Check here regularly as we feature more UPTE student services professionals, their work, and why they support UPTE.
Seth Arnopole, Graduate Student Services Advisor, Student Services Advisor III, Berkeley
I advise graduate students and faculty in three departments and affiliated programs on departmental and university policies and procedures. I coordinate admissions, oversee our students’ financial support (fellowships, grants, appointments, etc.), and track students’ progress in all stages of the programs. Due to the range of projects in which our students and faculty are involved, I communicate and collaborate with people in other departments, personnel at other universities, nonprofit organizations, and with government officials.
I support this union because with their deep institutional knowledge and specialized student support, Student Services Professionals promote the well-being of the UC system. We play a vital role in the functioning of our departments, and are a “human voice” that guides our students through what can feel like layers of impersonal bureaucracy. I want to make sure that our efforts are recognized, and I believe that UPTE can help by fighting for job security and fair compensation/benefits.
Avi Rosenzweig, Student Services Advisor III, Coordinator for the Nano Institute, Berkeley
I support graduate students, faculty, and researchers pursuing nano-related studies across College and disciplinary boundaries, from bioengineering to materials science, chemistry, computer science, and beyond. These technologies are growing very quickly. The most exciting progress is in areas that combine traditional departmental expertise while retaining a firm foundation in the physical sciences. It’s a great area to work in if you like variety and broad-picture thinking. The tools to handle tomorrow’s problems are being developed here today.
A union reminds me of stories about awkward adolescents, each of whom thinks they are the only person in the world, or at least in their school, who is going through the growing pains that come with maturity — it’s such a relief to learn that others are going through the same struggle, and that together we can get through it faster and stronger. Together we bargain; divided we beg.
Shane Carter, Public Education Specialist III, Program Coordinator for ORIAS, Berkeley
My two-year work experience at UC Berkeley has been very positive. In part that is because my colleagues are wonderful people, but I also believe it is because the work of labor unions in the UC system has generated benefits for workers in the system. I’d like to see those benefits extended to directly (and indirectly) affect more of the Cal working community, now and in the future.
Adnan Malik, Library Professional IV, South Asia Curator and Cataloger, Berkeley
I am responsible for collection development, reference, library instruction, and cataloging for UC Berkeley’s South Asia collection which covers the countries of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives.
I believe all employees are better off in the long run if they have a union. More secure and confident workers make the organization they work for better as well.
Nadine Gerdes, Student Academic Advisor III, Senior Study Abroad Advisor, Berkeley
There are so many reasons we need a union! SSPs need a voice to protest: layoffs, contract positions, overwork, low or no pay increases and threatened pension and retiree health benefits. I got involved was because I’m close to retirement and worried about the future of our wonderful UC pension benefit with the advent in June, 2016 of the choice between a pension & a 401-K for new employees. Find out about how the pension works and what you can do to save it!
Michael Mansfield, Student Academic Advisor III, Undergraduate Academic Advisor, Berkeley
The Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies is celebrating its 75th Anniversary as a department at UCB. I have 50 amazing staff and faculty colleagues and around 300 undergraduate actor, dancer, choreographer, director, playwright, designer, and performance research students that I work with daily in a 50% position. This is my 16th year in this position. I have held 10 other part-time staff and administrative positions across campus over the years.
All staff members should have an opportunity to have a voice in the mission of the institution and their well-being. Staff members are the institutional memory and, as we say in the theater world, “the spine” of the university. Students and faculty rely heavily on staff members to hold the information that gives the department integrity and credibility. Having studied for many years and worked many decades as staff and faculty at many colleges and universities, it is easy for me to see all sides of the academic experience. This much I do know — it is staff members who keep the institution open and running all year long.
I support undergraduate psychology students in maximizing their curricular and co-curricular experience at Cal.
As staff we can best serve students only when we are secure in our personal and professional lives. By joining together we have the best chance to improve our working conditions, enhance our job security, and catch up with the real cost of living here in California.
Danielle Maris, Student Affairs Officer II, UCLA
I have been an academic advisor in the Department of English at UCLA for nearly ten years. I left the private sector to work at UCLA because I believed in the University’s mission and found great satisfaction working with our talented students, staff, and faculty. I knew my salary would be lower, but the trade-off was career fulfillment and excellent medical and retirement benefits. Now, however, those benefits are swiftly being chipped away at. Simultaneously, more and more is being asked of us with no additional compensation.
In short, the good qualities that drew me, and so many others, to UC campuses will soon be non-existent if we do not take a stand. I believe that UPTE is the best way to protect ourselves and make sure that our voices are heard.
Janel Munguia, Student Affairs Officer III, UCLA
Before I became an SAO, and before the SSP campaign started, staff received regular annual salary step increases to keep up with inflation. UC created new job titles as to do away with step increases and fool employees into thinking they’d be eligible for increased salary “ranges” which they rarely implement.
As a long-time career employee, I am concerned about my retirement security. Now UC is undermining our defined benefit plan with “tiers” and defined contribution options that divert pension funding.
UPTE gives us a voice on these issues and makes our needs and interests visible.
Hayley Safonov, Student Affairs Officer III, UCLA
As an undergraduate advisor for the Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance, I coordinate, plan, develop, and implement policies for effective counseling services for graduate and undergraduate programs.
UCLA is a top research institution embodying a community of students, faculty, and staff. Student Services Professionals (SSPs) are tightly woven within the fabric of this community. We advise students, manage crises, and provide programming to enhance the educational experience.
UPTE representation and collective bargaining are the surest ways to gain recognition for our contributions to UC, and to maintain and attract a strong caliber of SSPs to better support the scholarly work of our students and faculty.
Sandy Valdivieso, Student Affairs Officer III, UCLA
I manage general administrative and student service functions of two interdepartmental undergraduate programs. I plan, implement, and evaluate student affairs functions, and serve as liaison between prospective and approximately 700 enrolled students, area studies centers, and University faculty and administration.
We need to retain quality employees by offering competitive salaries, benefits, and a manageable workload for our university and students to thrive. UPTE can help us achieve that.
Magda Yamamoto, Student Affairs Officer III, UCLA
I support UPTE because it is important to be represented. UPTE will fight and support us.