Thursday, March 31, 2016


...the Katehi saga continues:
UC Davis professors are engaged in a battle of letters over the future of Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi, with a general line emerging between critics in humanities departments and supporters who share her science background.
The chancellor has been under fire since The Sacramento Bee reported in early March that she had accepted a paid board seat with DeVry Education Group, which has been under federal scrutiny for allegedly exaggerating job placement and income statistics. The Bee also reported that Katehi was a paid member on the board of textbook publisher John Wiley & Sons, earning a total of $420,000 across the 2012 through 2014 fiscal years...
On Monday, 20 UC Davis humanities professors wrote a letter to local media supporting student protesters and calling for Katehi’s resignation...
That letter came after 33 faculty members – 32 of whom teach in science-based fields – sent a letter to The Bee in support of Katehi, who began her career as an engineering professor. On Tuesday, 67 faculty members, including 19 who signed the letter to The Bee, signed a petition to UC President Janet Napolitano supporting Katehi...
The petition to Napolitano was short: “We, the undersigned, wish to express our support for Chancellor Linda Katehi. Although the current issues regarding Outside Professional Activities by Senior Leadership warrant a full review by UCOP (the UC Office of the President) and the regents, they do not rise to the level of resignation.”
The 67 who signed that letter are primarily professors from science departments, although they include six law professors and one Spanish professor...

Phone home, but not work

Home is OK but don't call work
Your emails are not really private. Coming soon, your phone may not be if you use it for work, according to Inside Higher Ed:

Faculty unions in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System are objecting to a new system rule that says officials may inspect the personal mobile phones or other devices of professors, if the professors sometimes use these devices for work... reported. Faculty leaders say that this rule is not needed and would represent an invasion of privacy. They also note that many faculty members routinely use their phones for some official business, even if most of their use is private. University officials say that they aren't trying to invade anyone's privacy, but are required under state law to be able to perform such inspections to be sure that state data and information are not being shared inappropriately...

Full story

Just one more thing (which is one good thing)

We've probably said enough for now about the bad things that emerged from the Tier 3 pension. But there is just one more thing to be said - which is a good thing. Above is a table from the Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO). Blog readers will know that the LAO for a long time took the position that the UC pension was somehow just a responsibility of the Regents and that the state had no liability for it. Indeed, it convinced the legislature at one point to take that odd position officially. But since payments have been going from the Prop 2 rainy-day fund into the pension as part of the Committee of Two deal, LAO has retreated and reversed. As the table shows, LAO now includes UC along with CSU (which is part of CalPERS) as a state responsibility on the pension side (or else why would it be eligible for Prop 2 funding?). In fact, LAO goes further and includes UC as eligible for Prop 2 funding for retiree health (as is CSU under CalPERS).

You can find the table above at

We'll keep track of that one more thing in case LAO or the legislature forgets about it at some future date:

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Don't even think about it

And talking about the UCLA Grand Hotel (see the previous post), here is another reminder that any thought about staffing it with outsourced cheap labor should be "rethinked." The business plan will have to be made to work without it. See below:

With labor threatening to throw up a picket line this week around former President Bill Clinton’s big student gathering at UC Berkeley, the cash-tight university agreed to spend millions of dollars to hire dozens of contract and part-time workers as full-time campus employees.

“I think it’s clear that the UC Berkeley didn’t want to have the Clinton event picketed,” said Todd Stenhouse, spokesman for Local 3299 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents 22,000 workers at UC campuses.

It’s not just the university that wanted to head off the dispute. The optics wouldn’t have been much better for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who is busy trying to head off a challenge on her left from Sen. Bernie Sanders...

Full story at

UC Issues Its Own Version of Recent Trends

Yesterday, we posted about the California State Auditor's critical report on UC. UC has now issued its own interpretation of recent trends. It is not a point-by-point refutation or even comment on what the Auditor said. Rather it is a compendium of what UC has been saying in annual reports and other external releases. You can find it at:,

Missing the Boat

What strikes yours truly about the Auditor's report is that - like the governor - in looking for signs of inefficiency, it looks only at ongoing current expenditures. The huge capital expenditures are somehow omitted from scrutiny. Because such expenditures are often said to be financed through gifts (sometimes gifts yet-to-be raised), or from other non-state revenues, they are viewed as having no cost. Since the auditor missed what was in plain sight, UC's semi-response to the audit does not deal with it either.

The Auditor talks about the difficulty state residents have in getting into Berkeley and UCLA. But it doesn't ask why those campuses are so desirable. Surely, it is the human capital at those campuses that account for their reputations. A true audit would be asking whether the State of California is properly tending to maintenance of that human capital. It might have asked, for example, whether diddling with the pension system in ways that make it less attractive and less able to retain faculty was a Good Thing for the governor to push for and for the UC president to agree to. And with regard to capital expenditures, it could have asked about our favorite project: Was what UCLA really needed in the aftermath of the Great Recession was a $150+ million Grand Hotel? The Grand Hotel is but a symptom. Costly projects are routinely approved by the Regents who have no independent capacity to review them. Sometimes, as with the hotel, questions are asked. But they are always in the end answered by the proposing campus and the projects are then rubber stamped.

There is lots of blame to go around.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

State Auditor Issues Critical Report on UC

The California State Auditor has just issued a very critical lengthy report on UC. Its main points are complaints about out-of-state enrollments and rising tuition for residents. You can get a sense of the tone of the report from the excerpts below:

The university admitted nearly 16,000 nonresidents from academic years 2012–13 through 2014–15 who were less academically qualified on every academic indicator we evaluated—grade point averages, SAT, and ACT scores—than the upper half of residents whom it admitted at the same campus. (p. 27)

The university’s emphasis on enrolling increasing numbers of nonresidents has hampered its efforts to enroll more underrepresented minorities because only 11 percent of enrolled nonresident domestic undergraduates were from underrepresented minorities. (p. 37)

Over the past 10 years, the university has repeatedly increased the cost of tuition without sufficient justification and to the detriment of California families. (p. 41)

The university should develop a reasonable, well-supported methodology and use it as the basis for funding requests and tuition increases. (p. 43)

(E)ven though the university asserts that enrolling more nonresidents has not precluded it from meeting its Master Plan commitment to select from the highest achieving students in the State—the top 12.5 percent of all California high school graduates—the university’s admission decisions call into question whether it has actually met this commitment. (p. 45)

Requiring the university to enroll significantly more resident undergraduate students would require an additional financial commitment from both the university and the State. (p. 45)

Because the university’s home loan program [for faculty and administrators] is financially dependent on the university, it ties up a substantial amount of funding—more then $252 million—in a long-term investment that the university could use elsewhere. (p. 51)

The University Provides Salaries and Benefits That Significantly Exceed the Compensation of Other High-Level State Positions. (p. 52)

Although the Office of the President collects high-level financial information that it uses to detect spending anomalies, it does not know with any specificity how campuses use state funds. (p. 71)

After three years of rebenching, the two campuses with the highest per-student state funding are Berkeley and Los Angeles, which also enroll the most nonresident students and have some of the lowest percentages of underrepresented students. (p. 83)

The report is at

It should be noted, however, that the item in boldface above involves commitment from the state as well as the university. Exactly how that state commitment is to be obtained is not described.

Apparently, if you compare public vs. private 4-year institutions... get what you pay (more) for, at least in terms of grades.


Whether or not it happened at UCLA (still unclear), there is a simple fix

We noted yesterday that although one article indicated that UCLA's printers had been hacked, it remains unclear if that happened. (Other articles listed various universities but did not mention UCLA.) Nonetheless, Inside Higher Ed today published a simple fix.

Last week’s flood of anti-Semitic fliers printed at colleges across the U.S. is a “wake-up call” to college and university IT security offices about the risk that Internet-connected devices pose to their networks, experts say.
Just days before Easter weekend, printers at a large number of colleges and universities began spitting out fliers accusing Jews of “destroying your country through mass immigration and degeneracy” and pointing readers to The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website. Many institutions immediately began investigating if their networks had been hacked...
(The culprit for the flyers) explained that he specifically looked for printers with port 9100 open. Network printers use that port to accept remote print requests. To prevent outsiders from using their printers, some universities block the port...
So now whoever has to know how to fix the problem does know.

UPDATE: Berkeley apparently did receive the flyers. See:

Monday, March 28, 2016

Unclear if UCLA was affected

Various news sources report a hacking into computer systems at various universities around the country causing campus printers to print out an anti-Semitic flyer. A Nazi group claims responsibility.

Different articles name a variety of campuses. For example, Inside Higher Ed names UC-Davis and USC, among others, as being affected.* Only one source (not the Bruin as of this morning) names UCLA, so it is unclear if UCLA was affected at this point.**

Was the hacking a response to the news coverage of the Regents' recent resolution on intolerance and anti-Semitism?*** Also unclear.
***Link below:

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Somebody seems to be on a short leash starting on April Fools Day

University of California President Janet Napolitano announced new steps Saturday to closely monitor UC Berkeley's handling of sexual misconduct cases following outcry that campus administrators gave light sanctions to powerful faculty members found to have sexually harassed students and staff.
Napolitano said in a statement that UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks has agreed to provide written reports to her office on campus progress in combating sexual misconduct and would meet monthly with her beginning April 1.
Napolitano has also assigned Jody Shipper, the systemwide director for sexual misconduct issues, to work full time with Berkeley to make sure that complaints are investigated quickly and equitably. Shipper will work with the campus at least through the end of the semester, Napolitano said.
"I am happy that Chancellor Dirks agrees that these issues demand concentrated, effective measures," Napolitano said in a statement. "We both believe UC Berkeley needs to bring the same focus and competence to its handling of sexual assault and harassment investigations as it does its education and research missions."...

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Whatever your problem may be...

...the solution could be in this contraption in the basement of the 200 Medical Plaza building.

Friday, March 25, 2016

We give the semester no quarter at UCLA

Cal State joins national trend to switch to 15-week semesters

At Cal State Los Angeles, a mainly commuter campus in the hills east of downtown, the winter quarter is ending – likely forever. The 25,000-student university is joining a Cal State system and national trend to abandon the quarter term calendar, with its three speedy terms a year of 10 weeks each. In its place, it is adopting the less hectic system of two 15-week-long semesters a year...

The Ohio State University system, which enrolls 66,000, switched from quarters to semesters in 2012 after much debate and more than $12 million in costs. Registrar Brad A. Myers said it is not clear whether the change aided a recent 2 percent uptick in freshmen retention rates. Still, he said it appears to bolster learning since “there is a little more time to allow things to sink in.”...

Eight of the University of California’s 10 campuses are quarter holdouts. At UC, where incoming students generally have stronger high school academic records than Cal State students, faculty say quarters allow them to teach more specialized courses and that it is easier for them to take a quarter off for research than to miss an entire semester. Only Berkeley and Merced are on semesters,* and no change is expected at the others, officials say...

Full story at

*Note: The UCLA Law School is on a semester system.

Is the pension story over?

After watching or listening to the Regents meeting, one might wonder how the DC-only option can be implemented.

In the public comments period, the unions that spoke all testified against it. Letters were received from the speaker of the state assembly and the president of the state senate in opposition. Regent John Pérez - the former speaker of the assembly - noted that in the PEPRA negotiations, a DC option was explicitly rejected by the then-leaders of the legislature. It was repeatedly noted that the DC-only option was not part of the Committee of Two deal with the governor. So receipt of the money attached to that deal is not contingent on having a DC-only option.

It was noted at the meeting that approval from the IRS is needed for the DC-only option. Can that be gotten by July 1? Maybe it is normally routine to get such an approval, but what happens if objections are filed with IRS by the unions?

Until current union contracts expire, the university can't impose any part of the new tier on units covered by those contracts, including the DC-only option. Even when the contracts do expire, bargaining in "good faith" must occur and the university can only impose DC-only after an "impasse" is reached. The unions could file charges with the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) asserting that there was not a true impasse. Whether a true impasse occurred ultimately would be determined after the fact (after the imposition) by PERB which is a time consuming process. There is first an investigation, then a hearing before a judge within PERB, and then the possibility of an appeal to the full Board. If it were eventually determined that a true impasse had not been reached, the university would have to retroactively move those who chose DC-only into the DB plan. Indeed, they might have to move everyone retroactively into the previous tier.

The unions made it clear that they don't want DC-only as an option. And they don't like the fact that faculty are better treated than staff in the new tier. Obviously, talk at a Regents meeting is cheap. Would the unions - especially the nurses - actually strike over the pension issue? They could first exhaust the PERB process and then strike. What would happen then? Who knows?

Add to these complications the fact that there are logistic problems in getting the new tier on the various campus payroll system by July 1 (along with the problems of the ongoing launch of UCPath systemwide payroll system).

It doesn't seem as through this story has reached a conclusion.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Listen to the Regents Meeting of March 24, 2016

The Regents meeting began with public comments on divesting from Wells Fargo (because of business connections with private prisons) grad student working conditions, UC police training, a demand to dismiss UC-Davis Chancellor Katehi, and concerns about a sports arena to be built near UC-San Francisco.

However, the main comments dealt with union objections to the proposed Tier 3 pension including the faculty vs. staff divergence and concerns about offering a defined contribution (DC-only) option.

After public comments, billionaire Charles Munger (Sr.) – not to be confused with son Charles Munger Jr. who sponsored a conservative ballot proposition in 2012 – was ushered into the room to discuss a $200 million gift for student housing at UC-Santa Barbara and his ideas about how such housing should be designed and built.* (There is a gap in the audio as it was streamed during his remarks.) This unusual episode starts at around minute 37.

There was then a brief audit report. There was an approval of $21 million in “seed money” in connection with a neuroscience building at UC-SF. That approval was followed by a discussion item regarding a new building at UCLA Anderson proposed to be built on top of, and maybe through, the middle of parking structure #5. (See image.) Regent Makarechian raised concerns about a square foot cost of well over $1,000 despite the land being free. He also noted that there was a loss of campus parking that would add to the loss of parking previously caused by construction of the UCLA Grand Hotel. It appears that there would need to be a seismic upgrade of the parking structure to support the added load. Makarechian indicated the UCLA in particular seemed to come up with high cost projects that would make it difficult to turn down other high cost proposals elsewhere. (It might be noted, however, that although he raised such concerns in connection with the Grand Hotel when it was presented to the Regents and to a new UCLA medical teaching building, both eventually were approved.)

A grad student housing project at UC-SD was also discussed.

Toward the end, the Regents approved a big buck salary upgrade for a UCLA assistant coach and a severance package for a UC-SD fund raiser because of a “change in strategy.” There is evidently a back story that no one wanted to air in open session since the official in question was recruited with great celebration only two years ago.

When it came to approving the new tier of the pension plan by the full board, Regent John Pérez voted no as did the Alumni Regent Rodney Davis and Student Regent Avi Oved. Pérez’s objections – see yesterday’s post – involved both the staff vs. faculty divergence and the offering of the DC-only option, opposed by the unions and objected to by the Assembly Speaker and the state Senate President. Pérez raised the issue of the gender composition difference between faculty vs. staff among those above the PEPRA cap, notably nurses and the effect of offering the DC-only option on the unfunded liability. UCOP officials insisted there was only a small effect. In the end, the pension changes were approved with the three negative votes. There appeared to be a demonstration at the end of the meeting, presumably over the pension issue. But the audio was cut off at that point.

You can hear the audio of the session at the link below:

PPIC Poll on Public Higher Ed

From the latest PPIC poll:

Listen to the Regents session of March 23, 2016 (AM & PM)

As promised, we have preserved the audio from the March 23, 2016 session of the Regents. Links to the morning and afternoon session are below. (Scroll down for links.)

The morning session of the Regents dealt mainly with the intolerance/anti-Semitism resolution of the Regents and the Tier 3 plan for the pension. It might be noted that the politicos (ex officio Regents) were nowhere to be seen, given the potential contention. The public comments session was largely devoted to those two issues. Also mentioned were student fees, divesting from Wells Fargo (because of its doing business with private prison firms).

There were interruptions when UC prez Napolitano gave her report and the live stream of the meeting was briefly switched off. (We edited out the silence during that episode on the link below.) Faculty rep Dan Hare provided a list of potential perverse behavioral effects of the new pension tier. The Committee on Educational Policy then took up the intolerance/anti-Semitism report. But an amendment to the report – which we posted about yesterday – averted the potential contention and the report was adopted by the Committee unanimously. There was then a session on mental health staffing issues.

The pension issue at the Committee on Finance was more contentious but not much more so. All the Regents who were present, except Pérez, were happy with the proposal. The UC prez acknowledged that cutting the value of the pension was a cut in total compensation and that something – which she said she would come up with at a later (unspecified) meeting – would need to be done about salaries, recruitment, and retention. As noted, Pérez (who is not a member of the Committee) was apparently the only Regent who will vote against the new tier. His objection was to the defined contribution (DC) option to be offered as an alternative. Pérez, who had been Assembly Speaker when the so-called PEPRA cap was adopted for non-UC public pensions indicated that a DC option had been expressly rejected for the other pensions. He opposed UC offering one because it transferred risk to individual employees which, as individuals, they were ill-equipped to handle. Pérez noted that a traditional pension pools risk so that individuals are not affected by swings in the stock market. There were also objections expressed to the differential in the DC supplement (offered with the defined-benefit option) between faculty and staff. It also came out that permission from the IRS will be needed before the DC-only option is offered. Members of the Committee on Finance adopted the new tier unanimously.

The Committee on Finance then approved a payment for a settlement with a construction firm involved in building the new UCLA Santa Monica Hospital.

The (open part of the) afternoon session was devoted to the Dept. of Energy labs, especially Los Alamos.

Link to the morning session: (Note: The sound quality streamed was distorted but understandable at the beginning.)
Link to the afternoon session: (Note: The first few minutes of the stream were sent without audio. The recording below starts when the audio began.)

AAUP Report on Title IX

The American Assn. of University Professors (AAUP) has released a draft report on Title IX and academic freedom. A UC-Davis faculty member was on the drafting committee. (Scroll down for members.) Summary of the report:

The following summarizes a draft report released for comment by the AAUP. The drafting committee will review all comments received and issue a final version of the report and of this executive summary later this spring. 

Executive Summary: The History, Uses, and Abuses of Title IX

This report, an evaluation of the history and current uses of Title IX, is a joint effort authored by a subcommittee comprised of members of the AAUP’s Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure (“Committee A”) and the Committee on Women in the Profession (“Committee W”).  The report identifies tensions between current interpretations of Title IX and the academic freedom essential for campus life to thrive.  This report finds that questions of free speech and academic freedom have been ignored in recent positions taken by the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) of the Department of Education (DOE), which is charged with implementing Title IX, and by university administrators who are expected to oversee compliance measures.

The report concludes with recommendations—based on AAUP policy—for how best to address the problem of campus sexual assault and harassment while also protecting academic freedom, free speech, and due process.

While successful resolutions of Title IX suits are often represented as unqualified victories in name of gender equality, this report finds that the current interpretation, implementation, and enforcement of Title IX has compromised the realization of meaningful educational goals that lead to sexually safe campuses.  Since 2011, deployment of Title IX has also imperiled due process rights and shared governance.  This report thus emphasizes that compliance with the letter of the law is no guarantee of justice, gendered or otherwise.

Specifically, this report identifies the following areas as threats to the academic freedom essential to teaching and research, extramural speech, and robust faculty governance:
  • The failure to make meaningful distinctions between conduct and speech or otherwise distinguish between hostile environment sexual harassment and sexual assault.
  • The use of overly broad definitions of hostile environment to take punitive employment measures against faculty for protected speech in teaching, research, and extramural speech.   
  • The tendency to treat academic discussion of sex and sexuality as contributing to a hostile environment.
  • The adoption of lower evidentiary standards in sexual harassment hearings, i.e. the “preponderance of evidence” instead of the “clear and convincing” standard.
  • The increasing corporatization of the university, which has framed and influenced universities’ implementation of Title IX.
  • The failure to address gender inequality within a broader assessment of its relationship to race, class, sexuality, disability, and other dimensions of social inequalities. 
The contemporary interpretation, implementation, and enforcement of Title IX threatens academic freedom and shared governance in ways that frustrate the statute’s stated goals.  This occurs in part because the current interpretative scope of Title IX has narrowed to focus primarily on sexual harassment and assault on campus.  This narrow fixation strays far afield from the original intent of the legislation and belies the full range of educational opportunities for women originally envisioned by Congress as protected by Title IX legislation, including access to higher education, athletics, career training and education, education for pregnant and parenting students, employment, the learning environment, math and science education, standardized testing and technology.

Critically, the current focus of Title IX on sexual violations has also been accompanied by regulation that conflates sexual misconduct (including sexual assault) with sexual harassment based on speech. This has resulted in violations of academic freedom through the punishment of protected speech by faculty in their teaching, research, and extra-mural speech.  Recent interpretations of Title IX are characterized by an overly expansive definition of what amounts and kinds of speech create a “hostile environment” in violation of Title IX.

These problems of interpretation and implementation demand close attention to the scope of actionable Title IX claims and as well as concentrated efforts to ensure that the procedural rights of the accused are respected.  Sexual harassment’s definitional imprecision has been accompanied by an OCR-mandated change in evidentiary standard that conflicts with due process protections of faculty and students.  The OCR has prohibited the use of the standard calling for “clear and convincing” evidence (highly probable or reasonably certain), and replaced it with a lower standard: that there need be no more than a “preponderance of evidence” (more likely than not) to assess sexual violence claims and by extension, all sexual harassment claims.

The effects of such practices are compounded by the increasingly bureaucratic and service-oriented structure of the entrepreneurial (or “corporate”) university, characterized by a client-service relationship between universities and their students.  This client-service model can run counter to universities’ educational mission when, as in the case of Title IX, universities may take actions that avoid OCR investigations and private lawsuits but that do not significantly improve gender equity.  This client-service model in turn has serious implications for academic freedom, as universities create administrative offices that make and enforce Title IX policies outside of the shared governance process.

Finally, this report reveals that the current interpretation, implementation, and enforcement of Title IX can actually exacerbate gender and other inequities on campus.  Recent student activism protesting institutionalized racial biases in universities reveals the need to ensure that Title IX enforcement initiatives do not, even unwittingly, perpetuate race-based biases in the criminal justice system, which disproportionately affect men who are racial minorities.  The report also cautions against the extraction of gender equity from more comprehensive assessments of bases of inequality—including race, class, sexuality, disability, and other dimensions of social difference—both on and off campus.

Recommended Best Practices

The report recommends the following:

For the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) and the Department of Education
  • The OCR should interpret Title IX as protecting students from sex discrimination, while also protecting academic freedom and free speech in public and private educational institutions.
  • The OCR should increase its attention to protecting due process in all stages of Title IX investigations and proceedings.
  • The OCR should refine its compliance process to develop the potential to work with universities to create policies and procedures for receiving and addressing Title IX complaints in ways that address problems of sexual discrimination while also protecting academic freedom and free speech and providing due process for all parties.
For University Administrators
  • Universities must strengthen policies to protect academic freedom against incursions from overly broad harassment policies and other regulatory university protocols.
  • University policies against sexual harassment should distinguish speech that fits the definition of hostile environment from speech that individuals may find hurtful or offensive but is protected by academic freedom.
  • Through shared governance processes, faculty must be included in all stages of development, implementation and enforcement of sex harassment policy.
  • Universities must clarify their relationship to the criminal justice system and work in coordination with it.
  • Universities should consider adopting restorative justice practices for some forms of misconduct.
  • To further secure the rights of the complainants and the accused, campus initiatives to secure sex equality must be conscious of potential bias on the basis of race, gender identity, class, and sexual orientation in sex discrimination claims and enforcement processes.
  • To meaningfully address inequality, universities should encourage and improve the conditions of interdisciplinary learning on campus by funding gender, feminist, and sexuality studies, as well as allied disciplines.
For Faculty
  • Faculty should participate in shared governance to develop university policies and practices that address problems of sex discrimination, while also protecting academic freedom, free speech, and due process.
  • Faculty should act in solidarity with student attempts to alleviate campus inequalities.
The full draft report is at

The AAUP committee that produced the draft report:

RISA LIEBERWITZ (Law), Cornell University, chair
RANA JALEEL (Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies), University of California, Davis
TINA KELLEHER (English), Towson University
JOAN SCOTT (History), Institute for Advanced Study
DONNA YOUNG (Law), Albany Law School
ANNE SISSON RUNYAN (Political Science, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies), University of Cincinnati, ex officio
HENRY REICHMAN (History, California State University, East Bay, ex officio 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Regents Pass Amended Intolerance/Anti-Semitism Resolution

As usual, we will provide an indefinite archiving of today's Regents meeting later. But here is a summary from the LA Times that notes that the Regents unanimously passed their resolution on intolerance/anti-Semitism with a modification:

Struggling to balance free speech with concerns about bias, University of California regents stepped back Wednesday from a blanket condemnation of anti-Zionism as discrimination and voted to disapprove "anti-Semitic forms" of the political ideology. The regents had considered approving a report on intolerance featuring a sweeping condemnation of anti-Zionism, a step Israel advocacy groups had pushed to protect Jewish students from hostility. But free-speech advocates said the unprecedented move would illegally restrict free speech and criticism of the Jewish state. At a packed board meeting, Regent Norman J. Pattiz proposed to modify the statement after feedback from the UC Academic Council and others.
The council, which represents faculty, had said in a letter to the regents that an unamended statement would harm academic freedom and cause “needless and expensive litigation, embarrassing to the university, to sort out the difference between intolerance on the one hand, and protected debate and study of Zionism and its alternatives on the other.”
The regents unanimously approved the statement that "Anti Semitism, anti-Semitic forms of anti-Zionism and other forms of discrimination have no place at the University of California."...

Zero to Ten at San Diego

Academic advisers at the University of California at San Diego will this fall be able to tell on a scale from zero to 10 if the student sitting in front of them is on track to graduate within four years. The university is in the process of rolling out its Time to Degree Early Warning System, which uses predictive models to determine if students are in danger of taking longer than four years to graduate. By combining historical data with data gathered from students as they progress in their studies, the university says, the system could one day be able to automatically suggest helpful programs and services to students who show signs of veering from the path that led former students to graduate on time. At launch, the system will be fairly rudimentary, looking only at data such as grade point averages and units completed. But as it grows to include different kinds of data, the university hopes to one day offer what it describes as “the academic equivalent of preventive medicine.”..
Maybe UC-SD can get the phone company to build the system:

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

We're still wondering why

Let's hear it for the UCLA Grand Hotel! 


The saga of the UC-Davis chancellor continues: Four days after calling on UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi to resign, Assemblyman Jim Cooper said Monday that he now believes she should remain in her post.
Cooper, D-Elk Grove, was one of five state legislators who called for Katehi’s removal over her acceptance of seats on private corporate boards, but changed his mind after Katehi apologized to students in a letter Thursday and after she spoke to Cooper by phone. 
Katehi has been under fire since revelations that she accepted a seat on the board of DeVry Education Group, which is being sued by the Federal Trade Commission over allegations of misleading advertising.“Given her apology and explanation to the students of UC Davis, I believe that it is in the best interest of our students and the public that she remain in her position and continue the work she is doing for our region,” Cooper said in a statement issued Monday by his office...
It must have taken a lot of persuading to turn him around:

Taking Note of Non-Construction Gift

We like to take note of monetary contributions to UCLA that contribute to education and research and do so without constructing a new building.

From the UCLA Newsroom: The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation announced a $5.44 million grant to the UCLA WORLD Policy Analysis Center (WORLD) for the creation of an initiative that will train the next generation of world leaders and thinkers. Based at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, WORLD is the globe’s largest quantitative policy center, capturing data on what actions governments take to advance social, economic and environmental well-being for all 193 United Nations member countries.

Over the next 15 years, trillions of dollars and millions of human hours will be invested to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs. Unanimously adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in 2015, the SDGs are a set of 17 universal goals that include the aim to reduce poverty and hunger, improve health, advance education, make cities more sustainable, and combat climate change. Beyond governments, a wide range of civil society and private sector stakeholders have committed themselves to the implementation of the goals by 2030.
Despite this unprecedented commitment, critical knowledge and practice on how to achieve many of these ambitious goals is lacking. Currently, few programs exist that focus on training the next generation of leaders to address the human development, health, economic, and environmental needs at the core of the SDGs...

Staffing the Grand Hotel

Just a reminder from Berkeley - if one be needed - that any business plan for the UCLA Grand Hotel should not count on employing outsourced or cheap nonunion labor to make the operation "pencil out." It ain't likely to happen.

From Inside Higher EdThe University of California at Berkeley said Friday it will extend job offers to 69 subcontracted employees after the university system’s largest union last month urged speakers scheduled to appear at Berkeley to boycott the campus.
AFSCME Local 3299, which represents more than 22,000 employees on the University of California’s 10 campuses, called in early February for a “Speaker’s Boycott” until Berkeley agreed to directly hire custodians and parking attendants who were contracted to work on campus through three different companies: PerformanceFirst, ABM and Laz Parking.
Those workers, the union said in a release, “have a combined 440 years of experience working at UC. They are neither temporary nor seasonal. Most are immigrants and people of color, and they perform the same job duties as directly employed UC workers, but for a fraction of the pay and few (if any) benefits.”
Berkeley announced Friday that an agreement had been reached with the union to end the boycott. The university says it will offer jobs to “all regular night shift and athletics custodians who presently do this work through private contractors … [and] all campus stack parking attendants who are currently contracted through Laz Parking.” Additionally, Berkeley said it would offer full-time employment to another 24 custodians who have temporary positions there...

Monday, March 21, 2016

Someone really doesn't want you to enter

The road in front of Dodd Hall has three do-not-enter signs. Oddly, bicycles are allowed to enter, which would seem to put them running head on into car traffic going the other way. (You can see the bicycle symbol at the bottom of the lower picture on the extreme right.)

Sunday, March 20, 2016

You never know what the mail will bring!

UC-Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi issued the following letter to students March 17.

Dear Students,

As the winter quarter winds down, I hope your final exams went well. I’m sure you are ready for a well deserved spring break!

You may have learned about my service on compensated boards. I would like to share with you some of my thinking.

My acceptance of the position on the DeVry Education Group board of directors did not comply with UC policy. I made an error in accepting it. I take full responsibility for that error, and I have resigned from the board. I accepted the position because I believed I could help DeVry better evaluate its procedures for delivering a sound curriculum and for measuring students’ performance and progress post-graduation. Nevertheless, I apologize for my mistake and the distraction this has caused for our university community.

My service on the board of John Wiley and Sons from 2011 to 2014 complied with UC policy. My goal in accepting that position was to help Wiley improve the quality of its educational materials, while making them more accessible and affordable for students. While I recognize and appreciate the concerns raised by many in our community about my service on the Wiley board, my work on the board had no impact on UC textbook purchases.

I served on an unpaid advisory panel of King Abdulaziz University from 2012 to 2013, which included the former president of Ohio State University; however, I did not participate in any meetings. My appointment complied with University of California policies. My goal was to increase student diversity.

Editor's question: Just how diverse is King Abdulaziz University? Just asking.

To further our work together on behalf of California students, here is my commitment to our UC Davis community: I will establish a $200,000 scholarship fund for California undergraduate students at UC Davis from my Wiley stock proceeds.

Service on private and public boards is widely recognized as a responsibility of academic leaders. As a woman and a STEM scholar, my service has helped to correct the chronic lack of diversity on a number of boards. My pledge to the UC Davis community is to more carefully vet such invitations and to meticulously follow UC approval procedures in the future.

To students, parents, faculty, alumni, donors, staff and to the broader UC community, please know I remain deeply committed to this great university. I am proud of what we have accomplished together. Since 2010, UC Davis has enrolled more undergraduate Californians than any other UC campus. We are a world leader and one of just four universities anywhere with two colleges and schools ranked number one in the world — agriculture and veterinary medicine. I am proud that The New York Times ranked us second, behind only one other UC campus, for serving economically diverse students. Our economic contribution to the state of California exceeds $8 billion annually.

It is a privilege to work on your behalf to ensure that UC Davis retains and exceeds its remarkable stature. I am eager to continue developing the path-breaking collaborations we have launched together and which will propel us forward as a world-ranked university far into the 21st century.

If you'd like to discuss any concerns or ideas with me, please contact me at


Linda P.B. Katehi


We always look forward to what the mail will bring:

Article Reminds: Public University emails (and other documents) are not private

(The Union of Concerned Scientists) has been a fierce advocate for transparency, regularly championing investigations that rely on public documents to hold government officials accountable.

But over the past year, the Union of Concerned Scientists, a Cambridge-based advocacy group that represents thousands of scientists around the country, has campaigned to limit the scrutiny of scientists who work for public universities and agencies through public records requests.

These scientists, the group says, are increasingly being harassed by ideological foes who seek to unearth documents that would derail or sully their work with evidence of bias.

“We don’t want to work in an environment where every keystroke is subject to public records,’’ said Michael Halpern, who oversees strategy at the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, founded at MIT in 1969. “We’re trying to protect the deliberative nature of science. . . . Scientists need space to come to new knowledge, and to give critical feedback.”

But the group’s efforts have sparked tensions with other open-government advocates, who have argued that it risks opening loopholes that could make it easier for officials and agencies to hide information from the public.

“It’s just gibberish to say these laws stifle research,” said David Cuillier, director of the University of Arizona School of Journalism and a member of the Society of Professional Journalists’s freedom of information committee. “These are government scientists funded by taxpayers, and the public is entitled to see what they’re working on.”

The dispute centers on the proper balance between academic freedom and the transparency of public institutions, and has escalated as a growing number of scientists, typically those who research controversial topics such as climate change, receive public records requests.

The requests often seek e-mails between scientists in hopes of exposing ideological bias or a political agenda. While open records laws vary from state to state, the controversy primarily affects researchers at public universities or those involved in projects that receive public funding.

Critics say that many of the requests abuse the spirit of open records laws and threaten to stifle research. They also make it harder for public universities to conduct controversial research and attract top faculty, compared with private universities where scientists aren’t generally subject to open records laws, they say...

Full story at

Saturday, March 19, 2016

“Absolutely untrue,” Mr. Dirks wrote.

How could anyone believe such things?
Berkeley Provost Got Law-School Appointment at Controversial Dean’s Urging

March 18, 2016, Courtney Kueppers, Chonicle of Higher Education

While he was under investigation last May for sexual harassment, the dean of the University of California at Berkeley’s law school, Sujit Choudhry, urged his colleagues to approve the appointment of the university’s provost to the law school, the Los Angeles Times reports.

In a May 29 email to his colleagues on the law faculty, Mr. Choudry asked them to support the appointment of the provost, Claude M. Steele, a social psychologist, through “an online vote rather than the traditional process of at least two meetings with the candidate,” the newspaper reports.

Mr. Steele has been criticized for imposing a punishment regarded as too lenient on Mr. Choudhry last summer, after the dean, who resigned last week, was found responsible for sexually harassing his executive assistant. His pay was cut by 10 percent, he was required to attend counseling, and he was ordered to write a letter of apology to the assistant, Tyann Sorrell.

Mr. Choudhry remained dean until specifics of the case and the punishment came to light last week in a lawsuit filed by Ms. Sorrell. He remains on the law school’s faculty, but Berkeley has announced plans to open disciplinary proceedings that could result in his dismissal.

It is unclear whether Mr. Steele knew that Mr. Choudry was under investigation while seeking the law-school appointment, according to the Times.

The appointment was approved by the law-school faculty last June but was meant to be inactive, without pay or law-school obligations, “presumably until Steele stepped down from his administrative duties and began teaching and researching again,” the newspaper reports.

Mr. Steele resigned from the law-school position this month. But amid scattered calls on Friday for his resignation as provost, both Nicholas B. Dirks, chancellor of the Berkeley campus, and Janet Napolitano, president of the university system, issued strong statements in support of Mr. Steele. In fact, Mr. Dirks said, the law-school appointment was his idea.

And the notion that Mr. Steele had been lenient with Mr. Choudhry in return for a faculty appointment is “absolutely untrue,” Mr. Dirks wrote.

In her statement, Ms. Napolitano described Mr. Steele as “an eminent scholar” and declared that “the relevance of his pathbreaking interdisciplinary work, reflected in his appointments in the Graduate School of Education and Psychology, to legal issues made him a valuable addition to the law-school faculty.”


Totally unbelievable and absolutely untrue, of course: (Won't play in iPhone.)

Friday, March 18, 2016

Change in official story on UC-Merced attack

A man who stabbed four people at UC Merced last year before he was fatally shot by police appears to have been inspired by the militant group Islamic State but acted alone, the FBI said Thursday.
The FBI released a statement saying a review of Faisal Mohammad’s electronic devices found that he drew inspiration from terrorist propaganda and may have been “self-radicalized” before the Nov. 4, 2015, attack.
“His laptop contained pro-ISIL propaganda, and he had visited ISIL and other extremist websites in the weeks prior to his attack,” the agency said, using an acronym for the extremist group, which is also called ISIS.
The FBI said Mohammad, a freshman at the university from Santa Clara, began his preparations for the rampage at least a week beforehand. No information was found that showed he was helped or directed by another person or group in carrying out the stabbings, the FBI said...
Mohammad’s apparent inspiration by Islamic State marks a sharp contrast to what the sheriff said last year: that Mohammad was angry about getting kicked out of a study group...
In Thursday’s statement, the FBI signaled a note of uncertainty: “It may never be possible to definitively determine why he chose to attack people on the UC Merced campus.”

Come on in!

The upbeat emails went out this week to 4,000 students in the District, Maryland and Virginia who are on high alert for anything regarding their college applications. It seemed like great news:”Congratulations on your admission to UC Santa Cruz!”
“To celebrate your achievement and to provide an opportunity to learn more about UC Santa Cruz, you and your family are cordially invited to a special reception in the Virginia area on March 28th, 2016,” the emails continued.
But the students who received those invites Wednesday night were nonplussed. They had never even applied to the Northern California school that is home to one of the quirkiest mascots in America, the Banana Slugs...
The university said Thursday the emails were misfired after a regional admissions officer used a contact list of prospective students from the D.C. area for the invite instead of admitted students. The university sent out a correction Thursday afternoon.
“It is always embarrassing to have such mistakes occur, and I’m sure you wondered why you received the invitation when you haven’t even applied to our campus,” UC-Santa Cruz’s admissions director, Michael K. McCawley, wrote to the 4,000 non-applicants. “Each year I read about such things happening around the country and try to have protocols in place to ensure it won’t happen to our campus, but obviously those protocols were not followed last night...
We're not sure the legislature will be pleased about these easy out-of-state admissions. But apparently it's easy to come in: (Won't work on iPhone.)

Listen to the Regents' Committee on Investments, Feb. 26, 2016

Yours truly has finally had a chance to catch up with the Regents. As we often remind our readers, the Regents' view of "archiving" is to keep recordings of their meetings for only one year. The only way to preserve them indefinitely is to record them in real time, i.e., 1 hour of meeting requires 1 hour of recording. Since yours truly has other things to do, there are often delays before he can find the time. [End of rant.]

The Committee on Investments first heard from student groups pushing for divestment from fossil fuels and Wells Fargo Bank (because it does business with private prison companies). A reminder that the Regents have already divested from tobacco, guns, coal, and direct investments in prisons. It appeared that the demand regarding Wells Fargo involved not just direct holdings but also indirect, i.e., instructing the many money managers to which UC outsources to divest from Wells Fargo.

The rest of the meeting was devoted to a review of investment returns through Dec. 31, 2015. It will surprise no one that the returns were disappointing, given the behavior of the stock market. Generally, UC's chief investment officer has been pushing to downsize the number of outside money managers and to have separate allocations for the pension, endowment, and other funds. He has also proposed changes in investment guidelines that would provide more flexibility - something the Committee seems likely to grant when a formal vote is taken at a later meeting.

You can hear the audio of the meeting at:

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Is this story coming to a conclusion?

Two more state lawmakers called Thursday for UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi to depart after accepting questionable paid board seats that they said posed a “clear conflict of interest.”
Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Salinas, and Assemblyman Jim Cooper, D-Elk Grove, asked Thursday for Katehi to resign or be removed. Their statements followed earlier calls for her resignation by Assemblymen Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, and Evan Low, D-Campbell.
Alejo is the chairman of the California Latino Legislative Caucus and a UC Davis School of Law graduate. Cooper sits on the Assembly Budget Committee.
Katehi, 62, has been under fire since The Sacramento Bee reported this month that she had accepted a paid seat on the board of DeVry Education Group as the for-profit company faces federal allegations of exaggerated job placement claims. McCarty and Low called for her resignation after The Bee subsequently reported she had received $420,000 in three years for serving on the board of textbook publisher John Wiley & Sons.
She has since resigned her DeVry position, apologized and pledged $200,000 in Wiley stock toward a student scholarship fund. UC President Janet Napolitano has said, however, that she has been a good chancellor who should remain at UC Davis...
Seems like the end is approaching:

Read more here: