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Friday, March 31, 2017

Found money

UC Law Schools Awarded Millions After Bank's Loss in Court

Karen Sloan, The Recorder, March 29, 2017
 
Bank of America's "heartless" treatment of two California mortgage holders may be a financial boon to five Golden State law schools. A federal bankruptcy judge last week awarded $45 million in punitive damages and more than $1 million in actual damages to a Sacramento-area couple whose home was wrongfully foreclosed upon. At the same time, the judge directed the bulk of the punitive damages to go to the five law schools housed at University of California campuses as well as a pair of consumer rights legal organizations.

University of California, Berkeley School of Law; the University of California, Davis School of Law; the University of California, Hastings College of the Law; the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law; and the University of California, Irvine School of Law would each received $4 million earmarked for consumer law education and direct legal services—minus any taxes owed by the plaintiffs on the award—under a March 23 opinion signed by Judge Christopher Klein of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of California. The National Consumer Law Center and the National Consumer Bankruptcy Rights Center are both to receive $10 million after taxes. The remaining $5 million in punitive damages goes to the plaintiffs.

"It caught me out of the blue," said UC Davis Law Dean Kevin Johnson. "I was very surprised. This doesn't usually happen."

Johnson was unaware of the case—and the windfall for his campus—until UC Irvine Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky alerted his fellow UC deans to Klein's ruling last week. David Faigman, dean at UC Hastings, also said the award was a pleasant surprise. "In a sense, what the court is saying is when a defendant has behaved badly, the costs associated with that is providing resources to support legal education to create protectors so that other, future defendants don't behave badly," Faigman said. "And if they do, they'll get caught."

The bank's "high degree of reprehensibility" in the case called for punitive damages that would attract the attention of the bank's board of directors and serve as a deterrent, Klein found. The amount owed to the plaintiffs for lost wages, emotional distress, and their portion of the punitive damages would merely be seen as the cost of doing business for the banking behemoth, he wrote in the opinion. Hence, the majority of the $45 million award will go to organizations and law schools that can help prevent banks for taking advantage of consumers—an unusual provision.

"By channeling to these public academic and consumer advocacy institutions the societal portion of legitimate punitive damages, to be earmarked for consumer law purposes, this court is able to fashion a punitive damages remedy that addresses the enormity of the situation," Klein wrote.

In a statement from Bank of America, the company expressed regret that plaintiffs Erik and Renée Sundquist had a "challenging experience" with their mortgage.

"We believe some of the court's rulings are unprecedented and unsupported, and we plan to appeal," the bank's statement reads. Dennise Henderson, a Sacramento solo practitioner who represented the Sund­quists, said she was pleased with Klein's ruling. "Generally, I'm thrilled," she said in an interview Wednesday. "Bank of America has been exposed."

But Henderson expressed reservations about Klein's allocation of the bulk of punitive damages to the law schools and consumer protection organizations, in part because her clients had no voice in deciding where the money will go. California's public law schools engage in some good public interest legal work, she said, but they also produce lawyers who go on to represent large banks against consumers like her clients. The underlying problem is that most lawyers won't take cases like the Sundquists' to trial and face off against the banks' teams of Big Law attorneys. (Bank of America was represented by attorneys from Reed Smith in the Sundquist case.)

Johnson said preliminary ideas for UC Davis' funds from the suit include an endowed chair in consumer law, and a recurring consumer law conference, perhaps in collaboration with the other UC law schools. Hastings is mulling the addition of professors with consumer protection expertise, or grants to students who do consumer protection work during their summers, Faigman said.

Source: http://www.therecorder.com/id=1202782417388/UC-Law-Schools-Awarded-Millions-After-Banks-Loss-in-Court

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Crime Last Friday

UCLA police Wednesday identified a suspect in a sexual battery on campus and circulated the man’s photograph (shown on right). The crime occurred about 1:30 p.m. last Friday, according to the UCLA Police Department.

Babak Rahimzadeh allegedly approached the victim near the third-floor restroom of the Public Affairs Building, asked for directions, then grabbed her and sexually battered her, police said. Police circulated a photo of the 54-year-old suspect, described as being of Middle Eastern descent, 5 feet 8 inches tall and 185 pounds, with brown hair.

Anyone knowing his whereabouts was urged to call UCLA police at (310) 825-1491, or Detective Chobanian at (310) 825-9371.

Note: There is normally a fair amount of foot traffic around the location of the crime during the workday since the Luskin School administrative offices are there. However, last Friday was the end of exam week and fewer people than usual were likely around.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Dirks' Last Test?

It appears that Berkeley Chancellor Dirks (yes, he's still chancellor until June 30) will have one more test before exiting. The recent event featuring Milo Yiannopoulos didn't go well, to say the least. Now there is this:

The Berkeley College Republicans and BridgeCal have invited conservative author Ann Coulter to speak on campus April 27 to cover the topic of illegal immigration.
Coulter, a self-identified “right-wing polemicist” and 12-time New York Times best-selling author, is known for her controversial books, including “If Democrats Had Any Brains, They’d Be Republicans” and “In Trump We Trust.” BCR spokesperson Naweed Tahmas and BridgeCal founder and co-president Pranav Jandhyala said that BCR approached BridgeCal with the idea of inviting Coulter to campus.
When BCR heard that BridgeCal — a campus club that facilitates discussions among students with contrasting ideologies — planned to host a speaker series on illegal immigration in the coming months, BCR proposed that BridgeCal also invite a conservative speaker to offer an alternative perspective on the issue, according to Jandhyala.
“We do believe that Ms. Coulter is the perfect individual to engage in this debate about illegal immigration,” Tahmas said. “I think there’s definitely a void in conservative thought at UC Berkeley.”...

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

It's bleak to me

To this non-expert, non-lawyer, the never-ending saga of who is to be credited with the patent rights to CRISPR gene-editing technology seems reminiscent of Charles Dickens' Bleak House tale of interminable litigation:

The European Patent Office (EPO) yesterday (March 23) announced its intention to award a broad-strokes patent for CRISPR gene-editing technology to the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Vienna, and Emmanuelle Charpentier (formerly of the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research). The claims include the use of CRISPR across prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells and organisms, hitting upon the point of contention in a recent patent interference decision in the United States. In that case, the US Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) denied UC Berkeley the rights over the use of the technology in eukaryotes—the money-making application for CRISPR—leaving that intellectual property with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.
“We are excited that this patent will issue based on the foundational research we published with Emmanuelle Charpentier and the rest of our team,” Jennifer Doudna, the leader of the UC Berkeley contingent of the international team, said in a statement. “We look forward to the continued applications of gene-editing technology to solve problems in human health and agriculture.”
According to EPO procedures, the international team’s patent is all but granted (a few logistical details, such as finalizing the text and paying fees, remain to be settled). “Substantively, the decision is made,”said Catherine Coombes, a senior patent attorney with HGF Limited in the U.K. who last year wrote an opinion for The Scientist on the CRISPR patent situation in Europe. “The EPO, by granting this [patent], is not being swayed by the PTAB decision in the U.S. . . . The claims are very broad.”
The Broad Institute will now have nine months to file its opposition to the EPO patent’s claims. Coombes said she expects that will happen. “We can, of course, expect multiple oppositions upon grant,” Coombes said. “No doubt, these will concentrate heavily on why UC Berkeley shouldn’t be entitled to their earliest [filing] date” for all the claims listed.
Unlike the parallel process in the U.S., the UC Berkeley–Vienna–Helmholtz Centre team will have multiple opportunities to amend its claims, noted Kevin Noonan, a biotech expert and partner at the Chicago-based IP law firm McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff. The team “could ultimately get more narrow claims,” he said. If that’s the case, he added, the situation in Europe could end up the way the US IP landscape is expected to play out, with UC Berkeley owning rights to CRISPR’s use in prokaryotes, and the Broad Institute owning CRISPR rights in eukaryotes. Otherwise, the UC Berkeley team could end up with intellectual property rights over CRISPR technology in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.
The EPO’s decisions should not have any impact on future proceedings at the USPTO, said Noonan. “The US courts and patents laws don’t care what the Europeans do,” he said...

Monday, March 27, 2017

Patent Medicine of the 21st Century

Things have evidently become more complicated and contentious than back in the day:

In the final days of 2016, the Regents of the University of California, which governs the University of California (UC) system, filed a lawsuit against a former graduate student from UC Santa Cruz (UCSC). At the center of the legal spat is the proper assignation of a series of patents covering DNA sequencing technologies, which UC alleges were developed while the inventor was under an agreement obliging him to assign those patents to UC. The suit has been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (N.D. Cal.)...

Full story at http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2017/03/26/university-california-assignment-patents-former-grad-student/id=79687/

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Reserves

[Click to enlarge]
The Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) produced a history of the reserves in the general fund.* There are now actually two reserves: the regular reserve, and what is sometimes called the rainy-day fund. The latter was actually created under Schwarzenegger but never amounted to anything until Brown's ballot proposition began to fill it. Yours truly has added some commentary in italics to the LAO chart above. As can be seen, the ups and downs of actual reserves follows the business cycle. You can see the recession of the early 1980s, the recession of the early 1990s (which hit California especially hard because of the end of Cold War spending that occurred at the same time), the dot-com bust, and the Great Recession of 2008-09. Note that the planned (budgeted) end-of-year reserve is always positive (or at least non-negative), even though the actual reserve goes into the red when the economy has a downturn.** If there is a take-away from the chart, it is that even with large reserves, it only takes a couple of years to blow them out in a downturn.
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*http://www.lao.ca.gov/Publications/Report/3630
**During the course of a fiscal year, the reserve in the general fund is often in the red as the seasonality of spending and tax receipts don't match. When that happens, the state controller borrows from funds outside the general fund and, if necessary, does short-term borrowing externally.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Bad Fit?

UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks improperly accepted free university benefits, including membership to the campus fitness center, two years of personal training sessions and the unauthorized transfer of exercise equipment from the public gym to his private residence, a university investigation has found.
Overall, Dirks failed to pay for $4,990 in fees for the gym membership and personal training and enjoyed the private use of a Precor Cross Trainer elliptical exercise machine worth between $3,500 and $4,000, according to findings of the heavily redacted report released Friday.
UC ethics rules bar employees from the unauthorized use of campus resources or facilities or the “entanglement” of private interests with UC obligations. The investigation, performed for the UC Office of the President by an outside firm, Public Interest Investigations Inc., concluded that Dirks violated those rules and concluded that the allegations against him by an unnamed whistleblower were founded.
Dirks, through a spokesman, declined to comment.
UC spokeswoman Dianne Klein said Dirks apologized and repaid the money owed even before the investigation was completed in September...

Cool Million

University of California officials spent nearly $1 million investigating former UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi, a probe that ended in her resignation last August and a deal that allowed her to take a year off at full pay before returning to a faculty job, according to figures released Friday.
The four-month investigation was ordered last April by UC President Janet Napolitano after disclosures in The Sacramento Bee about Katehi’s acceptance of lucrative corporate board seats and her use of university funds to clean up her image online. The final investigative report was released Aug. 9, the same day Katehi agreed to resign after fighting for months to save her job running one of the nation’s premiere universities.
The probe by the Orrick law firm was headed by two former U.S. attorneys from Northern California – Melinda Haag and McGregor Scott – and included interviews with 55 individuals, the compilation of 2.7 million emails and documents and a review of more than 67,000 emails and other electronic documents...

Preparation for college?

[Click to enlarge]


The Brookings Institution reports on a survey of foreign exchange students attending U.S. high schools and their perceptions of whether the American curriculum was harder or easier. Two thirds said it was much easier, an increase since 2001. See the chart above.

You can find the study at:
https://www.brookings.edu/research/2017-brown-center-report-part-ii-survey-of-foreign-exchange-students/

Friday, March 24, 2017

Agreement reached with Teamsters

Blog readers - if they have been listening to the audios from our posts on recent Regents meetings - that there have been protests by Teamsters over an open contract negotiation with UC. However, a tentative deal has now been reached:

UC, Teamsters Local 2010 reach provisional labor agreement

By Ahna Straube | March 23, 2017 | Daily Cal

The University of California has reached a provisional labor agreement with Teamsters Local 2010 on a contract that would cover more than 11,000 clerical employees, according to a UC press release issued Thursday.

The contract will be effective through March 31, 2022, upon approval by Teamster membership, the press release stated.

Teamsters is a union of more than 14,000 employees within the UC system and is affiliated with 1.4 million members throughout the United States and Canada, according to the Teamsters website. The union’s mission is to gain better wages, benefits and working conditions for its members.

Elise Magno, a union representative for Teamsters, said the union comprises library assistants, police dispatchers, early childhood teachers, cashiers and administrative support.

In February, Teamsters protested unfair wages and a new 401(k)-style retirement plan outside UC executive offices in Downtown Oakland. Prior to the protest, the UC Board of Regents had approved a new retirement tier that included a “capped” version of the existing pension.

Magno said Teamsters has been working toward a tentative agreement with the university since last April. According to Magno, the union and the university conducted negotiations last Wednesday. She added that there was “a lot of movement” between both entities.

“I hold the local union’s opinion (that) this is a democratic process,” Magno said.

According to the press release, the proposed contract includes an annual 3 percent wage increase, a $1,200 bonus per clerical employee, a $25 limit on any rate increase to Kaiser Permanente and Health Net Blue & Gold health insurance plans and the continuation of current retirement benefits for employees hired before July 1, 2016.

“We are pleased to have reached an agreement that maintains competitive wages and benefits for our clerical colleagues and recognizes the important role they play in keeping our campuses and medical centers running,” said Dwaine Duckett, UC vice president for systemwide human resources, in the press release.

Teamsters-represented employees are expected to vote on the provisional agreement in the next three weeks, according to Magno.

Source: http://www.dailycal.org/2017/03/23/uc-teamsters-local-2010-reach-provisional-labor-agreement/

Note: The union's summary of the tentative agreement indicates that it accepts the lower-tier pension arrangement for new hires that the Regents approved. Some of the protests in the past focused on the pension. The summary states:

New hires will have choice of the defined benefit pension or defined contribution plan, just like non-represented employees and members of the following Unions: IX & LX-Units: AFT; DX-Unit: UAPD/AFSCME; K2-Unit - San Francisco BTC; K5-Unit: IUOE; KB-Unit: Alameda County BTC; K8 & K9 & KM-Units-SETC.

Source: http://teamsters2010.org/Campaigns/Ratification/TASummary_3-20-17.pdf [p. 4]

New Chancellor; New Scandal at Berkeley

As one chancellor revolves out, and another revolves in at UC-Berkeley, a new sexual harassment scandal arises:

It’s more bad news for both a discipline and an institution that have been plagued by reports of sexual harassment and assault in recent years: a former research assistant is suing the University of California for failing to properly address her report of misconduct against a star philosopher on the Berkeley campus...

Full story at: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2017/03/24/berkeley-again-accused-protecting-reputation-star-professor-instead-acting-reports

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Apart from that

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

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

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

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

CSU Trustees Voted To Increase Tuition By 5 Percent

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

Now you don't see them; now you do

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

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

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Signature events

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

http://www.acenet.edu/news-room/Documents/Letter-From-Institutions-to-President-Trump-on-Dreamers.pdf

Among the signatures:

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

Not found:

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

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

Monday, March 20, 2017

When you gotta go

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

Free how?

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

The way we live now

From the Bruin:

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

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

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

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Listen to the Regents Meeting of March 16, 2017

At the link at the bottom of this message, you will find the audio of the March 16, 2017 meeting of the full Board of Regents. We again archive it indefinitely since the Regents preserve their recordings for only one year, a limit without any reasonable rationale. The one-year policy is particularly outrageous since the original recordings are now being put on YouTube by the Regents. All they would have to do is not delete the recordings to make them indefinitely available.

Below is a summary of the meeting, some of which has appeared in an earlier post on this blog

UC regents debate enrollment limits on students from other states and countries, approve Berkeley chancellor

Teresa Watanabe   LA Times   3-16-17

University of California regents expressed an array of concerns Thursday over a controversial proposal to limit the number of undergraduates from other states and countries to 20% of total systemwide enrollment.

The regents, meeting in San Francisco, also unanimously approved Carol T. Christ, a longtime UC Berkeley administrator and professor, as the next chancellor to lead the renowned but troubled public research university.

Regents initially were scheduled to vote Thursday on the nonresident proposal, which UC unveiled this month to ease public controversy over its admissions practices and clear the way to receiving $18.5 million in additional state funding that is tied to adoption of a limit.

UC’s proposed cap allows for some growth — nonresidents currently make up 16.5% of the system's 210,170 undergraduates — except at UCLA, UC San Diego and UC Berkeley. Those three campuses would be allowed to maintain but not increase their current percentages, which are higher than 20%.

But regents delayed a vote until May and will continue discussions until then as some critics call for lower limits and others for no quota at all.

The debate Thursday underscored the deep concerns over the proposal.

Regent Sherry Lansing fretted that the limit could deprive campuses with fewer out-of-state students, such as UC Riverside and UC Santa Cruz, of future opportunities to attract them and the extra tuition dollars they bring in. James Chalfant, chair of the UC Academic Senate, echoed that concern, saying the proposal would create “tiered campuses” because some would be able to bring in more nonresident tuition dollars than others.

“We don’t want to reinforce a policy of haves and have-nots … and put them in competition with each other,” Chalfant said.

Regent Eloy Ortiz Oakley said the UC system should first make a better case to the state about its funding needs. He referred to nonresident tuition as “sugar water” and public funding as “protein,” to stress the need for the state to beef up the UC system with more money.

Others wanted to know how nonresident students affected campus diversity. Regent Gareth Elliott rejected adopting any nonresident policy at all.

But UC President Janet Napolitano reminded regents that state lawmakers required the UC system to set a limit before they released additional funding.

“Somehow, we’ve got to navigate our way through this and end up … with the right answer,” she said.

The 10-campus system quadrupled its nonresident enrollment between 2007 and 2016 to make up for steep state budget cuts following the recession. Although UC also increased the number of California students by 10% during that time, the growing reliance on nonresidents sparked a backlash from California families and legislators.

Chancellors from UCLA and UC San Diego told regents how the additional money from nonresidents — who pay about $27,000 more in annual tuition than their California counterparts — has helped pay for more faculty and courses as well as needed building repairs.

UCLA, for instance, received $145 million in nonresident tuition last year, which helped it make up significant state funding cuts, said Chancellor Gene Block. The money helped UCLA offer more courses, which reduced the average time needed to graduate to less than four years. It also helped UCLA manage rising costs for employee benefits and salaries.

“This really made up the hole in UCLA’s budget,” Block said.

Regent Richard Blum added that the university richly benefits from international students who study at UC campuses and return home to become successful business and political leaders. At a UC Berkeley reunion in Hong Kong, he said, 500 people showed up.

“It’s amazing how many people — successful leaders, heads of companies — still talk about Berkeley and may give back one way or another,” he said.

On other matters, the regents were firmly united.

They approved Christ as the new UC Berkeley chancellor “enthusiastically and unanimously,” as Board Chairwoman Monica Lozano put it after the vote.

Christ, currently Berkeley’s interim executive vice chancellor and provost, will take the helm July 1. She will succeed Nicholas Dirks, who announced his resignation last year following widespread criticism over his handling of sexual misconduct scandals, the budget deficit and what many regarded as a distant and disengaged leadership style.

Christ, 72, will earn the same salary Dirks did: $531,939 annually. She has spent more than 30 years at Berkeley as a professor and administrator and also served as president of Smith College for a decade.

Napolitano told regents that Christ, the 11th chancellor and first woman to lead the 149-year-old campus, was “a remarkable person, a visionary and a first.”

“Dr. Christ has a way with making things better. She builds strong relationships, and trust, with diverse groups and diverse individuals, and then forms consensus and finds solutions,” Napolitano said.

Blum said Christ’s collaborative style and intimate knowledge of Berkeley’s culture was just what the university needed.

“Berkeley is a troubled campus in terms of people learning to get along,” he said shortly before the vote. “It is not going well, and we needed somebody from the inside who understood the place to straighten it out.”

Christ, speaking to reporters after the vote, said she would focus on Berkeley’s multimillion-dollar budget deficit, the student housing crunch, undergraduate education and faculty issues to help the renowned public research university through what she called its worst difficulties in 50 years.

Christ said she would aim to enhance Berkeley’s tradition of “excellence and access.”

“It is Berkeley's DNA,” she said.

In other actions, the regents approved changes to rules on faculty sexual misconduct, including eliminating time limits to file complaints.

They also approved the UC system’s first policy that would impose sanctions on regents found to have violated university rules on ethics and sexual misconduct, even outside their university roles.

Source: http://www.latimes.com/local/education/la-me-edu-uc-regents-meeting-20170316-story.html

You can hear the audio of the March 16 meeting at:

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Listen to the Regents Meetings of the Afternoon of March 15, 2017

Here is a summary (below), courtesy of the Daily Bruin, of the March 15th meeting. We have already posted the audios of the morning segments.

The University of California Board of Regents, the governing body of the UC, discussed the cost of attendance, UC advocacy in state and federal government and student housing at UC Berkeley and UCLA, among other items, on the second day of its board meeting at UC San Francisco.
Academic and Student Affairs Committee
  • The committee approved amendments about professional degree supplemental tuition, which would require programs to justify needs for tuition increases and make changes more predictable.
  • The committee approved amendments to the faculty code of conduct which clarify the Chancellor’s responsibilities in responding to alleged violations of the code and give the Chancellor more time to file disciplinary charges.
  • The committee also approved proposals by representatives from UC Berkeley’s Master of Civil and Environmental Engineering and UC Irvine’s Master of Urban and Regional Planning to establish professional degree supplemental tuition for the first time in fall 2017.
  • Christopher Carter, UC legislative director for research, presented the results of a recent survey on the cost of attendance, which found that aside from tuition and fees, costs have increased 4 percent across the UC system.
  • The survey found that the cost of food and rent has increased while the cost of books and transportation has decreased.
  • Regent Monica Lozano announced plans to create a working group comprised of representatives from the Regents, student affairs, all the offices of the chief financial officer and the UC Student Association to investigate how to address rising costs.
Finance and Capital Strategies Committee
  • Steve Olsen, UCLA chief financial officer and vice chancellor, and Pete Angelis, assistant vice chancellor of UCLA Housing & Hospitality Services, presented five possible sites for construction of new residence halls and apartment complexes for undergraduate students.
  • Regent Hadi Makarechian asked why UCLA wanted to wait until 2021 to finish building the units since they are self-financeable and there is a demand for the buildings. Olsen said because the construction would impact highly-congested areas, campus officials need to think through all the issues and discover whether some sites are more cost effective than others.
  • The committee also discussed the housing situation at UC Berkeley. It also approved the creation of a nonprofit organization associated with UC Davis that would allow the camous to sell its wine, since the UC cannot hold an alcohol license.
Public Engagement and Development Committee
  • The committee heard updates from UC officials about the impacts of the Affordable Care Act and the Republican replacement bill, the American Health Care Act, on UC medical centers. Officials said repealing the ACA and implementing a replacement would jeopardize $4.6 billion in premium subsidies to more than 1.2 million Covered California enrollees. UC Health also said it will seek to ensure the continuation of affordable, comprehensive health coverage and protect academic medical centers’ capacity to treat patients.
  • Officials also updated the committee on the state budget process. They expressed support for many proposals within the governor’s January budget proposal, except one that would phase out the Middle Class Scholarship program. They said higher education funding proposals could change in the May revision.
  • The committee also recommended that the Board of Regents endorse The Campaign for UC San Diego, which seeks to raise $2 billion to increase undergraduate scholarships, update teaching facilities and increase the number of endowed chairs.
Governance and Compensation Committee
  • The committee approved an amendment to the Regents’ Conflict of Interest policy that outlines requirements for documentation of conflicts of interest and training to avoid conflicts of interest.
  • The committee also approved an amendment to UC Health market reference zones, which determine the competitiveness of pay for executives at UC medical centers.

You can hear the afternoon discussions at the links below:
and

Friday, March 17, 2017

Faculty Rep Jim Chalfant on 20% Non-Resident Cap

We will post the remaining audios of the Regents meetings of March 15 and 16 in due course. However, it is worth taking note of the remarks of Faculty Representative and systemwide Academic Senate Chair Jim Chalfant to the Regents yesterday when the 20% cap was discussed. He pointed to the general downward direction of state support per student and the fact that non-state students in effect subsidize with their tuition the educations of in-state students. You can listen to his remarks below.

Summary from the LA Times:

University of California regents expressed an array of concerns Thursday over a controversial proposal to limit the number of undergraduates from other states and countries to 20% of total systemwide enrollment...
Regents initially were scheduled to vote Thursday on the nonresident proposal, which UC unveiled this month to ease public controversy over its admissions practices and clear the way to receiving $18.5 million in additional state funding that is tied to adoption of a limit. UC’s proposed cap allows for some growth — nonresidents currently make up 16.5% of the system's 210,170 undergraduates — except at UCLA, UC San Diego and UC Berkeley. Those three campuses would be allowed to maintain but not increase their current percentages, which are higher than 20%. But regents delayed a vote until May and will continue discussions until then as some critics call for lower limits and others for no quota at all.
The debate Thursday underscored the deep concerns over the proposal. Regent Sherry Lansing fretted that the limit could deprive campuses with fewer out-of-state students, such as UC Riverside and UC Santa Cruz, of future opportunities to attract them and the extra tuition dollars they bring in. James Chalfant, chair of the UC Academic Senate, echoed that concern, saying the proposal would create “tiered campuses” because some would be able to bring in more nonresident tuition dollars than others.
“We don’t want to reinforce a policy of haves and have-nots … and put them in competition with each other,” Chalfant said.
Regent Eloy Ortiz Oakley said the UC system should first make a better case to the state about its funding needs. He referred to nonresident tuition as “sugar water” and public funding as “protein,” to stress the need for the state to beef up the UC system with more money. Others wanted to know how nonresident students affected campus diversity. Regent Gareth Elliott rejected adopting any nonresident policy at all.
But UC President Janet Napolitano reminded regents that state lawmakers required the UC system to set a limit before they released additional funding.
“Somehow, we’ve got to navigate our way through this and end up … with the right answer,” she said.
The 10-campus system quadrupled its nonresident enrollment between 2007 and 2016 to make up for steep state budget cuts following the recession. Although UC also increased the number of California students by 10% during that time, the growing reliance on nonresidents sparked a backlash from California families and legislators.
Chancellors from UCLA and UC San Diego told regents how the additional money from nonresidents — who pay about $27,000 more in annual tuition than their California counterparts — has helped pay for more faculty and courses as well as needed building repairs.
UCLA, for instance, received $145 million in nonresident tuition last year, which helped it make up significant state funding cuts, said Chancellor Gene Block. The money helped UCLA offer more courses, which reduced the average time needed to graduate to less than four years. It also helped UCLA manage rising costs for employee benefits and salaries...
Prof. Chalfant's remarks can be heard below:

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Opposites Attract (on Middlebury Issue)

From Inside Higher Ed:

Stylistically and politically, Robert P. George and Cornel West don’t have much in common. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University, is one of the country’s most prominent conservative intellectuals. West, a professor of the practice of public philosophy and African and African-American studies at Harvard University, is a self-described “radical Democrat” who, in addition to many books, once released a spoken-word album.
So when George and West agree on something and lend their names to it, people take notice -- as they did this week, when the pair published a statement in support of “truth seeking, democracy and freedom of thought and expression.” It’s a politely worded denunciation of what George and West call “campus illiberalism,” or the brand of thinking that led to this month’s incident at Middlebury College, where students prevented an invited speaker from talking and a professor was physically attacked by some who were protesting the invitation.
“It is all too common these days for people to try to immunize from criticism opinions that happen to be dominant in their particular communities,” reads the statement. “Sometimes this is done by questioning the motives and thus stigmatizing those who dissent from prevailing opinions; or by disrupting their presentations; or by demanding that they be excluded from campus or, if they have already been invited, disinvited.”
Sometimes, it says, “students and faculty members turn their backs on speakers whose opinions they don’t like or simply walk out and refuse to listen to those whose convictions offend their values. Of course, the right to peacefully protest, including on campuses, is sacrosanct. But before exercising that right, each of us should ask: Might it not be better to listen respectfully and try to learn from a speaker with whom I disagree? Might it better serve the cause of truth seeking to engage the speaker in frank civil discussion?”
All of us “should be willing -- even eager -- to engage with anyone who is prepared to do business in the currency of truth-seeking discourse by offering reasons, marshaling evidence and making arguments,” George and West wrote. “The more important the subject under discussion, the more willing we should be to listen and engage -- especially if the person with whom we are in conversation will challenge our deeply held -- even our most cherished and identity-forming -- beliefs.”
Such “an ethos,” they conclude, “protects us against dogmatism and groupthink, both of which are toxic to the health of academic communities and to the functioning of democracies.”...
The actual West-George statement is at:
http://jmp.princeton.edu/statement

(Directions for those who want to sign are at link above.)

Listen to morning session of Regents: March 15, 2017

The LA Times summarizes some of what transpired yesterday:

Amid rising public concern about college expenses, University of California regents were told Wednesday that the cost of attending UC campuses increased by about $1,100, or 4% last year.

The public university system’s new cost survey found that food, housing and healthcare costs rose, but transportation and book expenses dropped. The survey, conducted last spring at every campus, will be used to set budgets for 2017-18. UC Berkeley recorded the biggest average cost increase, rising 7% to $34,217 annually. UC Santa Cruz — at $34,627 — was the most expensive campus. UC Riverside — at $30,802 — was the cheapest.


Regent Eloy Ortiz Oakley called on regents to look for ways to lower the cost of attendance during a committee session on the first day of a two-day meeting in San Francisco. Regent John A. Pérez said the university’s requirement that all students, regardless of income level, contribute about $10,000 annually to cover their costs might discourage some students from applying to UC...
You can hear the three morning segments at:
and
https://archive.org/details/RegentsFinCapitalStrategies31517/Regents+AcademicStudentAffairsLabs3-15-17am.wma

PS: Some nasty questions about cost and usable square feet were asked about a proposed UC-SF project. It reminds one of what happened when the UCLA Grand Hotel was first submitted. But, of course, there was a promise to come back with answers and, like the Grand Hotel, approval can be expected despite doubts.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Regents Agenda Summary & Yesterday's Audio

UC Regents Survey Area Designated for UC-Irvine: 1961
The LA Times provides a summary of the next two days of Regents meetings. See below. In addition, yours truly has preserved the audio of yesterday's meeting of the Regents Investments Committee, since the Regents only "archive" recordings of their meetings for one year. See also the link below for the audio.

The hot-button issues on the UC regents' agenda: Rising costs, nonresident enrollment and campus housing shortages

Teresa Watanabe, LA Times, 3-15-17

University of California regents will tackle a host of hot-button issues at their two-day meeting in San Francisco beginning Wednesday, including proposed enrollment limits on students from other states and countries, the rising cost of attendance and the campus housing squeeze.

Regents also will vote to approve the appointment of Carol T. Christ, UC Berkeley’s top academic officer who would be the 11th chancellor and first woman to lead the 149-year-old campus.

Board members also will discuss a proposed policy to impose sanctions against regents found to have violated university rules on ethics and sexual misconduct, even outside their university roles. The proposal was triggered by disclosures that Regent Norman Pattiz had made sexually inappropriate remarks to employees and independent contractors at his Podcast One studio in Beverly Hills. He apologized and underwent sexual harassment prevention training.

A lively debate is expected over UC’s proposal to cap undergraduate enrollment at 20% of the student population systemwide. Nonresident students numbered 34,673 at the system’s nine undergraduate campuses in fall 2016, or 16.5% of the system’s 210,170 undergraduates. That proportion has quadrupled since 2007, as campuses scrambled to make up major state budget cuts with the extra tuition dollars that students from other states and countries pay.

UC also has increased the number of California students by 10% over that time. But the growing reliance on nonresident enrollment has sparked a backlash from California families and legislators. Lawmakers are requiring that UC adopt a policy limiting out-of-state students in order to receive $18.5 million in additional state funding.

The proposed policy, aimed at balancing the needs of California students with the benefits of diversity and the additional money that nonresidents bring in, has drawn mixed responses. The UC Academic Senate opposes what it calls “arbitrary quotas,” while some lawmakers wanted UC to cap nonresidents at their current proportion of 16.5% rather than allow for growth...

In other business, regents will discuss a new survey that found that the cost of attending UC rose an average of 4% this year compared with last year Housing and food costs increased, while expenses for transportation and books declined...

Full story at http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-uc-regents-advance-20170315-story.html

Link to audio of Regents Investment Committee meeting of March 14, 2017: