Sunday, February 1, 2015

Something to strive for?

Given the $150+ million expenditure on the UCLA Grand Hotel, is it too much to hope that someday we, too, will make the list?  Just asking!

Anyway, we can surely try:


Yours truly has been reluctant to press "LD" in the service elevator of the 200 Building within the UCLA health complex.  LD is below the first floor.  Could LD take you to the Lower Depths?

Saturday, January 31, 2015

How About a Measles-Free Campus?

Editorial comment from yours truly: It's not that long ago that UCLA became a smoke-free campus.  I don't recall any exceptions for those folks who read on the internet somewhere that what "they" say about smoking being bad for you wasn't true.  I don't recall any exceptions or exemptions being granted for those whose "personal beliefs" didn't accord with the smoking ban.  No one who wants to smoke is forced to come to UCLA for health care, classes, or any other service.  There are other medical centers and other universities.  Part of the rationale for the UCLA tobacco ban was to protect those on campus from the risks of second-hand smoke.

Some K-12 school principals in California have already banned students without measles shots from attending their schools for an extended period.  They have done so to protect other students and employees at their schools.  Perhaps UCLA - given its prominent role in medical research and treatment - should consider a similar ban on those who refuse vaccinations.

I know.  You're going to want to tell me about rules about emergency room admissions, etc.  But the bells and whistles of such a ban can be worked out to deal with such rules.  I know.  If you have a libertarian streak, you're going to want to tell me about your right to do whatever you like.  But the essence of libertarianism is that you can do what you like, so long as you don't hurt someone else.

Note that most college students are of an age where they can make their own medical decisions, whatever their parents may choose to believe about vaccines.  A requirement that students and others get measles shots (or show proof of immunity) and get other basic vaccinations (with very narrow medical and religious exceptions), would sure get media attention, just as the smoking ban did.  The same rationale applies to the vaccine issue as applied to the smoking ban.  Why should members of the UCLA community be put at risk because of someone's "personal beliefs" about vaccines?

UPDATE: Glad to see today that UCLA moving slowly in the direction above:
But why do we have to wait until 2017, as the article at the link above indicates? ...Both Stanford University and USC require students to have two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella, or MMR, vaccine before enrolling. At Yale University, undergraduate students must have the MMR, chickenpox and meningococcal vaccines and a tuberculosis skin test before arriving at the university. Princeton University requires students to have the Hepatitis B, MMR, meningococcal and Tetanus-Diphtheria-Pertussis, or Tdap, vaccines...

UCLA: Backside

The UCLA Grand Hotel is getting so big you can see it from a distance, albeit from the rear.
All that money brings music to your heart:

Friday, January 30, 2015

Stage III

Stage I was the unveiling of the Regents' tuition/funding plan. Stage II was the governor's response in terms of the Committee of Two and his January budget proposal. We are now in a PR/lobbying the legislature campaign: Stage III. The following email went out yesterday:
Dear UC Advocate,

As chairman of the Board of Regents, I am writing to you because we are entering a critical phase in efforts to put the University of California on the fiscal footing needed to ensure its ability to serve current and future generations of UC students as well as it has those in the past.

As you probably know, this is budget negotiation season in Sacramento, and for the 2015-16 budget cycle the stakes for the University – and, by extension, California -- could not be higher. For the next several months, you can expect state budget negotiations to be frequently in the news, and I wanted to make clear to our valued advocates the University’s position going into this process.

Last November, the board and President Napolitano adopted a long-term funding plan for the University. The idea behind this plan was too keep tuition as affordable as possible and as predictable as possible for California families contemplating a UC education. As you know, UC funding has been less than stable in the past, leading to large, unpredictable spikes in tuition rates.

At the same time, the five-year plan was meant to ensure the resources necessary to make room across the 10-campus system for an additional 5,000 California students, to re-invest in the University’s academic quality, and to maintain a robust financial aid program which at present fully covers the cost of tuition for half of UC’s undergraduates.

To achieve these fiscal goals, the Board approved contingency tuition increases of not more than 5% a year for the duration of the plan – with the full understanding that the state could eliminate the need for any tuition increases by increasing its contribution to the University’s core funds by an equal measure.

This will be the thrust of our negotiations, and the early indications from Sacramento leadership suggest a much-appreciated willingness to listen, discuss and negotiate going forward. In turn, and in the true spirit of any fair negotiating process, the University also is willing to engage and hear new ideas from our elected leaders. It is encouraging that the Governor and the President have begun a process of working through the University’s cost structure and budget options together.

Again, this is a high stakes proposition. The state and the University of California literally have grown up together, and in my view each has benefited from this symbiotic relationship. One would not be the same without the other. The need for a robust, public research university has not diminished; in fact, in the knowledge-based global economy of today it has only grown and will continue to grow.

For individual Californians, the importance of receiving the caliber of education the University of California provides also has never been higher. Californians know this. As evidence, consider the recently reported fact that UC’s applications for 2015-16 rose to a record 193,873 applicants – the 11th straight year the application pool has exceeded previous records.

As a society, all Californians owe it to these aspiring young applicants, and generations of new applicants to come, to do all in our power to keep the University on course and able to maintain the delicate but critical balance of excellence, affordability and access that has made it a model for the world.
We will be calling on you in the not-so-distant future to make the case for the University in the budget process, and I appreciate your interest in this cause. If you have a moment, please explore UC at a Glance, a web-based snapshot of the University that illuminates its breadth and reach throughout California and beyond. It can help answer a number of questions that often are raised about the University’s educational and research missions and their impact on all Californians.

Bruce D. Varner
UC Board of Regents

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Exit Strategy

We have posted in the past (and recently) about the lawsuit regarding non-veteran uses of the VA Westwood property on which UCLA has a baseball stadium.  A settlement has been announced:

...The government also pledged to develop an "exit strategy" for tenants that are leasing facilities for uses not directly related to veterans' care. Among those are UCLA's baseball stadium, the private Brentwood School's athletic complex, a hotel laundry and storage for an entertainment studio's sets...

Full story at

Well, if that's how they feel about it...

Romanian Food at Davis

Ernst Bertone and two fellow UC Davis graduate students began their experiment last fall with a simple idea: Build a closer community and reduce food waste by sharing food with their neighbors. They placed a community refrigerator on their lawn, called the project “free.go” and watched it take off...

But the food sharing project quickly ran afoul of state health and safety codes and was unplugged late last year by Yolo County health officials amid food safety concerns...

Bertone said (he had thee) idea before coming to UC Davis in 2012 for graduate school. “It was in Romania. We were talking about food waste at the time. When I came to Davis for grad school, it was the perfect moment.”

Full story at

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