Thursday, June 30, 2016

Too Much Training?

The following letter appears in the Chronicle of Higher Education concerning UCLA's recent active shooter incident. The author complains of the difficulty of getting folks on campus to be trained in how to respond in such events. But perhaps the problem is that there has developed a training overload - mainly mandated without anyone checking to see if it has desired behavioral consequences.

To the Editor:
I wanted to take a moment to comment on your article, “Scared and Unprepared, UCLA Students Improvised a Lockdown Response” (The Chronicle, June 3.)  As a campus emergency manager in the University of California system, I can tell you that each of the 10 campuses that are a part of the UC system offer some sort of emergency preparedness and/or active shooter training. The largest hurdle we all face is getting students, staff, and faculty to show up for the training. It’s out there and available, but often people don’t take the issue seriously and won’t take the initiative to attend...
Anne Widney
Emergency Services Manager
University of California at Irvine

UC Not Included

As you may know, Prop 30's temporary sales and income taxes will be expiring. There will likely be a proposition on the November ballot to extend the income tax piece of Prop 30. The Legislative Analyst's Office refers to it as the Tax Extension to Fund Education and Healthcare. However, as the LAO points out in a recent report to the legislature, "education" in this proposition means K-14. UC is not included. You may be for the proposition or against it. But you shouldn't view UC as a direct beneficiary of the funds raised.

An LAO report on the proposition is at: The text of the proposition is at:

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Listen to the Regents Governance Committee Meeting of June 22, 2016

As part of the Regents' restructuring of their committee functions and procedures, there were several off-cycle meetings this month. The link below is to the Governance Committee which is preparing proposals for the July meeting of the full Board. This meeting popped up suddenly; if you listen to the recording, they go through a bit of legal stuff to OK having a session without the usual pre-announcement.

There is a lot of reference to "transparency" and the need for it including a statement that everything in the future will be archived. As blog readers will know, your truly has had to record sessions in real time in the past because the so-called archiving that the Regents do has a one-year duration. And the actual recording files have not been made available - only a stream. In this case, although no video was recorded, the audio was available as a file. Since unless the Regents announce a new policy of indefinite archiving rather than one year, we will keep doing our own archiving. But we continue to urge the Regents to archive indefinitely.

The Committee opened with public comments, entirely from anti-vaccination folks. Then in got into the proposals to implement new Regents procedures. One issue, for example, is the current practice that any single Regent can put an item on the full Board agenda. The original proposal was to maintain that rule but to clarify that the UC prez and the chair of the Regents would determine the scheduling of such agenda items. However, there was sentiment to put some kind of hurdle into the process such as requiring a majority vote before an item proposed by a single member would get on the agenda.

You can hear the audio of this meeting at the link below:

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Can Do!

From an email circulated today by the UC prez:

Dear Friend of UC:

I am writing to provide you with an update on the state budget for the University of California, which has been signed into law by the Governor...

UC will... receive $18.5 million in ongoing funds to enroll 2,500 additional California students...

Note: $18.5 million/2,500 = $7,400 per student. So if each extra Californian comes as a displacement of one out-of-state student, we get a net reduction of revenue. If each extra Californian is just added to total enrollment, the amount received is less than what UC thinks an extra student costs.

Well, there's always room for more:

No-Veto Budget Signed

Gov. Brown signed the state budget yesterday. (Policy wonks will point out that there are various trailer bills to be enacted and that other changes may be made as we get into the new fiscal year which begins Friday.) We noted yesterday that the governor has a line-item veto. But Brown did not use it at all, which is unusual. Budget details are not yet posted but there is little change from the May revise budget proposal.

As we have noted in past postings, under current budget arrangements, we have a rainy day fund and a regular reserve. To determine what's happening in terms of de facto surpluses or deficits in the general fund, you have to sum the two. If reserves rise, we have a surplus. If they fall, we have a deficit. In the enacted budget, the regular reserve in the rainy day fund is estimated to fall from $4.874 billion to $2.158 billion by the end of 2016-17 for a deficit of -$2.158 billion. The rainy day fund reserve, on the other hand, rises from $3.420 billion to $6.714 billion for a surplus of +$3.294 billion. The sum of the two is a net surplus of $1.136 billion.

Note that Brown insisted on having an extra $2 billion tucked into the rainy day fund beyond what the automatic formulas for that fund would have accumulated. But as the arithmetic above shows, he got the extra $2 billion by moving it from the regular reserve to the rainy day fund, which can be viewed as a cosmetic action. Nonetheless, the total reserve (regular + rainy day) rises from an estimated 7.2% of total general fund spending as of June 30 of this year to 7.7% of total spending as of June 30, 2017. In case of a recession, that might give the legislature something like a year to make budgetary corrections - maybe.

Maybe being up to date ain't so great

If you are a PC user, you may have been getting automatic messages telling you that you are about to be updated to Windows 10, the latest version. Be very careful if so. Fiddling around with the operating system of your computer is a Big Deal. If you are happy with your PC as is, you may want to cancel any such updating. Read below:

A Californian woman has won $10,000 in compensation from Microsoft after Windows 10 automatically tried and failed to install on her Windows 7 computer.
The automatic install of Windows 10 failed, leaving her with a unstable and often unresponsive computer used to run her travel agency from an office in Sausalito, California.
Teri Goldstein reportedly said: “I had never heard of Windows 10. Nobody ever asked me if I wanted to update.”
After attempting to fix the problem with Microsoft’s support, Goldstein sued the company for a new computer and loss of earnings, winning $10,000. Microsoft dropped its appeal to avoid further legal expenses, leaving Microsoft footing the bill.
Goldstein’s case is just one of a long line of complaints against Microsoft, which has followed an increasingly aggressive roll out of Windows 10. The operating system, which is still being offered as a free upgrade from Windows 7 or later until 29 July, was first offered as an optional upgrade in which users had to express an interest.
Microsoft then made Windows 10 a “recommended update” for Windows 7 or later, which meant that it started automatically downloading through Windows Update in February this year.
In March, users started complaining that Windows 10 automatically started to install on their computers without their permission...

Monday, June 27, 2016

Budget Week

The state budget is supposed to be in place by July 1, Friday of this week. In the old days, when the economy was in trouble and you needed a 2/3 vote to pass a budget, there were long delays beyond the deadline. An improved economy and a ballot proposition cutting the requirement to a simple majority have ended budget delays. However, the governor has a line-item veto and in the recent years has made minor cuts in what the legislature enacted, which adds a bit of suspense. He has some problems to deal with, notably a failure of the cap-and-trade program to produce anticipated revenue - which is a potential threat to his high-speed rail project. We await.


With various political events at home and abroad not turning out as intended or expected of late, we present below something along those lines from academia:

Equal but Inequitable: Who Benefits from Gender-Neutral Tenure Clock Stopping Policies?

IZA Discussion Paper No. 9904, April 2016 

Heather Antecol, Claremont McKenna College and IZA 

Kelly Bedard, University of California, Santa Barbara 

Jenna Stearns, University of California, Santa Barbara

Abstract: Many skilled professional occupations are characterized by an early period of intensive skill accumulation and career establishment. Examples include law firm associates, surgical residents, and untenured faculty at research-intensive universities. High female exit rates are sometimes blamed on the inability of new mothers to survive the sustained negative productivity shock associated with childbearing and early childrearing in these environments. Gender-neutral family policies have been adopted in some professions in an attempt to “level the playing field.” The gender-neutral tenure clock stopping policies adopted by the majority of research-intensive universities in the United States in recent decades are an excellent example. But to date, there is no empirical evidence showing that these policies help women. Using a unique data set on the universe of assistant professor hires at top-50 economics departments from 1985-2004, we show that the adoption of gender-neutral tenure clock stopping policies substantially reduced female tenure rates while substantially increasing male tenure rates. 

Longer summary from Inside Higher Ed:

...The study included data from 49 top economics departments and examined the impact of clock-stopping policies that are open (as has become the norm) to both male and female professors who become parents. Stopping the clock typically involves giving tenure candidates an extra year before they are evaluated for tenure. Notably, stopping the clock does not require a leave of absence, so the extra time covers a period when faculty members are in many cases working and being paid. The study was based on data about 1,299 assistant professors hired by these departments between 1985 and 2004.
The findings are based on comparing the tenure rates for male and female candidates before and after adopting clock-stopping policies that cover all faculty members who have a child. At these universities, only a minority of men and women were earning tenure prior to the adoption of the policies -- so earning tenure was not a given for anyone.
The bombshell finding was that, when comparing candidates for tenure, the success rate for male candidates increased by 19.4 percentage points after stopping the clock was offered. For women, the rate fell by 22.4 percentage points. (Many appeared to go on to win tenure at institutions whose economics departments were not as highly ranked as those where they started.) While each tenure case is unique, the authors did not find other changes in tenure policies to explain the numbers.
The authors of the paper then tried to look for factors that changed in the productivity or success of the job candidates. They found one factor: male professors, after adoption of stopping the clock policies, were more likely to publish in the top five economics journals, and women were not. This appeared to raise the tenure bar for all, but with men more able to get over that bar.
In economics, journal articles are the coin of the realm in tenure decisions, and top-ranked departments pay a lot of attention to which journals publish an assistant professor. The paper defines the top five journals as American Economic ReviewEconometricaJournal of Political EconomyQuarterly Journal of Economics and Review of Economic Studies.
Trying to publish in those journals, while desirable to any up-and-coming economist, is also risky, due to their higher rejection rates than other journals. The authors of the new paper speculate that male economists who become fathers are taking the extra year on the tenure track not to nurture their offspring, but to write more articles and to have time to submit them to top journals. They then had time, if rejected by those journals, to submit elsewhere...

Sunday, June 26, 2016

UCLA Grand Hotel: The Joke's on Us

Funny, what you can do with $150+ million: (Won't work in iPhone.)

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Will there be eventual spillover to UC?

We've seen in the case of pensions that the governor first pushes something for CalPERS and other non-UC plans. But then, as with Tier 3, it makes its way into UC. Will that happen with retiree health? Below is an excerpt from the Legislative Analyst's Office's required* analysis of a union contract negotiated with the state:

Bargaining Unit 7 (Protective Services and Public Safety):

...Proposed Funding Changes. The agreement would institute a new arrangement to begin to address unfunded retiree health benefits for Unit 7 members. While the administration’s plan seems to be to keep making pay-as-you-go benefit payments for many years, the new arrangement would begin to fund “normal costs” each year for the future retiree health benefits earned by today’s Unit 7 workers. The agreement would deposit those payments in an invested account that would generate earnings and gradually reduce unfunded liabilities over the next three decades or so.

Under the agreement, all Unit 7 members would contribute 1.3 percent of pay to a retiree health funding account beginning effective July 1, 2017, rising to 2.7 percent of pay on July 1, 2018, and rising again to 4 percent of pay beginning on July 1, 2019. The state would match these contributions to the trust account. Beginning in 2019‑20, total annual employee and state payments to the account would be about $34 million, which is essentially equal to the actuarially estimated Unit 7 rank-and-file normal costs under the most recent state valuation (specifically, the valuation’s “full funding policy” scenario with an assumed 7.3 percent discount rate). Under no circumstances would an employee or beneficiary or survivor be able to receive employee contributions to the retiree health funding account, even if the employee leaves state service after a few years and is ineligible for retiree benefits...

*The LAO is required to provide an analysis of each union contract for the legislature before it can be approved.

Friday, June 24, 2016


UC Berkeley announced Tuesday the launch of a new crowdsourcing website intended to gather ideas on raising its revenue from the campus community.
Due to its current annual budget deficit of $150 million, UC Berkeley has been seeking out innovative revenue solutions and cost-cutting measures. William Rohrer — a community engagement specialist in the Office of New Revenue Initiatives that was created about two months ago by the vice chancellor for administration and finance — spearheaded the development of the crowdsourcing site, called Ideaction, and said the students, staff, faculty and alumni of UC Berkeley had valuable ideas to offer.
“The idea with this site is that we have this great big (UC) Berkeley community,” Rohrer said. “They’re leaders and experts in every field, both on campus and off campus. Their experiences are so much more vast than anything our small department could know or come up with.”
After making an account, UC Berkeley community members are allowed to submit ideas for raising campus revenue and vote on other potential solutions. Some ideas that have been submitted already include expanding housing for faculty and staff, as well as renting out excess residential hall space in the summer through an organization such as Airbnb...
Maybe it's just me, but I can't get no Ideaction:

Victory for Common Sense: UC-Irvine DID walk it back

We said in a posting yesterday that UC-Irvine needed to walk back a decision to quasi-suspend the campus' Republican club. Yes, we noted, there were technical issues of whether what was done was literally a suspension but whatever it was, folks across the political spectrum were upset.

We're happy to report that common sense prevailed. There is now a news report that the action - whatever you want to call it - was reversed, "pending appeal."* Our next suggestion: If everyone involved is smart, the appeal process can take a long, long time and ultimately end in nothing.

Now, how about our earlier suggestion that some quiet mediation be used to deal with the Chancellor Katehi affair at Davis without worrying about determining who - Katehi or Napolitano - was "right" in that matter?


Thursday, June 23, 2016

How about walking this one back?

UC-Irvine seems to have gotten into a fix by quasi-suspending the college Republican club in the aftermath of a controversial event. Yes, there are technical issues about whether what happened is a real "suspension" or not. But it looks bad. When you get the Bernie Sanders folks supporting the Republicans, you know you have a problem: 

The UCI Anteaters for Bernie Sanders... posted their support on Facebook: “While we disagree with the College Republicans on a range of issues, (we) hereby firmly stand against this decision, and are vehemently against the administration for their over-reaching bureaucracy.”

Full story including above quote at

So how about walking this one back and not arguing technicalities about what happened and what it means to suspend a group? How about just fixing it?

It's Possible

Yes, it's possible for big gifts to UCLA to go into research and teaching without involving construction of a massive new structure. 

An $11 million gift to UCLA from physicist and philanthropist Mani Bhaumik will establish a center devoted to advancing knowledge of the basic laws of nature. The Mani L. Bhaumik Institute for Theoretical Physics is intended to become a world-leading center for theoretical physics research and intellectual inquiry.
Bhaumik’s donation is the largest in the history of both UCLA’s department of physics and astronomy and the UCLA Division of Physical Sciences.
Faculty, postdoctoral researchers and graduate students at the Bhaumik Institute will address unanswered questions in all areas of theoretical physics...

Court to UC-SD: More Due Process, Please

Not good enough for government work
Courts have been skeptical of the due process provided by universities to accused students in sexual assault cases. Such cases, of course, may involve criminal behavior and should they be adjudicated in external courts, strict rules of due process would apply there. Cheating on an exam, however, is not a criminal matter, although it warrants disciplinary measures in a university setting.

Now a court has indicated in a cheating case involving a UC campus that a preponderance of the evidence standard - a type of process often associated with controversial sexual assault cases - is insufficient, at least at a public-sector university.

Inside Higher Ed carries a report on a cheating case that ended in expulsion at UC-San Diego. With regard to the handling of the case by campus authorities, the judge said, I think there’s a word for that. It’s called stacking the deck.” Details at:

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Somewhat clarified

We noted a couple of days back that there were news articles indicating that UCLA was getting federal funds for some kind of research program dealing with manufacturing efficiency. But at the time, there was nothing on the UCLA newsroom website about it.

Now there is something:

President Barack Obama announced a $70 million federal award Monday to a nonprofit co-founded by UCLA to create a nationwide Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute, with the goal of improving the efficiency of advanced manufacturing.

The institute will be headquartered in downtown Los Angeles in partnership with the city, led by the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition and supported by UCLA’s leadership. It will include a national network of five regional manufacturing centers funded by $70 million from the U.S. Department of Energy and more than $70 million in matching funds from many of the institute partners...

Full release at

Exactly how this program connects with UCLA is still not entirely clear.

Davis Affair Won't Be Resolved This Way

Not the best place to reach a settlement
We have previously posted about the UC-Davis affair and the "suspension" of Chancellor Katehi. Most recently, we noted the Sacramento Bee's report on Katehi's efforts to deal with the internet reputation of the university and then a controversy over the return of her university-owned smartphone. 

Michael Meranze forwarded to yours truly a link to a local Davis news source which has been publishing media releases from the Katehi legal team. The team has complained that the Bee is biased and/or dumb:

Lee Houskeeper, an advisor {to Katehi}, sent out a response on Friday, arguing, “For months it has appeared that the Sacramento Bee has become a partisan in the matter of UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi. The paper’s often one-sided and breathless reporting of issues with zero real news in them is something we hear about from a lot of people.” He argued, “If you have any remaining doubts about the Bee’s squishy objectivity, look at its reporting today and yesterday on how Chancellor Katehi led the creation of a Digital Acceleration Lab at UC Davis.” Pressing on, he argues that the Bee has failed “to grasp the realities of social media and to harness its power to connect with new audiences,” to which he attributes the Bee’s “plummeting circulation.”
[Suggestion to Mr. Houskeeper: If you would like more sympathetic reporting, you might not want to jab at the Bee with nasty remarks about "plummeting circulation" and such. Suggestion to Chancellor Katehi: Consider getting a new "advisor."]
We continue to note that although at present this matter is being tried in the court of public opinion - not the best place - what is needed is some quiet mediation. The UC prez does not need to "prove" that she made the correct decision in suspending (removing) Chancellor Katehi. Katehi needs a face-saving way out. The UC-Davis campus needs to be done with this matter. With a little ego-retraction on both sides, a settlement could be reached. 
* and

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

She's not taking their call

If they come for her phone, she could use one of these.
Katehi refuses to turn over cellphone, iPad to UC investigators
Suspended UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi has refused to turn over her university-issued cell phone, iPad and laptop to the UC Office of the President for use in its ongoing investigation of her conduct.
UC officials have contacted Katehi and her representatives several times a week to ask the chancellor to surrender the electronics as part of its investigation into allegations she misused student funds, favored relatives in her employ and misstated her role in the hiring of consultants to scrub her image and the school’s online.
“This is standard in every investigation,” said Dianne Klein, spokeswoman for the University of California.
Katehi spokesman Larry Kamer said the chancellor isn’t turning over the equipment because it could contain communications legally deemed privileged. “If the Office of the President is trying to deny her right to private and confidential communications, they are in for a major fight from us,” he said.
Katehi, who has been on paid administrative leave since April 27, has denied any wrongdoing and is fighting her suspension by UC President Janet Napolitano. Findings from an investigation into Katehi’s actions by former U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag are expected to be delivered to Napolitano by Aug. 1.
The chancellor will hold onto the equipment until the university agrees to let her remove emails, texts and other messages she and her advisers deem privileged, Kamer said. The messages in the “privilege log” could include those from her lawyer, doctor, medical provider, priest or husband, he said. The messages are cataloged in case they need to be reviewed and ruled on by a judge.
Kamer said the creation of a privilege log is standard procedure in investigations.
Katehi is willing to use a third party to oversee the process but isn’t willing to let the university’s staff decide what is privileged and what is not, Kamer said...
There is something to be said for giving up your phone:

Monday, June 20, 2016

FYI on Bruin Alert Scam

You probably got the message below via email. But if not:

To the Campus Community:

Be advised there is a Phishing email message being sent throughout UCLA claiming to be from Bruin Alert and asking you to log-in to confirm your credentials. If you receive the message, please take no action and immediately delete it.
FYI, the message has a couple of telltale signs to look for when trying to determine the validity of a questionable email:
The email address of the sender is not actually the same as the name of the sender (in this case, it isn't even a email address).
Very poor grammar and spelling.
A copy of the message is below for your reference. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or concerns.
Michael Story
Interim Chief Information Security Officer
Information Technology Services
Note: The General Rule is never respond to an email asking you for any kind of information relating to passwords, forms of ID such as Social Security number, etc.


Not clear
The LA Times is reporting that UCLA is getting a new center on making manufacturing more efficient. But there is nada on the UCLA newsroom website about it. Who? Where? What school or department? It's all unclear.

Los Angeles will become the headquarters for a federally funded institute devoted to developing sensors that make manufacturing more efficient.
President Obama is expected to announce the project, which will receive $140 million in public and private funding, Monday at the SelectUSA summit in Washington, D.C. A consortium of researchers in Los Angeles will coordinate the work of five regional centers —  one at UCLA, and outposts in Texas, New York, Washington and North Carolina. Dozens of companies across the country will participate and invest in the initiative, including Google, Microsoft and Northrop Grumman. The initiative will get $70 million from the Department of Energy, and $70 million from private companies and state entities...

Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Way It Was

The way it was. [Above] Google hasn't caught up with the new normal on campus and still shows the parking structure that was demolished for the UCLA Grand Hotel when you look at the sky view of the site. 
And the way we live now. [Below]

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Just a Suggestion


Since Gov. Brown felt free to muck with the UC pension, perhaps he would like to add $780 of pensionable income to all new hires in Tier 3. Why $780? Read on:

Gov. Jerry Brown, the architect of stiffer public pension laws three years ago, has again reached a state labor agreement that uses an accounting trick to add money to some state employees’ retirement accounts.
The tentative contract with the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association:
1. Eliminates the requirement that covered employees pass fitness tests to receive a $65 monthly physical-fitness incentive payment.
2. Rolls the $65 a month into base pay.
3. Makes the $780 per year pensionable income – and subject to future bargained pay raises. Under Brown’s 2013 pension law, fitness pay doesn’t count toward retirement benefits.
4. Voilà! Loophole created.
The California Correctional Peace Officers Association negotiated a similar provision into its new contract in April...

Preponderance of the Evidence

The Washington Post reports that a case has been filed challenging the right of the federal Office of Civil Rights to issue a Title IX directive to universities regarding the use of a "preponderance of evidence" standard in sexual assault cases. Unlike other cases in which an individual student disciplined under Title IX through an internal process has gone to outside court, this case challenges the procedure under which the directive was issued.

You can find the details (including the case filed) at this link:

Note: It's not clear to this non-lawyer how much difference it would make in the long run if the courts ruled that the procedure for issuing the directive was flawed. The Office could simply go through whatever hoops the courts required and come out with a similar directive. [I am making certain assumptions about who will be elected President in November here.] Perhaps someone knowledgeable in the legal area would like to comment. (???)  In the short run, a ruling favoring the plaintiff might lead to a reversal of convictions under the preponderance-of-evidence standards and possibly damages from the universities involved for past cases.


The California Legislature agreed Thursday to allocate $5 million to create a University of California gun violence research center.
Lawmakers passed the state budget, which included the center’s funding, on Wednesday.
The UC has not determined where the center will be located, said UC spokesperson Claire Doan.
The center aims to study the causes behind gun violence incidents, such as the June 1 murder-suicide at UCLA and the June 12 mass shooting in Orlando, Florida.
“(This deal) comes on the heels of the Orlando tragedy and underscores our need to better understand the impact of firearm violence,” Doan said.
Some UCLA student leaders are pushing for the center to be located at UCLA... Tanner Kelly, who graduated this year and served as the USAC External Vice President state relations director, said student leaders will lobby for UCLA to host the center. Kelly added they will be working with Chancellor Gene Block, state lawmakers and the UC Office of the President...

Friday, June 17, 2016

Encouraging a Nasty Habit?

The legislature seems to be getting into a nasty habit of placing conditional admissions funding into the UC budget.

...Over all, the UC system, which will get $3.3 billion from the state, will receive a $125.4 million increase. But to receive an additional $18.5 million, it will need to enroll 2,500 more California residents and place a cap on out-of-state enrollment...*

Note that this follows a similar provision last year which UC accepted, despite concerns about capacity, underfunding of the additional students, etc. 

It appears that UC is encouraging the legislature to continue down this path. Perhaps it looked like good politics to go along last year. UC's prez was selected because she knew the political game. But in game theory, strategy is different between a game played once and a repeat game. We have now "signaled" to the legislature that all it needs to do to control UC admissions targets is to throw a relatively small amount of money at the university. 

Gov. Brown keeps warning about a recession that will come some day - date unknown. When it happens, will UC simply un-enroll students for whom funding has dried up? Or have we adopted a "permanent" level of admissions? Just asking.  

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Listen to the Regents Health Committee Meeting, June 14, 2016

You may not know it but the Regents Committee on Health Services had a meeting on June 14. Much of the meeting was about planning for things that were to happen in the future such as developing a strategic plan. There are also plans to develop various "performance" measurements. [But the Committee approved arrangements for performance bonuses for high-paid execs.] And there were lots of references to problems of Medi-Cal patient treatment because of low reimbursement rates. Also, there was reference to the financial status of UC-San Francisco and Children's Hospital Oakland.

The public comments section was filled by a team of anti-vaccine folks protesting against UC's vaccine requirements.

You can here the audio of the meeting here:

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Chocolate & Pepper at Davis

Did you find what you need?
Last November, as UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi was searching for ways to improve the university’s online image, she dispatched staff to companies in Switzerland, Texas and Maryland to study their digital operations.
The trips cost more than $17,000 in airfare, lodging and other expenses, according to travel records and emails released to The Sacramento Bee on Wednesday in response to a May 5 California Public Records Act request.
The visit to Switzerland by three members of the team came after Katehi visited Nestlé’s Digital Acceleration Lab in June 2015 in Vevey, Switzerland, on the shores of Lake Geneva, records indicate.
“This gave me an idea to create a similar lab at UC Davis, primarily to help us accelerate our understanding and use of social media in communicating internally and externally and in understanding how UC Davis is perceived both in California but in the U.S. and around the world,” Katehi wrote in a Sept. 13 email to an official of the Swiss-based food and beverage giant.
“We have started the process of putting the team together that will create the lab together,” Katehi added. “We will tremendously benefit if we could send two or three of our people for a day’s visit to your lab so they can get an idea of how it is set up and how the training programs are in place.”
The Nestlé Digital Acceleration lab in Switzerland features banks of large “listening” screens that track everything from real-time online conversations and interactions about Nestlé and competitors’ products to recipe tweets, likes and comments on Facebook, according to information posted by the company online.
Nestlé also established an “innovation outpost” in Silicon Valley in 2013 to “deepen its relationships with consumers online and in social media,” according to a press release from the company. Earlier this year, the company expanded that presence, adding marketing and technology employees to a new office at Pier 17 in San Francisco.
The November 2015 overseas trip came as UC Davis was searching for new ways to improve its image worldwide, and after it had spent at least $175,000 on contracts with two firms that promised to help erase negative search engine results about the university stemming from the November 2011 pepper-spraying of students by campus police...
Well, chocolate is hard to resist:

Modesto Bee Announces UC-Merced Public-Private Construction Boom

From the Modesto Bee:

UC Merced sets billion-dollar boom in motion

The University of California at Merced is announcing a $1.142 billion expansion deal that breaks new ground in public-private partnerships, paving the way to a 10,000-student campus.

The developer consortium and design details will be unveiled Wednesday for the UC Merced 2020 Project, which will frame the campus entry and double its footprint over the next four years. The project, expected to start construction this fall, is seen as an interim step as the university moves toward an eventual 25,000-student goal.

Under terms approved by the UC Board of Regents, the state will pay about two-thirds of the cost, $600 million from bonds and $157 million from UC Merced funds. The private consortium will put out the remaining third, $386 million, recouping the investment over 35 years of $51 million payments. The university will own the facilities and the land from the start.

The deal will be the largest public-private partnership of its kind in the U.S. higher education sector, notes a UC Merced news release, calling it a model for expanding public research universities in leaner times...

Full story at:

Media release:


Budget Day

Today is the constitutional deadline for the legislature to pass a state budget. It no budget were passed, legislators would forfeit a day's pay for each day beyond the deadline. But that won't happen as a deal has been struck among the Democratic leadership and the governor. Still, the actual bill with whatever details remain has to be passed. (Actually, more than one bill is typically involved.) There should not be any surprises for UC beyond what we have already reported. The governor has a line-item veto but presumably, because a deal has been reached, there won't be much action there.

We are in a period of limited news. So if you are looking for something to listen to, we provide Berkeley Chancellor Dirks' presentation to the Regents over a year ago on the history of U.S. undergraduate education:

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


Some time back, we found a gate on Westwood Plaza that seemed to have no evident function. Here is another one.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Zócalo carries essay related to the Klug murder

Zócalo Public Square carries a piece by UCLA History Professor David Myers: [excerpts]

A good part of what was so distressing about this month’s active shooter episode at UCLA was the familiarity of it all. The death of William Klug, a brilliant and affable young professor, at the hands of a mad former graduate student, was the chief tragedy. But as our campus was taken over June 1 by a veritable army of armed law enforcement personnel in helicopters, police cars, and trucks, I couldn’t help but think: Here we go again...

I remember well the sad realization I had after Sandy Hook, that it now made sense to introduce active shooter preparation training for the UCLA History Department, of which I served as chair from 2010 to 2015. In 2013, we had our first preparedness session with an officer from the University of California Police Department...

My own sense of vigilance was heightened during the time I served as department chair, especially when I would meet with irate and sometimes disturbed students. I would ask staff colleagues adjacent to me to pay special attention to any abrupt noises. I would also sit relatively close to the students and follow their hand movements in order to be able to act quickly if they took out a weapon. I chided myself for engaging in this kind of suspicion-ridden activity, for it seemed to violate the basic trust that underlies the teacher-student relationship. And yet, I couldn’t stop myself from going through a mental checklist of preventative measures...

Full essay at

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Moment of Silence for Prof. William Klug

The LA Daily News carries this photo from the Engineering graduation yesterday of graduating students participating in a moment of silence for murdered Prof. William Klug. Caption:

Graduates bow their heads in a moment of silence for fallen professor William Klug. UCLA held commencement exercises for the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science at Pauley Pavilion Saturday in Westwood. John McCoy/Staff Photographer

Full story at:

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Proposed pension funding cut now dead

The proposal from the state assembly to block contributions to the UC pension fund if the university did not eliminate the defined contribution option is now reported in the Sacramento Bee to be dead:

...(The budget negotiators) rejected (an) Assembly suggestion (that) would have reversed a deal between the governor and UC to create a new tier for the university’s underfunded pension system. The move was sought by employees unions who argued that shifting the retirement plan away from guaranteed benefits would undermine its stability...

Full story (with other info on what's in and what's out of the UC budget) is at:

Les Préludes

And, to go with our Les préludes theme:
(Won't work with iPhone)

Friday, June 10, 2016

Two-Handed Cash Report for May

The state controller's cash report is out for the first eleven months of the current fiscal year. On the one hand, it shows revenues below what was forecast in January when the governor made his initial budget proposal for the coming fiscal year. (The forecast error is mainly in the corporate income tax.) On the other hand, revenues are above what was forecast at the time the current year budget was enacted. (The forecast error is mainly in the personal income tax.) Whatever news value there may be in the report, it comes too late to have much influence on the last-minute dealing going on concerning the budget in the legislature. The report is at: