Senate Frowns on Consulting, CNR Plans

Policy on Outside Work Too Ambiguous; CNR Issue Should Wait for Green Light on Ag Strategy

by Fernando Quintero

At the Berkeley Academic Senate's 75th annual spring meeting, two controversial proposals both received the thumbs down from faculty present.

They objected to a number of the features of a proposed policy on outside employment for faculty and to procedures used by the Office of the President to evaluate a proposal to take faculty and funds away from the College of Natural Resources and transfer them to the Riverside and Davis campuses.

Several faculty members at the April 11 meeting spoke out against provisions of a proposal by the statewide Academic Council to restrict outside employment of faculty to one day a week and require them to report such work annually in writing.

The guidelines, which were also reviewed by the systemwide council at its April 12 meeting, were put together to ensure that a faculty member's primary commitment is to the university.

The senate's Faculty Welfare Committee said the plan was "so broad and ambiguous that it would restrict many other activities besides consulting and saddle faculty with onerous and intrusive record-keeping and reporting requirements."

Robert Anderson, an economics professor, expressed concern that the proposal would require faculty to limit and disclose virtually any financially beneficial activity they engage in, including any work done exclusively on weekends.

"Technically, I can get in trouble for just doing weekend gardening work since that could conceivably contribute to the value of my home, and thus, be perceived as a financial gain," said Anderson.

Alexander Horne, professor of civil engineering, said the university would be "shooting itself in the foot" if the proposal were enacted as it currently stands.

"The university depends on professional outside recognition," he said. "Often, consulting work for a company turns into academic research work for the university."

In another matter, the College of Natural Resources received unanimous Academic Senate support in its opposition to procedures surrounding a December 1993 proposal from Kenneth Farrell, systemwide vice president of the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, to transfer resources and faculty positions from CNR to Davis and Riverside.

In response to continuing efforts to transfer resources from Berkeley to the other campuses, a CNR committee proposed the Office of the President and the three chancellors concerned should take no further action on Farrell's proposal until a strategic plan for agricultural sciences within UC has been discussed and approved across all three campuses.

President Jack Peltason opened the meeting, his last address to the senate before his retirement in the fall.

Peltason said that although UC has gone through tough times during his tenure, he was optimistic about the state's financial condition and anticipated possible addition to next year's budget following back-to-back budget cuts.

"I can't promise that the tough times are behind us, but I believe the future will be less turbulent," he said.

Peltason reaffirmed his support for affirmative action programs, saying it was important to continue increasing eligibility rates among underrepresented students and to increase the number of women and minorities in the sciences.

"I believe diversity makes for a high quality university," he said. "In my judgment, (affirmative action) programs have been and are essential."

Chancellor Tien and outgoing Academic Senate Chair Harry Scheiber also addressed the senate, highlighting the maintenance of faculty excellence, community outreach efforts, the quality of incoming students and the strong donor support seen over the last year.


Copyright 1995, The Regents of the University of California.
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