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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Falling Short

At the upcoming Regents meeting, there will be a proposal to cut the expected earnings of the UC pension plan to 7%. As we have noted in the past, the folks who handle investments for UC actually believe that long-term earnings will be in the 6-7% range, i.e., below the proposed rate.

CalPERS is reporting earnings below 7% for the past fiscal year. (See below.) We will see soon what is reported for UCRP.

Blog readers are reminded that making an assumption about earnings is not the same thing as what earnings over the long term will actually turn out to be. Changing the assumed rate will, by itself, change estimated unfunded liabilities. But true unfunded liabilities depend on what the rate turns out to be.

CalPERS Falls Short Of Investment Goals

7-16-19

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System earned a 6.7% return on its investments during the last fiscal year, missing its annual goal of 7%. If that continues, it would force public agencies to contribute more to retirement programs.

The largest return was in fixed income investments (9.6%), followed by private equity (7.7%). Stocks saw a return of 6.1%, while the real estate portfolio had a return of 3.7%.

CalPERS Chief Investment Officer Yu Ben Meng downplayed the significance of the latest figures.

“This was a very volatile year for financial markets, but I’m pleased with how we focused on the performance of the total fund,” he said. 

“While we did not achieve our 7 percent actuarial return target this fiscal year, I can’t stress strongly enough that we are long-term investors,” Meng added. “We make decisions based on an investment horizon that stretches across years and even decades. That’s our focus, and we will continue to analyze all aspects of our portfolio to see how we can generate higher risk-adjusted total returns for our members.”...

Full story at https://californiacitynews.org/2019/07/calpers-falls-short-investment-goals.html

New Art at Faculty Club

The Regents' Committee on Basic Needs will be meeting later today. Not too much is happening at UC until that meeting - and the ones on Wednesday and Thursday - come along. As usual, we will preserve the audio of the meetings - but it will take time to do so. So, we continue are posting of new Faculty Center art in the meantime:




Monday, July 15, 2019

Another Title 9 case ends up in court over process

As we keep noting, Title IX cases will tend to end up in court if penalties are significant (such as expulsion) and due process looks shaky to a judge accustomed to legal standards.

We have noted that separation of prosecution and decision making would go a long way to resolving this issue. But below is the latest case:

Former Grinnell College student's lawsuit over sex misconduct accusation, expulsion to go to trial

July 11, 2019, Des Moines Register

A federal judge will let a jury decide a lawsuit against Grinnell College that challenges the way the Iowa school handles sexual misconduct complaints.

The lawsuit was filed in March 2017 by a male student identified only as John Doe, who was expelled in 2016 after he was accused of sexual misconduct.

Judge Rebecca Goodgame Ebinger concluded in a ruling filed Tuesday that he has adequately shown that gender bias could have been a motivating factor in his dismissal and he may not have received a fair and impartial review of his appeal.

The student had sex with a female student. She said she willingly participated in the sex and didn't initially pursue a complaint but the college launched an investigation and later sought her participation.

Doe, who lives in the state of Washington, is seeking emotional and psychological damages, damage to reputation, past and future economic losses, loss of educational and athletic opportunities and loss of future career prospects.

He also wants a court order preventing Grinnell from violating federal laws prohibiting sex discrimination when it considers future sexual misconduct complaints.

A trial is set for Sept. 18.

Source: https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/crime-and-courts/2019/07/11/former-grinnell-college-student-lawsuit-go-jury-trial/1711199001/

Slow News (Until the Regents Tomorrow)...

...So we will follow our practice of showing the new Anderson building, still under construction:




Saturday, July 13, 2019

Parking Under the 100-200-300 buildings

Arrow shows circular entrance to the underground parking
at the 100-200-300 buildings
Under the new UCLA parking system that went into effect on July 1, hang-tag permits are no longer required and the system is based on scans of license plates. There are no longer gates that have to be opened.

However, there remains the underground parking at the 100-200-300 medical buildings which 1) has a gate to get in, 2) opens the gate when the driver takes a ticket, and 3) normally requires payment using the ticket to get out.

Under the old system, parkers with UCLA permits would take the ticket to open the gate and then give the ticket and the hang-tag to an attendant to get out. Those with permits were entitled three hours of free parking.

So, how do you get out now that there is no hang-tag? The simple answer is that you tell the exit attendant that you have UCLA parking (they seem to like the phrase "e-permit") and then show an ID which has your UCLA ID number. That typically would be your Bruincard. The attendant will take note of your number and then open the gate.

Long story short, yours truly had occasion to try this arrangement last week and it worked. However, the exit attendant may be confused and need to ask someone else what to do. Note that there are other parking lots in the vicinity of the 100-200-300 buildings that have the new no-gate/license plate scan system and which won't require tickets and conversations with exit attendants. So you may prefer to use those.

Friday, July 12, 2019

UC's Budget Pie

The governor's budget for the state is now online. It is instructive to look at how UC fits into the budget picture. Specifically, UC in the current year (2019-20) has a budget of $38.3 billion. How much comes directly from the state?

From the General Fund:   10.3%
From other state funds:   0.5%*
From UC-generated funds: 78.8% 
From federal funds:      10.4%
------------------------------
Total:                  100.0%
------------------------------
*Includes lottery.
Source: http://www.ebudget.ca.gov/2019-20/pdf/Enacted/GovernorsBudget/6000/6440.pdf

Money in Names

[The legislation described below would clearly affect UC.]

Bill to allow athletes to profit from name advances

July 9, 2019, Dan Murphy, ESPN

A California bill that would make it possible for a college athlete to profit from the use of his or her name, images and likeness passed another subcommittee hurdle in the legislative process Tuesday afternoon.

The state assembly's Committee on Higher Education voted 9-0 to move the bill forward, and chairman Jose Medina called the NCAA's threats and requests to slow down the legislative process during the past couple months "akin to bullying."

"I don't take too fondly to threats to the state of California regardless of where they come from," Medina told ESPN on Tuesday evening.

The Fair Pay to Play Act, which was introduced in February by state Sens. Nancy Skinner and Steven Bradford, would prohibit schools in California from taking away scholarships or eligibility from college athletes who use their notoriety to make money. The proposal also allows for athletes to hire an agent or attorney to represent them in business deals without losing their eligibility. Skinner explained that it would not require schools to pay its players, but instead guarantee players the same rights given to Olympic athletes. The law, if it is passed, would not go into effect until January 2023.

NCAA president Mark Emmert wrote a letter to California legislators in May asking that they consider delaying their vote while his organization considered the impact of the law. The NCAA formed a working group in May to examine issues with its current rules, which prevent any student-athletes from marketing their own names, images or likenesses. Emmert said in his letter that if California passes the bill its universities would be violating the organization's bylaws and therefore might not be allowed to participate in NCAA-sanctioned championship events.

The NCAA working group is expected to provide an initial report of its findings in August and a final report in October. California's legislature adjourns for a summer recess at the end of this week and is unlikely to vote on the bill until it returns to session in mid-August. If the bill passes through the appropriations committee and the assemblywide vote, it would next move to the governor's office to be signed into law.

Skinner said Tuesday that California legislators had heard other "Armageddon threats" in response to past legislation and were undeterred by them.

She was joined at the meeting by Los Angeles Chargers offensive lineman Russell Okung among other advocates for the bill. Okung told the committee the NCAA's treatment of athletes was exploitative, oppressive and analogous to how prisoners are treated -- provided room and board and allowed to work without a chance to be paid fair market value for their services.

"Why does a free-market system work for everyone but the student athlete?" Okung asked. "It's about basic civil liberties and repressive measures that still exist today."

Opponents of the bill urged the committee to halt the process to give the NCAA time to explore potentially negative unintended consequences. Long Beach State athletic director Andy Fee attended the committee meeting to say he did not oppose having a conversation about how athletes should be allowed to capitalize on their marketability, but he questioned the need to pass a bill immediately.

He raised the scenarios of athletes accepting endorsements from casinos (giving the gambling industry a foothold in college sports) or marijuana products (a substance banned by the NCAA and illegal under federal law) as potential issues that should be considered. He also said the threat of not being able to compete in championship in the future could negatively affect coaches trying to recruit athletes.

"Where are the protections that prevent these things from happening? That's why I urge a pause," Fee said. "This is a good conversation. It's the mechanism I oppose."

Skinner countered that the law is delayed from going into effect for more than three years in an effort to allow the NCAA an opportunity to sort through some of those issues. She also said the language of the bill allows for the legislature to reconsider if the NCAA passes some type of substantial rule changes to help athletes pursue their fair market value.

Assemblyman Jim Patterson, the one committee member present who abstained from voting, said it felt like the state was "playing a game of chicken with the NCAA and establishing a rule that puts the state outside the NCAA." Skinner and others in support of the bill said the NCAA has had long enough to consider these matters on their own and needed the pressure of legal action to be held accountable.

Source: https://www.espn.com/college-sports/story/_/id/27156972/bill-allow-athletes-profit-name-advances

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Elsevier Stop Confirmed - Part 2

Below is the official UCLA response (from an email):

To:  UCLA Faculty and Staff

Dear Colleagues:
The University of California has been out of contract with Elsevier since January, but until now the publisher continued to allow access to 2019 articles via ScienceDirect. As of July 10, 2019, UC’s direct access to new Elsevier articles has been discontinued.
What is affected: Members of the UC community no longer have direct access to:
What is not affected: Articles published before 2019 in most Elsevier journals (covering about 95% of historical usage) should continue to be available via ScienceDirect.
Please note that the process for discontinuing access is complex, so access to specific journals or articles may fluctuate until Elsevier’s rollout of these changes is complete.
The systemwide faculty Senate has issued a UC Academic Council Statement on Supporting Alternative Access to Elsevier Journals (PDF), encouraging stakeholders across UC to use alternative access methods or contact their campus library for assistance in obtaining articles, and to refrain from any new independent subscriptions to Elsevier journals at this time. “By ‘holding the line,’” the Senate leadership writes, “the UC can help change the system of scholarly communication for the betterment of all.”
How to get the articles you need
Information about other ways to access Elsevier articles is available on the library’s website and summarized below. There are several options — plus, the library is always here to help.
If you need help accessing an article, please don’t hesitate to contact your UCLA Library subject librarian at any time.
What happens next?
We will be carefully evaluating the impact of losing access to new articles on ScienceDirect over the coming months, and will do our best to ensure that you have access to the articles you need. Meanwhile, UC is hoping to reenter formal negotiations with Elsevier if the publisher indicates that they are willing to discuss a contract that integrates our goals of containing costs and facilitating open access to UC research.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at ginnysteel@library.ucla.edu. Thank you.
Sincerely,
Ginny Steel
Norman and Armena Powell University Librarian

Predictable Tuition to be Mulled at Upcoming Regents Meeting

From EdSource: The ten-campus University of California system is considering a new tuition plan that would freeze tuition for an incoming class for six years while the next group of students could be charged more.
The so-called cohort-based tuition is aimed at providing students and families more stability and predictability about education costs, according to an agenda item for next Thursday’s meeting of the UC regents.
Under such a plan, if the board of regents were to increase tuition by a certain amount, incoming students would be assured that tuition would be fixed for them at that rate and not go up for as long as six years. The regents then could decide to increase tuition again for a subsequent incoming class of students and their tuition would similarly be fixed at the rate they paid during the first year at the university. 
The possible change also could be a less controversial way for the university to increase revenues for hiring faculty, awarding financial aid and running labs and libraries.
“If implemented, such an approach would avoid the unpredictable annual tuition and fee increases over the past two decades that have created planning challenges for UC students, families and campuses,” said the agenda item presented by UC president Janet Napolitano’s administration. The proposal raises the possibility that each group of students could see their tuition increases tied to the California Consumer Price Index for “an even clearer picture of this revenue stream.”
The regents are scheduled on July 18 to kick off discussion about the possible change but any vote on the matter would be months away after consulting with students, faculty and staff...

The On-Again/Off-Again Hawaiian Telescope Seems to be On (Again) - Part 2

From the NY Times: Gov. David Ige of Hawaii announced on Wednesday that construction will begin next week on a giant telescope on the summit of Mauna Kea, the volcano that looms over the Big Island of Hawaii.

The announcement was widely expected after a series of court rulings in recent years had gone the embattled telescope’s way. “We have followed a 10-year process to get to this point,” Mr. Ige said.

He was flanked at a news conference by Henry Yang, the chancellor of the University of California, Santa Barbara, and chair of the Thirty Meter Telescope International Observatory. 

“We have learned much about the unique importance of Mauna Kea to all,” Dr. Yang said. “Hawaii is a very special place that has long honored the arts of astronomy and navigation.”

He added, “We would like to acknowledge those who disagree with this project and their right to voice their disagreement.”

The Thirty Meter Telescope will be the largest telescope in the Northern Hemisphere, with a primary mirror bigger than a basketball court, and one of the most expensive: According to knowledgeable, unaffiliated astronomers, its costs could reach $2 billion.

But the project has been plagued with controversy and a series of legal and illegal obstacles. Activists have opposed it, saying that decades of telescope-building on Mauna Kea have polluted the mountain. In 2014, protesters disrupted a groundbreaking ceremony and blocked construction vehicles from mountain roads.

Mauna Kea is considered “ceded land” that once belonged to the Hawaiian kingdom and is now held in trust for native Hawaiians. Some of them have contended that the construction of telescopes on the mountain’s summit — 13 so far — has interfered with cultural and religious practices. For others, the telescope project has become a symbol of Western colonization.

The telescope would be built by an international collaboration called the TMT International Observatory, led by the University of California and the California Institute of Technology, but also including Japan, China, India and Canada.

This week a coalition of activists led by Kealoha Pisciotta filed a legal challenge in the Third Circuit Court of Hawaii, seeking an injunction against the telescope construction. The TMT International Observatory, the activists said, had failed to post a security bond that is required under a 1977 plan that governs the management of the mountain. The bond, in the amount of the full cost of the project, would cover the cost of restoring the site to its natural state once the telescope has finished its mission.

“By failing to post the bond, they have laid all financial liability on the People of Hawai’i, in the event the TMT doesn’t get full funding,” Ms. Pisciotta said in an email. “And this is especially important because they don’t have full funding now.”

In an email, Douglas Ing, a lawyer for the observatory, said: “We had a brief opportunity to review an unfiled copy of a lawsuit. We believe this is a weak lawsuit and we expect to defeat it.”...

Full story at https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/10/science/hawaii-telescope-tmt-mauna-kea.html

Heads will (likely) roll scandal - further update

Below - all the way at the bottom - is a good illustration of why the "call-me-if-you-have-a-problem" style of management doesn't work well. No one wants to tell the boss he/she has (created) a problem. So the boss doesn't find out until the problem blows up to the point where it can't be hidden.

UCLA knew of doctor sex abuse allegation in 2014 but didn’t fire him for four years

By Richard Winton and Teresa Watanabe, July 11, 2019, LA Times

UCLA Medical Center learned in 2014 that a breast cancer patient had made abuse allegations against gynecologist Dr. James Mason Heaps, but officials did not move to fire him until four years later, after more accusations came to light, university records obtained by The Times and interviews show.

The patient said she told UCLA Health that she was “completely shocked and embarrassed” by what she claimed were inappropriate sexual touching and comments during a medical consultation. She also filed a complaint with the California Medical Board.

A month later, a UCLA Health manager told the woman that the executive chair and vice chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology had “thoroughly reviewed and investigated” the allegations, according to the documents reviewed by The Times. Virgie N. Mosley, manager of patient affairs, did not inform the woman about the review’s outcome, telling her in an April 2014 letter that the internal process was “confidential and remains protected information.”

That response described by the woman would be at odds with the University of California’s 2013 sexual misconduct policies, which required that “the complainant shall be informed if there were findings made that the Policy was or was not violated and of actions taken to resolve the complaint, if any.” And according to policy, any investigation of sexual misconduct complaints “generally shall include interviews with the parties if available.”

Mosley, who has retired from UCLA, could not be reached for comment.

The university’s actions raise new questions about whether UCLA did all it could to protect patients or follow UC guidelines at a time when the system touts itself as a national leader in establishing strong protocols that are sensitive to victims and responsive to complaints.

UCLA officials did not publicly announce that they had forced Heaps out for violating sexual misconduct policies until June 10, after Los Angeles prosecutors charged the gynecologist with sexual battery and exploitation during the treatment of two patients in 2017 and 2018. UCLA medical officials earlier had told patients that he retired.

Heaps has denied any wrongdoing, and his attorneys have said he will fight the charges.

UCLA Chancellor Gene Block has apologized to patients for any harm caused and appointed an independent review committee to investigate how the university handled complaints against Heaps.

In an earlier interview with The Times, Block said he knew of no “red flags” about Heaps until he was told about a patient complaint of sexual misconduct in December 2017, which triggered a Title IX investigation.

In a disconnect between campus centers, UCLA Health never informed the Title IX office about the 2014 complaint. The Title IX office only learned of that complaint — along with another in 2015 — during its investigation of the 2017 allegation, according to UCLA Health spokeswoman Rhonda Curry.

UC policy at the time did not specify that all sexual misconduct complaints must be sent to the Title IX office. Now it does, under a 2016 overhaul to strengthen the system’s sexual misconduct procedures.

Curry said the independent review committee is investigating who knew of the prior complaints, what was done about them and why the 2014 case was never referred to the Title IX office.

The woman who filed the 2014 complaint said she tried to raise an alarm about Heaps and was brushed aside by UCLA medical officials. She said she was publicly disclosing details of her experience for the first time in order to hold the university accountable and prevent further harm to women.

"I didn't want anyone else to be hurt," said the Central California woman, who is not being identified by The Times because she is alleging sexual assault. When she found out about the allegations, “I was mortified. They could have prevented all this if they listened to me."

Heaps and his attorney, Tracy Green, did not respond to a request to discuss the woman’s allegations.

In an earlier interview, Green said that all charges against her client were “baseless” and that Heaps would fight them. She said he was a “respected, talented and thorough gynecological oncologist” whose treatment was always medically necessary and done with respect for patients.

Green added that the California Medical Board had closed the 2014 complaint with no finding of wrongdoing. The woman who filed it said an investigator had interviewed her via Skype in June 2014 but that the board concluded it was a “she said-he said” case and took no action.

Heaps also is facing at least three civil lawsuits filed last month by women treated in 2015 and 2017.

Since UCLA made the allegations public, 102 people have contacted the university with concerns about Heaps as of July 1, and 123 people have expressed support for him, Curry said — adding that the university is following up with everyone who alleged inappropriate contact.

In the 2014 case, the patient was a 41-year-old single mother when she visited Heaps for a consultation on whether to remove her ovaries following a bilateral mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation. It quickly became a physical exam, she said.

She alleged that the doctor began rubbing his bare hands "sensually" across her exposed stomach, then began to circle her naval with them like an "intimate partner." After that, she alleged, Heaps lifted a paper sheet covering the lower half of her body and ran a gloveless finger through her pubic hair, twirling it as he searched for a potential incision point.

She said Heaps told her, "You’ll still be able to wear a skimpy bikini,” then laughed. When a nurse entered, she alleged, the doctor "pulled the sheet down" like someone who just got caught.

"I was shaking," she said, "I was taking deep breaths. You know it is not OK, but you asked for the information and your life may depend on him."

Once the nurse arrived, she said, Heaps conducted a pap smear even though she already had one on record and inserted an ultrasound instrument into her vagina. When the nurse left, she said, he ran his hands all over her body under the auspice of checking for skin cancer.

Shocked and trembling, she went to another UCLA doctor’s office and relayed the experience to a medical assistant. Within days, she sent a formal complaint to UCLA and the California Medical Board.

"I was completely shocked and embarrassed. I had never been touched that way by any OB/GYN doctor," she told UCLA officials. “This experience left me feeling very violated.”

The only response she said she received was Mosley’s letter a month later.

"I am sorry that you had such a negative experience and that this has caused you such concern and dissatisfaction and apologize for any frustration this may have caused you," Mosley wrote.

UCLA Health had hired Heaps in February 2014 — one month before the alleged abuse — and paid about $60,000 for his medical equipment, furniture and other hard assets, Curry said. By 2015, his annual income had doubled to nearly $1.2 million, according to UC payroll data.

"They basically hid the complaint and that allowed him to continue to find new victims at UCLA," said attorney John Manly, who represents the 2014 patient and 50 other women allegedly sexually abused by the physician.

Heaps continued to see patients with no restrictions even after the Title IX complaint was filed against him on Dec. 20, 2017. Two months later, the gynecologist treated another patient who would later allege that he sexually assaulted her by improperly putting his fingers in her vagina.

That patient, whose attorney sent UCLA a notice to sue earlier this year, was awarded $2.25 million in a settlement finalized last month with UC regents. In a separate case, a nurse practitioner was awarded nearly $1.3 million in March to settle her complaint that Heaps committed sexual harassment and retaliated against her for participating in a UCLA sexual misconduct investigation about him.

Both redacted settlements were included in documents released Monday in response to a public records request filed by The Times.

In addition, the documents show that the UCLA official who reviewed the 2014 complaint found no “clear transgressions” but told investigators he stopped referring patients to Heaps after that because the gynecologist’s practices “would make him uncomfortable as a patient.”

University officials never warned the campus about Heaps, although federal law requires them to do so if they believe someone accused of sexual assault is a safety threat.

Instead, UCLA notified Heaps’ patients in June 2018 that the gynecologist was retiring without telling them that they found he had violated UC policies on sexual misconduct.

Dr. Deborah Krakow, chairwoman of the UCLA obstetrics and gynecology department, told patients “with mixed emotions” that Heaps had retired from active practice. She assured patients their clinical care would continue uninterrupted with other “highly qualified doctors" and pledged a seamless transition.

Block said UCLA did not disclose the allegations of sexual misconduct in announcing Heaps’ retirement because the university was still investigating them.

As for the university's actions after being informed of alleged assaults, Block said in a recent interview that the university correctly followed UC sexual misconduct policies and reported the 2017 and 2018 complaints to the state medical board and law enforcement but did not act as “promptly or as efficiently as I think we should have.”

The chancellor only learned of the 2014 complaint after UCLA launched the Title IX investigation into the 2017 allegation.

Source: https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ucla-gynecologist-sexual-misconduct-patient-20190711-story.html

Jerry's Fiscal Legacy

Issued on schedule
The state controller has just issued her closing report for fiscal year 2018-19, the year ending last June 30. (In contrast, the governor/Dept. of Finance has yet to put out its final budget statement for the 2019-20 budget approved in late June.)

The past fiscal year's outcome was - in effect - Jerry Brown's legacy, since it unrolled under his last budget. It would be nice (more than nice!) if it were possible to reconcile the semi-accrual budgets proposed by the governor and passed by the legislature with the cash statements issued by the controller. But that has never been possible. Still, the Brown fiscal legacy is apparent in the build-up of "unused borrowable reserves" (funds that can be borrowed by the general fund for seasonal or other needs from outside the general fund). These unused reserves constitute the ultimate backup for state spending. Some of them are part of the various official reserves created as backups. Others are in funds outside the general fund that are designated for other purposes but that could be legally diverted to general fund use.

In June 2009 (end of the 2008-09 fiscal year), the ratio of unused borrowable reserves to general fund disbursements stood at 7.2%. Those with sufficient memories will recall that over the 2009 summer that followed, the state had to resort to issuing IOUs in lieu of paying all its bills. In June 2011 (end of the last Schwarzenegger budget), the ratio had improved to the still-precarious level of 10.7%. Under Brown, it continued to improve, year by year. The improvement resulted from general economic recovery from the Great Recession and the incremental tax revenue brought in by a Brown-proposed initiative. According to the controller's report, the ratio reached 35.1% by June 2019.

The governor's missing budget (as of this morning).
That ratio is Newsom's fiscal inheritance from Brown. (Because we don't have a 2019-20 budget from Newsom/Dept. of Finance, we don't know what the forecast is for this ratio in June 2020.) It provides Newsom with a budgetary cushion in case of an economic downturn. Unlike Schwarzenegger and Brown, Newsom has started off without a challenge of fiscal stringency. How he would respond should Bad Times arise remains to be seen. But one might have more confidence if he could follow the controller's example and get his first budget on the web on a timely basis.

UPDATE: The governor/Dept. of Finance finally posted the budget this afternoon. We will post an item about it subsequently.

Elsevier Stop Confirmed

Starting today (Wednesday, July 10), Elsevier, the world’s largest provider of scientific, technical and medical information, has shut off the University of California’s direct access to new articles. Its 2,500-journal portfolio includes such highly-regarded publications as The Lancet and Cell...

Last summer, UC began negotiating with Elsevier over its subscription contract with the publishing giant. The university’s goal was to tamp down costs and to provide default open access publishing of UC research. The desired outcome was that, unless the author requested otherwise, the results of publicly-funded UC research would be made public — free and accessible to everyone.
But in February, UC announced it had ended talks with Elsevier, as the publishing giant and UC were far apart on key issues. The UC’s decision to terminate subscriptions with Elsevier was hailed far and wide as a big win in the movement toward open access. However, it also made a shutoff imminent...
Full UC-Berkeley announcement at https://news.berkeley.edu/story_jump/publisher-elsevier-stops-ucs-access-to-new-articles/

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Something to keep in mind on retiree health

Past blog posts related to retiree health care have noted 1) there was a plan to implement a form of privatized insurance in 2020 (that was cut back to apply only to Health Net),* 2) there was a hint from the powers-that-be that premiums on other policies would be substantially boosted in 2020,* and 3) CALPERS' health insurance premiums are not shooting up.**

Now we have an announcement from Covered California that there would be low premium increases for next year.***

In short, there is little evidence that health care costs in California are shooting up.

So let's put it this way. If indeed there is a substantial boost in premiums for UC retiree health in 2020, there will be questions as to whether the uptick is an effort to reduce resistance to total privatization.

Just saying.

===

*https://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2019/06/for-now-runaway-train-on-retiree.html
**https://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2019/06/footnote-on-runaway-retiree-healthcare.html
***https://www.sacbee.com/news/local/health-and-medicine/article232432922.html

Student Assistance This Summer

From EdSource: Hoping to coax students to graduate faster, the recently approved state budget infuses California’s two public university systems with a total of $10 million in financial aid for summer school classes. The money will help students afford classes in the summer that they were crowded out of or too busy to take in the regular school year.
The grants are aimed at low- and middle-income students who qualify for state-funded Cal Grants during the rest of the school year. The extra summer money is intended to supplement and not replace whatever university or federal grants students already receive.
But the two university systems have chosen very different timetables to spend the money. As a result, UC students will see the benefits this summer while CSU students will not start to receive the aid until next summer. The difference is partly based on the academic calendars of the two systems.
The 10-campus University of California will try to use up its $4 million financial aid allocation if possible this summer, officials said...

More UCLA Measles

From an email yesterday:

To the Campus Community: 

On Monday, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health notified UCLA that a campus employee had contracted measles. We were also informed that the employee had eaten lunch at a fast food restaurant in the Court of Sciences Student Center (also known as the Bomb Shelter) on two days — July 2 and 3 — while he was believed to be contagious.

If you were at the Court of Sciences Student Center between 9:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. on July 2 or 3, it is important that you verify your immunity. Faculty and staff should immediately contact UCLA Occupational Health at 310-825-6771, and students should contact the Ashe Student Health and Wellness Center at 310-206-6217, and mention that you may have been exposed to measles. Both centers are prepared to help you determine your immunity and answer questions you might have about your possible exposure.
Campus epidemiologists and top health experts have been working closely with the county public health department to ensure that all who might be affected receive notifications and proper care. Upon learning of the situation, UCLA identified and notified employees who may have come into contact or who may have otherwise been exposed. UCLA Occupational Health is in the process of clearing those employees who have immunity. Employees who do not have immunity may not come to work until their incubation period passes.
I know there is concern about measles, particularly among the very small percentage of our community who have not been vaccinated. Please be assured that we have the resources we need for prevention and treatment, and that we are working very closely with local public health officials on the matter.
More information about measles and the measles vaccine can be found at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health website and at Bruin Safe Online.
Thank you,
Michael J. Beck
Administrative Vice Chancellor

Heads will (likely) roll scandal - update

The LA Times is evidently pursuing this matter. As the article below indicates, the university is settling without the cooperation of Dr. Heaps - which means there could eventually be a full trial. Again, we note for blog readers that the scandal at this point involves what the university did after receiving complaints. If there is a trial, there will be adjudication of what Dr. Heaps did or didn't do. However, since there are now other plaintiffs - and the university has paid out to the first - more money will be flowing. Note (below) that the settlement involves direct talks between the patient and a Regent and the head of the UCLA health enterprise.

UCLA has paid more than $3.5 million in settlements over former gynecologist

By Jaclyn Cosgrove, Teresa Watanabe, Richard Winton, LA Times, July 8, 2019
 
A patient who alleged she was sexually assaulted by a UCLA Health gynecologist was awarded $2.25 million in a settlement finalized last month with the University of California regents, according to university records released Monday.

The patient’s accusation stemmed from a February 2018 appointment with Dr. James M. Heaps. Heaps was charged in early June with sexual battery and exploitation in connection with his treatment of two patients — including the woman whose claim was settled last month.

Heaps has pleaded not guilty, and his attorney has said he will continue to fight the charges.

UCLA released a redacted copy of the settlement in response to a public records request filed by The Times. The university released additional documents, including a copy of a settlement in March of almost $1.3 million with a UCLA nurse practitioner who alleged sexual harassment by Heaps and claimed he retaliated against her for participating in the UCLA investigations of him.

The criminal investigation of Heaps was prompted by a complaint made by a patient in December 2017, according to court records. UCLA did not restrict Heaps while investigating the woman’s complaint, even though university officials discovered two other complaints about Heaps during the investigation.

It was while the university’s inquiry was ongoing that the patient in last month’s settlement was treated by him. Her name was redacted from the records released by UCLA.

Heaps’ attorney, Tracy Green, previously told The Times the patient was a 48-year-old mother of three who accused the doctor of improperly putting his fingers in her vagina. Green said her client was a “respected, talented and thorough gynecological oncologist” whose treatment was always medically necessary and done with respect for patients.

On Monday, Green said Heaps was adamant that UCLA not settle with the patient because he didn’t do anything wrong and felt settling would imply otherwise. He refused to contribute any money to the settlement, she said.

“[UCLA] genuinely said, ‘Oh no, this will keep things confidential – we don’t want it to blow up like what happened to USC,’” Green said, referencing Dr. George Tyndall, a USC campus gynecologist accused of sexually abusing hundreds of students during nearly three decades at a campus clinic.

Green said UCLA’s investigation into Heaps was “sloppy and careless” in that the university didn’t pull medical charts or conduct in-depth interviews with staff and patients. The staff members who were interviewed maintained they never witnessed Heaps do anything sexual with a patient, Green said.

“He knows he didn’t do anything for sexual gratification,” Green said.

Green said the claim that Heaps retaliated against the nurse practitioner stemmed from his sending her a text message asking if she was OK after realizing she was no longer working at UCLA Health. University officials told him this violated the university's no-contact policy during a Title IX investigation. When interviewed by UCLA, the nurse practitioner said she never witnessed any sexual misconduct between Heaps and his patients, Green said.

The nurse practitioner could not be reached for comment.

Heaps retired in June 2018. The university didn’t make any public reference to patient allegations against him until last month when UCLA sent an email to its campus community following Heaps’ arrest.

UCLA officials have apologized for their handling of the case and said they could have done a better job communicating with patients.

Heaps was a high-profile, highly paid gynecologist who worked part-time at the UCLA student health center from about 1983 to 2010. He was hired by UCLA Health in 2014 and held medical staff privileges at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center from 1988 to 2018.

More than 50 women have stepped forward alleging that Heaps sexually abused them while he was practicing at UCLA, according to attorneys representing former patients.

As part of the June settlement, the patient will meet separately with UCLA Health President Johnese Spisso and the regent who chairs the health services committee. In those meetings, the patient will share what happened to her and make recommendations for how the university should handle patient complaints in the future.

“UCLA made the decision to pay this settlement,” the woman’s attorneys, Darren Kavinoky and Jennifer McGrath, said in a statement. “That decision speaks volumes. We doubt it will be the last.”

Source: https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-ucla-gynecologist-sexual-abuse-settlement-20190708-story.html

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Kleinrock on the first internet message 50 years ago

An interesting video interview with UCLA Prof. Leonard Kleinrock on the birth of the internet at UCLA fifty years ago is available at:
https://cheddar.com/media/the-ucla-professor-who-helped-develop-the-internet
or below:

But then there is this from the current Daily Bruin:

UCLA must recognize students’ need for faster Wi-Fi connection in digital era

UCLA: the birthplace of the internet.
Too bad the university never got past the 1970s connection speed.
Students on the Hill have become numb to dial-up era connection, spotty Wi-Fi and switching between UCLA’s two main Wi-Fi networks in the hopes one might actually work...
Full story at http://dailybruin.com/2019/07/07/ucla-must-recognize-students-need-for-faster-wi-fi-connection-in-digital-era/

Which only goes to highlight Morse's question:


Monday, July 8, 2019

At the Regents - Football Concussions - UCLA

We reproduced the agenda for the open sessions of the UC Regents meetings of July 16-18 yesterday.* Of course, there are also closed sessions at those meetings. In particular, Compliance and Audit's closed session features a review of various litigation in which UC is involved, mainly as a defendant.

It appears that there will be a review in that closed session of "concussion litigation," presumably related to football brain injuries.** In particular, although a specific case is not listed, there is pending litigation aimed at UCLA about which we posted in May.*** Eventually, such cases could have a major impact on college football generally.
===
*https://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2019/07/the-regents-are-meeting-july-16-18.html
**https://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/regmeet/july19/auditx.pdf
***http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2019/05/former-athletes-sue-ucla.html

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Scandal

UCLA Spirit Squad director sacked after donor — ex-state Sen. Alan Robbins — takes dance team to racy Vegas show:

Robbins, 76, represented Van Nuys in the state Senate for 17 years, resigning six months before he was convicted in 1992 of bribery, extortion and tax evasion and sentenced to five years in prison.

By Stephanie Lai | July 6, 2019 | LA Daily News

The dismissal of UCLA’s longtime spirit squad director earlier this year is tied to an incident in which a high-profile donor — a disgraced ex-state senator — paid for the tickets and sat with six dance team members at a racy Las Vegas show the university condemned as inappropriate.

Mollie Vehling, the Bruin Traditions director who supervised the spirit squad for nearly 20 years, was removed from her position May 17, according to an email she sent and obtained by the Southern California News Group. Vehling initially was placed on leave in December while the university’s Title IX office conducted its investigation. She said she is appealing the firing.

Title IX is the 1972 law that prohibits sexual discrimination or harassment at schools that receive federal funding.

The report has not been disclosed by the university, but a dance team member said six members of the spirit squad attended the late-night show at Caesars Palace on Nov. 23 with former California lawmaker Alan Robbins, a longtime UCLA booster and alumnus.

Robbins, 76, represented Van Nuys in the state Senate for 17 years, resigning six months before he was convicted in 1992 of bribery, extortion and tax evasion and sentenced to five years in prison. Years earlier, he was charged but later acquitted of having sex with two 16-year-old girls in 1978 and 1979.

Robbins in the past has covered some travel and lodging costs for members of the spirit squad but did not contribute to their expenses for the Nov. 22-23 trip to Las Vegas with the men’s basketball team, which was in town for the 2018 Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational to play Michigan State, the University of Texas and the University of North Carolina.

Show was sexist, racist

In an interview with the Southern California News Group, however, Robbins said he did pay for the squad’s tickets to the Caesars Palace show, as he has done during past visits to Las Vegas, and sat with them in the front row. He described the show’s comedy as sexist and racist. He chose it, he said, because it was the only one that would fit the dance team’s schedule.

The dance team member, who asked to remain anonymous so as not to jeopardize her standing on the team, said Vehling told the squad members to attend the show with Robbins because he offered the tickets.

“Mollie didn’t give the girls an option — she basically said you have to go,” the dance team member said.

The dance team member didn’t remember the name of the show, but Robbins recalled it was in a tent. A representative from Caesar’s Palace confirmed the only show offered in a tent that weekend was Absinthe.

The promoters of the show describe it as “an immersive adult playground where the artists of Absinthe perform on the most intimate stage in town. Not for the faint-hearted, these ridiculously talented and sexy performers from across the globe mix outrageous comedy with jaw-dropping feats of virtuosity and danger.

“Absinthe is for ages 18 and above.”

The show’s performers are known to interact with audience members. On Nov. 23, one cast member called out the dance team’s attire and made sexually charged comments about them.

The dance team member said her teammates were uncomfortable during the event not only because of the show’s inappropriate content, but because Robbins was adding his own unseemly comments.

Aftermath

As an outgrowth of the Title IX investigation, Robbins said he has been told he will no longer be allowed access to his regular seats at UCLA athletic events. He wouldn’t reveal his proximity to the spirit squad from the former seats. To his knowledge, though, he said he is still allowed on campus and able to donate to the university.

During the investigation, Vehling was not allowed to contact anyone affiliated with UCLA or allowed on campus, according to the emailed statement.

Vehling’s leave was not publicized and the team was not made aware of the situation until full squad meetings began in December, the dance team member said.

At that point, squad members were encouraged to share their insights to Title IX officers and add any others concerns they had about Vehling’s leadership.

Vehling was criticized at the squad meetings for coercing female members to spend time with Robbins and other donors, and not taking action when some of those interactions were inappropriate, the dance team member said.

In an email, Vehling said she is pursuing her reinstatement — a process that extends the investigation by almost a year. She declined further comment.

Robbins said he and other donors are upset about Vehling’s termination.

Tod Tamberg, senior executive director of UCLA media relations, said he was unable to comment about the rules in place governing donor and athlete interactions or any steps taken in response to the Title IX investigation.

However, in an emailed statement, Tamberg said, “The campus took immediate action to correct the situation and is taking additional measures to ensure that spirit squad members receive the emotional, educational and physical support they need as students first, and as squad members performing at the highest level in representing UCLA at numerous events throughout the year.”

Source: https://www.dailynews.com/2019/07/06/ucla-spirit-squad-director-sacked-after-donor-ex-state-senator-alan-robbins-takes-dance-team-to-racy-vegas-show/

The Regents are meeting July 16-18

The preliminary agenda for the upcoming meetings of the UC Regents has been posted. It might be noted that there is no mention of health insurance, whether for retirees or actives, despite the (now-limited) changes planned for retiree healthcare in 2020.


Full Regents Agenda, July 16-18, 2019:
SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON BASIC NEEDS
Date: July 16, 2019
Time: 3:00 p.m.
Location: Fisher Banquet Room West
UCSF–Mission Bay Conference Center
1675 Owens Street, San Francisco
Agenda – Open Session

Public Comment Period
Action: Approval of the Minutes of the Meeting of April 22, 2019
S1 Discussion: Supporting University of California Students’ Financial Literacy
S2 Discussion: Exploring Housing Insecurity Among University of California
Students
S3 Discussion: Special Committee’s Report to the Board
S4 Discussion: Update on Basic Needs Spending Plan
===
THE REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
Date: July 17, 2019
Time: 8:30 a.m.
Location: Robertson Auditorium
UCSF–Mission Bay Conference Center
1675 Owens Street, San Francisco
Agenda – Open Session

Public Comment Period
Approval of the Minutes of the Meeting of May 15, 2019
Remarks of the Chair of the Board
Remarks of the President of the University
Remarks of the Chair of the Academic Senate
Committee Report: Special Committee to Select a Student Regent
Appointment of 2020-21 Student Regent
===
COMPLIANCE AND AUDIT COMMITTEE
Date: July 17, 2019
Time: 9:45 a.m.
Location: Robertson Auditorium
UCSF–Mission Bay Conference Center
1675 Owens Street, San Francisco
Agenda – Open Session

Action: Approval of the Minutes of the Meeting of May 15, 2019
C1 Discussion: Update on Systemwide Audit of Admissions
C2 Action: Approval of the Internal Audit Plan for 2019-20
C3 Discussion: Report on Independent Assessment of Audit Implementation Status
C4 Discussion: University of California Herbicide Task Force Update
===
PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT AND DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE
Date: July 17, 2019
Time: 9:45 a.m.
Location: Fisher Banquet Room West
 UCSF–Mission Bay Conference Center
1675 Owens Street, San Francisco
Agenda – Open Session

Action: Approval of the Minutes of the Meetings of January 15, 2019 and April 22, 2019
P1 Discussion: State Governmental Relations Update
P2 Discussion: Federal Update
P3 Discussion: Student Mental Health Funding
P4 Discussion: Discussion: of Future Goals for the Upcoming Year
===
ACADEMIC AND STUDENT AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
Date: July 17, 2019
Time: Upon adjournment of closed session
Location: Fisher Banquet Room West
UCSF–Mission Bay Conference Center
1675 Owens Street, San Francisco
Agenda – Open Session

Action: Approval of the Minutes of the Meeting of May 15, 2019
A2 Discussion: Student Loan Debt Patterns Among University of California Undergraduates
A3 Discussion: Update on Open Access and Academic Journal Contracts
===
FINANCE AND CAPITAL STRATEGIES COMMITTEE
Date: July 17, 2019
Time: 12:30 pm
Location: Robertson Auditorium
UCSF–Mission Bay Conference Center
1675 Owens Street, San Francisco
Agenda – Open Session

Action: Approval of the Minutes of the Meeting of May 15, 2019
F1 Action: Consent:
A. Certification of Updated Sewer System Management Plans
B. Approval of Preliminary Plans Funding, Future College Living and Learning Neighborhood, San Diego Campus
C. Approval of Budget, Scope, External Financing, and Design Following Action: Pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act, 2 North Point Seismic and Tenant Improvements Project, San Francisco Campus
F2 Action: Approval of Budget, Scope, External Financing, Standby Financing, and Design Following Action: Pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act, Susan and Henry Samueli College of Health Sciences Building, and Sue and Bill Gross Nursing and Health Sciences Hall, Irvine Campus
F3 Action: Approval of Budget, Scope, External Financing, and Design Following Action: Pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act, Chemistry Addition and First Floor Renovation and Delegation of Authority for Future Capital Approvals for Chemistry and Chemistry Annex Building, Davis Campus
F4 Action: University of California Retirement Plan – Proposal to Adopt Changes in Actuarial Assumptions and Authorization to Increase the Employer Contribution Rate
F5 Discussion: University of California 2020-21-Budget for State Capital Improvements
F6 Discussion: Verano 8 Graduate Student Housing and Long Range Development Plan Amendment for On-Campus Housing, Irvine Campus
F7 Discussion: Proposed Mixed Use Development of Up to 36.2 Acres at Moffett Field, Berkley Campus
F8 Discussion: UC Center Sacramento Facility Acquisition and Renovation
F9 Discussion: Update Regarding the New Hospital UCSF Helen Diller Medical Center Program at Parnassus Heights Integrated form of Agreement and Procurement Strategy, San Francisco Campus
F10 Discussion: University of California Innovation and Entrepreneurship
F11 Discussion: Approaches to Address Student Housing Insecurity
===
NATIONAL LABORATORIES COMMITTEE
Date: July 17, 2019
Time: 3:45 pm
Location: Robertson Auditorium
UCSF–Mission Bay Conference Center
1675 Owens Street, San Francisco
Agenda – Open Session

Discussion: Approval of the Minutes of the Meeting of January 16, 2019
N1 Action: Allocation of Triad National Security, LLC and Lawrence  Livermore National Security LLC Fee Income to be Expended in Fiscal Year 2019-20
===
GOVERNANCE COMMITTEE
Date: July 17, 2019
Time: Upon adjournment of the closed session meeting
Location: Robertson Auditorium
UCSF–Mission Bay Conference Center
1675 Owens Street, San Francisco
Agenda – Open Session

Action: Approval of the Minutes of the Meeting of May 15, 2019
G1 Action: Approval of Appointment of and Compensation for Interim  Associate Vice President – Capital Assets Strategy and Finance, in  Addition to Existing Appointment as Associate Vice President and  Systemwide Controller, Office of the President, as Discussed in Closed Session
G2 Action: Approval of Appointment of and Compensation for Dean – University Extension, Santa Cruz Campus, as Discussed in Closed Session
G3 Action: Approval of Appointment of and Compensation for Executive Vice President – UC Health, Office of the President, as Discussed in  Closed Session
G5 Action: Establishment of a New Senior Management Group Position of Chief Strategy Officer and Head of Health Affiliates Network,  UCSF Health, and the Market Reference Zone for the Position, San Francisco Campus
G6 Action: Resolution to Exclude Access to Federal Classified Information
G7 Action: Adoption of Regents Principles on Contracting Out
G8 Action: Amendment of the Schedule of Reports to the Regents
G9 Discussion: Annual Reports on Compensated and Uncompensated Outside Professional Activities for Calendar Year 2018, and Semi-Annual Reports on Outside Professional Activities Approved Between June 1, 2018 and November 30, 2018, and Between December 1, 2018 and May 31, 2019
===
THE REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
Date: July 18, 2019
Time: Upon adjournment of the closed session meeting1
Location: Robertson Auditorium
UCSF–Mission Bay Conference Center
1675 Owens Street, San Francisco
Agenda – Open Session

Public Comment Period
Remarks from Student Associations
Annual Report of University of California Staff Assemblies
Notable Honors and Achievements
B1 Discussion: Update on the Final 2019-20 State Budget
B2 Action: Fiscal Year 2019-20 Budget for the University of California Office of the President
B3 Discussion: 2019 University of California Accountability Report
B4 Discussion: The Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources
B5 Discussion: Cohort-Based Tuition
Committee Reports (Including Off-Cycle Committees) Including Approval of Recommendations from Committees:
 -Academic and Student Affairs Committee
 -Compliance and Audit Committee
 -Finance and Capital Strategies Committee
 -Governance Committee
 -Health Services Committee (meeting of June 11, 2019)
 -National Laboratories Committee
 -Public Engagement and Development Committee
 -Special Committee on Basic Needs
 -Special Committee on Nominations
===