Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Here is a recent example:
Lawsuits Target Zoom Over Facebook Data Transfers
Lawyers at Tycko & Zavareei assert that Zoom’s sharing of user data to third parties was an “egregious breach of their trust and of social norms” and violated even Facebook’s policies.
By Alaina Lancaster | March 31, 2020 at 05:43 PM | Law.com
Zoom Video Communications Inc. has been hit with two privacy lawsuits in California after the company’s data protection procedures came under scrutiny once the platform transformed into a crucial tool for businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.
Wexler Wallace filed the first class action complaint against Zoom on Monday, followed by Tycko & Zavareei Tuesday. Both lawsuits, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, cite a Motherboard report finding the iOS version of the videoconferencing app funnels user analytics to Facebook, a feature Zoom said it has since deleted in an update.
“Had Zoom informed its users that it would use inadequate security measures and permit unauthorized third-party tracking of their personal information, users—like plaintiff and class members—would not have been willing to use the Zoom App,” wrote Tycko & Zavareei’s Hassan Zavareei and Katherine Aizpuru in Washington, D.C., and Annick Persinger in Oakland. “Instead, plaintiff and class members would have forgone using Zoom and/or chosen a different videoconferencing product that did not send their personal information to Facebook, or any other third party.”
The lawsuits contend that Zoom shared personally identifiable information such as users’ device model, time zone, location, phone carrier and an advertiser identifier profile, which provides marketers with insights to consumers’ demographics and preferences.
“This issue is extremely important now, because businesses, families and individuals are increasingly connecting via Zoom,” Aizpuru said. “But it would be important even if many states were not under stay at home orders. Protecting consumer privacy is only becoming more important as more of our lives move online.”
The lawsuits are among the first to invoke the California Consumer Protection Act, which took effect Jan. 1, arguing that San Jose-based Zoom gathers personal data without the consent and notices mandated by the law.
The suit also alleges violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law, the state’s Consumers Legal Remedies Act, negligence and invasion of privacy under California’s constitution.
Tycko & Zavareei assert that Zoom’s sharing of user data to third-parties was an “egregious breach of their trust and of social norms” and violated even Facebook’s policies.
Even with Zoom’s update to the app, the Wexler Wallace attorneys say the harm has already been done, and that the harm continues.
“Zoom appears to have taken no action to block any of the prior versions of the Zoom App from operating,” wrote Wexler Wallace’s Mark Tamblyn in Sacramento and Kenneth Wexler and Jason Keener in Chicago. “Thus, unless users affirmatively update their Zoom App, they likely will continue to unknowingly send unauthorized personal information to Facebook, and perhaps other third parties. Zoom could have forced all iOS users to update to the new Zoom App to continue using Zoom but appears to have chosen not to.”
Aizpuru said the other problem with Zoom’s response is that changing their code to ensure that Facebook doesn’t have access to user information doesn’t compensate the people whose data was shared without their consent.
“There’s a lot of unanswered questions that Zoom is going to have to account for,” she said.
Kenneth Wexler said Wexler Wallace does not comment on pending litigation.
Zoom declined to comment but pointed to a company blog post on the Facebook feature.
Monday, March 30, 2020
The statement below was issued on Monday, March 30, 2020, by the Office of the Chief Investment Officer.
Across the University of California system, members of our community — especially the dedicated professionals at UC Health — are working tirelessly to stop the spread of the coronavirus and limit its impact to our health, welfare, and financial security. During this time of uncertainty and upheaval, it is important to know that your UC retirement benefits will be there when you need them.
They will be.
UC Investments is a long-term investor guided by what we call our 10 pillars, the guideposts that have served the University of California well. We have been investing the retirement assets of our community members for nearly 60 years, through financial highs and lows, including the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. We have planned for bumps in the road. We are effectively navigating this crisis, too.
UC has a legal obligation to provide funding for the UC Retirement Plan (UCRP), with provisions in place that require UC to make contributions that are sufficient to ensure the financial health of the plan over the long-term.
UC Investments takes a conservative investments approach in anticipation of inevitable downturns. “Risk Rules” is one of our guiding pillars. “Centennial Performance” — which encapsulates our strategy of investing for the next 100 years — is another. Our investments are sound and diversified, including significant holdings of cash, Treasuries and high-quality corporate bonds to provide a buffer against market volatility. As of March 24, 2020, the UC pension had assets of more than $61 billion.
Your pension assets are safe, secure, and stable. We are keeping them that way.
Monday, March 30, 2020
Academic student employees, or ASEs, who are part of the United Auto Workers Local 2865 union said they are going to vote in early April on whether to hold an unfair labor practice strike that would be backed by the union. Strike organizers said they have gathered approximately 3,000 signatures from graduate students throughout the UC system pledging to participate in a ULP strike.
Such a strike would aim to pressure the University of California into reinstating dozens of graduate students who were fired for striking at UC Santa Cruz in early March. It would also push the UC to negotiate directly with the union over cost-of-living issues.
However, hundreds of graduate students have said they intend to strike regardless of whether they are backed by the union. Many of these students are part of an organization called Ucla4Cola, which has previously protested the firing of UCSC student workers and what they perceive as unfair working conditions for ASEs in the UC system.
Ucla4Cola students voted to go on a strike not backed by UAW 2865 in early March pending the approval of 10 academic departments. However, student organizers ultimately decided to delay the demonstrations after UCLA closed due to concerns over the novel coronavirus, said UCLA graduate student and protest organizer Sucharita Kanjilal in an emailed statement.
Chief among the demands of Ucla4Cola is that UCLA implement a cost-of-living-adjustment, also known as COLA for ASEs so that graduate students can afford to live locally. Los Angeles is one of the U.S.’s most expensive cities, and Westwood specifically was recently ranked as being in the fourth-most pricey zip code for renters in the country.
Labor activism planned by both the COLA activists and the union leadership has been largely overshadowed recently by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. As a result of the pandemic, UCLA’s administration announced earlier this month that classes during the spring quarter would be taught remotely.
Michael Dean, a UCLA representative of UAW 2865, said despite the events surrounding the outbreak, union leadership is still planning on voting in the first week of April on whether to conduct a strike across UC campuses...
Full story at https://dailybruin.com/2020/03/29/ucla-graduate-students-consider-striking-without-union-support/
Two points on the above article:
1) The legal status of a strike - whether it is an economic strike or an unfair labor practice strike - depends not on what strikers call it but what the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) rules it is. Similarly, whether the union is truly independent of the current strike is also ultimately a matter of PERB's decision and not just what someone says. In short, there is a lot of uncertainty about the status of the strike and the strikers.
2) We have previously proposed a resolution: http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2020/03/have-you-forgotten-grad-student-strike.html
KEYT, Jessica Brest, 3-26-20
ISLA VISTA, Calif. - The Chancellor of UC Santa Barbara announced on Thursday that, in response to the Governor's stay at home order, the university will be holding its commencement ceremony online on the second weekend of June.
The school said this virtual ceremony will allow for the recognition of the achievements of graduating students at the end of the spring quarter in a safe way.
The university said it still plans to hold an in-person ceremony when it is safe to do so. At that time, they will welcome all of the 2020 graduates and their families back to the campus to celebrate all of their accomplishments.
"From our consultation with students and parents, and from the countless messages we have received, we are reminded just how important commencement is for our students and their families. It is just as important to us," UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang said. "Each of our graduates is special and carries a unique story of triumph. This is why we thought it necessary to share our current thinking with our community now and to affirm our commitment to hosting an event on campus when the situation allows."
This is the second time in less than a year the world-class science produced by the dozen or so observatories atop Hawaii’s tallest mountain have ground to a halt.
The first time was last summer at the beginning of the protest against the Thirty Meter Telescope, when Mauna Kea Access Road was blocked and deemed unsafe to travel for nearly four weeks.
“It’s deja vu,” said Doug Simons, director of Canada- France-Hawaii Telescope. “We know the drill.”
Like last summer, the latest shutdown will affect more than 500 technicians, astronomers, instrument scientists, engineers and support staff who work at both the summit and the observatory bases down below.
Most of the work is federally funded and therefore few, if any, employees will be laid off or furloughed for the time being, Simons said.
The largest impact will be on the science. Last year’s monthlong shutdown interrupted hundreds of observing programs run by scientists from around the world and affected about 100 scientific publications that would have used Mauna Kea-generated data...
Full story at https://www.staradvertiser.com/2020/03/29/hawaii-news/mauna-kea-telescopes-close-in-response-to-stay-at-home-order/
Dr. David Price of Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City shares information in a Mar. 22 Zoom call with family and friends on empowering and protecting families during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Go to https://vimeo.com/399733860
Go to https://vimeo.com/399733860
Sunday, March 29, 2020
Friday, March 27, 2020
University of California President Janet Napolitano issued today (March 27) the following statement on the $2 trillion bipartisan CARES Act:
Congress has passed and the President has signed into law an unprecedented spending bill that will allow the University of California to begin to meet extraordinary challenges during this pandemic.
The CARES Act provides much-needed fiscal relief and funding to our health centers treating COVID-19 patients so that they will be able to purchase additional masks, gloves and other equipment desperately needed to protect the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals on the frontlines of this fight.
The law will also help ensure that UC students receive the necessary financial support to continue pursuing their education, while providing our researchers additional resources to combat this virus by further exploring possible treatments and a vaccine.
I would like to recognize Congress for working together to pass this emergency spending package, but acknowledge that more will need to be done before this global health crisis passes. I want to applaud Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, our California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, as well as all the members of the California Congressional delegation for working across party lines to come together and support legislation that will help Californians during this time of incredible need.
I would also like to thank all of UC’s dedicated medical and clinical professionals, researchers, and those who are keeping our education enterprise running at this very difficult juncture. Though it will take time, we will weather this storm and come out much stronger on the other side.
Saturday, March 28, 2020
Madeleine Pauker, 3-27-20, Santa Monica Daily Press
UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica and Providence St. John’s Health Center nurses said they feel unsafe while treating coronavirus patients because they lack the equipment necessary to shield themselves and their families from the virus, echoing concerns raised by medical professionals across the country as hospitals run out of masks and President Trump refuses to order private companies to produce more.
Andrea Peregrin, an emergency room nurse at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica, said as the hospital admits an increasing number of patients who have tested positive or are presumed positive for coronavirus — including some hospital staff — nurses are being asked to bring masks home in paper bags and rewear them the next day.
“Up until this point, we have never been told to reuse equipment because of the huge risk of infection to patients, our families and other staff,” she said.
Peregrin said the hospital is operating under new Centers for Disease Control standards that say medical personnel can protect themselves from coronavirus with surgical masks or even bandanas, which block large droplets but cannot filter out virus particles. While CDC officials have said that coronavirus is spread primarily through large droplets and is not airborne, Peregrin said nurses must be provided with equipment that prevents all possible transmission. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health Administration has adopted the same guidelines, she said.
“Nobody is 100% sure how it’s transmitted, so we should be held at the highest standards until we know exactly what we’re dealing with,” she said. “The hospital has the responsibility to make sure we’re safe, and we need the state and the federal government to step in and give us the gear we need.”
A UCLA Health spokesperson said the health system is asking staff to conserve protective equipment and is exploring how to sterilize equipment in case reuse becomes necessary. Additionally, management have communicated daily with staff about changes in protocols and information about coronavirus. Peregrin said the California Nurses Association tried to work with UCLA Health in January to prepare for the outbreak and believes the hospital should have had a plan in place before Los Angeles County declared an emergency in early March. Peregrin said hospitals now need to plan for a shortage of staff in the near future as more and more medical personnel get sick. “We had the time and didn’t utilize it, and that’s a shame,” she said. “We wanted any kind of plan and we didn’t get it.”
Jacob Childs, a nurse in the COVID-19 unit of Providence St. John’s Health Center, said hospital management is telling nurses the facility has an ample supply of protective equipment, even though nurses have been asked to use surgical masks for as long as 12 hours when they are supposed to be in use for up to an hour. Nurses are then told to recycle surgical masks into a bin for sterilization and reuse, he said.
Childs said Providence St. John’s management has said the hospital has a sufficient quantity of N95 masks but is not allowing nurses to use them. Nurses are being told to bring their own N95 masks to wear in hallways but not inside patients’ rooms, even though CDC guidelines state that nurses may wear their own masks in the event of a shortage, he said.
Nurses are also being directed to reuse single-use goggles because the hospital doesn’t have enough face shields, he added. Childs said nurses have repeatedly asked Providence St. John’s management to clarify how many surgical and N95 masks the hospital has available, but the hospital refuses to provide information. “Other hospitals are in the know about how much they have,” he said. “We don’t know anything. We’re completely in the dark.”
And if you really want to be concerned:
Friday, March 27, 2020
The University of Chicago Law School on Tuesday became the first top law school to say it will retain traditional grading for the spring semester, while many peer schools have moved to pass/fail grading.
By Karen Sloan | March 25, 2020 at 01:10 PM | The original version of this story was published on Law.com
Grading has emerged as a flash point of discord at law schools amid the coronavirus pandemic, with students and faculty pushing administrators to choose between traditional grades and a pass/fail system.
The University of Chicago Law School on Tuesday became the first among the top 10 schools, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report, to tell students that it plans to stick with its traditional grading scale for the spring semester, instead of moving to pass/fail grading. That decision comes in contrast to a growing number of elite schools that have already committed to pass/fail grades for the spring semester or winter quarters, including Yale Law School, Stanford Law School; Harvard Law School; Columbia Law School; the University of Virginia School of Law; the University of Pennsylvania School of Law; the University of California, Berkeley School of Law; and the University of Michigan, which is allowing students to choose whether they want to stick with the traditional grading scale or go pass/fail.
Meanwhile, law professors have taken to blogs and other outlets to debate the issue. Some are arguing that pass/fail grading is the most humane approach during this deeply unsettling time, while others say that students must learn to prevail amid adverse conditions. The issue is particularly fraught given that grades and class ranking play a huge role in law students’ employment and co-curricular opportunities, such as law review eligibility.
“As we approach the new quarter, I and our faculty and administrators have given a great deal of thought to how to approach grading in a world where it is critically important that we continue to deliver excellent education,” wrote Chicago Law Dean Thomas Miles in an email to students Tuesday. “To that end, we intend at this time to maintain the status quo on grades at the Law School for the spring quarter. We will continue to watch developments in the next few weeks, and will make adjustments if the situation warrants.”
Miles wrote that student input at Chicago and other law schools was “sharply divided” over grading this semester, and that he took their comments and feedback from the faculty into consideration when making the decision to maintain letter grades. Chicago is in a better position to maintain its grading system than many other schools because of its small size, because it will begin a new quarter next week, and because its faculty has had more time than most to prepare for online classes, Miles wrote.
That decision has angered many Chicago law students, who argue that the coronavirus pandemic will impact students differently. Those caring for children, for instance, won’t have the same bandwidth as childless classmates to study. And students who are at risk of major complications from COVID-19 face more complications and stressors than classmates with no preexisting conditions. More than 200 Chicago law students signed an open letter to Miles asking the school to adopt a pass/fail grading system for the upcoming semester.
“People are very pissed,” said a third-year Chicago law student Wednesday, who spoke on condition of anonymity out of concern that she would face retribution from the school for speaking out. “Mainly, people are pissed at Chicago because the administration doesn’t seem to really care about how this is going to disparately impact people—whether it’s lower socio-economic classes, those caring for loved ones, or those who just don’t have reliable Internet.”
Chicago students are also worried about their school acting out of step with its peers, and how that might influence the job market, the 3L said. If all the top schools adopt pass/fail grading systems, then all students would be on an even playing field on the summer associate hiring front, they noted.
A much smaller group of Chicago law students signed a counterpetition in favor of maintaining some form of the traditional grading system, citing a desire to have letter grades for 2L summer employment purposes and to ensure high-quality class participation.
“Many students chose to attend the law school due to the balance struck between collaboration and incentives for personal academic growth,” the counterpetition reads. “We worry a mandatory pass/fail grading system would disrupt that balance by reducing class participation and lowering the quality of discussion.”
But a growing push to move the summer associate interview cycle back from late July and early August into January 2021 may relieve some of the pressure law schools feel to maintain their traditional grading systems. Columbia Law School—the school that traditionally sends the highest percentage of graduates into associate jobs at large firms—earlier this week told students that its on-campus interview program will now take place in January. Chicago has also told students that OCI has been pushed back from this summer, though it has not specified the new timeline. Columbia administrators said law firms asked for the delay in summer associate hiring, which will allow them to look at two semesters of traditional grades for candidates. Additionally, it will give firms more time to assess their upcoming hiring needs, as the pandemic has upended their operations.
And at least one major law firm—Hogan Lovells—has released a statement reassuring law students that pass/fail grades will not be held against them in the summer associate hiring process.
Harvard Law School saw firsthand how sensitive the grading issue is. Less than a week after announcing that students would be able to opt for traditional grades or pass/fail grading, the school reversed course and made grades mandatory pass/fail. Harvard law students advocated for the mandatory system, arguing that faculty were advising them behind closed doors to not take the pass/fail option. Forcing students to choose puts the students who are struggling the most with coronavirus-related challenges in an unenviable position, they argued.
Some students at the University of Michigan Law School are now making similar arguments, as the school has adopted an optional pass/fail system.
“Academic performance this semester will be based on an inequitable and unpredictable playing field, dictated by COVID-19 and its asymmetrical effects on our student body,” reads a student petition in favor of a mandatory pass/fail system. “Many students reasonably want the ‘opportunity to succeed’ this semester, a chance to demonstrate academic improvement through their grades. However, the material conditions of our learning have unfortunately become too disparate; it would be wrong to rely on and trust in a letter grading system this semester.”
But the student body is split on the matter, with some preferring to have a choice on how they are graded. They have circulated a counterpetition arguing in favor of sticking with the grading scheme that has been announced.
Meanwhile, law professors also are at odds over the right way to handle grades among the pandemic. Noah Zatz, a professor at the University of California at [sic] Los Angeles School of Law, posted a letter on Facebook that he sent to his faculty colleagues about grading, which advocates for a mandatory pass/fail scheme.
“I have heard from students struggling with mental health difficulties exacerbated by stress, isolation, and worry,” Zatz wrote. “I have heard from students relocating across the country to be with family members who are extremely vulnerable, for whom they are terrified, and with whom they confess they will find it very difficult to live in close proximity, despite their love. I have heard from students in precarious economic circumstances whose ability to study has been seriously disrupted by loss of access to the library, both as a physical space in which to study relative to their marginal housing situation and as a way to access books, and who lack reliable internet access from home.”
At the same time, some students have told Zatz that they have been relatively insulated from the effects of COVID-19. Assessing students facing such drastically different circumstances with letter grades will only exacerbate the stress and anxiety of the students who are already struggling, he wrote. (As of Wednesday morning, UCLA Law had not announced how it will handle grades this semester.)
Others have argued that law schools should maintain their grading curve. Josh Blackman, a professor at South Texas College of Law—Houston, wrote on the Volokh Conspiracy blog that grades help identify which students are struggling and need more academic support or are in danger of failing the bar exam. This is particularly true at non-elite schools, he noted. And law students should learn that lawyers cannot abandon their responsibilities, even amid a pandemic.
Blackman said in a subsequent post that other law professors have reached out to say that they agree with his arguments.
Still, it’s looking more likely that Chicago and other law schools that do not adopt new grading systems will be outliers, as each day brings more announcements of law schools moving to pass/fail.
Duke law professor James Coleman last week sought to reassure students in his criminal law class, noting that many universities canceled the spring semester or went pass/fail during his senior year of college, in 1970, due to protests over the Vietnam War. (Duke is among the law schools that have moved to pass/fail grading.) That change had little long-term impact on him and his classmates, beyond turning some into life-long activists, he noted.
“I don’t know how you feel about the law school’s decision to grade all courses credit/no credit,” Coleman wrote. “But I hope none of you agonizes over it. In the long run, it will have no effect on your career.”
Here is another:
or direct to:
Sunrise Semester is an American educational television series that aired on WCBS-TV from September 1957 to October 1982 and was at first syndicated by CBS Television Film Sales. It was produced in conjunction with the College of Arts and Science at New York University (when the program started, the Washington Square and University College of Arts and Science). During June, July and August, the program was known as Summer Semester. It was one of the first examples of distance learning, telecourses, or MOOCs. Lecturers presented NYU credit courses in studio on a wide range of academic subjects, and these broadcast courses were offered for credit to anyone who paid the course fees. The program earned five Emmy Awards during its lifetime. The program was so named because it was broadcast in the early morning, in New York at 6:30 a.m.
Full article at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunrise_Semester
Seven years ago, a post on this blog related to online education noted that there were radio college course lectures as early as the 1920s:
So while you are self-isolating, you can listen to some history:
or direct to:
So while you are self-isolating, you can listen to some history:
or direct to:
To the Campus Community:
The Academic Senate wishes to express its appreciation to all the faculty, staff, and students who have put in such extraordinary efforts to complete the winter quarter under the stress of moving final assessments to alternative modes in response to COVID-19. We also recognize that the necessity to move to remote instruction for spring quarter will continue to pose new challenges and stresses for the campus community. We wish to acknowledge that our current situation presents considerable hardships for our students and that those hardships may fall unequally on different students.
Under the university’s system of shared governance, the UCLA Academic Senate has purview over certain aspects of UCLA, distinct from the administration overseen by the chancellor. In particular, the Senate makes decisions on such matters as degree and enrollment requirements, grading policy and program establishment, disestablishment, and review.
In order to support faculty, staff, and students in their efforts to sustain instructional continuity and do their best work productively under these circumstances, the Undergraduate and Graduate Councils of the Senate have exercised their purview and taken steps to increase flexibility and reduce stress for all those involved with the instructional effort. These steps are listed below.
The Undergraduate Council has voted:
- To suspend UCLA Senate Regulation A-310 (A) and (E) for spring quarter 2020, and to empower undergraduate students in good standing to take more than one course in a term on a Pass/No Pass (P/NP) basis.
- To extend the deadline for changing the grading basis on an optionally graded course using MyUCLA without need for petition to the last day of instruction for spring quarter 2020.
- To recommend that the campus eliminate the fees to drop a course and to change the grading basis on an optionally graded course after Friday of Week 2 for spring quarter 2020.
The Graduate Council has voted:
- To temporarily delegate authority to departments, Interdepartmental Degree Programs (IDPs), or schools to allow graduate students in good academic standing to enroll in more than one course graded on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) basis for spring quarter 2020, including courses within the degree program, with the stipulation that departments, IDPs, or schools must accept these courses towards fulfilling degree requirements if taken for an S/U grade.
- To recommend that the campus eliminate the fees to drop a course and to change the grading basis on an optionally graded course after Friday of Week 2 for spring quarter 2020.
It is also worth noting that graduate students are already permitted to change the grading basis on an optionally graded course using MyUCLA without need for petition to the last day of instruction.
These suspensions and delegations should provide both graduate and undergraduate students with the capacity to choose a course of study that will enable them to continue their progress to degree and also to adjust their academic burdens in accord with their own personal needs at this time. We recognize that these actions will not solve all of the challenges associated with remote education. But after careful consideration and review of all options, we are confident that they will best support the efforts of faculty, staff, and students as we work together to address the challenges of spring quarter.
Reminder for Instructors
The Academic Senate would also like to remind all instructors that the partial suspensions of Senate Regulations 332 and 505 (PDF) continue in force. These suspensions empower you to have greater flexibility both in the forms of assessment you plan to use and also in the distribution of points among different assessments. As with this past quarter, we urge instructors to use this flexibility to take into account the special challenges that will accompany remote instruction. Given the uncertainties surrounding technical issues and the possibilities of disrupted connections, as well as the closure of libraries and study spaces, we urge everyone to approach spring quarter with mutual compassion and openness to the challenges faced by all.
Reminders for Undergraduate and Graduate Students
We also want to point out several issues that students should consider as they chart their course for spring quarter:
- The capacity to declare P/NP or S/U in multiple courses is not presently available through MyUCLA. The Registrar is working diligently on this issue and expects it to be available by mid-quarter. As a result, you do not have to make any changes in your grading choices at this time. You will be able to do that later in the quarter.
- We do recommend, however, that you check to make certain that any courses you might wish to take P/NP or S/U offer that option to students.
- Please be aware that this change in grading policy does not override any requirements that colleges, departments, or programs may have that courses be taken for a letter grade in order to receive major or program credit. Please check with your advisers and counselors before you consider courses in your home program or major.
- Certain forms of financial aid require that you enroll for a minimum number of credits with letter grades. Please consult with Financial Aid about your particular situation.
- We have moved the deadline for changing your grade option in undergraduate courses from letter to P/NP until Friday of the 10th week of classes. This will allow you to evaluate your standing in a class before making a final grade option selection.
- Please be aware that systemwide regulations require that undergraduate students receive a C or better in order to earn a Pass in a P/NP. Similarly at UCLA, undergraduate students who take a course P/NP must achieve a C in order to receive a Pass. Undergraduate students who take a course for a letter grade will receive credit if they receive a C- or a D. So, the threshold for receiving course credit is higher for an undergraduate student taking a course P/NP.
- Please be aware that systemwide regulations require that graduate students receive a B or better in order to earn a Satisfactory in a S/U. At UCLA, graduate students may receive course credit for C- and above grades unless otherwise prohibited by program requirements. So, the threshold for receiving course credit is higher for a graduate student taking a course S/U than is required to receive credit when taking under a letter grade.
- The minimum GPA for a graduate degree is 3.0, so graduate students should carefully consider whether to use the S/U option depending on their individual situation, as S/U courses are not used in GPA calculations.
We recognize the large challenges facing the campus and its faculty, students, and staff during spring quarter. We remain confident in the resilience of the UCLA community to work together in a spirit of patience and empathy as we pursue our educational goals during an uncertain time.
Professor of History
Chair, UCLA Academic Senate
Thursday, March 26, 2020
- To protect against meeting interruptions and to ensure the privacy of your meetings/classes, please enable and require a meeting password for all Zoom sessions. This is a setting available to you as you schedule the meeting.
- Add an additional level of protection by configuring your meetings to allow only authenticated users to join. This will require all meeting participants to sign-in to their Zoom client first, not just enter the meeting ID. This will require an extra step for your attendees
- For faculty and classes, we also recommend adding your Zoom class session link directly via CCLE for additional protection.
For examples of Zoombombing:
‘Zoombombing’: When Video Conferences Go Wrong
As its user base rapidly expands, the videoconference app Zoom is seeing a rise in trolling and graphic content.
Taylor Lorenz, March 20, 2020, Updated March 22, 2020, NY Times
Zoom has become the default social platform for millions of people looking to connect with friends, family, students and colleagues while practicing social distancing during the new coronavirus pandemic.
But the trolls of the internet are under quarantine, too, and they’re looking for Zooms to disrupt.
They are jumping into public Zoom calls and using the platform’s screen-sharing feature to project graphic content to unwitting conference participants, forcing hosts to shut down their events.
On Tuesday, Chipotle was forced to end a public Zoom chat that the brand had co-hosted with the musician Lauv after one participant began broadcasting pornography to hundreds of attendees.
“The Zoom meeting app felt like an appropriate place to host Chipotle Together, our new virtual hangout series,” Tressie Lieberman, the vice president of digital at Chipotle, wrote in an email. “We did encounter an unwanted ‘Zoombomb’ during one of our sessions so we moved our latest performances to a different platform.”
Earlier this week, TechCrunch reported that the venture capitalist Hunter Walk and the journalist Casey Newton were forced to shut down their “work from home happy hour” twice this week after getting “Zoombombed,” as these disruptive screen-shares are called.
“Clearly Zoom is being used in ways it was never intended to be, so people are finding ways to make mischief,” said Mr. Newton, who reports on technology for The Verge.
On Friday, the journalists Kara Swisher (a contributing writer for the Opinion section of The New York Times) and Jessica Lessin hosted a Zoom event focused on the challenges women tech founders face. They were forced to abruptly end the event after just 15 minutes of conversation because a participant began broadcasting the shock video “2 Girls 1 Cup.”
“Our video call was just attacked by someone who kept sharing pornography + switching between different user accounts so we could not block them,” Ms. Lessin tweeted, adding that she and Ms. Swisher would reschedule an audio-only version of the event.
On Zoom, there is a default setting that allows any meeting participant to share their screen without permission from an event’s host. Anyone who has a link to a public meeting can join. Links to public Zooms are traded in Facebook Groups and Discord chats, and are easily discoverable on Twitter and public event pages.
“We have been deeply upset to hear about the incidents involving this type of attack. For those hosting large, public group meetings, we strongly encourage hosts to change their settings so that only they can share their screen. For those hosting private meetings, password protections are on by default and we recommend that users keep those protections on to prevent uninvited users from joining,” said a spokesperson for Zoom Video Communications in a statement.
The post included tips for users seeking to “keep the party crashers” out of their videoconferences, including limiting screen-sharing to certain participants and making events invitation-only.
Zoom has seen a sharp rise in use over the past few weeks. On Sunday nearly 600,000 people downloaded the app, its biggest day ever, according to Apptopia, which tracks mobile apps. The company is currently valued at $29 billion.
But the platform was built as an enterprise technology tool, not a consumer social tool. As such, the company was not prepared to moderate user behavior as other social networks do.
“With much broader adoption, abuse and misuse will follow, so Zoom should be getting ready to handle reports and complaints,” Jules Polonetsky, the chief executive of the Future of Privacy Forum, recently told The Times.
Jennifer St Sume, a Ph.D. student in Washington, D.C., said a book club she attended on Thursday night only lasted 30 minutes before someone began blasting graphic content on the screen.
“It makes us all feel pretty helpless in an already unstable time,” she said. “It’s hard to manage how to communicate with other people knowing something like this could happen.”
Zoom has become integral to Ms. St Sume’s school and social life, and she doesn’t think she’ll stop attending classes or happy hours there. But “as we move our physical lives to a digital world,” she said, she hopes the company can crack down on Zoombombers fast.
“If I’m going to be asked to live in Zoom University or Zoom Tavern, then I want to know that it’s secure for everyone,” she said.
Life used to be simpler, back in the day:
|Click on image above to enlarge and clarify.|
Our underestimate was due to the fact that California accounted last week for only 6.4% of national new claims. (California is roughly 12% of the workforce.) The previous week, California accounted for over one fifth of new claims. Essentially, the data tell us that the coronavirus-related layoff have spread across the country which is now following the California pattern with a lag.
As we have noted, the economic decline the chart above represents is bound to affect the state budget adversely (and, therefore, the UC budget).
Below are links to recent coronavirus-related announcements:
Gov. Newsom: 3-25-2020 (starts at about minute 3)
or direct to:
===Gov. Newsom: 3-24-2020 (starts at minute 6:05)
or direct to:
Gov. Newsom: 3-19-2020 (starts at about minute 1:25)
or direct to:
Wednesday, March 25, 2020
California governor says virus likely to curb state spending
By ADAM BEAM 3-25-20 AP
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — With nearly 40 million people stuck at home because of the coronavirus, California’s governor on Tuesday warned state agencies to prepare for less money from the government that will likely postpone many of the state’s ambitious spending plans.
Citing a “severe drop in economic activity,” Gov. Gavin Newsom’s budget director wrote in a letter to all state agencies that they “should have no expectation of full funding for either new or existing proposals.”
That means some of Newsom’s plans aided by a projected multi-billion dollar surplus could be on hold. His January budget proposal included plans for California to manufacture and sell its own generic drugs, create at least four new state agencies and give government-funded health insurance to low-income seniors living in the country illegally.
“We will review everything,” Department of Finance spokesman H.D. Palmer said.
California is the latest state to signal budget troubles because of the coronavirus. Arkansas is facing a $353 million shortfall while states such as New York, New Jersey and Oregon have all warned about shrinking revenue.
California is particularly vulnerable because it depends so much on capital gains taxes from the wealthy. Nearly half of the state’s personal income tax collections come from the top 1% of earners, whose income depends on the health of the stock market.
Through the month of February, California had collected $88.8 billion in taxes, more than $1.2 billion more than state officials had planned. But earlier this month, the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office reported a preliminary analysis indicates “a very high likelihood” that California’s capital gains tax collections “will be several billion dollars lower” than what state officials had planned.
Assemblyman Phil Ting, a Democrat from San Francisco who is chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee, said Tuesday he expects most state agencies to get the same amount of money next year as they got this year, with some exceptions. But he expects lawmakers to increase spending on three of the state’s biggest problems: coronavirus, homelessness and wildfires.
“There really won’t be a whole lot of room for much else,” Ting said.
Lawmakers have already dipped into California’s reserves to give Newsom up to $1 billion to fight the coronavirus outbreak, money the governor has used to lease hospitals that were at risk of closing and give local governments money to prevent the spread of the virus among their homeless populations.
But Ting said lawmakers could go further, possibly passing their own version of an economic stimulus that would give money to Californians impacted by the virus. What California does will likely depend on what type of aid Congress passes, if any.
Newsom’s letter signals a likely end to bountiful surpluses the state has enjoyed in recent years, buoyed by a strong economy marked by 10 consecutive years of job growth. Monday, Newsom said the state had been averaging about 2,500 claims a week for unemployment benefits. Now, the state averages more than 106,000 claims a week.
Specific details of Newsom’s updated budget proposal won’t be available until May. But advocacy groups are digging in, preparing for much tougher funding fights. Anthony Wright, executive director for the consumer health care advocacy group Health Access, said he will be pushing for Newsom to keep his plan to extend government-funded health benefits for low-income people 65 and older who are living in the country illegally.
It would cover about 27,000 people and cost up to $350 million when fully implemented.
“Expanding coverage to the most at-risk group that is currently excluded from coverage was prescient in the January budget and continues to be urgent now,” Wright said.
The podcast deals with the health issues related to the crisis rather than the economic. We note that the Regents have a meeting scheduled for April 15 of the Health Services Committee. That meeting might be an opportunity for a focus on emergency planning. Unlike what occurred in the unfocused recently-concluded general Regents meetings, all non-emergency matters should be postponed.
Why the American Approach Is Failing