Wednesday, September 30, 2015

O'Bannon Case

Development in the O'Bannon Case, named after a former UCLA basketball player:

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Wednesday upheld the main thrust of a judge’s landmark decision last year declaring that NCAA rules violate federal antitrust law by restricting players’ ability to trade on their images. The decision also struck down part of  last year’s ruling, by Judge Claudia Wilken of the U.S. District Court in Oakland, Calif., which would have allowed football and men’s basketball players to be paid deferred compensation of up to $5,000 per year.
Stating that the NCAA “is not above the antitrust laws” and that its rules “have been more restrictive than necessary to maintain its tradition of amateurism in support of the college sports market,” the decision marks another victory for athletes lobbying for greater compensation.
But it also states that allowing colleges to pay players the cost of attendance in the form of scholarships is enough of a remedy. The panel called the portion of Judge Wilken’s ruling about paying players $5,000 per year “erroneous,” questioning the district court’s judgment that the payment would “be as effective in preserving amateurism as the NCAA’s current policy.” ...

Full story at

Forecast Conference

The UCLA Anderson Forecast conference met on Monday. You probably read about it. If not, a summary is at Our purpose today is just to point out that even without the UCLA Grand Hotel, it is possible to have a large conference on campus. (The Forecast was presented in Korn Hall in the Anderson complex.)

Just a reminder of the broken Master Plan

Earlier this month, representatives from tech firms in and around Silicon Beach convened for the second time to weigh in on the classes that will shape Santa Monica College’s four-year program in interaction design. The advisory board’s input is one facet of a process that will yield a landmark opportunity at the local community college, which views the bachelor’s degree as a way to prepare students for in-demand jobs in the growing field of digital user experience. Officials are making tweaks to the drafted curriculum and developing application materials for the IxD program, which they hope to have up and running by next fall. The new upper-division classes will complement the existing coursework that comprises the school’s associate’s degree in graphic design...

While we wish Santa Monica College well, this change in the division of labor between the three segments of the Master Plan was undertaken via a whim of the legislature. No planning. Nothing like what went into the original deliberations. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Listen to the Regents Morning Meeting of Sept. 16, 2015

The meeting began with public comments which were mainly statements by reps from the Interns and Residents union about contract issues. The TA union supported the tolerance/intolerance resolution (which the Regents later rejected). Urban planning options at Merced were also mentioned. In addition, there was discussion of student mental health, cost of student housing at UC-Santa Cruz, graduate student career planning, and disability access at UC-Irvine. UC prez Napolitano delivered a general report on UC. Senate rep Dan Hare noted issues of faculty total compensation, particularly in light of the pension cutbacks for new hires.

A session of the Committees on Governance and UC Health discussed the proposal – from past Regents meetings – for more autonomy and delegation of authority for the various campus health enterprises. Several regents expressed concerns about such delegation, particularly grants of authority to non-regents. It appears that this issue is headed for some decision at the November meetings.

The Committee on Grounds and Buildings continued discussion of the proposed public-private partnership to build out the UC-Merced campus over the next 35 years. Issues related to the cost of borrowing and who would carry the risks involved were raised.

Chief Investment Officer Bachher largely repeated his earlier (Sept. 9) report to the Committee on Investments, but also plugged what his office could do (and is doing in some cases) to manage campus endowments. He also offered services to evaluate financing of campus real estate projects. Bachher repeated his announcement that he had divested the UC portfolio of coal and oil sands stocks. In answer to a question, it was noted that the pension assumed rate of return was being cut back from 7.5%/annum to 7.25%. One regent noted the potential impact on the unfunded liability but otherwise there was little discussion. This was in contrast to the Sept. 9 meeting in which Bachher seemed to agree with the notion that maybe the rate should be 6%. (See the second link below.)

You can hear the meeting at the link below:

Six percent? (from Sept. 9, 2015):

Monday, September 28, 2015

Some Capital Ideas!

Click to enlarge
You can look directly at the listing above of "select Major Capital Improvement projects that are currently in planning/design, construction, or post-construction phases." It, of course, includes the UCLA Grant Hotel for over $160 million. Or go to the source page for a clearer view:

The link is highlighted in a Bruin student op ed in which the author posits that the costs of more and more student housing fall on students because of "demand." He doesn't consider the supply side, i.e., that there is a huge "hospitality" enterprise whose existence depends on such projects. You can find the op ed at

Orwell Day?

George Orwell - whose "1984" featured such slogans as War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength - apparently neglected Volunteering is mandatory:

From the Daily Bruin: ...Nearly 7,000 UCLA students, staff, parents and alumni participated in Volunteer Day, which, despite its name, is mandatory for all incoming students. Some students were eager to participate in the seventh annual event, but others were not pleased the event was required.
Forrest Larson, a first-year undeclared engineering student, complained Volunteer Day was a mandatory obligation for all incoming students...

Full story at

More Trouble Ahead?

Yet another example of the clash between outside court standards and internal university review standards appears in Inside Higher Ed: ...Three judges on the Kansas Court of Appeals flagged from the start of a decision issued Friday that they didn't approve of the content of a series of tweets by Navid Yeasin, whom the University of Kansas expelled in part on the basis of those remarks about his ex-girlfriend. The tweets were "puerile and sexually harassing," the judges wrote. But the judges went on to say that doesn't matter. The university never demonstrated that Yeasin made the comments on Twitter while on campus or in connection with any university activity, and the university's student conduct code thus doesn't cover the tweets, the court found. The case has been closely watched beyond Kansas because of two issues -- only one of which was addressed in Friday's ruling, and that one only in part. That issue is the university's claim that it is required not only by its student conduct code but by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 to punish offensive remarks made by one student to another on Twitter if they create a hostile environment for the second student. The appeals court rejected that argument although it did so largely on the way the university created its code of conduct and punished Yeasin. The other issue was whether Twitter posts are automatically protected by the First Amendment as free speech. While briefs by the American Civil Liberties Union and others argued that this protection does exist, the appeals court did not address that issue...

Full story at

As we have been noting in prior posts, when public universities through internal processes dish out harsh punishments (the student was expelled in the case above), external courts are likely to examine the internal process and rationale closely and critically. 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Maybe It's Not True That There Is No Such Thing as Bad Publicity

From the Sacramento Bee: UC Davis cuts PR post that drew criticism for its $260,000 salary

Two years after hiring a communications chief for $260,000 a year, UC Davis has quietly eliminated her position. By paying Luanne Lawrence a higher salary than any other communications official in the University of California system, UC Davis revived longstanding complaints about executive pay, in particular because of student unrest about tuition hikes and other budget issues.

Lawrence was told by the school on June 30 that her position of associate chancellor for strategic communications was being terminated, according to a settlement agreement obtained by The Sacramento Bee through a California Public Records Act request. The agreement was reached after Lawrence made claims about the termination and refused to take an alternative position of director of marketing and branding. The agreement does not explain the school’s decision to eliminate her position. Dana Topousis, who became acting head of the school’s Office of Strategic Communications after Lawrence left, said the decision is confidential because it is a personnel matter.

The settlement allowed Lawrence to keep a $30,500 moving allowance she was expected to partially forfeit if she left the school within four years of employment. However, the settlement did not include any payment to Lawrence, according to her attorney, Karen Goodman. Lawrence left UC Davis last month, although she started work this month on a $150,000, one-year contract to provide marketing services for the school, records show. Lawrence did not respond to requests to comment on the university’s decision to terminate her position. “She certainly didn’t agree with the decision,” Goodman said. “She thought she had done a good job for the university.”

UC Davis hired Lawrence in February 2013 after paying a firm $110,000 to conduct a national search. She left a similar position at the University of South Carolina and had previously held communications jobs at Oregon State University, the University of Maine and several other schools. UC Davis wanted to improve its image after a video of campus police using pepper spray on students went viral in 2011 and attracted national media attention. The school also sought to grow enrollment, increase research funding and maintain its high academic ranking.

As head of the school’s Office of Strategic Communications, Lawrence oversaw four departments: marketing; creative communications; web and interactive communications; and news and media relations. When hired, she had a budget of $3 million and 27 employees. The Bee’s publication of her salary five months after her hire led to critical editorials in several newspapers...

Full story at

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Listen to the Regents Afternoon Meeting of Sept. 16, 2015

At the afternoon meeting of the Regents on September 16, 2015, the only open session item was review of the Dept. of Energy labs. (All other sessions were closed.) The DOE lab arrangement essentially has a history going back to the Manhattan Project of World War II. However, the only lab review of the day was the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab which doesn't do classified research. The outgoing director made a presentation. There was also a change in the contractual relationship with DOE due to a breach, i.e., leak, of "legacy" waste at Los Alamos, NM that resulted in a major fine for UC. The new contract, which was approved, was said to reduce UC's exposure to such events in the future.

You can hear the recording at the link below:

Friday, September 25, 2015

No-Name Med Art

Untitled by Doug Levy in 200 building

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Listen to the Regents Meeting of Sept. 17, 2015

It might be noted from the start that the recordings made available from the Regents of Day 3 of the Sept. 15-17 meetings have skips, repeats, and omissions. Hence, the link provided below to the full Day 3 meeting is simply a reproduction of what is available. The YouTube link is edited to omit defects but cannot reproduce what is not available.

The day started with the public comment period which was largely, but not entirely, geared to the tolerance/intolerance proposed resolution (which ultimately was rejected by the Regents). Most speakers spoke either pro or con on the issue of instead adopting the "State Department" definition of antisemitism. There were some other issues raised such as treatment of UC lecturers.

The meeting continued with a request to endorse a UCLA fund raising campaign (which is already underway). The topic then turned to a presentation about training of students and others concerning sexual assault on various campuses. However, issues of adjudication - which blog readers will know have been troublesome at UC and other institutions - were raised, notably the recent case in which an external court overturned a decision at UC-San Diego on due process grounds. The presenters kept referring to the lesser internal standards they use ("preponderance of the evidence," "more likely than not"). The problem is that external courts see a public institution dishing out what can be significant penalties and expect something more, particularly when the incidents tend to be without witnesses by their nature. President Napolitano said UC is working on the problem and is appealing the UC-SD decision.

When the intolerance resolution came up, Provost Dorr can't feel very good about the outcome. Possibly, she developed it all by herself without awareness of the president or anyone else. But that would be remarkable given the controversy. So someone more likely knew that when the resolution - which apparently went through drafts that had some circulation among the powers-that-be - was to be aired at the Regents, it would flop. Was Dorr hung out to dry? Or was she a good soldier taking a bullet for the commander? (President Napolitano remained remarkably aloof and mainly got by with the notion that the resolution was merely a preliminary work in progress and how healthy the discussion had been. All we know is that Dorr came up with a resolution that was so general that it was basically Pablum. And nobody warned her of the likely result.

It also seemed clear that the Regents were unlikely to adopt the State Department definition of antisemitism since the legislature had shied away from it. Assembly Speaker (and ex officio regent) Atkins said that the definition was not appropriate for an academic institution because of academic freedom concerns. It had to be known by someone in UCOP, at least at the top, that what the Regents wanted was something that specifically responded to the complaints of antisemitic acts, perhaps with more general tolerance/intolerance language included. Below you will find a YouTube set of excerpts from the Regents' comments which generally point to the Pablum/non-specificity issue. There is included the odd comment by Regent Blum that his wife - U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein - would somehow take on UC if the Regents didn't do the right thing. The comment was not the high point of his career at the Regents and maybe not the high point of his marriage, either. And it wasn't clear what the right thing was that she had in mind. What he had in mind, based on his comments, was that it should include punishments as well as principles. Regent Makarechian endorsed Blum's call for punishments. In any event, the outcome was the formation of a task force to be headed not by Dorr but by Regent Island with yet-to-be-defined participation of students, faculty, chancellors, and Regents, to come up with an alternative resolution. (We reported on this development in an earlier post based on news accounts.)

After the tolerance/intolerance resolution was put to sleep, there was a review of budget issues for 2016-17. No numbers. But it was said that the budget proposal would assume the pension contribution for next year (even though the legislature didn't agree to it). In another context, inflation adjustments to tuition, Speaker Atkins reminded the Regents that while the governor may have agreed to the adjustments, the legislature was not part of the deal. Several Regents raised concerns about rising professional degree tuition. There was also a presentation about changes in methodology and assumptions for the UC pension. Somewhat surprisingly, revising down the assumed future rate of earnings on the pension portfolio from 7.5%/annum to 7.25% provoked virtually no reaction even though it raises the accounting estimate of the unfunded liability. (As we have noted, the earnings will turn out to be what they will be and the liabilities will turn out to be what they will be; changing the accounting doesn't change the future. But changing the accounting can change how much we fret about the future.)

The remainder of the meeting was basically housekeeping.

A link to the audio of the full meeting (including the skips, repeats, and distortions from the original) is below:

Excerpts from the tolerance/intolerance/antisemitism discussion are below:

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Listen to the Regents Meeting of Sept. 15, 2015

The first day of the most recent Regents meeting consisted of a meeting of the Committee on Grounds and Buildings. No one paid much attention; everyone was waiting for the third day when the controversial intolerance resolution was up for discussion. But, as we have repeatedly pointed out, Grounds and Buildings routinely okays projects that run into the hundreds of millions of dollars. As we also have pointed out, the Regents have no independent resource for evaluating the various proposals which come up from the campus bureaucracies. Some of the projects on the agenda were said to be funded from vague "revenues" or yet-to-be-obtained donations.

Whatever happens to the intolerance issue, it probably won't be much remembered 50 years from now. But structures approved today may well be around at that time. It might be noted that there was some pushback from Regents about a suggestion that periodic oral updates on long-range plans from UC-Santa Cruz might be replaced by a written report.

You can hear the session at the link below:

Union-Supported Bill on Brown's Desk Triggers Student Leader Opposition

There is a union-supported bill SB 376 on Gov. Brown's desk (which he could sign or veto) essentially requiring employees hired through outside contractors to be paid comparably to UC employees.*Various student leaders have now written an op ed urging a veto. Excerpt:

At its face, SB 376 is a bill about fairness — a bill which seeks to ensure the University of California administration doesn’t undercut the wages and benefits of full-time employees by contracting services to agencies with cheaper labor for comparable work. It requires that the University of California calculate wage and benefits it pays its full-time employees for this work, and provide the same package for contract workers. The students of the University of California, including those I represent at UCLA as its student body external vice president, largely identify with the principles informing this proposal. However, the passage of this otherwise well-intentioned provision implies the unraveling of victories earned for students after a year-long, hard-fought battle for state investment in the UC. An unfunded mandate, the bill gravely complicates the budget deal that Gov. Brown, UC President Napolitano, and students wove so painfully together. The provisions of that budget — frozen tuition and more funds to reach a difficult enrollment mandate of 5000 additional students — are entirely compromised by SB 376’s expected $60 million price tag. While none of us disagree with the principle of the bill, students simply cannot afford to shoulder the cost of the bill, which will fall to the only funds the UC has left to pay for it: our recent enrollment grant funds, and after the freeze ends in two years, our tuition...

In the case of SB 376, the Legislature’s call for fairness literally neglects to put its money where its mouth is. We will, without reservation, support this bill if the governor will fund the cost. Until then, we urge Gov. Brown to defend his budget deal and veto SB 376. 

Zachary Helder is UCLA External Vice President, Undergraduate Student Association. This commentary is co-sponsored by: Heather Rosen, UCLA President, Undergraduate Student Association; Jimmy Villareal, UCSB President, Undergraduate Student Association; Lewis Luartz, UCR President, Graduate Student Association; Dominick Suvonnasupa, UCSD President, Undergraduate Student Association; Krystl Fabella, UCSD External Vice President, Undergraduate Student Association.

Full op ed at

Note: As far as yours truly recalls, no opposition to the bill was expressed by student leaders at Regents meetings. There were union reps who generally supported equal pay for contractors during public comment sessions. Student regents did not react, pro or con, during those sessions or at other times.

UCLA Faculty Center Up for Consideration as California Historical Resource

Above is an extract from the website of the Office of Historical Preservation.* [Click to enlarge the image.] The Faculty Center is on the agenda of the Office's October 30 meeting for be added to the Register of Historical Resources. Being registered would not prevent the Center from being demolished at some future date but it would complicate the process. So UCLA is opposed to the registration. Blog readers will recall that originally the UCLA Grand Hotel was supposed to be built on the site of the Faculty Center but it was moved to the current location after an outcry from faculty. Recordings of the meetings eventually are posted, although with a considerable lag. The latest recording is for an April meeting but there was a later one in August which seems not to have appeared yet. (Well, it is historical preservation so no rush, one supposes.)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

UCLA Gets More Applications Than Any Other U.S. College

UCLA isn't the best school in America, according to U.S. News & World Report's annual Best Colleges list. It tied with USC for number 24 on the list. It is, however, the most popular university among college hopefuls. UCLA gets more applications than any other school across the land, U.S. News & World Report says. And it's not the first time. The publication states:The University of California-Los Angeles once again attracted the most applications, according to data submitted to U.S. News by 1,258 institutions. At UCLA, 86,548 Bruin hopefuls sent transcripts and test scores. It outpaced the University of California—Berkeley, which was runner-up, by more than 10,000 submissions...

Full story at 

Monday, September 21, 2015


Roy Rogers' Trigger (now stuffed)
From Inside Higher Ed:

The Faculty Senate at American University has passed a resolution affirming the importance of academic freedom and questioning the use of "trigger warnings" that alert students to books or other materials that may be offensive or upsetting to them...

"Faculty may advise students before exposing them to controversial readings and other materials that are part of their curricula. However, the Faculty Senate does not endorse offering 'trigger warnings' or otherwise labeling controversial material in such a way that students construe it as an option to 'opt out' of engaging with texts or concepts, or otherwise not participating in intellectual inquiries."

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Not So Easy

The debate this past week at the Regents on the tolerance/intolerance resolution should be a reminder of another contentious issue that the Regents have yet to resolve. The powers-that-be at UCOP are supposed to be coming up with some mechanism to deal with campus complaints of sexual harassment and assault that will somehow provide due process to the accused. So far, the tension between innocent until proven guilty and guilty until proven innocent has not been easy for universities to resolve. External courts tend to focus on due process for the accused. Universities seem to be pushed by the federal govt. (executive branch) toward the latter. The problem is perhaps more intense for public universities (such as UC) than private. But even private institutions have had difficulty. From the Chronicle of Higher Ed:

A federal judge on Thursday ordered Middlebury College to reinstate a student who had been expelled over alleged sexual misconduct during a study-abroad trip last year, the Associated Press reports, citing court documents. The student, identified only as John Doe, was initially exonerated by the School for International Training, which ran the study-abroad program, in an unnamed foreign country, in which both John Doe and his alleged victim took part. Unhappy with the school’s findings, the victim, identified as Jane Doe, said she intended to file a complaint with the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights, which is already investigating more than 100 colleges over their response to reports of sexual misconduct on their campuses. Middlebury then began its own investigation of the matter. After a five-month inquiry, it found John Doe to have sexually assaulted Jane Doe, and it expelled him. The college’s inquiry apparently also found fault with the School for International Training’s investigation. After exhausting his appeals at Middlebury, John Doe sued. He also sought a preliminary injunction blocking his expulsion while his lawsuit was heard. In his order on Thursday, Judge J. Garvan Murtha of the U.S. District Court in Brattleboro, Vt., wrote that the case’s unusual history, in which one academic institution cleared John Doe while another expelled him, created “a unique situation.” Still, he agreed that John Doe, a senior, should not have his education interrupted before his lawsuit could be heard. In a statement Middlebury said, “We are considering our legal options, but at this time we are obliged to comply with the court’s order.”


The Middlebury case reminds one of the recent UC-San Diego and U of Michigan cases which this blog has previously noted: 

All we can say to the Regents is "if at first you don't succeed...":

Friday, September 18, 2015

Decision for Governor Coming Up on UC Contractors

Bill now sitting on Gov. Brown's desk (which UC opposes):

SB 376, Lara. Public contracts: University of California. Existing provisions of the California Constitution provide that the University of California constitutes a public trust and require the university to be administered by the Regents of the University of California (regents), a corporation in the form of a board, with full powers of organization and government, subject to legislative control only for specified purposes, including such competitive bidding procedures as may be applicable to the university by statute for the letting of construction contracts, sales of real property, and purchasing of materials, goods, and services. Existing law requires the regents, except as provided, to let all contracts involving an expenditure of $100,000 or more annually for goods and materials or services, excepting personal or professional services, to the lowest responsible bidder meeting certain specifications, or to reject all bids. Existing law, until January 1, 2018, also authorizes the bid evaluation and selection for these contracts to be determined by the best value.
This bill would require a bidder, to qualify as a lowest responsible bidder or best value awardee on contracts for specified services, to certify in writing to the University of California (UC) that the bid includes a total employee compensation package that is valued on a per-employee basis at a level sufficient that it does not materially undercut the average per-employee value of total compensation for UC employees who perform comparable work at the relevant campus, medical center, or laboratory at which the bidder proposes to perform the work. The bill would require the UC to include in its request for proposals a calculation of the average per-employee value of total compensation for UC employees who perform comparable work at the relevant location, as prescribed. The bill would require contracts for services involving an expenditure of $100,000 or more annually to include any renewals or extensions of the contract that would result in an expenditure of $100,000 or more annually.
This bill would exclude specified employees and public works from these provisions, as provided.

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


 The Legislature finds and declares the following:
(a) It is a matter of statewide concern that responsible competitive bidding at the University of California not undercut the wages and benefits provided by the University of California for comparable work, given that a significant percentage of University of California employees already are eligible for public benefits and any material decrease in the compensation of employees performing such work would result in materially increased General Fund costs for the provision of benefits.
(b) It is a matter of statewide concern that the University of California not repeat past instances in which public resources have been squandered via contracting out to for-profit private contractors that charge significant administrative overhead.

SEC. 2.

 Section 10507.6 is added to the Public Contract Code, to read:
 (a) For the purposes of this article, to qualify as a lowest responsible bidder or best value awardee on any contract for building maintenance, cleaning, or custodial services, call center services, clerical services, dining and food services, gardening, grounds keeping and plant nursery services, laborer services, mailroom services, parking, shuttle bus, truck driving, or transportation services, security services, storekeeper services, patient care technical employee services, patient billing services, medical transcribing services, patient escort services, or nursing assistant services, a bidder shall certify in writing to the University of California that the bid includes a total employee compensation package, including fringe benefits, that is valued on a per-employee basis at a level sufficient that it does not materially undercut the average per-employee value of total compensation, including fringe benefits, for employees of the University of California who perform comparable work at the relevant campus, medical center, or laboratory at which the bidder proposes to perform the work.
(b) The University of California shall implement this section by including in its request for proposals a calculation of the average per-employee value of total compensation, including fringe benefits, for employees of the University of California who perform comparable work at the relevant campus, medical center, or laboratory, and that calculation shall use all known cost escalators to project the future rate of growth of average per-employee total compensation costs.
(c) The requirements of this section shall not apply to employees subject to Section 1191.5 of the Labor Code or Section 214(c) of Title 29 of the United States Code. Any employees covered by Section 1191.5 of the Labor Code or Section 214(c) of Title 29 of the United States Code shall be omitted from all calculations and certifications required by this section.
(d) This section does not apply to any work subject to Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 1720) of Part 7 of Division 2 of the Labor Code.

SEC. 3.

 Section 10507.7 of the Public Contract Code is amended to read:
  (a)  Except as provided for in this article, the Regents of the University of California shall let all contracts involving an expenditure of more than one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) annually for goods and materials to be sold to the University of California to the lowest responsible bidder meeting specifications, or else reject all bids. Contracts for services to be performed, other than personal or professional services, involving an expenditure of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) or more annually shall be made or entered into with the lowest responsible bidder meeting specifications, or else all bids shall be rejected. If the regents deem it to be for the best interest of the university, the regents may, on the refusal or failure of the successful bidder for materials, goods, or services to execute a tendered contract, award it to the second lowest responsible bidder meeting specifications. If the second lowest responsible bidder fails or refuses to execute the contract, the regents may likewise award it to the third lowest responsible bidder meeting specifications.
(b) For the purposes of this section, contracts for services involving an expenditure of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) or more annually shall include any renewal or extension of an existing contract, if the renewal or extension involves an expenditure of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) or more annually.

Educational Attainment in California

Over time, the proportion with a bachelor's degree or higher has increased. From the American Community Survey:

Understatement of the week: “We all recognize that more work needs to be done,” Napolitano said.

There was this much agreement!
In an earlier post before the Regents' tolerance/intolerance discussion, we reproduced the links provided by UCOP News Clips. Here is the selection from UCOP News Clips the morning after:

Regents to Form Group to Rework University Intolerance Plan
(Associated Press)
The University of California's Board of Regents say they will form a working group to rework the first draft of system-wide principles defining intolerance after Jewish students expressed outrage that it makes no mention of anti-Semitism.
Regent Monica Lozano said at a meeting Thursday at UC Irvine that the group will draft a "thoughtful and yet descriptive" statement. Two dozen people, mostly Jewish students, expressed concern that the proposed "Statement of Principles Against Intolerance" does not address anti-Semitic incidents on campuses.
UC goes back to the drawing board on controversial revamp of free-speech policy
(The Los Angeles Times) Larry Gordon
Full text below.
UC regents blast bland intolerance statement as insulting to Jews
(The San Francisco Chronicle) Nanette Asimov
UC regents urge stronger statement against anti-Semitism in intolerance policy
(The Orange County Register) Roxana Kopetman
Accused of Ignoring Anti-Semitism, U. of California Moves to Rewrite Statement on Tolerance
(The Chronicle of Higher Education) Peter Schmidt
STUDENT PRESS: UC Regents to rewrite statement of principles to address anti-Semitism
(The Daily Californian) Ivana Saric
STUDENT PRESS: UC Regents seek to modify Statement of Principles Against Intolerance
(Daily Bruin) Ryan Leou
UC Regents Decide to Redraft Tolerance Policy (VIDEO)
(KGO/ABC7) Carolyn Tyler
University of California will revise statement against intolerance
(The Sacramento Bee) Alexei Koseff
Full text below.
UC regents reject much-hyped ‘principles of intolerance.’ Napolitano: ‘More work needs to be done’
(Jewish Journal) Jared Sichel
There had to be a morning after:

Thursday, September 17, 2015

What we thought might happen did

Good luck, new committee
The Regents today apparently didn't like the tolerance/intolerance resolution before them and so created a committee to come up with something else at some indefinite date in the future. What that something else might be, however, is - to say the least - unclear.

The UC regents on Thursday withdrew controversial “principles against intolerance” and launched a new effort to rewrite policies that would more forcefully address anti-Semitism and other biases on campuses, while trying also to protect free speech. The move, announced by UC regents Chairwoman Monica Lozano, came after several regents complained that the proposed principles were so vague as to be worthless and that any new policy needed to be more specific about what constitutes bias against Jewish and other students. Additionally, they were concerned about how to possibly punish violators with potential suspensions or expulsions. Some Jewish groups criticized the original policy for not including a definition of anti-Semitism that includes the demonization of Israel.  

Lozano announced the formation of a new eight-person committee — of regents, the student regent, a faculty leader and others — to take a new crack at crafting stronger and more specific policies “consistent with the principles we heard about academic freedom and the condemnation of certain acts of intolerance against any group.” Regent Eddie Island will head that panel. No time frame was set for the completion of its work and officials said it could take many months...

Full story at  

News Clips on the Regents Meeting Today

We have been noting that the Big Thing on the Regents calendar for the September sessions is the tolerance/intolerance resolution. We will - as usual - eventually archive the audio of the meetings. But for now, we'll just reproduce the links provided by the UCOP Daily News Clips service which gives a sense of the issue. As we said yesterday, our best guess is that the Regents, after the debate, will ask for a redraft. Clips below:

University's intolerance declaration raises concerns
(Associated Press) Julie Watson and Amy Taxin
The University of California's first draft of system-wide principles defining intolerance is drawing protests from free speech advocates who call it censorship and Jewish organizations that say it doesn't go far enough to protect against anti-Semitism. The UC Board of Regents is scheduled to debate the proposed "Statement of Principles Against Intolerance" at its meeting Thursday at UC Irvine.
UC is the first statewide university to consider adopting such a declaration. It calls for its 10 campuses to be "free from acts and expressions of intolerance" and would prohibit "depicting or articulating a view of ethnic or racial groups as less ambitious, less hardworking or talented, or more threatening than other groups," among other things. Critics say it would set a dangerous precedent. Many universities under pressure to do more to combat racism, sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination are already overstepping their bounds and discouraging comments that could be perceived as offensive, according to free speech advocates.
University Of California May Outlaw Intolerance, And Experts Say It'll Violate The First Amendment
(Huffington Post) Tyler Kingkade
UC regents chair defends proposed principles against intolerance
(The Los Angeles Times) Larry Gordon
Full text below.
Pro-Israel students dislike UC regents’ ‘intolerance’ statement
(The San Francisco Chronicle) Nanette Asimov
STUDENT PRESS: Submission: UC should not adopt anti-Semitism definition that endangers open debate
(Daily Bruin) Eitan Peled and Rahim Kurwa
STUDENT PRESS: Submission: Regents must condemn anti-Semitism to ensure safety of Jewish identity
(Daily Bruin) Arielle Mokhtarzadeh
Free To Learn? Think Again: Campus Censorship On The Rise
(Forbes) Tom Lindsay
University of California policy against intolerance meeting resistance
(Education Dive) Tara Garcia Mathewson

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Another Nice Mess

You may recall the Laurel and Hardy films in which Hardy would complain:
Seems like that is what happened to the the tolerance/intolerance discussion coming up at the Regents. The whole idea seemed to be to water down the antisemitism resolution (a narrow issue) into something broad and thus vague - everyone play nice! Instead, the effort has resulted in considerable opposition to idea of a general speech restriction. The LA Times has an editorial today against the resolution as currently worded:
...Before the regents adopt any policies inspired by the Statement of Principles Against Intolerance, they should reject its overly broad language and draw a clearer distinction between acts of intolerance and the expression of opinions that might potentially offend some students...  
There have been a lot of such critiques in the past few days in the news media.
The problem seems to be one of treating students and everyone else in the university community as if they were children. Actually, if they were children, the model for tolerance "training" has been around for a long time:


Best guess: The Regents will discuss the resolution and then ask for some kind of redraft.

Water-Flowers-Games - and Chopping Up the State?

Yours truly happened to be reading the LA Business Journal and came across the clipping at the left, which was a reminder of the Regents' action some time back creating the UCLA Venture Fund. The idea was to get local entrepreneur types to invest in companies based on UCLA-developed technology.

Anyway, you can check out the website at Turns out the Fund has invested in a flower delivery service ("free delivery from a volcano") and game company, as well as the water treatment company in the clipping. (The game company's website doesn't mention any games the company actually has, but I'm sure they'll find something, now that they have funding:

Six is better than one!
Now the Fund has an executive committee and one name on it is one you might recognize even if you aren't into entrepreneurship: Tim Draper. You might remember Draper as the guy with the wacko idea of dividing up California into six new states by ballot initiative. (OK; some folks said at the time that it was actually a clever idea to divide California's electoral votes to favor Republicans because some of the new state-lets would be red states rather than blue. Still, pretty wacky because it would never happen.) Anyhow, Draper announces with a fanfare that he has over 1.1 million signatures for the initiative (which cost him over $5 million for signature gatherers) and which should have been more than enough signatures, even given that some always turn out to be invalid. But when the secretary of state sampled the petitions, it turned out that so many were invalid that the initiative was rejected.** So it seems that Draper had been sold a bill of goods by somebody. In short, whether Draper actually believed in his initiative or just wanted some good PR, he got himself neither.

Anyway, it sure is great that Draper and his good ideas are on the executive committee of the UCLA Venture Fund, don't you think? The Fund surely needs someone with the good judgment to believe whatever he is told:

"The petition-gathering firm hired by the Six Californias campaign “predicted a much higher validity rate than the random sample result,” Mr. Draper said."***

And why wouldn't anyone believe what the firm said?

** He needed about 800,000 valid signatures and normally the number he turned in should have been enough. The fact that it cost him around $5 per signature - a lot - suggests the signature gatherers had problems finding folks who thought chopping up the state was a good idea.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

President Obama Chimes In on the Campus Speech Issue Just Before Regents Meet

With the Regents about to debate a proposed resolution on tolerance/intolerance and all of that, President Obama at a forum in Iowa yesterday commented on the general issue. Who knows? His remarks might have some effect on the debate.

Link below:

Just a reminder: Regents meetings start today at 3 PM

The first session is the Grounds and Building Committee. As it happens, none of the approvals are on the UCLA campus. Agenda at  Note that the session starts with public comments which might well get into the hot issue of this set of meetings: the tolerance-intolerance resolution. We will archive the audio when we have a chance (as usual).

Anyway, they're off!

Would the Regents Support an Extension of Prop 30?

When Prop 30, with its new temporary income and sales taxes was on the ballot, the Regents supported it to aid the UC budget. There has been talk recently about extending the temporary taxes. An initiative has now been filed by K-14 education groups that would involve an extension (focused only on the income tax portion). But the funding would be earmarked only for K-14. So it's unlikely that the Regents would support such a measure. Note that filing an initiative is a long distance away from paying signature gathering firms to get it on the ballot, much less funding an election campaign. It's also unclear that the governor would support an extension of Prop 30 for whatever purpose. In the past, he has indicated that he sold the Prop 30 taxes as temporary. So whether a longer version of temporary would be agreeable to him is uncertain.

The initiative is discussed in

The actual initiative as filed is at

Monday, September 14, 2015

How Folks Gained Entrance to UCLA in 1933

They gained entrance through the same entrance as they do today!

More Straws in the Wind

Although the big social issue for the Regents at their upcoming meeting will be the intolerance resolution, sitting in the background for them and UC is the whole sexual consent matter. We have yet to see how the university will reconcile the external court pressure for due process with whatever it comes up with for internal investigation.

We have already noted one case that went against UC-San Diego.* Now there is another court case, this one from the U of Michigan:

The University of Michigan will throw out its finding that a student engaged in nonconsensual sex with a female friend in his dorm room as part of a lawsuit settlement — a move that drew sharp criticism from the female student who filed the complaint. In the agreement, which was signed by the university on Sept. 1 and by the student on Sept. 8, U-M says it will throw out its previous findings that Drew Sterrett — who was in his second year at U-M when he was kicked out — violated the school's sexual conduct policy. In exchange, Sterrett agreed not to come back to school or to disparage the university. The settlement, if approved by a federal judge, would end a lawsuit Sterrett filed against the university. The settlement also says the university — which is not admitting to mistakes — cannot do any further investigation into the case... Sterrett's attorney, Deborah Gordon, said her client was satisfied with the settlement and believes the lawsuit helped to expose the truth. He is hopeful the settlement will help clear his name, she said. Having the courts involved helped in making sure all the facts  were investigated, Gordon added... The female student who filed the original complaint believes the university broke its promise to her in agreeing to the settlement. She issued a statement strongly criticizing the university for its handling of sexual assault complaints...

From Higher Ed carries a summary: 
UC is now appealing:

Sunday, September 13, 2015

White House Scorecard

The White House at one time planned to rate all universities and colleges by some formula. This plan was abandoned and instead it released a database. Above is the front page for a search on UCLA. You can click around and get more detail. Database at

By the way, the site lists 23 universities which provide high after-graduation incomes at low net cost to low-income students. No UC is among them. The institutions are mainly privates (which provide subsidies to low-income students) or the two publics that semi-privatized (U of Michigan and U of Virginia). See

Listen to Regents' Committee on Investments, Sept. 9, 2015

As promised, the audio for the Sept. 9 Regents' Committee on Investments meeting is at the link below. Most of the meeting was a review of the performance of the portfolio under management of the Chief Investment Officer Jagdeep Bachler for the year ended last June 30. About $98 billion is involved, of which $55 billion is the defined benefit pension. Much of the financial talk differed little from what you would find in the business section of the LA Times, e.g., slowdown in China, risks from the Middle East, whether the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates, etc. There was reference to a policy to "simplify" the portfolio by reducing the number of assets, i.e., fewer stocks, fewer outside contracts with managers who have to be monitored.

There was a public comment period in which there was a call for coal and fossil fuel divestment. But as it turned out, the headline of the event (about which we previous posted) was the announcement by Bachler that UC had sold off its direct holdings of coal and oil sands companies. We provide a separate link to that discussion below for you convenience. The sell off was repeatedly justified in economic terms, e.g., the regulatory climate was unfavorable to these companies. Bachler later said his sustainability policy is what is needed as opposed to a list of things he should not hold ("no exclusionary list"). There is a fog of ambiguity around all of this; sometimes what is being done is just good economics and sometimes it has a social function.

Finally, at the tail end of the discussion, Bachler seemed to agree that the projected earnings for the UC pension should be something like 6%/annum rather than the current 7.5%. Such a change would substantially raise the measured unfunded liability. (We note, as we have before, that the actual unfunded liability will depend on actual earnings in the future which will be what they will be regardless of how they are projected at any point in time.) 

The audio of the entire session (around two hours) is at the link below:

The coal and oil sands divestment can be heard at the link below:

The 6% remark is at the link below:

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Cash report is a puzzle

The state controller's cash report for the first two months of the fiscal year is out. It is a bit of a puzzle, although two months is not very far along in a twelve-month fiscal year.

According to the report, over $600 million in unanticipated revenue arrived in July and August. But around half of that is in a category called "not elsewhere classified." And if you poke around in the report to find out what's in "not elsewhere classified," you will discover that much of the extra revenue there came from "miscellaneous."

Apart from that puzzle, about a fourth of the extra revenue came from the personal income tax, a reminder that the condition of the state budget is heavily dependent on a volatile source.

You can do your own puzzling over the cash report at

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Regents Draw a Blank

We'd like to see and archive the Sept. 9 meeting of the Regents' Committee on Investments. But clicking on the streaming video produces a blank screen, as above. Tried Foxfire, Internet Explorer, and Chrome on two different computers to no avail. The iOS version for iPhone also didn't work. The Regents' office has been notified. (This problem has arisen before with regard to prior meetings and eventually is corrected. We will await.)

UPDATE: We have received the following link that works from the Regents' office, although it is not yet on the Regents' website: We will post the actual audio once we have recorded it.

More on UC going green (and saving the world!)

We noted yesterday that UC apparently divested its portfolio from coal, albeit without an official divestment policy. An explanation appears in the San Francisco Chronicle:

Jagdeep Singh Bachher is the chief investment officer of the University of California regents.

...Over the past few months, the university has sold its remaining direct holdings in coal-mining and oil-sands-focused companies. The move is part of our new risk-review process that more comprehensively considers environmental sustainability, social responsibility and governance risks in our investment strategy... Our approach to sustainability counters the timeworn trope that institutional investors can adopt a values-based investment strategy only if they can guarantee targeted returns. In our view, institutions that ignore societal values in their investment strategy imperil their bottom line — today and for years to come... As a global leader in sustainability research and practice, the University of California has been wary of coal-mining and oil-sands investments for a while. Our sell-off of the small holdings in our active portfolio acknowledges the growing regulatory and market risks associated with these businesses.
More tellingly, hedge funds that were short-selling coal shares this year have been rewarded handsomely for that choice. Over the same period, Goldman Sachs struggled to write off its $200 million investment in a Colombian coal mine as labor unrest and other operational challenges racked up substantial losses...This year, we joined the White House in an effort to help long-term investors such as ourselves — pension funds, endowments, sovereign funds, family offices and foundations — identify, screen, assess and invest in companies that offer the most promising, and potentially profitable, solutions to climate change. We believe the performance of such investments will unlock billions and potentially trillions of dollars within those key investor communities to help companies bridge the gap between innovation and commercialization, and speed the distribution of technology that reduces global greenhouse gas emissions. 

As our students return to campus with the certainty of purpose that divestment is the only solution to society’s woes, we are integrating sustainability into our investment framework as a philosophy of long-term investing in and for the future, and as a key metric for evaluating risk.By doing so, we will not only be able to generate competitive, risk-adjusted, long-term investment returns, but also help save the world

Full op ed at

Save the world! Wow!