Monday, November 19, 2018


From the Daily Bruin's editors:

Step one for creating a payroll system: make sure it works. That’s where we seemed to have lost the University of California. After four years of delays and mishaps, you would be forgiven for thinking the worst was over for the UC Payroll, Academic Personnel, Timekeeping and Human Resources. The University has touted UCPath for years as an efficient, centralized payment system that could greatly reduce spending.

But seven years after its initiative began, the University outdid itself: UCPath jeopardized hundreds of students’ and workers’ livelihoods by failing to pay them for almost two months.

The UC’s game of payroll limbo follows a history of botchery. In 2015, just four years after the project began, the UC announced delays to the system’s launch would cause an increase in initial costs by $45 million. The state released an audit in August of 2017 claiming the implementation of UCPath would cost $942 million, rather than the UC’s estimated $504 million. And before system rollout at UCLA in December 2017, the University announced another delay to allow for more testing.

The testing didn’t seem to help much. Two months after UCPath finally launched in Westwood, a number of UCLA employees – including teaching assistants, graders and tutors – reported missing or incorrect payments. This ought to be the final straw for the University’s mishandling of UCPath. While previous mishaps in the implementation of UCPath were localized to just straining the UC’s budget, the latest error has directly impacted the lives of students and workers...

Listen to the Morning & Afternoon Sessions of the Regents: Nov. 14, 2018

We are going to take advantage of the summary in the Daily Bruin of the various Regents' committees that met on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018:

Julia Shapero, Nov. 16, 2018, Daily Bruin

The governing board of the University of California met for the second day of its November meeting at UC San Francisco on Wednesday (Nov. 14). The Board of Regents discussed veteran services, food insecurity programs and the outcomes of the 2018 midterm elections.

Board of Regents

A number of students who spoke during the public comment section urged the UC to divest from fossil fuels, saying that investment in fossil fuels is equivalent to the endorsement of fossil fuels. A fourth-year student from UC Berkeley suggested that the UC follow the lead of the University of Massachusetts, which was the first major public university to divest from fossil fuels.

Students urged the UC to approve the creation of the basic needs special committee in order to ensure the success of students from various socioeconomic backgrounds. A second-year student from UC Santa Cruz cited a survey that showed that 5 percent of students in the UC system during 2016 have experienced homelessness, which translates to about 10,500 students. He added that 44 percent of undergraduate and 26 percent of graduate students have experienced food insecurity.

A number of students representing California Public Interest Research Group commended the student voter turnout across the UC, while suggesting that the UC aim to improve voter turnout even more for the 2020 election. A student from UC Berkeley said the California youth voter turnout is up to 31 percent. Students also urged the regents to invest in further funding for students in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, specifically for mental health and legal services.

Members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents more than 25,000 service workers and patient care technicians in the UC system, made up the majority of the public comment section. Many voiced frustrations with the UC over outsourcing and inequality, issues which prompted UC-wide strikes in May and October. The section ended with the members chanting, “If we don’t get it, shut it down,” and, “UC, UC, you can’t hide. We can see your greedy side.” They were met by a line of police officers, who counted down the minutes the members had until arrest. The group dispersed 30 seconds before arrest. Most students who spoke during the public comment section addressed AFSCME’s strike in October, saying they stood in solidarity with the union, and repeated the union’s mantra, “Enough is enough.”

UC President Janet Napolitano provided updates on the housing initiative she announced in 2016 that would add 14,000 affordable beds by fall 2020. The UC is currently on track to exceeding its goal and plans to add thousands more beds in the years to come, according to Executive Vice President Nathan Brostrom’s presentation on the housing initiative.

Listen at:

or direct to:

There was also a routine Compliance and Audit Committee session.
Audio at:

Public Engagement and Development Committee

The committee examined the results of the 2018 midterm elections, its potential impacts on the UC and the future of the new Congress. According to Associate Vice Presidents Kieran Flaherty and Chris Harrington’s presentation, the elections led to new ex officio regents and the election of several UC alumni. They added that the shift in partisan control of the House of Representatives from Republican to Democrat may lead to more executive orders and create a divided government, which could lead to a gridlock.

The committee also discussed funding for food insecurity programs on the UC campuses, including efforts the UC has undertaken with the state to fund the initiative. The UC has also supported efforts by the state to analyze and better understand food insecurity.

Regent-designate Christine Simmons and Student Affairs Vice President Robin Holmes-Sullivan also discussed how to reduce the stigma around food insecurity programs, such as food pantries. Holmes-Sullivan suggested involving more students in food security efforts could encourage awareness and discussion of the issue on campus.

Edward Huang, student advisor to the Regents, emphasized that future food security programs should make it convenient for students to take advantage of the programs. He added that students often feel a mental burden in addition to the financial burden of obtaining food, as they do not always have time to cook.

Audio at:

Academic and Student Affairs Committee

(There was also a routine meeting of the National Labs subcommittee in this session.)

Listen at:

or direct to:

Finance and Capital Strategies

The regents provided an update on UCPath, citing its successful deployment in September at UCLA and UC Santa Barbara. However, they acknowledged that students were having issues with the new system, as about 150 students at UCLA had difficulty receiving payments, and that improvements to the system still need to be made. They added they will work on identifying the problems with the system after restoring students’ pay. 

The committee also provided an overview of the 2019-2020 budget, which sets aside $60 million for degree attainment and student success, and $15 million for basic student needs.

Audio at:

Governance and Compensation Committee

The committee passed a motion to create a special committee on basic needs, which will focus on making sure students have access to nutritious food, stable housing and financial support. Approval would establish the special committee for two years.

Audio at:


Sunday, November 18, 2018

Nip and Tuck Contest Goes to Thurmond

In the election contest for state superintendent of schools, the post-election counting has flipped the race from Marshall Tuck, who appeared to be ahead the day after election, to Tony Thurmond. Tuck was identified with charter schools. Thurmond was more the K-12 establishment candidate. In practice, the superintendent mainly focuses on K-12. But the winner will sit as an ex officio regent in future regents meetings.

From EdSource:

Assemblyman Tony Thurmond has won the race for California state superintendent of public instruction, defeating Marshall Tuck in the nonpartisan contest. Two million ballots have yet to be counted but in a tweet he issued this morning, Thurmond said Tuck had conceded the race in a “gracious call to congratulate me and wish me well.” The most recent results showed Thurmond 152,000 votes ahead and leading Tuck 50.8 percent to 49.2 percent with 9 million votes tabulated...

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Listen to the Regents Meeting of Nov. 15, 2018

We'll jump ahead in our coverage of the Regents this past week to the final board meeting of Nov. 15. At public comments, such topics were raised as sexual assault, DACA students, fossil fuels, union issues such as outsourcing, and air quality.

Below is a summary from the LA Times. Links to the audio recording are below the summary.

UC regents approve budget to enroll 2,500 more California students without a tuition hike

LA Times, Teresa Watanabe, 11-15-18

University of California regents on Thursday approved a $9.3-billion budget that will add 2,500 more California undergraduates and increase support for struggling students without raising tuition in the next academic year.

The spending plan marks the first step in a four-year blueprint to boost enrollment, improve student success and reinvest in faculty and research. UC leaders say their hope is to reignite the “California Dream” for the next generation.

Regents, who ended a two-day meeting in San Francisco on Thursday, are hopeful that the political and financial uncertainties of the last several years are behind them, giving them breathing room to reimagine the future of the nation’s preeminent public research university system.

The efforts mark “an important shift in how we talk about what it is that we do, why it’s important to the state and why it deserves to be funded,” said Regent John A. Pérez.

UC has laid out a long-term goal of producing 200,000 more bachelor’s degrees by 2030, which would help close the state’s projected shortfall by that year of 1.1 million college graduates

UCLA and UC Berkeley have just about reached their on-campus capacity, enrolling between 40,000 and 45,000 students each. Other campuses — particularly UC Merced and UC Riverside — have more capacity to grow, but it will take more investments in housing, classrooms, labs and offices, according to a briefing paper from UC President Janet Napolitano’s office.

In addition to enrolling more students, officials say, UC must step up efforts to help them graduate. About two-thirds of students graduate within four years; the hope is to get that to 76% by 2030. Overall, nine of 10 UC students eventually graduate.

Getting students through more quickly will help them launch their careers earlier and will open up room on campuses for others. UC graduates earn $260,000 more during the first 10 years after graduation than undergraduates who drop out, the briefing paper says.

UC plans to lobby for legislation to allow low-income students to use Cal Grants for summer courses, which would help them graduate sooner.

The university also wants to better support faculty, lowering class sizes and helping them maintain the system’s national leadership in landing federal research dollars.

UC’s budget plan requests $277.6 million in additional state funding — including $63.8 million to avoid increases in tuition and student fees. Officials also are asking for $100 million in one-time funding to repair aging facilities. The university expects to raise $106 million more in tuition revenue from expanded enrollment and higher fees on nonresident students, and $70.4 million more from investments, philanthropy and cost savings, than it did in the current year budget.

All told, the increased revenue would pay for enrollment growth ($86.3 million), enhanced academic support ($60 million), faculty and staff raises ($137 million), building maintenance ($115 million) and health benefits, retirement and other mandatory costs ($119.8 million).

Some regents pushed for more funding after chancellors from UC Davis and UC Berkeley described their pressing need to repair leaking roofs, update electrical systems and retrofit aging buildings that could collapse in an earthquake.

Regent Sherry Lansing urged UC to pursue a statewide construction bond to raise money for seismic retrofitting. “I get very, very scared about endangering the students and structures,” she said.

Student Regent Devon Graves asked for money to help struggling students with food, shelter and other basic needs. Robert May, chairman of the UC Academic Senate, endorsed Graves’ suggestion and said faculty members have seen how hunger and housing instability directly affect academic performance.

Napolitano said her staff could add as much as $7.5 million for such basic needs to the budget, which regents will review in January after Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom releases his first spending plan.

Regents also approved a proposal by Graves and board Chairman George Kieffer to form a special regents’ committee on basic needs. The committee will spend two years visiting campuses and examining how the university can better support students.



Alternately, go directly to:

Friday, November 16, 2018

New Nine

The U.S. Dept. of Education has released revised Title 9 rules. It's not clear how much the rules will affect UC. Possibly, the cross-examination rule will have some effect.

From Inside Higher Ed:

...The regulation -- the first the federal government has issued on the matter -- was crafted to clarify requirements for colleges and to add due process protections for accused students. But women’s groups and advocates for survivors of sexual assault warn that it will undermine the rights of victims. And they say it will let colleges off the hook for not taking the issue of sexual misconduct seriously.
One of the rule's biggest changes from previous federal policy is that it would make institutions responsible only for investigating misconduct that occurred within a college's own programs. Advocates for victims had warned this would leave institutions off the hook for incidents that occurred off-campus but documents released by the department Friday emphasize that geography alone does not dictate whether misconduct falls under the purview of Title IX.
The proposed regulation also would allow colleges to set their own evidentiary standard for making findings of misconduct. And it would require that colleges allow for cross-examination of students in those campus proceedings -- a major point of contention -- although no interaction by the parties themselves would be allowed.
Although groups that represent accused students have welcomed many of the changes advanced by the Trump administration, the biggest beneficiaries of the rule may be colleges themselves. Some institutions, under pressure from campus activists, have said they will maintain standards introduced under the Obama administration. But the rule could significantly reduce the liability of colleges...
Full story at

UCLA History: Fashion

A 1930 photo with a caption indicating it depicts a fashion show of the Associated Women Students of UCLA.
Note: Yours truly is in transit. However, he has - as promised - now succeeded in preserving the full Regents meeting in audio format of this past week. We will be reviewing it and putting it on the blog in the future as time permits.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Harvard Admissions - Part 15

We noted in earlier posts that the Harvard admissions lawsuit might not have any fallout for UC because of the voter-enacted proposition that bans affirmative action in California public higher ed. It appears, from the NY Times article below, that there may be an exception, especially if (as expected) the issue eventually ends up at the Supreme Court.

With Echoes of Harvard Case, University of California Faces Admissions Scrutiny

By Anemona Hartocollis, NY Times, Nov. 15, 2018

An academic who studies affirmative action filed a lawsuit on Thursday against the University of California system, seeking access to a trove of records that he says could reveal whether the system defied state law by surreptitiously reintroducing race as a factor in admissions.

The lawsuit comes just two weeks after the end of a federal trial examining whether Harvard discriminates against Asian-American applicants. The California suit has clear echoes of that case, and it may signal the opening of a Pandora’s box of similar data requests at universities across the country, as opponents of race-conscious admissions seek ammunition for their cause.

“To me, this has always been a civil rights issue,” Richard Sander, the academic who is bringing the suit, said in an interview on Wednesday. “If you cut off the data, you’re saying we don’t think the public has a right to examine any of the factors determining admission or success at the university.”

A newly formed nonprofit called Asian American Community Services Center, led by George Shen, a businessman and recent Republican candidate for the California State Senate, has joined Mr. Sander in the lawsuit. Mr. Shen said many Asian-Americans believe that “we’re not getting a fair shake, so this is a big issue.”

Unlike Harvard, which makes no secret of its race-conscious admissions but says it does not discriminate, the nine undergraduate colleges that make up the University of California are prohibited by state law from even considering the race or ethnicity of applicants. California has banned affirmative action in colleges and universities since 1996.

Professor Sander, a law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, is a prominent proponent of the contentious “mismatch” theory, which holds that students who receive substantial admissions preferences — some racial minorities, for instance, but also so-called legacy applicants and athletes — often flounder and fail, whereas they would flourish if they went to universities to which they would be better matched.

He said he believed the damage was greatest when universities weighed race heavily over other factors, and that he was not opposed to the use of slight racial preferences.

But Professor Sander said he also believed that researchers and universities were too focused on admissions data when analyzing campus diversity. They should also be looking at outcomes data, he said, which includes majors, grades, how long it took students to graduate, whether they went to graduate or professional school and even their earnings after graduation.

That is the type of data Professor Sander is seeking in his lawsuit. He said he had received several years’ worth of similar data from the University of California in 2008, and found that even though the number of black and Hispanic students admitted to Berkeley and U.C.L.A. fell after the affirmative action ban, the drop was more than offset by increases in enrollment at other campuses and increases in graduation rates. More talented students applied to the top schools, he said, while others began at less elite campuses and transferred up.

For the past year, he said, the university system has blocked his public records requests for data from the past decade so he can update his studies, even though he has offered to pay for it himself.

Professor Sander said he suspected that the system, which serves hundreds of thousands of students, reacted to public pressure over declining African-American enrollment by secretly reintroducing race-conscious admissions. That led to a sharp increase in enrollment for black and Hispanic students from California high schools between 2006 to 2013, he said, and fewer Asian-American and white students.

A spokeswoman for the California system, Dianne Klein, said on Wednesday that the university system did not consider race in its admissions process. “Neither race, ethnicity nor gender factor into U.C.’s holistic admissions policy,” she said.

Ms. Klein added that to comply with the request for the type of data Professor Sander wants, the university system would have to create a customized database. Public records law does not require it to do that, she said.

Professor Sander said that a 2014 report on freshman admissions at U.C.L.A. provided some support for his theory that the university had gone back to using racial preferences.

The report, by Robert D. Mare, a sociology professor at U.C.L.A., said that “among otherwise equivalent applicants, whites, African Americans and Latinos are overrepresented among those admitted, and Asian-American applicants are underrepresented.”

But Professor Sander also said that the affirmative action ban had pushed the University of California to address the cause of low black and Hispanic admissions at its roots. It undertook more aggressive academic preparation efforts and recruitment drives for students before they applied to college, alleviating what he saw as the mismatch problem, he said.

A spotlight on the people reshaping our politics. A conversation with voters across the country. And a guiding hand through the endless news cycle, telling you what you really need to know.

Harvard’s admissions practices came under fire during the grueling three-week trial in Boston this fall, as a group called Students for Fair Admissions accused it of holding Asian-American applicants to a higher standard than students of other races.

Both the Harvard and the California cases represent a shift in the way affirmative action is perceived. Students for Fair Admissions said affirmative action was used not just to help some racial groups at the expense of whites, but to suppress another minority — Asian-Americans. The California case is aimed at exploring whether affirmative action is actually hurting the students it is supposed to help.

As part of the lawsuit, Harvard was forced to release data from more than 160,000 admissions records over six years, revealing some closely guarded secrets. A judge is expected to rule in the case early next year.