Thursday, September 29, 2016

Sometimes it's complicated

From the  SF Chronicle: An assistant professor at UC Berkeley accused by at least three students of sexual harassment filed a complaint Wednesday against the University of California Board of Regents claiming harassment, discrimination and retaliation as the school system handled the accusations.
Blake Wentworth filed the suit in Alameda County Superior Court after filing a defamation suit Sept. 22 against two of his accusers, doctoral students Erin Bennett and Kathleen Gutierrez. He filed a separate defamation suit against another accuser, Nicole Hemenway, on Sept. 20.
The legal action against the university seeks an unspecified amount in damages, claiming UC harassed Wentworth and imposed punishments such as punitive leave and suspension based on disability, because he suffers from depression and bipolar disorder...
Doctoral students Bennett and Gutierrez filed a complaint with the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing in April because Wentworth had been allowed to teach after they reported he touched them inappropriately and repeatedly spoke about sex to them in 2014 and 2015.
Gutierrez said he talked about sex, strip clubs and drugs, and that he touched her head and said he was attracted to her. He ignored her demands that he stop, she said. Campus investigators found on Oct. 2, 2015, that Wentworth violated the sexual harassment policy in Gutierrez’s case, according to documents obtained by The Chronicle in a previous report. Officials found he did not violate campus sexual harassment policy in Bennett’s case.
Dianne Klein, a spokeswoman for the UC Regents said officials did not have enough information on the suit to comment.

Listen to the Sept. 15, 2016 morning meeting of the Regents

We continue our new format for archiving Regents meetings. Under the new format, we first upload the audio recordings. Then – as we get a chance to listen to the recordings – we provide some highlights. In this post, we note some highlights of the Sept. 15 morning meeting. The recording can be heard by using the links at

The meeting began with public comments. Topics included treatment of graduate students including sexual harassment and the Piterberg case at UCLA, union issues, increased enrollment, and CalPIRG’s voter registration efforts. Public comments were followed by remarks of the UCSA president. There was a brief union demonstration. The Regents then turned to reports from the various committees that had met the day before (and the finance/investment committee that had met still earlier).

The finance report by Regent Makarechian repeated some of the debt concerns related to the pension fund and the 70% rule we discussed in an earlier post.* While it is appropriate for the Regents to look at such matters, we continue to warn that the discussion could get off track and further threaten the already-degraded pension plan. Generally, the discussion seems to veer into confusion between accounting methodology and the actual eventual results of the fund. Here are two links to further discussion:

At the earlier meeting of the governance committee, there had been confusion about the post-Katehi rule that senior execs should serve on no more than two outside boards. Apparently, the confusion was cleared up overnight and now it is said that the new limit applies to all senior execs – not just new hires – except for four senior execs that are currently on three boards. (They have been “grandfathered” in.)

The investment committee also got hung up on pension finance issues mentioned above. Again, this matter will have to be monitored in future meetings to avert more damage.

There was a report by the California secretary of state about efforts to register college students. It was followed by a presentation from UCLA about its finances.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Traffic headache this afternoon

Motorists in West Los Angeles could run into some delays (Wednesday) night and Thursday along a stretch of Sepulveda Boulevard as Southern California Gas Co. crews work around the clock to conduct pressure tests on a natural gas pipeline.

The Gas Co. has been conducting the tests, and replacing some pipeline sections, on the Sepulveda Boulevard line for weeks, but the work has been done only at night. But beginning at 5 p.m. Wednesday, crews will begin round-the- clock testing on the line, resulting in possible lane closures at Sepulveda's intersections with Wilshire and Pico boulevards through Thursday.

Motorists were advised to anticipate slower-than-usual traffic on Sepulveda. Digital signs and flaggers will be in place to direct motorists.

After the round-the-clock work ends, the project will return to nighttime-only work, according to the Gas Co.


UCLA History: 1984

Westwood during the 1984 Olympics

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Guys Do It, Too

We posted recently about the trend toward elaborate recruitment videos for sororities.* Blog readers may be wondering if the fad has spread to fraternities. The answer is "yes-but less." And somehow the frat videos seem to feature women:


Out they go

From Inside Higher Ed: Information technology staff members across the University of California system are holding their breath to see if the layoffs and outsourcing at the San Francisco campus represent an individual cost-cutting measure or the beginning of a trend.

The UCSF Medical Center told staffers this July that -- because of decreasing federal health care reimbursement and cost increases associated with the Affordable Care Act -- it would cut 97 IT jobs by Feb. 28. Some of the positions will be outsourced to the Indian IT services company HCL Technologies. The university has also contracted with Dell and FireEye for data center and cybersecurity services, respectively...

In interviews with Inside Higher Ed, staff members said they are coping with the decision with a combination of frustration and resignation. Some said they are searching for IT jobs at other campuses in the system. Others said they are considering leaving the industry altogether. They asked that their names not be published as they still have five months of employment left.

...Staff members bristled at the thought of training the workers who will replace them. To aid the outsourcing efforts, some staff members have had their organizational goals updated with a target of completing the transition plan by Feb. 14, with a stretch goal of Jan. 31. A staff member with about 20 years of experience at the university said he feels as though the university is rewarding employees for making themselves expendable as fast as they can.

“It’s pretty degrading,” the staff member said, adding, “I want to make sure that this cancer they’re going to introduce doesn’t spread across the UC system.”

Outsourcing IT jobs is much less common in higher education than in the private sector, said Russ Harrison, government relations director for IEEE-USA, a professional organization for technical professionals...

The other medical centers in the UC system gave varied responses to the question of whether they are considering outsourcing IT services. A spokesperson for UC San Diego Health in an email said, “No IT staffing changes being considered here. We are not outsourcing.”

At UC Irvine Health, a spokesperson said the center is “definitely facing some of the same financial pressures as UCSF,” but added that he was “not aware of plans to outsource IT staff” (though he had “not received confirmation one way or the other yet”).

A spokesperson for UCLA Health declined to comment, while UC Davis Health did not respond to a request for comment...

Full article at:

Things are tough:

Monday, September 26, 2016

We continue to do our part for UC's STEM efforts - Part 16

We continue in our efforts to support the UC Scout program that supports STEM education in K-12. Just click on the link below: