Sunday, May 24, 2020

Latest Panunzio Winners

From an email circulated last Friday afternoon: [photos added]

The 2019-2020 Constantine Panunzio Distinguished Emeriti Award honoring Emeriti Professors in the University of California system has been awarded to Professor Emerita of Sociology Carroll Estes (UC San Francisco) and Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Law Herbert Morris (UC Los Angeles).

UC Emeriti Professors Estes and Morris are the forty-fourth and forty-fifth recipients of the Constantine Panunzio Award. Both awardees have especially long and notable records of research, teaching, and service to the University of California, their disciplines, and their communities. The late Dr. Panunzio, a Professor of Sociology at UCLA for many years, has been described as the architect of the UC Retirement System and was particularly active in improving pensions and stipends for his fellow Emeriti. The award bearing his name was established in 1983 and includes a $5,000 prize.

Carroll Estes, UC San Francisco, Professor Emerita of Sociology retired in 2007. She joined the UCSF faculty in 1972, became a full professor in 1979 and served as Chair of the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences for eleven years (1981-1992). Additionally, she founded and directed the Aging Health Policy Center, which became the Institute for Health & Aging. Since retirement, Professor Estes has continued research and policy contributions on aging, in scholarly writings, provided lectures and presentations, and held national leadership roles in key aging and gerontology organizations. Her scholarly productivity has been remarkable during retirement, evaluating the areas at the intersection of academic gerontology, public policy analysis, advocacy, and the training of future generations of scholars. As a founding scholar in the field of the “political economy of aging,” Dr. Estes has devoted herself to improving the health and economic security of vulnerable and underserved populations, particularly older people, women, LGBTQ, people of color, and people with disabilities. For this work, she received the 2019 Robert M. Ball Award for outstanding achievements in social insurance from the National Academy of Social Insurance. One of her most recent achievements is a publication entitled Aging A-Z: Concepts Toward Emancipatory Gerontology (with N. B. DiCarlo, 2019). The book examines multiple dimensions of persistent and hotly debated topics around aging, the life course, the roles of power, politics and partisanship, culture, economics, and communications. Professor Estes has written numerous chapters and co-authored a report on older U.S. women’s economic security to the U.S. House of Representatives (2017). Since retirement, she also has continued training post-doctoral fellows, teaching, dissertation advising, and has a formal role in the UC Berkeley-UCSF Postdoctoral Program funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Professor Emerita Estes has contributed extensively to professional and community service programs, receiving numerous awards and honors, including the UCSF Chancellor's Award for the Advancement of Women and the Mentor of the Year Award in the School of Nursing in 2007, and the 2014 UCSF Medal, its highest honor, for advancing health worldwide.

Herbert Morris, UC Los Angeles, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Law, has had a long association with UCLA prior to his retirement in 1994. He received his B.A. from UCLA in 1951, his D.Phil. from Oxford in 1956, and then served on the UCLA faculty for thirty-nine years (1956-1994) as a professor in both the Philosophy Department and the Law School, and as Dean of Humanities (1983-1992). During his career at UCLA, Professor Morris did distinguished work in philosophy and legal theory, writing transformative essays on issues of punishment and guilt. In the years since his retirement, he has continued to produce distinguished research – publishing scholarly papers, which developed themes from his earlier research career, as well as some astonishing papers on completely new themes. Professor Morris also has never stopped teaching, and in his 61st year, he continues to teach with wisdom, humor, and passion. He has offered small seminars in the Law School and has contributed to the Philosophy Department by teaching his lower-division Philosophy 5 (Philosophy and Literature), to about 200 undergraduates. The most exceptional aspect of Professor Morris’ post retirement contribution has been his move into new areas of scholarship. In 2009, he produced a brilliant essay, “Artists in Evil: An Essay on Evil and Redemption in Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time.” Here he takes on a question about sadism, ritual, and artistic creation through a meticulous reading of a compelling and confusing passage in Proust. What Professor Morris reveals for us, is Proust’s exquisite vision of costs: in the willed suffering, the contortion of life, and the regrets for unavoidable harms. Professor Morris argues that, if Proust finds a path to redemption it is through the role of imagination in art and the art of living. In 2019, his ninetieth year, he published a new essay entitled, “On the Soul,” in the prestigious journal Philosophy. It is a breathtaking study of one of the oldest ideas in world culture, the concept and focus on the soul, brought forward into the center of current evaluative thinking in the broadest sense. Professor Morris’ essay is a report on a kind of wisdom acquired from a long life of serious reflection on what matters. He has made profound contributions to knowledge, highlighting intersections of scholarship, and has transformed into a highly regarded critic of literature and the visual arts. Professor Emeritus Morris’ intellectual range, rigor and mature wisdom are incomparable, and truly the embodiment of UCLA’s motto, Fiat Lux, “let there be light.”

You Read It Here First

A ticking time-bomb?
Item G2 enacted at last week's Regents meetings involved investigation and disciplinary processes for members of the Board of Regents who are accused of misconduct, including sexual misconduct (Title IX-type violations). As we noted in a prior post, some of the ex officio Regents - to which G2 seems to apply - are elected officials and major state politicians.* These members include the governor, the lieutenant governor (who officially presides over the state senate), the speaker of the state assembly, and the superintendent of public instruction.**

While there was some controversy at the Regents sessions over the details of the processes entailed in G2 - mainly concerning a 3-regent panel that would have oversight - nothing was said about the inclusion of the elected officials in the G2 framework. As we noted in our prior post, absent some exemption from G2, UC and the Board of Regents could become involved at some future date if charges of misconduct were leveled at the political ex officio regents. It's not clear that the Board of Regents is the best location for such controversies to be resolved. No one seemed to be concerned about this possibility, perhaps because it might have seemed to be unseemly to exempt the political regents from the procedures that applied to other members of the Board.

Perhaps nothing will ever happen that will entangle UC in some political affair related to misconduct, sexual or otherwise, of elected officials on the Board. But if it does, you read it here first.
**Other ex officio regents are the president of the University and the alumni association president and vice president. See Section I(2) of a related attachment document says the following: "Applicability: This Policy applies only to the eighteen gubernatorial-appointed Regents, the ex-officio Regents, and any non-student Regents-designate. The Policy does not apply to the Student Regent or any faculty representative or staff advisors to the Regents." See

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Whatever a Hybrid Reopening Features, It Won't Be Universal Testing

The Regents were told last week that testing for some kind of reopening during the coronavirus crisis would cost $24 million a week. Just the 10-week quarter for courses would be $240 million, and presumably you would have to have more than 10 weeks for exams and other functions.

If you looked at our earlier post today on the trigger you know that if Congress actually came through with the money requested - no guarantee of that happening - UC would get $338 million more funding.* Much of that money, however, would be swallowed up by a $24 million per week cost. Note that Berkeley and Merced are on semesters, so they would have more weeks than the campuses on quarters. Put another way, universal testing can't happen from a budget perspective.

From Calmatters: ...Dr. Carrie L. Byington, a top UC medical expert, pulled the curtain back on what campus re-openings would look like; the expenses are significant and the logistics complex. She said that she predicts that both COVID-19 cases and circulation of the flu will increase in the fall. Universal testing is unfeasible, said Byington, the executive vice president of UC Health, which includes five academic medical centers, a community-based health system and 18 health professional schools. With roughly 600,000 students, faculty and staff at the UC, weekly testing would cost the system $24 million a week because each test is $40. Instead, fall term will require social distancing, even within buildings. 

“That may mean staggering (class start) times, giving people a direct time when they can enter or exit a building or an elevator. The density is going to be really important,” she said. Everyone on campus will need to wear masks, track their symptoms, be truthful about when they think they’re getting sick and stay away from others, and wash hands constantly. Access to soap and hand sanitizer is paramount.

Partial testing based on a model is also a possibility to figure out “the minimum proportion of people that we can test to understand the likelihood that the virus is in our facility,” she told regents. Many of these strategies were formalized in a document the regents approved Wednesday that lays out the principles for safely operating campuses during the pandemic. 

Byington also shed light on a possible vaccine for COVID-19 in the form of a patch developed in conjunction with UC Davis. The hope is that the vaccine patch will go into clinical trials in the summer.  “Not only does it give us hope for having a vaccine, but also a mechanism to deliver that vaccine that would allow millions of people to receive the vaccine in their own homes, as the vaccine could be mailed, and they could place it on themselves in their own homes,” she explained.

Full story at


Listen to the Regents Meeting of May 21, 2020 on SAT-ACT

The Regents met for their final session in May last Thursday. At the public comments, speakers (by telephone) spoke on SAT-ACT, the Hawaiian telescope, funding for undocumented students, labor relations, job security, fetal tissue, and comments on sale of a mall (which I doubt anyone there, and certainly not yours truly) understood. Student representatives spoke on affirmative action (currently banned by Prop 209), tuition, SAT-ACT, the Hawaiian telescope, and the state budget.

The main issue before the board was President Napolitano's proposal to do away with the SAT-ACT in stages and - maybe - create a new test just for UC. Now generally, when the UC prez comes up with an important proposal, the Regents are reluctant to override it. Moreover, one has to assume that the UC prez followed the old adage of not calling the question without first counting the votes.

Still, there was a stumbling block. The Academic Senate had been asked to come up with a research report on the use of the SAT-ACT, ostensibly in the name of "shared governance." The detailed analytical report essentially found that while there is an obvious correlation between high scores and income for all kinds of reasons, in the context of UC's use of test scores, the use of the test had a positive effect on diversity - not the widely expected negative effect. Essentially, UC "curved" the test scores to adjust for applicant background, but did not adjust GPA. That approach meant that UC's use of SAT-ACT provided an additional pathway for a bright disadvantaged student whose GPA was not at the top.

Because of the Senate report, the Regents were stuck between choosing the Senate's report or the UC prez's recommendation. In the discussion, it was noted that creating a new test would likely end up with something like the SAT-ACT and would cost a lot of UC money in the midst of a budget crisis. For some applicants who were applying to universities other than UC as well as UC, it would be necessary to take two tests. And, presumably, the same coaching services that prep for the SAT-ACT would offer prep for the UC test.

It was pointed out that the with SAT-ACT suspended for the next year due to the coronavirus crisis, the Regents could evaluate admissions for next year and then make a decision. Put another way, there was no need now to adopt the full sequence of the UC prez's proposal. Ultimately, this discussion led to a proposed amendment of the UC prez's plan that would just adopt the first two years of that plan and use the second year to examine the outcome of admissions for next year. It was voted down 5-18. The Regents then voted to adopt the plan as originally proposed unanimously, i.e., the dissenting 5 went along because they felt the Regents shouldn't be split on a major decision.

Comment by yours truly: As noted in our initial post on this matter, popular news accounts of the Regents' decision did not adequately reflect what occurred. Moreover, the regental decision to downplay the Academic Senate's report contradicts the popular critique that yours truly is sure most of the Regents would share of current federal authorities in other contexts not "listening to the science" and not listening to experts in making public policy. In this case, the "science" from the UC's panel of experts contradicted popular perceptions and gut feelings but the UC prez and Regents ultimately went with their "gut."

You can hear the Regents sessions at the links below:

or direct to:



The Budget Trigger and UC

The governor's May Revise proposed budget includes a "trigger" provision dependent on whether there is additional federal funding (not something that is currently moving ahead in the U.S. Senate). Additional funding would be automatically provided under this feature if federal money becomes available.

If the governor's proposal were enacted as written, and if the federal funding came through, UC would get an additional $338 million in general fund monies. Last January, the governor listed UC as receiving a total of $3,938.2 million this year (2019-20). The governor provides UC next year with $3,369.5 million next year (2020-21), absent the trigger. That is a nominal cut of $568.7 million. The trigger would restore $338 million, as noted, which is close to six out of ten dollars of the nominal cut. Note that UC will likely receive less tuition and other revenue and has additional costs related to the coronavirus crisis. Still, getting an additional $338 million would be a Big Deal.

However, as it usually does when governor's propose something that seems to go around legislative discretion, the Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) suggests a greater role for the legislature. So there is no guarantee that the governor's trigger plan will be adopted as he proposes.


Friday, May 22, 2020

Nothing to do with telescope?

The University of Hawaii is the management agency for the Mauna Kea site on which existing telescopes sit, and which the proposed TMT would sit if built. In theory, as the item below indicates, the management of the site is not the same thing as the question of whether TMT should be built. But is it really plausible that the two issues are totally unrelated? To yours truly, the answer is obvious.

In any case, here is the item referred to above:

From Big Island Video NewsThe State of Hawaiʻi and the University of Hawaiʻi will both be taking a separate look at the university’s compliance with the Maunakea Comprehensive Management Plan, the document that governs the continued use of the summit for astronomy purposes.

The Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources said on Friday that it is beginning a parallel review of the UH compliance with the Maunakea CMP, apart from the mandatory 5-year review of the same plan that the university will also undertake. Here is the full media release from the Hawaiʻi DLNR:
In order to provide the DLNR and the Board of Land and Natural Resources relevant information, including community input, into whether Mauna Kea is being effectively managed, the department is launching an independent evaluation of the University of Hawai‘i’s (UH) compliance with the Mauna Kea Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP).

According to DLNR Chair Suzanne Case this evaluation will parallel the mandatory five-year review of the Comprehensive Management Plan currently underway by UH. The review will evaluate the efficiency of UH management and specifically its Office of Mauna Kea Management (OMKM). The DLNR review will also include an assessment of the governance structure in managing the cultural and natural resources within areas on the mountain for which UH/OMKM are responsible.

Case remarked, “This process will ensure a thorough review that includes multiple points of view and provides an independent evaluation for the Land Board.”

UH leases approximately 11,000 acres of State lands on Mauna Kea, of which 525 acres is in the Astronomy Precinct and 10,700 acres are designated as Natural/Cultural Preservation Area. The Comprehensive Management Plan covers all of the UH leased land.

DLNR has contracted with Ku‘iwalu Consulting for the review. It will include a culturally sensitive and robust community engagement process to gather as much input as possible on UH’s implementation of the Comprehensive Management Plan. This input will be incorporated into the report.

UH is seeking renewal of its 65-year-long lease. Its current Comprehensive Management Plan was approved by the Board of Land and Natural Resources in 2009. The DLNR review is expected to be completed by the end of this calendar year. Chair Case notes that the independent evaluation is not a report on the proposed Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT).

Thursday, May 21, 2020


We'll review the Regents meeting of earlier today once we have a chance to process the recordings. As the headline suggests, the Regents did not adopt the recommendation of the Academic Senate committee set up to examine the testing issue. But here is the initial news on the SAT-ACT issue:

From PoliticoUniversity of California regents voted Thursday to stop requiring high school students to submit an SAT or ACT score for admission, the biggest blow yet to the traditional standardized tests as leaders of the elite public system attempt to address fairness concerns. UC’s new policy, proposed by system President Janet Napolitano, calls for the SAT and ACT to be suspended through 2024 as the university attempts to develop its own testing standard. The tests will be completely eliminated in 2025, regardless of whether a new or modified UC-specific standard has been approved for use.

Prospective students will have the option of submitting standardized test scores through 2022, keeping intact a strategy recently implemented by universities across the nation as the coronavirus pandemic has hindered the ability of many students to take the tests. Beginning in 2023, the SAT and ACT will have no impact on the admissions process, though students could still submit scores to determine eligibility for certain scholarships and post-enrollment class placement...

Full story at

NOTE: The item above is typical of the initial reporting of the Regents' decision. However, it fails to reflect considerable debate and disagreement within the Regents. There is always great reluctance of Regents to reverse or even modify a major recommendation of the UC president and so they eventually endorsed the Napolitano proposal. However, it was difficult to get away from the fact that the Academic Senate's official report on SAT-ACT concluded that in the way these tests were used at UC, the result was to increase diversity.