Friday, September 30, 2016

Bruin vs. Bee

We'll just provide excerpts from the item below that appeared in the Santa Monica Mirror without comment:

The Busy Bee Hardware and Dry Goods store has been a fixture in our city for longer than any of us can remember. In fact that store, now just called Busy Bee Hardware, moved to its present location in 1922. The wood plank floor has been walked on by generations of Santa Monica residents seeking a washer, a burlap bag, a good hammer…it is, most importantly, that simple shop where everyone knows your name...

Busy Bee is the last remaining hardware store in our city. It’s a store that would feel at home in any small town in America. Luckily for us, it’s in Santa Monica. Exceptional customer service has always been the trademark of this legendary business. Now it’s threatened. UCLA owns the land directly east of Busy Bee and is using it as a parking lot for their medical facilities. They have offered to buy the small parcel of land that Busy Bee occupies, in order to add about a dozen valet parking spaces. UCLA has told the Haine family (property owners) that a key provision of this sale would be the closing of Busy Bee Hardware. That’s right. Ninety-four years of continuous business in one location in our city would be wiped out by UCLA’s need for more parking. To insure victory, my friends at UCLA (yes, I’m a Bruin), have sued the property owner and Busy Bee for encroaching on their property. Evidently the east retaining wall stands – “wait for it” – three inches into UCLA’s property. That wall has been there for at least a half-century. For three inches and a dozen parking spaces, UCLA would wipe out the oldest existing business in Santa Monica...

Shouldn’t UCLA, a public institution that owns a hospital and medical facilities in our town have some respect for our history? Shouldn’t they recognize the value of the businesses that existed here before their purchase of Santa Monica Hospital? William S. Mortensen, the co-founder of that hospital in 1926, shopped at Busy Bee and respected the surrounding businesses...

We have a choice – let UCLA create a few more parking spaces… and that parking lot will surely give way to a high-rise medical tower within a decade. We can choose the drive to a big box store like Home Depot for our nuts and bolts. Or we can let UCLA know that our Busy Bee Hardware store is iconic...

Full story at

That's the latest buzz from Santa Monica:

At the top

Inside Higher Ed picks up on the poor-returns-to-endowments thing, with UC tied with Ohio State U for the top (worst) results.* Of course, all we have to do is get rid of the minus (-) sign and we could be at the bottom (best) along with Yale.
Anyway, with all the concern about rankings, we're on top:

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Sometimes it's complicated

From the  SF Chronicle: An assistant professor at UC Berkeley accused by at least three students of sexual harassment filed a complaint Wednesday against the University of California Board of Regents claiming harassment, discrimination and retaliation as the school system handled the accusations.
Blake Wentworth filed the suit in Alameda County Superior Court after filing a defamation suit Sept. 22 against two of his accusers, doctoral students Erin Bennett and Kathleen Gutierrez. He filed a separate defamation suit against another accuser, Nicole Hemenway, on Sept. 20.
The legal action against the university seeks an unspecified amount in damages, claiming UC harassed Wentworth and imposed punishments such as punitive leave and suspension based on disability, because he suffers from depression and bipolar disorder...
Doctoral students Bennett and Gutierrez filed a complaint with the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing in April because Wentworth had been allowed to teach after they reported he touched them inappropriately and repeatedly spoke about sex to them in 2014 and 2015.
Gutierrez said he talked about sex, strip clubs and drugs, and that he touched her head and said he was attracted to her. He ignored her demands that he stop, she said. Campus investigators found on Oct. 2, 2015, that Wentworth violated the sexual harassment policy in Gutierrez’s case, according to documents obtained by The Chronicle in a previous report. Officials found he did not violate campus sexual harassment policy in Bennett’s case.
Dianne Klein, a spokeswoman for the UC Regents said officials did not have enough information on the suit to comment.

Listen to the Sept. 15, 2016 morning meeting of the Regents

We continue our new format for archiving Regents meetings. Under the new format, we first upload the audio recordings. Then – as we get a chance to listen to the recordings – we provide some highlights. In this post, we note some highlights of the Sept. 15 morning meeting. The recording can be heard by using the links at

The meeting began with public comments. Topics included treatment of graduate students including sexual harassment and the Piterberg case at UCLA, union issues, increased enrollment, and CalPIRG’s voter registration efforts. Public comments were followed by remarks of the UCSA president. There was a brief union demonstration. The Regents then turned to reports from the various committees that had met the day before (and the finance/investment committee that had met still earlier).

The finance report by Regent Makarechian repeated some of the debt concerns related to the pension fund and the 70% rule we discussed in an earlier post.* While it is appropriate for the Regents to look at such matters, we continue to warn that the discussion could get off track and further threaten the already-degraded pension plan. Generally, the discussion seems to veer into confusion between accounting methodology and the actual eventual results of the fund. Here are two links to further discussion:

At the earlier meeting of the governance committee, there had been confusion about the post-Katehi rule that senior execs should serve on no more than two outside boards. Apparently, the confusion was cleared up overnight and now it is said that the new limit applies to all senior execs – not just new hires – except for four senior execs that are currently on three boards. (They have been “grandfathered” in.)

The investment committee also got hung up on pension finance issues mentioned above. Again, this matter will have to be monitored in future meetings to avert more damage.

There was a report by the California secretary of state about efforts to register college students. It was followed by a presentation from UCLA about its finances.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Traffic headache this afternoon

Motorists in West Los Angeles could run into some delays (Wednesday) night and Thursday along a stretch of Sepulveda Boulevard as Southern California Gas Co. crews work around the clock to conduct pressure tests on a natural gas pipeline.

The Gas Co. has been conducting the tests, and replacing some pipeline sections, on the Sepulveda Boulevard line for weeks, but the work has been done only at night. But beginning at 5 p.m. Wednesday, crews will begin round-the- clock testing on the line, resulting in possible lane closures at Sepulveda's intersections with Wilshire and Pico boulevards through Thursday.

Motorists were advised to anticipate slower-than-usual traffic on Sepulveda. Digital signs and flaggers will be in place to direct motorists.

After the round-the-clock work ends, the project will return to nighttime-only work, according to the Gas Co.


UCLA History: 1984

Westwood during the 1984 Olympics

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Guys Do It, Too

We posted recently about the trend toward elaborate recruitment videos for sororities.* Blog readers may be wondering if the fad has spread to fraternities. The answer is "yes-but less." And somehow the frat videos seem to feature women:


Out they go

From Inside Higher Ed: Information technology staff members across the University of California system are holding their breath to see if the layoffs and outsourcing at the San Francisco campus represent an individual cost-cutting measure or the beginning of a trend.

The UCSF Medical Center told staffers this July that -- because of decreasing federal health care reimbursement and cost increases associated with the Affordable Care Act -- it would cut 97 IT jobs by Feb. 28. Some of the positions will be outsourced to the Indian IT services company HCL Technologies. The university has also contracted with Dell and FireEye for data center and cybersecurity services, respectively...

In interviews with Inside Higher Ed, staff members said they are coping with the decision with a combination of frustration and resignation. Some said they are searching for IT jobs at other campuses in the system. Others said they are considering leaving the industry altogether. They asked that their names not be published as they still have five months of employment left.

...Staff members bristled at the thought of training the workers who will replace them. To aid the outsourcing efforts, some staff members have had their organizational goals updated with a target of completing the transition plan by Feb. 14, with a stretch goal of Jan. 31. A staff member with about 20 years of experience at the university said he feels as though the university is rewarding employees for making themselves expendable as fast as they can.

“It’s pretty degrading,” the staff member said, adding, “I want to make sure that this cancer they’re going to introduce doesn’t spread across the UC system.”

Outsourcing IT jobs is much less common in higher education than in the private sector, said Russ Harrison, government relations director for IEEE-USA, a professional organization for technical professionals...

The other medical centers in the UC system gave varied responses to the question of whether they are considering outsourcing IT services. A spokesperson for UC San Diego Health in an email said, “No IT staffing changes being considered here. We are not outsourcing.”

At UC Irvine Health, a spokesperson said the center is “definitely facing some of the same financial pressures as UCSF,” but added that he was “not aware of plans to outsource IT staff” (though he had “not received confirmation one way or the other yet”).

A spokesperson for UCLA Health declined to comment, while UC Davis Health did not respond to a request for comment...

Full article at:

Things are tough:

Monday, September 26, 2016

We continue to do our part for UC's STEM efforts - Part 16

We continue in our efforts to support the UC Scout program that supports STEM education in K-12. Just click on the link below:

Sunday, September 25, 2016

And still more recruitment at UCLA

Lest you think that the sorority recruitment video we posted yesterday was an anomaly, it in fact seems to be more the norm:

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Listen to Regents Afternoon Session of Sept. 14, 2016

We are following our new practice - which was introduced when the Regents switched to YouTube temporary archiving - of first uploading the audio of meetings indefinitely and then providing some discussion.

We previously posted the audio of the afternoon of Sept. 14, which involved three simultaneous committee meetings.*

You have to be quite wonkish to enjoy the session of the Compliance and Audit Committee. However, the sessions of the Public Engagement & Development Committee and of the the Governance and Compensation Committee. The former dealt with fundraising (philanthropy) and UC lobbying. The latter primarily with the fallout of the Katehi affair and the question of chancellors and other key officials serving on outside boards. With regard to philanthropy, what you will hear is primarily descriptive - so many dollars targeted, shares from medical centers vs. the rest of campuses, capital vs. faculty (particularly endowed chairs) and students. If there is a grand strategy at either the campus or the UC-wide level, I didn't hear it. Most of what happens occurs at the campus level. The lobbying discussion focused primarily on Sacramento. There was some mention of federal efforts. Local lobbying was not mentioned, although campuses do have dealings with municipal officials. The lieutenant governor - who is openly campaigning to get rid of the world "lieutenant" in his title in 2018, has made legalization of marijuana and gun control part of his campaign - and is backing the related propositions on the November 2016 ballot. So when the discussion turned to the 17 state ballot propositions, he elaborated on both - although they have little to do directly with UC.

It became clear in the discussion of the new policy that top executives should only serve on two board maximum - that the Regents are not sure what policy they actually adopted. At issue essentially is whether the new policy - two instead of three - applies only to new hires or whether it applies to incumbents. There was a mix of views as to whether there were legal bars to changing the employment deals with incumbents and whether - legal issues or not - whether the limit of two applied only to new hires. If you go to the link in the footnote below, you can hear it all.

Now what we need is a faculty recruitment video... match UCPD's:
...or maybe to match UCLA Delta Gamma's:

Friday, September 23, 2016

There's always room for one more

On move-in day at UCLA, freshman Ashley Sanchez pulled two bins filled with blankets, toiletries, cleaning supplies, snacks, notebooks and her favorite stuffed whale to her new dorm and opened the door. Three beds, three desks and three wardrobes were squeezed into a room that used to house two students. As the last roommate to move in, Sanchez was left with the top bunk in a tight corner with a low ceiling over the right half of the bed. Her mother, Silvia Valladares, surveyed the space with a protective parent’s eye.

“This is a small, little room for three girls,” she fretted. Doubles turned into triples are now the norm at UCLA, which began classes Thursday with 1,000 more registered California students like Sanchez piling onto a campus already packed from years of enrollment growth.

And it’s not the only University of California campus scrambling to make room for the largest influx of new students in decades. Overall, nearly 8,000 more California students committed to a UC campus over last year. The larger class is part of a deal UC President Janet Napolitano made with Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature to enroll 5,000 more California students this year — and 5,000 more the next two years — in exchange for more state money. 

Finding room has strained UC campuses across the state. Some are squishing four students into double rooms, moving students off campus, even leasing beds from other colleges. They are hiring hundreds of new instructors and expanding services, including tutoring and mental health counseling...

Full story at

Cram 'em in:

UC Beats Harvard

The UC endowment dropped by 3.4% last fiscal year.* In that department, we outdid Harvard which lost only 2%:

The Harvard University endowment reported a 2 percent loss on its investments for fiscal 2016 and warned that returns may be lackluster for some time. The world’s largest college endowment, which is in transition as it searches for a new chief executive, had its worst year since 2009. Over the past decade, it would have made more money if it had simply invested in a big basket of US stocks and bonds.

“This has been a challenging year for endowments and clearly these are disappointing results,” Paul Finnegan, chair of the Harvard Management Co. board, said in a statement. He said the board and staff of the fund are “taking the steps necessary to ensure HMC can continue to most effectively support the mission of Harvard University over the long term.”

Executives at Harvard Management declined to say when a new leader would be named. Stephen Blyth stepped down as chief in July, after a medical leave and just 17 months in the role. He had been promoted to the job in January 2015, succeeding Jane Mendillo, who had led the fund through steep losses in the financial crisis...

Full story at

Switch coming

Although it was announced back in April, Anthem Blue Cross is touting its regaining of the UC health care contract starting in 2017 (after we had a spell with Blue Shield):
Say, isn't Anthem Blue Cross the carrier who was hacked and exposed zillions of records of UC patients and former patients? Anyway, the new contract is for three years so there will be some stability after the switch. We can hope that the switch back to Anthem will be made without disrupting things for those currently covered through UC's health plans.

The only advice we have for folks is not to be asleep at the switch:

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Without Peer

From Inside Higher Ed:

Robot-Written Peer Reviews: Computer-generated gobbledygook can pass for the real thing with many faculty members, study finds.

The headline says it all. But isn't the purpose of a peer review to demonstrate how smart the peer is compared to the author? Just asking.

Maybe I should ask the robot:

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


Zero Correlation Between Evaluations and Learning

New study adds to evidence that student reviews of professors have limited validity.

September 21, 2016, Inside Higher Ed, Colleen Flaherty

A number of studies suggest that student evaluations of teaching are unreliable due to various kinds of biases against instructors.... Yet conventional wisdom remains that students learn best from highly rated instructors; tenure cases have even hinged on it.

What if the data backing up conventional wisdom were off? A new study suggests that past analyses linking student achievement to high student teaching evaluation ratings are flawed, a mere “artifact of small sample sized studies and publication bias.”

“Whereas the small sample sized studies showed large and moderate correlation, the large sample sized studies showed no or only minimal correlation between [student evaluations of teaching, or SET] ratings and learning,” reads the study, in press with Studies in Educational Evaluation. “Our up-to-date meta-analysis of all multisection studies revealed no significant correlations between [evaluation] ratings and learning.” ...

Full report with links at

Of course, if you read the above as an instructor - and if you always knew it - remember there is also something called "confirmation bias."

But it's also true that a finding of zero ain't nothing:

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

UC-Berkeley Courses Go On and Off, Off and On

Inside Higher Ed has two items on Berkeley today: {excerpts}

The University of California, Berkeley, has announced that it may eliminate free online content rather than comply with a U.S. Justice Department order that it make the content accessible to those with disabilities. The content in question is all free and is for the general public to use. "The department’s findings do not implicate the accessibility of educational opportunities provided to our enrolled students," said a statement on the situation by Cathy Koshland, vice chancellor for undergraduate education. While the university has not made a final decision, she said, it may not be able to afford complying with the Justice Department's recommendations on how to make the online material accessible. "In many cases the requirements proposed by the department would require the university to implement extremely expensive measures to continue to make these resources available to the public for free," she wrote. "We believe that in a time of substantial budget deficits and shrinking state financial support, our first obligation is to use our limited resources to support our enrolled students. Therefore, we must strongly consider the unenviable option of whether to remove content from public access."...

Less than a week after the University of California, Berkeley, suspended a student-run course on Palestine, the administration reversed its decision and brought it back. The one-credit course, called Palestine: A Settler Colonial Analysis, was suspended last Tuesday after members of pro-Israel groups accused it of having “anti-Israel bias.” But the university administration claimed it suspended the course -- a part of the DeCal program, which allows students to propose and lead their own for-credit courses -- because the course leaders hadn’t followed the proper approval procedures and policies. The course was reinstated Monday morning after a committee from the Department of Ethnic Studies reviewed the course, which has the purpose of examining “key historical events that have taken place in Palestine … through the lens of settler colonialism,” according to the syllabus...

Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, the director of the AMCHA Initiative [which originally complained] said that if the dean’s concerns were addressed in a substantive way, then the reinstatement of the course would be a positive step. She hopes that after this controversy, all courses will go through a rigorous vetting process to make sure they do not violate the Regents Policy. The Academic Senate will still review the course; the chair of the Senate could not immediately be reached for comment.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Listen to (the rest of) the morning session of the Regents, Sept. 14, 2016

As noted in prior posts, the Regents now have a more complicated meeting format with concurrent sessions. On the other hand, they are posting the sessions on YouTube but only for one year. So it is a) easier for yours truly to grab the audio, but b) it has to be posted so as to archive it indefinitely. Our new policy is to post first and comment later - when we have a chance to listen to the sessions. 

The morning session was previously posted at:

On the original posting, we commented on the opening session. But there were two concurrent sessions that followed which we have now heard.

One was the Academic and Student Affairs Committee and National Laboratories Subcommittee. Much of the agenda here was devoted to the aftermath of the Committee of Two deal which - beyond the pension matter - involved UC pledging to do various things in exchange for funding. Apparently, UC has to go to the state Dept. of Finance and show that it has done what it said and the Dept. of Finance gets to decide whether that is so. A lot of what was pledged revolved around transfers, evaluating majors, offering 3-year degrees, and the use of technology. In the case of the last, what was meant was using technology to monitor the success of programs. The part of the session on the labs was informational, with a tracing of the history back to the Manhattan Project, and some complaints about the difficulty of dealing with the federal government.

The other meeting going on at the same time was the Finance and Capital Strategies Committee. There was a lot of discussion of debt policy including pension debt. During the discussion, there was reference to a 70% rule which apparently is embedded somewhere in Regental policy and which says that if the pension plan becomes less than 70% funded, other UC borrowing should halt. This is a bit odd on its face. Would all capital projects that need to borrow come to a screeching halt? There may be a perverse bright side to this rule since it gives the Regents an incentive not to let funding decline below 70%. Maybe the Senate should agitate for an 80% rule. 90%? :)

More seriously, David Crane - who was a kind of queen for a day on the Regents (he was appointed by Gov. Schwarzenegger but not confirmed so he dropped off) - is back, this time as an outside adviser to the Committee. He is pushing - and apparently got one Regent to go along - for using something like a 4% discount rate to evaluate plan liabilities. There is much to be said for using a realistic forecast to estimate the plan's projection of its long-term earnings. (UC's chief investment officer thinks a realistic rate is a 6-ish per annum number rather than the official 7.25%.) Using a much lower discount rate would significantly raise the measured unfunded liability. (We italicize "measured" because the actual rate of funding is what it is and can't be known for sure since it is inherently a forecast.) More on this at:

An alternative link is:
Let's just say that if the Crane view gets traction at the Regents, there will be problems.

The rest of the Committee meeting was devoted to discussion (and approvals in some cases) of various capital projects including at UCLA. While the new Regents format may allow more time for such discussions, it does not by itself add to the capacity of the Regents to evaluate what they are told. There were some questions asked at the session which suggested doubt about what was being presented by the campuses. But, as we have noted many times before, in the end the Regents have no independent staff to evaluate what is presented. In the end, everything gets approved, even if more info is requested along the way.

To hear these sessions, go back to the audio link at our prior post.

So exactly what DID happen?

Katehi’s fate: The fate of former UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi appears to have been sealed even before University of California President Janet Napolitano ordered an outside investigation into allegations of nepotism and “scrubbing” the Internet of stories on the infamous pepper-spraying of student protesters.

“By April 2016, it became apparent that she had not been candid in her representations to me nor to the public about key facts,” Napolitano said in an Aug. 5 letter to UC regents, which we obtained under a state Public Records Act request. Katehi resigned four days after the letter was sent.

Napolitano said she met with Katehi in April and “encouraged her to resign” and return to teaching for the good of the school.

“We agreed that neither party would discuss the matter publicly or with external parties,” Napolitano wrote.

She said lawyers on both sides would keep mum as well, “so that a graceful exit could be accomplished.”

Instead, Napolitano said, Katehi turned around and called community leaders and issued an email “proclaiming her intentions to remain as the chancellor.”

Not so, says Katehi spokesman Larry Kamer.

“What the UC president is saying is not and has never been true,” Kamer said. “At the meeting, Katehi was basically presented with a sentence” — and that sentence was that she was out.

“When the subsequent investigation failed to substantiate the allegations of nepotism and other charges, Napolitano just powered ahead,” Kamer said.

UC spokeswoman Dianne Klein did not respond directly to Kamer’s charge that Katehi’s exit was a done deal before the investigation. But in an email, she said, “Linda Katehi resigned as chancellor of UC Davis following an independent investigation that found she had violated several university policies, including our standards of ethical conduct. These facts speak for themselves.”

From Matier and Ross column:

All we can say is:

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Listen to the Regents meeting of Sept. 15, 2016

We continue our new practice of posting the audio of Regents meetings and archiving the recordings indefinitely (unlike the Regents). We will post commentary on the meetings as we are able to listen to them.

Note that under the new format, the full meetings - with the concurrent sessions - take more time than did the old format.

You can hear the Sept. 15th meeting at the link below. If you click on it, it will play the afternoon session before the morning session. (Don't ask! And never question technology.)

Or you can go directly to the hosting website and play the recordings in any order you like:

Saturday, September 17, 2016


A UCLA associate football coach violated NCAA ethics rules by paying $2,400 for housing and athletic training for a pair of recruits, the NCAA ruled today. As a result, coach Adrian Klemm was placed under a two-year "show cause order," which requires any school that employs him to appear before the NCAA Committee on Infractions to outline plans for overseeing his activities. The NCAA also imposed a $5,000 fine and issued a public reprimand and censure for the university.
UCLA had already self-imposed other penalties, including Klemm's suspension during the 2015 spring recruiting period and a reduction in official recruiting visits. According to the NCAA, Klemm admitted paying $2,400 for housing and private training sessions for the two recruits, saying he did not believe it would violate NCAA rules because the pair had already signed National Letters of Intent to attend UCLA. "The coach violated NCAA ethical conduct rules because he should have known that his arrangement would not be allowed," according to the NCAA.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Listen to the Regents Afternoon Meeting of Sept. 14, 2016

We continue with our approach - given the new format of Regents meetings - of first putting up the audio archive and (eventually) providing a brief summary. The change in our approach is due to the concurrent sessions of various new Regental committees and also a change in the way the Regents temporarily post their recordings. Under their new posting approach, the Regents post on YouTube for one year. We download the audio in mp3 format using an online program. We then edit the audio. (Some recordings have lengthy silences before the committee starts or other anomalies which we remove. Then we post the results.

Below is the afternoon meetings of Sept. 14 which involved concurrent sessions of the Compliance and Audit Committee, the Governance and Compensation Committee, and the Public Engagement & Development Committee.

Click on the link below to hear them in that order:

Alternatively, go directly to the site where we have posted them as separate recordings at:

And another case that seems not to close

Our previous post noted a Berkeley case that seems destined to go on and on. The Katehi case at Davis also seems destined to continue. The Sacramento Bee, through a public records request, got hold of UC prez Napolitano's lengthy letter to the regents in redacted form that was sent to the Regents when it appeared that Katehi wouldn't resign as chancellor. You can read it at: Some of the redactions, by the way, seem to go beyond just protecting the identities of individuals.

The Bee has a summary of the letter at:

PS: If the sign in the picture on this post and the previous one looks familiar, it is the old Ships coffee shop sign on Wilshire near Westwood.

A case that isn't closed

We're sure UC prez Napolitano would have liked the case of former Berkeley law school dean Choudhry to be closed, once she had removed him. But that ain't what's happening. Blog readers will recall that Choudhry was charged with sexual harassment and a modest penalty was imposed. Then there was a fuss when word of the outcome was publicized and there was another inquest. As a result of the second investigation, he was removed as dean and (quasi) banned from campus for awhile.

He is now suing complaining of a kind of double jeopardy. His suit names various officials including the UC prez. In her case, unlike others, the suit says she is being sued as an individual and not just in her official capacity. Choudhry suggests there is a racial aspect to what happened. And he insists on a jury trial.

The university's position is that the first investigation/penalty was as dean and the second was as a tenured faculty member.

You can read the suit yourself at:

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Listen to the Regents Opening Session of Sept. 14, 2016

The new format for Regents meetings involves concurrent sessions. That approach poses some issues for audio capture. (As we have noted many times, audio capture would not be necessary if the Regents archived their meetings indefinitely, rather than for only one year.) But we will soldier on. What we will do is break down the meeting into morning and afternoon sessions, upload the components, and provide links. We will provide text for each component as we are able to hear them.

So let's start with the opening (full board) session of the morning of Sept. 14. That session began with public comments. The comments included professional and regular tuition, sexual harassment including the UCLA Piterberg case, student participation in the chancellor selection process, post-doc pay and related union negotiations, student voter registration, and Title IX procedures. The comments segment was followed by remarks by UC prez Napolitano, mainly about accommodating the extra enrollment to which UC has agreed. Faculty rep Jim Chalfant noted that out-of-state enrollment - which has become a political issue - is necessary for budgetary reasons if the state underfunds UC. Finally, Napolitano reviewed various awards, recognitions, and deaths.

Link at:

There are actually 3 sessions at the link above. The first is the opening session described above. It is followed by the two concurrent sessions:
-Academic and Student Affairs Committee and National Laboratories Subcommittee
-Finance and Capital Strategies Committee
They will play in order. Or you can advance the opening session to its end and the second will play. You can advance the second to its end and the third will play.
You might find it easier to go to the source of the archiving at:

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

A trigger of sorts

A video posted yesterday by Prof. John McIntyre of Loyola University Maryland has gone viral via Facebook and YouTube. It's less about "triggers" and more about writing.

Link below:

Be careful where you do your "business" in the business school

Quote without comment:
Anderson Gender Inclusive Restroom Signage Changes

To the Anderson Community,

Over the weekend, the University Facilities Maintenance and Alterations Department began a UC mandated program to change the signage on restrooms throughout the campus for the purpose of providing gender inclusive facilities. As part of this program they changed the signage of several restrooms within the Anderson Complex. These modifications were only supposed to be done to single occupancy restrooms. Unfortunately two restrooms (A106 and D422), which were not single occupancy restrooms were inadvertently changed as well.

When this condition was discovered on Monday, Facilities was notified and they responded the first thing this morning to restore these restrooms to their original condition.

As always please let me know if you have questions or need additional information,

Executive Director, Building Services
Well, actually, we do have one comment. Someone clearly needs to call in a specialist:

Part 1
Part 2

One doubts the PR folks at UCLA will want to push this tale...

...even though it does bring international attention. From the Daily Mail (UK):

'I want the desk near the window. Plain and simple': Student who calls herself 'a ticking time bomb' sends angry list of demands to her future roommates - BEFORE they've even met 

  • The demanding email was sent by a UCLA student called Ashly
  • It was then shared by her future roommate Winnie Chen, 17, on Twitter 
  • Ashly's original email - and her roommates responses - quickly went viral   
  • Her demands centered around what bed and closet she wants
  • But she later admitted she's a 'ticking time bomb' with 'low tolerance' ...

You can read the rest at

Looking for a New Post-Katehi Chancellor at Davis

There's bound to be one out there somewhere.
The University of California Office of the President named a committee Tuesday to help find a new chancellor to replace Linda P.B. Katehi, who resigned last month as UC Davis leader under a cloud of controversy.
The search committee will help recruit, screen and conduct interviews with candidates. It will recommend a candidate to UC President Janet Napolitano in January for consideration, according to a press release. Napolitano will then make a recommendation to the UC Regents.
Besides Napolitano, the search committee includes:
▪ UC Regents Monica Lozano, Bonnie Reiss, George Kieffer, Charlene Zettel and Harvey Brody
▪ Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Paramount, also a UC regent
▪ Vice Chairman of the UC Academic Senate Shane White
▪ UC Davis faculty representatives Diana Farmer, Rachael Goodhue and Ari Kelman
▪ Oscar Dubon, a UC Berkeley materials science and engineering professor and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientist
▪ Student Elly Oltersdorf
▪ Brian Riley, 2010-11 chair of the UC Davis Graduate Student Association
▪ Cal Aggie Alumni Association President Debby Stegura
▪ UC Davis department of chemistry administrator Jessica Potts
▪ UC Davis Foundation past president Mike Child...
Given what happened to the last chancellor, there may not be a long line of applicants. So it may take a thorough search:

Listen to the Regents Committee on Investments, Sept. 9, 2016

As promised, we provide below a link to the audio of the Regents’ Committee on Investments of Sept. 9. (And just in time for the Regents meeting of today and tomorrow – which we will eventually also archive.)

The bulk of the Investment committee’s time was spent on the dismal returns on the endowment and pension fund for the year ending June 30, 2016. There was much reviewing (bemoaning?) negative events such as Brexit, problems in China, etc., which caused losses on the portfolio. However, the university did worse than its benchmarks. 

In past meetings, the university did better and the difference between benchmark and actual was shown on charts as “value added.” But this time there was value subtracted. It costs something to manage the investments actively, whether done in house or contracted out. (UC does both.) So there was discussion about maybe shifting away from actively managing to passive management. As the faculty rep pointed out, finance academics generally don’t find that over longer periods, there is a gain from active management. (In any year, of course, portfolio results will differ and some will do better than others.)

The fact that returns were low led to discussion of the interest rate assumed for long-term returns on the pension, currently 7.25% (recently lowered from 7.5%). In fact, the CFO in other forums has publicly stated that a more realistic rate would be 6-ish rather than 7-ish. When you lower the assumed rate, the unfunded liability goes up so the percent by which the plan is underfunded goes up. This is a matter of arithmetic. It should be stressed, however, that the degree to which a pension plan is actually under- or over-funded is not the same thing as the number produced by particular accounting methodology. The future is inherently uncertain. We don’t know what it is for sure until we get there.

Blog aficionados will recall temporary Regent David Crane, temporary because the state senate never confirmed his appointment by then-Governor Schwarzenegger. He is on the Committee as a consultant and pushes – as he did on the Regents – for a low discount rate, basically what absolutely secure long-term T-bonds would yield on the grounds that the pension is guaranteed, just like the return on T-bonds. There was some discussion but apparently there is now a split of responsibility between the Investment committee and the Finance committee with the latter charged with worrying about such matters as pension underfunding and the former worrying about investments. So the discussion ended with the thought that somehow the pension issue, both assets and liabilities, should be discussed by the full Board at some future date.

The other key matter was preliminary results on Tier 3, i.e., the degree to which employees hired starting July 1 are choosing the defined contribution plan vs. the cut-down pension. The answer was said to be around 70% (choosing the DC plan over the pension), despite the fact that the default choice is the pension. There is a proviso which no one brought up. Newly hired ladder faculty for this year were brought in deliberately in late June rather than July 1 so they would be in the Tier 2 pension. It was said that “faculty” are choosing DC at an above-average rate. But I suspect the “faculty” that was discussed consisted of various non-ladder positions. Note that it makes sense for folks who expect only a short duration of employment to choose DC over DB. Note also that if there were any junior ladder faculty in the numbers, they get a second point of choice after tenure. So it would make sense for such individuals to choose DC and then wait to see if they get tenure. But again, ladder faculty should not have been in the mix.

Still, if you want to worry about the DB plan becoming an orphan plan, you can start now. (And you can ultimately thank the Regents for that development.) It won’t literally become an orphan, but it could over time become an estranged child. And the folks who should worry about that eventuality are not current retirees or near-retirees. They are younger faculty who will someday retire and depend on the DB plan. Of course, if the state-Regents/employees fully fund the plan – whatever the portfolio turns out to earn – the money will be there. The political problem arises if there is underfunding and at some distant date, the well is beginning to run dry and most employees are not part of the system.

The audio link is below:

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Rank Odor

UCLA was ranked the 24th-best national university in the 2017 edition of the U.S. News & World Report college rankings of national universities, released Monday evening, slipping slightly from last year.
UCLA tied with Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Virginia, and tied for second-best public university with University of Virginia behind University of California, Berkeley at No. 20. Crosstown rival University of Southern California ranked one spot higher at No. 23...

Blood Bath

...“It was a bit of a bloodbath,” as swings in the markets challenged stock pickers, Jagdeep Bachher, chief investment officer at the University of California system, said at an investment committee meeting on Sept. 9...

Full story at

From the same story: (We appear to be tied for #1!)
Click on image to enlarge
As noted yesterday, once we have finished reviewing that September 9th meeting, we will post it and archive it.

Monday, September 12, 2016


The University of California posted a 3.4 percent investment loss on its $9.1 billion endowment in the year ended June 30, the office overseeing investments for the 10-campus system said Friday.
The losses were driven by poor returns from public equity fund managers and hedge funds, Jagdeep Bachher, the chief investment officer, said at an investment committee meeting Friday. The value of the endowment rose to $9.1 billion from $8.9 billion from the year prior because of inflows from shifting cash from short-term funds to the endowment, as well as royalty payments, he said.
“This has been a disappointing year for endowments,” Bachher said.
The office oversees a total of $97.6 billion of assets, including the endowment and pension funds. The university’s pension posted a 2 percent loss for the year. The endowment gained an annualized 6.5 percent over the past 5 years and an annualized 5.9 percent over the past 10 years.
“We are faced with a low-growth and low-return environment going forward and are working closely with our stakeholders to set realistic return expectations for the future,” Bachher said in a statement...
Note: There was much rumination about all of this at the Regents' Committee on Investments. We'll get to that once yours truly hears the entire meeting and archives the recording. In the meantime, the question is:

Money Honey

Janet Napolitano is scheduled to be the star attraction at an upcoming fundraiser for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton — the first time in anyone’s memory that a sitting University of California president has campaigned for a White House candidate.

The Sept. 20 event in Silicon Valley, hosted by a group called Entrepreneurs for Hillary, is being billed in an online invitation as a conversation with the “former secretary of homeland security and former governor of Arizona.” The invite makes no reference to Napolitano’s current job as the head of the taxpayer-funded UC system.

Tickets range from $500 to $10,000 a head, with proceeds going to the Clinton Victory Fund.

“She is not doing this in her capacity as UC president,” said UC spokeswoman Dianne Klein. “But it certainly should be no surprise that she is supporting Hillary. She has worked extensively with her and seen her up close — and certainly she (Clinton) is the right person to be the next president. “What would be surprising is if she supported Donald Trump,” Klein said.

Legal guidelines issued by UC’s office of general counsel say the university “may not endorse or contribute to candidates for elective office.” It also says UC officials “should use care to avoid confusion between private and public roles.”...

Full story at

The next Secretary of...?

Outsourcing at UC-San Francisco

From Computerworld:

A decision by the University of California to lay off IT employees and send their jobs overseas is under fire from U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif) and the IEEE-USA.

The university recently informed about 80 IT workers at its San Francisco campus, including contract employees and vendor contractors, that it hired India-based HCL, under a $50 million contract, to manage infrastructure and networking-related services.

The university employees will remain on the job until the end of February, but before then they are expecting to train their foreign replacements. The number of affected employees may expand. The university's IT services agreement with HCL can be leveraged by any institution in the 10-campus system.

"How are they [the university] going to tell students to go into STEM fields when they are doing as much as they can to do a number on the engineers in their employment?" said Lofgren, in an interview.

Peter Eckstein, the president of the IEEE-USA, said what the university is doing "is just one more sad example of corporations, a major university system in this case, importing non-Americans to eliminate American IT jobs." This engineering association has some 235,000 members.

"Profit before people will continue to be their goal until Congress stops them," said Eckstein.

HCL, and other firms in the offshore industry generally, use H-1B temporary visa workers. HCL was one of the contractors at Disney, which cut around 250 workers last year. Two former Disney employees filed a lawsuit in January in federal court challenging HCL, a second contractor and Disney over the use of foreign workers.

"I think it’s the wrong thing to do," said Lofgren, of the university’s offshoring effort.

"The H-1B program was not devised to replace American workers with less highly paid foreign workers who are then going to take all the jobs offshore," said Lofgren, who represents part of Silicon Valley and has sought visa program reforms.

"That's not the intent of the [H-1B] law, and Congress has done nothing to reform the law to prevent this from happening," said Lofgren.

The university is "misusing the visa program, and one likes to think that the University of California would be wanting to be in conformity with the intent of the immigration laws," said Lofgren.

The H-1B visa program was intended to provide people for specific workforce needs. But over the last 20 years, the program’s major users have been IT services firms that use visa workers to help outsource work overseas. U.S. IT workers have complained repeatedly about having to train workers on temporary visas as a condition of severance, and often accuse the U.S. government as being a party to their layoff.

Lofgren said she is not an opponent of the H-1B program, "run properly," nor does she fault its original goal. But she said it sounds that "what the university is doing is a misuse of the program" similar to Disney and Southern California Edison, she said, "where they are not getting the best and the brightest, they are just basically using it as a way to cut American engineers, which they shouldn’t do."...

Full story at

Summary in Inside Higher Ed at

Sunday, September 11, 2016

9-11 at UCLA

UCLA students watch TV coverage of attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 in Ackerman Union