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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Teaching & Learning in the Digital Age: Feb. 27

While the Revolutionary Year of the MOOC has crashed and burned in a flaming heap of venture capital, actually existing online instruction has continued to develop in a more deliberate way at UCLA.  Out of the limelight, and mostly outside the much-maligned UC-Online system, departments and individual professors have been piloting online courses in many different flavors.

On Thursday, February 27, the campus community will have a chance to take stock in these developments at the second "Online Summit" sponsored by the  Academic Senate, the Library, and other campus units.  With the theme Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age--Making It Happen the event is billed as a venue for constructive conversation, rather than a policy forum.  The highlight of last year's Summit was the showcase of faculty work in the new YRL Digital Commons--a feature that will be repeated this year.

So whether you love or hate online education, or are confused and curious, this is a good opportunity to find out what is going on in real classrooms.

Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age: Making It Happen
Thursday, February 27, 9:15 AM to 4 PM
Young Research Library, UCLA
Website: http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/history/reiff/~online/Summit2Index.html



Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Faculty Strike at University of Illinois Chicago

Faculty at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) launched a two-day strike today citing stalled negotiations with university administrators.  Several hundred people rallied on the Chicago campus this morning, and picketed classrooms throughout the day. 

Faculty decided to unionize in 2012 citing lack of pay raises and temporary pay cuts during the recent financial crisis, among other issues.  Adjunct faculty, who are coordinating bargaining with tenure-system faculty, are seeking multi-year contracts as well as better pay and benefits.  As evidence that the university can afford their demands, faculty cite a 25% increase in tuition since 2007, rising enrollments, and a $275 million reserve fund.  Illinois faculty are also fighting a major overhaul of their pensions by the state legislature.

Faculty are frustrated that 18 months of negotiations have yielded practically no progress of the key financial issues.  There is concern that the university is not bargaining in good faith. 

Professors Lennard Davis and Walter Ben Michaels note that faculty are striking to preserve the campus's tradition of serving students of moderate means.
Every entering UIC student takes at least one writing course; most take two. Not surprisingly, our writing courses are overwhelmingly taught by lecturers (i.e. non-tenure track faculty), on year-to-year contracts and paid a standard salary of $30,000. Furthermore, although the administration carries on endlessly about the importance of merit, they’re unwilling to mandate a promotion track for non-tenure track faculty, the whole point of which would be to reward merit. 


So what exactly does it mean to insist on the importance of the first year experience and then pay the people most responsible for that experience a wage that virtually requires them to work a second job? What does it mean to claim you want to reward the best and the hardest working when you not only won’t promote them, but you won’t even provide a position they could in theory be promoted to? You’re short-changing both the faculty and the students.
The strike continues tomorrow.  You can follow this story at the UIC United Faculty website http://uicunitedfaculty.org/ and on Twitter (@UICUF).

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Fewer Posts for the Near Future

A note to all our faithful readers: Dan Mitchell is taking a break from posting here, so we will not have our regular daily updates.  We' continue posting but at a slower pace until Dan is back in the saddle.

Toby Higbie
UCLA FA Chair

Friday, February 14, 2014

On Valentine's Day, We Repeat an Earlier Post Entitled "A Modest Proposal"

Click on the link below:

For those who take a more clinical approach to such matters, see:
http://wamc.org/post/dr-robert-levenson-university-california-berkeley-genetics-marital-bliss

Jerry Brown Looks for an Online Course that Requires No Human Interaction

At the Regents meeting of January 22, 2014, Gov. Brown seems to be searching for an online course that requires no human interaction.  Such a course, he reasons, could have unlimited enrollment because it is completely self-contained.  He gets some pushback from UC Provost Dorr, who thinks courses should have such interaction. 

You can hear this excerpt at the link below.  The entire meeting of the Committee on Educational Policy of the Regents was posted yesterday.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Jerry Brown Suggests Master Plan is Dated

Our previous post covered the Jan. 22 meeting of the Regents' Committee on Educational Policy.  As noted, there was discussion of the 1960 Master Plan for Higher Education, considered a major accomplishment of Brown's father when he was governor.

Below is a link to Brown's comments in which he suggested the Plan was now dated. 


Listen to Part of the Regents Afternoon Session of 1-22-2014

As we have noted in numerous prior posts, the Regents refuse to archive their meetings beyond one year.  So we dutifully record the sessions in real time.  Below is a link to part of the afternoon session of Jan. 22.  This segment is mainly the Committee on Educational Policy.  Gov. Brown was in attendance.  We will separately (later) provide links just to certain Brown segments.  But for now, we provide a continuous recording.

There was discussion of designating certain areas of UC-Merced as nature reserves, followed by discussion of a new telescope.  The discussion then turned to online ed and the governor seemed to push for courses that involved no human interaction so that there could be unlimited enrollment.  At a later point, Chancellor Block made a comment about the virtue of "residential" education which seemed aimed at the governor's online push.  He talked about a digital divide in which better off students would have traditional in-person classes and poor students would have mainly online offerings.  There was discussion of the old Master Plan.  Heads of the three segments in the Plan - UC, CSU, and the community colleges - were part of the discussion.  Brown indicated that the Master Plan was a political compromise of an earlier era and that it needed to be questioned as to today's needs.

The president of the UC Students Assn. spoke in support of a larger state budget allocation than the governor was proposing, an oil tax to fund education, divestment from fossil fuels, and other items.

You can hear this portion of the afternoon session at the link below:

PBS' Hot Potato May Not Be on California Stations

As far as yours truly can tell, the major PBS affiliates in California have so far taken a pass on the hot potato program described below.  That decision could have been because the threatened pension initiative that would have swept in UC was originally aimed at the November 2014 ballot.  With it apparently off the ballot for now (see earlier posts), some stations might air the program.  On verra.

The Wolf of Sesame Street: Revealing the secret corruption inside PBS's news division

On December 18th, the Public Broadcasting Service’s flagship station WNET issued a press release announcing the launch of a new two-year news series entitled “The Pension Peril.” The series, promoting cuts to public employee pensions, is airing on hundreds of PBS outlets all over the nation. It has been presented as objective news on  major PBS programs including the PBS News Hour.

However, neither the WNET press release nor the broadcasted segments explicitly disclosed who is financing the series. Pando has exclusively confirmed that “The Pension Peril” is secretly funded by former Enron trader John Arnold, a billionaire political powerbroker who is actively trying to shape the very pension policy that the series claims to be dispassionately covering...

According to newly posted disclosures about its 2013 grantmaking, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation responded to PBS’s tailored proposal by donating a whopping $3.5 million to WNET, the PBS flagship station that is coordinating the “Pension Peril” series for distribution across the country. The $3.5 million, which is earmarked for “educat(ing) the public about public employees’ retirement benefits,” is one of the foundation’s largest single disclosed expenditures. WNET spokesperson Kellie Specter confirmed to Pando that the huge sum makes Arnold the “anchor/lead funder of the initiative.” A single note buried on PBS’s website – but not repeated in such explicit terms on PBS airwaves – confirms that the money is directly financing the “Pension Peril” series.

With PBS’s “Pension Peril” series echoing many of the same pension-cutting themes that the Arnold Foundation is promoting in the legislative arena, and with the series not explicitly disclosing the Arnold financing to PBS viewers, the foundation’s spokesperson says her organization is happy with the segments airing on stations throughout the country. However, she says the foundation reserves “the ability to stop funding” the series at any time “in the event of extraordinary circumstances.” ...

Full story at http://pando.com/2014/02/12/the-wolf-of-sesame-street-revealing-the-secret-corruption-inside-pbss-news-division/

Well, maybe not exactly like you!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Dig a Deeper Hole?

The plaintiffs in the case against the UCLA Grand Hotel have filed an amended brief.  You can read it at the link below.  There are actually two cases, one involving environmental and other matters and another regarding the tax issue.  The environmental case will be heard in September.  And there is legal skirmishing around the tax case.


The tax issue is basically that if the hotel is a commercial operation, it has to pay taxes just as would any other hotel.  There is also an issue of whether the Regents can run a commercial enterprise and, if that's what they are doing, whether tax-exempt bonds (which are part of the "business plan") can be used.  Note that the donation covers only about a third of the cost of the hotel so the business plan has to produce a lot of money.  Taxes and non-exempt bonds would raise the costs.  Delays would raise costs.  The environmental lawsuit claims that the required environmental review was not properly done, that there were irregularities regarding the administrative and regental process, and that there were improper conditions imposed by the donors, among other allegations.

Right now, of course, the university is busy digging a deeper hole on the site of the Grand Hotel, as the photos show.  It is confident that creating facts on the ground is the best way to proceed. It is sure it will prevail in the lawsuits.  But let's suppose that there is, say, a 10% chance the university is wrong.  Does it make sense to just bull along?  The university bulled along on the Japanese Garden affair instead of trying to work with the plaintiffs in that case, and now litigation has put that matter on hold.  The university didn't promptly apologize to Judge Cunningham who was stopped in Westwood by campus police and now has a $10 million complaint on its hands.  So maybe bulling along is not such a good strategy. This blog has pointed out in each instance that there are advantages in talking, negotiating, compromising, all to no avail.  So it is probably pointless to suggest talking-negotiating-compromising in the case of the Grand Hotel. But we do suggest it. Why chance digging a deeper legal hole?



MOOCs in the Muck

Good question!
Inside Higher Ed today runs an article on MOOC offerings at the U of Texas and Cornell.  At the former, there are the usual extremely low completion rates.  At the latter, resident students are asking the question in the photo at the right:

..."A year after UT began rolling out nine Massive Online Open Courses, the results are in,” The Daily Texan wrote in a Jan. 29 editorial... Among the “results” are completion rates ranging from 1 to 13 percent, the lack of credit granting courses and the $150,000 to $300,000 production costs...  (S)tudents at Cornell voiced similar concerns, arguing that “the administration has not yet outlined how MOOCs will benefit Cornell students.”

Have we heard this before?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Tradition!

The Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) has issued a report on UC and CSU funding.  LAO is usually viewed as a neutral agency.  But it is a component of the legislature.  So it tends to favor approaches that add to legislative control as opposed to, say, gubernatorial control.  This report is no exception.

LAO seems to want to return to what it terms the "traditional" approach to funding, but with bells and whistles added to monitor legislative goals.  The traditional approach seems to be one focused on undergraduate enrollment.  But in fact the tradition - such as it is - has been to forget about tradition and cut the budget during state budget crises, in the knowledge that UC and CSU can raise tuition.  Indeed, as the chart above indicates, these traditional deviations from tradition dominate tuition decisions.

The LAO is uncomfortable with the habit of the governor of just proposing dollar increases not linked to enrollment and then extracting some promises from the university to do this or that, e.g., to spend $10 million on online education.

It might be noted that since LAO chose to lump UC and CSU together, it might have discussed a sore point namely the fact that CSU, as a part of CalPERS, gets its pension costs taken care of by the state whereas the state likes to stand aloof from the UC pension and its costs.

You can read the report at http://lao.ca.gov/reports/2014/education/higher-ed-budgetary-practices/budgetary-practices-021114.pdf

In any case, there is much nostalgia for tradition, albeit with some uncertainty as to what that is.  Sounds familiar!


Wednesday night on the 405

But not on the 405
Southbound I-405 (all lanes) will be closed between US 101 and Getty Center Drive on the morning of Thursday, February 13th from midnight until 5 am.

When: Midnight-5 am on Thursday, February 13th
 

Where: I-405 Southbound between US 101 and Getty Center Drive

What would Judge Cunningham say?

The LA Times picks up a story about an anti-Asian flyer - possibly from the Daily Bruin's earlier coverage - that has provoked student protests.  You can find the Times' story at:
http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-ucla-police-black-judge-racial-profiling-20140203,0,4010058.story

Faithful blog readers will know that we are tracking the sad tale of LA Superior Court Judge David Cunningham III who was caught driving while black in Westwood by UCLA police and has filed a $10 million complaint against the university.  The good judge is a past head of the LA Police Commission.  There was no apology from Murphy Hall.  There was just a vague statement that we are sad that Judge Cunningham feels bad.  But everything that was done in the traffic stop was said to be on the up and up.

What would Judge Cunningham make of the following excerpt from the LA Times article on the prompt response by the chancellor to the anti-Asian flyer?

...UCLA Chancellor Gene Block has asked campus police to investigate the matter, according to a statement released Monday. Block has expressed “his disgust and frustration” over the flier and pledged that the campus will “combat racism and bigotry so that the campus can be the welcoming, respectful environment our community deserves.”...

We don't know what Judge Cunningham would say.  But in defense of the university, we do have some idea about what Ralph Waldo Emerson would say.  Something about consistency being the hobgoblin of small minds, perhaps?

Note: The earlier Daily Bruin coverage of the anti-Asian flyer can be found at http://dailybruin.com/2014/02/10/rally-protests-incidents-of-discrimination-on-ucla-campus/  The Bruin article notes an incident a few years ago in which an anti-Asian video was posted on YouTube by a UCLA student.  At that time, the chancellor immediately responded via his own Youtube video:



Monday, February 10, 2014

7 Wasn't So Lucky

The cash statement from the California state controller for the first seven months of fiscal year 2013-14 is out.  Revenues are up about 1% from last year at this time.  That gain is not very good.  However, it may be largely due to an aberration last fiscal year when there was a surge of personal income tax revenue in January 2013.  The surge seemed to have something to do with antics back then in Washington over fiscal cliffs, etc., which might have resulted in some tax changes (but didn't).  The current DC crisis de jour is the debt ceiling, but there are assurances from Republicans that it will be fixed in time. So there is no surge for January 2014 in evidence.

You can find the latest controller's report at: http://sco.ca.gov/Files-EO/fy1314_february.pdf

Chinese Dissent at UCLA

UCLA has a variety of exchange arrangements with China as the image of the UCLA Confucius Institute on the left suggests.  While these arrangements can be mutually beneficial, the university can also find itself in a difficult position when and if things go wrong.  The NY Times carries a story dated Feb. 9 about a professor from Peking University who was a visiting professor at UCLA.  While here, he made some statements that ultimately led to his discharge at his home university and to quasi-exile in the U.S.:

...Peking University allowed Professor Xia to leave China to become a visiting professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, starting in July 2011 and then at Stanford the next year.
But in March 2012, as Professor Xia’s year at U.C.L.A. was nearing its end, Wen Jiabao, who was prime minister of China, gave a speech calling for reform of the Communist Party’s leadership and the country. Professor Xia took to social media, including his blog, to urge gatherings around China to press for change.  His actions angered the Chinese authorities, who ordered him back to China in January 2013. He was told in June that there would be a vote on his employment at the university, and in October he was dismissed. Peking University has partnerships with many American universities, and as word spread that he would most likely be fired, Professor Xia became a symbol of Chinese scholars’ limited academic freedom...

Full story at http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/10/us/chinese-dissident-lands-at-cato-institute-with-a-caution-to-colleges.html

Faithful blog readers will recall this item related to the most recent UC Regents meeting:

... There is also a proposal for a joint lab in China that would conduct clinical trials.  Significant skepticism was expressed by regents about the risks entailed and having UCLA's name linked to an outside entity - a private firm.  [Only one regent seemed to want to ask whether clinical trials in China are subject to the same kinds of controls, regulations, and human rights protections, that exist in the US.  UCLA says it will apply US standards.]...

From: http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2014/01/something-to-think-about-while-waiting.html

We look forward to any comments that anyone in Murphy Hall might have about Professor Xia.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Oversize Load?

From the Sacramento Bee:

...(T)the University of California’s academic student workers union recently filed a complaint against the UC Office of the President demanding that discussions about class size be a part of their contract negotiations. The union has been bargaining with UC since last summer, and its contract expired at the end of the year...

The UC Student-Workers Union, which represents more than 12,000 teaching assistants, tutors and readers across the UC system, is seeking a regular forum to talk about class size with faculty and UC management, said Josh Brahinsky, a Ph.D. candidate in the history of consciousness at UC Santa Cruz and a member of the bargaining team. According to a 2013 UC study, the ratio of students to faculty increased more than 10 percent from the 2005-06 to the 2010-11 academic year...

The president’s office said it has received the complaint and its position statement is due in late February, but it disputed that the union’s complaint has any basis. “Wages and working conditions are the types of issues that are addressed in labor negotiations,” spokeswoman Shelly Meron said. “Class size is an academic issue, not a bargaining issue.”  She pointed to the academic student employees’ last contract, which states, “No action taken by the University with respect to a management or academic right shall be subject to the grievance or arbitration procedure or collateral suit.”...

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/02/09/6141029/concerned-with-growing-class-sizes.html#storylink=cpy

Full story at http://www.sacbee.com/2014/02/09/6141029/concerned-with-growing-class-sizes.html

Note that there is a bit of a problem in citing a clause in an expired contract as binding after the expiration.  There does not seem to be any language in the now-expired contract that would continue the cited provision after expiration: http://www.uaw2865.org/about/current-uaw-contract/#article33  We will see if PERB takes the position that class size is inherently a management prerogative.  [PERB = Public Employment Relations Board, the state agency that would hear such complaints.]  If PERB does take that position, it would still be legal for the university on a voluntary basis to discuss the issue and even to come to some agreement about it; a PERB decision favoring the university's position would just mean that the university was not obligated to do so.


Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/02/09/6141029/concerned-with-growing-class-sizes.html#storylink=cpy

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Not Having a Perfect Day?

Not to worry.  One of UCLA's parking facilities has info on what number to call to make it right:

Networking

Simon and Garfunkel once sang about the "Sound of Silence."  When rain forced the weekly networking event at Anderson indoors last Thursday, silence was not what was heard:
video
It was more like a typical deafening LA trendy restaurant.  Back in Simon and Garfunkel's day, the occupation of choice was in "plastics."  Soon it will be in hearing aids.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Not Where You Would Expect

I guess the lesson is to do your marketing where you can.

CalPERS Long-Term Care: What Happens Tomorrow?

Although CalPERS doesn't run the UC retirement plan, at one point CalPERS offered long-term care insurance to UC employees.  It seemed to some folks to be a good idea at the time and they took out policies.  Long-term care policies can be bought from commercial carriers.  The problem is that you have to trust that these carriers will do right by you many years in the future when you may not be in the best condition to assert your rights.  It appeared, however, that having CalPERS - a public entity - providing the policies might be a solution.  Sadly, there were very big premium increases not long ago and cut back plans.  Lawsuits were filed and the matter is still pending.  An article in the Sacramento Bee says that CalPERS is again opening policies to new subscribers.  The article seems to indicate that you don't have to be a CalPERS member to apply - which would seem to mean that UC employees are again eligible.  You can read the article at:
http://www.sacbee.com/2014/02/06/6134703/calpers-reopens-long-term-care.html

Yours truly has not yet verified that UC employees are in fact eligible for new policies.  But even if they are, the past history suggests extreme caution before subscribing.

CalPERS may be happy to take your money today.  But will it love you tomorrow?

Contemplating Tuition, Motherhood, and Apple Pie

Tuition is being studied up in Oakland by the UC prez, according to yesterday's Daily Bruin:

...“I want tuition to be as low as possible, and I want it to be as predictable as possible,” Napolitano said at a UC Board of Regents meeting in November.  

In a recent Google Hangout with students from various UC campuses, students asked Napolitano to talk about her current work in reforming the UC’s tuition policy.  They also asked Napolitano how she plans to include student ideas in the reorganization of the tuition plan. Napolitano did not specify how student input would be considered, but maintained that it was important to the eventual decision.

(UC spokesperson Debra Klein said that) “The president believes strongly that, especially at a public university, tuition must be affordable for all students and their families.”  ...

Full story at http://dailybruin.com/2014/02/06/napolitano-works-on-revising-uc-tuition-policy/

The problem is simple to state.  Within the state budget, the UC budget is the least protected.  You can't cut debt service.  K-14 schools are insulated by Prop 98.  The prisons are under quasi-federal jurisdiction due to overcrowding.  Various social welfare programs are either somewhat constrained by federal rules or the legislature just doesn't like to cut them.  And the legislature knows that UC (and CSU) can pull the tuition lever.  Legislators don't have to touch the lever and can then blame the Regents.  All the budget projections you see are based on having no economic downturn into the indefinite future.  But someday there will be another.  And, as numerous observers have pointed out, the state's tax receipts are especially vulnerable due to heavy reliance on the progressive income tax and its dependence on the ups and downs of the incomes and capital gains of the top taxpayers. 

This pie is pretty much baked. 
video

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Travel Focus Misses the Money Train

You may have seen the article in yesterday's Daily Bruin about UCLA tightening up its rules on travel reimbursements.  Why the tightening up?

...Public records documenting the travel expenses of the university’s top brass, obtained and published by the Center for Investigative Reporting in August, drew national scrutiny last summer for the luxurious travel accommodations of UCLA’s leadership, sometimes in violation of University policy. The accommodations and pricy travel arrangements bloated the university’s travel budget by hundreds of thousands of dollars...

Full story at http://dailybruin.com/2014/02/04/months-after-controversy-ucla-clarifies-travel-guidelines/

The problem with the original story is that it focuses on budget dust compared to the free-spending capital budget.  There we are not talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars.  We are talking about hundreds of millions and a Board of Regents incapable of evaluating and monitoring the endless flow.  We are talking about the myth that if it isn't state money, it doesn't cost anything.  You read about it here.  Sadly, you won't read about it anywhere else.

It's hard to stop the real money train:
video

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

UCLA History: Grove

As the caption notes, these trees were known as the sophomore grove at the old Vermont Avenue campus of UCLA, now the home of LA City College.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Actually, battleships can turn around but it depends on the captain giving the order

We've all heard the expression about how hard it is to turn a battleship around.  Giant ships moving forward have momentum to keep going in a straight line.  But they can be turned around.

Yesterday we posted about the Judge Cunningham case.  It is symptomatic of a larger problem in Murphy Hall.  What should have occurred in that case is a prompt apology by the chancellor and appropriate internal action.  If you were reading this blog at the time of the event, you would have found that suggestion.  Instead, what occurred was defensive legalism which is still going on.  So now we have a claim against the university for $10 million.  The episode is also marked by a complete sense of divorce from all the supposed concern about "campus climate." 

An extra $10 million could have nicely resolved the UCLA Japanese Garden affair - see our posts on that matter - still in litigation, by the way, because the ship just sailed on in that case, too.

And let's not get started on the colossal hotel project underway in the center of campus that could have been scaled back to something appropriate and better suited to the wishes of the donor and the needs of the campus.  But instead we have more litigation there.  Another battleship.

In each case, the battleship could have been turned before damage was done.  But there was no order from the top to do so.   Where is the captain?

==
UPDATE: The Daily Bruin now carries the Cunningham story in which the university responds with vague statements about being "distressed" that the judge feels bad but continues its legalistic approach - with no sign of intervention by the captain.
http://dailybruin.com/2014/02/03/judge-files-10m-claim-against-ucpd/

“We are distressed when anyone feels disrespected by our officers or anyone who represents UCLA,” university officials said in a statement Monday. “As in this case, feedback to UCLA Police provides them the opportunity to review their actions, tailor future trainings and improve performance to reflect the department’s commitment to excellence.”

$10 million in "feedback"?


Anti-Pension Group Opens the Door to ID Fraud

That's a harsh headline.  But it applies to any group that publishes info on the web - because it is technically legal  to obtain and publish it  - that identifies incomes of individuals.  And the same harsh headline applies to govt. salary data, not just pensions.  It applies whether there is a political objective, as in the pension case, or just a way to get eyeballs to a commercial website.  While there may be a case for such disclosures for top executives and elected officials, wholesale publication deserves harsh headlines.  For details on the latest such development, see:

http://www.sacbee.com/2014/02/04/6125543/government-reform-group-launches.html

And, yes, UC is part of the database at http://transparentcalifornia.com/.  The only good thing to say is that the database search engine doesn't work well.

Monday, February 3, 2014

$10 Million

Faithful blog readers will recall that last November we reported on the case of Judge Cunningham, an LA Superior Court judge and former head of the LA Police Commission, who made the mistake of DWB (driving while black) in Westwood - not on campus - and had an encounter with the UCLA police because his seat belt was unfastened.

We suggested some quick abject apologies from the chancellor at the time before the lawyers got hold of this matter.  Like many of our suggestions, however, it was... well, you know, not given much weight.

Anyway:

An African-American family law judge filed a $10 million claim against UCLA campus police, alleging he was roughed up and handcuffed after being stopped for a seat belt violation, his attorney announced today.  Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David Cunningham filed the claim Jan. 16, according to his lawyer, Carl Douglas. A claim is a precursor to a lawsuit. UCLA police spokeswoman Nancy Greenstein did not immediately reply to a call seeking comment...

Full story at http://centurycity.patch.com/groups/police-and-fire/p/judge-files-10-mil-claim-against-ucla-police-for-seat-belt-incident 

UPDATE: The LA Times picks up the story at http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-black-judge-10-million-claim-ucla-police-racial-profiling-20140203,0,6455922.story

It should be an interesting ride from here.  Better buckle up:

Follow Up: Harvard B-School Says It is Improving Itself

Some loyal blog readers may recall our earlier posts (back in September) on attempts to reform a reported frat house climate of the Harvard Business School.  We carried this quote from the NY Times:

(M)any Wall Street-hardened women confided that Harvard was worse than any trading floor, with first-year students divided into sections that took all their classes together and often developed the overheated dynamics of reality shows. Some male students, many with finance backgrounds, commandeered classroom discussions and hazed female students and younger faculty members, and openly ruminated on whom they would “kill, sleep with or marry” (in cruder terms). Alcohol-soaked social events could be worse...

That report was followed by another a couple of days later, also linked to a NY Times report:
 
...In recent years, second-year students have organized a midwinter ski trip that costs over $1,000, while others, including members of “Section X,” a secret society of ultrawealthy students, spend far more on weekend party trips to places like Iceland and Moscow... “Class was the bigger divide than gender when I was at H.B.S.,” said (a student), who graduated in 2010. 

Now there is more follow up making the rounds on various websites:

The dean of the Harvard Business School made an extraordinary public apology last night (Jan. 27) in San Francisco for his school’s past behavior toward women. At a ballroom in the Ritz Carlton Hotel before 600 alumni and guests, Dean Nitin Nohria acknowledged that HBS had sometimes offensively treated its own female students and professors. Nohria conceded there were times when women at Harvard felt “disrespected, left out, and unloved by the school. I’m sorry on behalf of the business school,” he told a hushed room. “The school owed you better, and I promise it will be better.”

Among other things, he pledged to more than double the percentage of women who are protagonists in Harvard case studies over the next five years to 20%. Currently, about 9% of Harvard case studies—which account for 80% of the cases studied at business schools around the world—have women as protagonists. He said he would meet with HBS faculty on Wednesday (Jan. 29) to discuss the objective. Many of the women in the audience, including more than 100 Harvard alumnae who were being honored by the HBS Association of Northern California for their impact on business and community, let out a audible sigh at the 20% goal, thinking it was not ambitious enough. But they were unaware that the dean’s objective would amount to a more than doubling of the current cases in which women are portrayed as central leaders in business problems...

At the event, Nohria said that a record 41% of this year’s entering class of MBAs were women, up from 35% ten years ago and only 25% in the Class of 1985. “A lot of people wondered if we had to put a thumb on the scale,” he said, to reach the record female enrollment number. “Everyone of those women deserve to be at Harvard Business School.” ...

(T)his year Harvard Business School expects to pay out $32 million in scholarship assistance to its roughly 1,800 MBA students. That’s up from $28 million in 2010...

 
Other related stories:

Sunday, February 2, 2014

'Tis a Pit


As can be seen above, in the "cloud" on Google Earth the old parking structure #6 and the bus turnaround still are smack dab in the center of the UCLA campus.  But in fact the great pit for the Grand Hotel is underway, as seen in the recent photos below:
Unfortunately, if we want to be "on the level" about the great pit, it is difficult to see due to the wall around it.  Apparently, someone has decided that its vast size is something of a secret.  But there is a little hole in the wall to peep through:
Of course, you do have to be careful in digging great pits.  You never know what a big enough hole might lead to:

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Charge!

Up to now in the UCLA parking facility where the photo above was taken, yours truly has seen only campus "golf cart" type electric vehicles used by service staff plugged in.  Now that hybrid electric and all-electric vehicles are being sold for regular street use, scenes like the one above will become more common.  (The car shown is a Honda model.)  However, most parking spots do not have nearby electrical outlets.  Presumably, UCLA is ok with such charging where a nearby outlet exists.  But will there be more of them installed?