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Sunday, September 23, 2018

Tax Zips

The LA Times carries an article today about the vulnerability of the California state budget to the economic fates of higher-income earners. A relatively small group pays much of the personal income tax on which the state budget is highly dependent. Such earners' incomes reflect not only the ups and downs of the real economy, but also the ups and downs of the sometimes-volatile financial markets. It includes a list of the top 10 Zip Codes in terms of personal income tax paid in 2016.

Of course, Silicon Valley/tech Zip Codes tend to dominate the list. But Zip Codes around UCLA 90024, 90049, and 90210 make the top 10 list. See the accompanying chart in this blog posting.

Of course, UCLA has its own Zip Code: 90095. Apparently, some individuals use UCLA's 90095 as their tax address so almost $540,000 in personal income tax was collected from it. (There is a link within the LA Times article for inserting Zip Codes to see how much is paid.) But as can be seen from the chart, that sum is mere pennies compared to the top 10.

The LA Times' article is at: http://www.latimes.com/projects/la-pol-ca-next-california-economy/

The UCPath 5

Yours truly checked out UCPath, which is - as of today - operating for UCLA. Yes, it worked. But what makes me nervous is that when you sign in for the first time, you are asked to provide answers to five questions that will be used for a sign-in in the future. Five is a lot, particularly because the questions are not of the usual mothers-maiden-name type which are likely to be recalled. Instead, they are things like your favorite movie, your "dream car" (as opposed to your first car), etc. These preferences can easily change over time. Will your favorite movie be something else a few years from now?

All I can say is that you better write the answers down somewhere and remember where you wrote them.

From today's email on UCPath:

Now that UCLA is live on UCPath, we all can expect to experience some key changes.
 
The UCPath Portal. The new self-service portal will allow you to manage your personal data, view your paycheck, access benefits information, view vacation and sick leave balances, and much more.
 
The UCPath Center. The new customer service support center will now serve as your first point of contact for payroll and benefits questions. You can contact the UCPath Center by visiting the UCPath Portal and clicking on the ‘Ask UCPath Center’ button, or by calling (855) 982‐7284, Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (PST).
 
The New UCPath Paycheck. Starting in October, your pay check will have a new look and feel as it will be generated from the UCPath system...

Saturday, September 22, 2018

UCLA History: Limb Lab

Not sure exactly where this room was, but it is identified as the artificial limb lab at UCLA (1955)

Friday, September 21, 2018

UCPath This Weekend

From an email circulated today:
Dear Faculty and Staff,
It’s almost here! UCPath will launch at UCLA this coming weekend. When UCPath launches, you can expect the following:
The UCPath Portal
The UCPath Portal, our new self-service portal, will open to all employees beginning this Sunday, September 23, 2018 at 8:00 a.m. When the portal launches, you will be able to…
 
View your paycheck
 
Update your personal information
 
View and print your W-2
 
View your benefits
 
View your vacation and sick leave balances
 
View, change or add a direct deposit
 
Update your W-4
 
Verify your employment
Please note that you will receive an error message if you attempt to access the portal prior to the Sunday portal launch.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Title 9 Related Litigation at UCLA

From Inside Higher Ed: More than a year ago, a female student at the University of California, Los Angeles, told the institution she was raped in August 2016. Her attacker, she alleged, had already sexually assaulted another of her sorority sisters. The university found her accusation credible. It expelled the young man, a campus fraternity member, in 2017. In February, he lost his appeal to return to campus.

But the student who filed the complaint was not satisfied. She maintains that the expelled student's fraternity -- and UCLA's fraternity system as a whole -- should have known the assault could occur and should have protected her. The fraternity had hosted a party that August night during which she drank until she couldn't walk, she said.

Last month, the student anonymously filed a lawsuit against her alleged rapist, Blake Lobato (who is named in court documents and whose identity has been widely reported), and his fraternity, Zeta Beta Tau, as well as Sigma Alpha Epsilon and the UCLA Interfraternity Council, the governing body of the university's 22 fraternities. Though the council is a registered student group, it is independent from the institution, which is not named as a defendant.

Her lawsuit comes at a time when the Trump administration intends to overhaul the regulations around Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the federal gender antidiscrimination law that bars sexual misconduct at colleges and universities. U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos last year rolled back Obama-era rules around Title IX, declaring them unfairly slanted against accused students. The Education Department's proposal on Title IX, a draft version of which was leaked to Inside Higher Ed, likely would not even have allowed for an investigation into Jane Doe's case, as institutions would no longer be obligated to investigate assaults that occurred off campus. Title IX experts are debating whether this provision would pass legal muster, as the law is triggered when a hostile environment in present on campus -- such as the presence of a rapist -- regardless of whether an incident occurred on the grounds or not.

Lobato’s lawyer has argued that UCLA's findings against his client were flawed and has requested that a Superior Court judge overturn the sanctions.

A particularly prominent part of the lawsuit are the allegations that fraternities' misconduct isn't isolated to just UCLA -- that alcohol abuse and sexual assaults run rampant among other chapters nationwide, with recent incidents at SAE's chapters at the University of Missouri, Clemson University, Oklahoma University, Northwestern University, the University of Southern California, California State University, Long Beach, and others, as well as ZBT's chapters at Cornell University, Florida State University, the University of Central Florida and the University of Michigan...

Full story at https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2018/09/20/ucla-student-sues-fraternities-says-they-should-do-more-protect-against-rape

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

More Detail on the Upcoming Regents Meeting - Part 2 (Market)

Local marketing
Yesterday, we posted more detail on the agenda of the upcoming Regents meeting. However, we noted that the links to the detailed agenda for the Public Engagement and Development Committee were broken and that we had so-notified the Regents' secretary. So today the broken links for that committee are fixed.

As it turns out, the main highlight from Public Engagement is a planned marketing study:

"During its September 13, 2017 meeting the Committee requested a study to assess how UC is perceived by the general public and outlined the objectives for a market research study that would build upon prior market research and insights. Interim Senior Vice President Holmes will provide an update on the status of the current market research study. The update will include an overview of key audiences and issues that UC is exploring through the research."

Source: http://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/regmeet/sept18/p3.pdf

You'll note (below) that the agenda item above has the wrong date as of this posting. We'll again notify the authorities of the issue.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

More Detail on the Upcoming Regents Meeting

Click on chart to enlarge. See below in text for discussion.
We now have more detail on the agenda of the upcoming Regents meeting. The various agenda attachments are now included on the Regents' website. Some highlights below:

The Investments Subcommittee is discussing a proposal to create an investment fund for the use of campuses for endowment-type funds that don't require short-term liquidity (and therefore low returns):

http://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/regmeet/sept18/i1attach1.pdf

According to the proposal, "the Office of the Chief Investment Officer (OCIO) shall incorporate environmental sustainability, social responsibility, and governance (ESG) into the investment evaluation process as part of its overall risk assessment in its investments decision-making. ESG factors are considered with the same weight as other material risk factors influencing investment decision-making." (Whatever that means.)

It might be noted that the pension fund has been earning less than its "policy benchmark" over the last 3 years: http://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/regmeet/sept18/i2.pdf (p. 3)

At Compliance and Audit, we learn that the Academic Senate endorses adding time frames to privilege and tenure reviews involving sexual harassment consistent with the state auditor's recommendations:

http://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/regmeet/sept18/c5.pdf

The Public Engagement Committee at the moment has links to various agenda items that produce error messages at this writing. The Regents' secretary has been notified.

Academic and Student Affairs will include discussion of a detailed report on Native American remains and burial objects now subject to federal regulation on the various campuses including UCLA:

http://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/regmeet/sept18/a3.pdf

There is also a detailed report on student and faculty diversity. See above for a chart from that report. The report is at:

http://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/regmeet/sept18/a2.pdf

Readers of this blog may recall the episode in which cuts to retiree health care suddenly appeared on the Regents agenda and then were yanked. There had been no consultation with the Senate or anyone else before the item appeared. A committee was established to look at the matter and as yet there has been no official recommendation to the Regents. However, in Finance and Capital Strategies, we find this statement:

Costs attributable to health benefits for covered retirees and their dependents are likely to rise more quickly as larger cohorts of UC employees decide to retire. UC, like the State overall, can anticipate faster increases in its retiree population as members of the baby boom generation reach retirement age. (PPIC refers to this trend as the “silver tsunami.”) The University continues to explore ways to control costs associated with health benefits for this growing population.

Source: http://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/regmeet/sept18/f3.pdf  (p. 7)

At Governance and Compensation, it is reported that continuing plans to narrow salary ranges of UCOP execs will be reported to the Regents in March 2019, in keeping with state auditor recommendations:

http://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/regmeet/sept18/g9.pdf

Lyft Deal With UCLA

Lyft and UCLA have joined forces to offer a flat fare ride program to help you get to and from campus safely and affordably. Available seven days a week and 24 hours a day—Bruin students and staff can request Lyft Shared rides for themselves and 1 other person to and from campus—within the qualifying area. The $4.99 flat fare will automatically be applied to rides between $5 and $15 and will not cover tips...

More information is at:
http://beagreencommuter.com/lyft-ucla-flat-ride-program-launches-today/

Note: If you are a resident of Santa Monica and at least age 60, there is a separate program between the Santa Monica Big Blue Bus and Lyft that will take you from Santa Monica to the UCLA hospital for 50 cents (and back for 50 cents). At that point you can take a UCLA shuttle bus to other campus locations. More information is at:
https://www.bigbluebus.com/Rider-Info/Mobility-On-Demand-Every-Day.aspx

Berkeley professor in sex harassment case resigns, threatens to sue

From the San Francisco Chronicle: A prominent UC Berkeley architecture professor who was suspended in August for three years without pay for sexually harassing a graduate student and abusing his faculty power has resigned from the university, The Chronicle has learned.

Professor Nezar AlSayyad remains barred from campus through June 2021, says an email sent Sunday to students and employees of the College of Environmental Design, which houses the architecture department...

Typically, retiring professors automatically gain emeritus status, with the right to teach and advise students and keep an office on campus. But when Chancellor Carol Christ suspended AlSayyad last month, she also received permission from University of California President Janet Napolitano to withhold AlSayyad’s emeritus status for three years if he chose to retire. The tenured professor’s pension, however, is not withheld...

AlSayyad... said through his lawyer on Monday that he will sue the university this week, challenging his three-year banishment and asking that his emeritus privileges be reinstated after one year...

Full story at https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Suspended-UC-Berkeley-professor-retires-13236450.php

Monday, September 17, 2018

UC's CALPERS problem

UC is not part of CALPERS, the huge state pension plan that covers most state employees EXCEPT UC and many local employees, but it has a CALPERS problem. UC departed from CALPERS decades ago and set up its own pension and retirement system. Indeed, one of UC's beef with the state when it comes to budgeting is that CSU is under CALPERS, and thus the state routinely contributes to its pension. UC at best gets ad hoc pension contributions when the governor and legislation feel like it.

Despite UC's official separation from CALPERS, because of CALPERS' size and impact on state and local budgets, the discussion of public pension problems is often driven by what happens there. And CALPERS has a pattern of producing a scandal du jour. Some have involved misconduct or bad conduct by CALPERS managers and board members. The latest involves the seeming discovery that the current chief financial officer of CALPERS has no college degree, isn't working towards a degree, may have nonetheless suggested that she was working towards a degree, and what all of this says about governance. You can read all about it here:
https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/the-state-worker/article218407085.html

The issue for UC is that the periodic scandals of CALPERS end up having spillover effects on UC. UC tends to be swept into the policy "reforms" that CALPERS' fiscal and governance issues generate.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Nurse-UC dispute settled

Scene at UCLA's Then-New Medical Center in 1955
A news release from the California Nurses Assn. reproduced below reports a collective bargaining agreement with UC. It refers vaguely to an agreement about pensions. If more info becomes available on that point, we will report it.
===
PRESS RELEASE, California Nurses Association, September 15, 2018

14,000 UC Nurses Reach Tentative 5-Year Contract Agreement Protecting Patient, RN Rights

Registered nurses at the five major University of California (UC) medical centers, 10 student health centers, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have reached a tentative contract agreement with the UC, featuring a host of improvements and protections for both patients and nurses, the California Nurses Association (CNA) announced today.

If approved in voting starting next week, the five-year contract, which covers 14,000 RNs in the UC system, would run through October, 2022.

“This is such a tremendous accomplishment by nurses throughout the state, who stood strong for our patients and won the protections that they deserve—because we will never stop advocating for safe patient care and for the rights of nurses as we provide that care,” said UCSF RN and bargaining team member Randy Howell, RN.  “And this is all happened in an environment where corporate forces are constantly trying to attack unions. UC nurses stood union strong, and we used our collective voice to win an agreement that is going to benefit patients all over California for years to come.”

 “We are so proud of our nurse leadership for standing up for our patients, families, and community,” said UCLA Santa Monica RN and bargaining team member Valerie Ewald. “This victory would not be possible without the dedication and sacrifice we’ve made through the last 20 months of this contract fight.”

Contract highlights include:

Supporting safe staffing for safe patient care. The tentative agreement includes protections for staffing based on patient acuity (the level of care a patient’s illness requires), not based on UC budgetary goals; protections from unsafe assignments to areas requiring specialty expertise; improved protections around shift rotation; and language ensuring RNs’ right take their lawful meal and rest breaks. All of these safe staffing protections make for safe patient care, say nurses, which is what UC patients deserve.

Workplace violence and sexual harassment protections. If nurses aren’t safe, patients aren’t safe. Given that healthcare workers experience extremely high rates of workplace violence, nurses say it’s critical that the tentative agreement states UC facilities must have a comprehensive workplace violence prevention plan in place—in line with California’s nation-leading workplace violence law—as well as protections from sexual harassment.   

“Nurses in California are fortunate to live in a state with the strongest healthcare workplace violence regulations in that nation, thanks to CNA nurses’ hard work in winning those protections. But our employers also need to be held accountable for following the law, so it’s a big win to have strong contract language stating that UC is responsible for keeping nurses, and also patients and their families, safe from violence,” said RN Maureen Berry, of UC Irvine.

Infectious disease protections. Healthcare workers cannot protect their patients without being protected themselves, say nurses, and to that end, the tentative agreement includes language strengthening the policies and equipment necessary to control the spread of communicable diseases in the hospital.

Economic gains and pension protections to help retain experienced nurses. The tentative pact includes pay increases of at least 15% over the term of the contract, with additional wages that address economic disparity for a number of locations and job classifications, contributing to the recruitment and retention of quality, experienced nurses for the community.  Nurses dedicating their lives to caring for UC patients also deserve to retire with dignity, say nurses—who fought hard to ensure the tentative agreement preserves and protect [sic] pension benefits.

“We are beyond thrilled at this huge achievement, which is not just a win for RNs, but for everyone in our care. We did this for communities all over California, because it is our duty to advocate for them,” said bargaining team member Michelle Kay, Nurse Practitioner at UCB Student Health. "UC nurses showed that we will never stop fighting, and because we are fighting for what’s just, we will stand up for public health and safety until we win the protections our patients deserve.” 

Source: https://www.nationalnursesunited.org/press/14000-uc-nurses-reach-tentative-5-year-contract-agreement-protecting-patient-rn-rights
===
UC's response:

...“We think it’s a good agreement,” said Dianne Klein, a spokeswoman for the University of California, adding that both sides have been really diligent and professional about the process. “They wanted to make a deal, we wanted a deal and we are happy with this tentative agreement.”...

Source: https://www.sacbee.com/news/local/health-and-medicine/article218462355.html

Saturday, September 15, 2018

The Upcoming Regents Meeting

The Regents will be meeting next week. Their website now indicates that the first meeting - that of the Investments Subcommittee - will start on Tuesday. So there will be three days rather than the originally scheduled two days. (We have noted in past postings that it would be nice if off-calendar meetings of regental committees and subcommittees were listed well in advance on the website.)

The full posting of the schedule for the meetings is not yet available. What we have lacks the attachments. However, it appears there will be some items that we may never learn about about in closed sessions. The Investments Subcommittee will be discussing in closed session matters relating to personnel changes in the Chief Investment Officer's shop. An earlier post on this blog noted that there has been some controversy about how things are going in that operation.* Is that what is to be discussed? We won't know.

In a closed session of the full board on Wednesday, there is to be discussion of "Legal Issues Regarding Constitutional Autonomy." It's not clear what that is all about.

There are two matters that could spark controversy, or at least more than routine interest. Compliance and Audit will discuss sexual harassment issues in relation to the state audit. Academic and Student Affairs will discuss faculty diversity.

Finally, Finance and Capital Strategies will discuss the next UC budget (for 2019-20). To the extent that tuition might be discussed, it could be in the context of the budget.

You can find the upcoming agenda at:
http://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/meetings/agendas/sept18.html
===
*http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2018/09/dirty-laundry-at-uc-investment-office.html

Boalt or Not

Berkeley Law Is Deeply Divided on 'Boalt' Name, Dean Erwin Chemerinsky Says

The University of California, Berkeley School of Law dean discusses the movement to remove references to John Boalt from the law school, and why people on both sides feel so strongly about the issue.

By Karen Sloan | September 14, 2018 | Law.com

The University of California, Berkeley School of Law has been known colloquially as Boalt Hall for decades, but that name could soon disappear from the Bay Area campus after information surfaced about the racist past of John Boalt—a 19th century California lawyer who pushed for the Chinese Exclusion Act.

A law school committee this week recommended the removal of the Boalt Hall name from one of the school’s four buildings and that other references to Boalt in student organizations and elsewhere be excised. (The committee did not recommend stripping the Boalt name from two endowed professorships, which would require the involvement of the California attorney general.)

Berkeley is not the first law school to confront the legacy of a racist namesake. In July, a panel at Florida State University recommended stripping the name of former Florida Supreme Court Justice B.K. Roberts from the Tallahassee school. Roberts resisted racial integration efforts from the bench throughout the 1950s. And Harvard Law School in 2016 decided to do away with its official seal because it featured elements of the family coat of arms of early donor and slaveholder Isaac Royall Jr.


John Boalt in 1887 delivered a speech at the Berkeley Club called “The Chinese Question,” in which he argued that Chinese immigrants who immigrated to the state during the Gold Rush would never assimilate. The speech was circulated widely in the run-up to the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, which barred Chinese laborers from coming to the United States.

Boalt himself had no direct connections to the law school, but his widow, Elizabeth Josselyn Boalt, donated money to construct a law school building in 1906 in his name. The law school moved to a new building in 1950, a portion of which still bears the Boalt name. While many people referred to the school as Boalt Hall, the committee concluded that was never the school’s official name. Rather, Boalt Hall refers to a specific building, according to the report.

The proposed renaming has touched a nerve with many on the law school community, some of whom refer to themselves as “Boalties.” We spoke with Dean Erwin Chemerinsky this week to find out what happens next and what he’s hearing from students and alumni. His answers have been edited for length.

What happens now? Do you have a position on the renaming?

What I’m doing now is receiving comments from people on the committee report, and then I’ll make a decision in November. The report came out Monday afternoon about 4 p.m. When I last checked my email this morning [Thursday] I had received more than 400 messages from alumni, faculty, staff and students, and I’m answering every single one of them individually. I’m going to wait to see what everybody has to say then think carefully about it and announce a decision. The committee has issued its report, and we’re now at the stage where I’m receiving comments so that I can decide what is the best thing to do.

Is there any consensus among the comments you’ve received thus far?

I’ve not counted, but they are quite divided, and not in the way I would have predicted. I would have thought the alums from the earlier classes would be more tied to the Boalt name, and that current students wouldn’t be attached to it. But I have plenty of alums from the 1960s and 1970s who are saying, “Change the name.” And I have plenty of current students saying, “Keep the name,” and vice versa. There’s not the pattern I expected to see.

I’m also surprised that some younger students want to keep the Boalt name. What are their arguments?

Their arguments are like those who graduated earlier: Tradition, and the importance of it; a perception that Boalt is known as part of the brand of Berkeley Law; and also the ideological position as to when it’s appropriate to change names. Those who oppose it say that we shouldn’t be judging past actions by current values. On the other hand, those who support the change say [the school] has never officially been called Boalt—it has always been Berkeley Law School—and they believe we shouldn’t name things after people who said vile, racist things.

Did you initially realize how controversial this issue would be?

The stories about John Boalt being a racist came out before I took over as dean. As soon as I arrived, there was substantial pressure from a number of students and alums to remove the use of the Boalt Hall name. In October, I created the committee.

I had heard enough from people at that point to expect that it would be controversial. What was most important for me was to create a process that was thorough, where everyone would have a chance to feel they were heard. The committee solicited written comments and held a public forum. It was very careful in its analysis. I decided I’d release the report to the law school community, then take about six weeks to hear what people say. There are intense emotions on both sides.

What was the atmosphere like at the forum on the name change?

The atmosphere was wonderful and remarkably civil. Careful arguments were presented on all sides. Everybody treated everyone else with great civility. It was really the ideal of what a law school and university should be, with a sense of reasoned disagreement. People feel strongly but they engage in civil discourse.

What was your initial reaction to reading John Boalt’s “The Chinese Question”?


John Boalt said very vile and racist things. I think the question is: What to do with that today, in light of the history of how the Boalt name came to be use in the law school?

Colleges and universities are facing this all over the country. It’s inherently a divisive issue. For me, one of the hard things as dean is that whatever I decide, I’m going to please about half the people, and upset about half the people. They all feel strongly. Of those who care, it seems pretty closely divided. I wish I could find a path that would make everybody happy.*
====
Source: https://www.law.com/therecorder/2018/09/14/berkeley-law-is-deeply-divided-on-boalt-name-chemerinsky-says/
====
*Seems like whatever he decides, the dean is screwed.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Thursday, September 13, 2018

A quiet news day

Seems like we have a quiet news day for UC today. So we'll continue our practice of showing the gradual construction of a new building next to the Anderson complex.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The slow wheels of justice

The story below has a long, and sad, history. You are urged to read the various links below as background which are in inverse chronological order. Then read the item reproduced below the links (scroll down).

Links:

http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2014/10/alternative-headline-might-be-la.html

Quote from link above:
"As we have noted in prior blog postings on this matter, the case should have been left to civil court by the Los Angeles D.A. The D.A. essentially overreached and - at considerable cost to itself and UCLA - essentially lost. (At one point, the entire Board of Regents was also charged.) In the midst of the case described above, the D.A. charged another UCLA faculty member in a totally unrelated and ridiculous case (which it dropped), seemingly to pressure UCLA in the case above.* UCLA is to be applauded for defending faculty members when such circumstances arise." 

http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2014/06/chem-lab-case-dismissed-sort-of.html

http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2013/10/will-common-sense-prevail.html

http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2013/08/judge-refuses-to-dismiss-charges-in.html

http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2012/11/more-on-harran-case-hearing.html

http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2012/09/not-guilty-plea-in-ucla-lab-fire-case.html

http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2012/07/has-worm-turned-in-ucla-lab-fire-trial.html

http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2012/04/too-much-old-radio.html

http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2012/03/da-overreaching.html

http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2011/12/ucla-professor-charged-in-2008-lab-fire.html

Most recent (and hopefully final) story on this unfortunately episode:

Criminal charges stemming from a 2008 laboratory fire that killed a research assistant were dismissed against a UCLA chemistry professor last week, nine months earlier than expected and over the objection of prosecutors, the District Attorney's Office confirmed Tuesday.

Patrick Harran entered into a five-year deferred-prosecution agreement with the District Attorney's Office in 2014. Under the agreement, Harran was ordered to meet a series of requirements, including 800 hours of non- teaching community service at the UCLA Hospital System/UCLA Health Services.

Although that agreement was not scheduled to end until next June, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge George Lomeli ruled during a hearing last Thursday that Harran had already met all the terms of the agreement, and he dismissed the criminal case against him, according to the District Attorney's Office.

Greg Risling, spokesman for the District Attorney's Office, said prosecutors objected to the dismissal, which was granted "nine months earlier when the case was set to be dismissed."

Harran, who still works at UCLA, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

He was charged in December 2011 with multiple felonies for allegedly violating the state's Labor Code stemming from the death of 23-year-old Sheharbano "Sheri" Sangji.

The aspiring law school student -- who was not wearing a lab coat -- suffered second- and third-degree burns in a Dec. 29, 2008, lab fire in which a highly flammable chemical agent spilled onto her and ignited. She died about 2 1/2 weeks later.

Criminal charges were also filed against the University of California Board of Regents, but those charges were dismissed in July 2012 as the result of an "enforcement agreement" that called for corrective measures. The agreement also mandated the use of laboratory coats while working on or adjacent to all hazardous chemicals, biological or unsealed radiological materials, along with the establishment of a $500,000 scholarship in Sangji's name at UC Berkeley's law school, where she had been accepted as a student.

When he reached his deferred-prosecution agreement, Harran acknowledged and accepted responsibility for the conditions under which the laboratory was operated the day of the fire and acknowledged that he was "the supervisor having direction, management and control of Sheharbano Sangji, who was employed as a research associate in defendant Harran's laboratory."

Along with the 800 hours of community service, the agreement called for Harran to pay a $10,000 fine benefiting the Grossman Burn Center, where Sangji was treated for her injuries.

The agreement also required Harran to develop a curriculum for and personally teach for five years an organic chemistry preparatory course to help college students involved in the South Central Scholars program, along with speaking to incoming UCLA students majoring in chemistry or biological sciences about the importance of laboratory safety.

The agreement called for dismissal of the case if Harran complied with all of the terms.

Deputy District Attorney Craig Hum said in 2014 the agreement was the "best resolution possible," despite objections by the victim's family.

Source: https://patch.com/california/centurycity/charges-dropped-against-ucla-professor-deadly-lab-fire

===============
*On the unrelated case, which was essentially thrown out of court, see:
http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2014/08/final-end-of-tail-of-overreaching-da.html

http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2013/04/lofchie-case-dismissed.html

http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2012/10/chem-lab-fire-case-postponed.html

http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2012/03/da-overreaching.html

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

UCLA History: 9-11

On September 11, 2001, UCLA students watch TV news coverage of terrorist attacks.

CRISPR

From Nature, 9-10-18: A fierce and unprecedented patent battle between two educational institutions might be nearing a close, after a US appeals court issued a decisive ruling on the rights to CRISPR–Cas9 gene editing.
On 10 September, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit awarded the pivotal intellectual property to the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts, upholding a previous decision by the US Patent and Trademark Office. The decision spells defeat for a team of inventors at the University of California, Berkeley (UC), led by molecular biologist Jennifer Doudna.
The “Board’s underlying factual findings are supported by substantial evidence and the Board did not err”, Judge Kimberly Moore wrote in the latest decision. “We have considered UC’s remaining arguments and find them unpersuasive.”
The dispute centred on the rights to commercialize products developed by using the CRISPR–Cas9 system to make targeted changes to the genomes of eukaryotes — a group of organisms that includes plant and animals. Although many patents have been filed describing various aspects of CRISPR–Cas9 gene editing, the Broad Institute and UC patent applications were considered to be particularly important because they covered such a wide swath of potential CRISPR-Cas9 products...

Monday, September 10, 2018

Title 9 ruling

From Inside Higher EdIn an unparalleled decision and a win for those who feel due process has been shunned in campus investigations of sexual assault, a federal appeals court has ruled that universities must allow students in these cases -- or their representatives -- to directly question their accuser in a live hearing.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit’s opinion, in a lawsuit against the University of Michigan, has the potential to reshape the notion of due process for campus sexual assault cases, at least for institutions in the four Midwestern states that comprise the Sixth Circuit, experts say.
Also looming is the Trump administration’s imminent release of draft regulations around Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the federal gender antidiscrimination law barring sexual misconduct on college campuses.
The appeals court decision would seem to match the direction of the U.S. Department of Education, which under new draft rules wants to mandate cross-examination. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos last year rescinded Obama-era guidance on Title IX, declaring it had unfairly slanted proceedings against accused students.
A student accused of sexual assault at the University of Michigan, who had been expelled, had improperly been unable to challenge the narrative and findings against him, the circuit court ruled Friday. He sued the institution, but his lawsuit was dismissed by the lower court.
Michigan, as many universities around the country do, relies on a “single-investigator” model, in which an official interviews the two parties, and potentially other witnesses, and collects evidence before deciding whether a violation occurred. Neither side has the chance to pose questions to the other...

An extra billion

The state controller reports we have state revenues about $1 billion above forecast levels for the first two months of the new fiscal year.

Obviously, two months does not a year make.

The controller's report is at:
https://www.sco.ca.gov/Files-ARD/CASH/August%202018%20Statement%20of%20General%20Fund%20Cash%20Receipts%20and%20Disbursements.pdf

UCLA History: Farm

The original campus of UCLA was that of the State Normal School on Vermont Avenue, now the home of LA City College. These two photos show that property as a farm in 1884.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Nothing (official) to say?

A week ago, the Sunday LA Times carried an op ed from conservative commentator Heather Mac Donald critical of diversity rules regarding UCLA faculty hiring. It opened with:

If Albert Einstein applied for a professorship at UCLA today, would he be hired? The answer is not clear. Starting this fall, all faculty applicants to UCLA must document their contributions to “equity, diversity and inclusion.” ...*

Yours truly expected that someone official at UCLA would in due course respond, at least with a letter, if not an op ed. But a week later, all that has appeared in the Times is four letters to the editor. One noted that Einstein in fact took a stand against racial segregation, so he would have been hired. (It might also have mentioned that Einstein never got a ladder faculty appointment at Princeton. He was instead appointed as a member of the Institute for Advanced Study located on campus, but apparently not formally a part of the university.) Another two letters agreed with Mac Donald. A fourth letter is from a department chair at UCLA who defends the policy.**

Maybe folks in UCLA officialdom are still on vacation, but the silence is surprising.
=====  
*http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-mac-donald-diversity-ucla-20180902-story.html
**http://www.latimes.com/opinion/readersreact/la-ol-le-diversity-ucla-einstein-20180909-story.html

The next campus disruption - or not?

The event described below could be the next campus controversy - or not - depending on how the administration responds.

After being initially unsure if they were hosting the National Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) conference in November, UCLA has confirmed to the Journal that they are in fact hosting the conference.

In a statement sent to the Journal via email, UCLA Associate Director of Media Relations and Public Outreach Ricardo Vazquez wrote:

“As a public university, UCLA is bound by the First Amendment, which protects freedom of speech for each of the more than 1,200 registered student organizations on campus, regardless of whether the ideas they express are controversial or offensive.

Use of campus space by a student organization such as Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) does not mean that UCLA endorses the event or agrees with the views expressed by the event organizers. For example, UCLA and the University of California Regents continue to firmly oppose boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel...

Full story at https://tinyurl.com/y9nc354j

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Uh Oh: UCPath

You may have gotten an email reminding you that the UCPath payroll, etc., system is launching on Sept. 23. Included was access to four videos. One was a PR promo entitled "UCPath Project – University of California" available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEaiKvHt4gU. Two others were aimed at using the system, one for employees and the other for managers. The fourth produced the result shown above. So I tried another browser for it - just to be sure - and got the result below:
Let's hope this 75% success record is not a forecast of what will happen when the system goes live. (I did try using one of the online courses aimed at managers. It seemed to work properly.)

Friday, September 7, 2018

Still Waiting

Several months ago, incidents were reported in which, through hacking, UC pension payments were stolen. Essentially, payments were redirected to bank accounts of the hackers.

Word has it that the victims of this theft have yet to be reimbursed by the powers-that-be. There seems to be confusion over whether the delay has to do with bureaucratic barriers or concerns that reimbursement would be a bad precedent.

Meanwhile, there are plans afoot to create a two-factor authentication system for pensions and benefits of the type now in use for some other university systems. We are still waiting for that change, too.

In the meantime, here is an article about the problem (from last May):
http://www.independentnews.com/news/diverted-pension-payments-lead-to-uc-retiree-warnings/article_e77e5384-645f-11e8-9896-2353372a821f.html

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Dirty Laundry at the UC Investment Office

The White House is not the only place where there seems to be turnover, leaks, and anonymous commentary. See below:

Crisis at Jagdeep Bachher’s University of California Investment Office: A famous investor faces serious charges of mismanagement.*

By Leanna Orr - September 6, 2018 - Institutional Investor

Niclas Winterstorm says he took a job from Jagdeep Bachher on a handshake deal, then quit when he realized “Jagdeep cheated me.”

Eduard van Gelderen — now chief investment officer of a massive Canadian pension fund — spent a year at the University of California’s investment office in Oakland working for Bachher. Van Gelderen says he was shocked at his first board meeting to see “one of the investment fellows literally carrying Jagdeep’s suitcases.” It was a trend. “Every single Friday a guy goes shopping at the farmer’s market in downtown Oakland for Arthur” — Guimaraes, Bachher’s righthand man — “and Jagdeep. It goes so far that when Arthur went on holiday, he ordered one of his guys to actually bring out the garbage [at his house]. They really didn’t like to do it, but felt that they were forced into a position that they needed to do these things.”

Van Gelderen quit his post as senior managing director in July — one year almost to the day since he’d joined the $118 billion investment office. The team lost three core members within weeks this summer, none of whom had successors in place or gave more than a few weeks’ notice. Scott Chan — head of UC’s $55 billion stock portfolio since 2015 — kicked things off in late June. Then, in early July, investment officer Tom Fischer announced on a Monday that his last day would be Friday. He told a reporter on his way out the door that “there has been a high number of departures, and I expect there will be more. I think the proof is in the pudding.” Fischer was proven right less than two days later, when news broke of van Gelderen’s exit.

Those three followed scores of others who’ve left since Bachher became UC’s chief investment officer in the spring of 2014. By Bachher’s own estimation, more than three quarters of the 46- or 47-person staff has turned over. Shake-ups and exits are expected when a new leader takes over. But if the first wave of turnover can be justified as the natural transition to a new administration, this second wave can’t be.

Approximately half of the people Bachher’s team hired are gone, including van Gelderen, Fischer, Chan, and Winterstorm; real estate director Lindsey Adams; senior advisers Ashby Monk, Brian Gibson, and Amy Meyers Jaffe; and support professionals Julie Lydon, JoAnne Yonemura, and Karla Campbell.

Some left amicably, as Bachher points out. Campbell hit her ten-year service threshold and retired to start her own business. (“Jagdeep has a vision,” she said when contacted.)

Gibson and Bachher had previously worked together, and Gibson spent a year on contract advising on the public equities portfolio and who should lead it, Bachher says. “When we hired Scott Chan, Brian’s term ended.”

In other cases, Bachher’s account conflicts with those of his former staff members. Of former senior adviser Monk, Bachher says, “He still works for us.” But according to Monk, “I went off the payroll in October 2016 and have not been formally working there since.”

Furthermore, Bachher says that when Winterstorm moved from Norway to the Bay Area in 2014, the understanding was always that he’d be a temporary consultant. “Nic Winterstorm was with us on a contractual term. When his contract expired, he left.”

Winterstorm flatly denies that this was the plan. His former co-workers agree. “He fooled me,” says Winterstorm, who had worked at Norway’s $1 trillion sovereign wealth fund for eight years and left a senior post there to join UC. During negotiations, he recalls, “Jagdeep asked me if it was okay to be a contract employee and we could adjust it later — that this was a smoother, faster way for me to get hired. I said, ‘Yes, let’s shake on it. And then we can revisit this in a year: both the salary and changing contract to being a staff employee.’ I trusted him totally.” But a year passed, and nothing changed. Winterstorm resigned when he felt that nothing ever would, and faults himself for taking Bachher at his word. Still, he says, “I felt screwed: no bonus, no salary increase, no permanency.” (Bachher himself said in late 2014 that he’d created the role of operational risk management director specifically for Winterstorm, with no mention of a temporary contract. “I’ve known him for a while and thought, ‘He can really add value,’ ” Bachher said at the time. “So let’s create a job for him.”)

This second wave of departures likely hasn’t crested. At least three members of the senior investment staff are actively eyeing the door. “I am hanging by a thread,” says one, who, like all current employees, spoke on the condition of anonymity owing to investment office policy and fear of retribution. Another says, “I of course am looking. The reason I haven’t walked out the door yet is because I’m looking for the right opportunity.” In the words of a third senior investor, “The only people who stay here are those who can’t leave.”

Before there was an exodus, there was an anonymous email.
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From: @gmail.com
Date: Tuesday, February 27, 2018 at 1:56 PM
To: leanna.orr@institutionalinvestor.com
Subject: UC REGENTS - ASK QUESTIONS

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN A GOOD STORY, THERE ARES A LOT OF INTERESTING STUFFS GOING ON AT UC REGENTS THAT IS NOT EXACTLY PROPER.

FIRST – PAUL WACHTER, WAS THE REGENT WHO WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR HIRING JAGDEEP BACHHER (YOU SPOKES TO HIM FOR ANOTHER ARTICLE). UC REGENTS IS INVESTING $250 MN IN A FUND THAT WACHTER IS LAUNCHING. SEEM UNUSUAL? ASK QUESTIONS

SECOND – JAGDEEP BACHHER CREATED UC VENTURES TO INVEST IN BEST IDEAS EMERGING FROM THE UC PROFESSORS. HE HIRED VIVEK RANDIVE TO OVERSEES THE INVESTMENTS. THE PRESS RELEASE ANNOUNCING THIS WENT OUT BEFORE RANDIVE SIGNED THE DOCUMENTS. […]

THIRD – LOTS MORE CRAZY STUFF GOING ON IN DC PLAN AND ALSO WITH THE COO ARTHUR G (USING JUNIOR STAFF FOR PERSONAL ERRANDS AND STRANGE TRANSACTIONS); CALL STAFF AND SEE HOW UPSETS THEY ARE.. THEY WILL SPILL A LOT OF BEANS….LOTS OF QUESTIONABLE INVESTMENTS AND PROCESS. WILL MAKE FOR FUN READINGS.
===

At that point, all I knew of UC’s investment office was its precipitous rise under Bachher, who had recruited arguably the most star-studded team of institutional investors on the planet. Performance has also been solid: The pension and endowment funds have outperformed their passive benchmarks over the past three years. The anonymous tipster refused to speak by phone — “SORRY – NO TALK” — but continued to pass tips and urge investigation.

Could it be an elaborate catfishing expedition? An attempt to suss out leakers or to trick II into publishing false information? Or, most likely, was it just a disgruntled low-level staffer trying to stick it to the boss who’d sidelined him or her?

Aiming to find out, on February 28 I replied, in part, “Why do you think the staff is mostly unhappy (if they are)? It’s disheartening — I remember how excited everyone was to be part of that team.”

===
HE HIRED TOP TALENTS AND CLAIMED HE WOULD GIVE THEM AUTHORITY, BUT HAS TRASHED THEM REALLY BADLY IN PUBLIC MEETINGS AND NOT DELEGATED ANY RESPONSIBILITY. CLAIMS HE IS THE ONLY ONE WHO MAKES DECISIONS (!!!) BUT DOES NOT TAKE THEIR ADVICES. MADE ARBITRARY DECISIONS (AND THEN TRIES TO STUFF HIS DECISIONS IN THEIR PORTFOLIOS - LOOK AT WACHTER INVESTMENT...) SO THESE TOP GUNS ARE UPSET AS THERE IS NO PROCESS OR ACCOUNTABILITY. MAKES STUPID JOKES ABOUT THESE STAFFS IN FRONT OF OUTSIDERS. HE ONCE BOUGHT A CAKE FOR A STAFFS BIRTHDAY AND NO ONE ATE IT IN A FORM OF SILENT PROTEST.
===

Then, a few weeks later: “THE MESS GROWS…ASK ABOUT THE MANULIFE TRANSACTION.”

I did, while casually chatting off-the-record with a member of UC’s leadership team.

The question was met with stunned silence.

Then: “How do you know about Manulife?”

Whoever this pensions Deep Throat was, he or she knew about a highly confidential and closely held deal in the works. For months a small group of staffers has been working through a multibillion-dollar portfolio of assets that insurance firm Manulife is quietly looking to sell. Bachher, who used to work at Manulife, sourced the deal. “He came out very excited about it,” says one of his senior employees. It had megatransaction potential, which the staff has winnowed down to a smaller pool of attractive assets. “It’s a tough deal, but I think the outcome is very positive,” the investor says. “Jagdeep is a great dealmaker. He has the communication skills, he has the mission, he has these moments of genius. But he’s not an investor,” notes the employee, who has a more positive relationship with the CIO than do most of his counterparts.

In his and others’ view, the Manulife transaction represents the substantial value Bachher can bring to an investment organization. “He brings groups of people together and makes connections with whole firms, like Goldman. I believe if he was kept in constraints, he would be great. The Regents”  — UC trustees on the investment committee — “are weak. They’re terrible. They are all smart, successful people with no incentive to govern.”

UC’s governance model endows the chief investment officer with extraordinary power and provides scant oversight. There is no investment office CEO to serve as a check on the CIO, as is the case at many other funds of UC’s size and complexity. As it is, Bachher’s employee thinks “he shouldn’t have this job.” But what if UC had a proactive investment board of Regents, and they installed a CEO?

The employee pauses and takes a long gaze toward UC’s office tower.

“No. No, the Regents should remove him.”  

Jagdeep Singh Bachher, now in his mid-40s, has been a darling of the institutional investment world since his mid-30s. Stewards of massive pools of capital — public pension funds, university endowments, sovereign wealth vehicles, and the like — tend to be staid, thoughtful types who’ve proven themselves over decades. They’re well paid by public service standards but could earn much more on Wall Street and yet choose not to. In that way, institutional chief investment officers resemble district attorneys, eschewing private sector millions each year they spend working on behalf of the many. Bachher made the leap in 2009, leaving wealth management and corporate insurance investing for the prestigious Alberta Investment Management Corp., which runs provincial resource and pension assets.

Yet the CIO perch at the University of California is even more prestigious. To win it from Bachher’s position in 2014 — responsible for a $500 million venture and innovation program at Aimco — was a feat. And he won it outright.

Contrary to some rumors, UC’s selection committee got its No. 1 pick in Bachher, according to former investment chair and hiring chief Paul Wachter, who stepped down from the board in February 2016. Bachher was the only person to receive an offer. Some obvious targets such as Chris Ailman — the powerhouse veteran CIO of California’s teachers’ retirement system — declined to pursue the job, says someone involved in the search, but this is typical.
 
“We interviewed five or six people and narrowed it down to two finalists: Jagdeep and another guy, more of a hard-core public equities investor type,” says Wachter, whose firm, Main Street Advisers, manages the personal fortunes of the celebrity elite, said to include LeBron James, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bono, and Jimmy Iovine. The committee took its time, Wachter says, and was pressured only to pick a successful CIO — not to name someone quickly or from UC’s alumni pool.

“I felt from the beginning that you never know when you hire someone, but he had very strong credentials from Canada,” Wachter remembers. “Clearly, Jagdeep was incredible on process; my concern was with the investing. So we interviewed a lot of people, and everybody said, ‘No, he’s a really good investor.’ ” UC’s hiring committee checked his references, and they checked out. The fact that Aimco’s leadership no longer desired a future with Bachher did not, apparently, come up.
 
Former Aimco CEO Leo de Bever oversaw both Bachher and Guimaraes throughout their formative years in Edmonton, from 2009 until they left for California in 2014. He praises Bachher’s early work as then-COO through Aimco’s chaotic stage, and his late-tenure management of the venture and innovation fund. “That was a really tough place to be, and he did a pretty decent job,” says his former boss. The problems arose in the middle. When de Bever put his COO in charge of a critical systems upgrade, Bachher’s “hierarchical” management style made true believers out of some people, Guimaraes included, and alienated others. “So I had to intervene toward the end and step in and make some quick shifts. That didn’t go over very well,” de Bever recalls.

Ultimately, “he was not asked to leave, [but] I think he saw the writing on the wall. If you’re alone and you’re not interacting with the rest of the team, your opportunity for advancement is probably going to be limited.” Still, de Bever says, “he did a tremendous job projecting an image in front of the board. The whole management team may have been in line with what I was trying to do” — consciously uncouple Aimco and Bachher — “but when he finally announced he was leaving, it caused me some grief. In other words, the notion was we should have kept him because he was a good guy. And I’m not saying he’s not a good guy. He’s a very bright guy in many, many ways. But when you run an organization of 350 people and you have the four or five senior managers on the technical and on the investment side, they all need to interact in a productive way, and that was very difficult.”

De Bever is reluctant to air criticisms of his former charge. He goes on the record grudgingly, and only for fact-checking.

“No one is 100 percent pure,” he says.

Flawlessly turned out in a royal-blue knit tie, a navy turban, and a slim suit, Jagdeep Bachher doesn’t want to give himself too much credit.

“My job is just to explain what the opportunity set is, but ultimately, I can’t make families move cities without them being compelled based on the opportunity and what it means for them,” he says of the investment supergroup that’s now splintering apart in downtown Oakland. “I wouldn’t necessarily take it as my recruiting ability. I’m not the one with $120 billion, right?”

Van Gelderen had helped oversee $530 billion at APG Asset Management, and took a pay cut to work for Bachher. “I just bought the story,” he admits. “That’s basically what it was. I thought, Well, let’s give it a try; it could be very interesting and a great experience. Turned out to be a very different experience.”

The theory Bachher pitched so successfully gave each senior player three dimensions to his or her role: product, asset class, and region. For van Gelderen that meant owning the $67 billion pension fund, the $55 billion public equities portfolio, and all of Europe. Any deal or decision crossing one of these axes was his to work on — in theory.
   
“At the end of the day, it is basically Jagdeep who has full control and full responsibility of every position,” van Gelderen explains. “We might have responsibilities on paper, but the reality is we don’t have any responsibilities at all. You could argue that Jagdeep discussed different positions with his senior leadership team, but I never felt empowered to make any decisions. I don’t think anyone in the senior leadership team felt differently. So what happens is everything moved up to Jagdeep, and he decided on everything.”

The stakes of unilateral decision-making became unsettlingly obvious last year, according to four senior investors serving at the time. Bachher decided to invest about $250 million with Main Street Advisors, the wealth management outfit run by ex–investment chair and Bachher backer Wachter. The deals broke no UC rules and had approval from the Office of the General Counsel, as Bachher stresses when asked about it.

Yet four senior investment experts, all fiduciaries for the University of California, say they opposed the move. At Bachher’s direction, UC channeled $20 million into a commingled fund and $220 million into a separate account focusing on real estate and private equity. Neither private equity head John Beil nor real estate chief Gloria Gil wanted Wachter’s funds in their portfolios, according to two of their co-workers at the time. The investment ended up floating in a mixed bucket for a year, before “getting forced on John Beil.” The problems, as per members of Bachher’s UC team: Main Street Advisors has only high-net-worth investors, it was a first-time fund, and it charges fees on committed capital instead of deployed. In summary, as one person puts it, it’s “run by a very successful investor and not an institutional product.”

“I respect Paul Wachter. I don’t want to malign him, and this isn’t his fault,” says a UC investor who was brought into the process late. “It was clear to me that it was not something we were interested in doing. We’re not interested in Cleveland, Ohio–type properties that are LeBron James’s friend or something. I know John Beil declined, even though I understand it’s going to be put in private equity now. I think this is one of those instances where Jagdeep really sold his power. He likes the power of saying, ‘We can invest with you.’ ” And they did.
 
Bachher contends that Gil and Beil never told him not to make the investments. But pressed to confirm that he had their buy-in, he declined to do so. “Look, ultimately, I am the chief investment officer, and on any investment we make it’s not likely we have a unanimous decision to proceed,” he explains.
 
Informed of the team members’ opposition to his funds, Wachter admits “it upsets me. Because I really love the UC, and I spent 12 years busting my ass for them. I did everything possible to make this as right as I could [as far as institutional due diligence], and I never had any indication that there was anyone objecting to it,” Wachter says. “I think that Jagdeep has a vision, which maybe his people don’t share or haven’t completely gotten around to yet. He really wants to expand the relationships at the UC beyond the traditional big private equity guys to, for example, working with family offices.” Throughout an hourlong conversation, during which the celebrity investor had a “conference room of people waiting,” Wachter circled back to the same belief. “I hope, in the end, we’ll prove him right.”

If hearing that his employees say he abuses power gave Bachher a moment’s pause, it wasn’t apparent during our interview.

Is it true, I asked, that staffer Bill Byrd personally grocery-shops for him and Arthur every Friday at Oakland’s farmer’s market on UC time, as six current and former team members assert? Does Arthur have data and analytics director Albert Yong ferry him and his family to and from the airport when they go on vacation and, on at least one occasion, take out the garbage at their house?

“Look, the farmers’ market is right here,” Bachher replies, unfazed and flexing that famous charm. “It’s a Friday ritual at our office. I don’t do groceries. I’m addicted to buying strawberries on Fridays, and I go religiously. Our companion is Bill Byrd. In fact, even if I forget — 99 percent of the time I’m in a meeting or doing something else — I’m usually dragged out, and he’s saying, ‘Hey, let’s go to the market to get strawberries.’ Look, when you have a family-type of organization and you’re friends, this is part of the culture, right? I have never felt that by going to the market with my colleagues to have lunch or buy strawberries is asking them to do chores for us, in all sincerity.”

What Bachher defends as familial culture, many of his employees past and present label a habitual abuse of power. These incidents also appear to violate UC’s standards of ethical conduct, which prohibit use of system resources, including “effort of university personnel,” for personal purposes, particularly if it conflicts with official duties, as witnesses say the errands do. As one former staffer says, “I remember I really needed some portfolio data, like now, and I’m trying to find the data guy” — Albert Yong — “then I’m told he’s driving Arthur to the airport? What?” 
 
“Albert Yong is extremely upset by the situation,” says another ex-member of the senior leadership. Yong, a Canadian, worked at Aimco with Guimaraes and Bachher, and moved with his wife to California when they recruited him to UC. “He was forced to take over Arthur’s lease, and when he said he couldn’t afford it, Arthur reminded him of the ‘great relocation package’ he’d negotiated for Albert,” the same investor recalls. (Yong did not respond to multiple attempts to reach him.) A co-worker observes that the data manager “spent a lot of time in and out of Jagdeep’s office” around the time of Bachher’s interview for this story, and suspects Yong was “interrogated” about leaking.

“A lot of things are asked of people against their will,” says the senior investor. Most people say no sooner or later, according to half a dozen inside accounts. But Yong feels his green card application is being leveraged to coerce him, so he capitulates to acting as errand boy, as several people recount from firsthand conversations.

Bachher denies this. “I don’t want to comment on Albert’s case — but the punchline is that it’s not up to me. We’re not in the business of hiring people illegally. We cannot promise a visa, and we never will.”

The same day Tom Fischer told the world he had quit and that co-workers would follow, Eduard van Gelderen got the phone call from Canada he’d been waiting for. An immigration lawyer for the C$153 billion Public Sector Pension Investment Board confirmed that he would be PSP’s next investment chief, pending a trip to Canada to secure his visa. Bachher was overseas, so van Gelderen informed Guimaraes of his resignation and emailed Bachher the details regarding PSP.

Word of his impending exit reached me the next day, but van Gelderen refused to say where he was headed after UC. Until he had a visa, he didn’t have a job.

Nevertheless, shortly before midnight July 12, Guimaraes emailed official comment for the story.

Eduard has informed us that PSP has offered him their CIO position and made all necessary work permit arrangements for him and his family to work and reside in Canada.

Eduard said “Given the job content, the organization and the positive side effects of being in Canada (Montreal) I have decided to accept their offer.”

We are excited that our talent from the University of California Office of the Chief Investment Officer is attractive to large US and Canadian asset owners in leadership roles. Over the last 4 years as people have done innovative things, we have even had 4 individuals leave to take on CIO title positions at endowments, family offices and pension plans in US and now Canada.

We will not be replacing Eduard’s role and his responsibilities will be assumed by internal teams.

We wish Eduard and his family the best and look forward to collaborate with him over the long term.

For a major institution to leak confidential information about another organization, and its own employee, is extraordinary. Van Gelderen’s quote came from his resignation email to Bachher, implying van Gelderen had been party to the release. Within moments, Guimaraes pinned the statement on his boss, as van Gelderen frantically tried to keep Institutional Investor from publishing it. By midnight the immigration lawyer, the CEO of PSP, and the editor-in-chief of II had all been roused to handle the chaos. II declined to publish the leaked information.
 
Van Gelderen was livid with Bachher. “I assume there’s a relationship of trust between an employer, Jagdeep, and an employee, myself,” he says. “So if I share very confidential information with him, the very last thing I expect is that he is going to put it in some kind of press release without telling me. It was a total surprise. My very first reaction was ‘Well, there is no trust between you and me anymore.’ I was very upset.” His new bosses at PSP were likewise shocked by the situation, he adds. PSP had meticulously managed the internal communications to inform the staff directly. “Suddenly they were confronted with this situation, where now our board members will actually read this in the papers. Not nice.”

Bachher insists it was an innocent mistake. “I figured the whole world knew. I’m sitting at a different part of the world here, right?” He says multiple people contacted him about the rumors and pointed out that van Gelderen had not marked his resignation email private and confidential. “If I would have known, of course, I wouldn’t have done that.”

Dutch-language trade publication Pensioen Pro eventually broke the PSP news the following week. Bachher “reported in his email to Pensioen Pro the new job of van Gelderen at the Canadian PSP,” the author says. The news editor who assigned the story “100 percent” confirms his reporter got the emailed PSP scoop at least two days after Bachher leaked it the first time.

If Bachher didn’t know it was confidential the first time around, he certainly did the second time.

Van Gelderen believes Bachher betrayed him for optics, to make UC’s second resignation in two days appear less damaging. “Clearly, it helped if he could have used the PSP name. And he probably knew that if he had asked me, I would have said no.”

Among the most common justifications for UC’s rampant turnover is that people have left for stellar jobs. Indeed, the quality of institutions eager to snap up UC’s talent attests to Bachher’s preternatural recruiting ability. But even that’s faltering.

As team members drop away, replacing them becomes more and more challenging. “It’s hard to recruit when your heart is not there and you want to leave,” says one senior staff member. “It’s hard to look someone in the eye and lie to them — to say, ‘You should come work here. It’s a good place.’”

But the people empowered to resolve the crisis are also the ones unable or unwilling to see that it exists, according to many team members current and former. “The board has no idea. They love him. But the market knows” who Bachher is, his employee says. “We all have to wait for the Regents to realize it.” 

Source: https://www.institutionalinvestor.com/article/b19v0909wkp8td/Crisis-at-Jagdeep-Bachher-s-University-of-California-Investment-Office
===
*It might be noted that this article is included in today's UCOP's Daily News Clips.