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Friday, July 31, 2015

Disappointment at Vanderbilt?

What would Cornelius Vanderbilt say?
Vanderbilt University released a study estimating the cost of complying with federal regulations. One suspects - although the university is very cautious in describing the study* - that the idea was to show how costly compliance was and to suggest, therefore, that if there was concern about tuition, the feds could be blamed. If that was the intent, the study doesn't really show that.

The study indicates that the compliance cost comes to 11% of the university's (non-medical) budget.** Note that presumably some of functions required by the feds are activities the university might do anyway so the incremental effect of federal requirements would be less than 11%. But even if we take the 11% as the incremental cost, it appears that the total can be divided into 17% of research spending and 4% of other non-research spending. So if the entire non-research amount were passed into tuition, and if tuition covered the entire operating cost (which it doesn't), tuition is around 4% higher than it otherwise would be. One assumes that the 17% is covered by the research funding that the grants provide.

Of course, none of this means that every requirement of the feds is justified and that there is no waste in compliance costs.
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*The university just says "We conducted this assessment because, until now, data about the cost of complying with these regulations has largely been missing from conversations on this topic. We wanted to fully understand the role that complying with these regulations plays in the overall cost of higher education and research." See http://news.vanderbilt.edu/2015/07/assessment-estimates-cost-of-federal-regulation-compliance-at-vanderbilt/
**http://news.vanderbilt.edu/files/2015-VU-CRC-Slides.pdf

Our regular call for balance

The Sacramento Bee has updated its state employee database which includes all UC employees. Usually, when we refer to a news item or data source, we give the link. But we won't do it in this case (although you would have no trouble in finding it on your own). That's because the Bee has yet to heed our call for balance. We regularly ask the Bee to publish its own payroll data (salaries by name of employee) of everyone from the lowest paid to the highest if it insists on doing it for state/UC payrolls. Of course, the Bee has the data on its own payroll so access to the info is not the issue. We (again) note that the Bee could provide the data it does publish on state and UC workers without names (pay by job title) as the state controller does. That approach would protect privacy and help prevent ID theft while giving the public data needed for analysis. Pay for top state/UC executives by name could still be published. (But, of course, balance would require the same for the top execs of the Bee also).

Let's not get bogged down with arguments over whether the Bee has the right to publish what it does. The issue is not a constitutional right. Of course it has the right. It's a matter of judgment. There are many things that the Bee chooses not to publish even though it has the right. That's why newspapers have editors.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Enough Uncertainty to Kill?

As blog readers will know, a pension initiative has been filed that would force UC to create yet another "tier" of retirement benefits. It sweeps UC into a system along with all other public plans in California and is even worse than what the Committee of Two came up with.

Recently, the Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) came up with its summary of the initiative and its effects. It points to various uncertainties about the initiative's impact. Some commentators suggest that the LAO's language would create public doubt and might kill the initiative (if it ever got on the ballot - which isn't a sure thing by any means).* You can find a news article on the LAO's summary at:

http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/the-state-worker/article29409703.html

That link also includes the actual LAO document. It's not obvious to yours truly, however, that the LAO's position would end up defeating the initiative. That view may be wishful thinking. So if someone in front of your local supermarket tries to annoy you into signing the petition, don't do it.
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*http://www.foxandhoundsdaily.com/2015/07/lao-deals-a-blow-to-pension-measures-chances/

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Transition

Adjustments can be difficult
The University of California system paid former president Mark Yudof $546,000 in 2014 – the year after he stepped down from his post, according to salary data released by the system this week.

Yudof was president of the system for five years before resigning in fall 2013 to become a law professor at UC Berkeley. He co-instructed one class at UC Berkeley for one semester in 2014, according to a faculty profile page on Berkeley’s web site. The class met once per week for three hours...

Yudof confirmed that account in an email, saying, “for 2013-14, I was receiving my UCOP compensation for a leave to prepare to re-enter teaching. This is the typical arrangement for presidents and chancellors who leave administration and prepare to begin teaching again.” Yudof said he also received pay for his teaching at Berkeley. He declined further comment...

Full story at http://www.sacbee.com/news/state/article29406190.html

Still, back in the day transitions were easier:
But nowadays, it's hard to find a phone booth.

Green Money

The chief investment officer of the University of California... on Tuesday called for more endowments and foundations to embrace investing in initiatives to help reduce environmental effects from climate change and other socially responsible investments.
Jagdeep Singh Bachher, speaking at a conference sponsored by Principles for Responsible Investments in Berkeley, Calif., said such investing made investment sense and was necessary for the earth's sustainability...
The University of California's office of the chief investment officer manages around $90 billion for the university's endowment, pension fund and investment pools. 
Maria Lettini, PRI's associate director, networks and global outreach, said only two universities in the United States — UC and Harvard University — are members of the organization. PRI, which originally was part of the United Nations, is an independent organization that encourages institutional investors to pursue socially responsible investing.
Easy to say but it can be tough to do:

Parking on campus, back in the day

From time to time, we have shown you pictures of campus parking that is no more, such as the image above from the Med School back in the 1950s. We noted in an earlier post that surface parking around the Med School could even be seen on TV:
http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2014/06/did-you-notice-parking.html

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Sporting News: 2 Items

There are two recent items related to athletics and UC, but in very different ways. The first refers to an item that arose somewhat mysteriously in a prior Regents meeting during the public comments period. A group complained that UC-San Francisco might be opposed to a new sports stadium. But what the issue was or just who might be opposed and why was unclear.

UCSF Monday officially threw its weight behind the Golden State Warriors’ plan to build an arena across from its hospital in Mission Bay, but that support is contingent on reaching a binding agreement with the city on how to handle traffic on days when there are major events at both nearby AT&T Park and the new basketball facility. UCSF Chancellor Sam Hawgood said six months of talks with the Warriors and city officials have led to a workable plan to handle traffic and parking on most days. The plan includes beefed-up public transit as well as a “traffic separation” plan aimed at funneling arena-bound cars onto certain streets while hospital and neighborhood vehicles are routed onto others. But Hawgood cautioned that UCSF and the city are still “one or two months away” from coming to an agreement on a traffic “trigger” mechanism — what that might be is being negotiated — that would kick in during large dual or overlapping events. This trigger would be “binding and enforceable” and would “be put into effect only after all current and potential future mitigations had been attempted.” ...The high-stakes battle pits the Warriors and Mayor Ed Lee’s administration against the Mission Bay Alliance, a well-funded coalition of UCSF donors and biotech executives who have hired no fewer than four law firms to fight the project on legal grounds. UCSF’s position on the Warriors’ proposal requires a tricky political balancing act. UCSF wants to be supportive of Lee, who could be an important ally as the school seeks permission to expand its Mission Bay campus with new research buildings and a housing complex in Dogpatch. At the same time, there are UCSF constituencies that oppose the arena, including major donors, former board members and the powerful California Nurses Association...

Full story at http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/UCSF-comes-out-in-favor-of-Warriors-arena-6407923.php

The sport of politics is clearly more fascinating than professional sports.

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The second item (sent to me by Bette Billet) deals with a more conventional controversy about collegiate athletics and the issue of whether some of the major sports have become de facto professional teams playing under university umbrellas. The NCAA has proposed some rules which - if they were enforced to the letter - would produce notable changes. From the NCAA:

On Tuesday, the Division I Council sponsored a Committee on Academics-drafted proposal – the result of more than two years of deliberation – that would change the way the division regulates academic misconduct... The proposal would set the expectation that all students and staff members act with honesty and integrity and would define academic misconduct, impermissible academic assistance and other academic improprieties that may occur at a school...
  • Intercollegiate athletics programs shall be maintained as a vital component of the educational program and athletes shall be an integral part of the student body.
  • Academic misconduct legislation should be consolidated in one location in the Division I manual.
  • Involvement of staff or coaches in athlete academic misconduct should be an NCAA violation.
  • Schools must have and adhere to written academic misconduct policies...
The proposal defines impermissible academic assistance as:
  • Substantial academic assistance to a student-athlete not generally available to the school’s students or not expressly authorized by other Division I rules that causes the student to be declared eligible, receive aid or earn an Academic Progress Rate point.
  • Creating an academic exception for a student-athlete to improve a grade, earn credit or meet a graduation requirement that is not generally available to the rest of the student body and that causes the student to be declared eligible, receive aid or earn an Academic Progress Rate point falsely.
From http://www.ncaa.org/about/resources/media-center/news/division-i-consider-tougher-academic-integrity-policies

There is a devil/details issue and an interpretation issue wrapped up in the second item.

Monday, July 27, 2015

You'll have to be letter perfect to get into Berkeley

UC-Berkeley has established a new policy of allowing (it's optional) applicants to submit up to two letters of recommendation:

From the Berkeley website:

In April 2015, UC Berkeley adopted a new freshman admission policy. Starting in fall 2015, all applicants to UC Berkeley will now have the opportunity to submit two letters of recommendation. Furthering our belief in the value of holistic review, we ask that those who write letters consider the following concepts when asked to add a letter to the application process:
  • Academic performance and potential (both overall and in the context of the class)
  • Love of learning
  • Leadership (in school, family, or community)
  • Persistence in the face of challenges
  • Cross-cultural engagement
  • Originality/Creativity
  • Demonstrated concern for others...
From: http://admissions.berkeley.edu/freshmanpolicy
 
We presume this change in admissions policy is in part due to the musings of the governor as to whether nowadays he or others in his family could get into Berkeley and pressures from the legislature for more diversity. You may recall that the legislature toyed with putting on the ballot a proposition that would have undone Prop 209, the anti-affirmative action proposition passed by voters in the mid-1990s. Pressure from the Asian community killed that effort.  
 
Although the letter submission is optional, it's hard to imagine that most applicants won't be sending them:
video
Inside Higher Ed picked up the story from the LA Times today:

Sunday, July 26, 2015

UCLA History: Poli Sci

The UCLA Political Science faculty poses for a photo in the 1940s

Saturday, July 25, 2015

A reminder that we warned you (and the chancellor agreed), back in the day

Just a reminder that in the past, this blog warned that the sexual harassment/assault issue would eventually be a bonanza (gravy train?) for the training industry - with no evidence collected as to whether the "training" had any effect. But there will be lots of online computer, answer the question, programs to be developed.

Chancellor Block agreed that more training was not the answer to all of life's ills:

http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2014/10/good-idea.html

But that was then. Undoubtedly, he will now get with the program now, since there will be no choice (other than multiple choice):

The University of California Board of Regents announced at a meeting Thursday it will mandate additional sexual assault response and prevention training for UC students, faculty and staff.
The new policies require mandatory training for all students and include a standardized investigation process and standardized judgement decisions, as well as more thorough support in response to each incident with additional resources. The new training will include more expansive ideas beyond what is currently taught at freshman orientation. The shift in policy came from recommendations by the President’s Task Force on Preventing and Responding to Sexual Violence and Sexual Assault.
Beginning fall 2015, all incoming UC students will be required to attend an educational program at their respective campuses for the first six weeks. Starting in 2016, the training will be held during the summer. Beginning January 2016, UC staff and faculty members will be required to attend similar training...

Full story at http://dailybruin.com/2015/07/23/uc-to-mandate-additional-sexual-assault-prevention-training/  

Question: Will the Regents be "trained"?

Don't Walk

UC San Diego won a major legal battle Friday against USC when a judge ruled that control of a landmark project on Alzheimer's disease belongs to the La Jolla school. The decision addressed the heart of a lawsuit that has gained international attention since UC San Diego filed it early this month, largely because it's rare for such disagreements in the academic world to reach the courtroom. 
video

The dispute pits UC San Diego, a research powerhouse, against USC, a well-heeled institution seeking to bolster its biomedical research efforts and extend its reach to San Diego… Left unresolved Friday was UC San Diego's request for monetary damages based on its accusations that USC, Dr. Paul Aisen and other defendants conspired to illegally transfer the Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study to the Los Angeles-based university. Aisen resigned in June from UC San Diego, where he had overseen the study since 2007, to become founding director of an Alzheimer's institute that USC was establishing in the Sorrento Valley neighborhood. In recent weeks, the two sides have argued about who owns the database for the $100-million nationwide project. UC San Diego, which has overseen the study for nearly a quarter of a century, said it still retains the government funding — an assertion backed by the National Institutes of Health…

 
The lesson? If you’ve got a big grant, don’t walk away:
Or at least, call your lawyer first.

The Way It Is

Prof. Celeste Langan
UC-Berkeley Prof. Celeste Langan spoke on behalf of the various faculty associations at the July 22nd UC Regents meeting during the public comment period. Yours truly will eventually get to record the session from the “archive” the Regents keep for only one year and preserve it indefinitely. We have already posted two of the Regents' sessions from the last set of meetings. However, the remaining two sessions are over four hours in length so it will be awhile before they can be recorded and preserved. But here is the text of what she said on July 22 in the public comment period about the forced changes in the UC pension system:

As co-Chair of the Berkeley Faculty Association and on behalf of the Council of UC Faculty Associations, I wish to address the Regents concerning the third discussion item of the Finance Committee agenda, item F3, “Update on Final 2015-16 Budget.”  The update, produced by the Office of the President, misleadingly claims that the final budget “incorporates the funding framework developed by UC and the Governor.” If you’ll recall, the “framework” of the May Revise proposed that the state make a contribution of $436 million toward the unfunded liability of the UC Retirement Plan.  The final budget, however, promises only a “one-time payment” of $96 million; there is nothing in the budget that commits the state to two additional payments of $170 million.  Yet even this meager one-time payment is contingent upon Regental approval of a cap on pensionable salary consistent with PEPRA (Public Employee Pension Reform Act) for employees hired after July 1, 2016.

The Council of UC Faculty Associations is opposed to the University making permanent changes in the structure of its retirement plan in exchange for a very modest one-time contribution from the State. We are especially opposed to the introduction of a full defined-contribution option.  There is absolutely no justification for the proposed introduction of a full defined-contribution option; neither the Legislature nor the Governor called for the introduction of a Defined Contributions plan in aligning the UCRP with PEPRA. Yet UCOP seems bent on introducing such an option, to the point that their statement exposes their intention as a foregone conclusion rather than a possible outcome of consultation and deliberation -- those elements of what we once understood as “shared governance.”

I call your attention to the third paragraph on page 3 of the F3 agenda item.  First OP declares, “The President will convene a retirement options task force to advise on the design of new retirement options that will include the pensionable salary cap consistent with PEPRA.  The retirement options will be brought to the Regents next year for review and approval.” But apparently the “design of new retirement options” is a fait accompli, for the penultimate sentence of that paragraph declares, “new employees will have the opportunity to choose a fully defined contribution plan as a retirement option, as an alternative to the PEPRA-capped defined benefit plan.”

Since the two minutes allotted in the public comments session is the temporal equivalent of Twitter’s 140 characters, let me ask: #What’s up with UCOP?  If I had to speculate, I’d say that UCOP’s attempt to replace Defined Benefits with Defined Contributions suggests its preference for a mobile, “flexible,” precarious professoriate with a consequently short-term institutional memory -- a professoriate that wouldn’t recall that only 6 years ago, the relative merits of defined contribution versus defined benefit plans were thoroughly, carefully, and widely discussed by UC constituents. Given substantial evidence that defined benefits are more cost-efficient than defined contributions in achieving the same level of benefits, it was agreed that the University of California was best served by continuing with UCRP as a defined benefit plan. Thus in 2010, when the President recommended and the Regents endorsed pension reforms, UCRP was preserved as a defined benefit plan.

Ironically, the paragraph in question concludes, “For represented groups, retirement options will be subject to collective bargaining.” Well, the UC Faculty Associations represent a good number of those faculty, members of the Academic Senate, without collective bargaining rights, and we say that UCOP has vitiated the interests of that faculty, both those vested in the current UCRP and those who will be hired after 2016.  We deplore the introduction of a different tier of faculty benefits, but we firmly oppose the attempt of UCOP to introduce a fully defined contribution plan in this untoward and unjustified manner.
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Sadly, none of the Regents seem willing to consider the idea that - however plausible the strategy seemed to be given the difficult UC relationship with Gov. Brown - the Committee of Two negotiations didn’t work out all that well. But despite the group-think denial, it is what it is:

Friday, July 24, 2015

Listen to the Regents Meeting of July 23, 2015

At the Regents meeting of July 23rd, there were public comments on concerns of nonunion ("unrepresented") employees, sexual assault policy, fossil fuels, UC police, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Dept. of Energy labs and nuclear disarmament, and disability services. The review of the labs noted that liability due to a radiation breach is being settled but pointed to new mishaps regarding electrical safety. There was a review of ongoing planning for systemwide sexual assault policies. The issue of due process came up and there were questions from the Regents about a court case - on which we previously blogged - which ruled that an accused student hadn't had due process at UC-San Diego.* Among others, the lieutenant governor noted the case. You'll be happy to know that yours truly has a suggestion for dealing with the due process issue. But you'll be sad to know that it seems to be nothing like what UC is planning, which is likely to mean there will be more San Diego-type cases.**

We also previously blogged about an impending deal between UC-Berkeley and Tsinghua University in China which raises a lot of questions.*** Some were asked at the Regents meeting, but ultimately the deal was approved.

Various executive appointments and pay raises were approved. Finally, the Committee on Compensation got around to receiving, but not really discussing, a report showing that faculty pay was 10% below the market and that the old idea that salary was below market but benefits made up for the gap was no longer true. Benefits were also below market.*** Faculty rep Gilly noted that this issue was left to the tail end of the meeting.

UC prez Napolitano noted various faculty accomplishments and contributions and the Regents approved everything on their plate.

You can hear the meeting at the link below:

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*http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2015/07/due-process-and-regents.html. See also https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/07/23/suit-against-u-california-san-diego-could-provide-framework-other-students-accused
**http://employmentpolicy.org/page-1775968/3441662#sthash.eXB79igo.dpbs
***http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2015/07/what-could-possibly-go-wrong.html

Understanding the UC $15 minimum wage

Blog readers who looked at yesterday's postings will know that it was announced by UC prez Napolitano at the Regents meeting that the pay of the lowest-paid UC employees would be raised to $15. But here is an interesting question: Where did that $15 figure - which seems arbitrary - come from? Well, yours truly thinks he has an answer. You see, there was also another decision taken at the Regents:* (excerpt from the LA Times)

A day after UC moved to raise the minimum wages of its lowest-paid workers, the university’s governing board on Thursday awarded 3% salary increases to 15 of its most highly paid executives... The new pay scale for... five chancellors are: $772,500 for UC San Francisco’s Samuel Hawgood; $516,446 for UC Berkeley’s Nicholas Dirks; $441,334 for UCLA’s Gene Block; $436,120 for UC San Diego’s Pradeep Khosla; and $424,360 for UC Davis’ Linda Katehi...

If you know what the five chancellorial new salaries will be, you can calculate what 3% of their old salaries was in dollar terms. It turns out that the chancellorial raises average about $15,000 per year. So now figure a low-wage UC employee works half time for fifty weeks a year, i.e., 1,000 hours. If you paid him/her for that time what the chancellors average for a raise, that's $15/hour. So a chancellorial raise = the full pay of a low-wage worker. Makes perfect sense. Puzzle resolved!
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*http://www.latimes.com/local/education/la-me-ln-uc-pay-20150723-story.html

Thursday, July 23, 2015

What's the rush?

The University of California now estimates that a long-delayed upgrade to its payroll and personnel system will ultimately cost more than twice as much as originally expected. At the UC Board of Regents meeting Wednesday in San Francisco, university officials said the UCPath computer project is tentatively scheduled for completion by the end of 2017 at a cost of $375 million, three years behind schedule and more than double the $156 million originally budgeted. “The project has been much more difficult, far more complex and taken much longer than we initially projected,” Chief Financial Officer Nathan Brostrom said...

Full story at http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article28372369.html

Bottoms Up (to $15 eventually)

University of California President Janet Napolitano announced today (July 22) that the minimum wage for its workers — both direct and service contract employees — will be raised to $15 an hour over the next three years.  In addition, she directed that all contractors doing business with UC comply with government and university workplace laws and policies.

The Fair Wage/Fair Work Plan, unveiled at today’s Board of Regents meeting, requires that all University of California employees hired to work at least 20 hours a week be paid at least $15 per hour over the course of the next three years. The mandated minimum will increase to $13 an hour on Oct. 1, 2015, to $14 an hour on Oct. 1, 2016, and to $15 an hour on Oct. 1, 2017. The California state minimum wage currently stands at $9 an hour, and is set to increase to $10 an hour on Jan. 1, 2016...

Full media release at http://universityofcalifornia.edu/press-room/uc-president-announces-15hour-minimum-wage

Regents meetings, which often feature "sensitive" matters of high executive pay, are politically a good place to announce pay raises at the bottom. (But we're sure no one at UCOP thought of that political angle, especially former Governor Napolitano!)

Listen to the Regents Afternoon Meeting of July 22, 2015

We begin our posting of the current set of Regents meetings with the afternoon of July 22, since that was a short meeting (under 50 minutes), at least for the open part. The open part was a session of the Committee on Finance which reviewed the UCOP budget and then went on to the overall UC budget deal. As expected, the deal was put in a positive light and said to have the virtue of being multi-year and thus providing long-term stability. However, no mention was made of the fact that the legislature is treating the deal as a one-year arrangement with no guarantee beyond, especially for the pension contribution. In response to a question about the pension, it was said that it was being worked on and there would be a presentation at the September meetings. It was noted that there is $25 million contingent on UC being able to show it had admitted an extra 5,000 students for next year. UC prez Napolitano said it would be difficult to meet that target, that UCOP is working with the legislature, and that more would be known in November. Regent Hadi Makarechian asked what was being done to improve relations with the governor and legislature. He noted that CSU got more than an extra $25 million without conditions and also gets its pension contribution automatically. Napolitano again talked about working with Sacramento. Finally, the acting president of UCSA talked about sexual assault policy, student mental health services (especially for grad students), opposition to executive pay increases, and a desire to be consulted on tuition.

You can hear the meeting at the link below:

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Clearly, the White House Missed an Obvious Methodology

Apparently, the White House has determined it is unable to grade colleges and universities. We don't understand it since the obvious methodology is already in use, as per above. But the story is below:

Nearly two years ago, President Obama proposed a federal system to rate the nation's colleges and universities, one that would provide families with an objective and unified tool to compare schools and for taxpayers to determine whether the massive investments in scholarships and other government spending on higher education are worthwhile.

The idea, however, was met with protests and concerns from college leaders who contended that it was misconceived and could unfairly pit schools against each other.
After repeated delays and many consultations with skeptical college leaders, the ratings system was recently scrapped.

White House officials say that pushback from the higher education industry and congressional Republicans did not lead to the retreat. Instead, they say they could not develop a ratings system that worked well enough to help high school seniors, parents and counselors...

Full story at http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-higher-learning-ratings-20150722-story.html

A Travel Heads Up

Yours truly will be traveling for about a week so blogging may be light. No, I didn't coordinate with the Regents who are meeting today and tomorrow (and met yesterday). But they didn't coordinate with me, either.*

As usual, we will get to providing an audio archive of the Regents meetings since they refuse to keep their meetings posted beyond one year. However, because Regents' meetings cannot be downloaded, they have to be recorded in real time to be preserved as an archive. Note that other state functions such as legislative hearings, governor's speeches, etc., are preserved (and can be downloaded) from the Calchannel. The Regents believe, apparently, that they are an exception to this practice.
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*You can find a summary of yesterday's meeting at http://www.latimes.com/local/education/la-me-uc-merced-20150722-story.html. Merced's problematic plans for a public-private construction partnership (which we have discussed earlier) were considered.

Biden Your Time in Traffic

According to the LA Times, folks coming to UCLA from the east or south may run into traffic engendered by a visit from VP Joe Biden:

Today

Wilshire Boulevard between Beverly Drive and Santa Monica Boulevard from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Wilshire Boulevard between San Vicente and Santa Monica boulevards from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Wilshire Boulevard between Beverly Drive and Santa Monica Boulevard from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Thursday

Wilshire Boulevard between Santa Monica Boulevard and Beverly Drive from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Santa Monica Boulevard between Sawtelle and Wilshire boulevards from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Sepulveda Boulevard between Lincoln and Century boulevards from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Source: http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-biden-visit-brings-traffic-20150721-story.html

Just be calm:


And don't forget: (from UCLA Facilities Management)

Special Olympics Torch Run 

The Special Olympics Torch Run will create a number of traffic impacts in Westwood Village on Thursday.ursday, July 23rd
 July 23rd, 2:15  3:15 pm 

Where: Westwood Village. Torch Run will begin at the corner of Westwood and Le Conte, proceed south on Westwood (blocking one southbound lane), turn right onto Broxton, and proceed to the ceremony at 1000 Broxton Ave. 

Impacts: Southbound Westwood Boulevard will be reduced to one lane from Le Conte to Kinross (northbound lanes will remain open). Kinross (between Westwood and Gayley) and Broxton (between Le Conte and Kinross) will also be affected during this period. Southbound public transit service on Westwood might also experience minor delays. This will be a rolling closure, so no particular section of roadway should remain closed for more than 10 minutes during the torch run time period.


Start Date/Time

Thursday, July 23, 2015, 2:15 PM

End Time 

3:30 PM

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

On the other hand, this ranking smells better than our previous post

Despite our previous post dismissing the ranking of universities, we will rise above principle (a very useful skill) and note that in the U.S. News ranking of hospitals, UCLA comes in tied for #3 (the tie is with Johns Hopkins), up from #5 last time.

See http://health.usnews.com/health-news/best-hospitals/slideshows/the-honor-roll-of-best-hospitals-2015-16/13

That Rank Smell

Nowadays, it seems that everyone is getting into the business of ranking universities. It's good for at least a day's worth of headlines.*

The latest is the Center for World University Rankings (yes, a whole center devoted to the topic) in Saudi Arabia (no comment).

So it's Berkeley 7, UCLA 15, San Diego 21, San Francisco 27 (How can a university that is mainly a med school be ranked against full service universities? Don't ask!), Davis 53, Santa Barbara 64, Irvine 89, Santa Cruz 154, Riverside 214, Merced 936.

Source: http://cwur.org/2014/
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*http://www.businessinsider.com/best-public-universities-2015-7

Monday, July 20, 2015

More from the LAO on UC's To-Do List

We recently posted some of the legislative commands to UC that were part of the 2015-16 state budget.* The Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) has now posted a nice summary list: [click to enlarge]
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It's hard to keep track of just how many commandments there are:

Torch Run in Westwood Thursday

Notice from UCLA Events and Transportation: This Thursday, July 23, the Special Olympics Torch Run will make its way through Westwood Village from 2:15 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. The Torch Run will begin just west of the corner of Westwood Boulevard and Le Conte Avenue and proceed south on Westwood Blvd, turn right onto Kinross Avenue and another right onto Broxton Avenue, and arrive at the Torch Run Ceremony location at 1000 Broxton Avenue. For those who need to travel through the Village during this time, it is advised to avoid the area around Westwood Blvd and instead take Gayley Avenue as an alternate route. The Torch Run will create a number of traffic impacts and possible delays in the Westwood Village area, including impacts to public transit service. During the event, southbound Westwood Blvd will be reduced to one lane from Le Conte to Kinross (with both northbound lanes remaining open). Kinross Avenue (between Westwood Blvd and Gayley Avenue) and Broxton Avenue (between Le Conte and Kinross) may also experience some delays during the event.

[The photo shows the 1984 Olympic torch carried up the California Incline in Santa Monica by O.J. Simpson. Both the Incline and Simpson have other problems at present.]

More of Berkeley/UC History

Lawrence
We recently posted an item about the 70th anniversary of the first atomic bomb explosion in New Mexico and its connection to UC-Berkeley through Prof. J. Robert Oppenheimer and others in the Berkeley physics dept. The post provided links to a BBC series on the Manhattan Project which Oppenheimer co-directed.*

One of the other significant Berkeley figures from that era was Ernest Lawrence. As it happens, a book about Lawrence and “Big Science” by LA Times columnist Michael Hiltzik has just appeared. [Lawrence is one of the early characters appearing in the BBC series.]

Reviews of the Hiltzik book from the LA Times and the NY Times appear today as excerpts in LAObserved at:

Oppenheimer and Lawrence in the 1930s

The book sounds quite interesting. As noted in our earlier post, the history of UC’s involvement with the Department of Energy labs goes back to the Berkeley link to the Manhattan Project. Lab review is part of the Regents' agenda at this week's meetings.
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Part 1 of the BBC series below. Links to the subsequent part are in the prior post.