Friday, October 31, 2014

The Other Election

Not the one next week.  The one in the College in which faculty voted on whether to adopt a diversity requirement in the undergraduate curriculum.

According to the Daily Bruin:

The UCLA College faculty approved a diversity requirement proposal for the College of Letters and Science Friday afternoon.  In a 332-303 vote, faculty decided to support the requirement, which would have students take a course about inequalities based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and religion, among other factors. Students would be able to fulfill the requirement through a general education course, an elective or upper division course.  UCLA College faculty began talks about a diversity requirement more than 25 years ago. Since then, official proposals for a requirement have failed twice – once in 2004 and again in 2012.  About 46 percent of eligible faculty members voted this week, compared to about 30 percent in 2012 and about 20 percent in 2004...  The new requirement would apply to all first-year students in the College of Letters and Science enrolling in 2015 and all transfers beginning in 2017.

Berkeley Graduation Controversy Continues to Roll Along

An earlier post noted the controversy surrounding an invitation to comedian Bill Maher to speak at the December graduation ceremony at UC-Berkeley.*

You know that a controversy has hit the Big Time when columnists in the New York Times write about it:


Happy Halloween

Credit: Original from Facebook page of MJ Rose via Susan French
And for our Halloween scary offering: [Click on the links below.]

This story aired on Season 2 of Rod Serling's beloved macabre TV masterpiece Night Gallery entitled “The Caterpillar.” Based on a short story by British author Oscar Cook (1888?-1952) and written by the master himself (Mr. Rod Serling of course), it aired on March 1st 1972 and featured the cast that included British actress Joanna Pettet, renowned Lithuanian-born actor Laurence Harvey (October 1st, 1928-November 25th, 1973) and the awe-inspiring English stage, film & television actor John Williams (April 15th, 1903-May 5th, 1983); directed by famed French film/TV director Jeannot Szwarc.

Laurence Harvey in "The Caterpillar"

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Can Faculty Just Stay Out of It?

We repeat our request - which as a previous post noted is likely not to be granted - that faculty not be involved in yet another "training" program on this issue.

Faculty Renewal and Diversity Depends on Retirements

There is concern within the UC hierarchy about faculty renewal, i.e., new hires replacing older faculty, and the related issue of faculty diversity - which depends on having new faculty FTE to fill.  The chart above refers to UC-Berkeley, but a similar chart for UCLA would undoubtedly show the same thing.  The early retirement incentive programs of the early 1990s (the three"VERIPs") dropped the number of older faculty (who took advantage of the incentives).  Since that time, the faculty has tended to age.  Note that the impression that the pension plan is threatened, even though not a reality for any current older faculty, may play a part in reluctance to retire.  The same concern about retiree health benefits - more of a reality - may also play a part.

Note further that even if aging of the faculty were somehow reversed, a second element in renewal and diversity involves recruitment and retention of new faculty as replacements for retirees.  The current lag in faculty pay (including benefits) relative to comparison institutions creates a challenge on that side of the equation.

Controller on UC Pension: Willing to State the Obvious

State Controller John Chiang has a new option on his website for tracking state and local pension data.  Under "state," he includes UCRS along with CalPERS, CalSTRS, and two plans for judges.  So, although the Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) continues with the notion that the UC pension is not a state plan, the controller is willing to state the obvious (as can be seen above).

An article about the pension website is at

You can find the controller's webpage for defined benefit public pensions (including UC's) at

Now that the controller has seen things clearly, we need the Leg Analyst to sing along with the controller:

A Step Towards a Strike Out for UCLA's Baseball Field

It appears from a piece in the LA Times that UCLA may be closer to losing its baseball stadium at the VA:

Mediation between the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the American Civil Liberties Union has failed to resolve a long-running dispute over leases on the sprawling West Los Angeles campus. Tenants on the 387-acre property include a private school, a laundry service for nearby hotels, a parking lot operator and a UCLA baseball stadium. In a 2011 lawsuit filed on behalf of veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, the ACLU challenged the legality of those agreements, arguing that VA real estate should be used to house homeless veterans. The VA argued that the leases produce revenue for healthcare. A U.S. district court judge ruled in August that the VA had abused its discretion in issuing the leases and gave the agency six months to enforce his judgment...  Both sides appealed to the 9th Circuit, which sent the parties to mediation. On Tuesday, the court issued an order calling for opening briefs in the case. Mediation was officially over...

Full story at

So apparently, there will be more litigation to come.  In the meantime, you can go out to the ball game: