by Fernando Quintero
In light of positive developments in state and private funding for the campus, Chancellor Tien announced at the April 11 Academic Senate meeting the allocation of $9.6 million over a three-year period for some of the faculty's most pressing needs.
Foremost among these "Bridge Initiatives" is $3.6 million to establish 60 special Chancellor's Professorship Stipends. The stipends--$20,000 annually for three years--will provide interim teaching and scholarship support for faculty throughout the campus.
"Given the encouraging progress in our fund-raising efforts and the governor's long-term commitment of support for the university, I am pleased to announce (the initiatives)," said Tien before a gathering of about 85 senate members.
"At this critical time in our history, I have to take some risks to maintain our excellence in research and teaching," he said.
The initiatives also include a $3 million commitment to address the ravages of inflation on the libraries' acquisition budget, which includes $500,000 a year over a three-year period for a special monograph acquisition fund.
Tien said these commitments are aimed at providing some stability to the library collections until the campus achieves its goal of raising a $20 million endowment, and state support reaches levels outlined in the governor's fiscal stability plan.
To address the needs of graduate students, the chancellor will commit $500,000 over three years for graduate fellowship support, matching a similar amount donated by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
Finally, $1.5 million in unrestricted funds will be used for critical campus facilities and infrastructure needs that cannot be addressed using traditional funding sources.
Tien said an additional $800,000 in funding has been set aside this year for the Committee on Research. Half of the funds are being used to meet faculty computer needs, and the rest is reserved for non-competitive research grants.
In other business, a motion was approved for the senate to conduct a mail ballot on the question, "Should the University of California, in a timely and orderly manner, phase out responsibility for management of Los Alamos National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore Laboratory?"
Several faculty members questioned the appropriateness of the university being involved in weapons-directed research necessitating secrecy, control and restraint of information and debate.
"Engaging in classified research is not part of our mission," said anthropology Professor Laura Nader. "It is a betrayal of our fundamental principal."
Supporters of contract continuation with the national labs maintain the benefits to education and research are substantial, and that managing the labs is an important public service consistent with the university's mission.
The senate also passed a motion to open up academic calendar scheduling issues for discussion among the faculty, students, staff and administration.
Among the concerns a senate committee report found was that the current calendar is out of synchronization with the calendars of other comparable universities, other UC campuses and K-12 schools.