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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

More Master Plan Slippage

Fresno State President Joseph Castro says he wants to see any new effort to build a public medical school in the San Joaquin Valley be a collaboration between the UC and CSU systems.
Last month, Assemblymember Joaquin Arambula introduced a bill in Sacramento that would authorize a new medical school at Fresno State. But the state’s master plan for higher education calls for medical schools to be the domain only of the University of California.
Speaking with Valley Public Radio, Castro says he agrees with Arambula that the valley deserves a public medical school to help address the shortage of physicians here, but…
Castro: “I’ve expressed to him that my preference as president of Fresno State is that we would do that in collaboration with the University of California."
For years, discussion about a medical school in the valley has centered around UC Merced, but Arambula’s bill doesn’t mention that campus. He told Valley Public Radio last month that's due to Merced’s focus on increasing enrollment and campus expansion by 2010...

Harvard goes to DC

Hello, Jared and Steve
Harvard ramps up lobbying as Trump is seen as threat

Christopher Rowland, Boston Globe, February 27, 2017

WASHINGTON — Harvard president Drew Faust is ramping up efforts to protect the university from upheaval during the Trump administration, shuttling to Washington this week to make the case for ongoing scientific funding and the continued free flow of foreign students and academics.

Trump’s travel restriction and plan to aggressively boost military spending — potentially at the expense of National Institutes of Health budgets — pose threats to Harvard, which is one of the biggest economic engines in Massachusetts.

The college spent about $600,000 last year lobbying officials to make sure the federal tap continues to flow. It also is closely monitoring tax overhaul plans that could reduce or eliminate deductions for charitable giving and impose taxes on the university’s huge endowment.

Faust is visiting Washington to make the case directly to members of Congress. It follows a similar trip she made in January, when she met with the Senate leaders from each party, Republican Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Democrat Chuck Schumer of New York.

Harvard has typically been able to rely on a big network of alumni in any new presidential administration, but Trump’s White House seems to have fewer than the norm. The most notable officials with ties to Harvard are bachelor’s degree holder Jared Kushner, Trump’s son in law, and Steve Bannon, the top adviser who is a key engineer of the Trump revolution under way in the capital. Bannon went to Harvard Business School.

“This administration seems unpredictable in many ways,’’ Faust told editors and reporters at a lunch hosted by Bloomberg News. “It doesn’t seem tied to the traditional notions of the role of government. And so [the new White House’s] understanding of this long relationship between federal government and higher education is unclear to us.’’

These same worries are echoed in halls of academia across the Bay State and the country, as university presidents, medical school administrators, and laboratory scientists grapple with the fallout of Trump’s surprising election.

They view research budgets as especially vulnerable to cuts Trump is mandating to help pay for his planned surge in defense spending. Trump’s pledges to leave Social Security and Medicare alone will magnify pressure on other areas of the budget.

“When we look at the nature of the budget that Trump is said to be considering, with huge increases in defense spending and no reductions in entitlements, it’s not clear where the kind of support would come from’’ to keep scientific research dollars intact, Faust said.

Climate scientists would be severely impacted by the president’s proposed cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency, she added. “The state of the EPA and the threats to eviscerating its foundations are very much in the minds of our researchers. They are very anxious about where funding came come from,’’ Faust said.

Harvard will continue to advocate for the integrity of rigorous science, she said, while avoiding the ideological fray as an institution. She compared the college’s mission to the media’s efforts to dig out facts.

“We, too, define our identity in that way. We are about knowledge, facts — veritas — truth,’’ said Faust.

Faust telegraphed, in remarks to arts and sciences faculty in December, what she viewed as the need to personally advocate for Harvard in Washington. “I anticipate that this work will consume a considerable portion of my time and attention in the months to come,” she said then.

She was among several dozen university leaders who wrote to Trump Feb. 2 objecting to his executive order temporarily banning travel to the United States by refugees and citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries, calling it unfair, counter to American principles, and chilling on international academic exchange.

The hastily produced ban has been stayed by federal courts, but Trump is expected to issue a revised ban this week, one designed to better overcome legal challenges.

A Swiss scientist who has worked at Harvard since the 1990s recently told Faust he would rather pursue his work in Switzerland, Faust said Monday, telling her in a letter, “I feel unwelcome here.’’

Faust has established the position of Muslim chaplain to counsel students who are coping with the travel ban fallout. Town hall meetings sponsored by Harvard in response to the ban have attracted 900 people, she said.

She said she worries about the explicit bans and threats aimed at undocumented students and immigrants, as well as the general environment in the United States for non-citizens. About 20 percent of Harvard students come from foreign countries.

Citing just one example of important international exchanges, she noted long-standing ties between American academic medical centers and Iran, which has been sending medical students to the United States since the days of the shah of Iran.

“If people from India feel they may be shot if they come to the United States, it is very troubling,’’ said Faust. Last week, an Indian tech worker was shot to death in a Kansas bar.

Faust said she has resisted calls to declare Harvard a “sanctuary campus’’ in response to Trump’s plan for more aggressive deportations, however, because she believes it would give students a “false sense of security.’’

The college will require that law enforcement officials get a warrant before entering the campus, and it is offering advice and support. Up to 150 people on campus are undocumented, she estimated.

Source: http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2017/02/27/harvard-president-lobbies-washington-protect-foreign-academics-and-research-dollars/Vyvt76GsS6Rt2apeYSNcQI/story.html

Monday, February 27, 2017

No happy returns

The Returns to Online Postsecondary Education

by Caroline M. Hoxby  -  National Bureau of Economic Research working paper #23193

AbstractThis study analyzes longitudinal data on nearly every person who engaged in postsecondary education that was wholly or substantially online between 1999 and 2014. It shows how much they and taxpayers paid for the education and how their earnings changed as a result. I compute both private returns-on-investment (ROIs) and social ROIs, which are relevant for governments--especially the federal government. The findings provide little support for optimistic prognostications about online education. It is not substantially less expensive than comparable in-person education. Students themselves pay more for online education than in-person education. Online enrollment usually does raise a person's earnings, but almost never by enough to cover the social cost of the education. There is scant evidence that online enrollment moves people toward jobs associated with higher labor productivity. Calculations indicate that federal taxpayers fund most of the cost of online postsecondary education and are extremely unlikely to recoup their investment in the form of higher future tax payments by former students. The evidence also suggests that many online students will struggle to repay their federal loans.

Source: http://www.nber.org/papers/w23193

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Why are these folks smiling?

REGENTS HEALTH SERVICES COMMITTEE
Date: March 3, 2017
Location: Luskin Conference Center, Centennial Hall, Salons C & D, Los Angeles Campus

12:30 pm - Closed Session

1:00 pm - Open Session

*Public Comment Period
*Action Approval of the Minutes of the Meeting of December 5, 2016
*H3 Discussion Remarks of the Executive Vice President – UC Health
*H4 Action Approval of Salary Adjustment Using Non-State Funds for President, UCLA Health System (John Mazziota - left) and Chief Executive Officer, UCLA Hospital System, Los Angeles Campus as Discussed in Closed Session (Johnese Spisso - right)

See http://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/regmeet/mar17/health.pdf and https://www.uclahealth.org/our-leadership

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Buried

Sometimes, news stories are said to bury the lede, meaning that the real message is hidden in the text.

In the case below, one wonders if the lede is buried so deep that it cannot be found at all. Perhaps the real message is that adding to enrollments without sufficient additional funding is the cause of the shortage.

From the Bruin:

Some graduate students teach undergraduate courses outside of their departments because of a shortage in teaching assistants.
There has been a teaching assistant shortage in divisions like life sciences and physical sciences because the undergraduate student population has increased faster than the graduate student population over the past few years, said Victoria Sork, dean of the life sciences division.
She said that because of this deficit, some TAs from the engineering and public health departments, which have fewer undergraduate classes and subsequently fewer teaching positions, have begun instructing courses in the life sciences...

Friday, February 24, 2017

Listen to the Regents: Feb. 23, 2017

Our Masters' Voices
The UC Regents held a special session yesterday to confirm the appointment of Gary May as the new UC-Davis Chancellor. Apparently, they did not want to postpone the official ratification of the selection until the March meetings.

As usual, we preserve the audio of the meeting since the Regents insist on "preserving" their recording for only one year. No one knows why. Or if they do, no one will say why. So we persevere.

You can hear the meeting (under 14 minutes) at the link below:

More on the UC Prez and Immigration

The Atlantic magazine runs a long article on the UC prez and her stance on immigration:

Why Immigrant Students Are Changing Their Minds About Janet Napolitano

When Janet Napolitano was named president of the University of California over three years ago, her appointment provoked impassioned protests by students and others upset about her role as head of the Department of Homeland Security overseeing the deportation of more than 2.5 million undocumented immigrants...

Fast forward to today. Napolitano has emerged as one of the leading defenders of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which at least for now President Trump appears to have spared, despite vowing during the presidential campaign to rescind it. The program has provided temporary relief from deportation to three-quarters of 1 million undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children, including many attending the University of California.

Students who once opposed Napolitano now welcome her support. “I am happy and appreciative that the president of the university system is responding to the needs of undocumented students at this unique time in history,” said Flores, who directs the Dream Resource Center at UCLA’s Labor Center, offering a range of programs on behalf of immigrant students...

Full story at https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2017/02/janet-napolitano-champion-of-daca/517539/

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Westwood Regent Theater Will Close

Westwood Village, once the place where big films opened in Los Angeles, is about to be down to just two remaining movie houses. The owner of the Landmark Regent Theatre on Broxton Avenue has filed plans with the city to convert the auditorium space into two restaurants, Los Angeles Magazine reports.
The Regent opened in 1966 as a Laemmle theatre, in a 1946 building that originally housed retail stores — including the Oakley Barber Shop, a Westwood Village fixture now located on Gayley Avenue. Laemmle ran it until Mann Theaters took over in the 1970s. Landmark began operating the Regent in 2002...
Full story at:
A few years ago, the theater was said to have earthquake safety issues:

UC Prez Critiques Immigration Policy

University of California President Janet Napolitano blasted the Trump administration's immigration crackdown on Wednesday, calling it a step backward that would make communities less safe.

Napolitano, who served as U.S. Homeland Security secretary under President Obama, said the vast expansion of deportation priorities announced by the White House this week would not work in the long run.

"The new guidance essentially makes all undocumented immigrants in the United States priorities for enforcement," she said in a statement given to The Times. "When everyone is a priority, there are essentially no priorities — and my experience as secretary of Homeland Security and governor of Arizona showed clearly that the lack of priorities undermines effective immigrant enforcement and makes our communities less safe.

"I’m also deeply concerned that such broad, ill-defined parameters will stoke fear and anxiety in immigrant communities across the nation, making immigrants — whether here legally or undocumented — much less likely to work with local law enforcement to help keep our communities safe.

"This approach is a step backward from the progress the Obama administration made to establish a more just, humane immigration system and it also fails to comprehensively address the many areas of our immigration system that need to be addressed," she said.

The Trump administration did not say what it would do with so-called Dreamers — young people brought to the country illegally as children and given protection under Obama. Napolitano said UC would continue to protect and defend such students, who number about 3,700 on its campuses.

Source: http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-essential-education-updates-southern-uc-president-janet-napolitano-blasts-1487802340-htmlstory.html

Court Upholds UC Financial Aid to Undocumented Students

The state Supreme Court rejected a conservative group’s challenge Wednesday to laws that grant unauthorized immigrants who attend the University of California the same eligibility for financial benefits such as scholarships, loans and in-state tuition as other residents.
California residents, regardless of immigration status, pay $12,294 a year in tuition and fees at UC campuses. Non-residents pay an additional $26,682.
The court’s action comes as political leaders in California prepare to contest President Trump’s efforts to strip funding from cities and states that refuse to take part in stepped-up federal immigration enforcement and deportation efforts.
In addition to the “sanctuary city” policies in San Francisco and elsewhere that limit cooperation with federal immigration agents, California has made unauthorized immigrants eligible for driver’s licenses and membership in the State Bar.
The court case stems from a 1996 federal law that made immigrants who lack legal status ineligible for state education benefits unless a state passed its own law that made them eligible. California lawmakers proceeded to pass statutes in 2001, 2011 and 2014 that declared unauthorized migrants eligible for in-state tuition and state-backed financial aid and loan programs.
The state’s high court rejected a challenge to the in-state tuition law in 2010, but Judicial Watch, a conservative nonprofit, filed a new suit contesting any such benefits at the University of California...

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

New Davis Chancellor

Georgia Tech engineering dean Gary S. May has been selected as the next UC Davis chancellor, University of California President Janet Napolitano announced Tuesday.
May, 52, would become UC Davis’ first African-American chancellor if regents approve his contract Thursday in Los Angeles. He is expected to start Aug. 1.
The St. Louis native has been at Georgia Tech for nearly 30 years. He has written more than 200 technical publications and contributed to 15 books on computer-aided manufacturing of integrated circuits, on which he also holds a patent, according to Napolitano’s announcement.
“He is a giant in his field,” said Ari Kelman, a UC Davis history professor and member of the selection committee. “He is an excellent scholar. He is a brilliant man. He is a talented and experienced leader and, as important or more important than any of that, is that he has a genuine commitment to the public mission of the University of California.”
May has UC ties, having earned a master’s degree and doctorate in electrical engineering and computer science from UC Berkeley in 1988 and 1991, respectively...

More slippage on Master Plan

Every time folks in the legislature see a need for something in the field of higher ed, they come up with an ad hoc solution. The idea of an overall master plan, as there was back in the day, seems lost.

State Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, introduced a bill last week to help meet California’s teacher shortage by allowing community college districts to offer teacher credentialing programs.

“As a grandfather, I truly believe that educating future generations is our most important duty,” Dodd said. “We need to do a better job attracting and retaining high-quality teachers.

“Our community colleges are outstanding resources that can help meet the growing need for teacher training and credentialing, especially in underserved rural and urban communities.”...

Under current law, the Commission on Teacher Credentialing may authorize a California State University, University of California, private college or a local education agency to offer a program to credential teachers. However, community colleges currently do not credential teachers on their own...

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Problem Avoided (for now)

It's unlikely that anyone will be inviting Milo Yiannopoulos for a return visit to Berkeley (or a visit to UCLA), given recent revelations:

Milo Yiannopoulos lost his keynote speaking slot at the Conservative Political Action Conference after tapes surfaced of the right wing provocateur and senior Breitbart editor advocating for sexual relationships between “younger boys and older men.”

“Due to the revelation of an offensive video in the past 24 hours condoning pedophilia, the American Conservative Union has decided to rescind the invitation,” said Matt Schlapp, chairman of the group which sponsors CPAC, in a statement Monday afternoon. The group called Yiannopoulos to “further address these disturbing comments,” but defended its original decision to invite him as a nod to “the free speech issue on college campuses.”...

Full story at http://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/trump-cpac-milo-yiannopoulos-tape-235204

Related:
http://www.politico.com/blogs/on-media/2017/02/book-milo-yiannopoulos-canceled-235214
http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/320375-breitbart-employees-threaten-to-leave-over-yiannopoulos
http://toofab.com/2017/02/20/jake-tapper-milo-yiannopoulos-pedophilia-breitbart-cnn/

That said, there are other Milo-types out there looking to provoke confrontations. The best way to avoid them is to avoid incidents that don't meet the sniff test on free speech and academic freedom, which - of late - UCLA seems not to be doing, e.g.,
If you wave a red flag in front of a bull, eventually he will charge.

Monday, February 20, 2017

We didn't make this list

Our previous post indicated UCLA had found itself on one list. But it was MIA on the list below:

A Message to the President

The following letter by forty-eight US university presidents and chancellors was sent to President Trump on February 2, 2017.

President Donald J. Trump
The White House
United States of America

Dear President Trump:

We write as presidents of leading American colleges and universities to urge you to rectify or rescind the recent executive order closing our country’s borders to immigrants and others from seven majority-Muslim countries and to refugees from throughout the world. If left in place, the order threatens both American higher education and the defining principles of our country.

The order specifically prevents talented, law-abiding students and scholars from the affected regions from reaching our campuses. American higher education has benefited tremendously from this country’s long history of embracing immigrants from around the world. Their innovations and scholarship have enhanced American learning, added to our prosperity, and enriched our culture. Many who have returned to their own countries have taken with them the values that are the lifeblood of our democracy. America’s educational, scientific, economic, and artistic leadership depends upon our continued ability to attract the extraordinary people who for many generations have come to this country in search of freedom and a better life.

This action unfairly targets seven predominantly Muslim countries in a manner inconsistent with America’s best principles and greatest traditions. We welcome outstanding Muslim students and scholars from the United States and abroad, including the many who come from the seven affected countries. Their vibrant contributions to our institutions and our country exemplify the value of the religious diversity that has been a hallmark of American freedom since this country’s founding. The American dream depends on continued fidelity to that value.

We recognize and respect the need to protect America’s security. The vetting procedures already in place are rigorous. Improvements to them should be based on evidence, calibrated to real risks, and consistent with constitutional principle.

Throughout its history America has been a land of opportunity and a beacon of freedom in the world. It has attracted talented people to our shores and inspired people around the globe. This executive order is dimming the lamp of liberty and staining the country’s reputation. We respectfully urge you to rectify the damage done by this order.

Sincerely,

Robert L. Barchi, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Joanne Berger-Sweeney, Trinity College
Lee C. Bollinger, Columbia University
Robert A. Brown, Boston University
Ronald J. Daniels, Johns Hopkins University
Nicholas B. Dirks, University of California, Berkeley
Adam F. Falk, Williams College
Patrick Gallagher, University of Pittsburgh
Amy Gutmann, University of Pennsylvania
Philip J. Hanlon, Dartmouth College
Ralph J. Hexter, University of California, Davis
Kimberly W. Benston, Haverford College
George Blumenthal, University of California, Santa Cruz
Richard H. Brodhead, Duke University
Kimberly Wright Cassidy, Bryn Mawr College
John J. DeGioia, Georgetown University
Christopher L. Eisgruber, Princeton University
Drew Gilpin Faust, Harvard University
Howard Gillman, University of California, Irvine
Andrew Hamilton, New York University
Sam Hawgood, MBBS, University of California, San Francisco
Reverend John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., University of Notre Dame
Pradeep K. Khosla, University of California, San Diego
David W. Leebron, Rice University
Wallace D. Loh, University of Maryland, College Park
David Oxtoby, Pomona College
Daniel R. Porterfield, Franklin & Marshall College
Hunter R. Rawlings III, Cornell University
Peter Salovey, Yale University
Mark Schlissel, M.D., Ph.D., University of Michigan
Barbara R. Snyder, Case Western Reserve University
Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D., Stony Brook University
Claire E. Sterk, Emory University
Marvin Krislov, Oberlin College
Ron Liebowitz, Brandeis University
Anthony P. Monaco, Tufts University
Christina H. Paxson, Brown University
Carol Quillen, Davidson College
Clayton Rose, Bowdoin College
Michael H. Schill, University of Oregon
Valerie Smith, Swarthmore College
Debora L. Spar, Barnard College
Sonya Stephens, Mount Holyoke College
Marc Tessier-Lavigne, Stanford University
Satish K. Tripathi, University at Buffalo
Mark S. Wrighton, Washington University in St. Louis
Henry T. Yang, University of California, Santa Barbara
Nicholas S. Zeppos, Vanderbilt University

Source: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2017/03/09/message-to-president-trump/

We made the list!

Unfortunately, it's a list of universities that were hacked by a Russian intruder nicknamed Rasputin:

https://www.recordedfuture.com/recent-rasputin-activity/

and

https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2017/02/20/universities-breached-russian-hacker

Fake Data?

Happy Presidents' Day!

There have been concerns about pressures under the new regime that could arise to manipulate data for policy objectives, i.e., to make things look better or worse, depending on someone's desire. Federal data of all types are used for research purposes and to track trends. It goes without saying that manipulation is a Bad Thing.

Report: Trump administration eyes changes to trade deficit calculations

By Evelyn Rupert - 02/19/17  The Hill

The Trump administration is considering changing how U.S. trade deficits are calculated, a move that would make the deficit look larger on paper, the Wall Street Journal reported.

People involved in the discussions told the Journal that the leading idea is to count “re-exports” — goods that are imported to the U.S., and then exported to a third country unchanged — as imports, but not exports.

The change would inflate the trade deficit number, an important figure in trade negotiations and policy.

For example, under new calculations, the $63.1 billion trade deficit with Mexico last year would become a $115.4 billion deficit.

One person familiar with the discussions told the WSJ that the new methodology could even convert a trade surplus into a deficit.

Trump has vowed to renegotiate major U.S. trade deals, arguing that existing arrangements are unfair to the U.S.

People familiar with discussions told the Journal that employees at the U.S. Trade Representative’s office complied when asked to prepare data using the new method — but they included their opinions about why they believe such calculations are inaccurate.

One source said the employees were told the numbers would be presented to members of Congress.

Trump trade officials said discussions are preliminary and there are several options on the table.

“We’re not even close to a decision on that yet,” Payne Griffin, the deputy chief of staff at the office of the U.S. Trade Representative, told the WSJ. “We had a meeting with the Commerce Department, and we said, ‘Would it be possible to collect those other statistics?’”

Source: http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/320320-report-trump-administration-eyes-changes-to-trade-deficit


Data manipulation attempts have happened before. There is the earlier Nixon example. Nixon had a belief that there were conspiracies in the statistical agencies to make him look bad, e.g., starting at minute 4:57 in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQjiSQKIpS8 (Aide Charles Colson tended to fan his conspiracy beliefs; in contrast, George Shultz would calm him down: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qV84JmgwVE)

And, of course, there was Nixon's infamous belief in a Jewish cabal within the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Title IX

Another battle over 9?
The NY Times ran an article yesterday essentially dealing with whether the Trump administration might change Title IX regulation of sexual assault. It is reproduced below. However, keep in mind when reading it that California adopted legislation on this issue:

https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201320140SB967

And UC adopted its own internal standards of adjudication. Unless the Trump administration were to threaten to withhold funding, California and UC would likely be unaffected by any change in federal regulation. Indeed, the issue is now so charged with political symbolism that any changes which in other circumstances might have been considered in California or in UC are now unlikely.

--------------
Universities Face Pressure to Hold the Line on Title IX

By Anemona Hartocollis, Feb. 18, 2017, NY Times

Advocates are starting a campaign to try to persuade colleges to maintain the Obama administration’s tough policies for protecting women on campuses from sexual assault, even if the Trump administration relaxes enforcement.

Many people expect the Trump administration to tilt the balance of federal guidance to make it harder to discipline the thousands of students, almost all of them men, who are accused of sexual violence against women each year.

Women’s groups are leading the push, along with an organization that represents the campus administrators responsible for enforcing federal sexual assault policy — a group whose numbers have grown into the thousands in just a few years.

The main goal of those involved in the effort is to convince college presidents that the Obama-era policies have positively transformed the lives of women on college campuses.

“This is a chance to be doing what we should be doing rather than what we must be doing,” said Brett Sokolow, the executive director of the Association of Title IX Administrators, which takes its name from the federal sex discrimination law.

On one side of the issue are those who believe the Trump administration could usher in a new era of stigmatizing young women who speak up when they have been sexually assaulted by fellow students. On the other are critics, including many conservative activists and lawyers, who say that young men are being demonized and having their rights trampled in campus disciplinary proceedings.

Mr. Sokolow’s group has drafted a document, “The ATIXA Playbook: Best Practices for the Post-Regulatory Era,” which he said would be distributed to 33,000 people at schools, colleges and universities whose job involves enforcing Title IX.

The paper’s introduction notes that many critics have said colleges should not be in the business of policing sexual violence, and that this is a “politically opportune moment to offer a spirited defense” of why they should be.

End Rape on Campus, a “survivor advocacy organization,” created the hashtag #DearBetsy, a reference to Betsy DeVos, the new federal education secretary, and has urged the posting of messages on Twitter in support for “sexual assault survivors” and others protected from discrimination by Title IX policies, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students.

“I want us to take a stance proactively,” said Sofie Karasek, the director of education for the advocacy group. “I don’t want us to just react to things that happen. I want to get ahead of whatever is going to come down the pipeline.”

On Wednesday, the National Women’s Law Center and other women’s and student groups held a “call-in” to the Education Department, demanding that Ms. DeVos commit to the current federal sexual assault guidance.

“That was our first big action collectively,” said Neena Chaudhry, the law center’s senior counsel and education director. “We’re looking at a Twitter storm sometime soon.”

Colleges and universities are in a delicate position, reluctant to dismantle the current system for addressing sexual assault, while viewing the new administration as potentially making it less fraught for them.

“Schools must and will continue to support survivors and to be fair to both parties, we are required to do that, but federal guidance can be a straitjacket that forces schools to act in a way that may not further those goals,” said Terry Hartle, the senior vice president of the American Council on Education, a higher education trade group.

Mr. Hartle acknowledged that colleges and universities chafe at the public scrutiny that comes with being put on a list of institutions under investigation, even before findings have been made. That list now numbers 309 cases at 227 colleges and universities, including Cornell, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, M.I.T., and Stanford.

He said the criteria for such federal investigations were “vague” and “ambiguous,” and that colleges would like clarification.

“How do we avoid getting sued by the government?” he said.

He said that many college presidents believe disciplinary proceedings could sometimes be carried out more equitably through mediation, which could better account for complexities like memories dimmed by alcohol and stories that conflict and lack witnesses, rather than through the current system, in which there are clear winners and losers. But mediation is not now allowed.

But Mr. Hartle said that trying to reshape sexual assault policy could be politically risky.

“I think the challenge for the new administration will be to ask themselves, can this be changed in a way that does not get us killed?”

Ms. DeVos said during her confirmation hearing that it would be premature for her to take a position on Title IX, and a spokesman for her office declined to comment Friday. Sexual assault policy is carried out by the department’s Office for Civil Rights, and whoever takes over that office would have a strong influence on any change in direction.

Gail Heriot, a leading critic of Obama-era policies, and a University of San Diego law professor, has been put forward as a candidate by more than 240 largely conservative activists and college faculty members, in a letter sent to the Trump administration and reported by The Chronicle of Higher Education. Among those signing were Harvey Silverglate, a co-founder of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a free-speech group, and Heather Mac Donald, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

Ms. Heriot said in an email Friday that she had not heard from Ms. DeVos or anyone acting on her behalf. “I have no evidence that I am actually being considered for the job,” she said.

Advocates credit the threat of federal investigations with fostering a better understanding of campus rape as a serious problem deserving of clear consequences, up to suspension and expulsion.

Critics, including prominent law school professors, say the federal guidance has trampled on the due process rights of the accused — almost always young men — by setting a low standard of evidence and by not requiring the involvement of the police and other law enforcement agencies.

“There are poorly trained administrators, faculty and students investigating alleged criminal conduct, sitting in judgment and doling out punishment,” said Charles Wayne, a lawyer in Washington, who has represented more than a dozen men accused in campus proceedings.

Mr. Sokolow said his group’s tracking indicated that 10,000 to 12,000 cases reach the disciplinary phase every year — many more when sexual harassment, stalking and relationship violence are counted too. Others said the number was hard to come by, but perhaps in the low thousands.

Some of the activists have been buoyed by the success of the Women’s Marches the day after President Trump’s inauguration, which, according to estimates, drew more than one million people in cities across the United States and more around the world.

“I have called the Department of Education quite a few times and called my senator quite a few times,” said Jessica Davidson, a 2016 graduate of the University of Denver and an activist with End Rape on Campus who said a fellow student had been found guilty of raping her through the campus disciplinary process.

Mr. Sokolow said that Title IX officers are prepared for whatever may come. “I’m playing a long game and looking at this as a cyclical retraction,” he said. “Title IX is 45 years old. It’s waxed and waned. It isn’t going anywhere. We just have to figure out how to navigate it.”

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/18/us/college-campuses-title-ix-sexual-assault.html

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Bus services changes to UCLA

UCLA... will see more service on Rapid 12, for better connectivity to Metro’s Expo Line, and schedule adjustments on weekends. Route 17 will serve UCLA’s Charles E. Young Terminal, instead of Hilgard Terminal; weekday service will increase to every 20 minutes.

Furthermore, Route 18 will see schedule adjustments on weekday morning trips to UCLA and evening trips to Marina del Rey...

Source: http://patch.com/california/santamonica/santa-monica-big-blue-bus-adding-new-routes-starting-monday

See also: https://www.bigbluebus.com/Routes-And-Schedules/ServiceChanges.aspx

Alternative Approach for Next Time

Next time, if he comes again to Berkeley (or any other UC campus), the better approach seems to be to stay calm, roll your eyes, let him talk until he's bored. From the SF Chronicle:

After a week of questions about whether Milo Yiannopoulos should be allowed on”Real Time with Bill Maher,” viewers probably expected fireworks — if not fire and brimstone. But the Breitbart editor and professional troll fizzled. Yiannopoulos kept trying to work in his “ain’t I a stinker” Bugs Bunny routine while Maher kept trying to talk about ideas and shared ground, until even Maher seemed bored.
Yiannopoulos failed to either incite the audience or provide any of his staged “look at how liberals can’t handle me!” moments. In the end, it felt less like a debate or even a conversation, and more like an indulgent parent had impatiently tried find common ground with a teenager shouting the f-word in church...

Friday, February 17, 2017

MOOcs

The myth that online education courses cost less to produce and therefore save students money on tuition doesn’t hold up to scrutiny, a survey of distance education providers found.
The survey, conducted by the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET), found that most colleges charge students the same or more to study online. And when additional fees are included, more than half of distance education students pay more than do those in brick-and-mortar classrooms.
The higher prices -- what students pay -- are connected to higher production costs, the survey found. Researchers asked respondents to think about 21 components of an online course, such as faculty development, instructional design and student assessment, and how the cost of those components compares to a similar face-to-face course. The respondents -- administrators in charge of distance education at 197 colleges -- said nine of the components cost more in an online course than in a face-to-face course, while 12 cost about the same...
So, not so cheap, cheap:

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Learning from History

Clio, Muse of History
UCLA received a $5 million donation Wednesday to establish a center to apply historical research to modern-day problems.
Alumnus Meyer Luskin, one of the namesakes of the Luskin School of Public Affairs, stipulated his gift would fund the Luskin Center for History and Policy, which will have the mission of furthering the study of historical events and how that knowledge is useful in creating effective public policy.
UCLA officials said the new center will be the first of its kind on the West Coast, unique in its aim not only to provide education, but also encourage a more applied relationship between historical research and policy.
The center aims to bring different departments of campus together in order to promote the sharing of knowledge and implementation of relevant projects. The center will pursue policy-oriented research from humanities and social science faculty.
It will also host visiting scholars and postdoctoral fellows, provide funding for graduate students and sponsor new courses to train students to analyze historical events and apply their knowledge to current issues...

So, do we put this in the lost file? Apparently not; the legal battle will go on

Maybe yes; maybe no
The US patent office ruled on Wednesday that hotly disputed patents on the revolutionary genome-editing technology CRISPR-Cas9 belong to the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, dealing a blow to the University of California in its efforts to overturn those patents. In a one-sentence judgment by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, the three judges decided that there is “no interference in fact.” In other words, key CRISPR patents awarded to the Broad beginning in 2014 are sufficiently different from patents applied for by UC that they can stand. The judges’ full 51-page decision explaining their reasoning stated that the Broad had persuaded them “that the parties claim patentably distinct subject matter.”
“The Broad landed a knock-out punch,” said Jacob Sherkow of New York Law School, an expert on patent law who has followed the CRISPR case...
UC said it is considering its legal options, including the possibility of an appeal, but it contended that anyone who wants to develop CRISPR-based treatments for human diseases would have to license not only the Broad’s patents but also those that UC expects to be awarded. “Ours,” Doudna told reporters, “is for the use [of CRISPR] in all cells,” including human ones.
The Broad said in a statement that the decision “confirms that the patents and applications of Broad Institute and UC Berkeley are about different subjects and do not interfere with each other.”...

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Report on DACA arrest

DACA workshop at UCLA, 2012
The NY Times is reporting on the arrest of a DACA-status individual in Seattle:

More than two years ago, Daniel Ramirez Medina, an unauthorized immigrant, applied for a special program created under the Obama administration that would allow him to stay and work in the United States.

But on Friday morning, when federal immigration agents showed up at his home in Seattle to detain his father, they took Mr. Ramirez, 23, as well. His lawyers have now sued the federal government, arguing that he is being held in custody unconstitutionally, in an “unprecedented and unjustified” case...

Full story at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/14/us/illegal-immigration-daca-arrest.html

UPDATE: Later report says individual is alleged to be a gang member.
http://www.sacbee.com/news/nation-world/national/article132796364.html

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Our Annual UCLA Valentine Video


Caution on Immigration

EdSource is running an article on the paradox of UC prez Napolitano now seen as the protector of DREAM students when, at the time she was hired, there were protests about her role in enforcing immigration laws during the Obama administration. See:
https://edsource.org/2017/uc-president-emerges-as-champion-of-program-for-undocumented-students/576323

But maybe the key sentence in the article is:
"There are many uncertainties, including, for example, what if anything the university could do if ICE agents entered a UC campus without permission."

(The answer is zilch.)

One might also note that UC is not among the universities that filed a friend-of-the-court brief contesting the Trump administration's executive order banning certain immigrants and travelers:
http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S48/69/99M52/Princeton_amicus_brief_0217.pdf

Monday, February 13, 2017

Op Ed from Dirks on Recent Protest

UC-Berkeley's (outgoing) Chancellor Nicholas Dirks pens an op ed in the student newspaper at Berkeley:

In a letter to the UC Berkeley community a week before Milo Yiannopoulos’ visit, I made clear that both our campus’s iconic commitment to free speech, as well as definitive First Amendment rulings by the Supreme Court, meant that we were obliged to support the invitation by a legitimate student organization of the speaker to campus. Those who suggest there was a legal path to cancellation of the event are mistaken. I also made clear that we recognized the equal right of members of the community to assemble lawfully and to protest the speaker and his views, consistent with another iconic identity of this campus around our history of protest...

Recent op-ed submissions to this newspaper have, however, shifted the debate from one about freedom of speech and the First Amendment to naked endorsements of violent suppression of free speech in the name of supposedly higher values. While I feel strongly about my commitment to debate and disagreement, I am horrified by the call to embrace the use of violence to contest views with which we may disagree.  Even if one believes that Yiannopoulos’ speech might potentially have constituted some form of rhetorical violence, meeting this threat with actual physical violence is antithetical to what we, as a community dedicated to open inquiry, must and do stand for.  Physical violence has absolutely no place on our campus...

Full op ed at http://www.dailycal.org/2017/02/10/not-condone-violence-suppress-free-speech/

Dirks was reacting to prior op eds such as http://www.dailycal.org/2017/02/07/black-bloc-campus/

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Interesting Interview with President of MIT

Here’s what the president of MIT thinks of the Trump administration’s early moves

Deborah Netburn, LA Times, 2-11-17

The student’s email arrived early on Jan. 28. It was addressed to Rafael Reif, president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The undergraduate didn’t want to bother him, she wrote, but she was stuck overseas and unable to return to campus because of the White House’s newly imposed travel ban.

It was 6:37 a.m., but Reif didn’t hesitate. He immediately contacted three of his top aides to help her and two other students in similar straits.

“These people worked around the clock to make sure these kids made it home,” he said. “They didn’t sleep.”

One week later, the students were safely back in Cambridge, but in the midst of the ordeal, Reif wrote a letter to the MIT community expressing his thoughts on the situation. He wrote that the research university, founded in 1861, was at once uniquely American and profoundly global.

“Like the United States, and thanks to the United States, MIT gains tremendous strength by being a magnet for talent from around the world,” he wrote. In that light, he said, the executive order appeared to him “a stunning violation of our deepest American values, the values of a nation of immigrants: fairness, equality, openness, generosity, courage.”

Reif is an immigrant himself. Born and educated in Venezuela, he came to the U.S. as a graduate student, earning his doctorate in electrical engineering from Stanford University. He joined the MIT faculty in 1980 and became its president in 2012.

Reif stopped by the Los Angeles Times this week to discuss science in the age of Trump and MIT’s plan for the next four years.

Why do you think the scientific community has been so vocal in its opposition to the travel ban?

I believe the reasons are obvious. Scientists love to collaborate and work with people who see things from a different perspective. When people work together to address big challenges — whether it’s climate change or fresh water access or Alzheimer’s — you start recognizing people for what they can contribute to the big mission. It doesn’t matter where you came from. It is irrelevant.

We have students from Turkey being supervised by faculty from Greece. Culturally they hate each other, but that doesn’t come up at MIT because they are dealing with bigger issues than themselves.

Last week Trump threatened on Twitter to cut off federal funding for UC Berkeley because violent protests prompted the university to cancel a talk by provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos. What are your thoughts on that?

I don’t have all the details, but I understand that somebody whose views that are not politically acceptable to some members of the community was not allowed to speak. That doesn’t help universities. We should allow everyone to say whatever they want. But I think having the U.S. president make a statement like that feels like an overreaction.

Are you concerned Trump might continue to threaten universities with the loss of federal funds when they do something he doesn’t agree with?

There are reasons to be concerned, but I would not panic.

I like to think the administration is not fully staffed yet, and that we will get to a more stable and predictable situation sometime soon. Just like I wish the president did not overreact in the tweet, I don’t want to overreact either. Let’s just give him a chance to settle in, get the team together, and figure out in which direction they really want to take the country.

Might federal agencies like the Department of Defense or the National Institutes of Health decide on their own to withhold funding if they think that’s what the president wants?

I’m having a wait-and-see attitude. I am trying to speak as best I can for the need for us to understand each other’s point of view. Let’s recognize that we live in a democratic country and there are people who believe that what he tweeted was the right thing to say.

The last thing we need right now is to start a war between “us” and “them,” whoever “them” are. We just have to figure out how to continue to build bridges and understand each other.

The election showed us that we are not all hearing the same information. Do you have any thoughts on how to break through people’s bubbles and communicate with them? 

The exercise I’m practicing, and it seems to be working, is to find somewhere that we agree and once we establish that, extrapolate. If we start by not agreeing, we will never get anywhere.

What’s your plan for the next four years?

The big picture for MIT is to keep doing basic research because that is the mother of all knowledge. But we don’t want to stop there. We also need to identify big problems and have people working on those. To me, the health of the planet and human health are the two critical ones that drive everything.

So we have a lot to do. Every day counts. We cannot stop what we are doing and get distracted. The last thing I want is for us to get distracted by him.

Political upheaval to me is like waves on the beach. Underneath that we just have to keep going.

Source: http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-mit-president-qa-20170210-story.html

Saturday, February 11, 2017

UCLA History: Easy Rider

Easy Rider opens in the Fox theater one block from UCLA, 1969

Friday, February 10, 2017

On track, kind of

The state controller is reporting that revenues for the first seven months of the fiscal year are about on track with projections. But which track? The January comparison of projected revenues vs. actual uses the projections from the governor's budget proposal made in January. So it is hardly likely that it would be off by much. Compared to the projections made last June when the current budget was enacted, revenues are about $400 million below estimates. That's certainly not something to panic about. We still await the dollop of revenue that will come in when income taxes are due in April. But, on the other hand, it means that the state is not flush with revenue.

The controller's report is at http://sco.ca.gov/Files-ARD/CASH/January%202017%20Statement%20of%20General%20Fund%20Cash%20Receipts%20and%20Disbursements.pdf

Berkeley Demonstration Discussed on Airtalk

From KPCC's Airtalk with Larry Mantle: (2-9-17)

Breitbart News Editor Milo Yiannopoulos’ visit to UC Berkeley last week reportedly elevated some concerns about on-campus demonstrations.

According to an article by the Los Angeles Times, 100 to 150 demonstrators disrupted otherwise peaceful protests, causing a fire to erupt from a diesel-powered klieg light. Half a dozen windows were also smashed.  

Claiming the incident was unprecedented, Berkeley officials are looking to strike a balance between free speech and keeping protests from becoming violent. Larry speaks to UC Berkeley campus police and officials today to find out how they plan to move forward.

Guests: Dan Mogulof, assistant vice chancellor and spokesperson for UC Berkeley, Margo Bennett, UC Berkeley campus police chief, Joe Cohn, Legislative and Policy Director for the Foundation of Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)

You can hear it at:
https://media.scpr.org/audio/upload/2017/02/09/UC_Berkeley_and_the_changing_dynamic_of_student_protests-0409a68a.mp3

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Trial by Jury

On February 7, 2017, Michele Coyle, former Chief Campus Counsel of UC Riverside, was awarded $2.5 million by a jury in Riverside Superior Court, against the University of California. The jury found that Ms. Coyle was retaliated against in violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act for reporting gender discrimination at UC Riverside. The jury also found that UC General Counsel Charles Robinson (who reports to the UC Regents) and Tim White (former UC Riverside Chancellor, and current Chancellor of the California State University system) retaliated against Ms. Coyle in violation of Labor Code section 1102.5. Ms. Coyle was terminated on the eve of a federal audit to determine whether UC Riverside complied with its obligations under state and federal law to prohibit discrimination, retaliation, and harassment on the campus, in an effort to conceal information from the auditors...

Full story at http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20170208006341/en/Mira-Hashmall-Partner-Miller-Barondess-LLP-Wins

UPDATE: Inside Higher Ed has a more complete story at:
https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2017/02/09/jury-awards-25m-former-counsel-riverside

Whose fault, did you say?

From the NY Times' "public editor':

When reporters are writing about private individuals they don’t typically publish the person’s exact street address. First, it’s usually irrelevant to the article, and more crucially, announcing the home address of anyone can be dangerous. 

Here’s the guidance from The New York Times stylebook: 

“In writing about a person whose family might face harassment or harm, consider a general neighborhood reference instead. If an exact address seems newsworthy because of a crime or other visible event, carefully consider the potential for harm before publishing it.”

That wasn’t the approach taken when the Times reporter Patricia Leigh Brown described academic life for some undocumented students on the campus of the University of California, Merced. The 22 students, mostly first-generation immigrants from impoverished families, share life together on the top two floors of a single dorm. And each time Brown described a student, she included their dorm room number, adding some visual geography as she described their modestly decorated surroundings.

Brown writes an engaging piece, not only about these students’ unlikely path to a campus of an acclaimed university, but also about education policy, which is not always easy to make engaging. Brown shows it’s possible.

It’s too bad that an otherwise strong piece was weakened by a decision to describe the students not just by their name, but by what is essentially their home address.

Two university administrators I contacted, both of whom were involved with The Times’s story, said they believe that inclusion of the dorm name and room numbers puts the undocumented students in danger.

“We didn’t think she (the reporter) would even use the name of the residence hall,” said Alejandro Delgadillo, who oversees services for undocumented students on the campus. “To include the room numbers puts a target on these students. We engage with a great deal of media and never felt that students were at risk by the information that we were sharing. This really violated that.”...

Full article at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/07/public-editor/when-details-in-a-story-can-put-people-at-risk.html

All well and good. But while the reporter wrote the story and submitted it, the NY Times - really someone acting as an agent for the Times - made the decision to publish it with the names and locations, presumably after an editorial review and judgment. "That wasn’t the approach taken" doesn't identify the decision maker, although the reporter is named.  So, again, whose fault was it it?