Monday, August 3, 2015

When you squeeze a balloon in one place... tends to get bigger somewhere else. Inside Higher Ed today carries two stories about public universities where, due a funding squeeze, more out-of-state students were brought in whose higher tuitions subsidized the remaining in-state students. One piece refers to the U of Virginia, an early follower of the so-called "Michigan Model" in which the cross-subsidy was used. The other piece refers to Purdue. Note, of course, that if you squeeze hard enough, you may not have a balloon at all.
The two items are and

Suit and Countersuit

In an earlier posting,* we noted the lawsuit filed by UC-San Diego against USC for poaching a prominent faculty member who took a grant with him when he left. Now USC has countersued UC-San Diego: 

…USC filed the cross-complaint in San Diego Superior Court Friday, where UC San Diego had filed its original suit on July 2. The latest action indicates that the litigation, which began less than a month ago, is likely to go on for much longer. While UC San Diego has won significant victories so far, USC's countersuit reads like it is digging in. The two universities have given dramatically clashing accounts of the departure of Dr. Paul Aisen from UC San Diego for USC, and of the status of the Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study he had directed. The countersuit says UC San Diego illegally interfered with the Alzheimer's expert when he joined USC in June, and attempted to take control of the cooperative study with him. It says the university, Dr. William Mobley, and Dr. David Brenner, dean of UC San Diego School of Medicine, "set out to destroy Dr. Aisen's reputation in academia." …

Full story at
* Still earlier posts are at and

 Apparently, USC is saying that if you want to sue, suit yourself:

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Lt. Gov. Newsom raised questions about cost savings at Regents meeting of July 22, 2015

At the July 22, 2015 Regents meeting, there was a presentation on various cost saving efforts. All was going well from a PR point of view until Lieutenant Gov. Gavin Newsom - an ex officio regent - asked why cost savings related to various information technology programs - were not net of the large cost overrun related to the UCPath project fiasco.

After about ten minutes of back and forth with Newsom, UC officials were asked to come back with clarifying data.

We will eventually post the audio of the entire July 22 morning session. But it runs well over four hours and so the posting will come in due course. In the meantime, the exchange with Newsom can be heard at the link below:

UCLA Med Art

We continue with our series of the "medical arts." This piece from the 200 building is called "Earth Gesture" by Herb Elsky.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

This just in!

Yours truly just received this notice in an email from the Sacramento Bee. Clearly, the Bee doesn't understand the sequencing logic. First comes the football concussion. Then comes the brain surgeon. It's simple once you understand what comes before what.

Listen to the Regents Meeting of July 21, 2015

The official agenda for this meeting says the open component starts with a public comment period. But there is none on the recording. Was there one that didn’t get recorded? Was the agenda altered? Not clear. The first part on the recording deals with compliance and audit and the plan for such auditing in the coming year. It was noted that construction is one of the areas to be audited. There is some suggestion that construction is a new area. If that is correct, it would be an important addition. As we have noted, the big bucks that get approved at Regents meetings are capital projects. Indeed, the audit session was followed by approvals of various capital projects.

The final component of the meeting dealt with the proposed UC-Merced 2020 project which is supported by the Merced chancellor (naturally) and UC prez Napolitano. Napolitano wants the project approved at the September and November meetings. As we have noted in a prior post, there is a creative financing involved in this proposal. Basically, a developer is selected and that developer, not the campus or UC, finances the project at commercial rates (rather than cheaper financing available to a public entity), puts up the buildings, and then maintains them over an extended period. The argument made is that UC will somehow guarantee the borrowing which will reduce borrowing costs to the developer and UC will own the properties so it isn’t technically a lease. (There will also be some borrowing directly by the university for certain elements such as dorms.) Regent Makarechian raised difficult questions about the financing. He also asked why there has to be one developer. Why not divide up the project so that the developers can be compared as the project goes forward? Regent Oakley asked how come Merced has to do creative financing whereas older campuses are getting projects built using more conventional means. Other questions were asked about what happens if things go wrong, i.e., buildings are not up to appropriate standards or are not maintained properly or the developer defaults. It was said that the contract would require certain benefits to the Merced area such as local hiring.

You can hear the meeting at the link below:

UCLA History: Then and Now, One Block South of Campus

Westwood in the 1940s (above) and now (below)