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Friday, October 24, 2014

Could There Be More?

Could there be even more?
When it comes to litigation regarding college athletes (such as the O'Bannon case involving a former UCLA athlete), there seems to be no end to the lawsuits testing whether scholar-athletes are de facto employees.

The legal attacks on the NCAA and its limits on what athletes can receive while playing college sports have been spread across a much wider front with the filing of a lawsuit that names the NCAA and every Division I school as defendants. The suit — filed this week in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis, where the NCAA is headquartered — alleges that the NCAA and the schools are violating the wage-and-hour provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The allegations are framed by the schools' employment of students in work-study positions that pay hourly wages...

Full story at http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/college/2014/10/23/ncaa-class-action-lawsuit-obannon-case/17790847/

Resisting the Urge at UC-SB

Our compatriots at UC-Santa Barbara have received a donation of $65 million.  The Good News is that they are spending it on physics research and resisting the urge to spend it on a Grand Hotel.  (There is no Bad News; UC-SB has its priorities straight.)

You can read about the big donation at http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/10/24/a-billionaires-65-million-gift-to-theoretical-physics/

We know.  It's hard to resist the immediate gratification of a big, tangible structure. 

The Next Culture Clash: Coming Soon to UC

It looks like the next culture clash is on its way to UC via CSU.  Maybe we would do better with a "don't-ask; don't-tell" approach.  Or just "don't-ask."

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship members say they just want to spread the word, to provide a welcoming space for believers and non-believers alike on college campuses that sometimes can seem cold and isolating.  But because it requires its leaders to hold Christian beliefs, the evangelical student group said, it now is fighting to preserve its religious soul and very existence.  Chapters of InterVarsity and some other Christian groups were stripped of recognition at California State University campuses this fall because they refused to sign a non-discrimination policy requiring clubs and organizations to open their memberships and leadership to all students. (Fraternities and sororities still can limit membership by gender.) ...

It appears that trouble also may be looming for its University of California chapters. UC spokeswoman Shelly Meron said the system — which now does not specify that leadership positions must be open to all — is reevaluating the language it uses to charter campus organizations...

Full story at www.latimes.com/local/education/la-me-calstate-clubs-20141024-story.html

Do we really have to reevaluate anything?  What if we didn't?  If it ain't broke... etc.

Slippage Worth Noting

State spending on higher ed as a percent of personal income
The Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) has put out a series of charts related to the state budget.  Above is one of the charts.  The Master plan era - which also featured increased baby boomer enrollments and related funding - came to an end in the early 1980s as the effects of Prop 13 (state bailouts of local governments especially school districts) were felt.  Since then, the story has been one of a downward trend.  Note that "higher ed" includes community colleges which are covered by Prop 98 and its protections.  UC and CSU are not so-protected.

The full set of charts is available at http://lao.ca.gov/Infographics/californias-state-budget

Thursday, October 23, 2014

UC Prez Napolitano on Middle East, Immigration, Attorney General Vacancy, Higher Ed

UC prez Napolitano was interviewed on a Kansas City radio station.  Roughly half the interview was on such topics as the problems of the Middle East and immigration.  The other half was on higher ed.  She shrugs off the idea that she might want to be U.S. attorney general (now that the position is potentially open).  And she says her current job is easier than being in charge of homeland security.

You can hear the interview - about 17 minutes in length - at the link below:


Caution: Animal Rights Campaign

The Daily Bruin is reporting on a new campaign by animal rights activists aimed at UCLA.  In the past, there has been vandalism aimed at faculty.  UC has successfully supported legislation dealing with such tactics in the past.  This campaign appears to be aimed both at faculty and student-researchers.

The story is at http://dailybruin.com/2014/10/23/animal-rights-activist-groups-target-student-vivisectionists/


Best Headline of the Day: It takes an ethics expert to catch one

The Chronicle of Higher Ed has been reporting an an athletics scandal at U of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.  Basically, it involved creating phony courses with little or no requirements for athletes.  Turns out an ethics specialist was a major figure in the scandal.  You can read about it at:
http://chronicle.com/article/Widespread-Nature-of-Chapel/149603/

Of course, nothing like that could happen here.  Right?