Thursday, January 31, 2013

Rebenching: If you equalize, UCLA gets less than otherwise

Inside Higher Ed today has a long piece on UC's "rebenching" approach which would change the formula by which UC funding is allocated to the various campuses.  As the article notes, some of the disparate funding that tends to favor older campuses such as UCLA is due to the graduate/undergraduate mix.  But even if you adjust for that effect, the older campuses get more.  That fact means that if you equalize, in the end the older campuses will get less than otherwise.  You can phase it in.  But the logic is unavoidable.  Phasing it in just means that the older campuses get less than under the current formula gradually.

Is rebenching going to be tied to differential tuition?  So far, that possibility has not been part of rebenching.  It is likely, of course, that the older campuses could - if allowed - charge more.  But with the governor's current attitude (see earlier posts), tuition increases are off the table.

Note that the rebenching report indicated that more state funding would be needed to avoid a pure redistribution effect: 
[See page 2 of the rebenching report which follows the cover pages.]

And from the Inside Higher Ed article:
...The Academic Senate... argued that “that monies allocated to the UC should not be subjected to rebenching until and unless the UC reaches its previous maximum funding levels,” since the system is currently operating with about 30 percent less state funding than it had in 2007-08. The Senate also argued that the formula is too simplistic, since educating some undergraduates, such as those in engineering or music, is much more expensive than others...

The Inside Higher Ed article is at:

I will allow myself an editorial comment on rebenching:

Self-esteem of the electorate: Potential tool for UC?

Self esteem
California has been famous (infamous?) for its self-esteem movement.  And it is also famous for the popular love of direct democracy.

A PPIC poll recently released is in the headline for showing an uptick in popular and voter approval of the governor, the legislature, etc.  But when asked who should make key long-term decisions, the popular response by about three fourths of those polled is that it should be left to voters, not the legislature or the governor.

I suspect that there is some opportunity here for UC if we continue to get gubernatorial mucking around at the Regents on online education and other matters.  Framing is important.  What do you think the polling response would be to a question such as "Should the governor and the legislature force college students to take courses on line rather than in class?"

Here is the PPIC poll results on leaving matters to voters rather than to the legislature and governor:
Click on the image to enlarge.
We do need a new Master Plan for Higher Education.  But it won't happen unless there is a process different from having the governor personally intervene at Regents meetings as has been occurring.  That isn't how Pat Brown did it originally.

The full PPIC poll is at:

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Issue of UC Health Cap for Students Heats Up

We noted in a prior post this past weekend that there is a cap on the dollar payouts for student health insurance at UC.  Major illnesses can cause students to hit the cap. Below is an excerpt from a San Francisco Chronicle article that seems to imply - but doesn't quite say - that UC chose self-funding of the student health plan to avoid a ban on such caps in the Obama health plan: 

Health care limits like the one imposed by UC are already illegal under the sweeping federal health-care law - dubbed Obamacare - that takes full effect next Jan. 1. But the health care act does not apply to "self-funded" college plans like UC's, in which the university takes on the financial risk of medical claims…

UC officials say they're weighing their options but are hesitant to voluntarily lift the caps until they know what it would cost - and how much they'd have to raise the price of student health care to pay for it.  “It's a front-burner issue," said Peter Taylor, UC's chief financial officer, who became aware of the problem last summer. "We're not making a profit on (student health care) - but I can't afford to lose money, either." ...

UC switched to a self-funded system in 2011, not long after the federal prohibition on coverage limits took effect in September 2010. Most of UC's 10 campuses limit coverage to $400,000. Students at UCLA pay more for a $600,000 limit, while graduate students at UC San Diego pay even more for a $750,000 cap. Far lower caps exist for subsets of coverage, including prescriptions…

UPDATE: Inside Higher Ed has a report on self-funded university plans:
[There is no mention in this article that there are plans afoot in Washington to require that such plans not have benefit caps.]

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

No Rush Online at Yale

Inside Higher Ed today carries a report that Yale is taking a gradual approach to online education and not rushing into MOOC delivery.  Excerpt:

News of universities partnering with massive open online course providers has become commonplace, which is why Yale University stands out for what it’s not doing: rushing.
While many top universities -- including Harvard and Stanford Universities, along with many others -- were announcing partnerships and launching their first MOOCs, Yale sat back, watched, and evaluated...

Watching and waiting — and strategizing — can be a difficult choice to make given the “herd mentality” that has developed around MOOCS, according to Peter Stokes, executive director of postsecondary innovation in the College of Professional Studies at Northeastern University.  Still, he thinks there’s value in the approach. “It’s certainly reasonable for an institution like Yale to pause and to ask its own community whether this is something they ought to be involving themselves in or not,” Stokes said. “That is, in fact, very sensible. There probably hasn’t been enough reflection like that over the last six to eight months.” ...

Meanwhile, Yale can be online in other ways:

Return of the Local Deli

Several weeks ago, we noted that Junior's Deli on Westwood (north of Pico) was closing what was probably the closest deli to UCLA.  It appears that another deli, Lenny's, will open in that location, according to the Westwood-Century City Patch:

Lenny's operated in Pacific Palisades but closed recently.  It isn't yet open in the new location but it has a website with pictures of healthy foods as above:

But don't overeat:

Monday, January 28, 2013

Will Help Be On the Way?

From today's LA Times: After he retires as chancellor of UC Berkeley in June, Robert J. Birgeneau will head up a national effort to study and help public universities in an era of reduced tax support, new technology and changing student demographics. Birgeneau, a physicist, is to lead the American Academy of Arts and Sciences' new initiative that will propose ways for the federal government, private industry and foundations to better aid state institutions, along with developing reforms the schools could undertake. It is being called "The Lincoln Project: Excellence and Access in Public Higher Education" — named for President Lincoln, who in 1862 signed the Morrill Act granting federal lands for the establishment of public universities. ...Birgeneau, who is 70 and has led UC Berkeley since 2004, said he wanted to help develop "workable plans that will help reverse the progressive disinvestment we have seen in public higher education across the country." ...

Full story at,0,5439346.story

We could use the help:

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Burning Sofas: A Lesson for the Governor on UC

A column in today's Sacramento Bee tells a tale about sofas with lessons for the governor.   Here is an excerpt:

Gov. Jerry Brown is about to repent for a sin he didn't know he committed in 1975. Ten months after Brown took office the first time, his administration produced a little-noticed regulation requiring that furniture sold in California comply with the strictest fire safety standard in the nation. Befitting its turgid language, the regulation came to be known as Technical Bulletin 117. Although it was supposed to save lives, another story has emerged in the intervening decades. Technical Bulletin 117 has resulted in the addition of countless tons of toxic chemicals to couch cushions, carpet pads and, alas, our bodies... In June, Brown started undoing Technical Bulletin 117, telling the obscure arm of the state that is its keeper – the Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair, Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation – to dramatically alter it. Brown used the word "toxic" seven times in a 350-word news release announcing the decision. For emphasis, he noted that "California women have much higher levels of toxic flame retardants in their breast tissue than women in other states and countries." ...

Full story at

Read more here:

What we have here is a perfect example of potential inadvertent consequences of doing something popular (fire prevention, safety, etc.) without evaluating the long-term implications.  Proclaiming that UC tuition must be frozen - a popular step - and that online education and unnamed efficiencies will close the gap between what the state wants to pay for UC and UC's budgetary needs is another Technical Bulletin 117 in the making.  The consequences will be felt in future decades.  But unlike case of Technical Bulletin 117, Gov. Brown won't be around to fix the problem or to be held accountable for it.  The Regents serve lengthy terms in order to insulate them from politics and to give them long-term perspectives.  So how is it that only the one Regent that serves just one year - the student Regent - sees any problem with what is happening?  Or are the others just afraid to say the obvious?

Read more here:

Saturday, January 26, 2013

UC Student Medical Insurance Limits

From the Contra Costa Times:

UC Santa Cruz graduate student Micha Rahder suffers from a rare disorder that requires her to be hooked up to an IV over two days, five to eight hours at a time, every four weeks... In November, she got a letter from the university saying she had used $378,000 of the $400,000 lifetime limit for students on the University of California student health insurance plan (also known as UC SHIP), Radner said. In early January, a little more three years after her first treatment, she received another letter. "It comes from the Office of the President of the University of California and it says, 'You've reached your lifetime maximum benefit. You're no longer covered under the student insurance plan. Please be advised that all students at the UCs are required to have health insurance in order to be enrolled.' And that's all it says. That's the last line," said Rahder, who is studying for her doctoral degree in anthropology. 

Many students on the UC student health insurance plan don't know there is a $10,000 a year cap on annual prescriptions and a $400,000 lifetime limit on all medical benefits...

Full story at

Peter Schrag on Yudof Retirement

Peter Schrag, a former columnist for the Sacramento Bee, wrote an op ed about President Yudof's retirement.  Excerpt:

...All told, the UC is in far better shape now than when he came. But it's unlikely that it can ever again exercise the kind of influence, both in this country and abroad, that it did in its glory days under Clark Kerr in the 1950s and 1960s. It was an era when new UC campuses and new programs were created one after another, when students paid low "fees" and not tuition, and when California adopted a master plan that promised every Californian who could benefit from it a place somewhere in its three-tiered higher education system. UC was that rarest of rare institution, a tax-supported world-class research university that was elitist and democratic at the same time.

Ever since he came, Yudof promised to resist privatization, but privatization has come in any number of ways: in spiking tuition; in recruiting and admissions policies increasing the percentage of foreign and out-of-state students and the high tuition they pay; in the pursuit of industry contracts. UC is still the nation's premier public university. But in its attempt to keep pace with Harvard and Stanford, it's becoming more like Michigan and the University of Virginia, nominally public universities that started down the road to privatization even before UC did.

Yudof had been thinking about retirement well before he made his announcement last week. But it's hard to imagine that Gov. Jerry Brown's muscle flexing at recent meetings of the regents – even his pointed reminder that he is the legally designated board president – did anything to encourage Yudof to stay...

Full op ed at

Bottom line: We'll miss him when he's gone:

Read more here:

Do as the governor says online; but not as he does

Gov. Brown has been pushing online education as the key to closing the gap between what he proposes to give UC in his budget and what UC requests.  Various prior posts on this blog have dealt with that issue.  He also wants to foreclose tuition increases as a way to close the gap.  So let's take a look at the governor's use of online communications:

Above is a screenshot of the governor's multimedia element of his website: [click on multimedia].  It was taken at around 6 AM this morning. [Click on the image to enlarge it.]  If you are looking for a video of his State of the State address last week, you won't find it there.  You won't find an audio of it.  You won't even find a link to from which you can download a cumbersome video version of the address (something like 780 megs - unlikely to download all that fast - and with no live-stream option).  You will find a text of the speech on the main page (as of today). As we will note below, however, it does not contain precisely what the governor actually said.

In fact, the latest video on the governor's multimedia page is almost a year old.  That video is a "webinar" of the Dept. of Finance dated Jan. 31, 2012.  There are some more recent audios including one of his budget press conference of January 10.  But there is no link to the (also cumbersome) calchannel video of that event.  Calchannel does have a video on YouTube of that event but there is no link or embedding of that on the governor's website.  Gov. Schwarzenegger had a more up-to-date multimedia website.

Now Gov. Brown's limited option website may be an attempt at frugality, perhaps in contrast with his predecessor.  But it would have cost nothing - that is zero, zilch, nada - at least to provide a link to calchannel.  And in fact it would have cost next to nothing to put a video of the State of the State right on the governor's website.

In the official print version of the State of the State (which is on the governor's website as noted above), you won't find something he injected into the actual delivery in discussing his high-speed rail plan.  If you go on the cumbersome calchannel video, however, you will find that around minute 44, the governor told the story of the Little Engine That Could. That story, if you have forgotten, involved old engines that on various grounds declined to do a simple job that needed doing.  It was left to someone else - the Little Engine - to do what was needed.

The governor may feel that UC is the old engine that won't take on the needed task. But compared to what is on the governor's website, UC is more like the Little Engine. We'll leave it to blog readers to decide who is more like the old engine.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Student Regent Asks Why Students Weren't Consulted About Online Education (and no one quite answers)

At the Jan. 16 session of the UC Regents dealing with online education, student regent Jonathan Stein asked why UC students were not consulted.  Various regents spoke in response.  Notably, Gov. Brown responded with the admonition to "get real" about the budget, but he did not address why students were not consulted.  In addition, UC-Berkeley Law Dean Christopher Edley - who has been active in UC online efforts - was asked to respond.  His response dealt with potential access by non-UC students.  But he also did not address the question of why UC students were not consulted.

Stein's remarks refer to a table which is shown at the left.

You can hear the Stein-Brown-Edley remarks at the link below:

Jerry Brown on Higher Ed Funding in the State of the State

In case you missed it, Gov. Brown's State of the State message yesterday contained only a brief paragraph on public higher education.  Most of his education remarks were directed at K-12.  Below is what he said about higher ed:

"With respect to higher education, cost pressures are relentless and many students cannot get the classes they need. A half million fewer students this year enrolled in the community colleges than in 2008. Graduation in four years is the exception and transition from one segment to the other is difficult. The University of California, the Cal State system and the community colleges are all working on this. The key here is thoughtful change, working with the faculty and the college presidents. But tuition increases are not the answer. I will not let the students become the default financiers of our colleges and universities." 

[Prolonged applause]

The problem with his approach is that apart from online education, he has no alternative to offer.  So unless you think online education will bridge the funding gap, what exactly is "thoughtful change, working with the faculty and the college presidents" supposed to bring about?  

You can hear this segment of Brown's remarks below:

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Regents Again Approve a UCLA Building Despite Cost Concerns

Blog readers will recall that at a prior Regents meeting, UCLA produced a very sketchy and high cost plan for a new medical building, a "teaching and learning center."  The presentation was so sketchy and the costs were so worrisome for the Regents to ask for a revised plan.  At the Jan. 16 meeting of the Grounds and Building Committee, UCLA came back with a revised plan for a $104.7 million project - said to be significantly scaled back - with more details.

As with the earlier hotel project, UCLA apparently had offline meetings with Regents after the prior meeting (such discussions are referenced in the Jan. 16 proceedings) and persuaded them of the need for the building.  There was rather perfunctory questioning on Jan. 16 until Regent William De La Peña, an ophthalmologist, began raising issues again about cost.  He suggested that UCLA was excluding dollar costs from the total in calculating the dollar/square foot ratio and exaggerating the footage.  He argued that the comparable buildings cited for costs were built in good times and that nowadays construction firms would offer lower prices.  The idea that because donor dollars would be raised, the building was somehow freed from such cost worries was also viewed as a dubious proposition.

Yet at the end, the committee decided to approve the project with some vague understanding that despite the approval, UCLA would see if it could get lower bids or somehow lower the cost and tell the Regents about what it saved.  There was no suggestion that if cost savings were not found, the project would be unapproved.  

Once again, we have an example of costly projects being approved by Regents - despite reservations - because at the end of the day they have no independent oversight capability.  That lack is a general problem that goes beyond the UCLA hotel and medical projects.  As Regent De La Peña pointed out, if donor dollars were more efficiently used, more might be accomplished with them.

The UCLA medical project proposal is at: 

You can hear the meeting at which the project was approved at:

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

California Assembly Speaker John Pérez on the UC Budget, Tuition, Access, and Other Matters

At the January 17, 2013 UC Regents meeting John Pérez spoke about the state budget and other issues. Pérez is an ex officio regent.  A summary follows and there is a link to an audio of his remarks at the bottom of this post:

Summary: UC is unrealistic about increased funding from the state, backfilling of past budget cuts, or predictability for the university.  It is not addressing predictability for students.  UC was good at protecting the neediest students but not so good at protecting the middle class.  There are legislative concerns about graduate and professional school students, not just undergrads.  If UC raises graduate and professional school tuition, the legislature won't be receptive and will instead ask questions about executive pay.  There should be "no additional harm" to students. Education, including higher ed, is benefiting from Prop 30 under the governor's budget, unlike other programs.  The legislature ultimately enacts the budget; what the governor issued was a budget proposal.

Pérez spoke about the unfunded liability in the UC pension system.  He seemed unclear about the actual history of the pension contribution "holiday."  The story is more nuanced than he implied.  The holiday began because UC's pension was seen as overfunded and the state had a budget crisis (in the early 1990s).  That is, the decision to suspend contributions was based on the notion that UC could not ask a legislature strapped for cash for contributions to an overfunded pension.  Later, the stock market boomed as part of the more specific dot-com boom and the pension became more overfunded despite the lack of contributions.  So, again, there was a decision that even though the state budget crisis had ended, UC could not go the legislature and ask for contributions to an overfunded pension.  In short, there was a political/legislative element to the pension holiday; it was not just some internal decision isolated within UC.

It might also be noted that Pérez did not discuss research in contrast with the governor (who questioned what research quality was, but at least thought research was worth mentioning). 

An audio of Pérez's remarks is below:

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Gov. Jerry Brown on Executive Pay at the University of California & Many Other Topics

At the University of California (UC) Regents meeting of Jan. 17, 2013, Regent Leslie Tang Schilling asked Gov. Brown not to protest about UC executive pay.  The state portion of executive pay can be capped, she seemed to agree, but the Regents should then be free to raise private donations for increments of pay above the state portion.  She argues that UC will need high-quality leadership and must be free to compete for talent.  She expresses skepticism about psychic income.

Brown responds at length with a learned discourse ranging from his one-time vow of Jesuit poverty to the history of higher education in California and more generally.  He resists the idea that he opposes high pay for “political” reasons.  He is uncertain about what terms such as “quality” mean in the context of research.  He questions rankings of educational institutions.  Brown also talks about his support for high-speed rail, the need for water infrastructure to avoid floods, and global warming.  Income inequality is a concern for the governor and California is big enough, he thinks, to resist that trend rather than endorse it.  Brown says we don’t really know where online higher education will lead but that we should go for it (anyway).  On the other hand, he is skeptical about the need for a new medical school at UC-Riverside.  He cites the two-decade holiday of contributions to the UC pension fund as showing that even smart people can make bad decisions.

As prior posts have noted, the problem with the governor's approach is that - while entertaining - it doesn't lead to more than regental seeming agreement.  No one wants to offend the governor.  The main challenger to the online education pushed by the governor is from a student regent.  But no process is being set in motion that would lead to something like a new Master Plan to deal with the challenges and issues about which the governor is concerned.  

You can hear Schilling and then Brown’s response below:

Demographic Shifts and Lulls

The governor's budget contains demographic projections for California.  A number of news stories have picked up on the fact that by mid-2013, the Latino and non-Latino-white populations will be equal, according to the projection.  It was pretty obvious from the 2010 Census that this development would occur soon.  However, another aspect of the projections - one more closely related to UC and budget issues - is the chart below:
Apart from the fact - well known - that the population is aging, note there is little growth in the college-age population projected for the next few years.  Moreover, the K-12 population is declining so the pressure on college admissions should be reduced for some time to come.  There seems to be a bit of a baby boom below that but they won't get to college for awhile.  (These trends have also been known for some time but they become important in the context of higher ed funding.)

The governor's budget is at:

The demographic section begins on page 121.

Let's Hope Someone Read the Correction

I stumbled upon the correction article below in the LA Times that appeared last fall.  Let's hope someone reads correction articles.  It also contains some interesting info.

Readers' Rep: University of California a big political donor -- but that's misleading

Deirdre Edgar, Oct. 26, 2012

An article in Thursday’s Business section about campaign contributions in the Massachusetts Senate race between Republican incumbent Scott Brown and Democrat Elizabeth Warren included a surprising name among the list of top donors. According to the chart, the No. 5 donor to Warren was the University of California, with a total of $38,400 in contributions.

Readers, aware of recent budget cuts and tuition increases in the UC system, were stunned. "It is hard to understand the University of California contributing to the Senate race in Massachusetts when the UC system is so financially troubled," David Powell of Encino wrote to The Times. Howard Fields of Woodland Hills emailed, "There is no conceivably justifiable explanation for UC to squander California taxpayers' money on political causes at all, but sending money for a partisan Massachusetts campaign when constantly complaining about UC's financial crisis should be criminal." And Carolyn Robinson of Pasadena wondered, "With the financial condition of all educational institutions in the state of California, why are we spending taxpayer funds on an election in any state? It is it legal to spend taxpayer funds to support a candidate, and if so, why?"

The fine print at the bottom of the chart explains, to some extent: Money comes from employees and/or political action committees of the companies or organizations. What that means is that the University of California as an institution is not making contributions to, or spending taxpayer money on, any political candidate. It’s the UC professors, administrators and other staff members – and members of their immediate families – who are doing so individually or as members of a group.

UC employees are active political donors. For the 2012 election, the University of California is President Obama’s largest contributor, giving $927,568 as of Oct. 21, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. The system has about 150,000 full-time employees.

Is it legal, as Robinson asked, to spend taxpayer funds to support a candidate? No.

The UC notes in legal guidance that "University funds (including University paid time and equipment) may not lawfully be used for campaign purposes." But individual participation is allowed: "An employee does not give up his or her constitutional rights upon joining a public agency. With only limited exceptions, no restrictions may be placed on the private political activities of public employees."


I suspect that more people read articles than read corrections of articles.  If you encounter someone with the belief that UC contributes money to candidates in California or elsewhere, point him/her to this correction.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Missing King

On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, blog readers may enjoy a recollection below of yours truly who was at the March on Washington but missed the King "I Had a Dream" speech. 

Mitchell’s Musings 9-17-12: March on Washington

Daniel J.B. Mitchell

Originally prepared for the weekly “Mitchell’s Musings” blog on the website of the Employment Policy Research Network – EPRN. Mitchell is senior academic editor of that website. The text below has been slightly reformatted to meet requirements of this blog.  The original is at {Click on the pdf link}. 

Recently, I came across a recording of a 1963 radio broadcast made a day after the August 28, 1963 March on Washington, an event which most people identify with Martin Luther King’s “I Had a Dream” speech.  Since August 28th of this year has come and gone, you could say that this musing is about three weeks late.  But next year on August 28th, there will undoubtedly be commemorations of the fiftieth anniversary of the March.  So you could also say this musing is over eleven months early.  Either way, when the fiftieth anniversary comes, you will hear or see clips of the “I Had a Dream” speech – probably just the end of the speech - which will be represented as the entire event itself or even the purpose of the event.[1]  Such interpretations will be incorrect.

I will come back to the broadcast later in this musing, although it explains what I have just asserted, but first some background.  The March on Washington took place well before the 1964 Civil Rights Act (and other major civil rights legislation) was enacted including Title 7 banning employment discrimination.  At the time, despite the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown school desegregation decision, segregation was still very much in place in the south.  You had only to drive south from Washington, DC to encounter Whites Only signs on restaurants in Virginia.  Newspaper ads for apartments in Washington newspapers specified the desired race of tenants.  The issue of segregation was still in flux, despite the court decisions and sporadic incidents and demonstrations that received national attention.

The Kennedy administration was not thrilled with the prospect of the March on Washington.  The March was in fact meant to pressure it and the Congress for legislation and action.  At the time, the south had not flipped from being solidly Democratic to solidly Republican.[2]  Kennedy, as a Catholic, already had religion problems in the south which were compounded by federal attempts to enforce anti-segregation court orders.  And the 1964 presidential election, which Kennedy would not live to see, was looming. 
Recall that Kennedy had won very narrowly in 1960 with a plurality (not a majority) of the popular vote and uncertainty on the morning after Election Day as to whether he even had the necessary Electoral College votes.[3]  He would need at least some southern votes in 1964.  So the administration would have preferred not to have a large demonstration highlighting the race issue on its front lawn.

I happened to be in Washington during the summer of 1963 between my junior and senior years in college, working at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).  The job was the outcome of a program promoted by the Kennedy administration to encourage college students to consider careers in public service.  After a competitive interview and essay process, if selected, you would be randomly selected to work in this or that government agency; I happened to be assigned as a GS-4 to BLS in a division that produced “wage chronologies.”  Wage chronologies were BLS bulletins that summarized union wage provisions in major industries, the product of an era in which union wage settlements were considered to be important economic developments that needed to be tracked.

Most government agencies in Washington, including the BLS, were shut down on the day of the March, so I was free to attend.  But it has always been a family joke that I left before King’s dream speech.  I did hear it on the car radio driving back to a boarding house at which I was staying in northern Virginia in the $100 car I had acquired over the summer.[4]

The broadcast to which I referred at the outset was made by Jean Shepherd, a night time humorist and story teller on a New York City radio station.[5] However, Shepherd devoted most of his August 29, 1963 broadcast to a serious recounting his experience as a marcher. Excerpts from that broadcast have appeared elsewhere but the full recording is available.[6] A vast collection of recordings from Shepherd’s radio broadcasts have been gathered on  (You have to search diligently under Jean Shepherd to find them all since the search engine on isn’t great and the recordings are scattered on that site.)  Many of the recordings appear to be from tapes made by fans that were recorded live off the air.  They are not of broadcast quality and have hums and background noise.  The August 29, 1963 broadcast is one of those audios available.

What the Shepherd broadcast makes clear is that the presentations on a platform at the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963 were not the key to what happened or intended to be.  The gathering itself was the key because it brought together a vast crowd of people from many parts of the country.  The logistics of getting people to and from Washington, and taking care of them while they were in Washington, were complex and much could have gone wrong – but didn’t.  Given the size of the crowd, most attendees were nowhere near the Lincoln Memorial.  Acoustics were not great.  And the actual program of speakers and presentations was nowhere near as organized as the logistics just mentioned.

Indeed, my impression is that the presentations were rather disorganized.  I don’t recall there being an actual schedule of who would speak when, or at least no such schedule was disseminated.  Exactly who would talk when was unclear.  And there seemed to be confusion and delay on the speakers’ platform as the program progressed.  There certainly was no document that said “great speech” will be delivered at the end of the day or at such and such a time, in part because the King speech was not in final form on the eve of the March.  As one of the organizers has since reported, the logistics – not the speech – were the priority of March planners.[7]

I recall hearing quite recently an interview on public radio – sorry, I don’t have the citation – in which it was reported that because the program was running late, King was asked to cut his remarks – whatever they were going to be - short (which he fortunately didn’t do).  On the radio broadcast, Shepherd does refer to the King speech as brilliant, but that’s about all he said about it.  He hardly mentions it.  That is, from the viewpoint of someone there, as opposed to someone seeing a TV news or newsreel clip afterwards, the King speech was just part of a larger event.  To hear that alternative perspective, I suggest you now go the Shepherd broadcast.[8] I have edited out the opening of the broadcast which was unrelated to the March.   
The March section runs 39 minutes.

Ultimately, what matters in Washington is political pressure and that was what was accomplished and what was intended.  The fact that a vast gathering could be brought together, and peacefully, in the capital city did push what - after the assassination of the President - became the Johnson administration and the Congress to enact the subsequent civil rights legislation.  The idea of the March on Washington was the March, not the speeches.  Shepherd experienced the March as an indication that the “battle is damn near over,” clearly an historical overstatement in hindsight but an expression of his impression.

In any case, on August 28, 1963, when I left before the King speech – and even after hearing it on the radio – I didn’t think I had missed out on something.  The alternative view came about only after the news media decided that the speech was really what had happened rather than that the March on Washington contained the speech.  In the new view, the March on Washington was just to provide an audience for the speech.  Once that interpretation became the standard verdict of history, it created the family joke that daddy went to the March on Washington but left before the King speech.

[1] There are copyright issues related to the speech.  It comes and goes on YouTube as a result, posted and then taken down.  At the moment it can be seen at
[2] President Johnson famously predicted that in signing the 1964 Civil Rights Act, he was losing the south to the Democrats.
[3] A radio newscast from the day after the 1960 election indicates the uncertainty:
[4] During most of the summer, I stayed at a fraternity house at George Washington University in a rented room with others who had gotten summer jobs in Washington.  But in the last week of August, the fraternity was closed for repairs and I moved to Virginia.  Given the price of the car, few of its attributes other than the radio worked as intended.  A GS-4 earned a little over $80 per week as I recall, so the car cost a little more than a week’s pay for a low-level bureaucrat. 
[6] NPR broadcast excerpts on the 40th anniversary of the March as part of a program which can be heard at  Excerpts also appeared on a 2-CD tribute to Jean Shepherd issued by NPR under the title “A Voice in the Night” and was sold or offered as a membership perk:  However, the CDs are apparently no longer available for sale.
[7] Clarence B. Jones, “On Martin Luther King Day, remembering the first draft of 'I Have a Dream,'” Washington Post, January 11, 2011. “The logistical preparations for the march were so burdensome that the speech was not a priority for us. Early in the summer, Martin asked some trusted colleagues… for their thoughts on his address, and during his weeks in New York, we had discussions about it. But it wasn't until mid-August that Martin had Stanley (Levison) and I (Clarence B. Jones) work up a draft. And though I had that material with me when I arrived at the Willard Hotel in Washington for a meeting on the evening of Tuesday, Aug. 27, Martin still didn't know what he was going to say.”
[8] A glossary below provides information on some names and terms used in the broadcast.

Glossary: Since listeners to the 1963 broadcast may not be familiar with names and phrases cited, here is a listing:
V-E Day.  Victory in Europe Day, May 8, 1945.  Surrender of Nazi Germany ending World War II fighting in Europe but not in the Pacific Theater.
V-J Day.  Surrender of Japan, ending World War II.  On August 14, 1945, it was announced that Japan had surrendered unconditionally to the Allies, effectively ending World War II. Since then, both August 14 and August 15 have been known as "Victory over Japan Day," or simply "V-J Day." The term has also been used for September 2, 1945, when Japan's formal surrender took place aboard the U.S.S. Missouri, anchored in Tokyo Bay. Coming several months after the surrender of Nazi Germany, Japan's capitulation in the Pacific brought six years of hostilities to a final and highly anticipated close.  Source:
Marion Anderson.  Famed black singer.  Having her sing at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963 was symbolic because of a 1939 incident: In 1939 her manager tried to set up a performance for her at Washington, D.C.'s Constitution Hall. But the owners of the hall, the Daughters of the American Revolution (D.A.R.), informed Anderson and her manager that no dates were available. That was far from the truth. The real reason for turning Anderson away lay in a policy put in place by the D.A.R. that committed the hall to being a place strictly for white performers. When word leaked out to the public about what had happened, an uproar ensued, led in part by Eleanor Roosevelt, who invited Anderson to perform instead at the Lincoln Memorial on Easter Sunday. In front of a crowd of more than 75,000, Anderson offered up a riveting performance that was broadcast live for millions of radio listeners.  Source:
John Wingate: Reporter and interviewer on WOR, the same station that carried Jean Shepherd’s program.  Wingate was well known at the time, at least in New York, although much later he met an unhappy fate.  Source:
Lester Smith: Another WOR reporter.

Why the Resignation?

They don't seem to be looking in the same direction.
President Yudof resigned shortly after last week's Regents meeting.  Undoubtedly, the resignation was planned earlier so nothing that specifically happened at the meeting could have been the triggering event.  The official press release mentioned health, family, etc., obliquely.

While the Regents meeting was not the trigger, I would guess that what happened at the meeting was no surprise and could have been anticipated by anyone who heard or attended prior meetings.  The governor wants to take a bigger role than have prior governors.  That's fine by itself, but the question is how should that role be played out.  There can't be two presidents of UC.  (We noted in an earlier blog that the governor at one point at an earlier meeting said he was the President of UC, although he is President of the Board of Regents.)  But there seemed to be little push-back from the Regents about the governor's intentions.  If I were Yudof in that circumstance, I would quit, too.

A key role of the Regents is providing a degree of insulation from state politics for UC.  Obviously, that insulation can never be total.  Indeed, the fact that the Regents include key political leaders as ex officio members suggests the ambiguity.  Nonetheless, issues such as online education, while sexy and of obvious interest to the governor, are ultimately getting close to crossing the fine line of micro-management.  There need to be improvements in UC management, to be sure, but micro-managing is not one of them.

If there is to be a new relationship between UC and the state, it cannot be developed by the governor, or the president of UC, or even the Regents in some unilateral fashion.  As we noted in a prior post, the only way it can be done is a process something like the one that produced the Master Plan originally.  It may be that we need a restructuring of the way in which UC is managed and the way the Regents are structured.  And let's keep in mind that the state is putting in only about $1 dollar in $10 of the UC budget.  Students are putting in a roughly similar amount.  So there is a big institution to be considered, much of which is outside the purview of state attention.

The Yudof resignation announcement says "UC remains the premier public university system in the world..."  Note that the qualifier - premier PUBLIC university - has crept into the description in recent years.  And yet the official comparison-8 universities on which UC is supposedly benchmarked are half public and half private.  The governor's statement that UC wants 11.6% as a state budget increase but will only get 5% - which he implies is a long-term indicator of budgetary reality - suggests the obvious.  The state can't afford the old UC/Master Plan model.  So a new model is needed and, at the moment, we can't get there from here.

The Yudof resignation announcement is at:

An article about the resignation in Inside Higher Ed today can be found at:

UPDATE: The LA Times today carries a story about how the governor wants to reshape the community colleges.  Again, this is Master Plan stuff.  The original Master Plan was intended to coordinate the three segments of higher ed: UC, what is now CSU, and the community colleges.  The article is at:,0,904916.story

UPDATE: Columnist Joe Mathews wonders whether the governor should be running UC, CSU, and the community colleges and thinks it is a bit much:

Saturday, January 19, 2013

It’s Your Legacy Choice Governor Brown: Chinese Emperor or Dad?

Kowtowing to the Chinese emperor
This past week, Governor Jerry Brown – as he promised – came to yet another Regents meeting with a message of online education and various not-well-defined demands for more efficiency in higher education.  With a few exceptions, what the governor got was kowtowing.  The Regents sung his praise as they did at prior meetings.  Shortly after the meeting, UC President Mark Yudof quit – although he, too, did what is perceived as the requisite degree of kowtowing in announcing he was leaving office.

As is well known, Chinese emperors expected those who approached them to kowtow.  To varying degrees, western ambassadors went along with the practice as a necessary step to get what they wanted: trade concessions and later conquest and subjugation.  The legacy of Chinese emperors seen from a modern perspective is that they ultimately were failures.  But undoubtedly they viewed themselves as all-seeing and as smarter than the foreign barbarians coming to their courts.  I suspect, Governor Brown, that you don’t want your legacy in California to be seen as having been the equivalent of a Chinese emperor.

So what about online education and your apparent enthusiasm for it?  Is it really the key to revolutionizing higher ed?  It may appear that it is a new idea – the latest thing - but it really isn’t.  When I was a kid in the 1950s, you could turn on your black and white TV and watch a college course – Sunrise Semester - at 6 am in the morning.  A learned professor would give a lecture on TV!  What an exciting new concept!  If you bought the textbook and showed up for an exam, you could get college credit for the course.   
Sunrise Semester

Now it’s true that TV signals don’t reach around the world the way the Internet does.  But such signals in the 1950s could reach millions of potential viewers.  And even before video tape became available to TV stations, kinescopes of the programs could in principle have allowed the programs to be broadcast in different regions by different stations. 

Never heard of Sunrise Semester? Take a look:

Over the years, the notion of video recording classes has come and gone and then returned again.  In the 1970s at the UCLA Anderson School, I can remember an effort to videotape certain classes with the idea that students could just watch the tapes by checking them out of the library and then pass exams.  At the time, video tape technology was becoming available and economical for business and home use – it was the latest thing.  My recollection is that a good deal of money was spent on this effort.  I have a dim memory that there may have been grants to make the tapes.  (Ford Foundation?)  Anyway, the tapes ended up in a draw somewhere.  Students weren’t interested.

When video conferencing became more feasible in the 1990s, there was a push for “distance learning.”  And, yes, UC put money into that approach, too.  Students on one UC campus would be able via video conferencing to enroll in courses at another campus. But even the phrase “distance learning” seems to have vanished.   Where are all of those courses now?

So is online ed – now the seeming latest thing – really going do what Sunrise Semester and course video taping  and course video conferencing didn’t do?  Or will the firms touting such online efforts end up like the many dot-coms that seemed exciting in the 1990s, i.e., defunct in the 2000s?  You have had a tendency over your career, Governor Brown, to want to be known for innovation – remember your 800 phone number for presidential campaign fundraising?  But can you honestly say at the end of the day that you want your legacy to based on such “innovations”?  The 800-number governor?

Gov. Pat Brown receives Master Plan from UC President Clark Kerr
Let’s turn to your dad, Pat Brown, whose legacy as governor is not identified with being a Chinese emperor and expecting a lot of ego-stroking kowtowing.  We know in fact that your dad in the field of higher education is identified with the development of the Master Plan.  When he took office in the late 1950s – the era when Sunrise Semester was the latest thing – he could have spent his political capital fostering such TV courses.  Undoubtedly, since that was an era in which the California budget for higher ed was expanding, the Regents would have kowtowed to him and gone along.  There were dollars at stake and kowtowing is cheap.

Instead, however, Pat Brown identified what could be called a management problem in California higher education.  There were three segments of the system: UC, what became CSU, and the community colleges, all competing for resources but with no plan as to who was to do what.  Management problems of that type – resource allocation and priority setting – are not now and were not then, the latest thing.  But it was those problems on which Pat Brown worked and ultimately addressed successfully.  That’s why he is remembered as a great governor, not for doing the seeming latest high-tech thing.

It’s your choice now, Governor Brown.  The Regents will go on kowtowing if that’s what you want.  And you can push them into doing more online education.  But like that old Sunrise Semester video embedded above, you may not get much of a long-term legacy out of that approach.  The alternative is to address those unsexy management problems that clearly do abound in higher ed - and at UC in particular. 

Here are some questions that might be addressed.  You were asked by the UCLA Daily Bruin about the degree to which UC campuses should have autonomy and – as a prior post on this blog noted – you didn’t really have an idea about that issue.  Maybe you should have an opinion – or at least be seeking one.  This blog has noted repeatedly that the Regents do not really have the tools for effective oversight concerning the huge UC capital budget.  Indeed, one could question the degree to which they have the tools for effective oversight of the system as a whole.  As we have noted on this blog, UC campuses – if UCLA is at all representative – are overly bureaucratic at the bottom and too slim in top management.  The result is fiefdoms below the top and costly procedures.  Might you want to address that problem, Governor Brown?

Maybe what you need to do is not to make yourself the center of attention, avoid the temptation to pontificate, and do what your dad did: set in motion a process that would produce another Master Plan.  Work behind the scenes to find what reforms are needed and develop consensus behind them.  You may think that’s what you are doing.  But soundbites such as “I’m giving you 5% and you want 11.6%” are not the key to anything but short-term media attention.

Again, it’s your choice.  Chinese emperor or dad?

Friday, January 18, 2013

UCLA Request to Delay Japanese Garden Trial Denied

UCLA asked the court to delay the upcoming trial on the Japanese Garden issue.  But the court denied the application and set the next hearing date at April 23.

From time to time, we suggest negotiating with the concerned parties on this matter.  But our advice remains unheeded.

Here is the court decision:

Open publication - Free publishing - More ucla
Update: Beverly Hills Courier article on the court decision below:

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Regent Theater

There is the Regent Theater in Westwood and there is theater at the Regents.  Yesterday, Gov. Brown continued his push for more online education from UC.  As far as I can tell from news accounts, the Regents, other than the student regent, are not resisting.

We will eventually have the audio of the meeting and post it.  In the meantime, here is a TV news account.

UPDATE: The Regents now are providing video and audio live and - perhaps - archived.  Is this the result of our putting the audios online and asking why the Regents don't do it?  We'll never know.  Anyway, go to