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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Remember Josh Rosen, the UCLA Football Player? Read on...

Here's something to contemplate while we await today's Regents meeting.

There has been much discussion and litigation relating to paying college athletes. Josh Rosen left UCLA before graduating and is - according to the article below - involved in crafting a route around current limitations.

Meet the California Lawyer Who Has a Plan to Pay College Athletes

Forget about Condi Rice. A relatively unknown lawyer has emerged with the backing of Arizona Cardinals rookie quarterback Josh Rosen to create a new system to pay NCAA players for their names and likeness.

By Roy Strom | July 17, 2018 at 06:15 PM | The American Lawyer law.com

Jeffrey Kessler. Condoleezza Rice. Tye Gonser? There are a lot of names involved in the debate around paying college athletes. This week, a new one was added to the list, even if it is one that most won’t recognize.

Gonser, a Southern California lawyer at a 10-lawyer corporate firm that bears his name, has put forth an idea endorsed by Arizona Cardinals rookie quarterback Josh Rosen to pay student-athletes for the use of their names and likenesses. The 39-page proposal is designed to protect the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s amateur model, while promoting graduation for student-athletes.

Slickly branded “Fairplay 4 NCAA,” Gonser’s proposal creates a nonprofit, “clearinghouse” entity that will work as a go-between for student-athletes and corporate sponsors. Upon entering college, athletes will have the choice to give the would-be clearinghouse the right to negotiate sponsorship deals on their behalf with certain brands.

The clearinghouse would cut deals with sponsors and hold the sponsorship money in accounts for athletes. The money would only be doled out to players who graduate from college within eight years. Money collected for athletes who don’t graduate would be given to a general scholarship fund that supports non-athletes’ tuition and other programs to promote college attendance in poverty-stricken neighborhoods.

The plan circumvents the need for college athletes to hire agents or interact with brands, both of which have been at the epicenter of many of the recent scandals involving student-athletes finding back doors to get paid. That was a key motivator for Gonser. A former college baseball player at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, Gonser previously worked as an in-house lawyer at a sports marketing agency and said he disliked the role money often played in recruiting athletes.

“As much as I understand about this business and this industry, I’m aware there is probably not a perfect solution, and by no means do I think this plan is perfect,” Gonser told The American Lawyer in a Tuesday interview. “Our whole goal is to present something that we think is relatively workable and can help move the conversation forward in a positive and productive manner, which we don’t think is happening to date.”

Talk of changing the NCAA’s amateur model has ramped up since last September, when the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York unveiled fraud and bribery indictments for 10 individuals working in college basketball, alleging a corruption scheme that involved coaches, agents and shoe company executives.

In response, the NCAA chartered a committee led by Rice, the former U.S. secretary of state, who put out a report in April that suggested abandoning the “one-and-done” rule forcing basketball players to attend at least one year of college before entering the annual National Basketball Association player draft. The proposal also suggested allowing more upfront interactions between college players and agents, as well as allowing those players to declare for the NBA draft and then come back to school.

The committee’s proposals were met with some criticism, mostly due to what some perceived as a muted stance toward compensating athletes for the use of their names and likenesses. Rice defended the report against that critique in a subsequent interview, saying there were pending legal challenges to the NCAA’s rules that would need to be cleared up before the commission could propose a model for how players would be paid.

“There is a legal framework that has to be determined, but name, image and likeness—athletes are going to have to be able to benefit from it,” Rice told USA Today.

The most pressing legal challenge on that front is being led by Winston & Strawn partner Jeffrey Kessler, a veteran litigator who also serves co-executive chairman of the firm.

That case, a multidistrict litigation being heard in the U.S. District Court for Northern District of California, is an antitrust challenge to the NCAA’s restriction on payments of athletes. The suit depicts the scholarship process as an unfair cap on wages; an issue set for a bench trial later this year before U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, which NCAA tax records show received nearly $5.9 million from the registered nonprofit in 2015-16, is representing the organization in that case. (Former White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler, now co-chair of the white-collar defense and investigations practice at Latham & Watkins, which received nearly $7.3 million from the NCAA in 2015-16, is a member of the NCAA committee on basketball reform.)

Gonser said that suit before Wilken may threaten the NCAA’s longtime amateur model and encourage some schools not to offer scholarship-level sports.

“I think they could frankly win, but it would also ruin college sports,” Gonser said. “A lot of the best institutions in the country would probably say they won’t do it, and they’ll just have club sports.”

Gonser said his plan could be easier for the NCAA to swallow because it would benefit all parties involved: the NCAA, schools and players. The revenues Gonser envisions his system bringing about could be from a rebirth of college video games and from individual licensing deals for stars.

That money would be split up differently depending on the type of sponsorship deal. For broad group licensing agreements, a “player pool” of all the players of any sport would receive 50 percent of the revenue; the clearinghouse takes 25 percent; the NCAA gets 15 percent; and the general scholarship fund gets 10 percent. Individual deals send 50 percent of the money to the individual athlete; 25 percent to the clearinghouse; 10 percent to the NCAA; 10 percent to the player pool; and 10 percent to the scholarship fund.

Gonser said he went public with the proposal after finding hesitation among the NCAA’s vested interests to his pitch through more regular channels. He said he had spoken with athletic directors in four of the five collegiate power conferences. They were interested in the idea, but none were supportive enough to sponsor it as a legitimate challenge to current NCAA rules. Gonser now hopes public support and pressure may motivate them to act.

“It just feels like nobody wants to be the person who stands up first in that world and be the champion behind it, which I understand,” Gonser said. “Unfortunately, the NCAA tends to be a very reactive institution.”

Gonser said he worked on his proposal on Sundays when he wasn’t doing his typical legal work: representing business owners who often happen to be professional athletes. Frustrated at the slow pace of his proposal, he hired an intern, then-University of Southern California Gould School of Law student Bryan Bitzer, who is set to take a first-year lawyer job at Los Angeles-based Weinberg Gonser in August.

As for Rosen’s involvement, Gonser said he was introduced to the former University of California, Los Angeles star when Rosen was a freshman at the school. Gonser’s office is close to the UCLA campus and he said he became something of a mentor to the controversial Rosen.

The two men began talking early last year about challenges to the NCAA amateur model, possibly sparked by a decision Rosen had to make: whether to forego his senior year at UCLA or become eligible for the NFL draft. The Cardinals eventually drafted Rosen with the 10th overall selection in late April. Had Gonser’s system been in place during Rosen’s college career, Gonser said the star quarterback may have stayed for his senior year.

“He’s wildly intelligent,” Gonser said. “But what really drew me to him as we built a relationship was that he really cares about people and social issues in a way that I don’t see many people in general do; especially not 20-year-olds.”

Source: https://www.law.com/americanlawyer/2018/07/17/meet-the-california-lawyer-who-has-a-plan-to-pay-college-athletes/

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Empty Seats

Entering its final meeting of the summer, the UC Board of Regents will have had five vacancies for about three months, after two term-outs, two resignations and one death.

Usually, there are only two vacancies, which are due to regents reaching the end of their terms, according to Student Regent Devon Graves, and this year was former regents William De La Peña and Bruce Varner’s turn. The death of Bonnie Reiss earlier this year and the resignations of Norman Pattiz and Monica Lozano have raised the number of vacancies up to five, the highest since 2013.

“We have to look at the positive side, that there are going to be five new regents,” Graves said. “It is an opportunity to bring in new perspectives.”

There is no strict timeline for when the governor must appoint regents for their 12-year terms, but Gov. Jerry Brown met with an advisory committee in April — the first time a governor had met with the committee in 17 years — to help him choose new regents.

No appointments have been announced as of press time, and there are no appointments on this week’s Board of Regents meeting agenda...

Full story at http://www.dailycal.org/2018/07/17/uc-board-regents-enter-3rd-meeting-5-vacancies/

Monday, July 16, 2018

Rollback

The University of California Regents will vote on a $60 undergraduate tuition rollback at their upcoming meeting on July 19.
The $60 undergraduate tuition surcharge was originally added in 2007 as a result of the UC system losing two class action lawsuits. After the UC system increased fees for professional students in 2003 despite their contracts stating there would be no increases, the UC system was made to pay $40 million in settlements. According to the July 19 meeting proposal, all of the losses from the lawsuits will be recovered by Fall 2018, so there is no longer a need for the fee...

How do you feel about that? - Part 2

We now learn how the Bruin editorial board feels about the new campus climate phone app:*

UCLA’s approach to assessing campus climate seems to consist of little more than Venn diagrams and an iPhone X.
The Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion’s research and development branch, BruinX, recently finished beta testing a mobile app aimed at better gauging campus climate. The app, BruinXperience, will roll out in fall quarter and remind students to complete a survey every two weeks, so as to give frequent data to researchers.
The goal is ambitious and the intent admirable. But the app’s faulty design fails to take into consideration the students it will survey, and only further highlights how detached the administration has become from the campus community.
In order for any conclusions to be meaningful, the app will depend on regular engagement from a large number of students. But UCLA has done little to motivate participation beyond raffling off a new iPhone X.
Such lazy methods of engagement demonstrate how little administrators know about their students. UCLA professors and teaching assistants are barely able to persuade students to fill out just one end-of-the-quarter evaluation, sometimes even when they factor it into students’ grades. A slim chance at winning a new smartphone is unlikely to encourage regular participation from students.
Administrators have said the new app is not meant to replace any current structure for surveying campus climate, and act as a source for additional data the university can base decisions off.
But it doesn’t take an expert in statistics to recognize the glaring holes in their approach. By not controlling for the demographics of students who they actually gather data from and relying on voluntary participation, administrators could wind up with a pool of participants that isn’t representative of the campus as a whole.
For starters, the survey answers would suffer from volunteer bias, where answers would be skewed in a particular fashion given the subset of students who would bother to answer are either curious students or those in tune with the administration’s plans.
Moreover, the app stands to give little insightful data at all. Its current format involves answering merely two simple questions. The first one presents the user with six Venn diagrams to choose from to show how synced with the UCLA community they feel. The next question asks the user to explain their choice for the first question.
This approach to getting the campus’ pulse is laughable. Just asking students how much they feel part of the university community is unlikely to elicit useful information about campus climate, especially when asked in such a simplistic format. On top of that, it does little to probe into the discord the campus faces when controversial events take place, be they the inviting of alt-right speakers or divisive student government elections – events the administration should seek to understand through a data-driven approach, not through having students choose between low-quality blue and yellow pictures on an app.
There’s certainly potential if UCLA takes a more active approach in reaching out to a representative group of students on a regular basis and catering questions to their personal experiences.
But implementing an effective program would require administrators to realize students are more than just individuals who would mindlessly fill out a survey every two weeks for a chance to win an iPhone X. Rather, students are a complex population with varying experiences and viewpoints on the campus.
BruinXperience’s data would at least prove that much.
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Sunday, July 15, 2018

Data on Out-of-State and International Students

[Click on table to enlarge]
An item for the upcoming Regents meeting this week contains data on out-of-state and international students. You can see two tables, above and below.
[Click on table to enlarge]
Source: http://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/regmeet/july18/a4.pdf

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Our Salute

Prof. Kleinrock
We always like to salute successful fundraising that doesn't involve tearing down buildings to put up new ones and that focuses on research and teaching. Here is one such effort:

A $5 million gift to the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering in honor of internet pioneer Leonard Kleinrock will establish a new center devoted to shaping the future of the internet and computer networking. The gift from Sunday Group Inc., a Las Vegas-based software company specializing in blockchain technology, will create the UCLA Connection Lab.

Kleinrock, a UCLA distinguished professor of computer science who established the underpinning framework of the internet in the 1960s, will lead the new center.

The Connection Lab will foster interdisciplinary research on a range of technologies, such as blockchain (secure records of digital transactions), computer networks, big data, artificial intelligence, machine learning and the “internet of things.” It will draw inspiration from the school’s foundational role as the birthplace of the internet.

The gift will provide resources to recruit and retain top faculty at the lab and will support research conducted by undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. It also will facilitate startups by seeding priority research and connecting members of the lab with industry and government leaders.

“It’s impossible today to consider a world without the internet — this global nervous system plays a major role in every facet of modern society — but indeed that’s where we were before Professor Kleinrock and his team laid the first cornerstone of this network of networks at UCLA,” said James Pack, a director and co-founder of Sunday Group. “Nearly 50 years after that landmark work, we are very excited to see UCLA continue its lead role in the study of emerging connections technologies.”

While a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the early 1960s, Kleinrock created the mathematical theory of packet switching, which allows different computers to communicate with each other. Five years later, as a UCLA professor, he was asked by the Advanced Research Projects Agency (which later become Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA) to put his theory into practice.

Kleinrock, with a team of select graduate students and others, then launched the network now known as the internet. At 10:30 p.m. on Oct. 29, 1969, the first message on the network was sent from his UCLA laboratory to Stanford Research Institute. Now known as one of the fathers of the internet, Kleinrock has been recognized with many distinguished international honors for his work, including the National Medal of Science, the United States’ highest honor for achievement in the sciences. 

“The UCLA Connection Lab is designed to provide an environment that will foster advanced research in innovative technologies at the forefront of all things regarding connectivity and will deliver the benefits from that research to society globally,” Kleinrock said. “The lab’s broad-based agenda will enable faculty, students and visitors to pursue research challenges of their own choosing, without externally imposed constraints on scope or risk.”

The gift will also enhance the Internet Experience, a permanent exhibition that is open to the public. After a renovation, the center — which is located in in 3420 Boelter Hall, the site of Kleinrock’s research laboratory in the 1960s — will tell the story of the internet’s evolution through new exhibits, interactive displays and a virtual reality experience that will be accessible online, around the world.

“Simply put, Professor Kleinrock’s work was essential in giving the world the internet, which has revolutionized our lives,” said Todd Mitsuishi, CEO and co-founder of Sunday Group. “The creation of the UCLA Connection Lab will play an important role in continuing his legacy, and Sunday Group is honored and proud to play a small part in this endeavor.”

Jayathi Murthy, the Ronald and Valerie Sugar Dean of Engineering, said, “I want to thank the Sunday Group for their visionary support​ of​ UCLA​, and of Professor Kleinrock’s exploration ​of ​what the internet can and should be. Len’s leadership ​brings​ an unmatched level of knowledge and scholarship ​to ​this important endeavor. The UCLA Connection Lab will ​help ensure the continued excellence of ​our research enterprise for years to come.”

The gift is part of the $4.2 billion UCLA Centennial Campaign, which is scheduled to conclude in December 2019 during UCLA’s 100th anniversary year. The gift also moves UCLA Samueli Engineering closer to its own campaign goal of $250 million.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Slow Times - Part 2

Another slow news day for UC. So we will show you the progress being made on the addition to the Anderson School, as we did about a week ago:
https://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2018/07/slow-times.html
Looks like another story of steel framework has been added.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

UCLA Admissions

The demographics of UCLA admissions can be seen on the table below:
[Click on table to enlarge]
Source: https://ucop.edu/institutional-research-academic-planning/_files/factsheets/2018/admissions/california-freshman-admissions-by-campus-and-race-ethnicity.pdf

UC Admissions

UC admissions rise, with record surge in transfers

UC Office of the President, Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The University of California announced today (July 11) that it has offered nearly 137,000 students a spot on at least one of its nine undergraduate campuses this fall, including more than 28,750 transfer applicants, the highest number in the history of the university.

California residents make up the vast majority of those admitted, 71,086 as freshmen and 24,568 as transfer students. Overall, this represents 1,114 more California freshmen and 1,851 more California transfers than were admitted last year. Almost all of the transfers were from the California Community Colleges.

“After reviewing yet another record-breaking number of applications, our campuses have offered admission to an exceptionally talented group of students for the upcoming academic year,” said UC President Janet Napolitano. “With the benefit of a UC education, these accomplished young people from different backgrounds, with diverse beliefs and aspirations, will make California and the world a better place. We look forward to having them at the university.”

More California undergraduates are currently enrolled at UC than at any point in its history, and after last year’s enrollment jump of some 5,000 California students, the university anticipates it will have far surpassed its goal of adding an additional 10,000 Californians by the 2018-19 academic year. Total three-year growth is estimated to be an additional 15,000 California resident undergraduates.

As part of the university’s effort to effectively manage enrollment growth, this year not every campus increased its admissions offers over last year. Based on preliminary reports of students’ intention to register, however, indications are that the number of new California freshman and transfer students who will enroll at UC in the fall, what is known as “yield,” will increase by more than 3,000 over 2017.

In keeping with the recently enacted caps on nonresident enrollment at all of the campuses, 17,863 domestic and 19,069 international freshmen were also offered admission for the fall. Nonresident students typically accept UC admissions offers at a much lower rate than do Californians.

“University admissions is part science, part art and part experience,” said Vice President for Student Affairs Robin Holmes-Sullivan. “High admissions numbers don’t automatically translate to high enrollment. The data we have available today give us great confidence in predicting that our actual fall enrollment will exceed our goal. We are gratified that so many of these top-notch, motivated students are eager to attend UC.”

The preliminary admissions numbers show increases in offers to students from historically underrepresented groups and among California freshmen and transfers who would be the first in their families to graduate from a four-year college, with first-generation students comprising 46 percent of the total.

Among freshman applicants, Asian American students remained the largest ethnic group admitted at 36 percent, followed by Latinos at 33 percent, whites at 22 percent and African Americans at 5 percent. American Indians, Pacific Islanders and applicants who did not report a race or ethnicity made up the remainder of admitted students.

Admission of California Community College transfer students grew by 8 percent over fall 2017, and is in keeping with UC’s goal of enrolling one new California resident transfer student for every two new California resident freshmen.

UC’s current transfer student enrollment is at an all-time high and will likely continue to grow. UC recently announced a plan to guarantee transfers to a UC campus for students who achieve the requisite GPA and complete one of 21 “pathways,” or prerequisite classes for the most popular UC majors. These guarantees will be in place for students beginning community college in fall 2019.

This year’s proportion of transfer students who were admitted from historically underrepresented groups jumped to 38 percent. Latino students were the largest ethnic group at just under 32 percent, followed closely by white students at 31 percent and Asian Americans at 27 percent. African Americans represented 6 percent of the admitted transfer students, while American Indians and Pacific Islanders made up less than 1 percent of the admitted transfer students.

The preliminary data released today includes applicants admitted from waitlists and through the referral pool. The data tables, which include campus-specific information for both freshmen and transfers, may be accessed here: https://www.ucop.edu/institutional-research-academic-planning/content-analysis/ug-admissions/ug-pages/2018-admissions.html

Source: https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/press-room/uc-admissions-rise-record-surge-transfers

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Final State Cash Report for 2017-18

The state controller has released the cash report for the past fiscal year 2017-18. There is good news and bad news. The good news is that revenues were up about $1.5 billion relative to the projections made in June 2017 (when the 2017-18 budget was enacted). The bad news is that the extra money came mainly from the personal income tax (which probably means a big capital gains component) and the corporate tax (profits). Sales tax revenue - which is a proxy for consumption and much of the economic activity of the state came in below budget projections and, indeed, below last year's figure. So the good revenue news was likely from the most volatile component of revenue that can drop off precipitously in any kind of downturn.
Of course, there is no sign of a downturn currently, despite the turmoil about tariffs and such. And the state has access not only to its official general fund reserves - including the governor's rainy day fund - but also to cash sitting in other accounts of the state outside the general fund. So-called unused borrowable reserves are close to $40 billion, which is a significant cushion.
You can find the controller's report at:
https://www.sco.ca.gov/Files-ARD/CASH/June_2018_Statement_of_General_Fund_Cash_Receipts_and_Disbursements.pdf. (Look at the tables on the "B" pages for comparisons with last year's budget projections.)

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The West LA VA campus

LAist, the revived web info source, has a lengthy article about the Westwood VA's current status at:
http://www.laist.com/2018/07/10/everything_you_need_to_know_about_the_massive_decaying_west_la_va_campus_--_and_the_plan_to_fix_it.php

How do you feel about that?

From the BruinUCLA researchers will launch a new app that aims to better understand the campus climate, which includes a variety of factors that contribute to students’ experience at UCLA.

BruinX, the research and development branch of the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, finished beta testing their new app, BruinXperience, last month. UCLA undergraduate and graduate students can start using the app fall quarter.
The app will remind students every two weeks to complete a two-item survey which asks them to select a picture that best describes how they feel at that moment, then provides a text box for them to explain their choice.
Carli Straight, a research scientist for BruinX, said collecting survey responses more frequently will be advantageous because students can remember recent personal events more accurately.
Data can also be collected in closer proximity to specific events to observe how opinions change before and after the event.
She added that the app allows students to directly tell administrative officials about what affects their experience on campus.
“We not only ask students to report how they feel but why they feel the way they do, giving them the platform to tell us, in their own words, what affects them,” Straight said.
Lauren Ilano, a research analyst at Student Affairs Information and Research Office, said she thinks collecting data more frequently could help improve programs that use campus climate data.
“Having more campus climate data collected at closer intervals could potentially help departments make adjustments to their programming,” Ilano said. “Campus climate issues are extremely important and having more regular data is one way to assess initiatives in real time.”
Lena Nguyen, a rising second-year political science and pre-communication student, said she thinks BruinXperience will make the campus climate survey process more convenient for students.
“(Past campus climate surveys) just never came up,” Nguyen said. “But I would do it if I saw it online or on my phone because it’s faster.”
Straight also said that BruinXperience will not replace existing survey infrastructure, which includes traditional, more in-depth quarterly surveys.
“Information collected from both short-interval and annual surveys will contribute to a more complete understanding of students’ perceptions of campus climate,” she said.

Renewal

The "library room" in the Faculty Center seems to be getting a renewal. Or at least a new paint job.

Monday, July 9, 2018

LAO Budget Summary

[Click on chart above to enlarge]
The Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) has provided the chart above as a summary of the recently enacted and signed 2018-19 budget for UC.

Full discussion of higher ed in the budget is at:
http://lao.ca.gov/Publications/Report/3870/5

New Regents Student Advisor

UC Berkeley student Edward Huang selected as student advisor to UC regents, plans to bring STEM perspective

By Ryan Geller | Daily Cal | 7-9-18

Edward Huang, a rising UC Berkeley senior and applied mathematics major, has been vetted and selected by students, UC administrators and regents to be the 2018-19 student advisor to the UC Board of Regents.

The student advisor position is intended to broaden student representation on the Board of Regents by providing a perspective relevant to communities that are not already represented by the student regent, who is the only voting student member of the board. The position, which has only existed for one year, will be reviewed after Huang’s term to determine whether the program should continue.

“I was a little surprised that they chose someone with more of a STEM background than a public policy background,” Huang said.

Huang has served as both treasurer and vice president of the Cal Hiking and Outdoor Society, or CHAOS. He is also involved with Berkeley Student Cooperative, where he began serving as maintenance manager of Davis House in spring 2018.

Rafael Sands, a recently graduated business economics and political science student from UCLA, was the first to serve as student advisor and said advisory positions such as this require relationship-building and communication skills, which can be subtle and highly detailed. Sands was part of the selection committee that chose Huang as his successor.

“Edward is a very good listener; he knows when to speak and how to speak, and he is very inquisitive,” Sands said. “Knowing how to use your voice effectively is so important. This is a unique position that has a lot (of) power if you can use your voice in the right way.”

As a STEM major, Huang said in an email that he gravitates toward quantitative analysis when looking at policy issues. He added that the scientific process is a reliable methodology because it forces people to question how they know what they know and to only use information that has an evidentiary basis — a method of thought he plans to use in the advisory process.

Huang said his involvement with CHAOS gave him administrative experience, as he made decisions that took into account up to 1,000 members. The club is about building community, having fun and reducing stress, according to Huang, as well as good stewardship exemplified by wilderness practices such as “leave no trace.”

Student Regent Devon Graves said he agrees with Sands in that although there is only one voting student member on the board, the positions are about access to information and communicating with board members.

“Students are the best messengers for communicating advocacy needs,” Graves said.

Graves also said Sands established the position’s value by building student advocacy at the state and federal level, and that joint advocacy between students, the student regent and the student advisor played a role in this year’s increased state funding and prevented an in-state tuition increase.

“I am really excited to be a part of this collaborative decision-making process, and I hope that I can increase student representation on the board,” Huang said. “I know there will be many difficult decisions this year, and I am prepared to make those decisions for the benefit of the school community.”

Source: http://www.dailycal.org/2018/07/09/uc-berkeley-student-edward-huang-selected-student-advisor-uc-regents-plans-bring-stem-perspective/

Retiree Health? Not So Far - Part 2

In an earlier post, we noted that although the upcoming Regents meeting was supposed to have a proposal for modifying (cutting back) retiree health, no such item has appeared on the Regents' preliminary agenda.*

"Sources" now say that it is unlikely such an agenda item will be added and that more consultation will go on before any such proposal is put forward to the Regents.

We will continue to track the July Regents' agenda for any late additions.
===
*http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2018/07/retiree-health-not-so-far.html

Sunday, July 8, 2018

UCLA History: The Visit

(We may have posted this photo in the past, but years ago, if so.)

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Retiree Health? Not So Far

A preliminary version of the upcoming Regents meeting is now on the web. At one time, it was said that at the July meeting there would be proposals for, or some kind of discussion of, modifications of retiree health. So far, however, there is no sign of it on the agenda. Below, for example, is the agenda of the Governance and Compensation Committee as of today, presumably where such modifications would be taken up. (Possibly, more items could be added.)

NOTICE OF MEETING
The Regents of the University of California
GOVERNANCE AND COMPENSATION COMMITTEE
Date: July 18, 2018
Time: 9:15 a.m. Location: Robertson Auditorium
UCSF–Mission Bay Conference Center
1675 Owens Street, San Francisco

Agenda – Open Session

Action: Approval of the Minutes of the Meeting of May 23, 2018

G1 Action: Technical Amendments of Standing Order 105.1, Organization of the Academic Senate, and Bylaw 40.3, Special Provisions Concerning Faculty; and Rescission of Standing Order 103.10, Security of Employment, concerning Senate Membership for Lecturers with Potential for Security of Employment and Lecturers and Senior Lecturers with Security of Employment

G2 Action: Establishment of a New Senior Management Group Level Two Position, Vice Chancellor for Strategic Communications, Los Angeles Campus, and the Corresponding Market Reference Zone for the Position

G3 Discussion: Annual Reports on Compensated and Uncompensated Outside Professional Activities for Calendar Year 2017, and Semi-Annual Report on Outside Professional Activities Approved between December 1, 2017 and May 31, 2018

G4 Discussion: Committee Priorities and Items for the Upcoming Year

Committee membership: Regents Blum, Elliott, Lansing, Ortiz Oakley (Vice Chair), Makarechian, Pérez, Sherman (Chair), and Zettel; Ex officio members Brown, Kieffer, and Napolitano

Source: http://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/regmeet/july18/gov.pdf

UCLA History: Origins of the Faculty Center

The building shown above is not quite what was eventually constructed, nor is it just for men. Dean McHenry, whose signature appears on the document, went on to be chancellor at UC-Santa Cruz where he was deemed to be at fault: (click on the link below)

===
By the way, if you are a member, you should have received the following notification:

Board of Governors Elections
Members of the Faculty Center Association

Dear Colleagues: 

We are voting to fill the office of President-elect and two Member-at-large seats on the Board of Governors.  We hope you will read carefully the biographical statements submitted by the candidates and will participate in this important election (link to candidates' statements).*  The Faculty Center has a new unparalleled opportunity to make major improvements to our facility while enhancing our business and making this the central home for all UCLA faculty, staff and affiliates. 

Based on responses to the Call for Nominations issued in April, the Nominations and Election Committee’s slate is as follows:

President-Elect:

Julie Kwan, Librarian Emerita

Members-at-large (2 vacancies)
You may vote for 2 candidates, including write-ins

Caroline A. Streeter
Associate Professor, English & African American Studies 

Benjamin Zuckerman
Professor & Research Professor, Physics & Astronomy
===

The voting process is a mail-in procedure.  Your official ballot will be mailed to you shortly. Please let us know if you do not receive your official ballot in the mail. Your ballot must be postmarked or returned to the Faculty Center drop-box no later than Monday, July 30, 2018 (extended from the July 23 deadline announced in the Faculty Center Newsletter).

Sincerely,
Kathleen McHugh
Chair, Nominations & Elections Committee
President-Elect, 2017-18
===
*http://facultycenter.ucla.edu/getmedia/29020f6f-912d-4b20-a433-32aca4d901a2/2018-19_FC_REV_Candidate_Bios_(1).aspx

Friday, July 6, 2018

Unfolding Story

From the LA Times: Aerospace giant Northrop Grumman Corp. said it is taking “immediate action” to look into a report that one of its engineers is part of a white nationalist group and was involved in violent brawls during last year’s Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va. Investigative news outlet ProPublica and PBS documentary program “Frontline” identified Michael Miselis, 29, as a member of the Rise Above Movement, which they described as a Southern California group that “expresses contempt for Muslims, Jews and immigrants.” The Southern Poverty Law Center civil rights group describes the Rise Above Movement as a hate group, and categorizes it specifically as a white nationalist group...

Miselis could not immediately be reached for comment by The Times. When approached by ProPublica and “Frontline” in front of his home in Lawndale, Miselis said he “didn’t know anything” about what happened in Charlottesville and told the outlets, “I think you got the wrong guy.”...

Miselis is also a doctoral candidate in UCLA’s aerospace engineering program, according to ProPublica and “Frontline.” UCLA confirmed that, but said in a statement that he did not register for the spring or fall 2018 terms. “The allegations made in the ProPublica story are serious, and UCLA is reviewing them,” the university said in the statement...

Full story at http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-northrop-employee-20180705-story.html

Note: It's not clear that UCLA - as a public institution unlike Northrup-Grumman - can do more than "review" the matter and issue some kind of statement. Example from the past:
https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2015/12/21/ucla-condemns-anti-semitic-facebook-post

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Slow Times

Not a lot happens at the university at this time of year, particularly in a week split by the July 4th holiday. However, we can show you the progress being made in constructing the new building at Anderson (as of Monday). As folks in neighboring buildings can attest, parking has been obstructed in an around the parking structure involved.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Just be careful about what kind of train you select

NEW UNIVERSITY RULES ENCOURAGE SCIENTISTS TO AVOID AIR TRAVEL

Wired, 7-3-18

...Depending on the fuel and other considerations, planes might emit from double to six times the amount of carbon dioxide per kilometer traveled per passenger compared to trains; the ratios are even higher when it comes to other climate consequences from flights, like aerosols.

...This January, both the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Maryland announced plans to charge departments a mitigation fee for each of the thousands of business trips taken by their faculty and staff. And three weeks ago, Ghent University in Belgium banned reimbursements for plane travel to any location within a six-hour train ride, effectively prohibiting those flights...

Alternatively, the goal of some policies, like the one at UCLA, is not expressly to reduce total flights. Instead, administrators at that university seek to mitigate flight emissions through flat fees: $9 per domestic flight and $25 per international flight, taken out of the relevant department’s budget. It’s a low enough price that researchers can continue their travel-dependent work, while contributing somewhat toward carbon offsets. The fees will go toward emissions-reducing projects on the UCLA campus, such as energy retrofitting or solar panels—although the energy savings are unlikely to fully offset flights’ carbon emissions. UCLA’s Renee Fortier and David Karwaski, both instrumental in implementing the policy, predict the fees will add up to about $250,000 the first year... 

Full article at https://www.wired.com/story/climate-scientists-take-the-train

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

The Prop 209 Defense

After Regent Ward Connerly and Gov. Pete Wilson had the Regents enact an anti-affirmative action admissions policy for UC, they got California voters to pass Prop 209 in 1996 which embedded the policy into the state constitution. UC now might ironically use 209 as a defense against charges of reverse discrimination, quotas, etc., since it insists its policies comply with 209 and have done so for a long time. That issue may now come up as the Trump administration challenges affirmative action. See the article below:

Trump Administration Reverses Obama on Affirmative Action

By Erica L. Green, Matt Apuzzo and Katie Benner, July 3, 2018, NY Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/03/us/politics/trump-affirmative-action-race-schools.html

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration will encourage the nation’s school superintendents and college presidents to adopt race-blind admissions standards, abandoning an Obama administration policy that called on universities to consider race as a factor in diversifying their campuses, Trump administration officials said.

The reversal would restore the policy set during President George W. Bush’s administration, when officials told schools that it “strongly encourages the use of race-neutral methods” for admitting students to college or assigning them to elementary and secondary schools.

Last November, Attorney General Jeff Sessions asked the Justice Department to re-evaluate past policies that he believed pushed the department to act beyond what the law, the Constitution and the Supreme Court had required, Devin M. O’Malley, a Justice Department spokesman said. As part of that process, the Justice Department rescinded seven policy guidances from the Education Department’s civil rights division on Tuesday.

“The executive branch cannot circumvent Congress or the courts by creating guidance that goes beyond the law and — in some instances — stays on the books for decades,” said Devin M. O’Malley, a spokesman for the Justice Department.

The Supreme Court has steadily narrowed the ways that schools can consider race when trying to diversify their student bodies. But it has not banned the practice.

Now, affirmative action is at a crossroads. The Trump administration is moving against any use of race as a measurement of diversity in education. And the retirement of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy at the end of this month will leave the court without its swing vote on affirmative action and allow President Trump to nominate a justice opposed to a policy that for decades has tried to integrate elite educational institutions.

A highly anticipated case is pitting Harvard against Asian-American students who say one of the nation’s most prestigious institutions has systematically excluded some Asian-American applicants to maintain slots for students of other races. That case is clearly aimed at the Supreme Court.

“The whole issue of using race in education is being looked at with a new eye in light of the fact that it’s not just white students being discriminated against, but Asians and others as well,” said Roger Clegg, president and general counsel of the conservative Center for Equal Opportunity. “As the demographics of the country change, it becomes more and more problematic.”

The Obama administration believed that students benefit from being surrounded by diverse classmates, so in 2011, the administration offered schools a potential road map to establishing affirmative action policies that could withstand legal scrutiny.

In a pair of policy guidance documents, the Education and Justice departments told elementary and secondary schools and college campuses to use “the compelling interests” established by the court to achieve diversity. They concluded that the Supreme Court “has made clear such steps can include taking account of the race of individual students in a narrowly tailored manner.”

It reaffirmed its view in 2016 after a Supreme Court ruling that said that schools could consider race as one factor among many.

In that case, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, a white woman claimed she was denied admission because of her race, in part because the university had a program that admitted significant numbers of minorities who ranked in the top 10 percent of their class.

“It remains an enduring challenge to our nation’s education system to reconcile the pursuit of diversity with the constitutional promise of equal treatment and dignity,” Justice Kennedy wrote for the 4-3 majority.

The Trump administration’s plan would scrap the existing policies and encourage schools not to consider race at all. The new policy would not have the force of law, but it amounts to the official view of the federal government. School officials who keep their admissions policies intact would do so knowing that they could face a Justice Department investigation or lawsuit, or lose federal funding from the Education Department.

A senior Justice Department official pushed back against the idea that these decisions are not about rolling back protections for minorities. He said they are hewing the department closer to the letter of the law.

He noted that rolling back guidance is not the same thing as a change of law, so that the decision to rescind technically would not have a legal effect on how the government defends or challenges affirmative-action related issues.

The move comes at a moment when conservatives see an opportunity to dismantle affirmative action.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said his prosecutors will investigate and sue universities over discriminatory admissions policies. And the conservative-backed lawsuit against Harvard is being pushed by the same group, the Project on Fair Representation, that pressed Fisher.

Anurima Bhargava, who headed civil rights enforcement in schools for the Justice Department under President Barack Obama and co-authored the Obama-era guidance, said that the policy withdrawal was timed for brief filings in the Harvard litigation, due at the end of the month.

“This is a wholly political attack,” Ms. Bhargava said. “And our schools are the place where our communities come together, so our schools have to continue to promote diversity and address segregation, as the U.S. Constitution demands.”

“It’s part of a broader conservative effort to undermine affirmative action,” said Samuel Bagenstos, a University of Michigan law professor and former Justice Department civil rights lawyer. “It’s something Republican administrations have been doing since Reagan.”

On Friday, the Education Department began laying the groundwork for the guidance decision. It restored on its civil rights website the Bush-era guidance, which had been shuttered by the Obama administration, signaling a shift of the Education Department’s stance on affirmative action, according to a person with knowledge of the decision.

A spokeswoman for the Education Department did not respond to repeated inquiries for comment.

But the policy shift comes as no surprise to civil rights advocates, who say it is only the latest measure by the Trump administration to dismantle policies aimed at protecting children and minority communities.

“There’s no reason to rethink or reconsider this, as the Supreme Court is the highest court in the land and has spoken on this issue,” said Catherine Lhamon, the former head of the department’s office for civil rights under Obama. “The Supreme Court has been unequivocal about the value of diversity and the core of achieving it, because it reflects the America. To retreat from those principles is damaging to the fabric of our country and to our students’ learning.”

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos actually has seemed hesitant to wade in on the fate of affirmative action policies that date back to a 57-year-old executive order by President John F. Kennedy, who recognized systemic and discriminatory disadvantages for women and minorities.

The Education Department did not join the Justice Department in formally intervening in Harvard’s litigation.

“I think this has been a question before the courts and the courts have opined,” Ms. DeVos told The Associated Press. “I think the bottom line here is that we want an environment where all students have an opportunity, an equal opportunity to get a great education.”

But Ms. DeVos’s new head of civil rights may disagree.

Kenneth L. Marcus, who was  confirmed last month in a party-line Senate vote, has been vocal in opposing affirmative action. Since his nomination, dozens of civil rights groups have raised alarms about Mr. Marcus’ record.

Under Mr. Marcus’ leadership as founder and president of The Louis D. Brandeis Center, a human rights organization that champions Jewish causes, the organization filed an amicus brief in 2012, the first time the Supreme Court heard the Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin. In the brief, the organization argued that “race conscious admission standards are unfair to individuals, and unhealthy for society at large.”

The organization argued that Asian-American students were particularly victimized by race “quotas,” that were once used to exclude Jewish people.

Conservative advocacy groups see the resurrection of the Bush-era guidance by the Education Department as a promising sign. Mr. Clegg of the Center for Equal Opportunity, said the Justice Department preserving the Obama-era guidance would be akin to “the F.B.I. issuing a document on how you can engage in racial profiling in a way where you won’t get caught.”

As the implications for affirmative action for college admissions plays out in court, it is unclear what the decision holds for elementary and secondary schools. New York City is embroiled in a debate about whether to change entrance criteria — currently a single test — into its most elite and prestigious high schools to allow for small increases in black and Latino students.

Speech Settlement

UC Berkeley settles conservative students’ free-speech lawsuit

Nanette Asimov   July 2, 2018   San Francisco Chronicle

UC Berkeley will make it easier for campus clubs of all kinds to operate on campus under a legal settlement with conservative students announced Monday.

The campus chapter of a national conservative group, Young Americans for Liberty, had accused UC Berkeley of violating its members’ free-speech rights and sued the University of California in federal court in December.

The case arose after the group applied for formal recognition on campus, which would grant it a portion of campus fees and the right to sponsor guest speakers. Campus officials told Young Americans for Liberty that they would first have to meet with another group, Cal Libertarians, to discuss a possible merger because the two had similar ideological viewpoints.

Young Americans for Liberty refused and took the university to court. They argued that the campus had recognized many liberal student groups whose missions appeared to overlap: Cal Berkeley Democrats and Students for Hillary, for example, and the Queer Student Union and the Queer Alliance & Resource Center.

The students filed their free-speech suit at the end of a tumultuous year at UC Berkeley, in which conservative student groups and right-wing celebrities such as Anne Coulter clashed with campus leadership and left-wing students over their right to meet and speak on campus.

Under the agreement, UC Berkeley will lift its requirement that student groups applying for recognition confer with other similar groups, and merely encourage them to do so.

The settlement also amends campus rules to explicitly state that UC “will not deny or delay” recognition to a student group based on its purpose “or other viewpoint expressed in its application.”

UC Berkeley, which has maintained that its rules were never influenced by any group’s political status, admitted no wrongdoing. As part of the settlement, the UC regents will pay $8,235 to the Young Americans for Liberty at UC Berkeley and its lawyers.

That payment is because the students “did receive one email that was insufficiently clear” about the recognition rules, said Janet Gilmore, a campus spokeswoman.

Cliff Maloney Jr., president of the national Young Americans for Liberty organization, praised the settlement and the university.

“As the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement and a public university, UC Berkeley has done the right thing in agreeing to respect the First Amendment in this matter,” Maloney said in a statement. “I applaud the students for standing up for their constitutionally protected freedoms and advocating for a level playing field.”

Gilmore said in an email that the campus group “will now have full access to the same benefits of campus recognition enjoyed by the 1000+ student organizations on the Berkeley campus.”

Source: https://www.sfchronicle.com/education/article/UC-Berkeley-settles-conservative-students-13045261.php

Let there be light (bulbs)

The University of California is spearheading a statewide effort to advance the purchase of 1 million high-quality, energy-efficient light bulbs for campus buildings and residences across the state. 
Under the new Million Light Bulb Challenge community buy program, all UC students, staff, faculty and alumni can purchase light bulbs at nearly half the price of online competitors.
“High-quality LED light sources help reduce our carbon footprint, reduce our energy use, and save money,” said UC President Janet Napolitano. “We are excited to launch this challenge and swap out at least a million inefficient light sources.”

About the challenge

Inspired by research conducted by the California Lighting Technology Center at UC Davis, the UC Office of the President spearheaded the Million Light Bulb Challenge to procure high-quality, energy-efficient light sources. UC is collaborating with the California Community College system, the California State University system and the California Department of General Services in this large-scale effort. The collaborative is working with employees at all campus buildings and is providing a new community-buy program...
UC students, staff, faculty and alumni can purchase light bulbs via the secure Million Light Bulb Challenge website and have them shipped directly to their home. The website features a number of educational resources to help consumers understand their options and support their lighting purchases. Users also will be able to see the total number of light bulbs purchased, estimated energy savings and estimated reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions...

Monday, July 2, 2018

State Budget Signed - Part 2

The Dept. of Finance has yet to provide the more detailed version of the budget that will (soon) accompany the summary already posted. But below is an expanded version of the table we provided in an earlier blog posting.* What it shows in the first two columns from the left is the evolution of the budget for the last fiscal year that ended June 30. It compares the budget that was enacted at the start of that fiscal year (July 1, 2017) with what is now estimated actually to have happened. Basically, there was a significant underestimate of revenue. The result of that underestimate was more in the General Fund reserve at the end of the year and more in the rainy-day fund. So total reserves were higher than had been projected.

One interpretation of the seeming puzzle of why Gov. Brown let his final budget for 2018-19 go into deficit is that he overshot his planned surplus for 2017-18. Or he may believe that 2018-19 will repeat what happened in 2017-18, i.e., that revenues will turn out to be underestimated, pushing the planned deficit into a surplus. That is, a year from now, his budgetary legacy will not be tarnished by a final deficit. Still another interpretation is that since no one seems to have noticed the planned deficit for 2018-19, and since budgetary language in state finance is notoriously fuzzy, he can just say his final budget is in surplus simply because there is money in the till, even if it is declining.

As they say, time will tell.


Table 1: California Budget Summary
$ Millions                   2017-18       2017-18       2018-19
                             Enacted     June 2018     June 2018
-----------------------------------------------------------------
GF Reserve
Start of Year                 $1,622        $5,702        $8,483  

Revenue &
Transfers                   $125,880      $129,825      $133,332

Expenditures                $125,096      $127,044      $138,688

GF Surplus/Deficit             +$784       +$2,781       -$5,356         

GF Reserve
End of Year                   $2,406        $8,483        $3,127
-----------------------------------------------------------------
BSA-Start of Year             $6,713        $6,713        $9,410         
BSA-End of year               $8,486        $9,410       $13,768

BSA Surplus/Deficit          +$1,773       +$2,697       +$4,358
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Safety Net Reserve*
  Start of Year                   na            na            $0
  End of Year                     na            na          $200

Safety Net Reserve*
Surplus/Deficit                   na            na         +$200
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Total Reserves
Surplus/Deficit              +$2,557       +$5,478         -$798
 
Total Ending Reserves        $10,892       $17,893       $17,095
  As % of Expenditures          8.7%         14.1%         13.0%
-----------------------------------------------------------------
GF = General Fund
BSA = Budget Stabilization Account (“rainy day fund”)
*The “Safety Net Reserve” is a fund created for the 2018-19 budget that avoids certain limits in the formula governing the BSA.
=========