Friday, January 31, 2020

A Different Kind of Title 9 Problem for UC-Berkeley

From Inside Higher Ed: A federal court opinion could put the policies and procedures of colleges and universities in California and the western U.S. under a microscope for their ability to prevent sexual assault.

An institution can be held liable for “pre-assault” claims, which allege that its policies for enforcing Title IX are inadequate, create an environment of “heightened risk” of sexual misconduct and lead a complainant to be harassed or assaulted, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit declared in a ruling Thursday. The federal law prohibits discrimination based on sex at institutions that receive federal funding and requires them to investigate reports of sexual misconduct.

Three former students who allege they were assaulted at the University of California, Berkeley, in 2012 initially brought a case against the University of California system’s Board of Regents in 2015 for Berkeley's handling of their individual complaints. When the case was dismissed in district court, the women appealed.

While many of the recent federal court decisions on Title IX have focused on the rights of respondents, the Ninth Circuit opinion is “a big win for victims’ advocates,” especially if other appeals courts follow suit, said Peter Lake, director of the Law Center for Excellence in Higher Education Law and Policy at Stetson University.

The ruling by the three-judge panel of the Ninth Circult referenced a 2014 California State Auditor report of Berkeley’s processes under Title IX. The report found that from 2009 to 2013, Berkeley did not notify or give regular updates to parties involved in investigations of sexual misconduct, did not complete investigations in a timely manner and did not “sufficiently educate” staff and students on sexual misconduct prevention, which led cases to be mishandled and compromised student safety, according to the Ninth Circuit opinion.

Berkeley’s use of an “early resolution process” that addressed complaints of sexual assault without formal investigations also came under fire in the court’s opinion. It is standard for institutions to pursue early resolution or mediation between the complainant and respondent only in cases of sexual harassment and when both parties are in agreement, said Jake Sapp, deputy Title IX coordinator and compliance officer at Austin College, in Texas.

The former Berkeley students asserted that only two of the 500 cases of sexual misconduct reported to the university in 2012 were resolved in a “formal process” and that they were coerced into early resolution by the university. This was allegedly done so Berkeley did not have to report assaults under the Clery Act, which requires institutions to disclose crimes on their campuses, according to the students’ lawsuit.

Berkeley was ordered by the U.S. Education Department's Office for Civil Rights to revise its Title IX policies after a 2014 investigation by the agency. The university subsequently “enacted many new policies, procedures and services over the last few years,” according to a February 2018 statement from the university.

But the opinion could open other colleges and universities in the California system and elsewhere in the states covered by the Ninth Circuit -- Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington -- to lawsuits that challenge the effectiveness of their Title IX policies, Lake said...

Full story at

Listen to the Jan. 27th session of the Regents' president search at Berkeley

The Regents' president search committee held another campus forum on January 27th, this time at UC-Berkeley. As we have noted with regard to past such forums, the sessions tend to produce a laundry list of all the problems speakers want the incoming UC prez to fix, rather than what kind of leader might be best at this time. The Berkeley session followed that mold, but with some notable exceptions.

After greetings from the Berkeley chancellor, there were calls for the new prez to deal with diversity issues, housing, problems of transfer students, TMT (Hawaiian telescope), green new deal, immigrant students, affordability etc. However, the secretary of the Berkeley Faculty Association, Prof. Michael Buraway, got more into the issue of leadership. He asked if the faculty might in some way put up a candidate. He wanted someone who had experience in higher education previously and would regularly come to UC campuses. Prof. Oliver O'Reilly wanted someone who could deal with the state on budget matters. Another faculty speaker said he wanted someone with advocacy skills for UC, but it didn't matter whether that person was an academic or not.

You can hear the session at the link below:

or direct to:

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Faculty housing to be built

UCLA to build apartment building for faculty on Hilgard Avenue, Lindbrook Drive

Martín Bilbao, January 29, 2020, Daily Bruin

UCLA plans to build a seven-story apartment building for faculty on a vacant lot on Hilgard Avenue by November 2022, according to a university environmental review notice.

The apartment complex, just over 1,000 feet south of campus, will feature up to 100 units in a 120,000-gross-square-foot space and an interior courtyard. The building, which will be at the intersection of Hilgard Avenue and Lindbrook Drive, will be 78 feet tall at most and also have a two-level underground parking garage, according to the notice.

Westwood is the most expensive neighborhood to rent in California, according to a study released in 2019. The university decided to build more faculty housing because demand outpaced supply, according to a university report.

A 2018 university task force determined that more affordable housing closer to campus is necessary to retain and recruit faculty. University housing is offered below market rate, making it a more affordable option for students and faculty.

There are currently 189 units of university housing offered to faculty, ranging from studios to condos to family homes. However, over 100 faculty members are typically stuck on waitlists each year, the report read.

The units at the new project are intended to meet a significant amount of faculty demand, however, the report also noted the waitlist for housing can grow up to 200 faculty members.

The Twenty-eighth Church of Christ, Scientist sold the roughly 26,000-square-foot lot to UCLA in August 2018, according to the notice. The church previously demolished its auditorium on the site in April 2017, according to the Los Angeles Conservancy...

Full story at

Berkeley Law Un-Boalted

From California Today (NY Times), by Jill Cowan, 1-30-20

The name “Boalt Hall” is set to be removed today from the University of California Berkeley’s law school after a yearslong process that determined, in essence, that the school should no longer honor a man whose most notable work was rooted in racist views.

“We have to remember the racism that John Boalt expressed,” Erwin Chemerinsky, the law school’s dean, told me recently. “But that doesn’t mean we honor him by putting his name on the building.” The move to drop a name that has been used for decades by students and alumni of one of the country’s most prestigious law schools comes as institutions around the country are grappling with what to do with schools, buildings and chair positions that are named for people whose legacies don’t stand up to modern scrutiny.

Mr. Chemerinsky said he became aware of Mr. Boalt’s history in mid-2017, after The San Francisco Chronicle published an opinion piece by the lawyer and Berkeley law lecturer Charles Reichmann, detailing how the law school building came to be named after Mr. Boalt. Mr. Boalt had come to California from Nevada in 1871, as Chinese immigration was rising in the state. In 1877, he gave a speech as the president of the Bohemian Club called “The Chinese Question,” in which he argued that non-assimilated races couldn’t live together in harmony unless one enslaved the other. But as slavery had recently become unconstitutional, he argued that the next best thing was to keep Chinese people out.

His speech and his subsequent advocacy served as major drivers of the Chinese Exclusion Act, the nation’s first law banning immigration by a specific group based solely on race or nationality. Mr. Boalt didn’t attend the Berkeley law school, nor did he teach there. His advocacy for Chinese exclusion was, according to Mr. Reichmann, his most significant legacy. The law school was named for him out of respect for his wife, Elizabeth Josselyn Boalt, who had contributed to the university after he died in 1901.

After Mr. Chemerinsky became the dean of the law school in July 2017, he appointed a small committee to research the issue. The committee found that the naming of the building wasn’t a condition of Ms. Boalt’s gift; if it had been, he said, “it would be a very different situation.” The committee’s report was distributed to the school community for feedback. Unsurprisingly, people had thoughts. "I’d estimate I got about 800 comments," he said, about two-thirds of whom favored the change. “I was struck by the almost unanimity of our students, faculty and alumni of color.”

In November 2018, Mr. Chemerinsky said he formally accepted the recommendation to stop using the Boalt name. But the process wasn’t over: The campus had started its own Building Name Review Committee, which did a shorter review and solicited more campus feedback. Finally, the change was approved by U.C. Berkeley’s chancellor, Carol Christ, and Janet Napolitano, the president of the U.C. system.

All the parties involved agreed that it would be important to tell the Boalt story in some visible way going forward, and plans for that are in the works...

Full story at

Historical footnote: The article carries a photo of the original Boalt Hall. What's interesting about the photo is that what appears to be a Crosley car is in front of the building. Crosley was a manufacturer of radios and appliances that decided to go into the car business after World War II. (It had produced some cars before the war. But retail cars were not manufactured during World War II since auto and other consumer production was redirected to military equipment.) Crosley cars were cheap and stripped down. Apparently, they were ahead of their time. The market for cheap, stripped-down cars did not develop until the mid-1950s with the appearance of the VW beetle. See: By then, the Crosleys were gone.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Mother arrested in Spain and charged with bribing son’s way into UCLA to take deal

From the LA TimesBoth prosecutors and lawyers for Xiaoning Sui, a Chinese mother detained in Madrid on charges of securing her son’s admission to UCLA through bribery, have proposed she spend no additional time in prison once she is extradited to the United States, according to court records and her attorney...

In the plea agreement, Sui admitted working with William "Rick" Singer, the Newport Beach consultant who for a decade oversaw a multimillion-dollar fraud that breached some of the country’s most prestigious schools to the alleged benefit of his star-studded clientele. A $100,000 bribe to a UCLA soccer coach ensured Sui’s son was green-lit for admission to the university as a soccer recruit with a 25% scholarship, prosecutors said. The boy didn’t play the sport competitively...

Full story at

SMC Transfers to UC/UCLA

SMC No.1 in Transfers to University of California for 29th Consecutive Year

Santa Monica College (SMC) upheld its record as the leading transfer institution to the University of California (UC) system for the 29th consecutive year. Transfer data for the 2018-2019 academic year released by the UC Information Center showed that SMC sent 1,272 students to UC campuses—294 more than the No.2 feeder college. SMC also maintained the top spot for African American and Hispanic UC transfers...

A few highlights from SMC’s 2018-2019 transfer numbers: Out of 1,272 Santa Monica College-to-UC transfers were 218 Hispanic and 71 African American students. This marks a leap in numbers for both demographic groups—last year SMC sent 199 and 54 Hispanic and African American students respectively to UC campuses. UCLA continued to be the most popular destination for SMC students: 486 of them headed to the Westwood campus, while UC San Diego and UC Santa Barbara came in second and third, receiving 217 and 151 SMC students respectively...

The college’s Scholars Program prepares enrolled and eligible students for the rigor of upper-division coursework through smaller classes taught by highly recommended faculty, coupled with intensive counseling and support. Scholars students receive priority consideration for admissions through special transfer agreements with The UCLA College of Letters and Science (Transfer Alliance Program), UC Irvine, Loyola Marymount University, to name a few...

Full news release at

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Litigation over CALPERS Long-Term Care Policies

Most UC employees are not involved with CalPERS, the state retirement plan that covers most non-UC state employees and many local public employees. However, when CalPERS began offering long-term care insurance policies, UC employees were allowed to buy them and some did. After a few years, however, the rates were substantially jacked up. Participants were then faced with either paying far more than they expected, taking a cut-rate policy instead, or just dropping their coverage.

Not surprisingly, litigation developed. Settlement talks are now underway, as the article below describes. Note that CalPERS' position is that any monetary deal it makes will be financed by further premium hikes. From the Sacramento Bee:

A retired judge is now managing settlement talks between CalPERS and a group of people suing the retirement system over its long-term care insurance policies, according to court filings. The development shows settlement efforts in the $1.2 billion class-action lawsuit haven’t faded since they started in September. Policyholders filed the lawsuit in 2013 after the California Public Employees’ Retirement System notified them it was going to raise their insurance premiums by 85 percent.

Judge William Highberger, who is overseeing the lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court, appointed Layn Phillips, a retired judge, as a “settlement master” in December to oversee the talks, according to a court filing. The appointment expands the role of Phillips, who oversaw at least three settlement talks from September to November as a mediator. Included in his new role is the authority to communicate with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office and the state Finance Department regarding settlement talks, according to Highberger’s order appointing him.

A CalPERS spokesman said Monday the system does not discuss mediation. CalPERS has said that any money that might be paid as a result of the lawsuit, whether in a settlement or a judgment, wouldn’t affect the $400 billion fund from which the system pays retirees’ pensions. In past statements, CalPERS said the money likely would come from rate increases on long-term care insurance policyholders...

Full story at

Listen to the Regents Meetings of Jan. 23, 2020

The final day of the Regents meeting last week (January 23rd) involved the full board meeting twice, once for public comments and a second time for hearing reports of committees and taking up action items.

Note that some sessions that were originally scheduled to take place on January 22nd were moved to January 23rd because the full board ran late on the earlier date.

Below is a summary of the sessions from the Bruin:

Full Board (Split into two sessions)

  • Members of the public said they are actively protesting the Thirty Meter Telescope that is being built on sacred Hawaiian land. They asked the UC to divest from its investments in the TMT.
  • Pérez said he would like to have the TMT issue brought before the full board. He said this would allow the board to have a substantive discussion and has asked to schedule a meeting as soon as possible.
  • The board approved to adopt a resolution of necessity for proceeding in eminent domain action to acquire land for a new Hillcrest campus in San Diego.
  • Representatives from the Title IX Office summarized their actions over the past five years, including a revised sexual violence and sexual harassment policy, increased community education and changes to hearings and procedures responding to student accusations.

Governance Committee

  • The committee approved market-based salary adjustments for the vice chancellor at UC Berkeley and for the university librarian at UCLA.
  • The committee also approved a retroactive payment for temporary housing for the interim vice chancellor of student affairs at UC San Diego.
  • The committee approved a correction of incentive compensation using nonstate funds for the chief investment officer of the UC Office of the President.
  • The committee approved a measure to prohibit contracting out for services to comply with a recently adopted bargaining agreement with American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299, an employee union that represents service and patient care employees in the UC.

National Laboratories Committee

  • Craig Leasure, the vice president for national laboratories, summarized of the performance of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
  • Representatives from the Accelerating Therapeutics for Opportunities in Medicine consortium, a partnership between UC San Francisco, national laboratories and private pharmaceuticals that was funded by the regents in 2017, said they are using computing methods to accelerate drug discovery and are working with several national labs and private pharmaceutical companies to accelerate drug discovery.
  • The regents approved the allocation of funds for a program that will increase collaboration between the national labs and UC campuses, and will provide research opportunities for undergraduates and postgraduates.

Compliance and Audit Committee

Representatives from the UC Herbicide Task Force summarized their recommendations to Napolitano, including a new integrated pest management policy that would require each UC campus to create local integrated pest management committees.

Public Engagement and Development Committee

  • David Phillips, associate vice president of energy and sustainability, Sapna Thottathil, associate director of sustainability and Matthew St.Clair, director of sustainability, presented the 2019 Annual Report for Sustainable Practices.
  • Thottahil said the UC’s 2020 goal of buying 20% sustainable food products has been met by all 10 campuses and four out of five health systems. She added the 2020 goal of reducing per capita water use by 20% was met by 8 out of 10 campuses, resulting in a 46% reduction in system wide water use since 2008. The 2020 goal for waste, which was to divert 90% of solid waste and reduce per capita waste to 2015-2016 levels, has been 76% met, she said.
  • Philips discussed the UC’s progress toward the 2025 goal of carbon neutrality. Currently, there are more than 1000 energy efficiency projects that have been completed, he said.
  • Pradeep Khosla, the chancellor of UC San Diego, described his fundraising practices to the board. Khosla said they want to use fundraising money for basic needs and mental health, and added he wants to reduce wait time for mental counseling to at most 30 minutes.


You can hear the session at the link below:

or direct to:

Monday, January 27, 2020

Another View

Letter of 1-25-20 in the San Diego Union-Tribune:

I write to correct misinformation in The San Diego Union-Tribune’s editorial about the tuition proposals under consideration by the University of California Board of Regents. The tuition models do not, as your piece implies, belong to President Napolitano. Rather, they reflect the regents’ interest in having options to consider for keeping tuition predictable and enhancing student financial aid, including a cohort approach informed by a workgroup that included students (who are understandably concerned about any tuition increase), regents, chancellors and faculty.

Your piece also lacks the critical context that the university provided to your writer prior to publication: We have held tuition flat seven of the last eight years, with the last increase in 2017 by $282 (or 2.5%). Meanwhile, UC has added more than 17,000 additional California undergraduates in the past four years alone. Altogether, available resources from the state, tuition and nonresident students have declined by 30% since 2001 on a per-student basis. UC campuses have made heroic efforts to adapt to this new reality while trying to avoid, as much as possible, the impact on instruction and student services. But that trajectory cannot be sustained if UC is to continue to offer a world-class education to future generations of California students.

Finally, the purported growth of administrators and staff is a red herring. Three-quarters of the increase was concentrated at UC’s medical centers. Excluding medical center staff and student employees, enrollment has grown four times faster than UC staff.

DAVID ALCOCER, associate vice president of UC Budget Analysis and Planning


India and China on the Telescope

From UCOP Daily News Clips of 1-27-20 as reproduced from the Honolulu Star-Advertiser of 1-26-20:

The Thirty Meter Telescope’s partner in India wants to ditch Hawaii and build the next-generation telescope at the project’s backup site in the Canary Islands, a newspaper in India reported. India’s position has been clear. We would like the project to move to an alternate site if all the procedures and permits there are in place,” Ashutosh Sharma, secretary of the Department of Science and Technology, told The Hindu newspaper last week. “The difficulty is that even if construction (on Mauna Kea) were to go ahead, there could be future agitations,” Sharma said.

The $1.4 billion project has been on hold for nearly five years, the victim of legal and regulatory obstacles and a protest by those who hold the mountain sacred and view the project as a representation of injustice against Native Hawaiians. In La Palma, TMT officials have been given the green light to proceed with construction of the cutting-edge telescope and have paid a license fee.

Asked for a reaction to the India official’s comments, TMT Vice President Gordon Squires offered this statement: “TIO (TMT International Observatory) as an organization has determined that Hawaii is still the preferred site for the Thirty Meter Telescope. We continue to engage in private discussions with community members in finding a peaceful, lawful and non-violent way forward that honors and supports our scientific goals, environmental stewardship and the traditions and culture of Hawaii.”

THE HINDU newspaper report confirms rumors of dissent on the TMT International Observatory board of governors, which is made up of representatives of the University of California and Caltech, plus science agencies in India, China, Japan and Canada. As a full partner, India has committed $200,000 to the telescope’s construction and is in charge of observatory software and the support systems for the primary mirror segments.

The telescope, as designed, will have 492 polished mirrors and India is expected to contribute 83 of them, according to The Hindu, but the project delay has meant manufacturing contracts have also stalled. China reportedly is also pushing the international consortium to pursue construction at the project’s Plan B site in Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on the highest mountain in La Palma.

But other partners appear to be holding out for the superior conditions found at the summit of Mauna Kea. At nearly 14,000 feet, Hawaii’s tallest mountain is nearly 6,000 feet higher than Roque de los Muchachos. Mauna Kea is colder, drier, more stable and better suited for key infrared observing. In the meantime, media reports in the Canary Islands indicate local officials are pushing the Spanish government to become a partner in the project, to make up for hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding that might be lost if the switch in site is made. In addition, officials have been talking to large private entities about joining the investment...

Meanwhile, back at the ranch:

It's one of the oldest known stars in the universe and it's been hiding a surprise, according to new research. The primitive star is known as J0815+4729. It's 5,000 light-years away from us in the Lynx constellation. And when astronomers used the W. M. Keck Observatory on Maunakea in Hawaii to study it, they were able to understand its chemical composition, which reveals previously unknown secrets about the earliest times in our universe...

Listen to the Regents Meeting: Morning of Jan. 22, 2020

The morning session of the Jan. 22nd meeting of the full Board Regents extended - not counting break time - to about six hours! Perhaps that's not surprising, since it involved the controversial tuition increases options.

Yours truly has limited time to go through all of the sessions so we will rely on the Bruin's short summary of the full board's meeting below. You can listen at the link provided below. (Yours truly has downloaded the files for Jan. 23, but they need some editing - again time consuming - before they can be posted. We again note that if the Regents would preserve their recordings indefinitely rather than delete them after one year, all of this downloading, editing, and uploading would be unnecessary.

From the Bruin:

  • Demonstrators outside of the Mission Bay Conference Center protested for UC worker’s rights. During the public comment session, other protestors interrupted Regents Chair John Pérez for about one minute until they left the room.
  • Students from various UC campuses spoke to the board during public comment about a proposed tuition increase and the board’s support for workers unions.
  • Varsha Sarveshwar, president of the UC Student Association and a student at UC Berkeley, said a tuition increase would disproportionately affect students whose parents refuse to pay their tuition, such as LGBTQ+ students, and could stifle student advocacy.
  • Pérez said students were right to call attention to the deficiency of notice for the tuition increase and added the regents should be as transparent as possible.
  • The regents discussed two plans for a potential multiyear proposal to increase tuition. UC President Janet Napolitano said students should be informed as soon as possible of a potential tuition increase.

You can listen to this session at the link below:
or direct to:

More dirty laundry to come?

These days, Washington, DC is not the only place where trials of interest are taking place:

Loughlin, parents want Singer’s calls including alleged lies to romantic interests

Andrew Martinez, Boston Herald, 1-26-20

Lori Loughlin and other parents charged in the “Varsity Blues” college admissions scheme want access to texts and call transcripts they say contain boasting by mastermind Rick Singer as he tried to woo prospective dates.

Responding to a filing earlier this month from the government, the defendants say Singer’s conversations with women include important information about his alleged lies related to his college and professional connections.

Singer told one woman that he created an organization called “A Better LA with (a well-known West Coast sports figure) to stop the gang violence in LA,” the filing states. In another conversation with a woman, Singer claimed he served as a “life coach” to “30 or so CEOs and 24 NBA players,” the filing also said.

Parents filed sealed exhibits with the court Friday, and the contents and length of the documents are unknown. Federal prosecutors accuse the parents of paying top dollar for bogus athletic recruitment slots at prestigious universities for their children, and recently updated the charges against the defendants. Singer also allegedly lied to another prospective date, saying in an email he coached “collegiately at the highest level,” including Division I schools Indiana University, Texas A&M University and the University of California, Berkeley.

Parents also accuse Singer of talking about possible criminal conduct with family members, including an alleged conversation between Singer and his brother about laundering money from offshore gambling.

The motion was originally filed by defendants David Sidoo and Robert Zangrillo and later joined by other parents including Loughlin and husband Mossimo Giannulli.

Most parents in the case have waived their upcoming arraignments on the fourth superseding indictment, and Loughlin and Giannulli are likely to do the same after waiving their second and third arraignments on indictments last year.

Coaches fighting federal charges in the scheme are also locked in a similar fight for evidence, and have begun issuing subpoenas to entities including UCLA and the University of California Board of Regents.

A hearing on the parents’ fight for evidence may happen within weeks, as court documents have listed tentative dates of either Feb. 11 or Feb. 14.


Note that these cases are in the hands of federal prosecutors. UC, UCLA, and UC-Berkeley can't control the outcome or make some kind of private "settlement." If there is dirty laundry, it is likely to become public.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Path to Confusion

[Click on image to enlarge and clarity.]
The UCPath webpage above says W-2 forms (needed to file 2019 income taxes) will be available January 24th (last Friday).

Yours truly checked for his today, Jan. 26, and it wasn't there. Instead, he found a different UCPath webpage that said that W-2 forms would not be available until January 31st (as per below):
[Click on image to enlarge and clarify.]
Two pages with conflicting messages available simultaneously. Just saying...

UCLA Says There Is No Dirty Laundry (but there once was)

Blog readers will have seen yesterday's post about dirty laundry in UCLA admissions.* UCLA says the laundry is in fact clean (even if it was once dirty):

From the Bruin: ...The filing contains misleading assertions and notably omits that UCLA Athletics implemented a number of policies and practices aimed at strengthening the student-athlete admissions process immediately following the 2014 investigation,” the [UCLA] statement said. “The government has alleged that Salcedo got around these policies by helping submit a false athletic resume to the University.”

The first case allegedly involved UCLA Senior Associate Athletic Director for External Relations Josh Rebholz and former assistant men’s tennis coach Grant Chen conspiring to admit a family friend of Chen’s as a member of UCLA track and field for the 2013-2014 season in exchange for $100,000, despite the student’s lack of collegiate-level ability. The second incident, according to the motion, revolved around the daughter of a wealthy donor being admitted under the pretense of water polo experience despite never having played the sport. The motion also alleged that UCLA men’s tennis coach Billy Martin – who has been a staff member for 37 years – and William Singer – who pleaded guilty to four charges regarding his role as the overseer in the college admissions scandal – worked with Chen to gain an unqualified student a spot on UCLA women’s water polo for the 2014-2015 season under the condition that her family donated $150,000 to the university as a “show of appreciation.”
Former women’s water polo coach Brandon Brooks agreed to accept the student as a player or a manager, even after she admitted she had no experience with the sport, according to the motion. Brooks – who played for UCLA from 1999-2002 – stepped down in 2017 after coaching for eight seasons. The motion states, however, that the prospective student was not admitted, and her mother appealed the reversal of her daughter’s prior admission to UCLA’s Admissions Committee, sparking the internal investigation.
The Compliance Office was forced to examine the men’s tennis program’s admissions records over the previous 10 years, during which Martin and Singer were believed to be cooperating. The investigation led to the Compliance Office finding 10 of the 54 student-athletes accepted to UCLA men’s tennis in that 10-year span to be of “limited” athletic ability, and that a high percentage of those 10 students came from families that made substantial donations the athletics program, according to the motion."

Requa case settlement - Part 3

Plaintiff Joe Requa
Blog readers will recall the Requa lawsuit by retirees from Lawrence Livermore National Lab over entitlement to UC retiree health care benefits.* When Lab management was moved to a consortium including UC, the health benefits package was changed for LLNL employees. Retirees sued claiming a vested right to the UC package. Potentially, the suit might have tested the proposition that - contrary to UC's stance that retiree health benefits are a kind of voluntary gift and not a vested right - retiree health care is an obligation of UC. However, a settlement was reached that largely involved cash payments from UC. In that way, the LLNL got something and UC didn't risk testing its stance in court.

The final outcome is now playing out as the article below indicates. Note, however, the last sentence reproduced below which suggests some type of entitlement:

An official notice has been mailed to thousands of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory retirees affected by the recent University of California health care settlement agreement, including a detailed questionnaire that must be answered to ensure future benefits. The settlement was announced last month, resolving a nine-year class action lawsuit in which the retirees sought reinstatement in UC health care benefits programs that they enjoyed prior to a 2007 management contract change.

The lawsuit class, including heirs and estates of deceased retirees, includes about 9,000 members. Although they did not achieve reinstatement, they won two other key benefits. One provides $84.5 million in total financial assistance for specified past losses and expected future costs.

The other offers a guarantee of future reinstatement in UC’s health care benefits programs should the current Laboratory manager terminate its benefits program or materially change it...

Full story at

Here is a notice from the Lawrence Livermore Retirees Assn.:
[Click on image to enlarge and clarify.]
Screenshot from as of 1/26/20
*A recent post is at That post will provide a link to prior posts. (Each post refers to the previous one.)

Saturday, January 25, 2020

And more dirty laundry...

From the LA Daily News: After decades of balancing the books, UCLA’s athletic department finds itself in a hole. And not just any hole — a hole so deep, it resembles the worst of times at the Bruins’ sister school 400 miles to the North. UCLA athletics reported a whopping $18.9 million deficit for the 2019 fiscal year, according to a statement of revenues and expenses submitted to the NCAA... The Bruins generated $108.4 million in revenue against $127.3 million in expenses for the 12-month period that included Chip Kelly’s first season as the football coach and the tumultuous basketball stretch in which Steve Alford was dismissed. 

The shortfall will be covered by an interest-bearing loan from central campus, according to a spokesperson. The terms of the loan were not available; nor were athletic department budget projections for the current fiscal year. This marks the first time in 15 years that the Bruins haven’t balanced the books, according to university records, and coincides with the final months of athletic director Dan Guerrero’s tenure. Guerrero, on the job since 2002 and the target of frequent criticism by UCLA fans, announced recently that he will step down at the end of the academic year...

Full story at

There may be dirty laundry exposed as this process continues

From the LA Times: Jorge Salcedo, the former UCLA men’s soccer coach charged in the college admissions scandal, accused the school of using athlete admissions “as a vehicle to raise funds” in a motion filed by his attorneys in U.S. District Court in Boston.
The motion filed late Thursday seeks authorization to subpoena a wide variety of documents from UCLA and the University of California.
“UCLA’s own internal documents reveal that, for many years, its Athletic Department has facilitated the admission of unqualified applicants — students who do not meet UCLA’s rigorous academic or athletics standards — through the student-athlete admissions process in exchange for huge ‘donations’ by the students’ wealthy parents,” the motion said...
The motion alleged, as well, that UCLA has admitted non-athletes as sports recruits to help boost team grade-point averages. No names or other specifics were provided...
Excerpt from defense brief:
...The charges reflect the government’s fundamental misunderstanding of how UCLA has strategically used its student-athlete admissions process as a vehicle to raise funds to pay for its many expensive and underfunded athletic programs. UCLA’s own internal documents reveal that, for many years, its Athletic Department has facilitated the admission of unqualified applicants—students who do not meet UCLA’s rigorous academic or athletics standards—through the student-athlete admissions process in exchange for huge “donations” by the students’ wealthy parents. These documents, which UCLA did not disclose to the government before this prosecution, tell a compelling behind-the-scenes story, one that undermines the Superseding Indictment’s narrative by definitively proving that UCLA is not a victim of a fraud scheme.
Until this prosecution, UCLA has been able to keep its roster-spot-for-money admissions practice under wraps, hidden from the public. But the practice has been no secret at UCLA. Five years ago, UCLA’s Compliance Office was forced to review the Athletic Department’s admissions and fundraising tactics in response to a parent’s complaint concerning the revocation of her daughter’s admission. The Compliance Office investigation, spearheaded by the University’s Compliance Director, resulted in a “confidential” report loaded with explosive facts that drive a stake through the heart of the government’s charges... 
Having uncovered a mountain of damning evidence, the Compliance Office concluded that UCLA’s use of athletic team roster slots to raise funds violated Policy 2202 of UCLA’s governing body, the University of California Board of Regents (“UC Regents”). Policy 2202, titled “Policy Barring Development Considerations from Influencing Admission Decisions,” prohibits admission decisions based on financial benefits to the University. The Compliance Office, however, was careful to protect top echelon members of the Athletic Department, while heaping all of the blame on the coaches’ shoulders. Notably, the chief fundraiser’s name is not even mentioned in the report.
UCLA’s response to the “confidential” report’s scathing findings is telling. Available evidence suggests that UCLA did not revoke the admission of the student on the track team or return her parents’ $100,000 donation. It did not report the matter to UC Regents or to law enforcement authorities. It did not discipline members of the Athletic Department’s executive management team, or even interview Rebholz, who had brokered the deal with the parents of the student admitted on the track team. Rather, UCLA rewarded him with a hefty raise. The University ironically restored the admission decision of the student whose parent had complained. And, remarkably, UCLA continued conducting business with Mr. Singer, permitting him to use UCLA’s facilities to give college admission counseling presentations on campus...

Listen to the Afternoon Session of the Regents: Jan. 22, 2020

On January 22, the full board of the Regents had a session that went into overtime initially, thus displacing other planned sessions into the next day. However, Academic and Students Affairs and Finance and Capital Strategies did hold meetings, albeit somewhat truncated because of the late hour.

Academic and Student Affairs focused on the input of freshman to UC coming from the K-12 system. There was a presentation indicating results across legislative districts showing considerable variation. Concern was expressed about the "A-G" courses that are required by UC not being taught well, or not taught at all, in some high schools. The discussion turned to graduate students and their means of support, including TAships and other such opportunities. Then there was discussion about how UC trains future professors. The only action item was enactment of supplemental tuition for certain professional programs. These tuition proposals were approved.

Finance and Capital Strategies held a very abbreviated open session. The committee approved use of eminent domain to acquire a property for a medical project at UC-San Diego. There was discussion of seismic problems and remediation plans for certain UC buildings. A discussion of UCPath was postponed. The item with the most potential for controversy - although there wasn't any within the committee - was UC-Berkeley's plans to construct student housing on the site of People's Park. About half the site would be for student housing. Because the park is now inhabited by homeless people, the university is partnering with a nonprofit organization to use one fourth of the site for supportive homeless housing. The schools of Social Welfare and Public Health would be involved. The remaining fourth of the park would continue as open space. Concerns were expressed about security within that remaining fourth and about protests that could develop as the overall plan goes forward. University representatives indicated that the City of Berkeley was supportive of the plan.

Yours truly will continue posting about the recent Regents meeting. However, it should be noted - as has been noted many times before - that the Regents only "archive" their recordings on YouTube for one year. If they retained them permanently, it would not be necessary for yours truly to do it. Downloading the audio from YouTube can be time consuming and YouTube has blocked many services that do such downloading. Presumably, such blocking has to do with protection of copyrighted material such as music on YouTube. Although the Regents' meetings are not copyrighted, the same barriers have been erected.

You can hear the sessions at the link below:

or direct to:

Friday, January 24, 2020

Flu and Coronavirus

From a recently-circulated email:

UCLA Health Division of Infectious Diseases
Arthur Ashe Student Health Center

To the Campus Community,

As we approach the peak of the flu season, many of you may be experiencing flu-like symptoms or the common cold. In addition, you may have come across news reports about a similar respiratory illness from Wuhan, China, called the 2019 novel coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV.

While incidences of the common cold or the flu may be on the rise, we want to reassure the UCLA community that at this time, there are no known exposures to 2019-nCoV on campus. Additionally, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the immediate health risk from 2019-nCoV to people in North America is considered low.

We would also like remind the Bruin community that there are simple precautions one can take to minimize the risk of contracting or spreading any respiratory viral illnesses. Those include regular hand-washing, coughing and sneezing into one’s sleeves, and staying up-to-date on immunizations and flu shots.

The UCLA Arthur Ashe Student Health Center and UCLA Health infectious disease specialists recommend that any student experiencing a cough and a fever who has also recently traveled to Wuhan, or who has had contact with people from Wuhan with symptoms, call the center at (310) 206-6217. Students must call before showing up.

UCLA faculty and staff in the same situation should contact their primary health care provider.

Both the Arthur Ashe Student Health Center and the UCLA Health hospitals are well-prepared to care for patients with infectious diseases.

UCLA is also working closely with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and state and county public health officials to keep our campus healthy, and to keep you informed of significant new developments.

More information about the coronavirus may be found at the CDC site. Information is also available at Bruin Safe Online, and from the World Health Organization.*

Dr. Daniel Uslan
Clinical Chief of Infectious Diseases
UCLA Health

Dr. Nancy Holt
Co-Executive Director, Interim
Arthur Ashe Student Health Center


Elsevier Update from Berkeley Library

After talks with Elsevier stalled, the University of California has been working to advance open access. Here’s how.

Library Communications, January 23, 2020

...You might be curious about the status of the University of California’s negotiations with Elsevier, which stalled last year.

Since then, there has been progress with other publishers, as UC — with strong leadership from Berkeley — works to advance open access to its research.

Here’s what you need to know about UC’s latest open access efforts.

UC and Elsevier 

After negotiations stalled, UC and Elsevier have been in informal conversations and hope to continue them. UC and Elsevier plan to hold a meeting to explore reopening negotiations early this semester.

Over the past year, Elsevier has signed other transformative open access agreements, and we hope this suggests the publisher is ready to discuss deals that align with UC’s goals.

Wiley and Springer Nature

UC is in negotiations with Wiley and Springer Nature to renew contracts that expired on Dec. 31. In each case, UC and the publisher have a shared desire to reach a transformative agreement that combines UC’s subscription with open access publishing of UC research. Both publishers have extended UC’s access to their journals, under the terms of their previous contracts, while negotiations are underway.

New agreements

UC has announced two new publisher agreements, each with a different model to provide financial support for UC researchers who choose to publish their work open access.

UC was one of four major research institutions to enter an open access publishing agreement with the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). Under the three-year agreement with this society publisher, the UC Libraries will pay to retain access to ACM’s journals and other publications, and to ensure that UC researchers’ articles will be made openly available at the time of publication at no cost to the authors.

As part of a new two-year pilot with JMIR Publications — a native open access publisher of more than 30 digital health-related journals, including its flagship Journal of Medical Internet Research — the UC Libraries will pay the first $1,000 of the open access publishing fee for all UC authors who choose to publish in a JMIR journal. Authors who do not have research funds available can request financial assistance from the libraries for the remainder of the costs, ensuring that lack of funding is not a barrier for UC authors who want to publish in JMIR journals.

Each agreement expands UC’s options for its authors who want to make their research open access. As UC’s first agreements of their kind with a native open access and society publisher, the two new pilots illustrate the university’s commitment to finding ways to work with publishers of all types and sizes to advance open access to UC research.

Cambridge University Press: Agreement now fully implemented

After an initial kickoff phase in 2019, UC’s first transformative open access agreement, with Cambridge University Press, is now fully in effect. Starting this month, when UC corresponding authors submit their accepted manuscripts for publication with Cambridge, they will be prompted to consider making their articles open access. The open access fee will be discounted by 30 percent, and the UC Libraries’ $1,000 subsidy will be applied automatically. Authors who have research funding available will be asked to use those funds to pay any remaining amount under a cost-sharing model designed to let the UC Libraries stretch their funds and help as many authors as possible. As with UC’s agreement with JMIR, if authors do not have research funds available to pay the remainder of the open access publishing fee, they can request that the libraries pay their portion.

More to come

Conversations with other publishers are also in the pipeline, and we will let you know when there are major developments or new agreements to share.

Source: Note: Various links are provided in the original source that are not provided above.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Settlement Averts Future Strikes

From the BruinUniversity of California service workers reached a tentative agreement with the University after over two years of negotiations.
Service workers and university administrators in American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299, an employee union that represents over 25,000 service and patient care employees in the UC, reached the tentative four-year agreement late Tuesday night.
“UC is pleased that after working with AFSCME leadership to address joint concerns and resolve our outstanding differences, we have reached a multi-year agreement for our valued employees,” said UC spokesperson Andrew Gordon.
The agreement, which must be ratified by union service members, includes wage increases and limits the number of UC employee service jobs outsourced to private contractors, according to an AFSCME Local 3299 press release. The tentative contract comes after six strikes in two years. A call by AFSCME Local 3299 in November to boycott the UC resulted in the Democratic National Committee relocating its sixth primary debate for the 2020 presidential election from UCLA to Loyola Marymount University.
The union will vote to ratify the agreement Jan. 30. However, the patient care unit will continue bargaining with the UC this week.

Listen to the Regents Meeting of Jan. 21, 2020

The first day of the January Regents meetings consisted of the Investments Committee and the Special Committee on Basic Needs. (The second day involved a marathon session of the full board about which we will have to delay coverage.)

At the Investments Committee, there was a light air as returns on investments were well above normal for the year ending December 31, 2019. The basic pension, for example, earned 18% over that period. There are $132.6 billion in funds under the authority of the chief investments officer, Jagdeep Bachher, who has recently received a large bonus for his efforts. Of that, the basic pension accounts for $73.6 billion with the rest consisting of the endowment, the captive insurance entity, individual savings accounts, short-term investments, etc.

After the discussion of investment returns and outlook, there was discussion of the "diversity" of the financial services industry, and - in particular - of the various financial service firms under contract with UC. A study was done of 106 of such firms. All but 8 answered. Sixty-three were characterized as non-diverse with the rest (of those that answered) with varying degrees of diversity. "Diversity" was defined as women, Latinx, Native Americans, Blacks, Asian and Pacific Islanders, veterans, and disabled persons. The characterization of firms seemed to involve both ownership and/or individuals managing funds for UC. Regent Park was particularly interested in what next steps might be taken.

The Basic Needs session focused on students who were also parents. It was said that relatively few undergrads fell into that category - a number in the 1% range was quoted - but a larger fraction of grad students (around 12%) did. The discussion revolved around housing and food issues primarily, and various programs around UC. It appears that students who are parents aren't systematically identified when they apply for admission. If problems arise, they become known after enrollment.

You can hear the two January 21st sessions at:

or direct to:

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Round 1 of Tuition Negotiation: Discuss Rather Than Enact (for now)

Gov. Newsom, students protest University of California tuition hikes - vote delayed: Newsom says tuition increases unwarranted; students say they were not notified in time. 

1-21-20, Larry Gordon, EdSource

Gov. Gavin Newsom expressed adamant opposition on Tuesday to any tuition increase at the ten-campus University of California, saying proposals to hike UC tuition over the next five years were unwarranted. Meanwhile, UC student leaders challenged the timing of a vote by UC regents on proposed tuition hikes originally scheduled for this week.

Facing those developments, the UC regents postponed voting on plans to raise undergraduate tuition in each of the next five years and instead will just discuss the matter on Wednesday. Any action on the tuition plans – which could have raised costs as much as $606 for new students in the fall and more in the four following years– may not occur until March or later.

Newsom’s press secretary Jesse Melgar, in an email to EdSource, explained the governor’s opposition to the UC proposals.

“Given the major increase for higher education funding provided in last year’s budget and the similar increase proposed by Governor Newsom for next year’s budget, he believes that the proposed tuition increase is unwarranted, bad for students and inconsistent with our college affordability goals,” Melgar wrote.

The governor, who serves on the regents board, recently proposed a state budget that would provide the UC system with a five percent, or $217.7 million, increase in state funding for next year boosting the total to about $4 billion. Whether the governor’s opposition directly led to the vote delay could not be immediately confirmed. In some past years, UC leaders have raised the possibility of tuition hikes and later withdrew them after state funding was bolstered. The proposals under discussion would be the first UC tuition increase since 2017.

Varsha Sarveshwar, president of the UC Student Association, said she believed the vote was delayed after her organization protested that a vote this week would violate state law. She said the regents had notified the student association about proposed tuition increases for one year, but not for the five years the items turned out to include. That was a major change, she said. So the association told the regents that a vote this week would violate AB 970, the 2012 law that requires the student group be notified about any tuition plan 40 days before a vote on it.

The delay, she said, “is a small but meaningful victory for students.” Sarveshwar said her organization anticipates the tuition increase will return to the regents in March and May and that students will “continue advocating for flat tuition and for increased state investment.”

A statement from UC confirmed the postponement and attributed it to students’ protests over notification.

“We understand and take seriously the concerns by students who have requested more time to consider the proposed plans and welcome ongoing productive conversations with them. In the meantime, we look forward to a comprehensive discussion about tuition at tomorrow’s meeting, which will help inform a future vote by the board,” the statement said.

UC regents chairman John A. Pérez, in a statement from his office, said he determined UC’s noticing requirement would not have been met if a vote proceeded this week. So Pérez “concluded it would be inappropriate to take up the item without giving all stakeholders a chance to be heard with appropriate notice,” according to the statement.

Full story at

Editorial comment: As a prior blog post noted, the appearance of the tuition proposal as an action item on the Regents' agenda can be interpreted as a public negotiation.* The governor didn't give UC what it wanted in his January budget proposal. As we noted, the actual increase - once you get away from the fuzzy one-time vs. ongoing distinction - is less than the general rate of inflation. So the proposal that was to come to the Regents was ostensibly tuition increases at the rate of inflation (in two options and actually somewhat above the likely rate of inflation). That step has now gotten the governor's attention. The item will be discussed rather than enacted for now. And the ball is now in the governor's court (and the legislature's court) to come up with more dough. You can't tell me that the chair of the Regents, John Pérez - a former major political figure in the legislature - allowed the item to be put on the agenda and has now pulled back, without planning this outcome in advance. (The official explanation, of course, is that the item was changed to discussion-only because of certain notice requirements that have now been discovered.)

Reappointed Regent

In the last few days of his administration, Gov. Jerry Brown appointed a new UC regent to fill out a vacancy. Whether he made the appointment in collaboration with incoming Gov. Newsom is unknown. However, Gov. Newsom has now nominated the Brown appointee - Jonathan "Jay" Sures, a Hollywood executive - for a full term as a UC regent:

UTA Co-President Jay Sures Reappointed to University of California Board of Regents

Will Thorne, Variety, 1-21-20

UTA co-president Jay Sures has been reappointed to the University of California Board of Regents for a 12-year term. The term, which is still pending Senate confirmation, will be effective from March 2 and was announced among a larger batch of appointments by Governor Gavin Newsom. Sures was first appointed to the position in Jan. 2019 to complete the final year of an existing term.

Sures has been co-president of the talent agency since 2017, having previously been managing director since 1989. He currently oversees UTA’s TV, news and broadcast, and speakers business. He joined UTA in 1991 and has represented some of TV’s most successful show creators and prominent news broadcast talent over the course of his career...

His connection with the University of California began as a student at UCLA, and he previously served as co-vice chairman of the school’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center Board of Directors. The Democrat was also an assistant visiting professor at UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television from 2005 to 2006. The announcement of Sures’ new appointment was made by Governor Newsom on Friday.

Full story at:

Note: There is an ongoing dispute between the Writers Guild of America and the various talent agencies. Sures has had a role in that dispute:

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

The Other Cap-and-Trade Program (for UCLA courses)

The Bruin indicates that students have worked out what amounts to a cap-and-trade program to enroll in hard-to-get courses that are oversubscribed. Yours truly can't tell you more about it except that it appears to operate through Facebook.

Facebook buy and sell groups cannot cover for class overenrollment issues

Leslie Landis, 1-20-29

If you thought buying a spot in college was the only monetary transaction happening in the University of California system, you thought wrong. Most students at UCLA have experienced not getting into the classes they want. But for students who don’t get into classes they absolutely need, they may turn to alternative ways to get those spots. And Facebook has provided those alternatives. UCLA class pages are regularly swarmed with posts from students offering a sum of money in exchange for a spot in a full class. The amount offered can vary from $15 to $300...

According to an email statement from UCLA spokesperson Ricardo Vazquez, acquiring courses in a non-sanctioned way, such as on Facebook, is a violation of the Student Conduct Code and may result in a student being referred to the Student Conduct Office for review if they are caught engaging in this activity. Despite the risks, many students do exactly that. A second-year psychology student who wished to remain anonymous posted on Facebook last quarter, trying to get into Statistics 13 and Chemistry 14BL – both of which are popular classes for her major and many other STEM majors. She said that despite knowing the risks of posting on Facebook, she had to do so because UCLA left her no other option...

Full story at

Listen to the Regents' President Search at UC-Riverside

The Regents' regular January meetings begin today. As usual, it will take time to download and archive the various sessions. However, after a delay, the link to the January 16 meeting of the presidential search committee at UC-Riverside was posted on the Regents' website. We have now archived it.

Unlike the search committee meeting at UCLA which had limited public comments and mainly scheduled testimony by pre-selected speakers, the UC-Riverside meeting was all public comments and no pre-selected speakers, except for some welcoming remarks by the chancellor. Topics covered by speakers in the public comments included access, affordability, pay for graduate student workers, resources needed for added enrollments, insufficient class offerings, UCPath, undocumented students, diversity, climate change and "green" issues, special problems of the Inland Empire, labor relations, tuition increases to be discussed at the January Regents meetings, outsourcing, Prop 209, student debt, low-income students, and special characteristics and needs of UC-Riverside.

As was the case at UCLA, there was not much discussion of the characteristics of the new president other than that the president should be sensitive to all of the above. For example, should the search focus on candidates with an academic background? As noted in comments on the UCLA search committee, the last time a UC president was selected, the Regents opted for someone with a political background, in part because of the special needs entailed in dealing with the then-governor (Jerry Brown).

You can hear the UC-Riverside session at the link below:

or direct to: