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Monday, August 31, 2020

UC-Santa Barbara Goes the UCLA Route in Fall

From Santa Barbara News-Press: UCSB officially announced its plans for the upcoming fall semester, deciding to offer remote instruction for nearly all undergraduate classes and limiting undergraduate student housing to those with “special circumstances.”
The announcement was made Friday by Chancellor Henry T. Yang in a letter to UCSB’s campus community.
“In order to comply with Santa Barbara County, California Department of Public Health, and University of California guidelines, we have decided to offer nearly all undergraduate fall courses via remote instruction, and to limit our undergraduate student housing for fall quarter to only those students with special circumstances,” Chancellor Yang wrote. “We recommend that all other undergraduate students stay home to receive remote instruction. Full refunds will be offered to undergraduates for fall housing contracts. These contracts will be honored in winter quarter or whenever we are able to have our undergraduate students move in.” ...

Enquiring Minds Want to Know

Enquiring minds want to know.
Back in mid-August, Chancellor Block circulated an email dealing with job security. If you are an attentive blog reader, you will recall that as part of that message, he threw out a $540 million price tag of the coronavirus for UCLA:

"UCLA will face the greatest financial impact of any University of California campus, an amount that currently stands at about $540 million."

As we noted at the time:

The $540 million figure is undefined in this email. Does it include the health complex? What is included? Lost dorm revenue? Sanitation expenses? Over what time period? To put the number in perspective, the entire cut in the state payment for this fiscal year to the entire UC (this year vs. last year) is about $483 million if there is no federal funding from Congress.

Source: http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2020/08/no-layoffs-with-qualification.html

News report often reproduce big numbers without questioning what they mean. Folks read about big numbers - millions, billions - and can't tell whether they are reasonable. The mid-August $540 million figure for UCLA has recently been picked up in more recent news stories - still without definition or context. See:

https://www.dailynews.com/2020/08/30/why-no-break-on-uc-tuition-despite-the-move-to-remote-classes-covid-19-costs-are-astronomical/

https://www.pasadenastarnews.com/2020/08/30/why-no-break-on-uc-tuition-despite-the-move-to-remote-classes-covid-19-costs-are-astronomical/amp/

https://www.ocregister.com/2020/08/30/why-no-break-on-uc-tuition-despite-the-move-to-remote-classes-covid-19-costs-are-astronomical/

https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/08/29/why-no-break-on-uc-tuition-despite-the-move-to-remote-classes-covid-19-costs-are-astronomical/

https://dailybruin.com/2020/08/25/student-programs-representing-historically-marginalized-groups-face-funding-cuts

In short, it's time to release a breakdown of the $540 million cost estimate for UCLA. What portion is lost revenue? What portion is increased expenditure? Where are these losses and increases located? Health facilities? North campus? How much has been, or might be, reimbursed by the federal government? Etc.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Stanford closing most of its campus to the public

Stanford closing most of its campus to the public as a coronavirus precaution

The university has created safe zones for researchers and students to work during the duration of the pandemic

Mercury News

...The zones and restrictions align with the California Department of Public Health’s guidelines on universities reopening, officials said. The guidelines require universities and colleges to “limit, to the greatest extent permitted by law, external community members from entering the site and using campus resources, as the number of additional people onsite and/or intermixing with students, faculty and staff increases the risk of virus transmission.”...

Full story: https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/08/29/stanford-closing-most-of-its-campus-to-the-public/

As we have noted in the past, UCLA's campus is currently being used as a public park. It isn't clear that as a public university, UCLA can do what Stanford is doing.

The Way It Was 55 Years Ago

The January 24, 1965 front page of the LA Times' "Metropolitan News" section carried a lengthy interview with then-UCLA Chancellor Franklin Murphy about "restless" students in the light of the free speech movement (FSM) making news at UC-Berkeley.

Generally, the theme of the article was that the student unrest that was occurring at Berkeley (in retrospect just beginning) probably wouldn't come to UCLA. Of course, it did come to UCLA, albeit with a delay and to a lesser degree.

Some excerpts below give the flavor of the article:

...
...
...
...
...
To put these excerpts in context, the Vietnam War issue was still nascent in early 1965. On the other hand, the civil rights movement was much in the news, particularly turmoil in the South in Selma and other places. Murphy refers to the movement in the second excerpt above. The LA Times coverage of issues related to African Americans in the local area was spotty and mainly featured election-related news when it occurred. In retrospect we know that the Watts Riot would occur in August, followed by the so-called "McCone Commission" report: 
But the Times gave significant attention to demonstrations and violent responses in the South. Closer to home, voters had enacted Proposition 14 the previous November which overturned a state fair-housing law. Litigation related to that proposition was underway. (Prop 14 was eventually overturned.)

Note: The article above is accessible through the UCLA library. Search for "Los Angeles Times" and use the online option.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Prof. Lane Hirabayashi 1953-2020

From the LA Times: Lane Hirabayashi, one the nation’s leading scholars on the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II who spent decades trying to keep memories of the prison camps from being swept to the back pages of history, has died. Hirabayashi died Aug. 8 in Santa Monica after a long struggle with cancer, his family said. He was 67.
The son of concentration camp survivors, Hirabayashi plowed through field notes from the camps, interviewed photographers tasked with making the forced confinements seem like a pleasurable experience to the rest of the U.S. and dove into the back story of his own uncle, Gordon Hirabayashi, who was imprisoned when he protested the roundup of Japanese Americans after the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. Gordon Hirabayashi’s legal fight reached the U.S. Supreme Court, and though the court ruled against him, his case was cited again and again as President Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, which blamed the wartime imprisonment of Japanese Americans on racial prejudice and failed political leadership.
“In the height of the hysteria, I think Gordon was very, very brave,” Lane Hirabayashi told The Times in 2006.
That year, Hirabayashi became the first professor in the nation to be named to an academic chair dedicated to the study of the incarceration camps and the wartime experience of Japanese Americans. It was a deeply personal appointment.
“To me, I feel that this is a family obligation,” he said during ceremonies when he was appointed to the George and Sakaye Aratani Endowed Chair in UCLA’s Asian American Studies Center...
Hirabayashi wrote books on the fieldwork conducted at incarceration camps such as Manzanar in the Owens Valley and Tule Lake in Northern California, and he documented and contextualized the government effort to photograph the prison camps and the arriving or departing inmates in as sunny a way as was possible.
In “A Principled Stand: The Story of Gordon Hirabayashi v. United States,” he shared his uncle’s diaries from his years of bruising legal fights with the government, including his arrest for violating a nightly curfew for Japanese Americans, his imprisonment for resisting being taken to a concentration camp and his profound disappointment when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that his constitutional rights had not been violated.
In 1987, more than four decades later, Gordon Hirabayashi’s conviction was finally overturned...
Hirabayashi is survived by his wife, Marilyn, his sister, Jan Rice, and several other relatives.

Friday, August 28, 2020

The Off-Campus Problem

USC has been illustrating the off-campus problem that can arise, even when instruction is online and dorm living is very limited. From Patch:
The number of coronavirus cases confirmed among USC students continued rising Thursday, with the university announcing 104 new cases over the past four days, with the spread primarily attributed to gatherings of students at off-campus housing.
"Unfortunately, what we're seeing is ... while we've had reports of a handful of large parties, the majority of students, when we talk to them, these (cases) are being spread through small gatherings -- 10 to 15 people," Dr. Sarah Van Orman, chief health officer for USC Student Health, told City News Service. "Because students often live with multiple other roommates, it's very easy for a single case or a single gathering to spread (the virus)."
Van Orman said the university has identified one outbreak originating with a study group, while others were traced to sources including dinners and, in one case, a Monopoly game...

Discipline, Online Ed, and Budget

Easier said than done.
UC students could face discipline for gatherings that violate health regulations, officials warn

EdSource, 8-27-20, Larry Gordon

Top leaders of the University of California system warned Wednesday that students could face various disciplines if they violate health regulations and social distancing rules with the type of crowded parties that have spread Covid-19 infections at university campuses across the state and country. UC president Michael Drake, who became head of the 10-campus system this month, and John A. Pérez, chairman of the UC Board of Regents, both declined to specify the type of sanctions for gatherings that exceed health limits or for refusing to wear masks in public. They said those decisions would be made campus-by-campus and would be judged on a case-by-case basis depending on the situation.

...The officials were asked about how life and learning at UC would be changed as a result of the pandemic even after vaccines are widely available. Drake, who is an ophthalmologist, said: “There are things we see changed already that I believe will accelerate in the future.” Among those will be the use of telemedicine and distance health monitoring at UC’s hospitals and clinics and allowing UC employees to avoid long commutes by working some of their time at home. And he predicted that online classes will become more common than they were before the virus spread.

...Governor Gavin Newsom has warned that UC’s state revenues could drop by 10% this year if $376 million in federal funds earmarked for UC from the Democratic spending plan known as the HEROES Act (Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions).* That bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives but is stalled in the U.S. Senate amid negotiations between parties. Asked whether UC is basing its 2020-21 budget on wishful thinking, Pérez strongly denied that and said UC is making long term plans to avoid repeating the sharp cutbacks in classes and steep tuition increases enacted during the recession 12 years ago. “We are very cognizant of the experience of the university during the Great Recession. We don’t want to replicate some of that bad experience,” he said...


Full story at https://edsource.org/2020/uc-students-could-face-discipline-for-gatherings-that-violate-health-regulations-officials-warn/639127
====
*Note: We are reproducing the article as written. Our figures show a potentially larger drop.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Does it pass the sniff test?

From The LanternThe (Ohio State) university Board of Trustees is set to award former University President Michael V. Drake a performance bonus of $133,792. The Talent, Compensation and Governance Committee approved the bonus to be voted on by the full Board at its meeting Thursday. Drake became president of the University of California system in early August after serving as Ohio State’s 15th president for six years. 

The bonus is 15 percent of his annual base salary of $891,946 at Ohio State, according to the meeting agenda. He will receive an annual base salary of $890,000 from the University of California and is taking a voluntary, temporary pay reduction of 10 percent through June 30, 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to July, 7 Board of Regents agenda...


UCLA Sues

From the LA TimesUCLA has filed a lawsuit against Under Armour that seeks more than $200 million in damages, alleging the apparel company defrauded the school by embellishing its financial standing before luring the Bruins into a record $280-million contract that it breached by failing to make scheduled payments or deliver its product as promised.
The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in a California division of United States District Court, comes two months after Under Armour informed UCLA that it was terminating the 15-year contract the parties agreed to in 2016 that represented the largest apparel sponsorship deal in the history of college sports. Under Armour attempted to back out less than three years into the deal, with more than $200 million left to be paid...

Partial Relaxation of UC-Santa Cruz Evacuation

From the UC-Santa Cruz website:

9:08 am, Thursday, Aug 27, 2020
Cal Fire lifted its emergency evacuation order for the UC Santa Cruz residential campus at 6 p.m. on Wednesday.
Chancellor Larive has amended the Aug. 20 emergency declaration so that employees who live at Laureate Court, Hagar Court, Ranch View Terrace, Hagar Meadow, and Cardiff Terrace can return to their homes tonight. The rest of the residential campus remains closed, as do the Coastal Science Campus and Westside Research Park.
Except for the people living in the employee housing communities outlined above, no one should attempt to access the residential campus, Coastal Science Campus, or Westside Research Park until directed that it is OK to do so.
As of Thursday morning, the fire remains about a mile north of upper campus. Cal Fire crews have established fire lines to try and slow the spread toward the campus and the city of Santa Cruz. Conditions can change quickly, and we continue to monitor the situation closely...

New Claims and All That


The latest data on new weekly claims for unemployment insurance are out through the week ended August 22. At the national level there was a slight drop (by current standards in which what would be huge changes are small). On a seasonally-adjusted basis, new weekly claims have been floating around one million during the past few weeks. Without seasonal adjustment, the numbers are a little lower but are telling the same story.

Above is a chart on new weekly claims I have pulled together just for California, a state which continues to have a disproportionate share of those on the unemployment insurance rolls (over a fifth for the week ending August 15). Undoubtedly, the third quarter - nationally and in California - will look better than the second. It will be a positive number rather than a negative. But whether it will be a true V-shaped snapback remains uncertain.

The latest news release on new claims is (always) at:
https://www.dol.gov/ui/data.pdf
Data at the state level back to 1987 can be obtained at:
https://oui.doleta.gov/unemploy/claims.asp

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Beware

Note: Our previous post on the Regents meeting noted that in the public comments session, there was a seemingly-coordinated group of anti-vaxxers. The item below may be related:

UCLA Campus Human Resources
To:      Human Resources Advisory Group
 
Dear Colleagues:
 
Recently the UC President, in consultation with UC Health leadership, issued a systemwide executive order
requiring all members of the UC community to receive an influenza immunization by Nov. 1, 2020.
 
As a follow up to the executive order requiring flu vaccinations, the UC Office of the President has developed an FAQ for employees.
 
To ensure employees are well-informed regarding the Influenza Vaccine Order, please share this information within your organization. Additional information for UCLA will be distributed as it becomes available.
 
In addition, UC has learned that an outside market research firm, Consumer Evaluation & Insights, sent a survey about UC’s flu vaccination policy to a number of UC faculty and staff with the subject line: “Share your opinion on the UC Flu Vaccine requirement.” 
 
Please be aware this survey was not authorized or commissioned by UC, and employees are under no obligation to complete it.
 
Because the data from the survey is being collected by an external organization, UC cannot make any assurances regarding the use, privacy or security of the information gathered. If you receive questions about the survey from employees, please let them know they are not required to participate in it, as it’s not sanctioned by UC.
 
Sincerely,
 
Lubbe Levin
Associate Vice Chancellor
Campus Human Resources

Listen to the Regents' Health Services Committee: Aug. 24, 2020

The Regents' Health Services Committee met on August 24, starting with public comments involving antivaxxers (related to UC's requirement for flu shots), PPE, coronavirus, nurse staffing, layoffs, and mold issues. Dr. Carrie Byington, head of UC Health, then talked about the coronavirus situation at the California and UC levels including information on testing and research. She discussed plasma treatment - recently in the news (around hour 1:25 at the link below).

There was then a presentation on legal requirements of medical boards that oversee hospitals. It was noted that UC doesn't have boards but rather there are various entities, including the Regents' committee itself, that have diffused responsibility. It was unclear if this arrangement is a problem or just something to note.

After a lunch break, there were presentations about dealing with the coronavirus situation in nursing homes and schools. Finally, there was a presentation on the coronavirus from a UC labor relations/occupational safety perspective. Regents chair Pérez - who had a labor relations background - seemed to be pleased with the presentation.

You can hear the session at the link below:


or direct to:
https://archive.org/details/regents-health-services-committee-8-24-20

Just a reminder that we have been preserving recordings of Regents meetings since 2011 - because the Regents have refused to preserve them for more than one year. To find a past meeting, go to archive.org and then search for "University of California," "Regents," and the year of the meeting. The search engine is clunky, but with persistence you will find what you want. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Things to Come at UCLA?

USC - already in its fall semester - ended up operating much as UCLA will operate in the fall (late September) with almost all courses online and few in the dorms. The issue for both universities is that there will be students in the local area surrounding the campus, even if not in the dorms.

From the LA Times: Just one week into fall semester, USC is reporting “an alarming increase” in the number of COVID-19 cases in students among the campus community, according to a Student Health notice sent out Monday.

In the past seven days 43 cases have been identified and more than 100 students placed in a 14-day quarantine due to exposures, the memorandum from Dr. Sarah Van Orman, chief health officer for USC Student Health, said.

The university is testing students who are symptomatic and those who have had contact with positive individuals, as well as some asymptomatic students. All of the positive cases were related to students living off campus, the statement said.

“This increase comes despite the continued state and county health guidance that significantly restricts in-person instruction and on-campus activities for universities located in counties that are on the state’s COVID-19 monitoring list, including Los Angeles County,” Van Orman wrote.

USC resumed instruction almost entirely online Aug. 17 and is limiting access to campus. But many students remain in private apartments and houses off campus, where they have reported some parties and gatherings of people from different households, a situation one public heath expert called a “recipe for disaster.” ...

Full story at https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-08-24/usc-increase-in-covid-19-cases

(No) Plastics

From the BruinThe University of California announced plans to phase out single-use plastics on campuses by 2023, as part of the University’s plan to achieve zero waste. The policy will eliminate the use of plastic bags in dining and retail locations by Jan. 1, 2021, and remove single-use food service items by July 1, 2022, according to a University press release Monday. 

The policy will also discontinue the use of single-use plastic bottles by Jan. 1, 2023, according to the press release. Dine-in facilities should provide reusable food service items, such as plates and cups, and to-go facilities should provide reusable or compostable containers as alternatives to single-use plastics, the press release added. The University will also encourage campuses to install water refill stations to help shift away from single-use plastic bottles...

Monday, August 24, 2020

Update on UC-Santa Cruz Evacuation

Under a smoke-choked Friday afternoon sky, UC Santa Cruz officials directed students loaded down with suitcases across Beach Street along the nearly deserted Santa Cruz Boardwalk and onto shuttles headed for San Jose State University. Around 15 evacuating students had spent Thursday night in a temporary shelter set up at the Cocoanut Grove event space, while many others stayed in nearby hotels...

Approximately 40 UCSC will stay in the dorms at SJSU, which has extra capacity in its residence halls because many of its own students have remained home with families due to remote learning... 

Full story at https://voicesofmontereybay.org/2020/08/22/uc-santa-cruz-students-moved-to-san-jose-state/

Closed Session of Compliance & Audit

The Regents' Compliance and Audit Committee is meeting on Wednesday. However, the meeting is entirely a closed session.

All we know from the agenda that has been posted is that the topic is "State Audit of University of California Admissions Policies and Practices."

Given the controversy around affirmative action, use of SAT and ACT, etc., that agenda sounds very interesting. Adding to the interest is the fact that the state auditor is often critical of UC. But whatever will be happening at the Wednesday meeting is a secret.

Secret agenda at https://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/regmeet/aug20/auditx.pdf

UC Regents' Health Services Committee Meets Today

Pre-Zoom days at the Regents
We noted in a post yesterday that the agenda for today's Zoom meeting of the Regents' Health Services Committee contained the attachments for the open session but not the closed. The closed session attachment is now up but all it says is UC Health litigation will be discussed. No specific cases are noted. All items are for discussion; there are no action items.

After public comments, there will be discussion of UC Health in the context of the coronavirus situation:

1) Update on the status of COVID-19 at the national, state, and UC levels.
2) COVID-19 clinical innovations such as the Federal Drug Administration’s Emergency Use Authorization (“EUA”) of pooling at UC San Diego and the Federal Drug Administration’s EUA of SwabSeq at UCLA, and innovations around clinical trials.
3) The work of the UC Health Coordinating Committee and recommendations for influenza vaccine and systemwide guidance for higher education.
4) Updates from the July 17 UC Health leadership retreat.

A second item deals with responsibilities under federal law of Boards of Directors of health care facilities. The item is a bit unclear but it appears to say that UC hospitals don't have such boards formally, but do have various committees that have diffused responsibilities for the functions Boards are supposed to undertake (including the Health Services Committee).

A third item deals with reports on issues such a schools not reopening in person and care in nursing homes.

The final discussion item will be "an update on occupational health and safety data, financial implications, and individual campus experiences. Chief Executive Officers of the medical centers will discuss the impact of COVID19 on labor, patient care activities, and other needs to be addressed to maintain the critical staffing across the UC Health system."

The basic agenda with links to the attachments is at:
https://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/regmeet/aug20/hs.pdf

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Oddity

The Regents' Health Services Committee is meeting tomorrow. We previously provided the basic agenda, but at the time the detailed attachments were not available.* When you click on the agenda now for the open part of the meeting, the previously-missing attachments are there - and we will review them tomorrow.

Curiously, when you click on the closed part of the meeting (as of around 11:15 am today) - so you can at least find out what the subjects are - you are told that the system is down for "maintenance." So it's up for the open session and down for the closed. How odd is that? (And maybe it will clear up tomorrow.)
===
*http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2020/08/health-services-committee-of-regents.html

Repeat Flood - Update

From an email circulated around 10 AM today:

Dear Bruin Community,

Earlier this morning, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) successfully shut down the water flow to the UCLA campus from the ruptured pipe on Sunset Boulevard, thereby containing the situation. We are now initiating our clean-up plan and ask that the following areas be avoided: Sunset Boulevard between Veteran and Hilgard avenues, parking structures 4 and 7, the intramural field and Drake Stadium. We will keep you informed as LADWP makes repairs and roadways and parking structures reopen. 

As always, we wanted to communicate the latest information to you and will send updates if the situation changes. 

Sincerely,

Office of Emergency Management

Repeat Flood

You may recall the flood that occurred in 2014 when a water main broke around Sunset Blvd. and Westwood. It seems to have happened again. Water has apparently gone into the nearby parking facility and athletic field. A large tree seems to have fallen on or around Sunset.

From an email received just before 5 AM today:

Dear Bruin Community,

A city of Los Angeles water main broke shortly before 2:00 a.m. under Sunset Boulevard near Westwood Plaza. Currently, all parts of campus are unaffected except for Charles Young Drive North, parking lot 4, lot 7 and the Intermural Field. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is actively working to contain the situation. We wanted to communicate the latest information to you and will share more updates throughout the day.

As of 7:30 AM today, there was nothing listed on the UCLA website. Sunset is reported to be closed in the area.

News reports:
https://ktla.com/news/water-main-break-topples-trees-sends-water-flooding-into-ucla-campus/

https://abc7.com/water-main-break-ucla-flooding-in-westwood-line/6384471/




Saturday, August 22, 2020

UC-Santa Cruz Evacuation Continues

From the UC-Santa Cruz website this morning:

Latest information
8:24 am, Saturday, Aug 22, 2020
As of Saturday morning, the fire remains about a mile north of upper campus. Cal Fire crews are establishing fire lines to try and slow the spread toward the campus and the city of Santa Cruz. Conditions can change quickly, and we continue to monitor the situation closely.
There are approximately 63,000 acres involved, and the fire is now at 5% containment, according to Cal Fire’s latest update.
There is no fire activity on campus or in the City of Santa Cruz, and we hope that all the campus actions have been taken in an abundance of caution.
The residential campus has been completely evacuated, following a Declaration of Emergency by Chancellor Cynthia Larive and a subsequent evacuation order from CalFire.
An evacuation center for UC Santa Cruz students and employees living on campus is in the Cocoanut Grove at the Boardwalk (use entrance B), 400 Beach Street, Santa Cruz. Parking is in the lot adjacent to the Coconut Grove.
Evacuation centers for the broader Santa Cruz community are open at Santa Cruz County Fairground, 2601 E. Lake Avenue in Watsonville, and Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium, 307 Church Street, Santa Cruz.
People will not be allowed to enter UC Santa Cruz residential campus because of the mandatory evacuation. Access to the residential campus will be limited to first responders and those authorized by UCSC Chief of Police Nader Oweis or his designee.
Any person who enters the residential campus, a closed off area or remains in the area after being ordered to evacuate may be found guilty of a criminal offense. Only use 911 for true emergencies.
This continues to be a rapidly changing situation, and we encourage everyone to stay safe and informed. We ask each of you to monitor conditions that impact you locally as each of your situations will differ.

New Hawaiian Telescope News

The Hawaiian telescope issue was one of the key discussion areas in the last Regents meeting.* The project - in which UC is a partner - remains stalled after construction was blocked be demonstrators. According to a news report, the NSF has stepped into the controversy:

The National Science Foundation has launched an informal outreach to Hawaii about possible funding efforts for the stalled Thirty Meter Telescope project. The effort by the nation’s top funder of basic research could lead to a huge influx of cash for the astronomy project on Mauna Kea with an estimated cost of $2.4 billion, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Thursday. Funding efforts could also trigger a regulatory process adding two years or more to a construction timeline that is far behind schedule. The project recently announced the start of construction was delayed until spring.** ...

Funding approval would trigger the creation of a federal environmental impact statement and National Historic Preservation Act Section 106 consultation, a process of two years or more. “It will lead to very significant outreach, another opportunity to listen and learn and a renewed opportunity to seek solutions that are acceptable to all in Hawaii,” Michael Bolte, a University of California Santa Cruz astronomy professor and Thirty Meter Telescope board member, said last month...

Full story at https://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/2020/08/21/science-foundation-discusses-funding-thirty-meter-telescope/
===
*You can hear the discussion at:
http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2020/07/listen-to-morning-session-of-regents_31.html. See also http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2020/07/telescope-info-for-regents-now-on-agenda.html.
**https://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/2020/08/21/science-foundation-discusses-funding-thirty-meter-telescope/

Friday, August 21, 2020

UC-Santa Cruz Campus Evacuated Due to Wildfire

From UC-Santa Cruz website this morning:

Latest information
10:31 am, Friday, Aug 21, 2020
As of Friday morning, the fire is about a mile north of upper campus. There is no fire activity on campus or in the City of Santa Cruz, and we hope that all the campus actions have been taken in an abundance of caution.
This morning’s news reports indicate that approximately 50,000 acres have burned so far and the fire is 0% contained. The fire continues to advance, and much of what will happen next depends on weather conditions such as wind direction and speed. UC Santa Cruz will continue to provide updates and information about the campus on this page.
The residential campus has been completely evacuated, following a Declaration of Emergency by Chancellor Cynthia Larive and a subsequent evacuation order from CalFire.
An evacuation center for UC Santa Cruz students and employees living on campus is in the Cocoanut Grove at the Boardwalk (use entrance B), 400 Beach Street, Santa Cruz. Parking is in the lot adjacent to the Coconut Grove.
Evacuation centers for the broader Santa Cruz community are open at Santa Cruz County Fairground, 2601 E. Lake Avenue in Watsonville, and Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium, 307 Church Street, Santa Cruz.
People will not be allowed to enter UC Santa Cruz residential campus because of the mandatory evacuation. Access to the residential campus will be limited to first responders and those authorized by UCSC Chief of Police Nader Oweis or his designee.
Any person who enters the residential campus, a closed off area or remains in the area after being ordered to evacuate may be found guilty of a criminal offense. Only use 911 for true emergencies.
This continues to be a rapidly changing situation, and we encourage everyone to stay safe and informed. We ask each of you to monitor conditions that impact you locally as each of your situations will differ.

Faithful Blog Readers Will Not Be Surprised

From an email circulated earlier today:
Dear Bruin Community:
On August 3, we announced revamped plans for the fall academic term, which included offering about 8% of classes in person or a hybrid mode and the return of 5,000 students to campus residence halls. At the same time, we stressed that these plans could change based on the progression of the COVID-19 pandemic and the guidance of public health officials.
The directives issued last week by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (PDF), which require us to significantly curtail in-person instruction as well as restrict on-campus housing primarily to those with no alternative housing options, unfortunately make it clear that we will not be able to proceed as we had hoped. Based on the new guidelines and at the recommendation of the campus’s COVID-19 Future Planning Task Force, UCLA will be moving to remote-only instruction for the fall, with the exception of a limited number of in-person or hybrid courses necessary to train students for essential workforce positions. The amount of student housing we offer also will be reduced greatly.
I am sure you share in my disappointment at our inability to bring more students back to campus. At the same time, the virus continues to pose a significant threat and mitigating health risks to our community must always be our overriding concern in any decision we make. We knew that this outcome was a possibility and have been preparing for it: Across the institution, we will continue to ensure that our students can make progress towards their degrees and that we provide the highest quality educational and co-curricular experience we can during a fall term unlike any other.
Please see below for detailed information on our revised plans:
Fall Courses
Per county guidelines, in-person and hybrid instruction now will be restricted to required, advanced courses that provide training for students preparing for essential workforce jobs, and which cannot be conducted remotely. These include certain classes in health and medicine, emergency services, social work, the sciences, and engineering. All other courses will be delivered remotely. Class locations on student study lists and the schedule of classes will be updated over the next week to reflect these changes.
We remain committed to providing assistance to those students who may not have access to proper remote learning technologies. UCLA offers several programs that can help with purchasing or borrowing laptops, Wi-Fi hotspots, and other devices. Please visit Bruin Resources and Tools for more information. We also encourage any student who may be facing financial hardship to reach out to our Economic Crisis Response Team for assistance.
Housing
Under the new county health department directives, universities including UCLA must limit on-campus housing to:
  • Students who have no alternative housing options and whose current housing does not provide a safe and appropriate environment or does not provide sufficient ADA accommodations;
  • Student-athletes participating in on-campus training and conditioning; and
  • Students enrolled in the aforementioned in-person or hybrid courses who do not have alternative local housing options.
Unfortunately, these changes will necessitate a significant reduction in our proposed number of residents on the Hill. Students with current housing contracts soon will be receiving letters from Housing staff to assess whether they fall into any of the above categories; those who do not will be notified of the cancellation of their contract and receive a refund of fees paid. Further information is available on UCLA Housing’s COVID-19 information page.
Campus Health and Safety
For those students who will be on campus, guidelines and procedures are in place to help reduce the spread of the virus. Infection control measures include physical distancing, de-densifying campus spaces, and frequent cleaning of residence halls and other facilities. Protocols on face coverings (PDF)symptom monitoring, and COVID-19 testing and contact tracing will remain as outlined in our August 3 planning letter. Beginning this quarter, we will have Public Health Ambassadors on campus to educate and remind students of our protocols.
In addition, the campus is currently closed to the general public, pursuant to public health orders. Only individuals who are engaged in essential campus operations, are attending approved in-person courses or living on campus, or are receiving care at UCLA hospitals and clinics are permitted at this time. We appreciate the community’s cooperation in observing these public health requirements to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
International Students
We are acutely aware of the difficulties that recent government visa policies, coupled with the shift to remote-only instruction, pose for UCLA’s international students — particularly our newly admitted undergraduate and graduate students. Under current rules, newly admitted international students are permitted to come to UCLA for the fall term only if they are enrolled in at least one on-campus course. Unfortunately, with the new, tighter restrictions on in-person instruction, most of these students will not meet the legal criteria for travel to the U.S nor have the ability to lawfully remain in the country.
For this reason, we are recommending that unless international students are required by their major or field of study to enroll in one of the aforementioned advanced on-campus courses that must be offered in person, they should stay in their home countries. These students will still be able to enroll for fall quarter remote instruction and make progress toward their degrees. The UCLA Dashew Center for International Students and Scholars will be reaching out to newly admitted international students in the coming days to offer further guidance on travel, visas, and enrollment.
Heading into Fall
With the beginning of the academic quarter just over a month away, we do not foresee further changes to our fall instructional or housing plans, though it is still possible we may need to implement additional restrictions. County and state health officials will be reassessing the situation at regular intervals, and we will work with them to determine whether we may be able to increase our in-person offerings and welcome more students back to campus for winter quarter.
In the meantime, each of us must do what we can to help mitigate the spread of the virus by adhering to public health guidance — for the good of ourselves, our families, our communities, and indeed the world.
We will continue to update you with the details of our new plans in the days ahead. I also encourage you to visit UCLA’s COVID-19 resources page for the latest information on the pandemic and Bruins Safe Online for campus safety protocols and guidelines.
Most importantly, I want to thank you all once again for your resilience and understanding in the face of these shifting circumstances. Despite the challenges, I remain confident that together we can make this fall term a robust, rewarding, and intellectually stimulating experience that brings out the best in our Bruin community.
Sincerely,
Emily A. Carter

Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost

Mixed Signals on Economy

We have been tracking the economy via the labor market. Sometimes it seems to indicate a stalled recovery. Sometimes it shows some recovery.

Today, the monthly state labor market indicators are out from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for the month of July. So we are looking backwards. California's unemployment rate - which remains distorted due to the effect of the coronavirus on data collection - was 13.9%, down from 14.9% the month before. The U.S. overall unemployment rate was lower: 10.2%. So, California remains more hard-hit than the average. Nonfarm payroll employment rose 0.9% during the June-July 2020 period. But employment by that measure is 9.4% below what it was in July 2019.

You can find these figures and more at:
https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/laus.pdf.
Bottom line: It could be worse. Let's hope it does go there in the months to come.