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Sunday, May 31, 2015

3 Days Have Passed and We're Still in the Dark...

...when it comes to accessing the streaming video of the Regents' May 27 meeting of the Committee on Investments.  It still ain't workin'.

Is someone trying to dance around this issue?:

Saturday, May 30, 2015

A Cautionary Tale: Follow Up

The courtroom is down the hall
Yesterday, we posted about the investigation by Northwestern U of a professor accused of writing a column that offended some students who filed a Title IX complaint.* The Chronicle of Higher Ed ran a column by the accused prof about the procedure that was set in motion by her university. (Links in our original posting.) We noted concerns at UC about the process being set up to deal with complaints concerning sexual assault and harassment. The Regents have been assured by UC President Napolitano that there would be appropriate due process in whatever is being created. One might take that assurance to mean that nothing like the reported Northwestern events could take place at UC. It might be noted that unlike Northwestern, UC is a public institution subject to various constitutional requirements as well as the state Public Records Act. Any kind of kangaroo court procedure would likely be challenged quickly in the external court system.

The Chronicle now has published readers' comments:
http://chronicle.com/blogs/ticker/the-french-revolution-on-campus-readers-react-to-my-title-ix-inquisition/99911 Its Facebook link to those comments suggests their general tone:
Our posting yesterday indicated that UCOP is aware of the Chronicle tale and so it can presumably draw the appropriate lessons and take steps to avoid such events at UC.
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*http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2015/05/cautionary-tale.html
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UPDATE: The Chronicle reports that Prof. Kipnis has been cleared of the charges by her university:
http://chronicle.com/blogs/ticker/laura-kipnis-is-cleared-of-wrongdoing-in-title-ix-complaints/99951

Back-and-Forth on the Withdrawn Article

Some blog readers may have been following the back-and-forth regarding an article that was withdrawn from from Science after allegations of falsified data. An author of that article who has been blamed for the incident is a UCLA grad student. The Daily Bruin has the latest iteration:

A UCLA graduate student accused of falsifying data in a study released a response Friday refuting a report by three researchers who found irregularities in the study. In the original study, Michael LaCour and his co-author, Columbia University professor Donald Green, found evidence suggesting that conversations with gay canvassers can change voter attitudes on same-sex marriage. The study was published in the journal Science in December, and was retracted by the journal Thursday after a request by Green... LaCour released a 23-page response to their criticisms Friday that included four claims against the researchers’ report. In the response, LaCour claimed his study met the replication standard and followed institutional policy in destroying the raw survey data... In the acknowledgements of his study, LaCour listed the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law as a funding source for his study. Lauren Jow, a spokeswoman for the Williams Institute, said the institute was not aware it was listed as a source and did not provide funding. In his response, LaCour said he did receive a grant offer from the Williams Institute but did not accept the funds. LaCour admitted the Ford Foundation grant, which he also listed as a funding source, did not exist. "I take full responsibility for errors in the design, implementation and data collection regarding the field experiments and panel survey reported in LaCour and Green,” LaCour said in the report. “I also take full responsibility and apologize for misrepresenting survey incentives and funding in LaCour and Green." In an interview with The New York Times, LaCour said he lied about his funding sources because some colleagues doubted his work and he wanted to give more credibility in his study.

Full story at http://dailybruin.com/2015/05/29/graduate-student-responds-to-allegations-of-falsifying-data-in-study/

The back-and-forth on the Science article has attracted both news coverage and editorial comment:
http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-0528-seife-scientific-research-process-20150528-story.html

Still drawing a blank on the Regents meeting of May 27

We continue to report on the (lack of) progress of the Regents in "archiving" the meeting of the Committee on Investments of May 27. So far, we are literally drawing a blank when we attempt to access the streaming version of the meeting. As we have noted umpteen times, the Regents' version of "archiving" is preservation for only one year. For that reason, we have been archiving the audio of the meetings indefinitely since history lasts longer than one year. It's a laborious process since recording the audio can only be done in real time, i.e., 1 hour of meeting time requires 1 hour of recording time. But we can't even do that if the Regents' website isn't operating.

Anyway, as of 7 am this morning, there is nothing to see:

Friday, May 29, 2015

Cautionary Tale

UCOP distributes a daily summary (with links) of news items related to higher ed and UC. A typical listing consists of excerpts from the article, editorial, or op ed plus a link to the original source. In some cases, even if access to the original source would normally require a paid subscription, the item - apart from the usual excerpt - is reproduced in full, presumably because someone has decided it merits special attention (and presumably with permission).

In today's email (screenshot of its masthead above) there is the following excerpt from the Chronicle of Higher Education concerning events at Northwestern University which is also reproduced further down in the email in full:

OP-ED: My Title IX Inquisition

(Chronicle of Higher Education) Laura Kipnis*

When I first heard that students at my university had staged a protest over an essay I’d written in The Chronicle Review about sexual politics on campus — and that they were carrying mattresses and pillows — I was a bit nonplussed. For one thing, mattresses had become a symbol of student-on-student sexual-assault allegations, and I’d been writing about the new consensual-relations codes governing professor-student dating. Also, I’d been writing as a feminist. And I hadn’t sexually assaulted anyone. The whole thing seemed symbolically incoherent.

According to our campus newspaper, the mattress-carriers were marching to the university president’s office with a petition demanding "a swift, official condemnation" of my article. One student said she’d had a "very visceral reaction" to the essay; another called it "terrifying." I’d argued that the new codes infantilized students while vastly increasing the power of university administrators over all our lives, and here were students demanding to be protected by university higher-ups from the affront of someone’s ideas, which seemed to prove my point.

The president announced that he’d consider the petition.

Still, I assumed that academic freedom would prevail.

… Things seemed less amusing when I received an email from my university’s Title IX coordinator informing me that two students had filed Title IX complaints against me on the basis of the essay and "subsequent public statements" (which turned out to be a tweet), and that the university would retain an outside investigator to handle the complaints.

… I’d plummeted into an underground world of secret tribunals and capricious, medieval rules, and I wasn’t supposed to tell anyone about it.

For those with a subscription, the link is http://chronicle.com/article/My-Title-IX-Inquisition/230489/

New York Magazine picked up the story and it has a link within its article that provides full access to the item: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/05/charges-against-laura-kipnis-and-pc.html
Click on the link in the sentence: "Now, Kipnis reports, the University has undertaken a Title IX investigation against her on the basis of her column and a subsequent tweet about it."

There is also a story on the Washington Post website which features the same link:

If you don't have a subscription to the Chronicle of Higher Ed, or if the links above to the full op ed don't work for you, yours truly will forward the UCOP News Clips email to you on request.

We have noted concerns about current efforts to create a UC process to deal with charges of sexual assault and harassment. The Regents have been assured by UC President Napolitano that there will be due process, etc. However, in reproducing the above article in full, perhaps someone at UCOP shares those concerns. Suffice it to say, what the Chronicle article describes should not be a possible outcome of the new process, whatever it turns out to be. We're glad that there is some sensitivity at UCOP that anything like what is described should not happen.
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Still nothing

Our attempts to archive the Regents' Committee on Investments meeting of May 27 are still producing nothing but a blank screen (as of 7:15 am this morning). Tried Firefox, Chrome, and Internet Explorer to get the steaming video. The iPhone version is also not working.

Let's hope the governor - with his pet interest in having UC material online - doesn't find out.

All we can say to the Regents is that they are supposed to be on screen:


We've heard of bang for the buck...

...but this item (below) could be called buck from the bang: (Sorry. Couldn't resist.)

A co-creator and the cast and crew of the hit television show “The Big Bang Theory” have endowed a scholarship fund at UCLA to provide financial aid to undergraduate students pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. The sitcom, which recently completed its eighth season, follows the lives of a group of young physicists...

Full story at http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/the-big-bang-theory-creates-scholarship-fund-for-stem-students-at-ucla

Thursday, May 28, 2015

We'd Like to Archive the May 27 Regents Committee on Investments Meeting But...

...the Regents' website is producing a blank screen (on Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer). Tried the iPhone version...
...but it didn't work, either. ["The requested URL was not found on this server."]

The folks in Oakland have been alerted. Meanwhile, the Bruin has a summary of the meeting:
http://dailybruin.com/2015/05/28/uc-board-of-regents-committee-reviews-investment-performance/

More on Faculty Center Election

We previously blogged about issues related to the current election of officers at the UCLA Faculty Center.* The Daily Bruin has now picked up the story:

The UCLA Faculty Center Nominations Committee presented a slate for next year’s presidential positions consisting of current presidents last week, instead of considering nominations by general members. The Nominations Committee has only suggested the current presidential representatives once before, said Julie Sina, president-elect and chair of the Nominations Committee. Faculty members will vote to approve the slate by June 10... Current President Claudia Mitchell-Kernan said the committee nominated the same people for the positions to further improve the financial status with strategies developed this year...

“The election process (this year) was clumsily, rudely and undemocratically handled,” said Joseph Nagy, a former president of the UCLA Faculty Center. “The ballot that was sent out to the members last week is a farce. I am embarrassed and shocked by what the members of the current board in charge of the election have done.” Bette Billet, president emerita of the UCLA Faculty Women’s Club, expressed her concerns about the election in an email, which was released on a blog post on the faculty center’s [sic] blog.** Billet said the election process concerned her because it seemed to be an unconstitutional irregularity... 

Full story at http://dailybruin.com/2015/05/28/ucla-faculty-center-election-process-raises-concerns/
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*http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2015/05/faculty-center-election-concerns-raised.html
**The article confuses the Faculty Center with the Faculty Association. The latter has no connection to the former and has no position on the election. Yours truly has asked the Bruin to make the correction. (The posting to which the article refers was on this blog.)

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

We're real glad they're making all those UC seismic upgrades


Ever Grander

We continue to provide a photographic "progress" report on the super-expensive and super-sized UCLA Grand Hotel:




There's more of it every day! You can just hear it:
video

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Listen to the Regents Afternoon Meeting of May 21, 2015

The afternoon meeting of the Regents began with a student representative talking about sexual assault and harassment policy and tuition increases for grad and professional students. [Note: Scroll down on this blog for a post today about UC law schools.] There was a talk by Berkeley Prof. Shuji Nakamura who won the Nobel Prize in physics dealing in part with energy saving lighting technology. Allocations of revenues for the Dept. of Energy labs were approved. Rates of return and charges for the endowment were also approved. An extensive presentation was made on the changing environment for the campus health care enterprises. The buzz phrase seemed to be "System of Systems." That presentation was followed by a closed session of the Committee on Compensation. (On the audio link below, the silence during the closed session has been edited out.) When the Regents came back into open session, compensation and incentive enhancements for a UC-Davis basketball coach were approved. It was noted that the package included the Regents' new policy that academic progress of athletes should be part of such arrangements. Finally, various awards were distributed and thank-yous were made.

You can hear the afternoon session at the link below:

Tisch Tisch

From Talking Points Memo: “Yeah, you’re fucked,” De Niro repeated shortly after. “The good news is, that’s not a bad place to start.”
The veteran leading man told the graduates that as professional actors, "a new door is opening for you — a door to a lifetime of rejection."
"Did you get straight As in school?" he asked. "If you did, good for you, congratulations. But in the real world, you'll never get straight As again."...

Full report at http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/robert-de-niro-ny-fcked 

Full speech below:



The guv's warm spot for lawyers

Jerry Brown (Yale Law, 1964) sworn in as California secretary of state in 1971 by former Chief Justice Earl Warren (law degree from Berkeley, 1914) as dad/former Governor Pat Brown (also a lawyer - SF College of Law, 1927) watches
What was in effect a footnote in Gov. Jerry Brown's recent proposed budget for the University of California has turned into a cause for major celebration among UC law students. Surprising many faculty, Brown and the UC regents have exempted the four law schools on UC campuses from the fee increases being imposed in the fall on about 50 other professional graduate school programs such as medicine, dentistry, business, public health and social work. The increases in the so-called professional degree supplemental tuition originally were to be between $1,058 and $1,587 a year for in-state law students at UCLA, Berkeley, Davis and Irvine, according to a plan the UC regents had approved in November. That would have increased overall tuition and fees for a Californian at UCLA's law school, for example, to more than $46,000 a year, including the basic charges all UC students pay. (Non-Californians usually pay somewhat more.)...

Full story at http://www.latimes.com/local/education/la-me-uc-law-20150526-story.html

Monday, May 25, 2015

What if cap-and-trade is decapitated?

California has been a proponent of reducing greenhouse gas emissions since the mid-2000s. Gov. Schwarzenegger was heralded - even with a speech at the UN - for its program. Part of that program is a "cap-and-trade" system which sets limits on emissions. Emitters must obtain permits which impose an overall ceiling on how much greenhouse gas can be put into the atmosphere. Auctioning these permits is a source of revenue for the state. Gov. Brown has become more and more enthusiastic about the program as its revenue potential has grown. His May Revise budget includes spending totaling $2.2 billion in 2015-16 in cap-and-trade monies, ostensibly for purposes that produce energy efficiency and reduced emissions. The biggest chunk goes to his high-speed rail project, but there are planned expenditures for other programs including $60 million going to UC for various green initiatives. You can find a table below showing the spending plan. (Click to enlarge the image.)

Columnist Dan Walters points out today that there is a legal challenge to the cap-and-trade system which conceivably could upend the system:

...The Legislature’s budget analyst, Mac Taylor, has opined that the (high-speed rail) project will actually create more climate-changing carbon pollution. Meanwhile, the California High-Speed Rail Authority projects that when completed, circa 2040, the bullet train will reduce automotive travel by scarcely 1 percent of current levels. With such a weak, or even negative, effect on carbon emissions, giving the bullet train such a large chunk of cap-and-trade funds would seem to invite a legal challenge by project opponents. The more immediate issue, however, is a lawsuit filed by the California Chamber of Commerce. The suit says the fees are taxes that violate the state Supreme Court’s ruling on what divides a fee from a tax, which requires a two-thirds legislative vote to be imposed. The case is now pending before the 3rd District Court of Appeal. The Air Resources Board, which created the cap-and-trade program, has filed paperwork postulating that carbon fees are neither taxes nor fees but rather are “incidental” to regulating emissions and not meant to raise revenue. It’s a novel theory and one that departs from the ARB’s previous position... 

Full column at http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/dan-walters/article22143216.html

Were the cap-and-trade system to be voided through a legal challenge, there would be an impact on UC that would go beyond the $60 million it is slated to receive directly. The rest of the $2.2 billion (or whatever the total might turn out to be in the future) would also evaporate. There would be a scramble to find alternative funding for the programs now being financed by cap-and-trade. UC's general fund budget, beyond what it gets directly from cap-and-trade, would be at risk in such a scramble. It's not clear that the Committee of Two plan, for example, would survive in such a situation.

Sorry to mess up your Memorial Day weekend with such thoughts.

Source: http://www.dof.ca.gov/documents/2015-16_May_Revision.pdf


Sunday, May 24, 2015

UCLA History: Sousa

The UCLA band in downtown LA being conducted by John Philip Sousa in 1928 as they play "Stars and Stripes Forever" at the Southern Pacific Railroad station. (Before Union Station was built, there were separate stations in LA for different railroads.)

UCLA History: Westwood Under Construction

Westwood under construction in 1929
[Click image to enlarge]

Saturday, May 23, 2015

UCLA History: Water

Our prior post from 1936 showed the site of the University Elementary School and Anderson. This 1929 photo shows that area was at one time rather wet (the Sawtelle Reservoir). Some readers may be familiar with the little stream that flows behind the Anderson School and is a reminder of earlier waterworks.

UCLA Elementary History

This 1936 photo, as the inscription states, seems to have been taken from about where the University Elementary School and the Anderson School are now located.

Friday, May 22, 2015

What would Swift propose?

Prof. Michael Meranze pointed me to a piece in Inside Higher Ed which begins with,"An Illinois Senate report will be released today blasting the 'fantasy world of lavish perks' for presidents of public colleges and universities." See https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2015/05/22/report-blasts-fantasy-world-presidential-benefits. It got me to thinking about what Jonathan Swift might propose as a solution. And the solution became obvious: Limit all perks to $117,020. Or, as Swift might say, "Would you like fresh PEPRA on your perks?" But then again, there is something in the Bible about the race not going to the swift.

No surprise

Yours truly has not been able yet to look at the Regents meeting of yesterday afternoon. But it was clear from the morning meeting - which we did post - that there were unlikely to be any surprises. It seemed clear that the "framework" negotiated by the Committee of Two, including the controversial pension tier, would be adopted. News accounts of the meeting indicate that is what happened, i.e., http://www.mercurynews.com/california/ci_28162486/uc-board-regents-considers-budgetdeal. (Well, there was a little surprise in that the one Regent who said earlier that he couldn't support the package - Pérez - changed his mind.) We will try to get to the actual meeting recording soon.

UPDATE/Correction: The full vote took place in the morning and Pérez voted to support the framework.

Listen to the May 20, 2015 Regents meeting

As promised, we archive the audio of the Regents meeting of Wednesday, May 20. A link to the audio is below. The Wednesday meeting was only for the Committee on Grounds and Buildings. Despite the topic – review of various capital projects – the meeting’s public comment period was mainly dominated by speakers favoring having the Regents adopt the U.S. Dept. of State’s definition of anti-Semitism. (One speaker was opposed. We have already posted the audio for Thursday morning’s session in which the opponents spoke during public comments.) In an NPR interview with UC prez Napolitano, referred to by some speakers, she endorsed the proposal.* 

The main part of the meeting dealt with various construction projects at UC-SF, Berkeley, San Diego, Davis, and the Lawrence Berkeley Lab. We have noted our general concerns about the Regents’ reviews of big bucks capital projects. The Regents have no independent review capacity. When questions are raised about projects, even if there is critical discussion, in the end the projects are endorsed. For example, at this meeting a new building at the Lawrence Berkeley Lab raised issues about safety in relation to seismic and landslide risk. The building is to be constructed at the expense of the Dept. of Energy. But when questions were raised about whether there would be UC liability in the case of a seismic or landslide mishap, no clear answer emerged. The Davis project involved allocating land for a campus of a local community colleges. It was pointed out that if UC-Davis needed the land in the future for expansion, it would not be available and that acquiring other land would be costly. But the issue was left hanging.

You can hear the audio at the link below:


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*http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/05/21/janet-napolitano-anti-semitism-definition. The NPR program indicates the issues will be discussed at the July Regents meeting.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Listen to the Morning Meeting of the Regents: May 21, 2015

An earlier post today noted that we couldn't provide instant archiving of the Regents meeting of yesterday. However, we can provide it for the morning meeting of today which had some significant discussion of the Committee of Two deal. Below is our summary. Scroll down for the audio of the meeting.

The public comments session opened with statements on tuition for graduate and professional students, sexual violence as related to graduate students, the Gill Tract farm, comments on the proposal that the Regents adopt the U.S. Dept. of State definition of anti-Semitism, statements by AFSCME that workers employed by contractors at UC should receive UC pay levels, gun divestment, food pantries, a request by a group that may be connected with UC which is opposing a professional stadium identify itself, and English proficiency tests for foreign students. There was an interruption related to the Gill Tract farm issue.

Regent Bruce Varner made some remarks as outgoing Regents chair. UC president Napolitano thanked him, discussed transfer students and other issues, gave out awards, and described negotiations within the Committee of Two as “rigorous.” Faculty rep Mary Gilly said she would be consulting with faculty about the Committee of Two and would report at future meetings. There was then a discussion of a program
related to food insecurity of students in which student Regent Saifuddin was heavily involved followed by a presentation about and demonstration of an online UC information center.

Discussion then turned to the Committee of Two deal.  UC president noted that the deal did not include funding for added enrollment but that the governor indicated he would not veto whatever extra money the legislature might allocate for that purpose. There was discussion of the pension part of the deal, transfer students, reduced units for various majors, and three-year degrees using summers.
Top: Napolitano--Center: Gilly--Bottom: Oved & Saifuddin

It was noted that the pension fund at market value is now 87% funded. Regent Zettel seemed unhappy that any defined benefit element remained in the proposed new tier. Faculty rep Gilly noted the potential impacts of the new tier on faculty retention and retirement. 

There was some discussion on what it meant to endorse the Committee of Two “framework.” Did such endorsement override the tuition increases approved last November? UC president Napolitano said it would override the November decision. Regent Pérez said he generally endorsed the framework but couldn’t support the tuition element within the framework with regard to out-of-state tuition and with regard to a rise in tuition to adjust for inflation after the two-year freeze. Why couldn’t the endorsement be postponed until the July meeting which would come after the legislature and governor had approved a budget? Alternatively, he asked that the tuition element be unbundled. He said he couldn’t vote for the package unless the tuition element was separated. He presumably would then vote for everything except tuition. In the end, however, the Committee on Finance voted unanimously for endorsing the entire framework.  Regents could then vote as they wished when the full board considered the recommendation. (Ultimately, Pérez voted for the framework.)

A talk by the designated student observer focused mainly on complaints about nonresident tuition. It was followed by a review of the Dept. of Energy labs which UC co-manages. It was noted in that context that there had been a deal worked out on the large fine that had earlier been levied on UC in connection with its lab responsibilities. 

Audio of the session can be heard at the link below: 

Just a note of congratulations

We noted in a prior blog post that UCOP's Daily News Clips email service a few days back had not picked up the Calpensions article raising concerns about the Committee of Two's deal on the UC pension.* We are now happy to report, that the News Clips today picked up the article. Of course, we know that our blog post surely had nothing to do with the decision to carry the article. Nonetheless, we congratulate News Clips.
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*http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2015/05/waiting-to-see.html

Why?

You may be wondering why we haven't already posted yesterday's initial Regents meeting. The answer is yours truly had other activities that conflicted. He will post yesterday's meeting eventually. We remind blog readers of the Regents' unfortunate habit of "archiving" their meetings for only one year. And they allow only streaming; the file cannot be downloaded. So that means to record 1 hour of meeting time, one must listen for 1 hour.

The statue - Why? - shown here - is in the sculpture garden. It was given by the late Samuel Nerlove, a professor in what was then the Graduate School of Business Administration. It used to stand in front of the School when the School was located in the building now occupied by the Luskin School.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

More Nails in the Coffin of the Master Plan

From time to time, we note that absent an updated Master Plan defining the roles of the three segments of public higher ed in California, we end up with ad hoc decisions - in the case below one stemming from the legislature:

Santa Monica College has received final approval from the California Community Colleges Board of Governors to be part of a landmark pilot program allowing it to offer a Bachelor’s Degree in Interaction Design. SMC and the two other colleges approved join 12 others that received final approval from the board in March. “Community colleges are uniquely positioned to deal with the flexible and changing world,” said Governor Jerry Brown, who attended Monday’s board meeting and signed SB 850 sponsored by Sen. Marty Block (D-San Diego) which allowed up to 15 community college districts to offer bachelor’s degrees in a field of study not offered by the California State University or University of California. “I think we have to get a very broad sense of what higher education is – and higher education now is breaking free of the more traditional parameters, constraints and images.”...

Full story at http://smmirror.com/articles/News/Santa-Monica-College-Secures-Final-Approval-For-Bachelors-Degree-In-Interaction-Design/43358

O'Bannon and NLRB Reminder (and the end of the world as we know it)

From time to time, we have blogged about the O'Bannon case (named after a former UCLA basketball player) and a pending NLRB decision regarding Northwestern U which could affect (end?) the current model of collegiate sports.* Inside Higher Ed has a lengthy analysis/update of those two cases: [excerpt]

...Lorry Spitzer, a tax lawyer and adjunct professor at Boston College Law School, said that while many within college sports disagree with the O’Bannon ruling, conversations like those that took place at the meeting on Tuesday continue to be about how to make the O’Bannon decision work within the current NCAA amateurism framework. That’s a more difficult conversation to have when weighing the implications of the NLRB’s decision, the panelists said, or the effects of another recent lawsuit brought against the NCAA by a former Clemson University football player named Martin Jenkins. “[The O’Bannon decision] is not like the end of the world as we know it,” Spitzer said. “Whereas the Jenkins lawsuit or the NLRB decision really would end the world as we know it. It’s very hard to see how amateur athletics would exist with those in place.”...

Full story at https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/05/20/college-sports-leaders-worry-about-nlrb-ruling-and-jenkins-lawsuit
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*For example: http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2014/10/obannon-ball-keeps-rolling.html

The more things change...

Prof. Sanford Jacoby sent me the three color photos showing the testing of a train on the new Expo light rail line around the Westwood Boulevard station. The line - which now runs only from downtown LA to Culver City is expected to open for regular business all the way to Santa Monica in 2016. Prof. Jacoby tells me that, "Whether by design or coincidence, the platform sides are blue and gold."

Daily Bruin readers will know that yesterday that newspaper carried an article - with a similar picture - about the testing in which students discuss the possible impact on their commutes. See http://dailybruin.com/2015/05/19/la-metro-begins-testing-expo-line-extension-to-santa-monica/

However, the more things change, the more they remain the same. Faithful blog readers will recall the photo immediately below when UCLA was still at its Vermont Avenue campus in the 1920s showing commuting students boarding a trolley there.* And below that is a photo of what might be described as the original Westwood Boulevard station back in the day.**
Click on any of the images for a better view.
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*http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2011/04/ucla-history-vermont-trolley.html
**Source: https://highlandpark.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/clusc_8_1_00178619a_j.jpg

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

LAO's Preferences: UC pension not top priority for Prop 2 funds and should submit proposal

In a report dealing with the higher ed portion of the governor's May Revise proposal, the Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) suggests that the legislature may have better uses for Prop 2 (rainy day fund) monies than pension funding. It also indicates that if the money is to go to pensions, UC should submit a proposal to the legislature along with other state pension funds (CalPERS, CalSTRS). The LAO also notes that in cutting back pension benefits (via the $117,020), it is likely that other elements of compensation would have to be raised.

Apart from the pension issue, the LAO continues to want UC funding to depend on tangible measures such as enrollment. It doesn't like side deals with the governor based on his preferences. LAO, of course, ultimately represents the interest of the legislature and would prefer the legislative preferences be the basis of UC funding.

You can find LAO's discussion of the governor's higher ed May Revise budget at:
http://www.lao.ca.gov/reports/2015/budget/may-revision/higher-ed-051815.pdf
The UC portion is on pages 2-6. LAO's recommendations are on pages 5-6.

Faculty members: You're about to get engaged!

We noted yesterday that the Lieutenant Governor was going to speak at a conference on how to fix higher ed. Seems as though, if you are a faculty member, you are about to get engaged:

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday that he and other proponents of online education, including Gov. Jerry Brown, failed to sufficiently engage faculty members in their longstanding push to expand online course offerings at California’s colleges and universities...

Full story at http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article21349020.html

Faculty Center Election: Concerns Raised

Yours truly is in receipt of three recent emails related to elections now underway at the UCLA Faculty Center. They are reproduced below. The first two are from Bette Billet, President Emerita of the UCLA Faculty Women’s Club, to Julie Sina, president-elect of the Faculty Center. They were circulated to multiple Faculty Center members. She tells me that these emails are “public.” Both of them express concern about the electoral process. There apparently was a response to the first email from Julie Sina which I don’t have. The third email is an official communication from the Faculty Center concerning the elections. (Attached to that message was a pdf file containing election statements by the three candidates for the office of Member at Large which are not reproduced below.)

Note: Yours truly is not making any judgment about the Faculty Center elections and is simply reproducing the emails FYI. I have corrected some typos, etc., in the messages reproduced below.

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May 15, 2015

Dear Julie,

I am in receipt of a letter you sent to Mike Rich indicating that despite the fact that he has been duly nominated for the open slot for the Faculty Center presidency, he cannot do so and must run for the open Board seat for reasons to be presumably later to be explained to the membership. This is a matter of great concern to me because of the mystery of this seemingly unconstitutional irregularity. In addition, as you know, I am a nominee for the Board position, because I understood that the duly nominated Mike Rich would not run for the Board position, since he was running for the presidency. I am now in a quandary and need your help. Is it the case that Mike Rich is being denied the opportunity to run for the presidency and must, if he chooses to run at all, pursue the Board position? If so, as I have indicated to selected numbers of members who are copied on this email, I will not run against Mike for the Board position and withdraw my nomination. The seemingly endless confusions and irregularities in this year's electoral process are ill designed to promote member participation at a time when the need for member support and contributions are ever more urgently needed. Given the iconic status of the Faculty Center on this campus, the extraordinary efforts of its members to save it from demolition and the fine efforts of this year's Board to reverse the ongoing fiscal drain, it seems urgent to remedy the errors with this year's nominations. Please let me know if I am a candidate for a Board position or whether my withdrawal is accepted because Mike Rich, being unable to secure the nomination for president for reasons of mystery, is  a candidate for a Board position for which, I am told, he was not nominated. I look forward to a speedy reply, as the curtain is about to fall on most unusual drama.

Bette Billet (Elizabeth Billet), Emerita President UCLA Faculty Women’s Club, 2013-2014
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May 18, 2015

Dear Julie:

I appreciate your prompt reply, and, yes, I do wish to withdraw my nomination for a Faculty Center Board position. I must admit, however, I am disturbed by what seems to be a considerable departure from our normal electoral process.   Your response seems to imply that former Faculty Center president J F Nagy's nomination of former Faculty Center board member, Mike Rich, for Faculty Center president is rejected without explanation.

It is true as you state, that I did attend the last Faculty Center Board meeting as a visitor -non- voting member of the Faculty Center.  The meeting was chaired by our able past president, Liz Cheadle, but neither you nor Claudia Mitchell-Kernan were present.  During this meeting   secretary Al Aubin offered the proposal that the entire Board endorse Claudia Mitchell Kernan for the open Faculty Center presidency slot in order to enable her to continue the fine work she has been doing during this year; I fully share Al Aubin's and the Board's view of the many initiatives and successes of Claudia's current tenure.

At no time was there any indication that Al Aubin or the Board were agreeing to override the Faculty Center bylaws  by "appointing " Claudia to be  president  without going through the mandated Faculty Center membership  electoral process, which includes accepting other nominations for the open position(s). The refusal by the elections committee to accept past president JF Nagy's nomination of former Board member, Mike Rich, for the Faculty Center presidency, in effect indicates a decision precisely NOT to do this.  I am sure that you are aware that at the very same time nominations were being closed, calls for nominations for the presidency were being posted on the Faculty Center bulletin board, and on the web.

All this seems to undercut Claudia' Mitchell-Kernan's well-known commitment to the democratic process and her excellent work.  By undermining the validity of her status, it undermines her many contributions and would weaken her position as she pursues negotiating with Executive Vice Chancellor Scott Waugh on behalf of the fiscally fragile Faculty Center.  In addition, this highly irregular "appointment process" seems also to be extraordinarily disrespectful to the entire Faculty Center membership, to past president JF Nagy and to Mike Rich, who has personally donated hundreds of hours and considerable personal financial resources to saving, maintaining and enhancing the Faculty Center.  It appears to bring the reputation and viability of the Faculty Center Board into question: something that none of us would want to project.

Julie, as chair of the election committee, which includes Al Aubin, Anita Cotter and Dan Salcido, I hope there is sufficient time and will, for you and the election committee to reflect on all this and to consider reversing course and opening up the electoral process to bring it into conformity with the Faculty Center constitution. I wish you, the election committee, the Board and our membership the very best in this endeavor.  Please forward this email to the entire Faculty Center Board at your earliest possible convenience.

Bette Billet, President Emerita, UCLA Faculty Women’s Club
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May 18, 2015

Members of the Faculty Center Association

Dear Colleagues:

I hope you have had time to read the note and materials emailed to our membership from Board Chair Claudia Mitchell-Kernan. The studies speak to the momentum of planning activities toward our strategic plan.

These developments form the background for our elections. You may recall that a Call for Nominations for the FC Board Elections was e-mailed to you on January 15, 2015. That CALL invited nominations for the position of President Elect as this position was the sole vacancy to be filled in the election scheduled to be held in the Spring of 2015.

Subsequent to circulating the Call for Nominations referenced above, a second vacancy on the Board was brought about by the resignation of current a Board member.  In the context of the unanticipated resignation and progress made by the Board in 2014-2015, Nominations Committee Chair and President Elect Julie Sina recommended that the current FC Board President and Past President be asked to serve an additional year to avoid interruption of the substantial momentum that has been established in Board planning activities during 2014-2015.  This recommendation was considered by the full Board at its April 28 meeting and endorsed unanimously in the interest of maintaining momentum and continuity in planning at what it deemed a critical juncture in FC history.

Thus, the Nominations Committee slate would appear as follows:

2nd year term for Julie Sina as FC Board President Elect. 

2nd year term for Claudia Mitchell-Kernan as FC Board President 

2nd year term for Elizabeth Cheadle as FC Board Past President

_____Approve the Slate

_____Disapprove the Slate

___________________________Write-In Candidate

Note: Consistent with the recommendation approved by the Board on April 28, current President Elect Julie Sina would assume office as President in 2016-2017 rather than 2015-2016 and current President Claudia Mitchell-Kernan and Past President Elizabeth Cheadle would remain in their current roles for an additional year.

Member at Large (vote for one)

____Ludwig Larry Lauerhass, Librarian and Lecturer in History Emeritus

____R. Michael Rich, Research Astronomer, Department of Physics and Astronomy

____M. Belinda Tucker, Vice Provost, Institute of American Cultures, Professor of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences Center for Culture and Health, Geffen School of Medicine

__________________________Write-in Candidate

Your ballot your ballot will be mailed to you today. Please let us know if you do not receive your ballot in the mail by Monday, June 1, 2015. Please return your ballot to the Faculty Center by Wednesday, June 10, 2015.