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Friday, May 31, 2019

Out of Joint

From LA Times columnist Robin Abcarian:

In 2015, Brent Gerson was an unhappy thirtysomething guy — living in Chicago, hating the weather, plagued by obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety and depression. Traditional medicine had not helped him, so he began looking for alternatives.

His research led him, almost inevitably, to cannabis. Colorado had just legalized recreational cannabis, so he took himself to Denver and spent two weeks learning about THC and CBD, the therapeutic components of cannabis. He experimented with ratios, doses and blends.

“Without question,” he told me, “cannabis changed my life.”

Not only did pot relieve his symptoms, it inspired a new life path.

He left Chicago and returned to his undergraduate alma mater, UCLA, where he enrolled in the Anderson School of Management. His intention, he said, was “to be able to hack cannabis from the inside.”

He believes he has. Two months ago, Gerson, 37, left his job as an executive at City National Bank to launch a cannabis business that grew out of his master’s thesis. The company, started with two fellow students, is aimed at helping people plagued by sleeplessness figure out what kind of marijuana can help.

The company will procure vape pens and joints from three cannabis companies, and offer customers a box with a variety of strengths and strains to see what may work, since everyone responds differently. The object is to help people sleep without pharmaceuticals, not to get high. Dr. Alon Avidan, director of the UCLA Sleep Disorders Center, is an advisor.

Last month, however, UCLA rolled out a restrictive policy about cannabis-related activities, which has put the future of cannabis entrepreneurship at UCLA in jeopardy and forced the last-minute cancellation of a cannabis research conference Gerson had helped organize.

The year after Gerson’s trip to Denver, California voters overwhelmingly legalized pot for adult use. Among the law’s many requirements, Proposition 64 directed that $10 million, generated by cannabis taxes and fees, be channeled every year to state universities for cannabis research. (To underline: The law requires that cannabis money be set aside for universities.)

The end of prohibition seemed like an extraordinary opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs to get in on an ever-expanding, ever-innovating market. Where better than a graduate business school to plumb the possibilities?

Around that time, an Anderson student founded the Cannabis Business Assn., a professional group geared toward helping launch careers in the newly legalized industry. That student, Jeff Chen, a graduate of UCLA’s dual degree MD/MBA program, has gone on to become the founder and executive director of UCLA’s new Cannabis Research Initiative, which bills itself as “one of the first academic programs in the world dedicated to the study of cannabis.”

On June 3, the CBA was to hold a cannabis research conference in Korn Hall on campus. It would bring together experts and students for a day of panel discussions and networking.

Eaze, the delivery app that connects consumers and product, was lined up as a sponsor — to provide breakfast, lunch and some videography help, said Peter Gigante, the company’s head of policy research. “My job is to bridge the gap between those who publish in academic journals and those who would never in a million years read an academic journal, but need to know what’s happening.” Seemed like a perfect fit for a management school conference about cannabis.

But last week, the students were informed by UCLA administrators that their conference violates the new university policy. Cannabis remains illegal on the federal level, administrators said, therefore the conference would put UCLA at risk of violating federal law since it included experts and sponsorship from the industry.

“UCLA should not sponsor programs or activities that are designed to help entrepreneurs develop businesses that engage in the cultivation, sale, distribution, or marketing of marijuana,” Ann Pollack, UCLA’s assistant vice chancellor for research, wrote in an email to Elizabeth McKillop, Anderson’s director of student services. “Doing so creates a risk of potential charges of ‘aiding and abetting’ violations of the federal Controlled Substances Act.”

...Pollack did not respond to a request for an interview, but it is obvious that UCLA is fearful of compromising the stream of federal money that flows into its coffers, from places such as the National Institutes of Health, and medical reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid.

Students will not be permitted to work with cannabis companies in any respect, or be mentored by cannabis entrepreneurs, or to invite cannabis industry leaders to participate in UCLA events, whether on campus or off...

Full column at https://www.latimes.com/local/abcarian/la-me-abcarian-cannabis-20190531-story.html

Flat

From the Bruin: UCLA plans to flatten enrollment rates over the next four years to address overcrowding and increase graduation rates.
UCLA’s undergraduate population has grown by 20% in the last nine years, an increase of over 5,000 students, UCLA spokesperson Ricardo Vazquez said. The university presented a proposal in March to slow down enrollment and increase the undergraduate population by only 1% over the next four years.
The 2018 incoming undergraduate class of 9,674 was the second largest in the school’s history, only behind the fall 2016 incoming class of 9,905. Slowing enrollment increases will allow academic and housing resources to catch up with the increase in students, Vazquez added.
UCLA must ultimately collaborate with the University of California Office of the President to develop and approve the enrollment proposal, Vazquez said...

In case you're wondering what former ex-officio regents do...


Thursday, May 30, 2019

Former Athletes Sue UCLA

From MyNewsLA: Three former UCLA players are suing the University of California regents, former UCLA Coach Jim Mora and other members of his coaching and training staff for injuries the players say they received while playing for the Bruins.

Zachary Bateman, John Lopez and Poasi Moala filed the lawsuits Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, seeking unspecified damages. The Lopez and Moala lawsuits also target the NCAA.

Bateman played offensive tackle for UCLA in 2015-17. Lopez played offensive tackle in 2013-16 and Moala played offensive tackle, tight end, fullback and guard in 2013-16.

A UCLA representative issued a statement Thursday regarding the lawsuits.

“While we cannot comment on the specific details of a pending lawsuit, we want to make it clear that the health and safety of our student-athletes is UCLA’s top priority,” the statement read. “We strongly deny and will defend ourselves against the allegations made in the lawsuit. We handle every injury with the highest standard of care. Our team physicians and sports medicine staff work hand-in-hand on diagnosis, monitoring and treatment, and they are the only individuals who determine when a student-athlete is cleared to participate in their sport; coaches are not involved in these decisions.”

Bateman attended Orange Coast College and was recruited by many prestigious universities in 2014, including Ohio State, but Mora convinced him to accept UCLA’s offer, his suit states.

Bateman told the coaching staff that he had severe pain in his right foot, but they told him to “man up” and play through it, the suit alleges. The coaches later began to ridicule and insult him every time he asked for treatment and an X-ray, the Bateman suit states.

“His coaches and trainers insisted that his complaint was just a sprain and repeatedly advised him to take some ibuprofen and return to practice and gameplay,” the Bateman suit states.

The coaches, including Mora, believed that if a player could stand up on two feet, he had no reason to refrain from practicing with full intensity and full contact, the Bateman suit states.

In 2017, Bateman suffered an injury to his left foot, the suit states. When he suggested having an MRI on both feet, a member of the training staff said, “You don’t need a (epithet) MRI, Zach,” the Bateman suit alleges.

Bateman ultimately had an MRI done on both feet by an outside specialist and it was revealed he had two breaks to his right foot, his suit states.

In addition to his physical injuries, Bateman suffered emotional distress by being shamed, ridiculed and bullied in front of his teammates, the Bateman suit states.

He also was threatened with the revocation of his scholarship, the Bateman suit states.

The Lopez suit states that Mora expected players to perform injured.

“Under Coach Mora’s `no excuses’ culture, players had to be more than tough if they wanted to keep a starting spot and if they were injured, they could never let it slow them down if they wanted to succeed,” the Lopez suit states. “The pressure to `play through the pain’ was ingrained into the players’ mentalities.”

Lopez “frequently falls into episodes of dark depression and paralyzing anxiety, both of which are conditions that he never experienced prior to suffering his concussions,” his suit states.

“Sadly, the most alarming event in John’s downward spiral came in the fall quarter of classes in 2016, when he attempted to take his own life,” the Lopez suit states.

Lopez’s family and girlfriend intervened during his attempted overdose on drugs and they took him to UCLA Medical Center’s emergency room, the Lopez suit states.

Lopez remains so wrought with anxiety that he is uncomfortable being around his former teammates and he suffers from panic attacks so severe that he does not want to leave his home until they are over, according to his suit.

As for Moala, he suffered concussions and hip injuries, his suit states.

Moala “took repeated hits to the head from man-on-man contact of repetitive hitting and head-to-head contact,” his suit states.

Moala complained about pain in his hips to his coaches and trainers, but they told him each time that his hips were just “tight” and that if he should just stretch and roll them out the pain would go away, the Moala suit states

Player concussions were not treated with the appropriate concern at UCLA, the Moala suit alleges.

“The team’s punishing practice regime left no time for Moala to recover from any of the post-concussion symptoms he experienced and the team’s supposed post-concussion protocol was well-known to the players to be just for show and was not followed in any meaningful way by the coaches and trainers,” the Moala suit alleges.

Source: https://mynewsla.com/education/2019/05/30/former-ucla-players-sue-over-concussions-other-injuries/

Legislature Doesn't Love UCPath

From the Sacramento Bee: The University of California would be required to pay its employees on a regular payday under a measure moving through the California Legislature in response to the university system’s ongoing payroll problems.

Senate Bill 698, sponsored by Sen. Connie Leyva, D-Chino, would mandate that employees paid monthly receive their wages no later than five days after the close of monthly payroll, while those employees paid on a frequent basis would get their wages according to a regular pay schedule.

It won unanimous approval in the state Senate and now moves to the Assembly. A UC system spokeswoman said that the university president’s office has been tracking the bill closely “and is in discussions with (Sen. Leyva) on the bill.”

“Hundreds if not thousands” of UC employees experienced missed, delayed or miscalculated paychecks as a result of their switch to the UCPath payroll system, according to Kavitha Iyengar, president of the United Auto Workers Local 2865, which represents nearly 19,000 student workers in the UC system.

UCPath is intended to unify all universities under one payroll program. The program has been rolling out university by university, with UC Berkeley the latest to be added. Other schools using UCPath include UC Santa Barbara, UCLA, UC Merced and UC Riverside.

In February, The Sacramento Bee reported that the UC system paid out more than $162,000 to make employees whole. Many of them were graduate students on a limited income. The UC system also covered any taxes incurred by the payout, and offered affected students up to $450 to assist with financial hardships incurred by late or missed payments...

Full story at https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article230945598.html

Bill at http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201920200SB698

Yet More CRISPR

Patent Office: 1924
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued a new patent to University of California (UC), University of Vienna, and Dr. Emmanuelle Charpentier covering methods of modulating DNA transcription using the CRISPR-Cas9 system. U.S. Patent No. 10,301,651 covers techniques that enable sequence-specific repression or activation of gene expression in all types of cells, including both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. These unique methods form a toolset for controlling gene expression, effectively enabling genes to be "turned up or down."  

"Today's patent further builds on the numerous CRISPR-Cas9 techniques covered by UC's patents and the university is committed to ensuring the technology is used to benefit society," said Eldora L. Ellison, Ph.D., lead patent strategist on CRISPR-Cas9 matters for UC and a Director at Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox. "We anticipate that UC's robust portfolio of intellectual property surrounding its CRISPR-Cas9 inventions will continue to expand."

Today's patent is the fifth in UC's swiftly growing CRISPR-Cas9 patent portfolio. Five additional applications have received notices of allowance and are expected to issue as patents in the coming months. The CRISPR-Cas9 DNA-targeting technology was invented by Jennifer Doudna and Martin Jinek at the University of California (UC), Berkeley; Emmanuelle Charpentier (then of Umea University); and Krzystof Chylinski at the University of Vienna. The methods claimed in this patent were included among the CRISPR-Cas9 technology disclosed first by the Doudna-Charpentier team in its May 25, 2012 priority patent application.

The international scientific community has widely acknowledged the pioneering nature of the Doudna-Charpentier invention of the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology and its applications through numerous awards, including the Breakthrough Prize in Life Science, Japan Prize, Gruber Prize in Genetics, BBVA Frontiers of Knowledge Award, and Kavli Prize in Nanoscience.

Together, this U.S. patent, as well as previously issued U.S. Patent Nos. 10,266,850, 10,227,611, 10,000,772 and 10,113,167, cover CRISPR-Cas9 compositions and methods useful to target and edit genes, and to modulate expression of genes, in any setting, including within plant, animal, and human cells.

In addition to these U.S. patents, the work of the Doudna-Charpentier team has resulted in patents for the use of CRISPR-Cas9 for gene editing in all types of cells being issued by the European Patent Office (representing more than 30 countries), as well as patent offices in the United Kingdom, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, and other countries.

The University of California has a long-standing commitment to develop and apply its patented technologies, including CRISPR-Cas9, for the betterment of humankind. Consistent with its open-licensing policies, UC allows nonprofit institutions, including academic institutions, to use the technology for non-commercial, educational, and research purposes.

UC has also encouraged widespread commercialization of the CRISPR-Cas9 technology through its exclusive license with Caribou Biosciences, Inc. of Berkeley, California, which has sublicensed the technology to many companies internationally, including Intellia Therapeutics, Inc. for certain human therapeutic applications. Additionally, Dr. Charpentier has licensed the technology to CRISPR Therapeutics AG and ERS Genomics Limited.

Source: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/university-of-california-awarded-crispr-cas9-related-patent-for-techniques-that-regulate-gene-expression-300856677

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

More News on the AFSCME/UPTE Dispute with UC

At various Regents meetings which this blog has covered and audio-archived, there have been speakers from AFSCME and UPTE in the public comment period protesting the current seeming-impasse in contract negotiations. (The Regents have not discussed the matter during the other public sessions, although presumably it has come up in closed sessions.)

There have been several one-day or short-duration strikes - most recently on May 16th when the Regents were meeting - as a result of the dispute as well as union complaints filed with PERB, the California state agency that regulations collective bargaining in the public sector.*

Some faculty at UC-San Diego have established an online petition to UCOP urging "the university to negotiate with these unions in good faith by responding to studies on pay inequality and worker concerns over outsourcing." It can be found (and signed) at: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSe3tKBsaj6AAxz62340htQEWlfMnJFFA6Bc3t07cCSl955vpQ/viewform

Since the Regents' Health Services Committee will be meeting on June 11, the public comment period is likely again to include presentations by union spokespersons. (As yet, no agenda for the Committee has been posted.)

Plans for another one-day strike, if one occurs, have not been posted on the unions' websites as of now.
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*Our posting with audio of the May 16th Regents meeting is at:
http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2019/05/listen-to-regents-meeting-of-may-16-2019.html

Reversal

The issue of UC-San Francisco partnering with Dignity Health, much debated at Regents meetings, seems to have come to an end:

From the Sacramento Bee: UCSF Medical Center officials said Tuesday they no longer would pursue a formal affiliation with Dignity Health, a large Catholic health care system that restricts care on the basis of religious doctrine.

The decision follows months of heated protest from hundreds of University of California, San Francisco faculty and staffers, who argued that such an arrangement would compromise patient care and threaten the famously progressive health system's reputation as a provider of unbiased and evidence-based care.

In a letter to staff announcing the decision to end negotiations, UCSF Chancellor Sam Hawgood and UCSF Health President and CEO Mark Laret cited "strong concerns about a significantly expanded UCSF relationship with a health care system that has certain limits on women's reproductive services, LGBTQ care, and end-of-life options."

Dignity hospitals are bound by ethical and religious directives from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Among other prohibitions, Dignity hospitals ban abortions unless the mother's life is at risk, in vitro fertilization and physician-assisted death. Twenty-four of Dignity's 39 hospitals prohibit contraception services and gender-confirming care for transgender people, such as hormone therapy and surgical procedures.

Under the proposed affiliation, UCSF would have remained independent and continued to provide such services, but UCSF physicians would have had to abide by Dignity's care restrictions while practicing at Dignity hospitals.

The proposal sharply split faculty and the medical staff at UCSF, who aired their differences in heated public forums. Supporters of a closer alliance with Dignity said it would add capacity to a public health care system that is strapped for bed space and turns away more than 800 patients a year. They also noted that Dignity is California's largest private provider for patients with Medi-Cal, the state-federal insurance program for the poor...

Full story at https://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/article230924503.html

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

The UC prez seems to have been on a book tour in Arizona

Ryan Heinsius: The title of your new book is “How Safe Are We?” So, how safe are we?

Janet Napolitano: So, in some areas we certainly are safer than before the attacks of 9/11. But in some other areas we’re not as safe as we could or should be, and I suggest three areas where that is so. One is all of the security impacts related to climate change. A second is cyber and cyber security. And a third is the risks associated with mass gun violence. Those are three areas where we need to be paying much greater attention...

Full interview with audio at https://www.knau.org/post/new-book-janet-napolitano-assesses-us-national-security-and-changing-role-dhs

Monday, May 27, 2019

WWII

Colorized B&W photo of Royce in 1944 (which looks much the same as today)
Here is something you may not have known about UCLA during World War II:

Students sell war bonds (1944)
...While the campus was on high alert — with enough food for 50,000 people reportedly stashed under the Arroyo Bridge, in case of attack — the university’s most clandestine wartime activity took place in downtown Los Angeles, in the UCLA Extension building. Code-named Project 36, the top-secret operation involved UCLA in the development of the first atomic bomb. While scientists toiled in a laboratory in Los Alamos, N.M., under a government contract with the University of California, UCLA’s task was to purchase and deliver the equipment and materials necessary for the success of the Manhattan Project — from rats to 10-ton trucks to meteorological balloons. Suppliers often questioned the university’s unusual orders, and UCLA purchasing agents took items such as typewriters and microscopes from campus labs, unaware of how their acquisitions would be used...

Full story at:
http://magazine.ucla.edu/depts/hailhills/ucla-goes-to-war/

A listing of UCLA war dead in WWII can be found at:
https://www.ww2research.com/world-war-2-dead-ucla/

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Rock


Almost a year ago, we noted the history of Founders' Rock (sometimes Founders without the apostrophe and sometimes Founders' with the apostrophe in the wrong place) with some related photos.* It's not obvious why having a giant rock is what a campus needs, but Berkeley had one so apparently UCLA - at least when it moved to Westwood from the original Vermont Avenue campus - had to have one.** In any case, the rock stood at a prominent place on campus, but was eventually moved to relative obscurity as the map shows.

Recently, as part of the UCLA centennial yet another photo has emerged which we reproduce above.*** It shows the rock, presumably before it was moved from the Perris Valley.

Anyway, you can love it or leave it - your choice:

===
*http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2018/06/ucla-history-rock.html.
**You can read about the Berkeley rock and see a picture at:
http://berkeleyheritage.com/berkeley_landmarks/founders_rock.html.
***Source: http://newsroom.ucla.edu/stories/lore-how-ucla-came-into-being-100-years-ago

Saturday, May 25, 2019

2021 - and maybe 2020 - Health Care Changes - Part 2

Blog readers will know that there are plans afoot to make changes in all health care offerings in 2021 and that a committee, originally chartered to look only at retiree health, has been given the wider charge. Readers will also know that there also appear plans - embodied in an RFP to major insurance carriers - to change retiree health in 2020.* The change appears to involve a shift from UC self-insurance to shifting the risk to the carriers. A claimed saving of $40 million per year has been said to be the reason for the change. Such a change has been characterized as a technical adjustment that doesn't need wide consultation and that retirees would be largely unaffected in practice. There are reasons to be concerned that such a change in incentives, and with a large potential saving, would have a bigger impact than suggested.

It is unclear whether the powers-that-be in UCOP believe that the Regents would need to be consulted about the shift. If the Regents are to be involved, presumably it would have to be at the July meetings. However, the Health Services Committee of the Regents is scheduled to meet on June 11. Thus, a clue will be whether there is any discussion at that earlier meeting. As yet, no agenda for the June 11 meeting is available. But yours truly will watch for its posting and - as usual - archive the audio of that meeting.
===
*http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2019/05/2021-health-care-changes.html

Friday, May 24, 2019

Another walk away

From Inside Higher Ed: Louisiana State University will terminate its “big deal” with publisher Elsevier at the end of this year, joining the growing list of U.S. institutions that have recently decided not to renew their bundled journal subscription deals with the publisher.

LSU is just the latest of several U.S. institutions, including the University of California system, Temple University and Florida State University, to announce its intentions to end its business relationship with Elsevier in the last two years.

“For decades, LSU has subscribed to a package of some 1,800 electronic journal titles from Elsevier,” Stacia Haynie, LSU's provost, said in a statement Monday. But “dramatic increases” in subscription costs have made the deal unsustainable, she said...

Full story at https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2019/05/24/lsu-ends-elsevier-bundled-journal-subscription

We're waiting for Elsevier to sing a different tune:

Everyone has to have one

From the Riverside Press-Enterprise: ...Assemblywoman Sabrina Cervantes, D-Riverside, who in February re-introduced a bill to set aside an unspecified amount of state money starting next year for a UC-affiliated law school in Riverside County, "decided to not advance the bill this year (of the Assembly’s higher education committee) in order to continue working on it with stakeholders and the Riverside County community," said Cassandra Kester of Cervantes’ office.

Currently, Inland law students seeking a UC degree have to go to Irvine or Los Angeles.

“The geographic distance between many Inland Empire communities and Westwood or Irvine, especially with traffic congestion factored in, makes attendance … logistically difficult for prospective law students in the Counties of Riverside and San Bernardino,” Cervantes’ bill read.

“The lack of a public school of law in the Inland Empire is detrimental not only to prospective law students but to the health of the legal community in the region.”

Kester said the Assemblywoman is optimistic that the idea remains viable.

“Although the bill will not be moving forward this calendar year, it will be eligible to move again in January 2020. In the meantime, the assemblymember will continue working with key stakeholders and the community,” Kester said...

Full story at https://www.pe.com/2019/05/23/medical-school-law-school-in-riverside-county-taking-different-paths-in-sacramento/

Maybe what's needed first is a theme song:

If you're wondering about new artwork at the Faculty Club...

Excerpt from message from Faculty Center president Julie Kwan:

Many of you have asked about the new artwork in the Faculty Center and have wondered about how we have acquired it. Over the last year, our longtime member and colleague Victoria Steele has volunteered countless hours and great vision to improving the artwork in the Faculty Center. As an art historian, former head of UCLA’s Library Special Collections, and currently Emerita on call-back serving as Curator of UCLA’s public art collection, Vicki has brought a unique set of skills to revamping the visual environment of our club...

Full story at http://facultycenter.ucla.edu/getmedia/6376bf43-4617-42bc-a476-1625ab7ff22c/May_2019_Newsletter_final.aspx

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Bruin's 100

The Daily Bruin has a centennial issue that is mostly celebratory but contains a story about what could happen in a major earthquake and another slamming various donors which might be seen as philanthropically incorrect by development officials:
https://features.dailybruin.com/2019/centennial/

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Where to go at UCLA

From the Bruin:

UCLA announced a new policy which would require gender-inclusive facilities in every building on campus. Assistant vice chancellor of Facilities Management Kelly Schmader said in an email announcement Tuesday that Policy 890 would convert all existing one-person, gender-specific restrooms on campus to one-person, gender-inclusive restrooms.

If a building does not already have a one-person restroom to renovate, the policy would require there be at least one gender-inclusive restroom less than a 2-minute walk away from the building. Policy 890 requires all buildings beginning construction this year and onward to have at least one multiple-occupancy, gender-inclusive restroom. It also mandates gender-inclusive changing rooms and showers in buildings where gender-specific changing rooms and showers are available...

Competition for the UCLA Grand Hotel

Competition for the UCLA Grand Hotel

From the Bruin: A new hotel opened in Westwood this month.

Palisociety, a real estate development and hospitality operating company, opened the Palihotel in Westwood Village on May 8. The Palihotel occupies the same building as the former Claremont Hotel, which was established in 1939 and was the first hotel in Westwood before it was sold in 2017.

Palisociety has four other Los Angeles hotels in West Hollywood, Santa Monica, Melrose and Culver City.

Palisociety founder Avi Brosh said in an email statement that the company chose Westwood as its location due to the neighborhood’s historical appeal and the atmosphere surrounding it.

“When this unique, historic building found its way to us, we knew it was the right opportunity to bring the Palihotel brand to the neighborhood,” Brosh said. “Along the way, we’ve found so many new things to love about the area and are happy to be a part of the community.”

Brosh said he thinks Westwood offers tourists and UCLA families a convenient place to stay.

“We also think Westwood is a hidden gem for leisure and business clientele coming to LA to explore the city and hope we can attract people to the neighborhood to see it in a whole new light,” Brosh said.

Andrew Thomas, Westwood Village Improvement Association executive director, said he thinks the Palihotel is part of a trend of new hotels opening in Westwood Village. The number of hotels in Westwood has risen from two to five since 2011, Thomas said.

Thomas said the Claremont Hotel was originally zoned to be outside of the Westwood district, which meant it could not receive services or benefits from the WVIA. The association is looking into whether the zoning for the building has changed since the Palihotel opened, he added.

Thomas said he thinks the Palihotel will benefit the Westwood community whether or not it is zoned within Westwood.

“They’ve obviously put a lot of money, thought and energy into developing a great use, and I think that helps us all,” Thomas said. “The more development, attention, money and energy that we have that comes into our district, the better off I think we are.”

...Brosh said the Palisociety hotel seeks to offer an inviting place for UCLA students and parents, as well as to tourists and those who desire to travel the city.

Full story at http://dailybruin.com/2019/05/22/palisociety-hotel-opens-for-ucla-students-families-in-westwood-village/

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

UCPath Access Reopens After Plane Crash

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/16-crashed-end-runway-march-reserve-afb/story?id=63090887
We noted last Friday that UCPath access was being limited due to a nearby airplane crash. Apparently, that problem ended yesterday. Email received last afternoon yesterday:

Attention Faculty, Staff, and Student Employees,

We have been notified that the UCPath Center has returned to regular business operations, as the incident that occurred near the March Air Reserve Base, Riverside on late Thursday, May 16 has been contained.
Local authorities have assured the community that there is no longer a safety concern to the surrounding area, and roads were reopened on Friday evening.
We, along with the UCPath Center, thank you for your patience and understanding during the service interruption.
Should you have questions or needs assistance with a transaction, please select “Ask UCPath Center” on UCPath Online. Associates are available by phone from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday - Friday (PT) at (855) 982-7284.
You may also contact the Central Resource Unit (CRU) at (310) 825-1089 and select option 5, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. or visit the Central Resource Unit (CRU) website for more information about UCPath.
Sincerely,
The UCLA UCPath Team

Monday, May 20, 2019

AEA's New Ombudsperson

From the AEA website:
May 20, 2019
To the members of the American Economic Association:

A recent letter to the membership from Olivier Blanchard (past president), Janet Yellen (president-elect), and me emphasized the determination of the AEA Executive Committee to fight harassment and discrimination in the economics profession, laying out a number of new initiatives. (See the AEA Professional Code of Conduct and the recently approved policy on harassment and discrimination.) Among the measures proposed in our letter was the establishment of an ombudsperson, to whom AEA members could report problems or concerns and seek advice. 

Today we are announcing that the AEA has engaged Leto Copeley of the law firm Copeley Johnson & Groninger PLLC to serve as ombudsperson. Leto and her firm have long experience in employment law, including the law on harassment and discrimination, and she has regularly provided training on best practices in this area. We are delighted that she has agreed to work with us. 

Our hope is that the ombudsperson will be a resource for addressing issues of harassment and discrimination throughout the profession. The ombudsperson is prepared to respond to complaints or concerns about harassment or discrimination in three ways: 
  • Although she does not serve as legal counsel to individuals reporting harassment or discrimination, she stands ready to advise on next steps (including seeking formal counsel), to provide the complainant (AEA member or person questioning the conduct of an AEA member) with relevant information or materials, or to make referrals to agencies or organizations as appropriate for personal assistance or legal consultation.
  • For allegations of harassment or discrimination in the context of AEA-sponsored activities or involving AEA officers or employees the ombudsperson may at her discretion conduct an investigation and relay the findings to the AEA Executive Committee, which will then decide whether to take any further action. Investigations into allegations regarding persons who are neither employees nor officers of the AEA will be undertaken only with the permission of the complainant(s).
  • With (and only with) the permission of the complainant, the ombudsperson will create a permanent and confidential record of any communication that includes an allegation of harassment by or of an AEA member or in the context of an AEA-sponsored activity. The reason for the recordkeeping is both for legal purposes and to help identify repeat offenders or patterns of abuse; however, records will not be shared with anyone without reconfirmation of permission from the original caller.
Effective immediately, any AEA member is eligible to consult with the ombudsperson on matters involving harassment or discrimination in a professional context (including, but not limited to, AEA-sponsored events or activities). There are several ways of contacting the ombudsperson: 
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  • To speak with Leto, please email her at aeaombuds@cjglawfirm.com, or call her paralegal Kathy Garrett at 919-937-9382 and you will be contacted to arrange an appointment.
  • Leto will hold office hours at the ASSA meetings in January.
  • Reports of instances of harassment for the purpose of creating a permanent record can be made by phone, email, or regular mail.
  • Reports of instances of harassment for the purposes of creating a permanent record may also be made by filling out an electronic form on the Copeley Johnson & Groninger PLLC website page dedicated to this purpose.
  • The AEA has established an ombudsperson page on its website that can be accessed here: https://www.aeaweb.org/about-aea/aea-ombudsperson.
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As an attorney, the ombudsperson will maintain the information received with the utmost confidentiality possible. For details on the limits of confidentiality in written records, see the AEA Ombudsperson FAQs at https://www.aeaweb.org/about-aea/aea-ombudsperson/faq. The FAQs provide a range of additional information about the ombudsperson, particularly regarding her role in creating and keeping records of allegations of harassment and discrimination. If you are a potential complainant and have concerns about confidentiality, you are encouraged to contact the ombudsperson by telephone. 

If you believe that you have been the victim of harassment or discrimination, or if you have witnessed harassment or discrimination toward an AEA member, even if some time in the past, consider contacting the ombudsperson. The information you provide may help to identify repeat offenders or patterns of abuse and thus be a starting point for preventing future occurrences. The economics profession should be open and welcoming to everyone, and the elimination of abusive behavior is critical for achieving that goal.

Ben Bernanke, President 

We're not sure what eService is...

...But faculty sitting in this row will get it.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Those were the days...

The Facebook page of the Charles E. Young Library on Friday posted the photo above of UCLA in the 1930s as part the centennial celebration (which apparently officially began yesterday). We've added two arrows to point out that the good old days involved lots of free parking. (Seems like the photo above - without the arrows - is a kind of official representation for the centennial, as per below from earlier this month.)



Anti-UC Outsourcing Constitutional Amendment

Assemblywoman Gonzalez and her district
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, who represents a district covering part of San Diego down to the Mexico-US border, has introduced a constitutional amendment which would substantially limit outsourcing by UC. The amendment - ACA 14 - would require a two-thirds vote of the legislature (which is possible for Democrats to achieve). Such a vote would then put the amendment on the state ballot. The amendment appears to be supported by AFSCME. Recent one-day strikes by AFSCME have in part been aimed at outsourcing issues.

Assemblywoman Gonzalez is a graduate of the UCLA Law School.

The amendment is reproduced below:


Introduced by Assembly Member Gonzalez
April 4, 2019
A resolution to propose to the people of the State of California an amendment to the Constitution of the State, by adding Section 9.5 to Article IX thereof, relating to the University of California.
LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST
ACA 14, as introduced, Gonzalez. University of California: support services: equal employment opportunity standards.
Existing provisions of the California Constitution establish the University of California as a public trust under the administration of the Regents of the University of California. The California Constitution grants to the regents all the powers necessary or convenient for the effective administration of this public trust. Pursuant to the California Constitution, there are 7 ex officio members of the regents and 18 appointive members appointed by the Governor and approved by the Senate, a majority of the membership concurring.
This measure would, effective January 1, 2021, except as specified, require the regents to ensure that all contract workers, as defined, who are paid to perform support services, as defined, for students, faculty, patients, or the general public at any campus, dining hall, medical center, clinic, research facility, laboratory, or other university location, are at all times subject to and afforded the same equal employment opportunity standards, as defined, as university employees performing similar services.
The measure would authorize the regents, or any campus or other entity of the University of California, to contract for, or otherwise arrange to use, contract labor, as defined, to perform support services only under specified conditions if authorized to do so by statute, and only to the extent to address one or more of prescribed needs. The measure would authorize the Legislature to enact statutes to further the purposes of, and to aid the enforcement of, this measure.
DIGEST KEY
Vote: 2/3   Appropriation: no   Fiscal Committee: yes   Local Program: no 
BILL TEXT
Resolved by the Assembly, the Senate concurring, That the Legislature of the State of California at its 2019–20 Regular Session, commencing on the third day of December 2018, two-thirds of the membership of each house concurring, hereby proposes to the people of the State of California that the Constitution of the State be amended as follows:
That Section 9.5 is added to Article IX thereof, to read:
(a) The people of California declare all of the following:
(1) We, the people of the State of California, strongly support the University of California’s mission to enhance the lives of those it serves, educates, and employs.
(2) As one of the State’s largest and most respected public or private employers, the University of California is uniquely positioned to improve equal employment opportunity standards for every Californian working on its campuses or in its medical centers.
(3) The equal employment opportunity standards placed in this Constitution by a majority of voters casting ballots in the Presidential Election, at the November 3, 2020, statewide general election, will eliminate unequal treatment for those covered by provisions specified in this constitutional amendment.
(b) The Regents of the University of California shall ensure that all contract workers who are paid to perform support services for students, faculty, patients, or the general public at any campus, dining hall, medical center, clinic, research facility, laboratory, or other university location, are at all times subject to and afforded the same equal employment opportunity standards as university employees performing similar services.
(c) (1) The Regents of the University of California, or any campus or other entity of the University of California, may contract for, or otherwise arrange to use, contract labor to perform support services only if authorized to do so by statute, and only to the extent necessary to address one or more of the following needs:
(A) A bona fide emergency circumstance, for no longer than the actual duration of that circumstance.
(B) To support a student housing development that becomes available for occupancy on or after January 1, 2021.
(C) To perform support services in relation to an unanticipated special event scheduled by the university with less than 30 calendar days’ advance notice.
(D) To supply the university with licensed, clinically trained workers from a clinical registry.
(E) To train university employees on the use of new or specialized equipment or techniques.
(2) Any contractual arrangement for a person, firm, or other entity to supply the university with contract labor for one of the purposes specified in this subdivision shall meet all of the following requirements:
(A) It will not cause or facilitate the displacement of university employees. For purposes of this subparagraph, “displacement” includes layoff, demotion, involuntary transfer to a new job classification, involuntary transfer to a new location, or time base reduction. For purposes of this subparagraph, “displacement” also includes circumvention or delay of the regular hiring process, the filling of vacancies, or the budgeting for a full complement of university employees to perform support services.
(B) Both the proposal and the resulting contractual arrangement, and documentation reflecting any change to the specific types of work to be performed by contract workers or change to the locations at which they will perform support services, shall be, at all times, available to the public. This documentation shall specify in writing that all persons who perform support services under the contractual arrangement shall receive wages and benefits equivalent to, or of no less value than, those provided to university employees who perform the same or similar work or duties on a full-time equivalent basis.
(C) Any person who performs support services under the contractual or other arrangement provided for in subparagraph (C) or (D) of paragraph (1) for more than 10 days in a calendar year shall be employed directly by the university for all periods of work in excess of those 10 days.
(D) The use of contract labor shall not adversely affect the university’s nondiscrimination standards.
(d) For purposes of this section:
(1) “Contract labor” and “contract workers” mean persons other than university employees who are paid to perform support services at a University of California location.
(2) “Contractual arrangement” includes any contract, contract amendment, contract renewal, automatic renewal, contract extension, subcontract, purchase order, order, change order, or other agreement between a private entity and the Regents of the University of California or any other entity of the University of California, or between a private entity or any other public entity, that may be used to provide the University of California with contract labor.
(3) “Equal employment opportunity standards” means all of the following:
(A) The right to be free from discrimination in the workplace.
(B) Direct employment by the university, except as permitted by subdivision (c).
(C) Equal pay for equal work, meaning each contract worker shall receive at least the same wages and benefits, and be subject to the same standards of accountability, as university employees who perform similar services.
(4) “Support services” includes, but is not necessarily limited to, all of the following: cleaning or custodial services; food services; groundskeeping; building maintenance; transportation; security services; billing and coding services; sterile processing; hospital or nursing assistant services; and medical imaging or respiratory therapy technician services. “Support services” also include other patient care technical and service bargaining unit work and related nonsupervisory, nonmanagerial work functions as defined by the Public Employment Relations Board or a successor entity, pursuant to the Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act (Chapter 12 (commencing with Section 3560) of Division 4 of Title 1 of the Government Code), as it is from time to time amended, or a successor act.
(e) This section shall become effective on January 1, 2021. However, if any contract that is in effect on January 1, 2021, would be impaired by the enforcement of this section, then this section shall not apply to that contract until the earliest date on which: (1) the immediate contract term expires, (2) the contract may be amended, extended, renewed, or permitted to renew, or (3) additional funding is authorized or a substantial change is made to the scope of work that had been expressly authorized or actually performed under the contract before January 1, 2021.
(f) The Legislature may enact statutes to further the purposes of, and to aid the enforcement of, this section.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Listen to the Regents Meeting of May 16, 2019

We continue our practice of archiving the audio of Regents meetings. At the link below (scroll down), you will find the audio of the full board meeting of May 16, 2019. As we have often noted, the Regents "archive" their official recordings of the meeting for only one year.

Note: In our recordings, we edit the official recording to omit long silences when the official recording is shut down during protest disturbances or for other pauses in the meeting.

From the Bruin: The University of California Board of Regents voted to increase nonresident student tuition by $762 per year Thursday.

The UC Board of Regents voted 12-6 in favor of increasing nonresident supplemental tuition by 2.6% on the third day of its May meeting at UC San Francisco. The increase will bring nonresident supplemental tuition from $28,992 to $29,754 and generate $28.9 million in additional revenue for the UC.

In March, the board tabled the vote after the council failed to come to a consensus regarding the tuition hike and its potential impact on international students. The board ultimately resolved to vote on the matter in May and request more funding from the state Legislature in the meantime.

UC President Janet Napolitano previously said failing to pass the tuition increase would result in a $30 million hole in the UC budget.

During the Thursday meeting, Napolitano said the regents added an amendment to allocate 10% of the revenue generated by the tuition increase to fund financial aid for nonresident students.

“Our needs are great,” Napolitano said. “Without this, we add another $30 million hole, and that will have an impact on the educational program we can provide for our undergraduate students, be they from California and be they from out of state.”

UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said he is glad the vote passed because the increase will expand core funds and educational programs for UCLA. The university has had to look for new sources of additional funding due to sharp cuts in state funding and increases in the size of its student body, Block said.

“UCLA has worked hard over this time to ensure student success and to improve graduation rates, but this can only be done if we ensure there are enough class sections and seats to avoid creating bottlenecks,” Block said.

Regent Lark Park said she had deep reservations toward the tuition increase because it would hurt low-income out-of-state and international students.

Fewer low-income international students have enrolled at the UC in recent years due to the increase in tuition, Park added.

Source: http://dailybruin.com/2019/05/16/uc-board-of-regents-votes-to-increase-nonresident-tuition-by-762-per-year/

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Also from the Bruin: The governing board of the University of California met for the third day of its May meeting at UC San Francisco on Thursday. The Board of Regents voted to raise nonresident student tuition and discussed a potential partnership between UC San Francisco and a Catholic hospital system.

The board voted to increase nonresident student tuition by $762 per year, raising tuition for out-of-state and international students from $28,992 to $29,754 per year.

-Caroline Siegel-Singh, the vice president of external affairs of Associated Students at UC San Diego and president of UC Students Association, said students from certain UC campuses and racial backgrounds take on more debt than others. Siegel-Singh said low- and middle-income students are facing increasingly high tuition costs. She urged the board to consider the effects of raising nonresident tuition, adding she thinks the UC should not rely on the revenue generated from nonresident tuition for funding.
-Sarah Abdeshahian, a UC Berkeley student and vice chair of the Fund the UC campaign, said she opposed the tuition increase for nonresident students. She said she thinks students from all backgrounds should be able to afford a UC education.
-American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299, the UC’s largest employee union, protested the outsourcing of UC worker’s jobs. A few AFSCME members were arrested for illegal assembly, said Eric Partika, captain of the UC San Francisco Police Department.
-Sahiba Kaur, a senator in Associated Students of UC Davis, said pesticides used on UC grounds are harmful to groundskeepers and community members. Kaur said the UC continues to use chemicals and pesticides prohibited by the state of California and added she thinks the UC should let groundskeeping workers, scientists, experts and student government representatives sit on the committee overseeing the issue.
-Patricia Robertson, a perinatologist at UCSF, said she thinks UCSF should not partner with Dignity Health, a Catholic hospital system because she thinks hospital operations and services such as abortion would be restricted by local bishops. Robertson said there are other ways to add beds without having to affiliate with a Catholic institution.
-Kathleen Jordan, the chief medical officer at St. Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco, said many allegations against Dignity Health, such as the claims the hospitals will limit access to care for LBGTQ individuals, are not true. Jordan said the hospital discusses all treatment options with patients and does not discriminate against any patients. She also said bishops are not involved in the decision-making process of the health care system.
-Dana Gossett, an obstetrics, gynecology and gynecologic professor at UCSF, said she supports the partnership with Dignity Health. Gosi said Dignity Health has a gender-affirming program for its transgender patients and no care would be taken away from patients.

Source: http://dailybruin.com/2019/05/17/uc-regents-recap-may-16/

You can hear the meeting at:


or direct to:
https://archive.org/details/regents-board-5-16-19edit