Friday, July 10, 2020

The Forgotten Santa Cruz Grad Student/TA Strike

It may be hard to remember but there was a grad student/TA strike at Santa Cruz that was eclipsed by the coronavirus crisis.

From the Santa Cruz Sentinel: Dozens of graduate-student workers fired for engaging in a wildcat strike at UC Santa Cruz have a path to reinstatement this fall under a deal reached between the campus and the students’ union. The UAW 2865 union committed to drop an unfair labor practice charge against UCSC as part of the settlement, which also includes an agreement to shift student-conduct sanctions to employee warning letters for teaching assistants who deleted grades as part of a strike.

Warning letters issued to 245 students for initially refusing to submit grades can also be removed from students’ files under the deal, at least for the majority of students who eventually submitted the grades.

“As the campus continues to prepare for fall quarter, we can close some of the chapters of a turbulent past academic year,” UCSC Chancellor Cynthia Larive and campus provost Lori Kletzer wrote in a campus message Thursday. The two campus leaders acknowledged that some claims resulting from the wildcat strike remain unsettled, calling the agreement “a small yet important step for our community, one we believe sets us up for a stronger future together.”

Veronica Hamilton, UCSC’s UAW 2865 unit chair and a psychology doctoral student, is among at least 75 students who were dismissed or barred from teaching positions for alleged wildcat strike activity. In an interview Thursday, Hamilton said polling found support for the deal from a majority of union members caught up in discipline related to the strike. But the settlement doesn’t extend as far as she would have hoped.

“The deal ensures some things that we do need, but it is such an incredibly small step,” Hamilton said. “It’s hard to feel proud of this deal when it doesn’t include things like full reinstatement and withdrawing of all discipline.”

According to Hamilton, the path to reinstatement divides fired graduate students into two groups. About 35 students who were barred from appointments they had yet to receive are now eligible for reinstatement, she said. A larger group of more than 40 students that were dismissed from spring appointments, herself included, will still need to go through an expedited arbitration, she said.

“They should have reinstated everybody,” Hamilton said. “And that is something that we asked for and demanded multiple times, and they were sort of unrelenting.”

A total of 75 students have been involved in student-conduct proceedings for alleged deletion of grades as part of the wildcat strike, according to a campus spokesperson...

Full story at

Note: This article is unclear. If there is expedited arbitration, what will the arbitrator consider? What is to be determined? Based on what criteria? Yours truly is certainly not opposed to ambiguity as a dispute resolution feature. Indeed, he has advocated it.*  But for arbitration to work, the arbitrator needs some criteria, however vague, to hang a decision on.

Frat Party: The Sequel

Back on May 19th, we posted about a fraternity party at UC-Berkeley at which standards of social distancing, etc., were clearly not being observed.*

Now comes this item from the LA Times:

Coronavirus outbreak tied to fraternity parties imperils fall semester at UC Berkeley

Rong-Gong Lin, 7-9-20

An outbreak of coronavirus infections tied to parties connected to fraternities at UC Berkeley is imperiling the prospect of in-person fall semester classes, university officials warned. In just one week, there have been 47 COVID-19 cases confirmed by the University Health Services system, the school said in a letter to the campus community. Most of the 47 new cases “stem from a series of recent parties connected to the CalGreek system, which included students both within the CalGreek community and others, and led to some secondary spread within households and within other smaller gatherings,” said the letter written by Anna Harte, medical director of the campus’ health clinic, and Guy Nicolette, an assistant vice chancellor.

“Generally, these infections are directly related to social events where students have not followed basic safety measures such as physical distancing, wearing face coverings, limiting event size, and gathering outside,” the letter said. The outbreak underscores how California’s new coronavirus surge is being fueled by much younger people who are getting back to summer social events and contracting COVID-19.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said this week that younger people who think “they are invincible” are falling ill nevertheless. Adults between 18 and 49 have made up 6.4% of California’s coronavirus-related deaths.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti underscored that point Wednesday, saying “more than 50% of the people who are testing positive in Los Angeles County are between 18 and 40 years of age.” Adults 18 to 40 make up 35% of L.A. County’s population.

While “most young people are doing the right thing,” he said, “it’s clear that a lot of them are not.”

“This isn’t complicated: Do not get together with someone who’s not in your household,” he said. “These weeks are absolutely critical: Critical to whether schools open, whether our economy and our economic recovery path continues. These weeks are critical for saving lives.”

More than 100 residents of Los Angeles County between the ages of 18 and 40 have died from the coronavirus. “While the rate of death is significantly less for younger people, unfortunately, younger people die pretty much almost every day,” Barbara Ferrer, the director of public health for L.A. County, said Thursday. “And some of the people who are dying don’t have any underlying health conditions, either.”

About 7% of the people who have died in L.A. County with a coronavirus infection had no underlying health conditions. Younger adults can also be a significant spread of the coronavirus to more vulnerable people. A study published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that in Japan, it was most often adults in their 20s or 30s — infected but not showing signs of illness — who were responsible for spreading the coronavirus among 61 clusters of illness.

“As a young person, you inadvertently unknowingly could be infecting people, even in your age cohort, who then go on and infect somebody else who’s at risk and has a terrible outcome and actually may even die,” Ferrer said. Even those who do survive COVID-19 can suffer from months of complications, Ferrer added. A growing number of campuses are rethinking fall on-campus plans as the coronavirus has surged again...

Full story at

Comment: Viruses don't care whether you are just looking to have a good time such as a frat party, whether you are participating in a demonstration for some cause, whether you are participating in a religious ceremony, or any other human concern. They just spread, if enabled. Folks, as the mayor said, this is not complicated.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

More U-Turns

More institutions in California are in retreat for the fall term:

Online-Only Fall for Scripps and Pomona

Emma Whitford, July 9, 2020, Inside Higher Ed

As coronavirus case numbers climb in California, Scripps College and Pomona College announced Wednesday they would close their campuses and conduct instruction completely online in the fall.

In her announcement, Scripps president Lara Tiedens said the college had been planning to reopen campus to students this fall before the pandemic worsened in the state.

“As we planned for the return to campus, we have continued to monitor the current public health situation in Los Angeles County, which over the last couple of weeks has worsened dramatically,” the announcement read.

Pomona also reversed its plans, citing the rising case counts in Claremont.

“Here in the nation’s most populous county, the virus is taking off among young people, who account for half of the new cases, and the numbers bring growing concerns about more spread to the most vulnerable,” wrote G. Gabrielle Starr, Pomona's president, and Samuel D. Glick, chair of the college's Board of Trustees.

The decisions to go ahead with an online-only semester are complicated by the recent Department of Homeland Security rule that prohibits international students from remaining in the United States if their colleges are online only. In its announcement, Pomona acknowledged this complication and said it will reach out to affected students in the coming days.


UC Sues Trump Administration Over New International Student Rules

From CalMatters/WhatMatters:

UC to sue Trump administration over international student policy

The University of California will sue the Trump administration over new federal visa guidelines that would force international students to leave the U.S. if they’re only enrolled in online classes, the system’s governing board said Wednesday. The decision comes two days after Immigrations and Customs Enforcement announced a reversal of its March policy allowing international students to take all online classes during the spring and summer as the coronavirus pandemic upended in-person classes... Around 40,000 of California’s more than 160,000 international students attend UC.

UC Board of Regents Chair John A. Perez: “The University of California’s legacy and leadership would not be the same without the international students and faculty who have come to this institution. To UC’s international students, I say: ‘We support you and regret the additional chaos ICE’s action has caused.’

Source: (Scroll down.)

From CalMatters: ...UC’s lawsuit will argue that ICE failed to follow the federal Administrative Procedure Act when it introduced the new policy, a statement from the university said. Pérez said the university was also looking at ways to provide more in-person educational opportunities for international students. It’s not the first time UC has sued the federal government over immigration policy: The university won a major court victory last month when the Supreme Court struck down the Trump administration’s attempt to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA...

Full story at

End of the Beginning - Part 9

We continue our regular labor market analysis of new weekly claims for unemployment insurance. As the chart below shows, on a national basis new claims remained remarkably high, but lower than at the earlier peak, through the week ended July 4th. In absolute amounts, new claims were 1.4 million, seasonally adjusted or unadjusted, about the same level as the prior week.

The total number of recipients of unemployment benefits continues to decline, which suggests more people were getting jobs than losing them. California remains with a disproportionately high share of unemployment benefits recipients.
[Click on image to clarify.]
The latest data on unemployment insurance claims are at

A separate "JOLTS" survey - which is much lagged - shows that the job openings rate (vacancy rate) began to rise in May and new hires exceeded terminations at that time. See below. In short, both surveys indicate that there began to be a turnaround in May. Just a reminder, however, that in absolute terms, the situation looks very bad. And more recent reversals of opening up policies around the country in response to health data could produce a stall at current levels.

[Click on image to clarify.]

The latest JOLTS data are at

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

LeConte departing from Berkeley, but not UCLA

When you enter UCLA from Westwood, you encounter the name LeConte, although with a space after the "Le." The street was named after two brothers associated with Berkeley. As we have noted in prior posts,* Berkeley is in the process of changing things named after the LeConte brothers:

From SFGATE: The (UC-Berkeley) Building Name Review Committee is reviewing proposals to remove the names of Joseph and John LeConte... from campus. The renaming of LeConte Hall seems almost a foregone conclusion; the faculty of the Department of Physics already overwhelmingly voted in favor of removing the name in mid-June. The LeConte brothers grew up on a plantation with 200 enslaved individuals and, when the Civil War broke out, they used their scientific acumen to help the Confederacy manufacture gunpowder.

After the war, Joseph LeConte used his platform as a respected natural scientist to advocate for white supremacy. He argued Black people were inherently inferior and called "the sudden enfranchisement of the negro ... the greatest political crime ever committed." In his work, he fought for what he perceived as racial purity. "I regard the light-haired blue-eyed Teutonic and the negro as the extreme types, and their mixture as producing the worst effect," he once wrote. "… It seems probable then that the mixture of extreme races produces an inferior result." The LeConte name was already removed from a Berkeley elementary school in 2018...

Full story at

Of course, Le Conte Avenue (or LeConte Avenue - depending on which street sign you look at) is not part of the UCLA campus and it would be up to the City of LA to change the name which would inconvenience - and possibly raise objections from - homeowners and businesses on that street.
*(2015) and (2017)
UPDATE: NWWNC votes to rename Le Conte Avenue, citing namesake’s racist past

Lawsuit Challenges New Rule for International Students

We earlier posted the statement of Chancellor Block concerning the new federal rule requiring international students taking online courses to return home. There is now a lawsuit from Harvard and MIT challenging the rule. It seems likely that UC will join the suit in some fashion.

From the Boston Globe:

The leaders of Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are now asking the federal courts to block the Trump administration’s ban on international students from being in the United States to attend the Cambridge institutions because most classes will be held online this fall.

In a lawsuit filed Wednesday in US District Court in Boston, the universities are seeking a temporary restraining order that would put the Immigration and Customs Enforcement policy on hold for 14 days. In court papers, the universities said they relied on the DHS policy from March that allowed foreign students in the US to remain and to allow new students to arrive this fall. But the Trump administration issued new rules Monday banning foreign students if classes are being held mostly online.

“If allowed to stand, ICE’s policy would bar hundreds of thousands of international students at American universities from the United States in the midst of their undergraduate or graduate studies,‘' the schools wrote in the court papers. “ICE’s decision reflects a naked effort by the federal government to force universities to reopen all in-person classes notwithstanding their informed judgment that it is neither safe nor advisable to do so. The effect — perhaps even the goal — is to create chaos for schools and international students alike." 

The universities have asked the federal court to schedule a hearing on their request Wednesday while they push for the courts to permanently block the order from taking effect...

Listen to the Regents Appoint a New UC Prez: 7-7-2020

As noted in a post yesterday, Michael Drake was appointed as the new UC president at a special Zoom meeting of the Regents. Even though it was a special, one-purpose meeting, it had a public comments section at the beginning of the open portion. Comments were made on climate change, labor relations, coronavirus, the Hawaiian telescope, affirmative action, and the new federal policy that would require international students taking online courses to return home.

After the public comments, the new appointment was announced and various Regents made complimentary remarks. Then incoming UC president Drake spoke.

You can hear the meeting at the link below:

or direct to

Note: What was the Drake record at Irvine? A quick perusal of news accounts from that era hit on three controversies. Of course, news accounts are more likely to pick up on things that went wrong rather than things that went right. But here are the three:

1) Hiring-Unhiring-Hiring of Chermerinsky

From California Today of New York Times:  7-7-20

...(Drake) tangled briefly but famously in 2007 with Erwin Chemerinsky, a well-known liberal law professor, after recruiting him to start the (UC-Irvine) law school and then rescinding the offer. Amid national academic furor, Dr. Drake reconsidered, Mr. Chemerinsky became the dean, the dispute blew over and the two went on to teach a civil rights class together. On Tuesday, Mr. Chemerinsky, now the dean of the law school at U.C. Berkeley, expressed delight at Dr. Drake’s hiring...

Full story at

And, from the New York Times of  9-18-07

...In a conference call with reporters yesterday, Professor Chemerinsky and Irvine’s chancellor, Michael V. Drake, gave few details about what had led to their reconciliation. But it was clear that Dr. Drake had gone to considerable lengths to patch things up, flying to North Carolina and spending the better part of Sunday with Professor Chemerinsky, a member of the Duke law faculty, at his home in Durham. “I needed more comfort,” Dr. Drake said. “I have developed that comfort.”

Professor Chemerinsky was first offered the job in August. After weeks of discussion about his role and the mission of the new law school, which is to open in 2009, he signed a contract on Sept. 4. A week later, Dr. Drake flew to North Carolina to withdraw the offer. By Professor Chemerinsky’s account, which he reaffirmed yesterday, Dr. Drake said the professor was “too politically controversial,” pointing to an Aug. 16 op-ed article in The Los Angeles Times in which he criticized a plan to speed up death penalty appeals. In an interview last week, Dr. Drake said the problem was not the substance of Professor Chemerinsky’s views but rather “his larger-than-life voice.” Professor Chemerinsky has for decades been a prominent liberal public intellectual and litigator, and he has written scores of opinion articles taking liberal positions.

Dr. Drake denied yesterday that he had been urged to withdraw the appointment by conservative donors. “There was no pressure to withdraw the offer,” he said. But he indicated that he had at least listened to some critics. “Since Professor Chemerinsky is a public figure, people have different opinions,” Dr. Drake said...

Full story at

2) Irvine 11 Disruption Case

Students Convicted in Irvine 11 Case

...Even after misdemeanor convictions, Akhtar and the other UC Irvine students who disrupted  a speech by the Israeli ambassador to the United States last year, felt they were the victims. That's not how the jury saw it. They were all sentenced to three years probation and ordered to complete 56 hours of community service...

The students, known as the "Irvine 11," were each charged with one misdemeanor count of conspiracy  to disturb a meeting and one misdemeanor count of disturbing a meeting. Each student could have received up to six months in  jail. The jury began deliberations Tuesday in a case stemming from the interruption of a February 2010 speech by Ambassador Michael Oren. The students -- many of whom belong to the Muslim Student Union on campus -- stood up, minutes apart, and yelled slogans. Their actions were described by prosecutors as a "heckler's veto" of the speech, which was attended by about 500 to 700 people. Prosecutors argued that the rules of the meeting were spelled out when the students were admonished by UCI  professor Mark Petracca and UCI Chancellor Michael Drake after the first interruptions. Wagner had to prove to jurors that the students were aware of the rules,  conspired to break them and had no other outlet to carry out their protest...

UC Irvine officials released the following statement after the verdicts were announced: "UC Irvine, which fully and actively supports the lawful expression of free speech, completed its disciplinary procedures in this matter last year and considered those sanctions sufficient. We nurture a campus climate that promotes robust debate and welcomes different points of view." The school revoked the Muslim Student Union's charter for a quarter and placed it on two years of probation...

Full story at

3) Inherited Scrambled Eggs Fertility Scandal

From the LA Times:  1-20-06

When revelations surfaced a decade ago that fertility doctors at UCI Medical Center had stolen eggs and embryos from patients, the university vowed to find the women who may have been victims. But UC Irvine acknowledged this week that it failed to contact at least 20 couples, some of whom have learned only in recent years that their fertilized embryos produced children born to other women more than 15 years ago. “I have children, and I don’t know where they’re at,” said Rosalinda Elison, who learned in 2002 that her eggs and embryos had been stolen and implanted in another woman, who gave birth to twins. “I feel so cheated and so betrayed.”

Lawyers are scheduled to meet today to discuss a possible settlement. The meeting will follow a recent flurry of letters sent by attorneys for the former patients to UC Regents and university attorneys, accusing them of stalling...

Full story at

Chancellor's Statement on New International Student Rule

From an email circulated last night:
Dear Bruin Community:
I am very concerned by yesterday’s announcement from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that international students cannot remain in the United States if they are exclusively attending online classes this fall. Decisions like this are contrary to our core values of collaboration, diversity and inclusion. We know that ICE’s announcement is profoundly unsettling for our community, especially for our international students, and we are committed to supporting these students in any way we can.
UCLA is proud that we have attracted the best minds from around the world who have helped us build a vibrant learning community, advanced vital research and strengthened essential international collaborations. This disruptive policy directive threatens to further burden our entire Bruin family during an already challenging global health crisis.
We value the voices, insights and presence of every single member of the UCLA family, including those from other countries who have created an intellectual home here, who have established roots in our communities, and who greatly contribute to our campus. UCLA stands with our international students during this challenging period. We will be in touch with you through the Dashew Center and other avenues as we move forward. UCLA will work closely with UC Office of the President, which is carefully reviewing the details of this directive and will strategize with campus leadership on how to best support our international students, who are part of the rich fabric that makes UCLA a global leader in education.
Gene D. Block

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Dr. Michael Drake is the New UC President

From the LA TimesMichael V. Drake, a national champion for access and equity who previously headed Ohio State University and UC Irvine, (is) named the new president of the University of California and first Black leader in the system’s 152-year history...

Under his tenure, (OSU) boosted the number of students who are low-income, underrepresented minorities and the first in their families to attend college. Black students, however, remain underrepresented at Ohio State, accounting for 6.8% of enrolled students in a state where Black residents make up 13% of the population. That’s a larger gap than at UC campuses, where Black students account for about 4% of enrollment compared with the state’s proportion of Black residents at 6%.

At Ohio State, Drake also worked to lower the cost of attendance and increase financial aid — issues that loom large for UC students. He introduced a financial model that raises costs for tuition, mandatory fees, housing and dining once for incoming freshmen, then locks them in for four years. Under his tenure, Ohio State boosted financial aid to low- and moderate-income Ohioans by more than $200 million since 2015, twice his initial target, and increased grants and scholarships.

He is also credited with helping Ohio State hit record highs in applications, graduation rates and sponsored research awards. Last year, he announced a $4.5-billion fundraising campaign, the largest goal in the school’s history.

While some faculty at both Ohio State and UC Irvine said he was not the most visible or hands-on academic leader, he was popular with students. Alexis Gomes, an incoming fifth-year Ohio State student in neuroscience, said students appreciated his initiatives to cut fees, lower textbook costs and provide all students with an iPad, Apple pencil and a notetaking app...

Full story at

Note: We will archive the audio of the special Regents meeting of today where the announcement was made when it is available.

More Rain on the Parade for Reopening

As we noted on this blog, CSU is going all online in the fall. Now its chancellor raises the possibility that the entire 2020-21 year at CSU will be online:

From EdSource:

Nearly all of California State University’s classes may remain virtual, not only this fall but for the rest of the upcoming academic year. CSU Chancellor Tim White, during a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee hearing on the pandemic and the future of higher education, said the decision in May to primarily move to a virtual setting for the fall term and “quite frankly the academic year was driven by health and safety issues and student progress.”
“A lot of people are using the past tense, ‘How did you manage the pandemic?'” he said, during his testimony. “This is not a two-month problem or a six-month problem. This is a 12-, 18-, 24-month, at a minimum problem.”
White, who has announced plans to leave his post by December, did not specify how the pandemic may affect colleges in the long-term. However, he said health officials are projecting a bump in infections this summer and later this year...

Unnamed Steps?

From the BruinA petition to rename Janss Steps received over 2,000 signatures as of July 6. The petition states that UCLA should rename the steps after an alumnus who changed the world for the better, rather than someone who contributed to institutional racism. Many students don’t know that the Janss brothers have a history of racial discrimination, said Michael Penny, an alumnus who started the petition in June...

Janss Investment Company, which the brothers owned at the time, developed Westwood Village and used racial covenants to ban people of color from owning properties or businesses in the area in the 1920s...

Some student signees suggested that Janss Steps should be renamed after Martin Luther King Jr., who gave a speech addressing segregation and racial injustice on the steps in 1965. Other students who supported the petition proposed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, a former UCLA basketball player and social justice advocate...

Larry Janss, the grandson of Edwin Janss Sr., initially brushed off the idea of renaming Janss Steps when he heard about the petition, but he said he quickly became empathetic to the idea after he read an article describing why monuments honoring racist figures should be renamed. Larry Janss said he acknowledges his ancestors’ racist history. However, he added he wants people to associate the steps with the social justice efforts he and his father, Edwin Janss Jr., funded with the Janss Foundation, rather than Edwin Sr. and Harold Janss’ racism...

Something for the new UC prez to worry about

No, yours truly does not have any advance knowledge about who the new UC prez will be. As noted yesterday, the Regents will unveil the name this afternoon. But the item below seems to be a major issue for any campus with international students:

US: Foreigners Can't Stay for Online Classes

Ozy, 7-7-20

Here's your degree from the school of hard knocks. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said yesterday it'll boot foreigners on student visas if their schools opt for online-only classes in the fall. While students could transfer to other schools with in-person instruction, they'd have to reapply for admission — and many institutions, like Harvard, are planning online-only fall sessions to slow the spread of coronavirus. Some 400,000 people have F-1 or M-1 visas affected by the policy. Also hurting will be U.S. schools, which rely heavily on $2.5 billion in annual revenue from foreign students.

Monday, July 6, 2020

New UC Prez About to Be Unveiled

Screenshot above from Regents website.
[Click on image to clarify.]

The closing door on the fall "reopening"

There seems to be a shifting away from fall reopening plans at various universities. Exactly what the point is of having students in dorms - even with reduced capacity - doing online courses is not clear. Here is what the latest plan from Harvard entails:

Only 40 percent of Harvard undergrads will return to campus this fall

By Deirdre Fernandes, Boston Globe, July 6, 2020

Harvard University announced on Monday that it will allow only first-year students and undergraduates specifically invited for academic reasons to come to campus this fall in an effort to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

In all, only 40 percent of Harvard’s undergraduates will be on campus starting in September, and all teaching will be done remotely. In the spring freshmen will return home, and seniors will come to Cambridge. Students will be housed in single-room dormitories, and most of the non-residential buildings in Harvard Yard will be off limits, the university outlined in its plans Monday.

“We have sought a path to bringing all students back as soon as conditions allow, while continuing their academic progress in the meantime and remaining a vibrant research community across our broad range of disciplines,” Harvard President Lawrence Bacow, along with two deans, wrote in a message to the community. “But we also recognize that, fundamentally, there is an intrinsic incompatibility between our highly interactive, residential Harvard College experience and the social distancing needed to mitigate COVID-19 transmission.”

Bacow and the deans said they have been concerned about the uptick in transmission of the virus in recent weeks.

“The recent upturn in COVID-19 cases in certain states illustrates the difficulty of making predictions, even well-informed ones, about the evolution of this virus,” Bacow said in the message.

Harvard’s approach to the fall is among the more restrictive in the Boston area. Most universities have laid out plans to bring most students back this upcoming school year with masks, frequent testing, smaller classrooms, and a mix of online and in-person classes.

Harvard previously announced that many of its graduate programs will be taught remotely too.

Students can apply for waivers to be on campus if they have challenges to remote learning, including a lack of appropriate technology, limited quiet space, food and shelter insecurities, and a need to access laboratories for their senior thesis, the university said. Students who can’t be on campus during the academic year will be able to take two courses at Harvard’s summer school in 2021, without paying tuition...

Full story at

Berkeley Interview

An interesting recent interview of Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ and Bob Jacobsen, dean of undergraduate studies at Berkeley is available on YouTube. They discuss online education and other topics related to higher education including free speech on campus. You can find it at the link below:

or direct to

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Where in Westwood?

Yours truly came across the photo above which shows an area in Westwood in the early 1930s. On the left, a building sign says "Westwood Village Market." On the right, a sign offers "Child Training," whatever that was. The large building at the center no longer exists. So where was this photo taken? The two photos below show Westwood from a distance and the large building can be seen - which might be a clue to where it was.

Alternative Ways to Read the Blog

On a quarterly basis, we provide an alternative way to read this blog. In this format, all videos, audios, and animated gifs are omitted. Below are links to the second quarter of 2020.

Read on screen:

Read below:

or direct to (You can download a pdf from this link.)

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Postponed Maybe

Is it coming or going?
From the Mercury NewsPac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said Thursday that the conference is prepared to pivot quickly to alternate football scenarios in the event a 12-game regular season cannot start on time because of the coronavirus surge. That possibility seemingly is growing more real by the week... The Pac-12 has modeled what Scott described as “very solid scenarios” for the season, including:

— Playing all 12 games as scheduled
— A delayed start
— Conference-only schedules
— Moving the season to the spring
“We could turn on a dime because of all the legwork we’ve put in,” Scott said, adding that other Power Five conference are having similar conversations internally...

Friday, July 3, 2020

USC's U-Turn

From the LA TimesAmid the alarming surge in coronavirus spread, USC announced it will no longer bring all undergraduates back to campus for the fall semester and will move to mainly online classes, reversing an earlier decision to welcome students back for a hybrid model.
The decision, announced by Provost Charles Zukoski late Wednesday, came the same day Gov. Gavin Newsom announced tougher restrictions on indoor activities. Zukoski recommended that students not return to campus for the semester and instead continue their education online.
“The once-in-a-century COVID-19 pandemic has altered every aspect of our lives — the way we interact, work, and socialize — and with each new permutation of the pandemic, we must find ways to thrive,” Zukoski wrote in a letter to students. “Given the continuing safety restrictions and limited densities permissible on campus, our undergraduate students primarily or exclusively will be taking their courses online in the fall term,” he said. “On-campus housing and activities will be limited.”
Only 10% to 20% of courses during the fall semester will be conducted in person and on campus. These courses include certain labs, studios and performance classes, and research studies that require hands-on work...
As we noted in a prior post, UCLA's plans for the fall seem more contingent than solid. In fact, it was so-stated in the link we provided in an earlier post to a video and audio concerning UCLA planning.*

Thursday, July 2, 2020


In a prior post on the new state budget,* we posted some tables derived from budgetary numbers. There were errors in two tables. As is often the case, haste made waste. These are corrected below for the record, although the analysis is unaffected.


Online Med Interviews

All UC Schools of Medicine to interview applicants virtually

University of California Health
Tuesday, June 30, 2020

The deans of University of California Health's six medical schools announced today (June 30) that all medical school, residency and fellowship interviews for the 2020-2021 academic year will be held in a virtual format. The decision creates a consistent approach of no in-person interviews so that all applicants who advance to the interview stage have the same setting for presenting their skills and are not encumbered by COVID-19 related travel concerns.

"We want to create an equitable process for all," said Dr. Cathryn Nation, vice president of health sciences for University of California Health. "Applicants to UC medical schools and residency programs rigorously prepare academically and usually travel for in-person panel interviews. We don't want these individuals to feel their chance for success is influenced by their ability to appear in-person at this time when the risk of coronavirus transmission remains a very real concern."

The announcement comes at the start of summer so that prospective students, residents and fellows can plan and prepare appropriately. Prospective medical school students typically submit their applications through the American Medical College Application Service in the summer with some applicants starting interviews in the fall. Those who apply for residencies submit applications by October. Students typically apply for fellowships, a phase of subspecialty training immediately after completion of residency, throughout the year depending on the area of specialization.

The shift to all remote interviewing was driven by a variety of factors including:

Limitations in commercial air travel, particularly for those who do not live near major hubs; 
Resurgence of COVID-19, potentially complicated by seasonal influenza, which may occur as shelter in place orders are lifted and will then require reinstitution of those orders;
Disrupted required clinical rotations from the spring, which may need to be scheduled well into the usual interview season for senior students, making scheduling of cross-country trips very challenging; and,
The recession and growing unemployment, which may cause students and their families significant financial hardships. 

"We are adapting in real-time to unprecedented circumstances that disrupt typical practices," said Dr. Carrie L. Byington, executive vice president of University of California Health. "The shift to online interviews is consistent with our public health response to reduce the risk of viral transmission. Our goal is to support all applicants in pursuing their dreams without the additional stress related to the cost, logistics and transmission risk associated with interview travels."  

This spring, UC medical schools also adapted 2020 Match Day ceremonies by moving to an online format. Match Day is when graduating medical students learn where they will serve their residencies, a critical step to become a licensed physician.  

University of California Health's six medical schools - UC Davis Health, UC Riverside Health, UC San Diego Health, UCI Health, UCLA Health and UCSF Health - are all nationally ranked. UC's schools of medicine have approximately 3,500 medical students enrolled. Approximately 5,600 residents and fellows are advancing their post-graduation training in UC and affiliated hospitals.


End of the Beginning - Part 8

Two labor market indicators appeared today which continue to suggest a bottoming out of the coronavirus-induced recession.

New claims for unemployment insurance were 1.4 million on a seasonally-adjusted or an unadjusted basis for last week. As we have noted in past postings, these are very high numbers, although declining. Total numbers receiving unemployment have generally been falling or flat (although these numbers lag by one week). That fact suggests that people are exiting receiving unemployment insurance (presumably getting jobs) at least as fast as new people are becoming unemployed. As in prior weeks, California has a disproportionate share of individuals receiving unemployment benefits. See below for the national trends:
[Click on image to clarify.]
Because of the upcoming July 4th holiday, the official unemployment rate for June was release along with data on nonfarm payroll employment. Both measures - although distorted because the collection and estimation methodology was not designed for the current situation - also suggest a bottoming out.
[Click on image to clarify.]
The latest data on new claims and the unemployment and nonfarm payroll jobs surveys are at: and

Coronavirus Issues Including Planning for Fall

Yesterday afternoon, there was a Zoom program dealing with coronavirus issues at UCLA including planning for fall. We have noted in past posts on this blog that the campus is currently being used as a public park by outsiders. The adults involved are often unmasked. The children seldom are. One question that came up in the Zoom program was control of the campus. It was said there will be signage telling people entering the campus to observe masking and social distancing. How that will be enforced is less clear. There were also questions about enforcement among students who may engage in risky behavior. Toward the end, it was noted that it is possible that if recent infection trends continue in the wrong direction, the fall might revert to the current lockdown situation or that it could happen in the middle of the fall.

If you missed the program, it is now on YouTube:

or direct to

Audio only at

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Ghost from the Past

If you are a really loyal reader of this blog going way back, you may dimly recall former State Senator Leland Yee who made a career out of slamming UC. It turned out later he had also made a career out of gun running and he went to prison in the "shrimp boy" scandal. There was even a back and forth on this blog between his IT person - who had screwed up Yee's website - and yours truly.

To find out about all of this history, you can start by typing "Leland Yee" in the search engine of this blog and then Googling "Leland Yee" and "shrimp boy." There was even a play at the Kirk Douglas Theater:

Why mention this sad tale now? Yours truly happened to note a short item in the San Francisco Chronicle:
And so we bring the story to an end.

Dickson Awards

Regent Dickson
From an email circulated 6-29-20 (photos added):
2019-2020 Edward A. Dickson Emeritus Professorship Award Recipients Named
The Dickson Emeritus Professorship Award is funded from a gift endowment established by the late Edward A. Dickson, Regent of the University of California, to honor outstanding research, scholarly work, teaching, and service performed by an Emeritus or Emerita Professor since retirement.
Three UCLA emeriti professors have been selected to receive the 2019 – 2020 Edward A. Dickson Emeritus Professorship Award, which includes a prize of $5,000: Professor Emeritus Christopher B. Cooper, Saul Winstein Distinguished Research Professor Kendall N. Houk, and Distinguished Research Professor Pamela Munro.
Christopher B. Cooper, Professor Emeritus of Medicine and Physiology, retired in 2016 and has had a distinguished UCLA career as a clinical research physician and a medical educator since 1993. He is one of the world’s preeminent respiratory physiologists focused on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). He founded UCLA’s Exercise Physiology Research Laboratory in 1993 and continued as its director until 2019. Since retirement, he has continued his outstanding contributions to medicine and physiology including, directing the Pulmonary Research Laboratory, establishing the Pulmonary Function Test Reading Center at UCLA, and leading the SPIROMICS multicenter cohort. He has obtained considerable research funding including new NIH funding for a COPD-Heart Failure study and an Early COPD study. Professor Emeritus Cooper has published 52 peer-reviewed research papers, a book chapter, two letters to the editor, four review articles and one editorial since retirement. As a medical educator, Professor Cooper taught the majority of respiratory physiology to UCLA medical and dental students for well over two decades. He co-chaired the Cardiac, Respiratory and Renal Physiology Block for all first year medical students and chaired clinical skills courses for third and fourth year medical students. He has been recalled each year since his retirement to continue these educational activities. As a reflection of his international stature as an investigator and teacher, Professor Emeritus Cooper continues to be invited to address international audiences throughout the world.
Kendall N. Houk, Saul Winstein Distinguished Research Professor in Organic Chemistry, retired after 31 years at UCLA in 2016 and received the unusual extension of the Saul Winstein Endowed Chair that he held since 2009. Professor Houk’s activity since retirement has been at least equal to that of most of his senior colleagues, including over 180 publications in top research journals such as NatureScience, and the Journal of the American Chemical Society, additionally he is awarded research funding of approximately $900,000-$1,000,000 each year. Professor Houk provides about 60 invited lectures in many countries, teaches about one-half the usual teaching load of a full-time faculty member, and continues active department and university service on committees. Among his research group’s major discoveries following his retirement is the development of methods to follow reactions by molecular dynamics revealing how reactions occur. His collaboration with his UCLA colleagues and investigators from around the world continue to provide major new insights into chemical reactions. Professor Houk continues to teach Modern Physical Organic Chemistry and Ethics in Chemical Research. He has served as the Organic Division Liaison, organized UCLA Research Showcases at American Chemical Society meetings, organized Winstein, Foote, and Roberts lectures, chaired or co-chaired the department’s Distinguished Lecture Committee and Awards Committee, and served on its Diversity, Chemistry Graduate Program, and Mentoring committees. Since 2018, he has served on the University Faculty Research Lecture Committee. Distinguished Research Professor Houk is an internationally famous scholar and a marvelous credit to his department and to UCLA.
Pamela Munro, Distinguished Research Professor of Linguistics is a specialist in the documentation, analysis, preservation, and revitalization of indigenous languages of the Americas. Over the course of her career, she has worked on almost 40 languages, far more than most others in the field of American Indigenous Linguistics. In the eight and a half years since her retirement in 2011, Professor Munro has continued to publish, teach, and engage in community service, at a level that would be worthy of most full-time faculty members. She has published 18 research articles, two popular articles, and one popular book and continues to work on language dictionaries and on the development of writing systems. She also participates regularly in the Zapotexts research group in which they transcribe, translate, and analyze Zopotec documents from the early Mexican Colonial period. She has continued to teach in the Linguistics department — including the graduate field methods course for three years post retirement and an upper division course in American Indigenous Linguistics. Additionally, in every year since her retirement she has directed a graduate seminar on American Indigenous Linguistics. In 2014, Professor Munro was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and in 2019, she taught a course at the biannual Summer Institute of the Linguistic Society of America where she was honored as the Institute’s Hale Professor. She has chaired three graduate committees and served as a member on committees in the Department of History and the American Indian Studies Center. A notable aspect of her professional work has been her co-authorship with indigenous collaborators, long before this was usual. Distinguished Research Professor Munro’s continued professional activities since retirement demonstrate a significant deepening in analytical scholarship, an amazing breadth of research engagement, and continuing extraordinary service to indigenous communities. She serves as a model for all linguists.
Please join me in wishing them all well-deserved congratulations for outstanding contributions to their respective fields since retirement and for serving as powerful examples of intellectual and professional achievement.
Michael S. Levine
Chair, Dickson Emeritus Professorship Award Selection Committee
Vice Chancellor, Academic Personnel
Note: The related Panunzio awards were posted back in May: