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Monday, September 30, 2019

Latest UCLA Crime Report Released

{Click on image to enlarge - 3 segments}

NCAA Defied

California becomes first state to allow college athletes to be paid

Bryan Anderson, 9-30-19, Sacramento Bee

Rejecting opposition from the NCAA, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday signed a law allowing college athletes to be paid starting in 2023.

The proposal from state Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, will allow players to be compensated for their name, image and likeness. Senate Bill 206, dubbed the “Fair Pay to Play Act,” would also prohibit universities across the state from revoking scholarships from students who choose to pursue endorsement deals and other opportunities.

Last week, Newsom signaled his support for the bill during an interview with Daily Show host Trevor Noah.

“This notion of ‘student-athlete,’ give me a break,” Newsom said. “These guys are expected full-time to sacrifice themselves for athletics, but when they’re done, the next crew comes in and it’s just this cycle. At the end of the day, it perpetuates a cycle of inequality and a lack of equity. As it relates to the issue of sports, it’s time to rebalance things. ... I recognize the consequence of this decision because we could substantially change the NCAA as we know it.”

Newsom was filmed signing the bill on NBA superstar Lebron James’ HBO show, The Shop. Newsom posted a video clip from the show on Twitter early Monday.

“That’s governor’s signature right there,” James says in the clip, celebrating the bill’s signing.

The NCAA, which governs college sports, was unsuccessful in its efforts to stop the bill within the Legislature or get Newsom to veto it, setting the stage for a potential legal challenge.

Shortly after Skinner’s bill cleared the Assembly with unanimous support earlier this month, the group told Newsom in a letter that the law would give the state’s 58 NCAA schools an “unfair recruiting advantage.” As a result, the NCAA Board of Governors threatened to ban those schools from playing in NCAA competitions. The announcement came in addition to their prior threats to revoke California’s ability to host future championships...

Full story at https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article235617132.html

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Telescope Continues - Continued

An odd twist. According to a local Hawaiian newspaper, although the state's supreme court provided an OK to the TMT project, a state agency has been providing financial support to the protesters who are blocking the project:*

OHA reveals protest support, subpoena response

Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 9-27-19, via UCOP News Notes of 9-27-19, Timothy Hurley,

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs has spent more than $39,000 in support of the protest against the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea.

The OHA board of trustees released its expenditures to the public Thursday and also said it provided some but not all of the Mauna Kea support-related documents demanded by a subpoena from the state Attorney General’s Office.

“While OHA has provided the Attorney General certain documents responsive to its subpoena, we are reviewing each category of items requested for production by the AG on a case by case basis,” the agency said in a statement Thursday.

The trustees reviewed OHA’s Mauna Kea expenditures in front of a full house at its Iwilei headquarters during a meeting in which scores of beneficiaries thanked the board for its Mauna Kea support and appealed for more aid.

The OHA trustees approved a resolution July 25 that authorized the agency’s administration to advocate for the rights, safety and well-being of Native Hawaiian “protectors” and provide related assistance.

As of Sept. 17, OHA spent $39,052 and committed 159 staff hours on digital media services while fulfilling the mandate of a resolution, according to a report by interim OHA CEO Sylvia Hussey.

Three-fourths of the money went to the Puu Huluhulu protest camp at the base of Mauna Kea Access Road and paid for toilet rentals and servicing, dumpster removal and landfill disposal fees, and tent rental and lighting.

More than $8,000 went to staff and trustee travel for site visits and beneficiary assessments and for a community meeting, and more than $2,200 underwrote legal observers, including workshop supplies and travel.

Officials were quick to point out that no funds were authorized for the legal defense of those arrested on the mountain, although they did add that less than $1,000 was used to send to the Big Island a handful of attorneys interested in providing pro bono representation.

“We’ve been focusing specifically on the rights of our beneficiaries to exercise their constitutional rights and providing for the public health and safety of our beneficiaries,” said Jocelyn Doane, OHA’s public policy manager. “I think that’s really important because the media is suggesting that we’re paying for their legal defense or paying for their bail fund, that we’re paying for all kinds of things we’re not paying for.”

Chairwoman Colette Machado added, “This is an update that we wanted to give to the public. We don’t have anything to hide.”

The mostly Native Hawaiian protesters have been blocking Mauna Kea Access Road since July 15, preventing construction of the $1.4 billion next-generation project planned as one of the most powerful telescopes in the world.

OHA trustee Carmen Hulu Lindsey was one of dozens of demonstrators who were arrested July 17. Trustee Dan Ahuna was on the mountain the day before, and several of the trustees have visited the camp at other times. The trustees visited the Mauna Kea protest site as a group last week during an annual trip to Hawaii island.

Lindsey volunteered that OHA funds were not used in her case.

“I have my own attorney. I was up on the mountain that day at my own expense. So nothing here other than the travel of the one trip is accountable to me. I just wanted to make that clear,” she said.

Kamehameha Schools also has acknowledged providing help to the protest, including a large tent and support for documentation of the protests through livestreams, photos and videos.

OHA spokesman Sterling Wong said the agency expects to monitor the needs of the encampment and continue to provide a level of support that fulfills the mandate of the board’s resolution as long as necessary.

The OHA trustees took a number of positions in the resolution, including condemning any further provocation or intimidation of those seeking to protect the mountain and discouraging the use of unwarranted force against peaceful protest.

The resolution also called on the governor to rescind his emergency proclamation, which he did, but offered no position on the actual location of the TMT.

During some two hours of testimony Thursday, testifiers praised the board for its financial support and said OHA was helping to give rise to a cultural renaissance.

“Our nation is finally rising,” former Hawaiian-studies teacher Malia Marquez said. “I beg of you to continue to support our lahui (nation). The people of the world are watching.”

Lanakila Mangauil, one of the leaders of the kiai, or “protectors” of the mountain, offered his appreciation.

“Aloha for doing what OHA is supposed to be doing,” he said. “This is what’s galvanizing our people — unlike we’ve ever seen before. Right now, as we speak, in Waimanalo our people are standing. They are being arrested for standing for the right to protect aina. And for too long we’ve all been ignored, and that’s why you’ve got this monstrosity of a city here.

“We are waking up. We are going to continue to stand, and your support is greatly needed. The other side has a lot of support behind them. They have dropped over a half a million dollars in media just a couple of months ago. They got choke support already.”

University of Hawaii graduate student Ilima Long said OHA’s financial support has helped to buttress a new thirst for knowledge among Hawaiians.

She said 651 classes have been held at the Mauna Kea encampment, as part of what’s being called Puu Huluhulu University. The classes, she said, have been taught by 42 college-level professors, 12 lecturers and a variety of others with cultural and special knowledge.

“People are absolutely inspired by what they see up on the mauna,” Long said. “They see that now is a time to really know who we are, to know where we come from, to know our culture, to know our language, and that is what this movement is inspiring, which is absolutely in alignment with the strategic priorities of OHA.”

Teacher Imaikalani Winchester brought a bunch of students from Halau Ku Mana Public Charter School to witness the board meeting.

“It’s time to say aole to bad business,” Winchester told the trustees. “It’s time to say aole to desecration, aole to exploitation. And the division that is being caused by the media throughout our communities have failed. They’ve only made us stronger.”

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*Apparently, the OHA support for the protests has been known for some time. See:
https://www.kitv.com/story/40838984/oha-approves-resolution-to-fund-supplies-for-demonstrators-at-mauna-kea

And it appears that at earlier in the sequence of events, OHA supported the building of TMT:
https://bigislandnow.com/2015/04/10/ohas-stance-on-tmt-questioned/
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Meanwhile, public opinion appears to be split in Hawaii. Your truly has looked at some comments in state newspapers. Here's one:

A reasonable compromise suggested regarding TMT

Sept. 27, 2019, Maui News

The TMT developers have the legal right to build their telescope. Likewise, those opposed to the project have the right to express their objections to TMT on spiritual grounds.

A reasonable compromise can be achieved if both of the parties consider the following suggestions to bring about a win-win result. The developers dedicate the project to honor and recognize the great contributions that the Polynesian people made in utilizing astronomy to navigate the Pacific Ocean and settle in Hawaii. To memorialize this great accomplishment, the observatory be named after the appropriate god chosen by the protesters. Additionally, some land adjacent to TMT be dedicated as “sacred ground” upon which a heiau and other appropriate religious structures can be built to acknowledge the sacred nature of the mountain upon which TKT is built.

Additionally, at the foot of Mauna Kea the State of Hawaii and the TMT consortium build a world-class museum that tells the story of the brave Polynesian seafaring people. Incorporated as part of the museum, a planetarium be built to help people better understand our universe and to show them the role that telescopes, like the TMT, are contributing to help us obtain as much information and knowledge as we can about “What’s out there?”

Finally, the crown for this outstanding and unique museum would be the world famous Hokulea for accomplishing a feat that has gone down in history as just awesome and unbelievable.

William Kinaka
Wailuku

Source: https://www.mauinews.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/2019/09/a-reasonable-compromise-suggested-regarding-tmt/

Saturday, September 28, 2019

UCRAYS Rises

Retirees and near retirees have in the past used a UC system with regard to benefits, etc., known as AYSO. However, this system is being phased out as part of the bumpy transition to UCPath, and being replaced by UCRAYS.

The notice reproduced below provides some info about the transition at UCLA. A colleague of yours truly has noted that the first step in opening a UCRAYS account is to enter your Social Security number. What could possibly go wrong with that?

If you read the text of the "I agree" step - which of course you won't - you will find in its depths reference to a "third party vendor" that will have access to certain information. And what could possibly go wrong with that? However, yours truly can tell you that his sign in to UCRAYS worked without too much hassle.

The notice (excerpt):

UCOP is pleased to announce the UC Retirement At Your Service (UCRAYS) self-service portal went live today! Please visit the new portal at https://retirementatyourservice.ucop.edu to register and create your account.

Until all features of UCRAYS are released, active and inactive members will continue to use AYSO to access the estimating tools for retirement and service credit purchase. AYSO will continue to be in operation until all UC locations have transitioned to UCPath...

Filing

Statement from UC President Janet Napolitano on filing Supreme Court brief on DACA

UC Office of the President, Sept. 27, 2019

The University of California today filed a brief in the Supreme Court challenging the Trump administration’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. In September 2017, after the administration announced it would end DACA, the University of California was the first university to sue the government. 

UC President Janet Napolitano, who authorized DACA in 2012 as the secretary of Homeland Security, issued the following statement today (September 27):

Today, the University of California continued our fight to protect the nearly 700,000 Dreamers here in the United States and in our community who are DACA recipients. UC’s DACA students are studying to be the next generation of teachers, doctors, engineers and other professions that make life better for everyone. They are young people who simply want to continue to live, learn and contribute to the country they consider home...

Full news release at https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/press-room/statement-uc-president-janet-napolitano-filing-supreme-court-brief-daca

Friday, September 27, 2019

Telescope Continues

Neil deGrasse Tyson on TMT: What would ancient Polynesian navigators think?

By HNN Staff | September 25, 2019 | Hawaii News Now

Neil deGrasse Tyson, one of the world’s most well-known astrophysicists, published an opinion piece on the Thirty Meter Telescope controversy on Wednesday, offering another perspective he says “may have been overlooked in the heat of debates.”

In the 750-word note called “Hawaii’s Conduit to the Cosmos” posted on his Facebook page, he explained why Mauna Kea is the best observing site on Earth due to its isolation in the middle of the ocean, away from city lights and close to waters that can help bring optimal views of outer space.

Mauna Kea is also proposed as the site for “the next generation of the world’s largest telescope,” also known as the Thirty Meter Telescope, he wrote.

However, the project has been the source of major controversy among Native Hawaiians who consider Mauna Kea sacred and also represents “another mark of unwelcomed European colonization.”

He wrote: “My only opinion here is that the people of Hawaii (however its residents choose to define this), and not anyone else, should be the ones who determine the fate of Mauna Kea’s summit. It’s their mountain. It’s their state.”

But deGrasse Tyson brought up another point worth examining: The greatest navigators in the history of the world were Polynesians who discovered, mapped and settled in many of the islands in the Pacific. And they did this by using the sun, moon and stars.

So what would the ancient Polynesians say about “the world’s largest instrument of navigation” being used on an island they discovered?

That’s one question he poses in his note.

The thought came to mind after deGrasse Tyson interviewed Nainoa Thompson, master navigator for the Hokulea, for “StarTalk” on National Geographic. In the interview, he discussed how Polynesians used the stars to navigate.

Thompson has not yet weighed in publicly on the TMT debate.

Another question that deGrasse Tyson raises in his piece: “Whatever is your concept of the divine forces that created and shaped our universe, might the discoveries of modern astrophysics bring you closer to them?”

Source: https://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/2019/09/25/neil-degrasse-tyson-tmt-what-would-ancient-polynesian-navigators-think/

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UC Student Governments Call for Divestment of Thirty Meter Telescope Project

September 26, 2019 at 12:02 am by Max Abrams, UC-SB Daily Nexus

On Wednesday afternoon, the University of California Student Association, which represents students across all UC campuses, released a letter signed by all nine Associated Students External Vice Presidents demanding the UC cut financial ties with the Thirty Meter Telescope project.  

The call for divestment comes two months after students across the UC system began raising their voices in opposition to the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT). The project, which has sustained numerous delays due to protests over its planned location on native Hawaiian land, drew criticism from UC Santa Barbara students in the form of petitions — which condemned TMT’s operations — and demands for UC Santa Barbara Chancellor Henry Yang to resign from his position as chair of the board of governors of TMT. 

Chancellor Yang serves as the chair of the board of governors of TMT. Nexus file photo 

The recent statement from University of California Student Association (UCSA) begins with a criticism of the UC’s operations on native land: “other than an occasional nod” to indigenous populations, “there have not been the kind of substantial steps necessary for meaningful reparations,” the letter read. 

The letter goes on to expand on its demands, asking the UC to cease funding for TMT and for any faculty or staff sitting on the project’s board of governors and science advisory committee to “speak out against the exploitation of Mauna Kea.” 

“It is unacceptable that an institution that claims to pride itself on respecting indigenous voices and uplifting students from diverse backgrounds would continue to support a project against the wishes of the land’s stewards,” the letter read. 

Daevionne Beasley, a third-year sociology major and UCSB’s Associated Students External Vice President for Statewide Affairs, said the UC’s involvement with TMT puts UCSB students in “a really tough spot.”

Beasley noted that students are concerned that they may be “scrutinized” for their connection to UCSB due to the university’s involvement in the project. He also emphasized Yang’s involvement with TMT and explained that students who aren’t in favor of TMT’s construction feel pitted against institutions that support the cause. 

Beasley explained that the letter initially took shape at the UCSA August board meeting, where Mark Green, a UC Berkeley legislative director, gave a presentation regarding the UC’s involvement with TMT which later became the framework for the demands. 

Following the August board meeting, Beasley said Green asked him to hand-deliver the letter to Yang, which he plans to do soon. 

Beasley said he is also working with Christian Ornelas, external vice president for local affairs and fourth-year environmental studies major. The two are currently in contact with the UCSB American Indian Student Association to “get their input on the situation” and “[see] what exactly my office can do to help them,” Beasley said. 

Despite the backlash against TMT, Beasley maintains that the project will go on “with or without Chancellor Yang’s involvement,” but has hope in the power of student activism and its potential to stunt the UC’s role in the project.

“The main solution would just be to come together and to really listen to the indigenous communities here and over in Hawaii,” he said. 

“There’s beauty in activism and students using their voices because it gets things done.” 

UCSB spokesperson Andrea Estrada could not be immediately reached for comment.

Source: http://dailynexus.com/2019-09-26/uc-student-governments-call-for-divestment-of-thirty-meter-telescope-project/

Thursday, September 26, 2019

If this story doesn't persuade you to back up securely, nothing will

From the Sacramento BeeAn entomologist visiting UC Davis for a five-month research trip was robbed at gunpoint last week, losing cash, a brand-new laptop and an external hard drive containing precious scientific data and lecture materials, according to Davis police and a spokesperson at the university...

...(T)he robber “stole the entomologist’s wallet containing his rent money and credit cards, his newly purchased laptop, and an external hard drive containing scientific data.” That 1-terabyte hard drive held “all his research data and lectures” ...

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So what's the lesson. If you back up your computer on an external drive, you are protected from some kind of computer malfunction. But you are not protected from a loss of both when carried together.

Back up either to an external drive that is in a different location from your computer or back up to "the cloud." UCLA faculty, students and staff, by the way, have free access to cloud storage on "Box." Info at:

UCLA MacArthur Genius Award Winner

From NPR: While Kelly Lytle Hernández was growing up in San Diego near the U.S.-Mexico border in the late 1980s and early '90s, she watched as people from her community, friends and neighbors, disappeared: Black youths disappeared into the prison system; Mexican immigrants disappeared through deportations.

These experiences affected her deeply.

"It was growing up in that environment that forced me to want to understand what was happening to us and why it seemed legitimate," Lytle Hernández tells All Things Considered. "And I wanted to disrupt that legitimacy."

For answers to those questions, Lytle Hernández turned to the past. A historian and expert on immigration, race and mass incarceration, she is now a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, and is one of this year's 26 MacArthur Fellows.

"History is a narrative of the past. It is based upon the sources that we regard as relevant or that we can find," she says.

And so her work includes tracking down records that reflect marginalized populations and finding new, rigorous ways to understand those records.

"Where we come from matters deeply, and it shapes the present," Lytle Hernández says. "And how we understand that past, can shape our future."

With my most recent book, City of Inmates: Conquest, Rebellion and the Rise of Human Caging in Los Angeles, which is about the rise of mass incarceration in Los Angeles, I developed something called the "rebel archive."

The rebel archive is ... the records that have been authored by the people who have fought policing and incarceration across centuries [including court records]. ... Even cases that make it all the way up to the United States Supreme Court. It's also records that — by the grace of God — have somehow evaded destruction by law enforcement authorities over the centuries. And so it's a rebel archive because it has survived to tell the tale of what happened, and how it happened, and why.

I think there's something, everything, good about reframing, and the dance of history, and the debate of history and where our present comes from. And that we should always engage in that debate rather than invest in a objective truth of the past.

And what we're talking about here is a power struggle, about the well-known phrase that "the winners are the ones who get to write history." Well, we're talking about developing newly empowered communities, new winners, and so we're beginning to rewrite our own stories.

My work and the work of many others is very much invested in telling the stories of communities that have been marginalized, that have been caged up, that have been locked out, that have been enslaved, and bringing our story, and our experience, to the center of the American narrative and helping us to change the American future with those stories.

Source: https://www.npr.org/2019/09/25/764364172/rebel-historian-who-reframes-history-receives-macarthur-genius-grant

Additional CRISPR

Patent Office: 1924
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today granted the University of California (UC) and its partners, the University of Vienna and Emmanuelle Charpentier, a new CRISPR-Cas9 patent, bringing the team’s continually expanding patent portfolio to 15.
Jennifer Doudna
Jennifer Doudna, co-inventor of the CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing tool, in 2014, with a model of the complex on her computer screen. (UC Berkeley photo courtesy of Cailey Cotner)
U.S. Patent 10,421,980 covers compositions of certain DNA-targeting RNAs that contain RNA duplexes of defined lengths that hybridize with Cas9 and target a desired DNA sequence. The patent also covers methods of targeting and binding a target DNA, modifying a target DNA, or modulating transcription from a target DNA wherein the method comprises contacting a target DNA with a complex that includes a Cas9 protein and a DNA-targeting RNA.
In the coming months, based on applications allowed by the USPTO, UC’s CRISPR-Cas9 patent portfolio will increase to 18. Together, these patents cover compositions and methods for CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing, including targeting and editing genes and modulating transcription in any setting, such as within plant, animal and human cells.
“With every patent that issues, UC strengthens its position as the leader in CRISPR-Cas9 intellectual property in the United States,” said Eldora Ellison, the lead patent strategist on CRISPR-Cas9 matters for UC and a director at Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox. “We are steadfast in our commitment to developing a comprehensive patent portfolio that protects the groundbreaking work of the Doudna-Charpentier team on CRISPR-Cas9.” ...

Detailed American Economic Assn. Professional Climate Report

The American Economic Association (AEA) - the major professional association in the economics field - has been issuing "climate" reports, particularly after some revelations about sexual and other misbehavior in the field.

The latest report is largely a descriptive statistical compendium and doesn't contain a real "bottom line" conclusion. However, it was distributed today by email and the email contains the following wording:

{Click on image to enlarge.}
...(T)his extensive report includes statistical analyses, a review of open-ended survey questions, and some comparisons with the findings of other professional surveys. What remains evident is that many members of the economics profession have suffered harassment and discrimination during their careers, including both overt acts of abuse and more subtle forms of marginalization.

Full text of email/announcement available at https://www.aeaweb.org/news/member-announcements-sept-26-2019

The new report is at:
https://www.aeaweb.org/resources/member-docs/final-climate-survey-results-sept-2019

The chart above and table below suggest the descriptive flavor of the report.
{Click on image to enlarge.}


Wednesday, September 25, 2019

We also like to point to the UCLA Anderson Forecast...

...first, because it gives a sense of where the state economy (and, therefore, the state and UC budgets) are going, and second, because it demonstrates that large facilities are available for conferences around the UCLA campus (apart from the Grand Hotel). Here is a summary from the official news release:
Stopping just short of predicting a recession in the U.S. through its 2021 forecast horizon, the UCLA Anderson Forecast, in its third quarterly report of 2019, expects the national economy to slow to 0.4% in the second half of 2020, before rebounding to 2.1% in 2021. Given the slow growth rate nationally and the weakness in the housing market, the Forecast expects California's unemployment rate to rise to an average of 5.1% in the fourth quarter of 2020. For the entire years of 2020 and 2021, the unemployment rate in the state is expected to average 4.6%...

Full text of release at: https://www.anderson.ucla.edu/news-and-events/press-releases

We like to salute gifts...

...that involve support for research, teaching, and student assistance rather than bricks and mortar. Here one:

The Bedari Foundation, established by philanthropists Jennifer and Matthew C. Harris, has given $20 million to the UCLA College to establish the UCLA Bedari Kindness Institute.
The institute, which is housed in the division of social sciences, will support world-class research on kindness, create opportunities to translate that research into real-world practices, and serve as a global platform to educate and communicate its findings. Among its principal goals are to empower citizens and inspire leaders to build more humane societies.
“Universities should always be places where we teach students to reach across lines of difference and treat one another with empathy and respect — even when we deeply disagree,” UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said. “The UCLA Bedari Kindness Institute will bring the best thinking to this vital issue and, I think, will allow us to have a real social impact on future generations.”
The institute, which will begin operating immediately, will take an interdisciplinary approach to understanding kindness — through evolutionary, biological, psychological, economic, cultural and sociological perspectives. It will focus on research about the actions, thoughts, feelings and social institutions associated with kindness and will bring together researchers from across numerous disciplines at UCLA and at external organizations.
The inaugural director of the institute is Daniel Fessler, a UCLA anthropology professor whose research interests include exploring how witnessing acts of remarkable kindness can cause an uplifting emotional experience that in turn motivates the observer to be kind. Studies by Fessler and his colleagues have shed light on why some people are open to that type of “contagious kindness” experience...

Fossil

Last week, we posted the audio of the September 17th sessions of the Regents meeting including the Investments Committee meeting.* As we noted, that session was notable for the announcement - also made via op ed in the LA Times - that the university was going "fossil free" in its portfolio for the endowment and pension plan. The statement at the meeting of the chief investment officer, Jagdeep Singh Bachher, that the decision was largely based on some kind of risk/financial calculation was a bit disingenuous. It clearly had more to do with pressure from students, faculty, and the external politics of the state. Gov. Newsom has ordered CALSTRS and CALPERS to do likewise.** But, to be fair, there could be some risk of a challenge to the tax status of the funds if the Regents, as trustees of the funds, were to be seen as departing from their fiduciary responsibilities.

In any case, you can see Bachhar's statement at the link below:

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*http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2019/09/listen-to-regents-sessions-of-sept-17.html
**http://www.californiacountynews.org/news/2019/09/governor-signs-order-shift-pension-funds-away-fossil-fuels

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

But not Santa Barbara?

From the Sacramento Bee: The University of California is expanding an entrepreneurial guidance program to almost all of its campuses through a $5 million corporate partnership.

The Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s LaunchPad program, which brings startup incubator Techstars’ global network of business mentors to students, will soon be available at all universities in the system except UC Santa Barbara.

Victoria Slivkoff, global head of strategic partnerships for the UC system, said UCLA has been enjoying the benefits of Blackstone’s LaunchPad program since 2014.

“We’ve seen great results,” Slivkoff said, including facilitating more than 800 startup ventures and hosting more than 3,000 consulting meetings at the Southern California university.

The $5 million grant from Blackstone will go toward funding full-time staff to run the program and expenses for events over a period of three years, Slivkoff said.

LaunchPad is free to any business-minded student, regardless of major or academic focus, to assist at any point in their entrepreneurial process, from early conceptualization to growing and scaling an established business.

“Having an entrepreneurial skillset is really important,” Slivkoff said, regardless of one’s chosen professional field. “All these resources serve to democratize innovation and entrepreneurship.”...

Full story at https://www.sacbee.com/news/local/education/article235362257.html

Poking around the website of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation indicates that it is linked to a private equity firm, Blackstone. https://www.blackstone.com The firm seems to have been politically connected to some degree to the current administration, although there seems to have been a falling out. https://finance.yahoo.com/news/blackstones-schwarzman-on-trumps-advisory-group-120023842.html

Until 2018, it was a major investor in the Hilton hotel chain. Some current environmental concerns have been linked to the firm: https://theintercept.com/2019/08/27/amazon-rainforest-fire-blackstone/ Does that issue have any connection for the absence of UC-Santa Barbara with its Bren School of Environmental Science and Management?* Just asking.
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*http://bren.ucsb.edu/about/About_history.html

New UC Institute With China and Jerry Brown

Attentive blog readers may recall that last July we posted an item about a UC initiative with China centered at UC-Berkeley that somehow involved former governor Jerry Brown.*

Although the initiative was touted at the time, we noted that Brown could not be found in the UC-Berkeley directory. Brown has been appearing at various public events occasionally since leaving the governorship, but he has mainly kept a low profile with an occasional news item about his retirement at his ranch.
Brown on the ranch

Brown still isn't in the UC-Berkeley directory, but there are now more details about the program. And it appears to have a UCLA component. From a media release that appeared yesterday:

As the dangers of climate change grow and global political tensions rise, UCLA, in partnership with the University of California, Berkeley and other UC campuses, former California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. and China's top climate change official Xie Zhenhua, today launched a groundbreaking new initiative — the California-China Climate Institute — to spur further climate action through joint research, training and dialogue.


Alex Wang, professor at UCLA School of Law and a member of the school's Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, will serve as co-chair of the Institute's academic advisory committee. The Institute is a multi-campus project housed at UC Berkeley with collaboration from UCLA, UC Davis, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and others.

"The climate threat doesn't respect borders and it doesn't pause for politics. Now is the time for action from leaders everywhere — for humanity and our common future," said Jerry Brown, chair of the California-China Climate Institute, who was appointed a visiting professor at UC Berkeley in July. "With this Institute, California and China are pushing forward together."

Brown announced the new transpacific initiative with China's Special Representative for Climate Change Affairs Xie Zhenhua, who leads the Institute of Climate Change and Sustainable Development at Tsinghua University — one of China's preeminent research institutions — which will partner with the California-China Climate Institute...

Full release at https://law.ucla.edu/news-and-events/in-the-news/2019/09/ucla-joins-former-gov-brown-in-launching-uc-wide-initiative-with-china-to-spur-climate-action/

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*http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2019/07/just-asking-wheres-jerry.html
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PS: The Sacramento Bee's cartoonist had some fun with the original announcement:
{Click on image to enlarge}


Monday, September 23, 2019

Wheels

The current issue of the Daily Bruin has the graphic below on what kinds of e-scooters, etc., are available on campus:
{Click on image to enlarge}
It is interesting to note that UCLA's rent-a-bike system of conventional (pedal-powered) bicycles is not included as an option. Just saying.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

More Faculty Club Art

From time to time, we highlight the new artworks that decorate the Faculty Center. This picture is "Floral Basket" by Stephen Verona (1984).

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Closed Door Meeting of the Regents Next Tuesday

There will be a meeting of (some) Regents next Tuesday at UC-Merced to set up a committee to choose a new chancellor of that campus. 

Chancellor Dorothy Leland resigned as of mid-August.
{Click on image to enlarge}

Telescope: Much Talk, Little Result

Mayor Kim Previews Path Forward On Mauna Kea

Big Island Video News, Sept. 19, 2019 at 3:38 pm

Mayor Harry Kim has yet to finish his “path forward” plan for Mauna Kea, but on Thursday in Hilo he gave the Office of Hawaiian Affairs a preview of the ideas that officials hope will ease tensions at the base of the mountain, where the standoff over the Thirty Meter Telescope continues.

“I was hoping that by this morning I would finish what I wanted to give to the Governor,” the Mayor told the OHA Trustees, “making you the first body to receive my finish assignment.”

[Note: OHA = Office of Hawaiian Affairs, a kind of state created advocacy entity: https://www.oha.org/]

In July, after the state failed to clear a path through TMT opponents to enable construction crews to ascend the Mauna Kea Access Road, Governor David Ige handed the job of finding a way forward to Mayor Kim. 

“Not a joke, but on this it says version 109,” Kim said about the pamphlet he was holding, a reference to the number of revisions his Mauna Kea statement has undergone over the last few years in which he has been working on it. “And it’s not the last. I will finish it hopefully this week, because that was the time frame that I thought I could finish it.”

“This presentation is beyond a yes-or-no of the TMT project,” Kim said. “This is about asking Hawaii’s people to come together and find a no (sic??? new??? or maybe it IS "no") path to go forward in a good way.”

Kim read from his paper:

  • In recent years, the Hōkūleʻa gave birth to a phenomenal Hawaiian cultural renaissance, reigniting the Hawaiian’s desire to discover, grow, and explore new frontiers, with the pride, the wisdom, and courage of their elders. In recent months, Mauna Kea has added to this remarkable Hawaiian cultural Renaissance. The Hawaiians identity and the pride of being Hawaiian, and with this the reverence, the sacredness, for the total environment. When respectfully integrated with a comprehensive understanding of Mauna Kea and Hawaiian culture, astronomy can be such a catalyst for positive and transformational changes in Hawaii. Under the leadership of dreamers, innovators, and an awakened community, this can be the leverage for not only Mauna Kea issues, but to understand and address wrongs of past to make us a better people and place.

Kim also listed the initiatives that he felt “can be addressed to make us a better people”, such as to “create a cultural center to protect and preserve the historical and cultural specialness of Hawaiʻi and its people.”

“Of management, which I know OHA is very involved in,” Kim added, “establishing an umbrella management authority that gives strong deference to the voices of the host island and the Hawaiian community. And I think you know how important that is.”

“This, hopefully, will be something that is positive,” Kim said of his nearly-completed plan. “Because what is happening, I think, is something nobody wants; a polarization of the people of this land.”

Mayor Kim was one of many testimonies shared during OHA’s “community concerns” segment of Thursday’s meeting. Big Island Video News will be featuring more of the testimonies.

Source: https://www.bigislandvideonews.com/2019/09/19/video-mayor-kim-previews-path-forward-on-mauna-kea/ [with video]

===
See also:
‘Standing up for our rights’: 28 of those arrested at TMT protest plead not guilty
https://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/2019/09/21/kupuna-who-were-arrested-tmt-protest-july-plead-not-guilty-obstruction/

Listen to the Regents Meeting of Sept. 19, 2019

Note: Prior to the full board meeting, the Governance Committee held a short meeting postponed from Sept. 18th, largely dealing with executive pay. Archived recordings of the Governance meeting and the full board meeting are at the links at the bottom of this posting. A summary of the full board meeting from the Daily Cal is below:

UC Board of Regents discuss diversity, equity at final meeting of September

Kate Finman | 9-20-19 | Daily Cal

The UC Board of Regents met for the last day of its September meeting on Thursday, discussing diversity and equity initiatives, among other topics.

Varsha Sarveshwar, the ASUC external affairs vice president and UC Student Association, or UCSA, president opened the meeting with a speech on behalf of the UCSA, which represents undergraduates in the UC system and advocates for increasing the UC’s accessibility, affordability and quality. She commended the board for divesting from fossil fuels and addressed the regents with her concerns about housing and funding.

She added that she is worried about the future capacity of student activists due to the UCSA’s low budget, compared to similar organizations from the California State University system and the California Community College system.

“We struggle to hold systemwide meetings and host conferences for our students,” Sarveshwar said at the meeting. “Instead of recruiting, retaining and supporting talented student leaders, our students frequently leave this work altogether because of severe burnout.”

The regents then moved into committee updates, which included discussions on the UC’s progress on diversity and capital improvements.

The UC’s Committee on Compliance and Audit also voted to approve a final list of requests for capital improvement priorities for the UC. The priorities will be sent to the state government, in accordance with AB 48 — which was passed by the California State Legislature — and will put a capital improvements funding measure on the ballot in March if signed by the California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The money from the bond will be used to address the seismic concerns across the UC campuses.

The board also discussed closing the UC system’s graduation gap, which disproportionately affects Pell Grant recipients and other underrepresented groups, according to a presentation given to the board. The regents discussed ways to achieve its goals of awarding 200,000 more degrees and investing in the “next generation of faculty and research” by 2030.

The regents had different ideas for the matter, including Regent-designate Debby Stegura’s idea to increase summer research opportunities across the UC system.

“It’s got many benefits because, as you know better than I, you have contact with faculty, you develop those relationships with faculty, especially if you are a transfer student,” Stegura said during the meeting. “If they do have those summer research opportunities, they do need methods of support.”

The regents also discussed the timeline for potentially eliminating the SAT and other standardized tests from the application process.

Several members of the board expressed their desire to speed up the timeline of the decision but the regents ultimately decided to wait for a recommendation from the UC Berkeley Academic Senate before voting on the matter.

“One thing we all know, we probably don’t need any more study or discussion of, is that the one thing that SAT scores predict better than anything else is your income,” said Regent Cecilia Estolano during the meeting. “We know what it can do and what it means and what it doesn’t mean.”

The regents decided to push its discussion of cohort-based tuition, which would adjust tuition rates by graduation year rather than for all students, to the November meeting. According to Regent Chair John Pérez, the regents will still have the opportunity to act on the measure in November.

Source: https://www.dailycal.org/2019/09/20/uc-regents-discuss-diversity-equity-at-final-meeting-of-the-month/
===

You can hear the Governance Committee at:


or direct to: https://archive.org/details/9bboard91919/9a-Postponed+Governance+Committee+9-19-19.wma

Full Board at:
https://archive.org/details/9bboard91919/9b-Board+9-19-19.wma

Friday, September 20, 2019

Listen to the Regents Sessions of Sept. 18, 2019

Note: An earlier post noted the resignation of UC prez Janet Napolitano at the Sept. 18 Regents meeting.* Below is a summary of that event and other items from that meeting. Archived audio of the morning and afternoon sessions is at the links below the summary.

As we do from time to time, we point out once again that if the Regents archived their recordings instead of preserving them for just one year, there would be no need for us to do the archiving.

UC President Janet Napolitano resigns, UC regents hold meeting

Maya Akkaruju | Daily Cal | 9-18-19

After six years in office, UC President Janet Napolitano announced that she will step down from her position effective Aug. 1, 2020, during Wednesday’s UC Board of Regents meeting at UCLA.

Napolitano was appointed as UC president in 2013, after acting as secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, or DHS, from 2009-13.

“This particular chapter in my professional history has been especially meaningful,” Napolitano said at the meeting. “My years at the University of California have shown me the monumental value of higher education to individuals, to families, to communities, to the state and indeed to the world. Long after I leave this job I will continue to fight for public education.”

Napolitano said after taking a sabbatical, she will begin teaching at UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy in fall 2021. The topics Napolitano will teach have not been determined yet.

According to Napolitano, she will use her last academic year in office to make progress toward multiyear goals adopted by the Board of Regents such as increasing the number of degrees given by the UC system, strengthening policy around sexual harassment and sexual violence, continuing to improve student housing and basic needs, and making progress toward carbon neutrality.

“We’ve seen the university is better off today than when Janet took over as president,” Regent George Kieffer said. “We’re not done yet though — Janet has some work to do that we expect her to complete, and she’s laid out an ambitious agenda for the next few months.”

Varsha Sarveshwar, ASUC external affairs vice president and UC Student Association president, said in a press statement that under Napolitano’s leadership, UC system undergraduate enrollment increased by almost 20,000 while in-state tuition remained relatively flat.

According to Sarveshwar, Napolitano’s accomplishments include increasing transfer and first-generation student enrollment and creating a systemwide Title IX office. Sarveshwar said over the past six years, however, the UC system has continued to see issues such as food and housing insecurity — as well as sexual violence and sexual harassment.

“President Napolitano was the first president to regularly meet with students,” Sarveshwar said in an email. “We certainly disagreed on many issues with the UC administration, but this willingness to engage with students was greatly appreciated.”

According to a press release from the UC Office of the President, or UCOP, Napolitano created Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, during her time as DHS secretary. Under Napolitano, the UC system became the first academic institution to sue DHS for revoking DACA.

“We have a number of undocumented students, not all of them are in DACA, but they are all members of the university community,” Napolitano said. “So I hope that the university continues to provide support for them.”

UC Board of Regents chair John Pérez said he will announce the members of the search committee to find Napolitano’s successor this week. Pérez added that students, alumni, faculty and staff from each campus will be involved in the discussion.

During Wednesday’s UC Board of Regents Finance and Capital Strategies Committee, the board approved the UC system 2020-21 budget for state capital improvements. According to the budget, about $325 million is set aside to “support seismic retrofit or replacement for UC’s most vulnerable buildings.”

According to the agenda, the current UC system budget saw a loss of $95 million in one-time state support compared to the 2018-19 academic year. David Alcocer, UCOP budget analysis and planning associate vice president, said one consequence of the lack of funding will be postponing funding for items such as student services and faculty hiring.

The Compliance and Audit Committee meeting brought discussions of fair wages and sexual harassment and sexual violence. Suzanne Taylor, UCOP systemwide Title IX director, discussed her office’s response to a sexual harassment audit report issued last year by the California State Auditor.

According to Taylor, her office has refined and expanded metrics for complaint data collected from campuses regarding sexual harassment and sexual violence. Taylor added that the benefits of the new metrics include improving the accuracy of the data and the Title IX officer’s ability to identify patterns.

“We also issued guidelines requiring that the campus Title IX offices implement their own internal processes to assist them in regularly identifying patterns — and tailoring their education and outreach efforts accordingly,” Taylor said at the meeting.

Taylor added that her office is working on implementing a case management system to be used across the UC system. Currently, different systems are used at each campus, according to Taylor.

During the meeting, Student Regent Hayley Weddle called for a full board conference into sexual harassment and sexual violence topics.

“I think everyone in the room agrees that prevention and prevention education needs to be a really key aspect of the UC’s focus on addressing sexual violence and harassment,” Weddle said.

Source: https://www.dailycal.org/2019/09/18/uc-president-janet-napolitano-resigns-uc-regents-hold-meeting/

===
*http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2019/09/napolitano-resigns.html
===

Links to the audio of the morning sessions, Sept. 18:
Full Board:


or direct to:
Board:
https://archive.org/details/4board91819am/4-Board+9-18-19am.wma

Compliance & Audit:
https://archive.org/details/4board91819am/5-Compliance+%26+Audit.wma

Public Engagement & Development - Part 2: [Part 1 is at our earlier post for Sept. 17.]**
https://archive.org/details/4board91819am/6-Second+Public+Engagement+%26+Development.wma
===
**http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2019/09/listen-to-regents-sessions-of-sept-17.html
===

Links to the audio of the afternoon sessions, Sept. 18:
Academic and Student Affairs:


or direct to:
Academic and Student Affairs:
https://archive.org/details/8financecapstrategiesnatllabs/7-Academic+%26+Student+Affairs.wma

Finance and Capital Strategies - National Labs:
https://archive.org/details/8financecapstrategiesnatllabs/8-Finance+%26+Cap+Strategies+%26+Natl+Labs.wma

[Note: The Governance Committee session was postponed until Sept. 19.]

Thursday, September 19, 2019

No Mention of You-Know-What

Email received today below. No "admission" (if we are allowed to refer to that word!) of any particular cause of the resignation. 
====
To the Campus Community:
Dan Guerrero, who has led UCLA Athletics for the past 17 years, has informed me that he will retire as director of athletics on July 1, 2020, at the conclusion of the 2019–20 academic year.*
I appreciate Dan’s dedication to our campus, fans and student-athletes throughout his career at UCLA. A proud alumnus, Dan has helped lead our teams to numerous victories, while also demonstrating a commitment to advancing women’s opportunities in athletics, maintaining high academic standards for student-athletes and keeping UCLA programs in compliance with NCAA and other requirements. He has also overseen the construction of new facilities and upgrades to existing ones for the benefit of our student-athletes and our fans.
A national search for UCLA’s next director of athletics will be conducted by a professional search firm to be identified this fall. Although Dan’s current contract expires in December, he has agreed to remain in his post until the end of the upcoming academic year, at my request, in order to maintain continuity in the program and to allow adequate time to identify a replacement.
Since his appointment to the post in 2002, our teams have won 32 NCAA team championships in 15 sports — the most under any standing NCAA Division I athletic director — and today UCLA ranks second in the nation with 118 NCAA titles. Also during Dan’s tenure, Bruins won 73 conference championships in 16 sports and produced more than 800 All-Americans. Our football team appeared in 13 bowl games, while the men’s basketball team advanced to consecutive Final Fours from 2006 to 2008 and made six trips to the Sweet 16.
Dan has also helped our student-athletes achieve academic success, and I am proud that UCLA Athletics’ Graduation Success Rate is currently at an all-time high of 90 percent, while our Academic Progress Rates remain among the highest in the country.
He successfully negotiated major long-term apparel and rightsholder contracts with Under Armour and WME-IMG College that were the largest collegiate deals nationally in their respective areas at the time. Dan also led the negotiations that solidified our relationship with the Rose Bowl, resulting in substantial renovations and restoration of the home of UCLA Football. He also spearheaded a renovation of historic Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom and construction of the Wasserman Football Center and the Mo Ostin Basketball Center.
Dan was the first athletic director at the NCAA Division I level to earn three Under Armour Athletic Director of the Year awards, during his career at UCLA and previously at UC Irvine, from the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. He was named one of the 101 Most Influential Minorities in Sports by Sports Illustrated in 2003 and one of the nation’s 100 Most Influential Hispanics by Hispanic Business Magazine in 2004. He has also served on numerous boards and committees throughout his career.
As a student-athlete, Dan played second base for the Bruins for four years and was inducted into the UCLA Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996. Before returning to UCLA, Dan served as athletic director at UC Irvine and, earlier, at Cal State Dominguez Hills.
Please join me in thanking Dan for his service and dedication to UCLA.
Sincerely,
Gene D. Block
Chancellor

===
*In other words:

Secret Discussions on Retiree Health

Note: One guesses that what UC would want was that any settlement would not indicate that retiree health care was some kind of vested right - an element in the case below - as opposed to a nice thing the Regents choose to do (but don't have to).

LLNL Retirees Might Settle Lawsuit with UC

9-19-19, The Independent

Is the long-running lawsuit aimed at regaining University of California healthcare for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory retirees finally coming to a close?

The question arose last week after UC Regents scheduled a closed-session briefing on the suit during a regular monthly meeting being held this week at UCLA.

No advance information was available on the details of the briefing, which took place after the Independent went to press Tuesday evening. The agenda referred to it as a recommended settlement for board action.

Neither retirees nor university officials would say what the nature of a settlement might be or whether it is actually imminent.

Still, a recent letter to members of the ad hoc retiree group that has carried on the suit noted that group leaders have engaged in more than 10 mediation sessions with university counterparts.

The letter cited “slow but steady progress” toward a resolution, without offering details of what a settlement might contain.

At the same time, it cautioned that “if we do reach a final agreement… it will involve a compromise, and we will not get everything we are asking for (in) the lawsuit.”

UC managed the laboratory from its founding in 1952, so LLNL employees were just like those at Berkeley or UCLA. Nine years later, the Board of Regents authorized the expansion of health care benefits to cover UC retirees in addition to active employees.

Laboratory retirees enjoyed UC health care benefits until 2008, shortly after a for-profit consortium replaced it as manager. That year, retirees were forced to find health care in individual, industrial-style programs, some of which were less reliable and more expensive than UC’s had been.

Many of the retirees considered the loss of UC healthcare to be a violation of commitments made during their careers at the laboratory — promises on which some based career decisions.

They tried to negotiate a return to university healthcare programs. When that didn’t work, they formed a grassroots organization called the UC Livermore Retiree Group, raised money and, in 2010, filed suit. It became a class action four years later.

During the years of litigation, the retirees experienced both wins and losses. Significantly, they won two Court of Appeal decisions.

Despite these favorable rulings, the recent retiree group letter noted, “we have to balance what we can get now (in a possible settlement) against what we might get if the litigation goes on.”

Even if the retirees come out on top in a trial, “there will almost certainly be an appeal by the losing side and years of delay.”

If the parties reach a settlement now, the letter pointed out, several steps remain.

For one, there will be a court hearing on preliminary settlement approval.

Assuming approval, a mailing to members of the lawsuit class would explain the terms and allow them to raise concerns.

After that, the court would have to give final approval before the settlement can be implemented.

The ad hoc UC Livermore Retiree Group is distinct from Livermore Laboratory Retirees Association, although many members are part of both.

Source: https://www.independentnews.com/news/llnl-retirees-might-settle-lawsuit-with-uc/article_3ef61440-da6a-11e9-a97f-6f015fd67a6b.html