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News Briefs

05 February 2009

UC reaches tentative contract agreement with service employees’ union

University of California officials announced on Jan. 28 that UC has reached a tentative agreement with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) on a new, five-year labor contract for UC’s more than 8,000 service employees.

Once ratified by the union, the agreement will be effective from the date of ratification through Jan. 31, 2013. Full contract details will be available.

Budget delay halts some campus construction, planning

Construction at Durant Hall has been suspended pending the adoption of a state budget. The Durant Hall renovation is being funded solely by state bond funds; without an approved state budget, funding is not available from the state to continue with construction. The campus anticipates that once a state budget is approved, disbursements of the bond fund will commence and construction will continue at Durant Hall.

Two other campus capital projects are affected by the current state situation: an infrastructure-upgrade project at Birge Hall will be suspended; and architectural-design work for a replacement for Campbell Hall has been halted. All other campus construction projects under way are continuing.

Green Initiative Fund accepting grant applications

Any project that addresses environmental sustainability on the Berkeley campus may be eligible for a grant from The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF), established in 2007 and funded by a $5 per semester student fee. Some $250,000 is available for funded projects, and all faculty and staff (as well as students) may apply.

Applications are online; they must be submitted by midnight Tuesday, March 31. An information session will be held Thursday, Feb. 12; check the website for details. Direct questions, comments, and completed applications to Nicole Leung (643-2992).

Revised tobacco policy extends no-smoke zone

With the most recent revision of the campus’s policy governing the smoking and advertising of tobacco, smokers must now remain 25 feet away from any campus building. The relevant provision is summarized as follows: “Smoking is permitted outdoors except within 25 feet of campus building entrances, exits, or operable windows” as well as air-intake vents. Previously, the distance to be maintained from campus buildings was 20 feet; as recently as 2002, it was 15 feet, and prior to that, a mere 5 feet.

Review the policy in full.

UC will advance Cal Grant sums to students

To prevent students who receive Cal Grants from being negatively affected by delays in state payments, the University of California has announced it will provide funding to cover the value of Cal Grant awards for the spring term.

The university will use resources from its short-term financial reserves to prevent the state’s current cash-flow crisis from placing Cal Grant recipients — all of whom are students with financial need — in financial jeopardy. In advancing students the amount of their Cal Grant awards, the university expects that the California Student Aid Commission will disburse Cal Grant funds to campuses once the state adopts a final budget.

This is not the first time UC has taken such action. Last fall, due to a delay in the passage of the state budget, the university also provided students with funding to cover their Cal Grant awards until a final budget agreement was reached.