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Monday, October 31, 2016

Not Neutral

Janet Napolitano rips FBI director's handling of Clinton email probe

Dan Nowicki , Arizona Republic, October 30, 2016

Former Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano on Sunday rebuked FBI Director James Comey for what she called his "inexplicable" decision to disrupt the presidential race days before the election by disclosing that the FBI is continuing to review emails related to Democrat Hillary Clinton's use of a private server as U.S. secretary of State.

Republican nominee Donald Trump's campaign has made political hay out of Comey's announcement on Friday. Trump and his allies say the development has breathed new life into to an investigation related to Clinton's handling of classified information that this summer was wrapped up with no criminal charges.

Napolitano, a former U.S. attorney, Arizona attorney general and U.S. secretary of Homeland Security, told The Arizona Republic: "It's inexplicable, totally outside Department of Justice policy. And I think sending a memo that raises innuendo, without any questions answered, is not what the FBI or the FBI director should be doing."

As a general rule, "you're not supposed to be announcing what you're investigating anyway," she said, minutes before rallying campaign workers at the Arizona Democratic Party's headquarters in Phoenix.

More importantly, this close to an election, announcing "something like this where you don't even have the ability to examine what it is that you think you have is, for obvious reasons, not good policy and not what the FBI should be doing,"

Napolitano served as U.S. attorney during President Bill Clinton's administration from 1993 to 1997; she said the Justice Department policies date back earlier than that.

She said voters should remember that Trump is an unfit choice for president.

"My view is that the difference between the two candidates is so clear, people need to vote," Napolitano said. "They can either vote for the future, and vote for Hillary, but this is just kind of more background noise to distract from the central choice of this election, which is the choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton."

Napolitano was elected Arizona attorney general in 1998. She was twice elected governor, in 2002 and 2006, before stepping down in her second term to become President Barack Obama's Homeland Security chief. Since 2013, she has been president of the University of California system.

Napolitano was in Arizona on Sunday for a memorial service and celebration of the life of former Gov. Rose Mofford, who died Sept. 15 at age 94.

She returned to a state that has become a major presidential battleground. Trump held a rally Saturday at the downtown Phoenix Convention Center. Clinton will campaign in the state on Wednesday. Her running mate, U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, will appear Thursday in Tucson.

"Hillary's got a great ground game, and all eyes are on Arizona," Napolitano said. "You know what? If I were a betting woman, I'd bet on Hillary in Arizona."

Later, Napolitano fired up the Democratic ground troops with similar remarks. She was joined at the brief midday event by U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., who this year is running against incumbent U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

Napolitano urged campaign workers to reach out not just to fellow Democrats, but to independents and even disillusioned Republicans.

"Lest you think Arizona cannot be blue, just harken back. It wasn't too long when I was running for election and we carried every legislative district and every county in this state," Napolitano told the group. "With good candidates, you can do it. We have great candidates. Now we need to have great energy. ... Let's go win an election!"

Source: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/azdc/2016/10/30/janet-napolitano-rips-fbi-directors-handling-clinton-email-probe-james-comey/93020576/

The next Attorney General in the Hillary Clinton administration? Other post? On verra.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

A Scare for Halloween

More light & truth than Yale would like?
Some readers may recall the brouhaha at Yale a year ago over an email related to Halloween costume advice by the university and whether the university was over-reacting. Here (below) is a reminder and a scare for this year's Halloween:

My Halloween email led to a campus firestorm — and a troubling lesson about self-censorship

By Erika Christakis, October 28, 2016, Washington Post

Erika Christakis is an early-childhood educator and the author of “The Importance of Being Little.”

The right to speak freely may be enshrined in some of our nation’s great universities, but the culture of listening needs repair. That is the lesson I learned a year ago, when I sent an email urging Yale University students to think critically about an official set of guidelines on costumes to avoid at Halloween.

I had hoped to generate a reflective conversation among students: What happens when one person’s offense is another person’s pride? Should a costume-wearer’s intent or context matter? Can we always tell the difference between a mocking costume and one that satirizes ignorance? In what circumstances should we allow — or punish — youthful transgression?

“I don’t wish to trivialize genuine concerns about cultural and personal representation,” I wrote, in part. “I know that many decent people have proposed guidelines on Halloween costumes from a spirit of avoiding hurt and offense. I laud those goals, in theory, as most of us do. But in practice, I wonder if we should reflect more transparently, as a community, on the consequences of an institutional (which is to say: bureaucratic and administrative) exercise of implied control over college students.”

Some called my email tone-deaf or even racist, but it came from a conviction that young people are more capable than we realize and that the growing tendency to cultivate vulnerability in students carries unacknowledged costs.

Many at Yale maintain that my email prompted widespread and civil conversation, and that the ensuing controversy was just a matter of competing expressions of free speech. I aired an unpopular opinion, which was answered by an equally legitimate response.

But these sanguine claims crumble on examination. The community’s response seemed, to many outside the Yale bubble, a baffling overreaction. Nearly a thousand students, faculty and deans called for my and my husband’s immediate removal from our jobs and campus home. Some demanded not only apologies for any unintended racial insensitivity (which we gladly offered) but also a complete disavowal of my ideas (which we did not) — as well as advance warning of my appearances in the dining hall so that students accusing me of fostering violence wouldn’t be disturbed by the sight of me.

Not everyone bought this narrative, but few spoke up. And who can blame them? Numerous professors, including those at Yale’s top-rated law school, contacted us personally to say that it was too risky to speak their minds. Others who generously supported us publicly were admonished by colleagues for vouching for our characters. Many students met with us confidentially to describe intimidation and accusations of being a “race traitor” when they deviated from the ascendant campus account that I had grievously injured the community. The Yale Daily News evidently felt obliged to play down key facts in its reporting, including about the two-hour-plus confrontation with a crowd of more than 100 students in which several made verbal and physical threats to my husband while four Yale deans and administrators looked on.

One professor I admire claimed my lone email was so threatening that it unraveled decades of her work supporting students of color. One email. In this unhealthy climate, of which I’ve detailed only a fraction of the episodes, it’s unsurprising that our own attempts at emotional repair fell flat.

But none of these examples captures the more worrying trend of self-censorship on campuses. For seven years I lived and worked on two college campuses, and a growing number of students report avoiding controversial topics — such as the limits of religious tolerance or transgender rights — for fear of uttering “unacceptable” language or otherwise stepping out of line. As a student observed in the Yale Daily News, the concept of campus civility now requires adherence to specific ideology — not only commitment to respectful dialogue.

The irony is that this culture of protection may ultimately harm those it purports to protect. The Yale imbroglio became a merciless punchline, leaving no one unscathed, because the lack of a candid internal reckoning emboldened partisan outsiders to hijack the story. In reality, these debates don’t fit neat ideological categories. I am a registered Democrat, and I applaud Yale’s mission to better support underrepresented students. But I also recognize the dizzying irrationality of some supposedly liberal discourse in academia these days.

I didn’t leave a rewarding job and campus home on a whim. But I lost confidence that I could continue to teach about vulnerable children in an environment where full discussion of certain topics — such as absent fathers — has become almost taboo. It’s never easy to foster dialogue about race, class, gender and culture, but it will only become more difficult for faculty in disciplines concerned with the human condition if universities won’t declare that ideas and feelings aren’t interchangeable. Without more explicit commitment to this principle, students are denied an essential condition for intellectual and moral growth: the ability to practice, and sometimes fail at, the art of thinking out loud.

Certain members of the community used me and my family as tinder for a mass emotional conflagration by refusing to state the obvious: that the content of my albeit imperfect message fell squarely within the parameters of normal discourse and might even have been worth considering on its merits as an adjunct to prevailing campus orthodoxy. There was no official recognition that the calls to have us fired could be seen as illiberal or censorious. By affirming only the narrow right to air my views, rather than helping the community to grapple with its intense response, an unfortunate message was made plain: Certain ideas are too dangerous to be heard at Yale.

The collective denial of responsibility risks shortchanging students’ intellectual maturation and gradual assumption of autonomy. Moreover, the university’s careless conflation of talking (of which we had plenty) with listening (not so much) has the unintended effect of creating an inhospitable learning environment for the entire community, not just those who had no problem with my Halloween advice.

It takes more than Yale’s admirable free speech code to ensure a healthy habitat for learning. My fear is that students will eventually give up trying to engage with each other, a development that will echo in our wider culture for decades. My critics have reminded me that there are consequences to my exercise of free speech. Now it’s Yale’s turn to examine the consequences of its own stance: the shadow on its magnificent motto, “Light and truth.”

Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/my-halloween-email-led-to-a-campus-firestorm--and-a-troubling-lesson-about-self-censorship/2016/10/28/70e55732-9b97-11e6-a0ed-ab0774c1eaa5_story.html

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Overload

There is a note in the Daily Bruin about two suicides that occurred on campus. One was an older man - no details - and the other was an undergraduate.*

These events were followed by a recent email - apparently to everyone connected to UCLA - about various counseling, etc. options available for anyone upset by these events. A total of six (!) options was listed.

This episode follows the earlier shooting on campus that resulted in a lockdown and then similar notifications of resources.

Yours truly has a sense that there may be diminishing returns to constant reiteration of untoward events and the implication that you ought to be personally upset by them. We live in a large urban area in which unfortunate events occur daily. There is a balance to be stuck concerning targeted information that is needed and a general information overload. Feel free to comment.
---
*http://dailybruin.com/2016/10/28/63-year-old-dies-after-falling-from-ucla-biomedical-library/

Friday, October 28, 2016

UCLA History: Ralphs in Westwood

Ralphs (not Ralph's) supermarket in Westwood in the 1940s.
Now a coffee shop

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Heating Up at Berkeley?

Students trying to get to class were barred from walking through UC Berkeley's Sather Gate by a wall of activist students protesting for "safe spaces."

More than 100 protesters shouted "Go around!" at approaching students but opened up to allow students who wanted to join the protest to pass during Friday's demonstration, the latest spasm of activism on campus.

Many students  detoured around the bridge at Sather Gate and crossed Strawberry Creek without much hardship. A video posted on YouTube by Diego Reyes claimed that white students were prevented from passing through the gate but students of color were allowed through. But UC Berkeley Assistant Vice Chancellor Dan Mogulof said that race and ethnicity played no role in who was allowed to cross the line.

"Simply put, no one, of any ethnicity, was allowed to pass except for one or two individuals who asked to join the protest itself," Mogulof wrote in an email.

The activist students carried banners urging students to "Fight 4 Spaces of Color" at the university — which they already have. But according to the Daily Californian, they don't like their current space at Eshelman Hall and are demanding relocation. Unfortunately, the three alternatives proposed by the university were deemed unsatisfactory by the students...

Full story at http://www.sfgate.com/education/article/White-Cal-students-blocked-at-Sather-Gate-in-10414775.php

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Tenure Quickie

From Vanity Press to Vanity Conference
From Inside Higher Ed:

An associate professor at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand last week was surprised to find he had scored a speaking slot to present his paper during the International Conference on Atomic and Nuclear Physics. The professor, Christoph Bartneck, had written the paper, titled "Atomic Energy Will Have Been Available to a Single Source," almost entirely through the autocomplete function on his iPhone. The paper contains insights such as, "The atoms of a better universe will have the right for the same as you are the way we shall have to be a great place for a great time to enjoy the day you are a wonderful person to your great time to take the fun and take a great time and enjoy the great day you will be a wonderful time for your parents and kids."
"After adding the first illustration on nuclear physics from Wikipedia, some references and creating a fake identity (Iris Pear, a.k.a. Siri Apple) I submitted the paper, which was accepted only three hours later!" Bartneck wrote in a blog post. "I know that iOS is a pretty good software, but reaching tenure has never been this close."
The conference is hosted by ConferenceSeries, which is operated by OMICS Group, an open-access publisher. The company is currently being sued by the Federal Trade Commission for misleading researchers.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Contributions


The University of California is the biggest source of cash for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.
Individuals affiliated with the University of California system gave nearly $1.2 million to Clinton’s campaign committee, the largest bloc of contributions she received for her presidential run.
The second biggest giver to Clinton was another California entity, Alphabet Inc., the Mountain View-based parent company of Google. Donors associated with Alphabet gave Clinton $1.1 million
People affiliated with Stanford University came in seventh on the list of biggest contributors to Clinton’s campaign committee, giving $565,000. Californians also took the eighth spot among the biggest donors, with contributors from Cupertino-based Apple giving more than $519,000.
Californians were much less generous with the Donald Trump campaign. People affiliated with the San Francisco-headquartered international banking and finance firm Wells Fargo were the fifth largest bloc of donors to Trump’s campaign committee – but gave just $41,500.
The totals represent money given to the campaigns, not to outside super PACs backing the candidates.

There seems to be a house cleaning at Berkeley...

...starting with Chancellor Dirks. From the Daily Cal: When former vice chancellor for real estate Bob Lalanne resigned last month, campus spokesperson Roqua Montez called the resignation “his choice.” But an emailed statement from Lalanne at the time of his resignation shows that administrators’ move to eliminate the vice chancellorship prompted Lalanne’s resignation — not the other way around.
In the statement — sent to campus trustees, donors and deans, and obtained by The Daily Californian — Lalanne said Chancellor Nicholas Dirks and other campus leaders told him that his position would be eliminated to reduce the size of the administration. In place of the vice chancellorship, Lalanne was offered a position as an adviser on campus real estate projects. Lalanne declined the offer and then summarily resigned.
Campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof confirmed that Lalanne’s position was eliminated and that he was offered an alternative role.
“There was not a choice (to remain as vice chancellor),” Mogulof said. “He could not remain in a position that was eliminated.”...
Lalanne is the ninth high-level administrator to resign — or announce the intent to resign or retire — in the past year. The list includes Dirks, former provost and executive vice chancellor Claude Steele and former vice chancellor for administration and finance John WiltonPreviously unreported, former associate vice chancellor for communications and public affairs Claire Holmes left the school in September.
The administrative tumult was cited by Lalanne as one of the contributing causes of his resignation....

ObamaJam Continues Today

President Barack Obama will attend one more Los Angeles, fundraiser Tuesday before heading back to Washington D.C. With his term in office coming to a close, this could be LA's final ObamaJam. Obama is scheduled to attend a fundraising roundtable discussion Tuesday on behalf of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee before flying back to Washington, D.C., according to the White House...
Los Angeles police recommended the following areas be avoided:
-- the area around Sunset Boulevard between Woodburn and North Palm drives from 3 to 8 p.m.;
-- the area around Sunset between Woodburn and Palm drives from 10 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.;
-- the 405 and Santa Monica (10) freeways from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.;
-- the area around South Centinela Avenue between Ocean Park and West Pico boulevards between noon and 1 p.m.
Also on Tuesday, the east and westbound lanes of Sunset Boulevard between North Whittier and North Bedford drives will be closed to vehicular traffic between 10:45 a.m. and 12:45 p.m.

Monday, October 24, 2016

ObamaJam Update

We posted earlier today about an impending Obama visit and its traffic effects around UCLA today. Here are more details:

President''s visit will cause traffic impacts along Sunset Blvd. and Hilgard Ave. near campus and vicinity, with some portions of Parking Structure 3 closed for security reasons while the motorcade passes by.

When: Monday, October 24th from 1:15 pm until approximately 7:30 pm this evening.

Where: Along Sunset Blvd and Hilgard Avenue proximate to the UCLA campus

Commuters should expect periodic road closures between 1:15 pm to 7:30 pm on the following streets: Sunset Blvd, Hilgard Ave., Manning Ave.  In addition, the upper levels of Parking Structure 3 will be closed intermittently between 3:30 pm and 7:30 pm this evening. This closure includes access for all pedestrians and vehicles in/out of Parking Structure 3 during those brief closures when the motorcade passes, as the President''s motorcade is expected to pass between Hilgard Ave. and Sunset Blvd. multiple times between the hours listed above. Closures would be for about 20-minute windows during the 3:30 pm - 7:30 pm timeframe. There will be three to four of these 20-minute closures each time the motorcade passes.

Better rated

Click to enlarge

The state Office of the Patient Advocate released its annual report cards on health plans and medical groups which suggests some benefit in UC's switch back to Blue Cross from Blue Shield.

ObamaJam Today: Details Unknown

Traffic alert in UCLA area:

President Barack Obama is scheduled to fly to Los Angeles Monday for a 23-hour visit that will include appearances at a pair of fundraisers, an appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and the usual traffic headaches for motorists on the westside.
Obama is scheduled to speak at a $100,000-per-person evening fundraiser in Beverly Hills on behalf of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, at the home of DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg and his wife Marilyn, according to an invitation obtained by City News Service.
He is scheduled to attend a fundraising roundtable discussion Tuesday on behalf of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee before flying back to Washington, D.C., according to the White House.
The visit will be Obama’s 26th to Los Angeles and Orange counties as president and the fundraisers will be his 42nd and 43rd in the region. He conducted fundraisers during 22 of his past visits.
The visit will be Obama’s first since April 8 when he spoke at two fundraisers during a roughly 17-hour visit.
The Katzenberg event will be the fourth Clinton campaign fundraiser in the Los Angeles area in seven weeks with a $100,000 price tag.
While he’s in town, Obama will also be a guest on the ABC late-night talk show “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”...

Sunday, October 23, 2016

UC Berkeley bans Greek parties

Fraternities and sororities at the University of California, Berkeley have taken a bold stance against sexual violence, voluntarily banning all parties following reports of two sexual assaults last week at off-campus frat functions.

Interfraternity Council President Daniel Saedi called it “relatively unprecedented” for the Greek system to suspend its own parties but said Friday that fraternities and sororities agreed to pause social events to figure out how to keep them safe.

“We needed to take some time off and really assess our situation,” said Saedi, a 21-year-old senior at Berkeley. “These are grave acts of violence that are occurring. They have no place anywhere in this country let alone on college campuses.” 
“This is really the heart of the college experience for a lot of these kids and I don’t want seem entitled when I’m saying this but, it is really taking away from their experience here. So making a decision like this is relatively unprecedented…” Saedi told CBS San Francisco. 
“For now we have no reason to believe that these were committed by fraternity men. However, despite that, it’s still alarming it occurred on our property,” Saedi said...

Saturday, October 22, 2016

UCLA History: Move In

Moving in day at new Westwood campus: 1929

Friday, October 21, 2016

UCLA History: Med-Post

A postcard for the old UCLA Medical Center
As seen also on TV:

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Alternatives not considered

Jerry Kang, Vice Chancellor and head of the UCLA Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion office, issued a statement in July concerning a leaked report from last summer. The opening paragraph:

An investigation report completed by UCLA’s Discrimination Prevention Office has leaked to the Daily Bruin and was today produced under a public records request. It’s about a hot button issue: divestment from Israel. For multiple reasons, I’m wary about commenting on a report that we did not publicly release. But misunderstandings are spreading. And if this past year as Vice Chancellor has taught me anything, it is to embrace transparency and to meet challenges head-on...

The full statement is at https://equity.ucla.edu/crosscheck/viewpoint-neutrality/

A recent email from VC Kang circulated to the UCLA community is in a similar vein and generally calls for everyone to be considerate.

One possibility not considered in the report and email is that UCLA needs to establish a greater separation between student government affairs and official university policy. The more that what goes on in student government is seen as a responsibility of the university, the more the university becomes entangled in matters it has little control over currently. Separation could involve a move away from mandatory student fees. There could be a fee opt-out option, for example. If separation is not possible, there could alternatively be some version of the old "fairness doctrine" for student-fee supported political programs, which for decades applied to radio and TV broadcasters. You can go for separation or you can go for more control. But the current situation - little control but responsibility for outcomes - is bound to create problems. General calls to be considerate are OK but don't address the issue.

In short, there are a variety of issues and alternatives to be considered. But at the moment, no one is even considering them. It's time to start such a consideration.

We're Number 1!

From the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF):

Inside Intellectual Ventures' Portfolio: Nearly 500 University Patents

Harvard researcher Yarden Katz has just published some fascinating findings on which universities have sold patents to notorious patent-holding company Intellectual Ventures (IV). Of the nearly 30,000 active patents that IV lists publicly, 470 of them were originally assigned to universities—a total of 61 institutions.
Katz explains how he arrived at these numbers:

How many of IV’s patents came from universities?

To answer this, I have scraped the names of the original assignees for each of the U.S. patents in the portfolio from patent records (see annotated patents list). The analysis shows that nearly 500 of IV’s patents originally belonged to universities, including state schools.

Katz found some other surprises in IV’s portfolio, including nearly 100 patents from the U.S. Navy.

If you know nothing else about patent trolls, you’ve still probably heard the name Intellectual Ventures before. IV is one of the largest patent trolls in the world and has been behind many of the most egregious cases of litigation abuse. Earlier this year, we wrote about IV suing a florist over its patent on crew assignments. For many years, it has tried to cultivate relationships with American universities so it can add their patents to its portfolio.

As we’ve discussed here before, over 100 universities have endorsed a set of principles for university patenting practices. Among other points, it suggests that universities should require that licensees “operate under a business model that encourages commercialization and does not rely primarily on threats of infringement litigation to generate revenue.” Unfortunately, a number of those institutions appear not to be living up to this principle.

From Katz’s post:

Both the University of California and Caltech signed the 2007 statement, yet IV now owns tens of patents from these schools that were filed after 2007. For instance, the IV portfolio includes a Caltech patent filed in 2010 (granted in 2011) and University of California patent filed in 2008 (granted in 2014). Other universities that signed the statement, such as Stanford, Harvard and MIT, did not have patents in the portfolio.

Along with a coalition of users’ rights organizations, EFF recently launched a campaign asking universities to sign a pledge that they won’t sell or license patents to trolls.

When universities sell patents to trolls, it directly undermines the role that they play as engines of innovation: the more patents trolls hold in a certain area of technology, the more dangerous that field is for innovators. The licensing decisions that universities make today will strengthen or sabotage the next generation of inventors. That’s why we encourage everyone to speak out: students, faculty, alumni, parents, and community members. These policies affect all of us...

Full story at https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2016/10/inside-intellectual-ventures-portfolio-nearly-500-university-patents

Trolls can be a problem:

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Losing

University of California continues to cull active managers as performance suffers

BY RANDY DIAMOND | OCTOBER 17, 2016

Jagdeep Singh Bachher, the chief investment officer of the University of California Regents, cited volatile markets for the -3.4% return of the $9.1 billion endowment in the fiscal year ended June 30, and is continuing efforts to reduce the number of active equity managers.

“It's been a difficult time for endowments generally and UC specifically,” Mr. Bachher said, explaining the results at a UC committee on investments meeting Sept. 9.

Mr. Bachher, who also oversees the university's $54.1 billion defined benefit plan and other investment pools totaling more than $100 billion, has made major changes in his 30-month tenure, including terminating 66 of the fund's 80 external equity managers.

Mr. Bachher declined requests for an interview though a spokeswoman, who referred a reporter to a video of the Sept. 9 meeting of the UC committee.

Mr. Bachher said at that meeting that investment results were gross of fees. He said UC paid about $600 million in fees to external managers for the endowment, pension plan and the total return investment pool.

“We see a cost structure that is still very expensive,” he said, noting that equity fees by active managers were in the range of a 1% overall fee and a 12% carry fee.

UC statistics show that the endowment held $4.2 billion, or 46.3% of its assets, in equity strategies. Equities were UC's worst-performing asset class in the year, with a -10.6% return...

Full story at http://www.pionline.com/article/20161017/PRINT/161019893/university-of-california-continues-to-cull-active-managers-as-performance-suffers

Here's the question:

Monday, October 17, 2016

Kafka at Berkeley

UC Berkeley chancellor’s personal trainer in ‘Kafkaesque’ tangle

By Matier & Ross, October 17, 2016,  San Francisco Chronicle

The saga of the UC Berkeley personal trainer who was put on paid administrative leave over questions about his relationship with Chancellor Nicholas Dirks and his wife gets stranger by the day.

Devin Wicks was the subject of a whistle-blower tip that he was giving free training sessions to Dirks and had accompanied the chancellor’s wife, Janaki Bakhle, who is an associate professor in history, on an alumni association-sponsored trip to India — all on the campus’ dime.

Thanks to Wicks, Dirks had also received an annual membership at the campus’ Recreational Sports Facility valued at $420.

Now, after six months of investigations, Wicks’ former boss at the Recreational Sports Facility has filed his own whistle-blower complaint with the university and UC President Janet Napolitano’s office — accusing them of wasting money by hanging Wicks out to dry for so long.

“He has no idea if and when the investigation will ever be over,” said Wicks’ former boss, Michael Weinberger, who retired as head of the Recreational Sports Facility in February.

Weinberger tells us that he was the one — and not Wicks — who authorized the chancellor’s free membership as a way to encourage Dirks to pay more attention to the school’s recreational needs.

According to his whistle-blower complaint, if there’s been any improper spending, it’s the more than $53,000 in salary and benefits that has been wasted these past six months keeping Wicks on the payroll but not allowing him to work.

Weinberger said Wicks was going through a “Kafkaesque experience.” UC officials have ordered him not to speak to anyone at the university or to reporters, but he’s been given no updates on the status of the case or been charged with any wrongdoing, Weinberger said.

“Also, it should be noted that while this investigation has dragged on, the chancellor was never put out on administrative leave,” Weinberger said.

On Friday, Dianne Klein, spokeswoman for Napolitano, said that “the investigation isn’t finalized, but we anticipate that it will be soon.” Beyond that, she said, she couldn’t comment.

UCLA History: '37 View

A 1937 view of the campus

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Glad we're not in this story...

...but our friends at UC-Berkeley (and USC) are.

Special Report: Chinese Firm Buys Access to U.S. College Admissions Officers

By REUTERS, Oct. 14, 2016, NY Times

NEW YORK/SHANGHAI — A major Chinese education company has paid thousands of dollars in perks or cash to admissions officers at top U.S. universities to help students apply to American schools.

And according to eight former employees of Shanghai-based Dipont Education Management Group, the company’s services didn’t end there.

Six told Reuters that Dipont employees wrote application essays for students. Another said she altered recommendation letters that teachers had written for students. One student was given access to his high school transcript and erased bad grades, one of the former employees said.

Dipont denies the allegations of application fraud but boasts of its special relationship with some 20 U.S. colleges, which include Vanderbilt University, Wellesley College, Tulane University and the University of Virginia. Their admissions officers have visited China since 2014, personally advising Dipont students at an annual summer program on how to successfully apply to U.S. colleges.

“Just once a year, current admissions officers become your exclusive consultants,” an ad from Dipont tells prospective clients. The same ad features a Wellesley student crediting the Dipont program for her early acceptance.

Dipont and an affiliated charity picked up travel expenses for admissions officers attending the program. Some officers have received cash as well – sometimes dispensed in $100 bills, according to emails Reuters reviewed.

Given the prevalence of application fraud in China, the arrangement troubles Philip G. Altbach, founding director of the Center for International Higher Education at Boston College.

“Shame on the admissions people from these top schools who are doing this,” Altbach said.

Dipont’s success in gaining access to leading American colleges underscores how people on both sides of the Pacific are hungry to capitalize on Chinese students’ desire to study in the United States.

Hundreds of thousands of Chinese students are enrolled in U.S. institutions. And hundreds of companies in China have sprung up to cater to these students, charging large sums for services that sometimes include help in cheating on standardized tests and falsifying applications.

A DONATION TO USC

Some American colleges have tried to boost revenue by hiring brokers to recruit international students, who tend to pay full tuition. In Dipont’s case, money goes the other way: A Chinese business is persuading highly selective colleges to counsel clients who are clamoring for admission to top schools.

Dipont’s founder and chief executive, Benson Zhang, said in an interview that “many of the schools, students and overseas colleges consider us one of the most ethical companies in China,” with stringent guidelines for employees.

“If there had been such a case, it had not been reported to me,” Zhang said of the reports of application fraud. “But I guarantee you, if such a complaint comes to my attention, I will deal with it with severity.” He added: “One or two aberrant employees who violate the rules do not indicate company-wide fraud.”

Zhang is also giving $750,000 to a University of Southern California research center that’s creating a program to combat fraud among Chinese applicants to American colleges.

The donation is controversial, too.

Zhang made his contribution to USC through a New York non-profit, the Council for American Culture and Education Inc, or CACE. The organization was set up for Dipont by two U.S. consultants in 2009 as the company began seeking contacts in American academia. Dipont this year began using CACE to pay some of the admissions officers who attend Dipont’s summer programs.

But CACE hasn’t disclosed its ties with Dipont in U.S. and New York State tax filings. That omission could threaten CACE’s tax-exempt status, according to Marcus Owens, former head of the non-profit organizations division of the Internal Revenue Service.

Informed of CACE’s ties to Dipont, the New York Attorney General’s office said it would review the charity. A review could lead to a formal investigation if the attorney general finds evidence the charity violated New York law.

A former Dipont employee tried to warn elite schools about the company. In 2014, Bruce Hammond emailed officials at USC and 10 other American colleges after a group of them traveled at Dipont’s expense to Beijing to discuss the USC project to fight application fraud. The warning was sent to schools including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, Columbia University and Duke University.

“As I write, images of your recent meeting in Beijing with Dipont leaders and selected school officials are circulating throughout China,” Hammond wrote. The company, he alleged, “is one of the primary architects of the system of fraud and misinformation that pervades the application process to U.S. institutions.”

The USC center said it has been looking into Hammond’s claims about Dipont but defended the company as a “reliable and valuable partner.”

$4,500 “HONORARIUM”

Dipont’s eight-day admissions workshops take place each July in Shanghai. Hundreds of Chinese students pay the company so they can hear U.S. admissions officers discuss what schools seek in applications, learn to write an effective personal essay and possibly land an interview. Dipont touts the access to the big-name participating colleges in its marketing material.

In the past three summers, the American admissions officers were given a choice of perks: either business-class airfare, or economy-class travel plus a cash “honorarium.” The past two summers, payments were $4,500 per attendee. Last year, the admissions officers were paid in cash, usually in $100 bills.

Dipont consultant Robert Clagett, a former dean of admissions at Middlebury College, has been recruiting American admissions officers for the summer programs since 2014. He said that about a quarter to a third of them took the economy flight plus cash honorarium and the rest accepted business-class airfare. He declined to provide a breakdown by school.

Six colleges – Carleton College, Hamilton College, Lafayette College, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Tulane University and the University of Vermont – confirmed that admissions officers have accepted honoraria for attending the Dipont workshops.

Admissions officers from Vanderbilt University, Wellesley College, Pomona College and Colgate University confirmed accepting plane tickets for attending the Dipont workshops.

So did officials from the University of Virginia, Indiana University and the University of California, Berkeley.

Also among the attendees in recent years, according to Clagett, were admissions officers from Claremont McKenna College; Colorado College; Davidson College; Syracuse University; Texas Christian University; and Wesleyan University. Those schools either declined to comment or didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Altbach, who heads the Boston College higher-education research center, said the officers acted improperly by accepting cash or expense reimbursement from a company seeking to place clients in elite colleges. The arrangement is all the more troubling because of the widespread application fraud in China, he said.

“I think getting in bed with the company is problematic no matter how they're being paid,” whether in cash or travel expenses, “because this company is basically a recruitment agency on steroids,” Altbach said. Dipont denies that it acts as an agent.

TUFTS SAYS NO

Some colleges have steered clear. Daniel Grayson, a former admissions officer at Tufts University, says he was invited to the 2014 workshop by Dipont consultant Clagett. Dipont offered him a $6,000 stipend plus airfare and accommodation as remuneration for participating, Grayson said, “and I responded with concerns about Dipont’s reputation and ethical practices and declined the invitation.”

Participating colleges say the arrangements are appropriate and that Dipont students received no special consideration.

Douglas Christiansen, Vanderbilt’s dean of admissions, said one of his admissions officers accepted airfare and expenses to attend a summer workshop but drew a line at taking cash. That would have been improper because the officer was on the job for Vanderbilt, said Christiansen, who is also chair of the trustees of the College Board, owner of the SAT college entrance exam. The SAT has been subject to widespread cheating in China.

Asked about the allegations of application fraud at Dipont, Christiansen said: “It is critical to note that one of the points of the workshop was to communicate the importance of submitting authentic application materials.”

Seth Allen is dean of admissions and financial aid at Pomona College, which has a $2 billion endowment. He said he accepted business-class airfare and expenses in 2015 from Dipont. “We have a limited number of resources to recruit international students,” Allen said.

U.S. admissions officers are allowed to accept travel expenses when visiting American high schools, according to Louis Hirsh, chair of the admissions practices committee of the National Association for College Admission Counseling. They are barred from offering or accepting cash in placing or recruiting American students. But the profession's code does not address a company offering cash or reimbursing expenses for counseling international students, Hirsh said.

Dipont’s advertisements promise students an edge in the admissions game. An ad in Chinese for last year’s summer camp included a plug from a Wellesley student. She attributed her successful application to meeting a Wellesley admissions officer at the summer program. “I was ultimately accepted early by Wellesley, and the camp played a crucial role in that,” she is quoted as saying.

Wellesley confirmed that an admissions officer interviewed a Dipont student at the program. The student was accepted and now attends the college. Joy St. John, Wellesley’s dean of admission, said the employee didn’t accept a cash payment, because “we’re doing work that’s related to our profession,” but did accept business-class airfare.

St. John compared the transaction to accepting travel expense reimbursement from U.S. high schools that invite Wellesley to provide general admissions counseling. Such payments are permitted, according to Hirsh. St. John added that Wellesley decided last year not to participate in Dipont workshops because the company’s marketers filmed a Wellesley admissions officer without permission.

SON OF FARMERS

Dipont founder Zhang, the son of farmers, studied electrical engineering in college and earned a scholarship to do graduate work in Australia in the 1980s. The Tiananmen crackdown of 1989 stranded him abroad, and he says he had to drop his studies to earn a living. He launched Dipont as an emigration and visa consulting firm for Chinese students.

Today, Dipont is a major provider of services to Chinese applying to foreign universities. It operates a network of international programs in Chinese high schools with about 2,000 graduates each year. It also offers tutoring for the SAT, college counseling and other “enrichment” services. College counseling alone can cost up to about $32,500 a student. Dipont’s total annual revenue is about $30 million, according to Zhang.

The two Americans who set up CACE, the charity Dipont now uses to pay admissions officers, told Reuters they were employed at the time by Dipont as consultants. They said they created CACE to help the Chinese company gain access to elite U.S. colleges.

“We have felt that having our own non-profit gives us a certain credibility,” said Stephen Gessner, a former CACE director and ex-president of the school board of Shelter Island, New York. “It helped us to recruit colleges.”

Source: http://mobile.nytimes.com/reuters/2016/10/14/sports/14reuters-college-charity-special-report.html

Now that we're getting into the (Grand) Hotel business, we need legal advice

UCLA officials announced Louise Nelson as the new vice chancellor for legal affairs Friday morning.
Nelson, who serves as senior vice president and assistant general counsel for the hotel company Hilton Worldwide, will start her term Nov. 14.
She will report to both Chancellor Gene Block and the University of California Office of General Counsel. Nelson will be responsible for establishing policy, training and processes that mitigate legal risk across complex legal frameworks.
Nelson said in a statement she thinks her new role is an opportunity to represent a world-class university on numerous issues, including labor and employment, intellectual property and health care law, among others.
“It is hard to imagine a more dynamic environment in which to practice,” Nelson said.
Before Nelson joined Hilton Worldwide, she worked for several Los Angeles law firms. She graduated from University of California, Irvine, and received her J.D. from Harvard University.
Nelson will succeed Amy Blum, interim vice chancellor, who has served since October 2015.
Because you never know what might happen:

Friday, October 14, 2016

The search for evil in Brooklyn: It can lurk ANYWHERE!!!!

Triangles on his syllabus and an awkwardly worded plea for students to engage in extra credit -- that's what a professor at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York says raised sexual harassment concerns with his administration. The college denies that it formally investigated the professor for violations under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibit gender discrimination in education, but acknowledges that officials reviewed his syllabus.
And the professor was asked to change his syllabus, which was at some point examined by a college lawyer without his knowledge. Eventually, the professor was cleared of any wrongdoing, but he remains concerned about the implications what he calls a "shadow" inquiry.
"Taking an extra-credit part of my syllabus and interpreting it as some kind of Title IX issue strikes me as bizarre -- that just doesn't seem rational," David Seidemann, professor of geology at Brooklyn, said in an interview.
To some, the incident will likely read as no harm, no foul -- after all, Seidemann's tenured job was never on the line. Others, though, are likely to see the case as further evidence of a hazy line between academic freedom and campus interpretations of Title IX. That's already a concern for groups such as the American Association of University Professors, which published a report on the matter earlier this year.
"I might have to allow for the possibility that I had I not had tenure, they could have gotten rid of me," Seidemann said. "In any case, your reputation means a lot and I hate to think it would have been damaged by some document that existed in some office."
Earlier this fall, Seidemann shared a syllabus with students in his class about geology in the modern world. Because the course includes discussions of climate change and other potentially controversial topics, he said, the syllabus noted that the classroom was not a "safe space" when it came to speech. The idea was to encourage debate and free inquiry, he said. He included triangles -- what he often uses as quotation marks or scare quotes -- around the term.
Another syllabus section said that "deportment, effort, etc." made up 10 percent of one's grade, and would be applied "only to select students when appropriate." Seidemann says the point was to make clear that extra credit was available to hardworking students, without giving away exactly how to get it; ultimately he wanted intrinsically motivated students to attend office hours, not just those seeking extra points.
According to emails provided to Inside Higher Ed, Seidemann's department chair met with him soon after the start of the semester to discuss changing his syllabus. The chair, Jennifer Cherrier, wrote in a later email that she'd been contacted about Seidemann by Patricio Jimenez, the college's Title IX coordinator.
The professors' initial conversation was in person, but Seidemann soon "memorialized" it in an email to Cherrier because he found the content to be extraordinary. Alerted to the syllabus by a student, the college apparently had taken issue with Seidemann's note that "effort" credit would only be given to some students, because it left room for sexual harassment. It's unclear exactly how.
The syllabus's statement that the classroom was an "unsafe space for those uncomfortable with viewpoints with which they may disagree: all constitutionally protected speech is welcome," also portrayed an antigay bias, particularly the triangles, Seidemann said he was told. He guessed that the triangle scare quotes were -- to someone -- reminiscent of triangles Nazis forced some gay men to wear. (Some gay men have since reclaimed the brand, wearing pink triangles by choice.)
The college had somehow already cleared Seidemann of the second concern or charge, according to his recollection of his conversation with his chair, but remained concerned about the extra credit.
"Charges involving sexual harassment and antigay bias are serious matters that mandate thorough investigation," Seidemann wrote to Cherrier. "But because the charges are so serious, they also mandate due process to the accused. That this investigation was concluded, and a course of action recommended, without my knowledge of any aspect of it, or without an opportunity for input, fails to meet that standard."
Seidemann contacted Jimenez, the Title IX coordinator, who repeatedly asked him to meet in person. But the professor declined, saying he wanted everything to be documented via email. About two weeks after Seidemann's initial conversation with Cherrier, Jimenez said the case on his syllabus was closed, "as of this writing."
Jason Carey, a spokesperson for Brooklyn, said that Seidemann was never investigated by the Title IX office. Yet somehow, he said that Seidemann's syllabus was examined by university counsel, which determined that he was not guilty of violations of Title IX.
Seidemann has repeatedly asked the college for information about the original complaint and any investigation, and has received none. Communication about Title IX complaints can be tricky, because victims' advocates say everything possible should be done to protect the complainant against possible retribution. Yet faculty advocates, including the AAUP, say that professors have a right to know about complaints against them. The association's recommended policies and procedures for sexual harassment claims, for example, say that a grievance officer "should inform the alleged offender of the allegation and of the identity of the complainant" and that a "written statement of the complaint should be given to both parties." (AAUP also says that "every effort should be made to protect the complainant from retaliatory action by those named in the complaint.")
Seidemann's faculty union, the Professional Staff Congress, had no immediate comment.
You never know where shadowy evil might be found:

UCLA History: From Afar

UCLA's Westwood campus under construction, seen from afar in 1928

Thursday, October 13, 2016

UCLA History: Easy Parking

Lots of easy parking below the Janss Steps, under construction in 1928

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Sorry about that

From Computerworld:

A University of California IT employee whose job is being outsourced to India recently wrote Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) for help.

Feinstein's office sent back a letter addressing manufacturing job losses, not IT, and offered the worker no assistance.

The employee is part of a group of 50 IT workers and another 30 contractors facing layoffs after the university hired an offshore outsourcing firm. The firm, India-based HCL, won a contract to manage infrastructure services.

That contract is worth about $50 million over five years and can be leveraged by other university campuses -- meaning they could also bring in HCL if they so choose.

The affected IT employees, who work at the school's San Francisco (UCSF) campus, are slated to lose their jobs in February and say they will be training foreign replacements.

Since the layoffs became public, the school has posted Labor Condition Applications (LCA) notices -- as required by federal law when H-1B workers are being placed. UCSF employees have seen these notices and made some available to Computerworld. They show that the jobs posted are for programmer analyst II and network administrator IV.

For the existing UCSF employees, the notices were disheartening.

"Many of us can easily fill the job. We are training them to replace us," said one employee who requested anonymity because he is still employed by the university.

The letter to Feinstein said, in part:

"The decision to move the University of California San Francisco datacenters from California to Washington was difficult to grasp. I saw several of my long time co-workers terminated, and my California tax dollars that go into the UC system being diverted to the state of Washington.

"The recent decision to outsource 17% of Information Technology to India based Company HCL has literally hit home. I am being asked to do knowledge transfer to a foreigner so they can take over my job in February of 2017.

"I am asking for your support in requesting an oversight with the Department of Labor in regards to the contract between HCL of India and University of California San Francisco. This contract will more than likely not save the University money, but it will definitely wipe out what is now a somewhat diverse workplace."

In response, Feinstein's office replied with what sounds like a form letter that cites tax code issues as an incentive to moving jobs overseas. But tax code changes do not help IT jobs that don't involve physical relocations of equipment and plants. It's the type of letter that might be more appropriate for someone in manufacturing and makes no mention of the use of the H-1B visa in IT job offshoring.

Specifically, Feinstein's office wrote back:

"Thank you for your letter expressing your concern with the outsourcing of U.S. jobs overseas. I appreciate hearing from you and welcome the opportunity to respond as this issue is of particular importance to me.

"I have received many heartfelt letters from Californians who have either lost their jobs when their company moved jobs overseas, or know people who have. It is very troubling to me that the downsizing of companies and the outsourcing of jobs appears to be becoming a trend not only in California, but nationwide. The striking loss of good jobs in California certainly indicates that both the downsizing of companies and the outsourcing of jobs are playing an increasingly prevalent role in our economy.

"As such, I believe that instead of excusing the loss of high paying jobs as inevitable, we should be taking reasonable and sensible measures to stop encouraging U.S. companies to move their employees overseas. For example, our tax code frequently rewards companies for moving jobs offshore by allowing the companies to bring foreign earned profits back into the U.S. at a rate well below what you or I pay on our income taxes.

"We also need to invest in our future. We must continue to fund and strengthen our domestic education system, which has made Americans the most productive and skilled workforce in the world. Furthermore, we must invest in appropriate safety nets for those who are temporarily displaced by shifts in domestic industry. Such safety nets would include the extension of temporary unemployment benefits, more affordable healthcare for those between jobs, and more robust job training and placement services for people displaced by outsourcing.

"I am very troubled by the loss of American jobs and will continue to investigate the roots of this problem to arrive at an appropriate and effective solution. Please know that I will continue to work hard to keep good jobs in the U.S. and to keep Americans employed.

"Again, thank you for writing. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 224-3841."

On Tuesday, Feinstein’s office was contacted by Computerworld about the communication. An aide to the senator who didn’t want to be identified said via email that the Feinstein reply “was not the appropriate response. The Senator’s office receives more than 100,000 pieces of correspondence each month and on occasion they aren’t directed correctly.”

The aide also said Feinstein's office “reached out” to the IT worker “to express our apologies and see if the Senator can be of assistance.”

As a U.S. senator, Feinstein could have asked the U.S. Department of Labor, Department of Homeland Security and other agencies to review the situation. She could have also asked California's governor to take a look at the IT outsourcing or contact the University of California directly -- a public institution that also receives federal dollars -- to ask why a partially taxpayer-supported university is moving jobs to India.

Feinstein also has another close connection to UCSF. Her husband, Richard Blum, is on the Board of Regents overseeing the University of California system.

Source: http://www.computerworld.com/article/3130262/it-careers/outsourced-it-workers-ask-feinstein-for-help-get-form-letter-in-return.html

Thursday you may be stuck

But we can't tell you where:

Vice President Joe Biden to Fundraise in Los Angeles Thursday: The vice president's motorcade is likely to impact Los Angeles traffic, but road closures haven't been announced yet.

LOS ANGELES, CA -- Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled to visit Los Angeles tomorrow to speak at a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fundraiser, possibly creating headaches for some Southland commuters.

Biden will be in Las Vegas early Thursday afternoon, speaking at a Hillary Clinton campaign event. According to the White House, Biden will travel to Los Angeles after the Las Vegas appearance, and will speak at a Southland DCCC fundraiser at 7:15 p.m. at an undisclosed private residence.

Clinton is also scheduled to be in the Southland Thursday, attending a Beverly Hills fundraiser hosted by Casey Wasserman, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Haim Saban, and featuring a performance by Elton John.

Biden is not expected to attend the Clinton fundraiser, which benefits the Hillary Victory Fund.

There was no immediate word on possible traffic restrictions to accommodate the vice presidential motorcade or what areas might be affected.

Source: http://patch.com/california/centurycity/s/fwu8r/vice-president-joe-biden-to-fundraise-in-los-angeles-thursday

Who is going to clean up this mess?

Looks good to the audience
 but someone has to clean up after it
UC’s extraordinary legal battle with ex-Berkeley law school dean

San Francisco Chronicle, Nanette Asimov, 10-11-16, via UC Daily News Clips

A lawsuit filed against the University of California raises the extraordinary question of whether UC’s efforts to hold the former dean of one of the nation’s top-ranked law schools accountable for violating its sexual harassment policy are, in fact, illegal. The claim comes from Sujit Choudhry, a tenured law professor who resigned as dean of the UC Berkeley School of Law on March 10, two days after his former assistant claimed in her own lawsuit that he hugged, kissed and touched her repeatedly against her wishes in 2014 and 2015 and that campus officials did nothing to stop it.

Campus investigators had already determined in July 2015 that Choudhry violated UC’s sexual harassment policy. As punishment, UC Berkeley officials temporarily reduced his pay by 10 percent — from $415,000 to $373,500 — and ordered him to apologize and seek counseling. That punishment was too light, UC President Janet Napolitano decided in March when she learned of the case — the latest in a string of high-profile sexual harassment incidents at UC Berkeley. Anger had reached a boiling point among students, faculty and the public over what critics saw as the school’s long tolerance of offensive behavior. Similar cases had made news across the country, creating a public perception that campuses willing to strongly discipline sexual harassers were good institutions, while those that did too little were not.

Choudhry’s lawsuit, filed Sept. 15 in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, claims that Napolitano’s motivation for stepping up the discipline against him was partly to “try to improve the university’s image, as well as her own.” The day after Choudhry resigned, Napolitano wrote to campus Chancellor Nicholas Dirks. She demanded that Choudhry be barred from campus for the rest of the spring term and ordered that the UC Berkeley Academic Senate determine whether his tenure should be revoked. The final decision is up to the UC Board of Regents, which has revoked tenure from just two Berkeley professors in 25 years.

Choudhry claims in his lawsuit that the Academic Senate is biased against him, noting that after he was sued by his former assistant, Tyann Sorrell, the Senate gave her an award for outstanding service. Choudhry returned to campus this semester but was given no classes to teach. He is seeking an injunction to stop the Senate’s disciplinary proceedings, and unspecified monetary damages. He argues that the university is singling him out for a second round of discipline because of his “race, color and national origin.” Choudhry, 46, is a Canadian citizen of Indian descent.

The suit claims he is being treated more harshly than two other UC Berkeley employees who also were embroiled in sexual harassment scandals last year: Graham Fleming, a former vice chancellor who remains a tenured chemistry professor, and Geoffrey Marcy, an internationally known astronomy professor who quit under pressure last October. Both are white. Some legal experts say Choudhry may well have a case.

“It smacks of double jeopardy,” said Bill Gould, a former chairman of the National Labor Relations Board who taught labor law for 42 years at Stanford University until 2014. He now chairs the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board. Gould pointed to the case of Ray Rice, an NFL running back who faced domestic violence charges in 2014 for knocking his fiancee unconscious in an Atlantic City casino elevator — an incident captured on video. The NFL punished Rice with a two-game suspension. When a second video surfaced revealing more details of the attack, the NFL made the suspension indefinite.

Rice, like Choudhry, argued that a second punishment for the same offense was illegal. In November 2014, arbitrator Barbara Jones, a former federal judge, agreed with Rice and overturned the second suspension. Public criticism poured in — not of Jones, but of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for not punishing Rice more severely in the first place. Choudhry’s argument that he is being punished twice “may well be the strong part of his case,” Gould said.

In court papers filed Thursday, UC lawyers say the second punishment is allowed because university policies “expressly allow disciplinary proceedings (against faculty) even after administrative actions have been taken” against the faculty member as a dean. Even if Choudhry wins, his victory could prove hollow, said Stanford law Professor Deborah Rhode, who called the former dean’s effort “career suicidal.”

“What is he thinking?” she asked. “Already his conduct is going to make him a pariah in many law school contexts — and this just fuels the flames.”

Sorrell says in her lawsuit that shortly after Choudhry became dean in July 2014, he began giving her bear hugs, kissing her on the cheek or caressing her multiple times a day. In January 2015, she says, he took her hands, put them on his waist and rubbed them while kissing her cheek. Her suit, which seeks unspecified damages from Choudhry and the regents, says she is a former victim of sexual and domestic abuse and was afraid to tell Choudhry to stop. She worried about losing her job and upsetting her boss because he “had a temper and was known for berating” employees. But she dreaded coming to work and eventually reported the matter. Sorrell has been on leave for more than a year.

Choudhry’s suit claims “no one has ever suggested that (his) conduct was sexually motivated or predatory.” He contrasts that with university findings against former Vice Chancellor Fleming and astronomer Marcy, neither of whom was barred from campus or sent before the Academic Senate’s tenure committee. Choudhry says that’s because Fleming and Marcy are white U.S. citizens, and he is neither. “Is the claim of racial discrimination valid? It may be. Absolutely we see a pattern where men of color are held to higher standards,” said Wendy Leo Moore, author of “Reproducing Racism: White Space, Elite Law Schools, and Racial Inequality.”
The second, stronger punishment against Choudhry “looks arbitrary,” said Moore, an attorney who teaches law and race theory at Texas A&M University. Napolitano “didn’t go back to the white men.” 

But other attorneys said Choudhry will need to prove that Napolitano’s action was motivated by bias. “Just the allegation that here’s two other guys who are white and didn’t get the same penalty — you’re going to have to have more than that,” said Michele Dauber, a Stanford law professor who helped revise her university’s policy on sexual assault and is leading an effort to recall the judge who handed a relatively light sentence to ex-student Brock Turner after he sexually assaulted an unconscious woman. Besides, she said, “Mr. Marcy did lose tenure” because he quit under pressure.
In June 2015, a campus investigation determined that the astronomer sexually harassed female students for nearly 10 years. Marcy, whose planet-hunting success made him a Nobel Prize contender, was let off with a warning. But after Buzzfeed broke the story, astronomers around the world campaigned for his resignation.

Fleming resigned under protest from his vice chancellor job in April 2015, six months after UC attorneys found he had most likely touched his assistant’s breasts, kissed her neck and said he wanted to “molest” her. Since resigning, Fleming “has not faced any further discipline or a second, duplicative investigation,” Choudhry’s suit says.

Legal experts say that is only partly true. After Fleming stepped down, Dirks gave him a new executive job with UC Berkeley’s planned Global Campus in Richmond at his vice chancellor’s rate of pay. Nearly a year later, in the same March 11 letter in which she laid out Choudhry’s new punishment, Napolitano ordered Fleming removed from that job.

Fleming returned to the chemistry department and, like Choudhry, has been given no classes.
UC’s court papers say that Choudhry “utterly disregards the harm he inflicted” on his former assistant Sorrell, so the court should not halt disciplinary proceedings against him. “Preventing UC from disciplining Choudhry would potentially expose students, faculty and staff to a harassing and hostile environment,” the university says. The next court hearing is set for Nov. 3.

Source: http://www.sfchronicle.com/education/article/UC-s-extraordinary-legal-battle-with-9965206.php