Friday, December 31, 2021

A World War II Vet Describes New Years Eve in Kansas City, Back in the Day

We'll close our postings for this year with recollections of a New Years Eve in Kansas City as told by a World War II vet:

Part 1:

Or direct to

Part 2:

Or direct to

Well, maybe not the happiest year ending, but it did go down a bit

We have been tracking new weekly claims for unemployment insurance in California as a labor market indicator. And claims did go down a bit. That result might have been chalked up to the fact that Christmas Day was the last day of the week (Saturday) and offices tended to be closed or close early on Friday. So - still not back to a normal level - but, who knows? Maybe it's the start of something good.

As always, the latest data are at

Repetition - Part 2

From the Bruin: Four more former students filed a sexual abuse lawsuit against retired UCLA OB-GYN Edward Wiesmeier and the University of California. The lawsuit filed Monday is the second against Wiesmeier and the UC Board of Regents, following a sexual abuse suit filed Dec. 9 with one plaintiff. The new lawsuit alleges that Wiesmeier sexually harassed the four plaintiffs and performed medically unnecessary touching during examinations.

Other former patients have until Friday to file a lawsuit if they were sexually abused while receiving gynecological services from UCLA. The statute of limitations for victims of UCLA Health physicians was extended from its normal expiry of 10 years to the end of 2021 by California Assembly Bill 3092 last September. Wiesmeier was previously a UCLA OB-GYN between 1974 and 2007 and was the assistant vice chancellor for student health between 1981 and 2006...

Full story at

Our earlier post on this story is at:

Is 18 a Magic Number? - Part 4

As we have been posting, UCLA authorities will soon have to make a decision about what happens on January 18 when the current move at UCLA to online education expires.

There is a complication now that was not present in the past. As you can see from the chart below, the rate of transmission is very high, pushing up the new cases in LA County. On the other hand, the death rate is not soaring. See below.

It's true that the death rate would be expected to lag the case rate. But in the surge a year ago, both rose quickly. So, as news reports have been suggesting, it appears that more people test positive from the current variants, but fewer get seriously ill. Still, if we return to in-person instruction on January 18, there will be lots of positive tests and quarantining going on which will create problems. If students are quarantining, they will miss in-person instruction. If faculty are quarantining, they won't be able to do in-person instruction.

Note that a solution of some kind of hybrid instruction sounds easy. But it adds substantial complication. Will all classrooms be set up with cameras and recording devices? Who will activate these devices and track that they are functioning properly during an ongoing class. Not all classes have TAs for such activity. And TAs in those classes that do have them may themselves be quarantining.

There is a need for some quick decision-making. And it will have to be based on incomplete information such as shown above. 

Not Immune to Termination

Something to do while
the case progresses?
From the OC Register

UC system fires physician who challenged COVID-19 vaccine mandate in lawsuit

Scott Schwebke, December 30, 2021

A UC Irvine School of Medicine physician who filed a federal lawsuit claiming a natural immunity exemption to the university’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate has been fired for refusing the vaccine. Dr. Aaron Kheriaty, a professor of psychiatry and human behavior at the medical school and director of the medical ethics program at UCI Health, revealed in a blistering blog post he was terminated Dec. 16 after nearly 15 years at the university.

Officials with UCI declined to discuss Kheriaty’s firing and UC system officials did not respond to requests for comment.

Lawsuit dismissed

Kheriaty, 45, filed a lawsuit in August in U.S. District Court against the University of California Board of Regents and Michael V. Drake, the system’s president, to block the vaccine mandate and seeking a return to work unvaccinated. He also requested the court declare the mandate unconstitutional. “This policy is illogical and cannot withstand strict scrutiny or even a rational basis test because naturally immune individuals, like plaintiff, have at least as good or better immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19 than do individuals who are vaccinated,” the lawsuit states.

U.S. District Court Judge James V. Selna ruled against Kheriaty on Dec. 8, stating the UC system vaccine mandate is “rationally related” to stemming the spread of COVID-19. Kheriaty has appealed the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. “There are some legal questions the court needs to answer about the limits of mandates during public health emergencies,” said Kheriaty, who remains optimistic he might yet win his court case...

In an interview Thursday, Dec. 30, Kheriaty said he doesn’t oppose the COVID-19 vaccine, but believes individuals should have the right to decide whether to receive it.

The UC system adopted a policy in July requiring, with few exceptions, all students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated against the coronavirus before they are allowed on campus, in a facility or an office. Individuals are required to show proof of vaccination.

“Employees who choose not to be vaccinated, and have no approved exemption, accommodation or deferral, potentially put others’ health at risk and may face disciplinary actions,” the policy states...

Full story at

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Is 18 a Magic Number? - Part 3

As in previous posts, we continue to wonder what the powers-that-be at UCLA expect will happen between now and January 18 to permit a return to in-person instruction.

And we continue to point out that instructors should be given more than the 24-hours notice received back in March 2020 about any changes in policy.

Below is the latest from the news aggregator Rough and Tumble ( which suggests problems ahead:


And, if that isn't enough, below is the case tracker for LA County as of yesterday:

Cancel Culture

And not just gymnastics:

UCLA ‘lied,’ N.C. State coach claims after Bruins out of Holiday Bowl before kickoff

Ben Bolch, LA Times,12-28-21

SAN DIEGO — They got to feed beluga whales, tour a naval aircraft carrier and see the end zone in a baseball stadium painted in team colors. They did not get to play football. About five hours before kickoff, the UCLA Bruins learned their Holiday Bowl matchup against No. 18 North Carolina State on Tuesday evening at Petco Park would not be played because of worsening COVID-19 issues with the Bruins. Bowl officials later said they did not want to cancel the game until exhausting every opportunity to find a replacement for the Bruins.

The late notice touched off anger and conspiracy theories among the Wolfpack, with coach Dave Doeren describing a lack of communication from UCLA regarding the possibility that the Bruins would be unable to play. “Felt lied to, to be honest,” Doeren told reporters at the team hotel. “We felt like UCLA probably knew something was going on, didn’t tell anybody on our side. We had no clue they were up against that. I don’t feel like it was very well handled from their university. It would have been great to have had a heads-up so two or three days ago we could have found a Plan B. Disappointing.”

UCLA athletic director Martin Jarmond posted on Twitter the team had been in position to play until Tuesday, when new testing results prompted the Bruins’ medical staff to determine that going forward with the game would be unsafe. “I am truly disappointed for everyone who was involved with this game,” Jarmond wrote...

Full story at

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Is 18 a Magic Number? - Part 2

We noted in yesterday's posting that UCLA and the various UC campuses - Davis being the exception - are treating January 18 as the magic date by which time we will have enough knowledge about the Omicron situation to decide whether or not to continue remote instruction.

So far, however, what has accumulated has been conflicting information for a decision, e.g., Omicron is more transmissible [bad] but maybe (or maybe not) less severe [good].

Below you can see the latest problem that has arisen. From Politico yesterday:*

So maybe the tests that we relied on to keep instruction largely in-person during the fall are henceforth going to be rendered less effective. (Or maybe not.) Back in March 2020, instructors were given about a 24-hour notice to switch to remote instruction. While there may have been some justification at that time for the chaotic switch, presumably this time we are not going to wait until January 16 or 17 to determine what happens on January 18. In short, this time we are presumably talking about maybe a week or a week and a half from today in which sufficient information is deemed available to decide what to do on the 18th. Right now, however, the case trend in LA County is going in the wrong direction:



Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Is 18 a Magic Number?

In Omicron/Coronavirus planning, 18 seems to be a magic number. UCLA plans to be online until January 18 (the day after the Martin Luther King holiday and thus the start of week 3 of the winter quarter. Most of the other UCs with quarter systems starting on January 3 are doing the same. (Davis is the exception, so far going remote only the first week.) 

UC-Berkeley and UC-Merced start their semesters on January 18, so they are waiting until then to decide. USC starts its new session a week after UCLA so it has decided to go online for just the first week, i.e., until January 18.*

It seems that the planning revolves around the idea that things will be clearer by January 18. Here is what we know now for LA County:

If what happened last December-January is any clue, we are likely to be looking at an uptick in cases when decisions have to be made about what to do in the week(s) starting January 18.


Monday, December 27, 2021


From time to time, we like to highlight gifts to UCLA that don't involve brick-and-mortar construction. Here's an unusual one:

The UCLA Athletic Department is pleased to announce a commitment of $1,000,000 from Shelly Carlin to establish The Shelly Carlin UCLA Head Softball Coach Endowment, designed to make a major, ever-lasting, positive impact on UCLA softball and the student-athlete experience.

This pledge comes on the heels of UCLA's launch of Women of Westwood, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Title IX. Carlin, an Academic All-American and a member of UCLA Softball's 1982 NCAA Championship team, has now made the largest gift ever by a former UCLA female student-athlete. A California native, Carlin earned both a bachelor's degree and an MBA from UCLA.

In honor of Carlin's gift, the head softball coaching position will now be known as The Shelly Carlin UCLA Head Softball Coach.

"It's an honor and a privilege to be part of the UCLA Softball family," said Carlin. "This gift reflects the special bond that all of us who played here have with the program. The tradition of excellence - not just on the field and in the classroom, but in life after college - is what makes UCLA Softball so special. I'm excited for our program and can't wait to see how future Bruins will make their mark on our legacy."

Carlin in 2012

In 2006, Carlin established the Michele Aguilar Carlin endowed scholarship for UCLA Softball. Six years later, she established a legends wall at Easton Stadium and helped to fund a leadership curriculum for members of the softball team. With this most recent monumental gift, Carlin is encouraging fellow former UCLA student-athletes, along with all alumni, fans and friends of UCLA to support UCLA Athletics' female student-athletes through the Women of Westwood philanthropic initiative. Women of Westwood was created to enhance educational and athletic-related resources at UCLA in support of the next generation of female leaders.

Carlin's philanthropy, particularly in support of women's athletics, goes beyond just UCLA. In 2021, Carlin committed $500,000 in support of women's athletics at California State University, Bakersfield. Carlin's gift established the transformative Athletics Director's Women's Excellence Fund at CSUB, which directly supports their 10 women's athletic programs.

"On behalf of UCLA, I would like to thank Shelly for her generosity and support of our softball program. As a former student-athlete, this level of commitment shows the immense pride our alumni have for the 'Bruin Bubble,' said Martin Jarmond, UCLA's Alice and Nahum Lainer Family Director of Athletics. "We are proud to name the head softball coach position after Shelly, and thankful she is the first, of hopefully many, to step up in support of our new Women of Westwood initiative."

"I would like to thank Shelly for her incredible contribution to our softball program and women's athletics at large. As a UCLA Softball alumna, she helped build this championship program and continued to succeed beyond the white lines," said Kelly Inouye-Perez, The Shelly Carlin UCLA Head Softball Coach. "Her most recent commitment speaks volumes about how our alumnae in the 'Bruin Bubble' continue to lift up the program to help carry on our unmatched tradition of success. I'm immensely proud and humbled to be the first Shelly Carlin UCLA Head Softball Coach."

Women of Westwood aims to honor 50 years of comprehensive excellence from UCLA female student-athletes and coaches since the creation of Title IX in 1972. UCLA remains committed to empowering female student-athletes and coaches both past and present. The Women of Westwood fundraising initiative will allow for alumni, fans and friends of UCLA Athletics to share in that commitment and help build a sustainable future for the women's athletics programs at UCLA.


Sunday, December 26, 2021


We'll continue our not-much-is-happening-at-UC-this weekend with more seasonal offerings.

The movie - A Christmas Story - which came out in the 1980s and is now something of a cult classic - is actually a compilation of radio stories told by Jean Shepherd, who was on the radio in New York City from the 1950s into the 1970s. His stories, which would have taken place in the late 1920s and 1930s, but were reset in the movie during the 1940s, supposedly took place in his hometown of Hammond, Indiana. 

One of the famous episodes in the movie is the tongue scene in which a schoolboy is dared to put his tongue in freezing winter on a flagpole to see if it will become stuck, a legend has it. Click on link below:

The original radio version is more elaborate. Part 1:

Link to Part 2:

Hammond has erected a statue commemorating the "event":

Saturday, December 25, 2021

No presents from the state's labor market

New weekly claims for unemployment benefits in California remain stuck at around 60,000 - as has been the case since last spring, when 40,000 would be recovery to the pre-pandemic norm. Latest data at:


Yesterday, we noted that not much is likely to be happening at UC or UCLA around this time.

So we will continue the theme of yesterday - such as it was - with the help of Ogden Nash:

Or direct to

Friday, December 24, 2021


Not much happening at UC today. So, we'll provide some seasonally-relevant entertainment:

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Well, thinking about the Monster Dorm will get your mind off Omicron...

...unless, of course, you start to worry about lots of people in some future pandemic inside a giant building in rooms with no windows.

AIA Los Angeles joins growing opposition to controversial UCSB Munger Residence Hall

Niall Patrick Walsh, Dec. 21, 2021, Archinect News

The AIA [American Institute of Architects] Los Angeles chapter has issued an open letter to the President of the University of California, voicing opposition to the proposed UCSB Munger Residence Hall. The project, which has gained an intense media spotlight both within and beyond architectural spheres, would see the construction of bedrooms for 4,500 students, 94% of which would not have access to natural light.

The letter, penned by AIA LA President Mitra Memari, describes the proposal as one which will “create harmful and unhealthy living conditions for its residents,” setting a “negative precedent, literally and symbolically, for generations to come.”

“We urge UCSB to follow best design practices supported by numerous studies, and not advance the Munger Hall project further,” the letter continues. “We recommend that UCSB reconvene its design review board to re-examine best practices in design as well as explore innovative housing solutions that will support a healthier place for the residents to call home.”

The letter is careful to note the context within which the proposal sits, where an ongoing housing crisis across California has led to a legally-binding requirement for USCB to supply housing for all new students in a timely manner. However, the letter concludes that “the resources and methodologies exist to resolve this crisis without initiating further harm.”

The letter, which covers the 4,500 members of the AIA LA, is only the latest in a string of opposition to the Charlie Munger-designed and funded scheme. Last month, the AIA Santa Barbara published its own letter condemning the scheme as “inhumane.”

Last week, meanwhile, eight former UC campus architects published a letter against the project. The national spotlight placed on the scheme was itself the consequence of the resignation of architect Dennis McFadden from the USCB’s Design Review Committee over the scheme.

Amid the letters of opposition, the University of California has recently rejected a public records request to release the agreement it holds with Charlie Munger over the scheme, as they determined the agreement to be “preliminary and conceptual in nature.” ...

Full story at

PS: Munger's seaside home:


Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Location of the ball is now on the UCLA campus - Part 2 (Decision!!)

Remote start to winter quarter instruction and COVID-19 booster requirement

December 21, 2021

COVID-19 Response and Recovery Task Force

Dear Bruin Community:

In light of the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant, we are making changes to the start of winter quarter to reduce the risk of a rise in new COVID-19 cases at UCLA:

Classes will begin on Jan. 3 as scheduled. 

Classes will be held remotely for the first two weeks of the winter quarter (some exceptions may apply for clinical courses). 

We intend to return to in-person instruction on Jan. 18. 

All students should still plan to return to campus no later than Jan. 9 to participate in a robust COVID-19 testing program that will help keep our community healthier. Faculty and staff returning to campus after the break will also participate in a testing regimen.  

Consistent with the UC systemwide vaccine policy (PDF), UCLA is requiring vaccine boosters for all who are eligible. Proof of vaccine boosters is required by Jan. 18 for students and Jan. 31 for employees coming to campus. 

If conditions change, we will evaluate appropriate adjustments based on criteria within the UCLA COVID-19 Pivot Plan and Decision Matrix (PDF) and communicate them to the campus.

This new safety protocol will help us to quickly identify the presence of COVID-19 in our community while limiting major disruption of campus activities and reducing the risk of serious complications from COVID-19.

Detailed procedures for students, faculty and staff returning to campus after the break appear below. Additionally, we have compiled answers to frequently asked questions, which are listed at the end of this message.


Vaccine boosters

Getting vaccinated remains an effective strategy for reducing the severity of COVID-19, is recommended by the CDC and is required as part of the UC policy on vaccination (PDF). Per the policy, vaccine boosters are required for all faculty, academic personnel, staff, trainees, students, and others accessing university facilities and programs who are eligible to receive them.

Eligible UCLA faculty, staff and students must obtain their COVID-19 booster shots as soon as possible. Students must upload proof to the Ashe Student Portal by Jan. 18. Faculty and staff must provide proof through the UCLA Symptom Survey/Vaccine Verification System by Jan. 31 (the survey will be updated in early January to allow for booster proof to be uploaded). This booster requirement applies to those who plan to work on site at least part- or full-time during the winter term. This booster requirement does not apply to those who are working fully remotely or those who have an approved exception.




Please note: UCLA Extension and K-12 students will receive additional guidance from their respective programs.

All students should return to Westwood no later than Jan. 9 to participate in a campus COVID-19 testing program that will help keep our community healthier. Campus housing will reopen as scheduled on Jan. 1 and students may return as they previously planned.

Regardless of vaccination status, returning students need to take COVID-19 tests at three different times:

Students should take a COVID-19 test from a provider of their choice no more than 72 hours before coming back to Westwood. Any student who tests positive must isolate for 10 days before returning to UCLA.

Immediately upon returning to campus, students must test again using a UCLA-provided test, as follows:

Students living in university-owned on-campus housing must take a free COVID-19 rapid test that will be distributed upon check in. Students who test positive upon arrival will be asked to return home to isolate for 10 days, if feasible, or will be placed in campus isolation housing.

Students living in university-owned off-campus apartments must take a free COVID-19 rapid test that will be distributed at their front desk.

Students not living in university-owned housing must come to campus to obtain a free COVID-19 test through our campus vending machines and distribution centers, and deposit the sample in the marked collection bins.

All students must take another test three to five days after returning from winter break, but no later than Jan. 13. This test must be obtained from a campus vending machine or distribution center.

In all cases, any student who tests positive for COVID-19 will be required to isolate for 10 days.

Effective immediately, all students — regardless of vaccination status — must test at least 1x per week (2x per week is strongly recommended) through the campus testing program for the duration of winter quarter per the UCLA Community Screening Protocol (PDF). Students coming to campus over the winter break for research or other activities must test at least 1x per week over the break as well (please note some limited processing periods during this time). These requirements are subject to modification as conditions change.


Faculty and staff

Please note: Faculty and staff working in UCLA hospitals and clinics should follow guidance issued by UCLA Health.

Staff who have been working fully remotely during the fall term should continue to work remotely through the end of January. Anyone previously working in a full-time in-person or hybrid fashion should continue to follow their previous schedule, unless otherwise directed by their supervisor. This will help us manage the additional logistical challenges posed by our newly modified protocols.

Regardless of vaccination status, faculty and staff who are returning to campus after the winter break are asked to take COVID-19 tests at three different times:

Faculty and staff should take a COVID-19 test from a provider of their choice no more than 72 hours before returning to on-site work.

Immediately upon arrival to campus, all faculty and staff must test again, either through the free COVID-19 campus vending machines and distribution centers, or via a COVID-19 rapid test if available in your department.

All faculty and staff must take another test three to five days after returning from winter break. This test must be obtained from a campus vending machine or distribution center.

Any faculty or staff member who tests positive for COVID-19 will be required to isolate for 10 days.

Effective immediately, all faculty and staff — regardless of vaccination status — must test at least 1x per week (2x per week is strongly recommended) through the campus surveillance testing program for the duration of winter quarter, per the UCLA Community Screening Protocol (PDF). Faculty and staff coming to campus over the winter break for research or other activities must test at least 1x per week over the break as well (please note some limited processing periods during this time). These requirements are subject to modification as conditions change.

In addition to these new procedures, all faculty, staff and students must continue to follow regular campus health protocols, including wearing face masks indoors. We strongly encourage members of the community also to wear masks in outdoor environments while among other people. Additionally, everyone living, learning or working on UCLA properties must continue to complete the UCLA COVID-19 Symptom Monitoring and Vaccination Verification System Survey before  arriving on or going out onto campus each day, regardless of vaccination status.

For more information about staying healthy over the break, refer to our winter travel reminders.

We appreciate your understanding and cooperation as we plan for a safer start to 2022. Thank you for your commitment to keeping our Bruin community healthier as we continue to navigate this pandemic and the many challenges it poses for all of us.


Michael J. Beck, Administrative Vice Chancellor

Co-chair, COVID-19 Response and Recovery Task Force


Megan McEvoy

Professor, Institute for Society and Genetics, Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics

Co-chair, COVID-19 Response and Recovery Task Force 


Location of the ball is now on the UCLA campus

Below is a message sent yesterday of UC president Drake to campus chancellors on whether to start in January online:

December 21, 2021

Dear Chancellors,

As you know, cases of COVID-19 are continuing to rapidly rise across the nation as the Omicron variant spreads. The emergence of this new and fast-moving variant, coupled with student travel to and from campus and the prevalence of gatherings over the holidays, will present our campuses with a unique set of public health challenges as we begin the New Year.

Based on consultation with University leadership and public health experts, I am asking each of you to design and implement a plan for a January return to campus that mitigates public health impacts, responds to the unique circumstances facing your campus, and maintains our teaching and research operations. This plan should incorporate a test, sequester, and retest model as described in the UC Health Coordinating Committee’s guidance for returning students.

This may require campuses to begin the term using remote instruction in order to allow students to complete an appropriate testing protocol as they return to campus. Given the differences in local conditions and campus operations across the University, the length of this remote instruction period may vary from campus to campus.

In line with public health best practices, your return plan should also emphasize the importance of preventive measures on campus, particularly during the initial return phase when students are still in the testing protocol. This should include vigilance around masking and a responsible approach to in-person gatherings. Large, congregant events, particularly indoors, should be avoided in the opening weeks of your winter quarter or spring semester.

The evidence is clear that receiving a booster is essential to protecting yourself and those around you from Omicron and other variants. Therefore, I am also asking each of you to communicate the critical importance of boosters to your campus community, especially at this stage of the pandemic. Eligible students who are returning home should be encouraged to get boosted before coming back to campus. Under existing UC policy, students, faculty, and staff are required to keep their vaccination status up to date.* The policy mandates COVID-19 boosters for those who are eligible. Information on booster eligibility is available from the Centers for Disease Control here.





Thank you for your continued leadership during these challenging times, and for your advice, counsel, and input as we plan for 2022. Brenda and I wish you and your families a happy holiday season.



Michael V. Drake, M.D.

University of California



Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Of the 8 Jan. 3 Starting Date Campuses, 4 Have Gone Online: Radio Silence from UCLA

Our previous post noted that UC-San Diego was going online for the initial weeks of January. It appears that UC-Irvine, UC-Riverside, and UC-Santa Cruz are now also going online to start.* 

All of these going-online campuses have January 3 starting dates for instruction. (UC-Berkeley, with a start date of January 18 for instruction is also going online, as we have previously reported.)

UCLA has a start date of January 3 as do UC-Santa Barbara, UC-Davis, and UC-San Francisco. As of around 4 pm this afternoon, nothing has been heard from them. (UC-Merced has a start date of January 18 but has reported no decision.) 

As we have also previously pointed out, the start date of January 3 leaves little time for adaptation. So far, however, we have only radio silence from UCLA other than the previously-reported statement that a decision would be made this week.



Contradictory Report on UC Policy for January

There is a contradictory report in the San Diego Union-Tribune today about UC policy concerning January classes. It says that UC-San Diego is going online for the beginning of its January session and that the other UC campuses are going to do the same. But it also says that all campuses may not.

Contradictory news reports are not a Good Thing. There is nothing yet on the UCOP website about any UC-wide developments, not is there anything new on the UCLA website at this writing (early Tuesday afternoon). See below for the news report:

UC San Diego said on Tuesday that it will temporarily push classes back online for at least the first two weeks of January due to the spread of Omicron, a decision that also might be adopted by some or all of the University of California’s eight other undergraduate campuses. UC President Michael Drake said in a statement Tuesday that he has asked all of the campuses to come up with a plan to mitigate the impact of the new COVID-19 variant.

“This may require campuses to begin the term using remote instruction in order to allow students to complete an appropriate testing protocol as they return to campus,” Drake said...

A UCSD official told the Union-Tribune early Tuesday that all of the campuses were planning to go back online, based on discussions La Jolla has been having with its sister schools. The discussions included new research from UCSD that shows Omicron surging strongly in California early next month. Drake’s office said such action might not be necessary.

Full story at:

While We Wait, Here's the Special Problem for UCLA

As we have noted, UCLA is supposed to make a decision about Omicron and how classes will start in winter quarter this week. Some universities have already decided to go to online classes for the first few weeks of their sessions in January, e.g., Harvard. Others are also deciding this week, e.g., USC. But there is a difference between those universities and UCLA.

Yours truly checked on the starting dates for actual classes - not the technical starting dates of the sessions - of various universities.

UCLA: January 3 [Decision this week]

USC: January 10 [Decision this week]

Harvard: January 14 [Online start]

Yale: January 18 [No plan announced]*

UC-Berkeley: January 18 [Reviewing situation, nothing more definite]

As you can see, UCLA starts earlier than most. Hence, there is less time for instructors to modify courses - if that becomes necessary - at UCLA than at most. At UCLA, it's Happy New Year - start your class. The others start a week or more later.  




Monday, December 20, 2021

Does UCLA Have a Plan B for January 3? - Part 2 (Decision Time Is Fast Approaching)

If you had an idea that Omicron was something mainly on the east coast, think again - or just read below. If it's in San Diego County, you can be sure it's in LA County. So that raises the question - really reinforces the question - we raised yesterday for UCLA. What will be the policy when UC opens - with classes!! - on January 3? Scroll to the second item in this posting: USC has alerted its students it is considering going online and will decide by the end of this week. Stanford has told its students it will start online.

Reminder: The last time UCLA shut down and went online was in March 2020. Faculty and students were give 24 hours notice at a point on the calendar when the winter quarter was still underway and exams would start the following week. One could argue then that because the situation was moving fast, there was no choice. But now we are in a hiatus between quarters and a couple of weeks before winter quarter begins. Someone needs to make a decision very soon. If USC can make a decision by the end of this week, and if Stanford has already made its decision, UCLA should not stall and then repeat what happened in March 2020.

UCSD reports ‘unprecedented’ spike in wastewater COVID viral load

December 18, 2021, KUSI Newsroom

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – An “unprecedented” spike in COVID-19 viral load in wastewater collected from San Diego County’s primary wastewater treatment facility was reported Saturday by UC San Diego School of Medicine researchers.

The amount of COVID-19 virus detected in wastewater has predicted the region’s COVID-19 caseload up to three weeks ahead of clinical diagnostic reports, the researchers said. Since people with COVID-19 shed the virus in their stool even before they experience symptoms, wastewater screening acts as an early warning system.

“The wastewater screening results reported on Friday are unlike any the team has seen before,” said Jackie Carr of UC San Diego Health. Both Delta and Omicron variants of the virus were detected in the wastewater.

“This confirms prior county reports that Omicron is already here and circulating in our community,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, San Diego County’s public health officer.

“This is the steepest curve in viral load we’ve seen since we began screening wastewater in the summer of 2020, and it’s continuing to get worse faster than ever before,” said Rob Knight, professor and wastewater screening leader at UC San Diego School of Medicine.

Researchers and public health officials said they hoped the warning would encourage the local community to step up efforts to help mitigate the expected surge. In addition to wearing face masks in indoor public spaces, as recently mandated by California, they urged people to get their vaccines or boosters if they haven’t already.

They also recommended downloading the CA Notify exposure notification system to smartphones, limiting time spent indoors or unmasked with others, and taking steps to improve indoor ventilation and air filtration.

“In addition, every person in San Diego County needs to have a low threshold for testing right now,” said Christopher Longhurst, chief medical officer and chief digital officer at UC San Diego Health. “Don’t wait. If you feel the slightest symptoms, if you think you might have had contact with someone with COVID-19, if you’ve gathered in crowds without masks, if you’re planning a get together — test, test, test.”

COVID-19 PCR tests are available at UC San Diego Health, various San Diego County sites, other health providers and community pharmacies. At-home rapid antigen tests are available from retail pharmacies and online vendors. Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 should consult their health care provider.

San Diego County has only one primary wastewater treatment facility, in the Point Loma neighborhood. All excrement flushed away by nearly two-thirds of the county’s residents, including those on the UC San Diego campus, ends up there.

UCSD researchers pick up wastewater samples that had been collected and stored for them by lab technicians at the treatment plant. They bring the samples to a lab at the La Jolla campus to test them for the COVID-19 virus, along with wastewater samples collected from more than 350 campus buildings. All positive samples are sequenced to track viral variants.

The team can detect even a single infected, asymptomatic person living or working in a large building of more than 500 people on the UCSD campus. They have found that notifying the occupants of each building with positive wastewater increases COVID-19 testing rates by as much as 13-fold. The approach has enabled early detection of 85 percent of COVID-19 cases on UCSD’s campus, officials said.


USC - as noted above - has given its students a heads-up that it's considering restarting online. And Stanford says it will definitely start its next session online. From the LA Times: [12-16-21, updated 12-17-21]

USC announced Friday that it is considering a remote start to the Spring 2022 semester and will likely ask students to provide proof of COVID-19 booster shots, joining other California higher education institutions in issuing precautions as coronavirus cases rise amid the Omicron variant threat.

After monitoring the rise in COVID-19 cases on campus, in the community and at other higher-education institutions, the university said it is “evaluating a number of options” for the spring semester, including a remote start, and will announce a final decision by the end of next week. It is likely that the university will require COVID-19 boosters, and an official announcement on that is also expected soon...

USC is not alone in preparing students as they leave campus for winter break for possible changes when they return in January. Stanford University announced Thursday that students returning from winter break will go back to remote learning for two weeks and will be required to obtain COVID-19 booster shots, joining other mainly East Coast universities...

Full story at

UPDATE: UCLA says decision will be made this week:


Sunday, December 19, 2021

Stuff Happens (and is happening) - Part 2

From the LA Daily News: The basketball teams at UCLA won’t be returning to the court any time soon. The men’s basketball team had its Wednesday nonconference game against Cal Poly canceled Saturday due to the COVID-19 protocols within the Bruins’ program. It’s the third consecutive game canceled for the fourth-ranked Bruins after games with Alabama State on Wednesday at Pauley Pavilion and North Carolina on Saturday in Las Vegas were recently called off. The game with Cal Poly will not be rescheduled. “UCLA’s team-related activities have been paused, and the status of future games is to be determined,” a UCLA release said.

The women’s basketball team, which had to cancel Thursday’s game against Texas Southern due to COVID-19 protocols within the Bruins’ program, announced that home games against Ohio State on Sunday and Cal State Bakersfield on Tuesday won’t be played either. The next game on the men’s team’s schedule naturally becomes a question, which is a Pac-12 game against No. 8 Arizona on Dec. 30 at Pauley Pavilion. The women’s team has a Pac-12 game with USC scheduled for Dec. 28 at Pauley Pavilion.

COVID-19 related issues have shut down college basketball programs all over the country. Ohio State, which was supposed to take on Kentucky in the CBS Sports Classic, canceled because of positive COVID-19 results within the 15th-ranked Buckeyes’ program. Seton Hall canceled its games against Iona and St. John’s. It’s part of a growing wave of COVID-19-related sports cancellations and postponements as the pandemic surges again this winter...

Full story at

Does UCLA Have a Plan B for January 3?

If you read the headlines - those shown here are from today's paper - you are likely to have a sense that events are encroaching on what winter quarter at UCLA will look like. 

Earlier blog postings on this site have noted that some universities are either moving to online for the start of the next session in January or are imposing other new coronavirus-related restrictions. It is also possible that LA County will come up with new rules.

UCLA is officially shut down now until January 3rd, but clearly decisions need to be made and communicated before then.

Leaving Money on the Table?

From EdSource: A state audit says four California universities could have received millions more in federal pandemic money and helped more students. University of California and California State University officials could still recoup some of the cash. 


Four California public universities could have received $47 million more in coronavirus aid if they sought funds from a different federal agency, a recent state audit found. As a result, some students may have missed out on support services and equipment during what has been an unprecedented disruption in schooling worldwide... The audit recommended that Chico State, Cal State Long Beach, UC Merced, and UC San Diego apply to FEMA for reimbursement of about $7.5 million in past expenses and $39.7 million in planned expenses so they can use that money to support students.

The other two universities in the audit – Sonoma State and UC Riverside — had used and sought reimbursement appropriately, according to the audit...

Full story at

Note: The audit is at

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Still stuck after all

New weekly California unemployment insurance claims seem not to be going anywhere, stuck at around 60,000 when "normal" would be 40,000. For a couple of weeks, it looked like we were finally going to get a decline, but that no longer seems to be the trend. So, we are in an odd situation where the economy - at least by this measure - has yet to recover (and is now threatened by Omicron), while the governor has been hinting at another year of budgetary largess for such purposes as fighting retail theft. (No hints yet about what might be coming for UC's budget.)

As always, the latest new claims data release is at

Watch the Dec. 16, 2021 Meeting of the Regents' Special Committee on Innovation Transfer & Entrepreneurship

The Regents' Special Committee on Innovation Transfer and Entrepreneurship met last Thursday, the last regental meeting of the calendar year, and the day after the Health Services Committee meeting which we have previously reviewed.* As always, we preserve recordings of these meetings indefinitely since the Regents "archive" them for only one year.

The Innovation Transfer and Entrepreneurship committee was set up to encourage research from UC to be translated into commercial activities, and for the university to benefit therefrom. It would also probably say it wanted general benefits from UC research to flow into the public realm, even if non-commercial. My guess is that some faculty would be uncomfortable with the micro-level focus of the committee which seems to be rewriting parts of the APM (Academic Personnel Manual) dealing with such matters as tenure criteria, leaves of absence (to pursue entrepreneurial endeavors), and conflict-of-interest rules. 

In the past, as we have noted, there has been a sense of regents talking to themselves in this committee.** There has been an Academic Senate presence in what is happening - the chair and vice chair of the Academic Council are present at the meetings. But my sense is that a train is rolling along on which they are passengers, not the engine drivers. I am not saying Bad Things are happening or being decided; indeed, one can certainly argue that innovation and entrepreneurship are Good Things to be encouraged. What I am saying is simply that it is unclear that true faculty input will occur until the train has already reached its destination. There is already a glossy report with 13 recommendations, some of which involve the APM, and others of which deal with administrative/managerial matters such as the tracking of UC patents.*** That reports dates back to May of this year, so things are clearly rolling along.

That's just one observer's view. You can see the meeting for yourself and make your own judgment. The most relevant segment of the meeting begins at about hour 1, minute 19, and continues for approximately 3 hours until the end of the meeting. Note that you can speed up the playback of the recording, if you want to spend less time. The recording is quite understandable at 1.5x speed. 

By the way, it should not be assumed that the issues here apply (affect) only the STEM fields. In fact, a significant segment of the meeting was devoted to arts and humanities. (Social science was mentioned but not really featured.)

You can watch the meeting at





Friday, December 17, 2021

20,000 Isn't Enough. How About 30,000?

From EdSource: California has more eligible students for admission to the state’s public universities than those campuses have space for.

A new report released Wednesday by The Campaign for College Opportunity highlights that more eligible students are applying to the University of California and California State University campuses than those colleges can admit. The lack of capacity means that fewer qualified Latino and Black students are applying to these universities.

It also means that the state is still projecting a shortfall of workers with bachelor’s degrees and ranks 34th nationally in awarding four-year degrees.

“It has gotten exceedingly difficult to get into the University of California and a growing number of Cal State campuses,” said Michele Siqueiros, president of the California-based campaign organization, which is focused on improving higher education opportunities for students. “Harder than in previous generations. It’s a real issue of fairness and equity at a time when we know a college degree is valuable and more high schools are preparing for college.”

It’s a problem the legislature and governor’s office also plan to tackle. Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, chair of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance,  said expanding access and affordability will be a priority next year. The UC system did make a commitment several weeks ago to enroll at least 20,000 more students by 2030, but McCarty said he and the legislature will plan to ask each of the universities including CSU for at least 30,000 more...

Full story at

Well, let's hope the extra 30,000 get good Marx:

Or direct to

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Stuff Happens (and is happening)

Uh Oh Omicron! Are We Going Back to the Future? - Part 3

More universities are reporting outbreaks and changing plans:

Georgetown, GW, NYU and Princeton Change Course

Universities switch final exams and cancel most in-person events.

By Scott Jaschik, December 16, 2021, Inside Higher Ed

Georgetown, New York and Princeton Universities on Wednesday all announced changes in their plans for the close of the semester due to surges of COVID-19 infections on their campuses. The decisions followed Cornell University, which this week made all final exams online because of 496 active COVID cases among students.

Increase in Cases at Georgetown

A statement from Georgetown said, “We are experiencing a notable and concerning increase in COVID-19 cases on our campuses this week, and we are taking several immediate steps to help protect the Georgetown University community. Yesterday marked the largest one-day total for COVID-19 cases within our community, with 34 Georgetown community members testing positive, and the positivity rate on our campuses this week to date, 2.36 percent, is the highest we have seen.” The university is not changing plans for final exams. But it is closing the campus fitness center and requiring all eating to be done in dormitories. “All indoor university-sponsored events on campus, including holiday parties, need to be moved outdoors or canceled, and all other events and social gatherings should be held virtually, ” the letter said.

George Washington University announced that all final exams scheduled for Friday and after would be online only. In addition, it said that faculty members have the right to switch exams today to online only. A letter from the university's president, Thomas J. LeBlanc, and other officials also said that “all in-person social gatherings and events are cancelled.”

“We understand that this news comes at an already stressful time during finals and other scheduled end-of-semester activities. At this time, we have not made any changes regarding spring semester. We will continue to monitor COVID-19 transmission among our community members and in the region and will update you with more information soon,” the letter said.