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Monday, April 30, 2018

Don't stay too late

If you are staying late at UCLA to avoid a possible Pence Jam (see our previous posting), don't stay too late:

Construction on the much-anticipated Metro Purple Line Subway Extension to Westwood is about to begin, with an expected completion date in 2026. In preparation for the future Westwood/UCLA subway station on Wilshire Boulevard, between Westwood Boulevard and Veteran Avenue, advance utility relocation construction begins Monday, April 30, 2018.

During the initial phase of construction, traffic on Wilshire Boulevard near Westwood Boulevard will be heavily impacted between the off-peak hours of 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. Monday through Friday as well as all day Saturday and Sunday...

Source: https://mailchi.mp/77d94fc8f95b/traffic-impacts-due-to-purple-line-construction-1083189

Pence Jam

Los Angeles-area commuters may experience traffic delays this afternoon, courtesy of the Vice President. Mike Pence will be traveling from the Los Angeles area to Beverly Hills, in order to attend a roundtable discussion around 5 p.m. Monday, although the exact location has not been disclosed. Motorists in the area should plan for additional commute time or find an alternate route if possible.
Pence arrived Saturday afternoon and spent the night in the Los Angeles area. He was scheduled to head south Monday morning to visit Calexico in Imperial County to inspect the construction of a barrier that began nearly a decade ago along the U.S.-Mexico border, according to the White House. He'll be returning to the L.A. area later Monday...

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Dis-Appointed

Dr. Lester Grinspoon spoke during a drug hearing at the
Massachusetts State House in Boston, March 9, 1971
.
At 89, legendary psychiatrist and marijuana advocate still wonders about Harvard professorship

By Dan Adams, Boston Globe, 4-28-18

“I want a goddamn strong statement on marijuana,” the distinctive voice on the tape growls. “I mean, one on marijuana that just tears the ass out of them.”

It was May 1971, and Richard Nixon was fuming over a review included in his morning news summary of the book “Marihuana Reconsidered,” in which 42-year-old Harvard Medical School psychiatrist Lester Grinspoon savaged the US government’s case for keeping cannabis illegal.

The book was immediately popular — The New York Times called it “The best dope on pot so far” — and the author’s Ivy League pedigree made it hard to dismiss as a hippie screed. But it also raised hackles at Harvard (more on that in a moment) and, plainly, in the White House.

“Every one of the bastards that are out for legalizing marijuana is Jewish,” Nixon ranted in a conversation captured by the Oval Office recording system. “What the Christ is the matter with the Jews? . . . I suppose it’s because most of them are psychiatrists.”*

Nixon had circled Grinspoon’s name on the review, writing, “this clown is far on the left.”

Now 89, Grinspoon hadn’t known of the Nixon barb until recently.

“Imagine that,” he said, laughing uproariously. “I got the attention of one of the world’s biggest [jerks]. It’s a red badge of courage.”

Snubbed, twice

A psychiatrist, Vietnam War opponent, and son of a Russian Jew, Grinspoon made a rich target for Nixon. But the book also earned him critics at Harvard Medical School, where colleagues greeted the pro-pot tome skeptically. Though more muted than Nixon’s ravings, their disapproval ultimately had more influence on his career.

Grinspoon says he was twice denied a promotion to full professor, once in 1975 and again in 1997, despite a career that included pioneering research on schizophrenia, dozens of books and papers, and leadership roles at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center and other prestigious institutions. He retired in 2000 as an associate professor.

The school never offered him an official explanation, but his allies believe an undercurrent of unscientific prejudice against cannabis among faculty and school leaders doomed his chances; Grinspoon remembers a dean telling him in 1975 the promotions committee “hated” his book because it was “too controversial.”

Today, Grinspoon’s controversial vision — legal marijuana — is the law in nine states, including Massachusetts. And now, his friends and sympathetic former colleagues say, it’s Harvard’s turn. They have mounted a campaign to get the medical school to award Grinspoon a symbolic full professorship, arguing the honor is more than merited by his academic work — not to mention his pivotal role in the movement to legalize marijuana.

“He bore the academic torch through the dark years of the drug war when it was heresy to speak the truth about marijuana,” said attorney Dick Evans, a cannabis advocate who has worked with Grinspoon since the early 1980s.

Recognizing Grinspoon now, Evans added, “would not only be an act of supreme decency, but also an act of institutional humility — and I think Harvard’s capable of both.”

‘Too controversial’

Raised in Brookline, Grinspoon joined the Harvard faculty after receiving his medical degree from the school. In the 1950s, he was among the first American doctors to prescribe lithium for bipolar disorder; he later coauthored a book on schizophrenia and cofounded the well-known Harvard Mental Health Letter.

He was something of a campus renegade, speaking out against the Vietnam War. He ran for president of the American Psychiatric Association as head of a liberal faction that thought the group was obligated by professional ethics to oppose the conflict.

His antiwar activism led Grinspoon to befriend another progressive on campus: Carl Sagan.

Sagan, who would later become perhaps the most popular scientist in the United States as the host of television shows such as “Cosmos,” was a prolific but closeted pot-smoker. Writing under the pseudonym “Mr. X,” Sagan said pot enhanced his creative thinking and advanced his scientific work.

In the ’60s, though, Grinspoon was shocked.

“When I saw him smoking for the first time, I said, ‘Carl, you musn’t do that! That’s a very dangerous drug,’ ” Grinspoon recalled. “He took another puff and said, ‘Here, Lester, have some, you’ll love it and it’s harmless.’ I was absolutely astonished.”

Grinspoon stormed off to the medical school library to prove Sagan wrong. Instead, he found his assumptions about the drug had little basis.

“I have concluded,” Grinspoon would later write, “that marijuana is a relatively safe intoxicant which is not addicting, does not in and of itself lead to the use of harder drugs, is not criminogenic, and does not lead to sexual excess.” The real harm, he added, was “the way we as a society were dealing with people who use it,” referring to the incarceration of marijuana users.

Thus began an obsession with the subject that ultimately resulted in “Marihuana Reconsidered,” a blend of literature review and cultural critique rendered in crisp, explanatory prose. The book went through several printings and earned Grinspoon numerous appearances in the media and before lawmakers.

Ironically, Grinspoon came to his conclusions without having, at the time, tried marijuana. He reasoned his credibility would be undermined if he was labeled a “dope-smoker.” He would first try it two years later, around the time he was also administering marijuana to his young son, who was dying of cancer. Eventually, he came out publicly, hoping it would help dispel stoner stereotypes.

“I have and I do smoke marijuana,” Grinspoon said during an appearance on the “Today Show” in 1973, a moment he said was “jaw-dropping” for host Barbara Walters.

Two years later, Grinspoon was rejected for a full professorship. The promotions committee “loved the schizophrenia book, but they hated ‘Marihuana Reconsidered,’ ” he recalls his boss telling him. “‘They said it was too controversial.’”

“I was crushed,” Grinspoon said. “I don’t give a damn now, but it hurt terribly at the time.”

Harvard may have had its reasons. The previous decade, Timothy Leary had embarrassed the school with his questionable research into hallucinogens, often carried out while under their influence. After being dismissed in 1963, he went on to become a counterculture icon.

But Grinspoon was no Timothy Leary. He was an earnest academic who wore a tie, and insisted he never promoted the use of marijuana, but rather the elimination of draconian prohibitions. That distinction was lost on many.

“There always was a feeling that his interest in marijuana was a little out of the way compared to his colleagues,” recalled James Bakalar, Grinspoon’s longtime coauthor and collaborator. “They regarded it as eccentric. It wasn’t ‘mainstream psychiatry.’ ”

Grinspoon would go on to help revive the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws after its disastrous brush with the Carter administration. He also authored another book on marijuana, and in 1997 even quit Harvard’s addiction-studies program to protest the school’s bestowal of an award on Bill Clinton’s antidrug policy adviser.

After retiring, Grinspoon launched a website where he published occasional reflections on marijuana and his career.

“He’s one of the most important people in the history of marijuana reform,” said Rick Cusick, a former associate publisher of High Times, who was the first to link Nixon’s recorded rant with the publication of “Marihuana Reconsidered.” “His book started the movement.”

Still unrecognized

While praising Grinspoon’s work, a Harvard Medical School spokeswoman said the school’s policy “doesn’t allow us to retroactively grant a professorship or any other appointment.”

[Editorial comment from yours truly: Who are they kidding? "Honorary" diplomas are routinely handed out by universities. Some kind of honorary full professor appointment could be arranged - if someone wanted to do it.]

Several former colleagues backed Harvard, saying full professorships go to candidates who conduct the kind of hard-core science that attracts federal grants. Grinspoon, they said, did little hands-on research, but rather synthesized the work of others.

“You have to have very good, empirical research work, not hearsay,” said Dr. Ming Tsuang, Grinspoon’s chief in the 1990s.

His supporters say this is a blinkered view, arguing Grinspoon conducted work at significant professional risk and helped to inspire new research into medical uses of cannabis. They said Grinspoon helped redefine the relationship between academia and advocacy.

Grinspoon has long blamed former Harvard psychiatry chairman Dr. Joseph Coyle for vetoing his promotion in 1997. Coyle disputes that account, saying a committee of Grinspoon’s peers declined to back him because of a lack of original research.

Still, Coyle acknowledged in an interview that the thinking at the time on marijuana “could have been an element.” While he stopped short of endorsing a full professorship now, Coyle said Harvard could at least go over the matter with Grinspoon.

Supporters also argue that the seeds Grinspoon planted decades ago are only now germinating, with support for legalization recently topping 60 percent in Massachusetts, and pot retailers soon to open for business.

“I wouldn’t be a state marijuana regulator if people like Dr. Grinspoon hadn’t made sacrifices,” said Shaleen Title, one of the five commissioners leading the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission. “Harvard should recognize that he was right all along.”

But if Grinspoon’s views on marijuana have been, for many, vindicated, and Nixon, for almost everyone, discredited, Harvard Medical School’s role in the drama of Grinspoon’s life is more complex. Despite declining to promote him, it was his professional home for decades. In fact, he supports the campaign to make him a professor mainly out of affection for Harvard.

“Institutions that can acknowledge they’ve made a mistake are always doing something noble,” he said.

Today, Grinspoon lives in a Newton retirement community with his wife, Betsy. His health is declining, but his personality — warm and quick to laugh, with instinctive compassion for the vulnerable but little patience for those he deems fools — hasn’t faded. That’s probably why at the dusk of his life, Grinspoon still finds himself fighting the same old war.

During a recent dinner with friends that concluded with a joint, Grinspoon recounted his attempts to get elderly neighbors to smoke with him and impishly confessed to trying to grow a marijuana plant in the courtyard of the senior living complex.

“It had been there about three weeks, growing nicely, and I came back and somebody cut it down! Who would do that?” Grinspoon said. “That’s all going to change. It’s changing so rapidly I can scarcely believe it.”

Source: https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2018/04/28/legendary-psychiatrist-and-marijuana-advocate-still-wonders-about-harvard-professorship/7UBEbWBedoW44gKHpFhLGI/story.html
===
*Click on Nixon tape below:

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Speech Bill

The legislature is considering a bill, AB 2374, which addresses the free speech issue on UC and CSU campuses. There is a semi-official push from UC behind it. According to the LA Times in an editorial endorsing the bill:

AB 2374, sponsored by Assemblymen Kevin Kiley (R-Rocklin) and Bill Quirk (D-Hayward), was drafted with advice from Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the UC Berkeley School of Law, and Howard Gillman, chancellor of UC Irvine, authors of the recent book "Free Speech On Campus."*

The relevant text is below:**

This act shall be known, and may be cited, as the Free Speech on Campus Act of 2018.

A campus of the California Community Colleges or the California State University shall, and a campus of the University of California is requested to, do all of the following:

(a) Make and disseminate a free speech statement that affirms the importance of, and the campus’s commitment to promoting, freedom of expression. The statement shall include assurances that students and controversial speakers will be protected from exclusionary behavior that violates freedom of expression.

(b) Supplement the statement required pursuant to subdivision (a) with educational programming, including, but not limited to, online resources. The educational programming may be part of student orientation or classroom instruction, or may be delivered in another setting where it will effectively reach students. The educational programming shall include all of the following:

   (1) Descriptions of campus policies, procedures, and protocols that protect freedom of expression and prohibit exclusionary behavior.
   (2) Lessons that teach and encourage the expression of a wide range of views in a productive and respectful manner.
   (3) Lessons that inculcate an understanding of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and its role in supporting the academic mission of the campus.
===
*http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-campus-speech-20180427-story.html
**https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180AB2374

You'll be seeing double


Yes, as noted above, due to the September conversion of UCLA's payroll system to UCPath, there will be two W-2 forms for 2018 for you to submit with your income tax!

More info on the conversion to UCPath - if you have a spare 50 minutes - can be found on the video at this link:
https://ucla-anderson.mediasite.com/Mediasite/Play/55bdf9a6523c47f7835fcb73e0f68e6b1d

Friday, April 27, 2018

Impasse - Part 2

The California Nurses Association (CNA) announced Friday that 14,000 University of California nurses all around the state will strike in sympathy May 7-9 with the 24,000 patient-care and service workers negotiating for wage increases and job security.

CNA represents more than 14,000 RNs at the five major UC medical centers, 10 student health centers, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. They are striking in support of members of AFSCME 3299. In its service unit, this union represents 9,000 individuals who work as custodians, groundskeepers, security guards and more. The local's patient-care contract covers 15,000 workers with job descriptions such as respiratory therapists, surgical technicians and nursing aides...

Full story at http://www.sacbee.com/latest-news/article210027619.html

Losers & Winners

According to one op ed writer in the Daily Bruin, the UCLA bike sharing program is losing to competition from Bird and other scooters. Casual observation by anyone who frequents the campus suggests it is true:

...UCLA started its Bruin Bike Share program last year in an effort to provide affordable transportation to students on and around campus. UCLA said in November, a month after the program had launched, that initial participation in the program had exceeded its expectations: It expected to sell 425 monthly or yearly memberships and ended up selling 498.
Bruin Bike Share’s circumstances have soured since then. The membership number has fallen to about 300 members as of April, said Katherine Alvarado, a UCLA spokesperson. The university is now spending $80,000 per year, on top of the fees paid by the bike share users, to fund a program that continues to lose popularity.
Students are turning away from UCLA’s clunky bikes to the next generation of transportation on campus: electric scooters. Electric scooters from companies like Bird and LimeBike have found their way into students’ hearts and have become ubiquitous on and around campus...
Anyway, that's the word:

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Things to Come? (They Came)

An earlier post on this blog noted that the CSU trustees had decided to avoid angering the governor with a tuition increase. We asked whether the UC Regents could be far behind:
http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2018/04/things-to-come.html

They weren't:

In-state University of California students got a financial reprieve Thursday, with the system opting to forego a vote on a proposed tuition hike in favor of pushing the state for more funding.

“Raising tuition is always a last resort and one we take very seriously,” UC President Janet Napolitano said. “We will continue to advocate with our students, who are doing a tremendous job of educating legislators about the necessity of adequately funding the university to ensure UC remains a world-class institution and engine of economic growth for our state.”

The Board of Regents had been expected to consider a 2.7 percent boost in base tuition. While that vote will no longer happen, the regents could revisit the issue “depending on the outcome of budget negotiations in Sacramento.”

UC officials said they will look to secure an additional $140 million in state funding above what was already proposed for the coming year in the governor’s budget proposal.

The announcement echoed a decision announced last week by California State University Chancellor Timothy White, who said the CSU would also focus on lobbying the state for additional funds rather than pursuing a tuition hike...

Full story at https://mynewsla.com/business/2018/04/26/uc-regents-puts-off-decision-on-in-state-tuition-hike/

Something to shout about

Dear Colleagues:
As you may know, the University of California (UC) has been engaged in the UCPath initiative — a strategic operational transformation aimed at modernizing the way human resource and payroll transactions are processed across the system. The goal of UCPath is to strengthen our system’s operational foundation by replacing our aging Payroll/Personnel System (PPS) with advanced, stable technology built upon the PeopleSoft platform.
The UCPath solution integrates key human resource, benefits, and payroll transactions into a single system, specially designed to more efficiently manage employee information and provide responsive customer service for more than 200,000 UC employees system-wide.
UCLA is excited to implement UCPath this coming September as part of the UCLA/UC Santa Barbara Pilot Implementation. When UCLA launches UCPath, you can expect a variety of new services including new payroll distribution options, enhanced self-service functionality in the new UCPath Portal and dedicated customer service through the UCPath Center to name a few. Additionally, you can also expect changes to the look and feel of your paychecks, planned to begin on October 1, 2018 for monthly paid employees, and October 3 for biweekly paid employees.
Across our campus and health system, efforts are currently underway to help ensure all organizations and departments are ready for the transition to UCPath. In the coming days and weeks ahead, you can expect to receive more information on UCPath, including a series of ‘You and UCPath’ materials highlighting what the new system means for you and what you can do to prepare for the implementation as well as information on the UCPath Roadshows launching in mid-May.
For employees who will have an administrative role in processing transactions using the UCPath system, you can also expect to receive information on training which launches in early May.
In the meantime, we encourage you to visit the UCLA UCPath website for the latest project updates and answers to many of your frequently asked questions, as well as downloads of information you can use to prepare for the UCPath implementation.
Successfully implementing UCPath will represent a significant achievement for our organization and for UCLA. We sincerely appreciate your support in helping our campus to modernize our systems as we focus on our core mission of teachingresearch and public service.
Sincerely,
Michael S. Levine
Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Personnel

Impasse

The union representing more than 25,000 University of California service workers and medical technicians announced plans Thursday for a three-day strike, citing what it calls stalled contract negotiations. Officials with AFSCME Local 3299 said last week that more than 97 percent of its members had voted to authorize a strike if no progress was made in negotiations. UC officials, however, said the union had rejected an offer of "fair, multi-year wage increases and excellent medical and retirement benefits."

In light of the impasse, the university system imposed contract terms on the union for the 2017-18 fiscal year, including 2 percent pay increases. The UC's latest contract offer to the union had included annual 3 percent raises over the next four years, according to the university. The union on Thursday issued a 10-day notice of their intent to conduct a three-day strike, beginning May 7...

Full story at https://patch.com/california/centurycity/s/geqpd/uc-hospital-and-campus-workers-to-strike

Berkeley Speech Lawsuit

Conservative groups at UC Berkeley can sue the school over the restrictions it placed on high-profile speakers after violent protests over the planned appearance of right-wing firebrand Milo Yiannopoulos, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge Maxine Chesney of Oakland upheld the university’s contention that it was motivated by security, not liberal bias, when it scheduled talks by other conservative luminaries in smaller and more remote campus locations than they preferred. But Chesney said the Berkeley College Republicans and Young America’s Foundation could proceed with their suit over university standards for “high-profile” speakers, imposed after the Yiannopoulos protests and over alleged discrimination in security fees.

Yiannopoulos’ February 2017 speech was canceled after a student demonstration was taken over by masked protesters who smashed windows and set fires. He spoke for a few minutes on campus in September in an event that conservatives had promoted as “free speech week.”

The conservative groups said two more planned speakers, writer David Horowitz and author and television commentator Ann Coulter, had to cancel their appearances last year because university officials rescheduled their evening talks to daytime hours at buildings far from the center of campus. Radio host Ben Shapiro, supported by the same groups, spoke at UC Berkeley in September after paying a security fee that was challenged in the suit.

The suit alleged that the university adopted an unwritten “high-profile speaker policy” in March 2017 that allowed officials to effectively censor conservative speakers by choosing the time and place of their appearance. The school contends it is entitled to determine the need for security measures, but Chesney said the conservative groups can try to prove that the policy gives officials too much leeway to restrict free expression...

Full story at https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Conservatives-can-sue-UC-Berkeley-over-12865370.php

UCLA History: Powell '45

Powell Library in 1945

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Two DACA Developments

A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration must resume a program that has shielded hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation but gave it 90 days to restate its arguments before his order takes effect.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge John D. Bates in Washington, if it survives the 90-day reprieve, would be a new setback for the administration because it would require the administration to accept requests from first-time applicants for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Two nationwide injunctions earlier this year applied only to renewal requests.
Bates said the administration's decision to end DACA, announced in September, relied on "meager legal reasoning." He invited the Department of Homeland Security to try again, "this time providing a fuller explanation for the determination that the program lacks statutory and constitutional authority." ...
It's not specified in the above article whether this case is one in which UC is participating.

UPDATE 4-26-18: It appears that UC is involved in this lawsuit:
https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/press-room/uc-statement-regarding-tuesday-s-federal-court-ruling-daca
==========
From email circulated yesterday:
Dear UCLA Staff and Faculty,
I am pleased to share that the UCLA Advisory Council on Immigration Policy is sponsoring a FREE legal services workshop for current UCLA employees and immediate family members who have questions about their Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) cases, and/or need assistance with renewal of employment authorization.
The workshop is scheduled for Tuesday, May 8, 2018 from 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. on campus. Free attorneys and immigration legal aid providers will be available for individual intakes and private consultations with UCLA employees or their immediate family members who have DACA, TPS, or DED to assess potential immigration options. Assistance with DACA renewal applications as well as TPS and DED re-registration applications will be available. RSVP online to attend the event.
We recognize that there are many valued employees who may have questions and concerns due to numerous immigration-related proposals and policy changes that have triggered anxiety, confusion, and fear. These policy changes include ending the DACA program and terminating TPS for many countries. Some people with TPS may be eligible to adjust to a more permanent status before TPS expires for their country. The current expiration dates and deadlines for renewals for various countries with TPS can be found on the National Immigration Forum’s Fact Sheet: Temporary Status.
Please also know that there are other on-campus resources to support you. One resource is the confidential UCLA Staff and Faculty Counseling Center, which is available free of charge. If you are a student, you or immediate family members can make an appointment anytime with the Undocumented Student Program and the UC Immigration Legal Service Center at the Bruin Resource Center instead of attending this workshop.
We encourage you to share information about this event with friends and colleagues who are UCLA staff and might benefit from attending this workshop.
Sincerely,
Abel Valenzuela Jr.
Professor and Special Advisor to the Chancellor on Immigration Policy

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Big

At one time, cars, oil and steel fueled the U.S. economy. But today, retail, hospitals and universities dominate the business landscape across the country.
Most state economies are pretty diverse, with state governments tending to be the largest employers with more than 22 million workers across the U.S. But for some, just one or two employers play a significantly larger role in the health of the local economy and job force than any other.
In California, the University of California is the largest employer, with more than 198,300 employees, according to the financial news and opinion site 24/7 Wall St...

Voting on Neighborhood Council Split-Up

Polling locations announced for neighborhood council special election

By Jacob Preal, April 24, 2018, Daily Bruin

Students and Westwood community members will be able to vote to create a new neighborhood council at two locations May 22.

The Los Angeles City Clerk released the locations of two polling places in Westwood on Monday for the subdivision process to create the North Westwood Neighborhood Council. Voters will be able to cast a ballot at the John Wooden Center or the Westwood Recreation Center, where Westwood Neighborhood Council elections are usually held.

Westwood Forward, a coalition of students, homeowners and business owners, proposed the creation of the North Westwood Neighborhood Council and submitted an application to the city in December. The coalition wanted to form a new council because it felt the current one did not adequately represent the community or address its concerns. Boundaries for the proposed council will include UCLA, Westwood Village and the North Village.

Neighborhood council subdivision, the official process for establishing new councils by breaking apart old ones, requires applicants to submit proposed boundaries and bylaws and a petition containing signatures from community members. Voters can then decide in a special election whether they want to subdivide the current council.

Michael Skiles, Graduate Students Association president and organizer for Westwood Forward, said the city was accommodating both the coalition and the current council by allowing both groups to select a polling location. The subdivision process requires at least two polling places, with one inside the proposed boundaries, and the other outside them, but within the current council’s boundaries...

Full story at http://dailybruin.com/2018/04/24/polling-locations-announced-for-neighborhood-council-special-election/

As we have noted in the past, whether this split-up is approved will ultimately depend on the city councilman, Paul Koretz.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Free Speech Center

The University of California Monday announced that Michelle Deutchman — national campus counsel for the Anti-Defamation League — will be the first executive director of the National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement.
Deutchman will start her new job May 29 and will report to UC Irvine Chancellor Howard Gillman, co-chair of the center’s advisory board.
“Michelle has extraordinary experience addressing issues of free expression and campus climate and has worked extensively with campus constituencies to improve the national debate,” Gillman said. “Her passion and expertise make her a perfect fit for this important role.”
In her current job, Deutchman provides guidance to the ADL’s 24 regional offices on matters related to speech on college campuses.
The new center was launched by UC President Janet Napolitano last October, with Gillman and Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the UC Berkeley School of Law, as co-chairs of an advisory board of noted elected officials, journalists, academics and corporate leaders.
As executive director, Deutchman will be responsible for planning and executing center activities, including advancing its fellows program, establishing national conferences, and serving as a liaison to UCI, the UC Office of the President and sister UC campuses, as well as other universities and organizations engaged in shaping national discourse about free speech. She will be based in the UCDC Center in Washington, D.C., and at UCI.
“The National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement is developing into a vital resource advancing research, education and advocacy in these areas so key to American democracy, and Michelle will provide the leadership essential to its future success,” Napolitano said.
Deutchman has served as a lecturer at the UCLA School of Law since 2014.

Listen to the Regents Health Services Committee: April 13, 2018

As we always do, we preserve the audio of the Regents meetings since they do it only for one year. The Regents Health Services Committee met on April 13 while yours truly was traveling. I will be reviewing the recording as time permits for any significant items. But here it is:

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Last Week's Regents Retreat: No Picture/No Sound

No picture/no sound
The Regents had a retreat at Lake Arrowhead on April 17-19. But although the schedule is on their website, no recording of the sessions were made. All we know is the schedule.

April 17:

  • Public Comment Period
  • Challenges, Change, and Changes on the Horizon
  • Appreciative Inquiry Regarding the University of California

April 18:

  • Public Comment Period
  • Comments of the Chair of the Board
  • University of California’s Financial Model
  • University of California’s Research Enterprise
  • Enrollment
  • Partnership of the Regents and Chancellors
  • Summary of the Day
  • A National Perspective

April 19:

  • Public Comment Period
  • Implicit Bias
  • The Role of a Regent
  • Regent Engagement
  • Reflections and Look Ahead

Source: http://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/meetings/agendas/april17-19.html

Saturday, April 21, 2018

April (revenue) showers - Part 2

We noted in an earlier post that the state controller has a daily income tax revenue tracker for the month of April, since that is a big month for tax collections (for obvious reasons).* Through April 19, the tracker is showing income tax revenues for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2017 running $9.7 billion ahead of last year's receipts at this date.
===
*https://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2018/04/april-revenue-showers.html

Don't respond

Just one of our periodic reminders not to respond to emails such as the one above. They don't come from the university. At best, it is some sort of commercial solicitation from who-knows-who. At worst, it is malicious spam that can harm your computer or steal your information.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Things to come?

UC put off a proposed tuition increase until May (at the May Regents meeting). Now CSU has cancelled its proposed tuition increase, under pressure from the governor.

Can UC be far behind?

Cal State decides not to raise tuition as legislators support more funds

APRIL 20, 2018 / LARRY GORDON / EDSOURCE

Leaders of the 23-campus California State University system have decided not to increase tuition for the 2018-19 school year, cancelling a planned $228 hike in response to commitments from the Legislature for more state funding.

Cal State system Chancellor Timothy White announced Friday that the university will drop its previous proposal to raise undergraduate tuition by $228, or 3.9 percent, to $5,970 a year and will instead keep tuition flat. In January, the Cal State trustees were scheduled to consider that hike but then decided to postpone action until May, in hopes that more general revenue money would be allocated from the state’s anticipated $6 billion budget surplus.

“I think it’s the fair thing to do but it’s also the right thing to do for California’s future,” White said in an interview with EdSource. He cited the state’s strong economy, which has helped to produce the tax surplus, and the need to expand higher education opportunities while keeping tuition costs as low as possible for students and families. “This is an opportunity to not add to the cost of going to a Cal State University,” he added.

White said he has “no guarantees, no contract” with state legislators about increased funding for Cal State and his announcement did not provide details of a possible budget agreement in Sacramento. But notably, the press release about the tuition freeze included strong statements of funding support from state Senate President Pro Tem Toni G. Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, the most powerful leaders in the Legislature.

Given such positive statements, White said he thought “there are a lot of signs that give me the confidence that this is the right decision to do now.” He promised that the tuition freeze would remain in place through the 2018-19 school year even if state funding turns out to be worse than expected.

Calling the tuition freeze “good news for California students and for the California economy,” Rendon’s statement said that: “CSU students, faculty, staff and leaders have made a strong case for additional funding — and they are being heard. The Assembly is committed to increased funding for higher education, and will carry this commitment into budget discussions.”

The Cal State system had been seeking an increase of $263 million in state funding for such costs as enrollment growth, pay raises, pension costs and efforts to improve graduation rates. But Brown’s budget had offered a $92 million increase for next year, which is $171 million less than Cal State says it needs. The now-abandoned tuition increase proposal would have filled that hole partly.

Atkins said she was “pleased with the CSU’s decision not to pursue a tuition increase for the coming year.” Without mentioning details of a budget compromise, she said she pledged “to continue our work in the Legislature to lower barriers and reduce the cost of quality higher education for all students.”

Brown in recent months has said he opposed boosting funding beyond his original offer and that both the Cal State and the University of California systems should drop tuition increase proposals and instead save money through reforms such as more online classes. Whether Brown’s position on higher education funding has changed will be evident in his revised state budget, the final one in his years as governor, expected to be announced next month.

Like their UC peers, Cal State trustees and administrators have visited Sacramento a lot lately to lobby the Legislature and the governor for additional dollars. There was a precedent: a previous agreement for extra state funding in exchange for tuition freezes held for five years — until last year. Then tuition rose $270, or about 5 percent at Cal State, and $336, or 2.7 percent, at UC.

UC has proposed raising 2018-19 tuition and systemwide fees by $342, to $12,972 for California undergraduates, but also decided to postpone a decision until at least May in hopes of more state dollars. UC officials say that talks are continuing in Sacramento but that it is unclear whether they too will be able to make a similar announcement about a tuition freeze.

Source: https://edsource.org/2018/cal-state-decides-not-to-raise-tuition-as-legislators-promise-more-funds/596422

In effect, CSU is gambling on the legislature - and maybe the governor - approving a higher direct state appropriation than proposed in January. Will UC take the same gamble? The May Revise budget has yet to be released, of course. Is it asking for the Moon to expect more appropriation? Tuition increase or not.

Which shall it be?

Afterword

There seems to be no end to the tale of former (and disgraced) state senator Leland Yee who made a political career of attacking UC. He was eventually convicted of gun-running and other crimes and went to prison.

One of his flacks, when Yee was in his heyday, put negative comments on this blog at one point, as yours truly pointed out some of Yee's faults. But it seems as if all of his associates eventually have "problems." Here is the latest:

Adam Keigwin, who served as chief of staff to former state Sen. Leland Yee, allegedly sexually harassed and touched a former colleague and subordinate between 2013 and 2014, according to a Senate investigation released Thursday.
An unidentified woman who worked in the Senate with Keigwin at the time made the allegations. She said Keigwin, now a managing director at Mercury Public Affairs in Sacramento, sexually harassed her, according to the investigation. His behavior happened on numerous occasions when he was drunk or had been drinking, investigators found.
A “preponderance of the evidence” supports the Senate’s finding that Keigwin "engaged in sexually inappropriate conduct during the time that he worked in the Senate, including unwanted touching, exposing himself and engaging in sexually explicit talk," the investigation found. "The evidence supported a finding that this behavior occurred at social events that involved drinking when Keigwin had become inebriated."...
You can find links to some past posts on Yee at:
The search engine can locate others.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Union calls for speaker boycott at graduations

President Sproul at UCLA graduation in Hollywood Bowl, 1930s
University of California union votes for strike, commencement speakers urged to boycott

LA Daily News, 4-19-18

The union that says it represents more than 25,000 employees in the University of California system announced today that 97 percent of its members have voted to authorize a strike.
The union also called today on speakers invited to participate at upcoming UC graduation events to support workers by boycotting university engagements until the labor dispute is resolved. Scheduled commencement speakers include Sen. Kamala Harris, who’s due at UC Berkeley on May 12th, and Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, who’s scheduled to speak at UC San Diego on June 16th.
“With contract negotiations and post-impasse mediation procedures being exhausted after a year of bargaining, AFSCME Local 3299-represented workers at the University of California voted with 97 percent approval to authorize a system-wide strike,” according to a union announcement. “The union has also called on speakers invited to participate at upcoming UC graduation events to support workers by boycotting university engagements until the labor dispute is resolved.”...

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

It's the vision thing

The seemingly-endless drama of the Thirty Meter Telescope in which UC has a stake continues. It was originally planned for Mauna Kea in Hawaii, a mountaintop where other telescopes are already located. Objections by native Hawaiians held up the plan and seem to be a continuing barrier. Hawaiian Public Radio reports large majorities of the general Hawaiian population and native Hawaiians in fact favor the plan. But one house of the state legislature has voted to bar construction and there is an alternative plan, which sounds a bit like a bargaining chip, to move the project to the Canary Islands, a Spanish possession in the Atlantic off Morocco.

For a public radio program on these developments, go to:
http://hpr2.org/post/tmt-still-committed-hawaii-now 

Monday, April 16, 2018

The Light at the End of the Retiree Health Care Tunnel May Be a Train


Below in italics is the text of a recent analysis of the options being circulated and debated for the future of retiree health care. I have not included the source and have slightly edited the text. (It's not yours truly). As blog readers will recall, a reduction in retiree health care support suddenly appeared on the Regents agenda without Senate consultation and then was removed after protest. A committee was set up to evaluate the options. A document outlining options was then circulated (and can be read below):

===

I’m pleased to see that these materials* are being distributed. A few observations:

Though in current form the date is April 2018, I am told by two reliable sources that much the same info and framing of alternatives has been bouncing around since around January 2017.  YES, 2017, a full year before the Task Force was formed.

Note the 4% growth rate for retiree health in the chart on page 9. THE 4% IS NOT A RANDOM OR HYPOTHETICAL RATE. MY UNDERSTANDING IS THAT IT IS THE MAXIMUM THAT UCOP MONEY FOLKS ARE GOING TO ALLOW GOING FORWARD. IF CORRECT, THEN THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT NUMBER IN THE DOCUMENT; EVERYTHING ELSE HAS TO DO WITH HOW THAT GOAL CAN BE MET. My understanding is that a/the major change since January 2017 has been a grudging agreement to allow up to 4% growth, rather than the 3% that the Finance folks wanted to impose early in 2017.  

I did a once-over of the full document (what else to do on a sunny afternoon) and it is pretty clear that by far the biggest saving to UC would come from the shifting of all of us to the Medicare Exchange alternative currently used for retirees living out of state.  No surprise, of course; HR has been saying this for years. The only other change with palpable impact on costs would be shifting the current Medicare PPO plans to a Medicare Advantage PPO or HMO.The rest is noise. 

Cheers(?)

===
*The "materials" refer to the report below:

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Aftershock at Riverside

UC Riverside Chancellor Kim Wilcox denies ignoring sexual harassment, abuse complaints at Michigan State

By BEAU YARBROUGH | Press-Enterprise | April 13, 2018

UC Riverside Chancellor Kim Wilcox on Friday denied allegations he ignored sexual harassment and abuse while he was provost at Michigan State University, saying he was unaware of his associate’s behavior.

William Strampel, the former dean of MSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, was arrested March 26 as part of an investigation into how former sports doctor Larry Nassar was able to sexually abuse more than 250 girls and women while at the university, including many members of the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics team.

It is the worst sexual abuse case in sports history.

Last year, Nassar pleaded guilty to molesting patients and possessing child pornography. He will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Strampel is the first person besides Nassar to be charged in connection with the case. He is charged with harassing, propositioning, sexually assaulting and soliciting pornographic videos of female students. He’s also accused of not keeping an eye on Nassar after MSU cleared the doctor in 2014 of inappropriate sexual behavior with a former student.

Complaints from students and faculty members about Strampel came up in a review process eight years ago.

In a 2010 letter in Strampel’s personnel file, obtained in part by the Detroit News, Wilcox wrote that Strampel would stay medical school dean after the review.

“Our several discussions over the past several months have reinforced my commitment and that of Dean Strampel to advancing the goals of the College within the broad mission of Michigan State University,” Wilcox wrote.

On Friday, Wilcox released a written statement saying he was unaware of Strampel’s behavior and expressing regret for Strampel’s alleged victims...

Full story at https://www.pe.com/2018/04/13/uc-riverside-chancellor-kim-wilcox-denies-ignoring-sexual-harassment-abuse-complaints-at-michigan-state/

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Friday, April 13, 2018

UCOP Likes Forbes

UCOP takes notes - as per above - of high rankings from Forbes based on a methodology that looks at (among other things) post-graduation earnings as well as tuition.

Forbes 2018 Best Value Colleges

CampusRank
UCLANo. 1
UC BerkeleyNo. 2
UC IrvineNo. 9
UC San DiegoNo. 9
UC Santa BarbaraNo. 11
UC DavisNo. 13
UC RiversideNo. 64
UC Santa CruzNo. 77


We're not sure why our friends at Santa Cruz ended up at the bottom as number 77. Maybe there is something in the air there that impedes clear thinking:

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Getting in

California community college students will be guaranteed admission to UC — if they meet requirements

Good news for thousands of California community college students hoping to transfer into the University of California: Succeed in a rigorous set of courses, and your UC admission is guaranteed.

Students who begin community college in fall 2019 and do well in courses that UC faculty helped develop — the required grade-point average is still to be determined — will win admission into a UC campus under an agreement announced Wednesday by the two higher education systems.

The courses will lead to an associate degree for transfer into UC, similar to the degree established in 2013 for guaranteed transfer into California State University. Applicants may not get into their first choice, but will be admitted into one of the nine undergraduate UC campuses.

“I’m pleased that President Napolitano and I and our two Faculty Senates were willing to come together and improve access to more transfer students,” California Community College Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley said, noting that transfer students at UC do as well as or better academically than those who begin as freshmen.

UC President Janet Napolitano said in a statement that collaborating with the community colleges “will not only make it easier for qualified students to transfer to the university, it will help ensure that they excel once they arrive.”

Currently, 21 community college majors satisfy UC rigor, UC officials said. The majors are some of the most popular at UC, they said, including psychology, anthropology, business administration and sociology.

Gov. Jerry Brown has said he considers increasing the number of UC transfer students to be a money-saver for the state. He has withheld $50 million from UC’s budget in part until the university complies with state audit requirements, but another condition is that UC sign up one transfer student for every two freshmen who enroll...

Full story at https://www.sfchronicle.com/education/article/California-community-college-students-will-be-12826640.php