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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...
---
*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.
---
*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:

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

New UC-B Chancellor

Carol Christ, UC Berkeley’s top academic officer — widely regarded on campus as an effective and collaborative administrator — was tapped Monday to become the 11th chancellor and first female leader of the prestigious 149-year-old campus.

If approved by the UC Board of Regents on Thursday, Christ (rhymes with wrist) would take over July 1, when Chancellor Nicholas Dirks will step down.

University of California President Janet Napolitano announced her choice of Christ, 72, who has served as UC Berkeley’s interim executive vice chancellor and provost since May, a position she had held for six years until 2000.

A scholar of Victorian literature, Christ left the campus and was president of Smith College from 2002 to 2013. She returned to UC Berkeley in 2015 as head of its Center for Studies in Higher Education...

Full story at http://www.sfchronicle.com/education/article/Carol-Christ-is-named-UC-Berkeley-s-new-10998372.php

Unveiling

Note: The proposal below seems to be timed to precede the Regents meetings that start today. From the LA Times:
California Democrats unveil a sweeping financial aid plan to help students avoid debt
Seizing on growing concerns over college affordability, California lawmakers proposed what would be the most generous college aid plan in the nation Monday, covering not just tuition but also living expenses that have led to spiraling student debt.
The plan would supplement California’s existing aid programs with the aim of eradicating the need for student loans for nearly 400,000 students in the Cal State and University of California systems. It also would boost grants to community college students and give those attending them full time a tuition-free first year.
“Lower-income students … are able to many times, through our great programs in California, get help to pay for tuition. But they’re still graduating with a tremendous amount of debt,” said Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), who is spearheading the plan. “The cost of living, the books, the transportation — that’s [what] we really need to tackle.”
At a Capitol news conference Monday morning, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) said that with the introduction of the proposal, “California is taking the boldest step in the nation for making college debt-free.”
The plan’s high price tag means success is hardly guaranteed. But it comes at a time when college costs are facing increased scrutiny. Nearly 60% of Californians in a recent survey said affordability was a big problem for the state’s higher education system. Bernie Sanders’ presidential bid last year catapulted his call for tuition-free college into the national spotlight.
Under the new plan, students still would have access to existing financial aid, including federal Pell Grants, state programs such as Cal Grants, university grants and Middle Class Scholarships (if they are not eliminated as Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed). Parents making more than $60,000 would be expected to make a contribution, and students also would be expected to chip in by holding part-time jobs year-round. The new scholarship would cover the rest of the average annual cost of college, which is around $21,000 at Cal State and $33,000 at UC...
H.D. Palmer, spokesman for the state Department of Finance, noted Brown’s administration has worked to clamp down on college costs by keeping tuition and fees flat for the last five years “while continuing to work with both systems to make improvements such as time to graduation that have a direct effect on cost to students as well as their parents.” The Assembly proposal “is certainly a noble goal, but one that clearly has to be paid for,” Palmer said...

Monday, March 13, 2017

Lots More

From the Bruin: UCLA has a proposal to build three new residence halls and two apartment complexes by 2021 to accommodate increased enrollment.
The initiative would add about 6,900 beds to the Hill and guarantee students more years of housing. UCLA officials expect to request preliminary plan funding at the May Regents meeting, which would allow UCLA to develop a budget and schematic designs for the projects.
Three new residence halls would be built on the Hill: one located near Tom Bradley International Hall and Strathmore Drive, one located on a parking lot between Saxon and Hitch Residential Suites, and one located near the upper edge of Drake Stadium.
The hall near Bradley Hall would have 800 beds in triple rooms, community bathrooms and a to-go dining facility. The site on the parking lot would add 1,500 beds in triple rooms and community bathrooms. The residence hall near Drake Stadium would hold 1,100 beds in triple rooms with community bathrooms and athletic facilities.
With the additional buildings, first-year students would be guaranteed four years of housing and transfer students would be guaranteed two years of housing, an increase from three years and one year, respectively.
Two of the five proposed housing projects would be new apartment buildings for third and fourth-year students.
One proposed apartment site would add 1,300 beds in two-bedroom/two-bath apartment complexes on the UCLA Extension Office building site at the intersection of Le Conte, Gayley and Levering avenues.
The other would demolish Warren Hall, a laboratory and office building built in 1961, and replace it with about 2,200 beds in two-bedroom/two-bath apartment units.
The demolition would displace Warren Hall’s current occupants to other facilities on campus...
More!

Rolling Out

Seizing on growing concerns over college affordability, California lawmakers are poised to propose what would be the most generous college aid plan in the nation, covering not just tuition but also living expenses, which have led to spiraling student debt,
The plan, to be formally rolled out by Assembly Democrats at a news conference Monday morning, would supplement California’s existing aid programs, with the goal of eradicating the need for student loans for nearly 400,000 students in the Cal State and University of California systems...
It also would boost grants to community college students and give those attending them full time a tuition-free first year.
“Lower-income students … are able to many times, through our great programs in California, get help to pay for tuition. But they’re still graduating with a tremendous amount of debt,” Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D- Sacramento, who is spearheading the plan, said...
“The cost of living, the books, the transportation — that’s (what) we really need to tackle.”

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Do we need to guess what's likely to come next?

People’s Park near UC Berkeley, where questions over its fate have inspired student protests for decades and led deputies to kill a man and blind another on infamous “Bloody Thursday” in 1969, is again being considered for development.

This time, UC Berkeley is eyeing the grassy 2.8-acre park as one of nine sites for development to alleviate one of the worst shortages of student housing in campus history.

“It is such an urgent issue,” said Carol Christ, 

UC Berkeley’s interim executive vice chancellor and provost, who chaired the committee that produced a draft report of student-housing recommendations she will present to the UC regents on Wednesday. “We have increasing reports of student homelessness, and students trying to live in academic buildings.”...

Full story at http://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/UC-Berkeley-ponders-People-s-Park-for-housing-10993869.php

Sometimes, you don't quite make it

The state controller's cash statement released yesterday indicates that revenues through February in the current fiscal year fell short of projections, both those made when the budget was passed last June or the more recent one made at the time of the governor's January budget proposal for next year.

Of course, the big revenue month is April and the missing revenu relative to the overall budget is not huge. It is a bit worrisome that it is concentrated in the sales tax which is a general indicator of consumption activity. But let's wait until April. Note, however, that requests by UC for more state funding are not helped by such numbers.

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

Nice grant; short memory

Not always available
Critical Refugee Studies Collective Receives $1.6 Million Grant: Grant to help develop Critical Refugee Studies program at University of California

Mojgan Sherkat, March 10, 2017, UCR Today

The Critical Refugee Studies Collective, and Lan Duong, professor in the media and cultural studies program at the University of California, Riverside, have been awarded a $1.6 million dollar grant by the University of California, Office of the President. The grant will allow the group to collaborate across five UC campuses to develop curricula, symposia and a website, devoted to Critical Refugee Studies.

“This generous grant will allow us to develop programming across the UCs as well as award grants to scholars, artists, and activists working on projects dealing with refugees,” Duong said.

Duong is the co-principal investigator of the grant and will be co-editing an anthology on Critical Refugee Studies. The Critical Refugee Studies Collective (CRSC) is led by UC San Diego Ethnic Studies professor Yen Le Espiritu. The goal of the project is to bring cultural studies and humanities scholars together to better understand one of the defining issues of the 21st century: the refugee experience in both past and present as war and climate change continue to displace millions of people around the world.

Espiritu, who is credited with developing the nascent field of critical refugee studies, will work with faculty from Berkeley, Merced, UCLA and Riverside to document how the lives of distinct waves of refugees have been shaped by human conflict and climate change. The UC Office of the President notes that California has settled 700,000 refugees since the mid-‘70s, and this research is aimed at informing the policies and practices that shape the refugee experience in California and beyond.

“I am extremely happy to be a part of this effort and I hope that it will place the University of California at the forefront of the critical study of refugees in California and beyond,” Duong said.

Source: https://ucrtoday.ucr.edu/45294

The current governo\ was not so welcoming to Vietnam refugees in "the mid-'70s." From the LA Times of May 4, 1975::

Friday, March 10, 2017

Someone's high level of trust

Maybe there was too much trust by someone at a table near the Luskin School yesterday. Not clear that putting a shoe and a cup on top of a laptop and leaving it unattended would prevent it from disappearing.

Possibly redundant demands for UCLA to be made into sanctuary campus

Students and staff at UCLA held a town hall meeting Thursday in an effort to make the campus and its medical centers a sanctuary. 
The groups said they are scared they could be affected by President Donald Trump's policies. While the school has shown the campus support, students and staff said it is not enough. A list containing specific demands on how to make the campus a sanctuary campus was drawn up and presented at the meeting.

"We're asking for the university to not collaborate or cooperate with ICE and to also protect the privacy of undocumented students as a whole. We're also asking for concrete policies to protect other communities that have been targeted," student Dana Carrera said.

One of the demands involved the university not complying with federal raids, detentions and deportations unless mandated by a court order. The meeting started around 5 p.m. and was held in a classroom at Haines Hall. The groups plan to take their platform to university administrators next week.

Source: http://abc7.com/news/students-staff-demand-ucla-be-made-into-sanctuary-campus/1793587/

Note: The demands, at least as described above, seem to be existing UC policy. Our previous posts related to this issue can be found by typing "sanctuary" into the blog search option. The UC prez, however, has avoided using the term "sanctuary," presumably to avoid making UC a particular target.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Food for Thought

Vorboten (sort of)
Recently, an email circulated in at least one campus school regarding a local restaurant. It included the curious statement below which attracted the interest of yours truly:

Based on some recent requests, we have again looked at using Napa Valley Grill.  A new review of their contract and terms was completed and unfortunately we are unable to book events with them.  As a reminder: Per Campus Purchasing, “Napa Valley Grill contract language violates the Regents Standing Orders and their legal team has not been able to come to an agreement with UCLA.”

So the interesting question raised (apart from what happened to the "e" in Grille in the email) is what standing order of the Regents is potentially violated?

After diligent research, it appears that the provision violated is contained in Standing Order 100.4(dd)(9). Now you may not be fully acquainted with that section. But it involves contracts undertaken by the university and essentially bans "agreements by which the University assumes liability for conduct of persons other than University officers, agents, employees, students, invitees, and guests. In circumstances where it is deemed necessary by the President, in consultation with the General Counsel, to indemnify non-University persons who have agreed at the University's request to serve as advisors on operational matters for conduct within the scope of their role as advisors, the President is authorized to provide for defense and indemnification. This restriction does not apply to agreements under which the University assumes responsibility for the condition of property in its custody."

So apparently - for reasons unknown - the restaurant's standard contract requires the university to indemnify it for damage done by persons unrelated to the university. Note that the ban does not prevent reimbursements for meals on university business that do not involve a contract.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Crucible of Public Opinion Can Be Like "The Crucible"

Time to remember the past?
The op ed below, whatever the facts of the particular case referenced turn out to be, is a reminder of an old lesson.

My Word: Berkeley professor accused of misconduct being railroaded

March 6, 2017, East Bay Times

Misconduct by faculty members and administrators at the University of California has become a frequent news item in the East Bay Times recently. We are united with victims of such misconduct. It is a serious obligation of the university to thoroughly investigate allegations of inappropriate behavior.

We are 36 women and men who’ve studied and worked closely with UC Berkeley Professor Nezar AlSayyad, a valued, respected colleague and mentor who has been unjustly tried and convicted in the court of public opinion for alleged acts of misconduct.

We know AlSayyad well. We trust him. In the decades we have known him, he has shown us respect, collegiality and goodwill.  He has been a mentor who cares deeply for students’ wellbeing, an exceptional teacher and adviser, and tremendously supportive of his students’ scholarly and professional development.

For many of us, he was one of the main reasons we chose UC Berkeley. Beyond his impressive range and depth of intellectual contributions and his unstinting service to the academy and the public sphere, it is his unfailing generosity of spirit that impressed and moved us the most.  He was recognized with the Distinguished Teaching Award, the highest honor UC Berkeley grants its faculty.

A few months ago, a claim of misconduct raced through local news media. This and the leaking of a confidential report, written by an outside consultant who is possibly unfamiliar with university culture, triggered an unfair campaign by students against sexual harassment on campus. News coverage later reinforced the false impression that this preliminary Title IX report rendered a specific final verdict on the allegations. This episode has scorched Professor AlSayyad’s personal and academic reputation.

The rush to judgment, before charges have been heard, responded to or resolved through established university and legal procedures, is ominous and chilling. It is the vague nature of this investigative process that is most egregious.

In our judicial system, one is innocent until proven guilty. However, the current process appears rudderless and vulnerable to personal grievance and zealotry than concern for the facts. Although he has not been formally charged of violating the Faculty Code of Conduct, the university abruptly interfered with his teaching schedule, leaving many of his graduate students bewildered and uncertain. His rights as a tenured faculty member and as a member of the UC Berkeley community have been disrespected.  Some of us raised these concerns in a Nov. 18 letter to Chancellor Nicholas Dirks. It remains unanswered.

We are disturbed that  AlSayyad has become a target for built-up frustration about the handling of inappropriate behavior on campus and the university’s unsatisfactory record on the issue. This frustration, while understandable, has manifested itself through insinuation and intimidation.

AlSayyad has even been subject to slanderous remarks about his Middle Eastern background. Current students and graduates have been targets of aggressive solicitations in an attempt to smear him.

Having indicated support for AlSayyad, some members of this group of signatories have been subjected to personal and online harassment, accused of insensitivity to misconduct.

UC Berkeley has done little to dampen this dysfunction. It must demonstrate that it is capable of treating seriously complaints of possible misconduct and protecting the rights of all involved, including faculty members.  A fair and impartial investigation, informed by a diverse set of interviewees and thorough documentation, is the only way to determine what AlSayyad did or did not do. This is the least we would expect from UC Berkeley.

Montira Unakul works for UNESCO in Bangkok. Heba Ahmed is associate professor of architecture at Cairo University. They are former students of AlSayyed. Thirty-four other former students also signed this op-ed.