set up a commission on which Judy Boyette (UC's able Associate Vice President for Human Resources and Benefits) will represent UC interests. Any changes will only affect new hires as of January 2007 and later. Currently there is a proposal to allow UC to go above contribution levels, and another to establish retirement at age 65 with medical benefits to be applied accordingly. A defined benefit program is part of the discussion.

To a query about early retirement, French replied that this will have to be considered. The Regents want to be at the front end of any discussion, and numerous issues will also have to go through the collective bargaining process. All told, UC has gained time for some flexibility.

John Craig asked how we can convince the governor and the public that UC is not bankrupting the Public Retirement System. We'll have to work hard on that, French replied. These are complex issues so far as the public is concerned. Still, there are some bright persons advising the governor about the situation and there has been progress in doing so. Meanwhile we have to address the need for future employee contributions to our retirement fund, since current distributions are running at about 15% of its balance.

Arcing back to the frustration in his question, Craig observed that the state has contributed nothing to our pension system for many years.

To a query about the forthcoming COLA, French responded “two percent” without missing a beat (so predictable in recent years) -- but finessed another about the prospect of higher health care costs for emeriti by commenting that UC will have to allot more of its funds to salaries, given the few raises to faculty and staff in recent years (so “yes,” presumably).

Then with stoic finality but, tactfully, no audible sigh of relief French announced that she would be retiring on July 1. John Craig, accompanied by general approbation, thanked her heartily for her many years of service, commenting that we will have to hire three people to do her job.

So because of teleconferencing Michele departed not with handshakes and hugs but by signing off like a TV anchorwoman, soon to be not a representative to, but represented by, our Joint Benefits Committee.


Joint Benefits Committee Report

Adrian Harris distributed two handouts for the committee: a JBC report on its March 31 meeting, and a draft summary of successful recommendations by the committee since its inception.

The meeting report and Harris's comments about it reflect the tenacity and close attention to important details and communication that have typified the committee and its perspicacious, seasoned chair. Here, for example, with Harris as drum major, the committee continues to urge the University to address the plight of those who retired more than 25 years ago, before benefits were modified under the 85% provision. And more currently the chair successfully represented retiree desires for clearer communication from the President's Office about plans for a master recordkeeper to handle administrative services such as Minimum Required Distributions from tax-deferred accounts of those 72 1/2 and older. This has been positively responded to, as has the committee's concern that this year's late notification about required distributions be a one-time transition-year occurrence only.

The move to a master recordkeeper, as detailed earlier in the morning by the Treasurer's Office representatives, is one sign among many of improvements in services for UC retirees. In accord with this was Harris's second handout, a full two pages on successful JBC recommendations since the committee's inception (a report prompted at least in part by several emeriti grumping on their biobibliography forms: “What has the Emeriti Association ever done for us?”).

Committee successes sketched on these pages include a broad range of improvements in emeriti and retiree fiscal and healthcare matters as a result of JBC's unified, concentrated voice in representing CUCEA's and CUCRA's interests to the Office of the President, the UCRS Advisory Board, and the Academic Senate.

Most notably, CUCEA and CUCRA representatives now participate in UCRS Advisory Board meetings, the JBC chair officially attends both CUCEA and CUCRA meetings, and the OP has been sending draft copies of some publications to the JBC chair for review prior to final printing. Fiscally, annuitants' purchasing power has been maintained at no less than 75% and up to 85% of its amount at the start of their retirement, while policies and procedures on the distribution of funds and information to annuitants and their beneficiaries have been made more liberal and explicit.

The committee's most far reaching success in healthcare matters has been its promotion of a healthcare advocate for annuitants, an effort which has taken shape universitywide as the Health Care Facilitator Program. Funded by the OP for each campus, the program benefits active faculty and staff as well as annuitants.

And beyond originating a CUCEA-CUCRA sponsored Senior Health Care Symposium on October 7, 2002, the committee has effectively urged improved prescription and billing procedures for the High Option plan, a confirmation of spousal health coverage, better notification about Delta Dental provisions and PERS long-term care eligibility, as well as freedom for annuitants to temporarily drop University health coverage if they have other options.

Also in accord with committee recommendations, the chairs of CUCEA and CUCRA have been appointed to serve on a task force to review the University's health and welfare contribution strategy and consider options for its future, while Lester Breslow, a former dean of Public Health at UCLA, continues to represent annuitants' interests on the UC Faculty Welfare Committee's Task Force on Health Care Planning.

Emerging from morning clouds like the sun, this report led to
LUNCH, fortifying spirits for


Reports of CUCEA Officers

Treasurer's Report

Lyman Porter's accounting showed CUCEA's net worth as of 3/31/05 at $24,727.80, $1,390.94 more than last year, not including April income from campus dues or an Academic Council allocation of $1,500 on April 5. Apparently the decision last year to remunerate our officers' hotel and meal expenses if they travel from afar to attend CUCEA meetings is reasonably sustainable.

Four campuses had paid their dues as of the meeting, with a due date of 5/1/05 for the other five. Notably, Berkeley's payment increased greatly over previous years, which prompted a discussion of campuses' various definitions of “members” for CUCEA dues. Despite obvious differences, all were congenially accepted.


Information Officer / Web Manager's Plight

Marjorie Caserio regretted that she could not attend the meeting as she was “snowed in in Big Sky Montana,” to which Norah Jones responded by letter, “We all missed you badly, but at the same time envied you more than a little for such an elegant excuse - 'snowed in in Big Sky Montana,' indeed! We imagined you sipping hot toddy in a large chintz chair drawn up to a picture window overlooking deep dazzling drifts. . . We, meanwhile, were floating, bedraggled, into La Jolla under sheets of rain that might have daunted Noah [Norah without the “r”]. . . Well, well, it was a jolly meeting, nonetheless.”


Archivist's Report

Adept at bringing order to floods, Norah urged strongly that all committee information be forwarded to her for the archives, then commented on the final printing of CUCEA's amended bylaws. With minor details polished and an updated CUCEA logo on their covers to accommodate the Merced campus, ultimate copies were distributed to members.


Historian's Report

Unable to attend the meeting, Ralph Nair communicated that after ten years as CUCEA Historian he would have to retire from his position. His decision was greeted with regret combined with great appreciation for his long and faithful service. Ralph's record of CUCEA attendance has been unmatched. Until this occasion he had not missed a meeting since Claude Fawcett, Moses Greenfield and he gathered at UCLA to plan for the council, followed by its first meeting at Berkeley in October, 1987. As its Historian, Ralph's constantly updated compilation of elected officers displays how integral he has been: he served as Secretary in 1987-1989, Chair-Elect and Chair in 1991-1993, Historian from 1994, and remains, of course, an Honorary Member.


Emeriti Biobibliographic Survey Committee Report

Charles Berst launched the 2003-2005 Emeriti Biobliographic Survey by distributing a master copy of the survey form to each campus CUCEA representative, asking that it be forwarded to next year's representative. Along with this he included (1) a cover letter to be mailed with the survey, stressing its importance in promoting emeriti interests, words he urged representatives to adapt, personalize, or adopt in any way they thought best, and (2) a memo to the surveyors outlining preferred procedures and a November 10 due date for campus tallies.

The reason for distributing these materials now, Berst explained, was to give campus representatives or their 2005-6 successors (or responsible persons they delegate) time to complete the survey well before Thanksgiving. In past years a later start and much later completion by some campuses after year-end holidays has led to universitywide results not appearing until the following spring, by which time they had lost part of their strength by seeming less timely.

Positive responses from chancellors, other administrators, and Senate leaders have attested to the continuing effectiveness of the survey in drawing attention, respect, and support to the research, university service, and causes of emeriti.


The Panunzio Award

Dericksen Brinkerhoff introduced a thought as to whether judging for the Panunzio Award might be broadened beyond UCLA.

Charles Berst commented that he had heard this was desired by the award's board years ago, but the logistics of exchanging materials and gathering for a meeting with administrators from other campuses had discouraged it. The board has five members: the deans of humanities and social sciences, the senior dean of the College of L&S, whoever is currently president of the Emeriti Association, and the graduate dean/vice chancellor who serves as chair, all of UCLA. From appearances in the past, none has seemed to relish the job (quite the reverse) and even locally it has often been difficult to find a time when all can review the materials and attend a session to render their decision. Then too, as of this past year and the coming one three of these members will be new, so institutional knowledge and concern about the award is not necessarily stable.

Given this situation and realizing the frustration on various campuses when their very worthy candidates receive no recognition (simply because competition can be keen indeed and the award is limited to one or occasionally two recipients), Berst brought up the matter at CUCEA's May 2003 meeting. He suggested that the award's funds might more broadly, sensitively, and effectively honor outstanding emeriti work were they distributed annually University-wide in amounts proportionate to the number of humanities and social sciences emeriti each campus has. Campus emeriti associations could then grant an award every one to three or more years, depending on their number of eligible emeriti and funds in their Panunzio accounts.

(Locating deserving local candidates should not prove difficult: the biennial biobibliographic survey of emeriti activities from June 2001 to July 2003, for example, revealed that the 20% who responded had published a total of 301 books and 2,949 articles. One may be safe in surmising that at least 10% of those books and articles were noteworthy.)

A straw vote to recommend separate campus awards to the Panunzio Board, however, produced only 5 in favor, 3 opposed, and many abstentions, a sentiment hardly strong enough, it seemed, to carry the matter forward.


Election of Officers and Installation of New Chair

The Nominating Committee recommended that the Secretary, Treasurer, Archivist, and Information Officer/Web Manager be reappointed, and that a letter of appreciation be sent to Historian Ralph Nair.

All were vigorously approved, and the committee's nomination of Louise Taylor of Berkeley as the new Chair-Elect met with acclamation, as was Dericksen Brinkerhoff's installation as Chair.



Campus Reports

Oral, written, or both, highlights of these were as follows:

Berkeley

Luncheon speakers' topics, ranging from aging, river blindness, and international Judaism to Dante's Purgatorio and the Superfluous God have continued to attract 50-75 members and their guests. Most recently, the Emeriti Association held a reception for Berkeley's new Chancellor, Robert Birgeneau.

The Association's Board has helped publicize an all day event on aging, created a pamphlet about the Association for prospective members, discussed ways emeriti can serve diverse campus goals, and been highly supportive of its Retirement Center's extensive pre-retirement planning programs for faculty. The eight-week spring session attracted 75 faculty.


Davis

Once again parking for emeriti and staff retirees rose from the dead like an evil spirit, but it was exorcized for now by the Emeriti and Retirees Associations calling attention to their constituents' relatively light use of campus parking and their contribution of $20 million to the campus in recent years. One benefit of this and other issues was an increase in emeriti membership from 251 to 322 (including 41 Associate members who do not pay dues).

At the behest of the Emeriti and Retiree Associations a broadly-based committee was appointed to study the establishment of a retirees' center, and that strong committee has recommended a substantial one. Every January the Chancellor hosts a dinner honoring the emeriti. This year, with over 500 emeriti and spouses attending, the occasion was ideal for thanking the Chancellor about parking privileges and the administration's interest in a retiree's center. Currently the campus's Emeriti Handbook is being updated.


Irvine

One emeritus has received a National Academy of Sciences award, another an award for “Outstanding Mentoring,” and an Emeriti Center director is being recruited. In contrast to UC Davis, Irvine provides just a 50% discount (1/2 of $450) for emeriti parking.


UCLA

Some wizened campus politicos suspect that the uniqueness of the Emeriti/Retirees Center in receiving no budget cut this year may be related to the fact that budget decisions were made shortly after the Emeriti Association president and editors of the 2001-2003 Emeriti Biobibliographic Survey had a most congenial chat with the Chancellor about the survey's remarkable results.

Besides numerous after lunch and dinner speaker programs, a fledgling program of emeriti speakers for community organizations is doing well. Moses Greenfield has received a newly created Association award for “Distinguished Lifetime Service” spanning his professional career and retirement activities. And years of effort by a diligent committee appear to be leading to a retirement facility prioritizing emeriti, staff retirees, their parents and faculty parents, to be constructed less than a mile from the campus.


Riverside

The campus continued its tradition of honoring an emeritus/a for outstanding academic, professional, or civic achievement by acknowledging the impressive activities of Carlos Cortes, emeritus professor of history, at an annual breakfast hosted by the Chancellor and attended by more than a hundred emeriti. At a lunch in the UCR Botanic Gardens, the new executive vice chancellor initiated an annual memorial recognition ceremony honoring deceased faculty, staff, and outstanding friends of UCR by playing the carillon. That carillon appears on the cover of the emeriti/ae and retiree associations' quarterly, Towertalk.

Less than twenty of over a hundred emeriti/ae responded to a questionnaire folded into the quarterly's most recent issue, asking for approval of reinstitution of $10 annual dues for all (including surviving spouses), for meeting preferences, and what value respondents placed on UCREA; but at least now there will be funds for a more accurately supporting CUCEA.


San Diego

Besides monthly board meetings and an annual luncheon, at which the new chancellor will speak this year, the Emeriti Association is planning additional events, possibly with UC Irvine and other institutions nearby. Having not yet convinced the administration of the value of emeriti contributions to the campus, the Association has been unsuccessful in obtaining space for an emeriti center. It will continue make its case with the new administration, and would appreciate emeriti newsletters from other campuses.


San Francisco

News may be forthcoming. The new Mission Bay campus is a beehive of building activity.


Santa Barbara

Mail boxes on the floor have put emeriti on their knees.
(The exercise may account for Ralph Nair's lively longevity, and the athletic spirit of the Emeriti/Retirees Center's newsletter.)


Santa Cruz

Stanley Flatté, an admirable alternate for his Association's alternate, reported a new chancellor, five lunches with “presentations” attended by an average of 25, and 66 paid members.



At Ajournment

John Craig was roundly thanked and enthusiastically applauded for his effective, warmly congenial leadership

-- acclaim capped by palpable delight as attendees evaporated into La Jolla sunlight.