Pension reform recommendations draw questions and concerns at campus meeting

Several hundred staff members, faculty, and retired employees filled Stevenson Event Center on Monday afternoon to voice concerns and ask questions about proposed changes to UC's retirement system.

Two panel discussions took place that brought UC administrators to campus to receive feedback about the proposed plan changes. Panelists were joined by UCSC Chancellor George Blumenthal and Campus Provost/Executive Vice Chancellor Alison Galloway.

A UC Office of the President task force has made a series of recommendations that may be considered by the UC Board of Regents later this fall. The changes are designed to close the gap between funds sources for the retirement plan and current and future expenditures.

During the two-hour meeting, Daniel Simmons, who chairs UC’s systemwide Academic Council, spoke in stark terms about the proposed changes.

 “UCSC has to meet its unfunded liability and pay for the growing pension benefits of current employees,” he said.

Blumenthal expressed hope that the state government, which currently does not contribute to UC pension plans, will be convinced to “become a partner’’ with the UC system. 

Early in the meeting, about 20 protesters interrupted the group’s introductory remarks, calling the task force out of touch with the needs of lower-income staff members on campus. No one intervened to stop the brief protest, and the speakers resumed when it was over.

The discussion also included highly technical queries about the board’s methodology.

Video of the sessions will be accessible soon from the campus's Budget Update web site. The site also includes four fact sheets prepared in advance of Monday's forums.