Thursday, March 23, 2017

Apart from that

University of California President Janet Napolitano is headed to Mexico next week to reassure leaders there that the public research university remains committed to academic collaboration — even if some of it, such as climate change research, is at risk under the Trump administration.

In an interview Wednesday, Napolitano said she would build on the UC-Mexico Initiative she launched in 2014 despite President Trump’s plans to build a border wall, increase immigration enforcement and reduce federal research funding.

She said she planned to tell Mexicans during three days of meetings starting next Wednesday, "Regardless of what is happening federally, the University of California remains open to academic partnerships with Mexico."...

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

CSU Trustees Voted To Increase Tuition By 5 Percent

Despite public outcries from students and elected officials, the California State University Board of Trustees voted Wednesday to raise tuition by 5 percent for the next school year to address an expected shortfall in funding from the state.
The vote was 11-8, with Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and state schools Superintendent Tom Torlakson -- all ex-officio members of the board -- among those dissenting.
The trustees approved two amendments -- one to rescind the hike if sufficient state funding comes through, and another calling for reports over the next two years detailing how the additional dollars are spent...
The combo of UC and CSU planning tuition increases will likely trigger political reactions in the legislature. But the legislature is facing possible major cuts in "Obamacare" aid. Whether it will want to come up with more for higher ed while under that threat is unknown. And whether the governor would permit it is another unknown. On the other hand, political flailing can be harmful. And worth noting:
[Click to enlarge.]

Now you don't see them; now you do

Berkeley's 20,000 disappearing videos seem to be coming back. This blog earlier noted that some independent entity could preserve them. It now seems to be happening: [Excerpt from Daily Cal

LBRY, a content sharing and publishing platform, copied 20,000 lectures from UC Berkeley’s YouTube channel before they were deleted and will make them publicly available beginning in April.
UC Berkeley announced in early March that it would restrict public access to legacy recorded classroom lectures, or Course Capture, after the Department of Justice determined that the publicly available lectures were not up to standards under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Jeremy Kauffman, founder and CEO of LBRY, said it was unfortunate that the campus was forced to take down the lectures and that his company believed it would be better if they were still available without subtitles than not available at all.
“What motivated our community is that we saw information disappearing that shouldn’t disappear and our technology is designed to keep information around,” Kauffman said.
The videos being uploaded onto LBRY currently do not have subtitles, but Kauffman said he’d be happy to work with anyone interested in collaborating with their company to provide them.
The lawsuit, which was filed in 2014 by viewers unaffiliated with UC Berkeley, alleged many aspects of the Course Captures were in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, including inaccessible video captions, and concluded that those with disabilities are denied equal access to UC Berkeley’s services. After its investigation, the DOJ found “significant portions of UC Berkeley’s online content in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which states equality must be granted on all public forums...

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Signature events

A letter from many university and college presidents went to President Trump on March 16 urging protections for DREAM students. You can find the letter at:

Among the signatures:

University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Davis
University of California, Irvine
University of California, Los Angeles
University of California, Merced
University of California, Riverside
University of California, Santa Cruz

Not found:

UC-San Francisco
UC-San Diego
UC-Santa Barbara

Yours truly noticed that there was no signature from UC systemwide and thought it was because UC was a system, not a single entity. But then he found University of Illinois System on the list of signatures. There may be explanations.

Monday, March 20, 2017

When you gotta go

Ignore the fighting words between state lawmakers: California’s ban on publicly funded travel to “bathroom bill” states won’t block UCLA’s trip to the Big Dance this week.
The Bruins are punching their tickets to the Sweet 16 in Memphis even though Tennessee is on California’s list of no-go destinations under a new law that prohibits travel to states with policies that Golden State leaders consider to be discriminatory.
A UCLA spokesman told The Bee in December that the school will not schedule athletic games in banned states.
Since then, UCLA has decided that it won’t “deny our student-athletes the right to participate in postseason play,” according to a report in the Wichita Eagle. That means the campus is not letting the travel ban stand in the way of the NCAA tournament.
The California law, adopted in response to a North Carolina measure that requires people using restrooms in government buildings to choose the one that corresponds to their gender at birth, has triggered conflicting interpretations about how universities should apply it to college sports. Tennessee made the list because of a law allowing therapists to deny services to gay and transgender clients.
On one hand, leaders from UC and California State University campuses have said they will not schedule games in states on the banned list. On the other, they have noted that they do not use public funds for certain athletic events, and they retain the choice of attending marquee events.

Free how?

A California lawmaker wants to tax millionaires to provide a free education for residents at the state’s public colleges and universities – the second proposal put forth in as many weeks to address the soaring cost of a higher education.
Assembly Bill 1356, by Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman, would add a 1 percent tax on annual California household incomes of $1 million or more, to be placed in a financial aid fund. 
The tax would generate an estimated $2.2 billion* annually, according to the Stockton Democrat, which could be combined with existing aid programs to cover the cost of tuition and fees for in-state students at the University of California, California State University and California community colleges...
*Note: The current state allocation to UC alone is $3.3 billion. It's roughly matched by tuition (at all levels, grad and undergrad). But then there is CSU and the community colleges. Hard to see how $2.2 billion covers all of that. A puzzle. Also a puzzle is that the bill cited in the article seems to have to do with protecting immigrants, not taxes and tuition.

The way we live now

From the Bruin:

UCLA has implemented new campus safety initiatives since the murder-suicide in June, including trainings with updated protocol for active shooter incidents and an improved Bruin Alert system...

Stephen Yeazell, chair of the Campus Safety Task Force, said OEM* has also updated faculty trainings with active shooter protocol. About 50 people attended the first session Jan. 25.

Garg said OEM emailed all faculty Tuesday instructing them how to use recently installed electronic emergency locks. As of January, they have been installed in 192 general assignment classrooms such as Moore 100 and La Kretz 110. A button on the lock flashes red when pressed to indicate the door is inaccessible from the outside; when pressed again, the button turns green...
OEM has also implemented other measures for campus improvement, said Director Art Kirkland. For example, Bruin Alert – the campus’ emergency notification system – added the capability for two-way communication since the murder-suicide last year. Students can now click on embedded links within the alert to confirm receipt of the message, or share their status during an emergency.
In addition, users can respond to Bruin Alerts with a “1″ for “I’m safe” or a “2″ for “I’m not safe” during emergencies. If someone sends “2,” OEM can communicate with that individual to gauge location, situation and course of action.
Kirkland added that Bruin Alert now allows subscription of multiple emails and phone numbers to the system, which would allow parents and significant others to receive updates in an emergency situation.
Additionally, OEM designed an application, called Bruins Safe, to assist students, faculty and staff campuswide with emergency protocol and community awareness, he said. OEM plans to formally reveal the app at the beginning of spring quarter.
The app includes additional features for everyday safety: a tab for calling campus escorts and a tab that lets people track their friends’ GPS location as they walk. It will also alert students if their friend has disconnected.
OEM is also making changes to campus infrastructure, Kirkland said, including an outdoor siren and speaker system for emergency poles, and digital signs for classrooms that will display Bruin Alert messages in an emergency.
They expect 90 percent of all classrooms to receive the digital signs by the start of fall quarter.
*Office of Emergency Management: