Tuesday, May 31, 2022

That Extra State Cash

With the UCLA Anderson Forecast coming out tomorrow, and our previous postings about the May Revise proposed state budget, it might be useful to look at where the seeming extra state cash is coming from. According to the state controller's cash reports, the surprise extra revenue for the current fiscal year through April is coming mainly from the personal income tax and the corporation tax.** The former is highly sensitive to the stock market but at this point is largely backward-looking, i.e., it reflects the period before the recent stock tumbles occurred. The corporation tax is also largely backward looking and highly sensitive to the overall state of the economy. 

When we look at the sales tax, however, there doesn't seem to be a surprise element, i.e., the underlying economy - reflected in taxable consumption - was about where it was expected to be both when the current year's budget was enacted last July and when the budget for next year was proposed in January 2022.

Therein lies the state's budgetary vulnerability, although it is currently offset by the large reserves that the state has accumulated. Of course, the state's vulnerability is UC's budgetary vulnerability, even if there is a multi-year "compact" in place that is supposed to guarantee future funding.




Monday, May 30, 2022

Debt Free

Yesterday, we continued our posting of the May 17-19 Regents meetings. What remains for us to cover is May 19th, which we will be getting to soon. In the meantime, here is an item about one of the May 19th topics:

UC system takes another step toward keeping students debt-free

Mikhail Zinsteyn, 5-20-22, CalMatters



By officially prioritizing part-time work as a way for students to pay for college, the University of California moved closer to its goal of students avoiding burdensome loans by 2030.


The University of California is vowing to offer its California undergraduates a debt-free college experience by 2030 as part of an overhaul of how the system views college affordability. To get there, the system of 230,000 students seeking bachelor’s degrees is relying on a mix of state and federal support, revenues from recent tuition increases, and students working part-time to cover the full cost of an education. Students from wealthier households would also rely on parental support. The system’s governing body, the Board of Regents, took another step toward that debt-free goal Thursday [May 19] by voting to prioritize part-time work over taking out loans as part of the UC’s official financial aid policy. The change is subtle but is yet another instance of the UC signaling that its students should be able to earn a bachelor’s degree without the need to borrow within the next several years. “The preferred outcome of our financial aid strategy is that students can afford their education through opportunities for part-time work made available to them and minimize student loan borrowing,” said Michael Brown, provost of the entire UC system, at Wednesday’s UC Regents meeting.

Though more than half of UC’s in-state undergraduate students don’t pay tuition due to financial aid, the free-college movement has widened its scope to include non-academic expenses that are still vital to a student’s education, such as housing, transportation and food. All those expenses add up. Just over half of resident students graduate from the UC with student loans, accumulating an average of $18,800 in debt. It’s a figure that’s well below the national average but is still a financial millstone around borrowers’ necks. A CalMatters analysis noted low-income students who receive federal aid also take out loans, at amounts ranging from $11,000 to $16,000 typically.

Earlier in the year, the UC said it would award additional aid to 6,000 low-income students this fall so the students could avoid loans. The 2030 debt-free goal depends in large part on compliance from California’s lawmakers and the federal government. The state Legislature and Gov. Gavin Newsom are expected to commit $632 million this year as part of a down payment on a debt-free grant that experts say will eventually cost $2.6 billion. Once fully funded, the grant is supposed to give students enough money to cover the full cost of attendance after parental support, part-time work and grant aid are considered.

Low-income students whose families cannot afford to help out with college will have to contribute about $8,000 annually to their education, which they can raise by working 15 hours a week during the school year. Where they find these jobs is an open question, but lawmakers and the governor last year launched a $500 million fund to create part-time work opportunities for low-income students attending the state’s public colleges and universities. Students from higher-income households will also be able to avoid taking out loans, but that assumes their families will provide money toward their educations based on a federal formula. Higher-income students would also be expected to work. There’s no timeline to fully fund the debt-free grant. However, the Senate wants to commit more money up front and fully fund the program by 2025-26 as part of the budget deal due June 15.

The new debt-free grant, which lawmakers are calling the Middle Class Scholarship 2.0, is key to UC’s debt-free goals. That 2030 debt-free goal “is reliant on the middle class scholarship reform that the Legislature passed last year and the full funding of that,” said Seija Virtanen, associate director of state budget relations for the UC, during an Assembly budget subcommittee on education hearing this week. For its part, the UC will divert 45% of its revenue from its recent tuition hikes toward student financial aid — up from 33%. The policy came to life last year. It’s also in UC’s compact with the governor, a de-facto deal in which Newsom is promising 5% in annual increases in education funding for the UC in exchange for key promises on affordability and student success. Those funding increases still need legislative approval.

In an analysis conducted by UC officials last August and shared with CalMatters this week, the system projects raising an additional $333 million by 2029-30 for its undergraduate grant aid program through the tuition increases. The current level of aid is $785 million, wrote Ryan King, a UC spokesperson, in an email. Already UC grant aid is the second largest source of financial support for undergraduates at the system. The federal government contributed $420 million toward student grants last year. California programs, chief among them the Cal Grant that covers tuition, poured in nearly $1 billion in grant aid for students last year. That state share will grow once the Middle Class Scholarship is officially funded. But there’s another wild card that may steer more grant aid to students.

Last year Gov. Newsom vetoed a bill to add more than 100,000 students, including several thousand UC students, to the Cal Grant program, though he expanded grant eligibility in other ways. A nearly identical bill is moving through the Legislature now, but some lawmakers backing the bill were bewildered that Newsom’s May budget proposal didn’t promise funding for the bill, which is expected to cost more than $300 million annually. One leading lawmaker who helps shape higher education spending policy called that omission a “significant irony.” Assemblymember Kevin McCarty, a Democrat from Sacramento who is chair of the budget subcommittee on education, said at a hearing this week that though the governor’s office made a debt-free compact with the UC, the governor’s budget doesn’t “fund that thing that you need to get debt-free college.”

About 109,000 of the 150,000 students who’d benefit from Cal Grant expansion are community college students. (About 500,000 students across all institutions already get the Cal Grant.) Unlike UC and Cal State students, those attending community colleges aren’t eligible for the planned Middle Class Scholarship expansion, though they’d get it if they transfer to a California public university. That’s why Eloy Ortiz Oakley, who is both a UC regent and chancellor of the California Community Colleges, calls passage of the Cal Grant expansion bill the community college system’s top priority. The bill would give those students at least $1,648 a year while they’re in community college and grant them free tuition if they transfer to a UC or Cal State. “The students who have been last in line for so long, need to get to the front of the line here real soon,” Oakley said in an interview.

But more money for financial aid is only one half of the conversation, he added. The UC also needs to figure out how to lower its costs. That may mean offering more online courses and avoiding refilling certain job vacancies, among other solutions. “Are we hiring in places that continue to grow the bureaucracy of our colleges and universities? Or are we growing in places that directly serve the needs of students?” he asked. 

Full story at

Straws in the Wind

Note that in one way or another, actual fulfillment of long-term commitments such as those above depends on the state budget remaining healthy. As we have noted in our tracking - including yesterday - of new weekly claims for unemployment insurance in California - there is no sign yet of an economic softening. But there are straws in the wind, including troubles in the state's high tech sector which directly and indirectly feeds the budget. See, for example:

On Wednesday of this week, we'll be getting the June 2022 UCLA Anderson Forecast and see what the Forecast folks have to say about the direction of the state economy.

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Still at Pre-Pandemic Level

Our weekly look at new weekly claims for California unemployment benefits indicates that the series remains at pre-pandemic levels. By this measure, there is no sign of a recession building. That's the good news. The qualifying remark is that what people are looking for is largely a policy change aimed at fighting inflation or some reaction to political or international events. Any of these, other than a new pandemic-produced lockdown, would take some time to be felt. Still, for now, the state's economy is not producing negative labor market effects.

As always, the latest data on new claims are at

Watch the Regents' Afternoon Sessions of May 18, 2022

We resume our summaries of the Regents' various sessions from May 17-19. In earlier posts, we covered May 17 and the morning of May 18. Below is the afternoon of May 18 as summarized in the Daily Cal:

...The Academic and Student Affairs Committee began its meeting by approving amendments to the UC system’s undergraduate financial aid policy. Among the reforms included an emphasis on part-time work, rather than taking out loans, as a pathway for students to pay their cost of attendance. “I applaud these efforts in attempting to make sure that students minimize their loan debt as they graduate, because it sets the students back in life,” said UC Regent Jose Hernandez during the meeting. “It was five years before I was able to plan for buying a house, plan for retirement, all these things because I wanted to get student debt out.”

Following the action items, the committee discussed its status report on the Advancing Faculty Diversity program, or AFD. According to Vice Provost for Academic Personnel and Programs at the Office of the President Susan Carlson, 33.6% of the AFD hires made since the program’s launch were members of underrepresented groups, compared to 18.7% of total hires. She noted that all of the AFD hires brought a “demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.” The committee also discussed how the UC system could best support first-generation college students, who make up two-fifths of the total undergraduate population.

John Matsui, the co-founder of the Biology Scholars Program, spoke on how the program avoids a “one-size-fits-all” approach on navigating UC Berkeley to encourage first-generation students to think differently about managing their success. The meeting concluded with a review of the final report produced by the Mitigating COVID-19 Impacts on Faculty Working Group. The report proposed five recommendations for UC campuses to implement and sustain over the next five years to support faculty through challenges they have faced during the pandemic. “I am really grateful that there’s been so much proactive work going into this,” said UC Regent Lark Park during the meeting. “I don’t think we thank our faculty enough for the heroism in trying to keep things together for students.”

During the Finance and Capital Strategies Committee meeting, the regents discussed projects and long range development plans for several UC campuses, the fiscal year 2022-23 UCOP budget and the UC system’s debt policy. Among the approved projects includes the Ocean Road Housing Project at UC Santa Barbara. UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang said this project would add 540 “critically needed” for-rent and for-sale units to faculty and staff. UC Regent Richard Leib emphasized the need to put “conditions on the development regarding affordability” as negotiations continue. UC Davis Chancellor Gary May presented the proposed Sacramento Ambulatory Surgery Center, or SASC, advocating that the development would address a shortage of operating surgery capacity.

“The project will meet four primary objectives for us: moving outpatient surgical cases from the main hospital to free up inpatient resources, enhancing ambulatory surgery capacity to accommodate existing demand and expected growth, enabling expansion of complex surgical lines and therapies and, finally, enhancing patient experience,” May said during the meeting.

David Lubarsky, vice chancellor of human health services and chief executive officer of UC Davis Health, said construction on the 262,000-square-foot center will begin in October and is scheduled to open in March 2025. According to Lubarsky, the center will consist of 12 major operating rooms, five minor procedure rooms, 60 prep recovery bays, a 23-hour stay unit and seven outpatient clinics. For the Kresge College Non-Academic project at UC Santa Cruz, which seeks to upgrade and provide more campus housing, Chancellor Cynthia Larive requested from the regents an additional $28.5 million, which is 14% of the current project budget.

UC San Francisco Chancellor Sam Hawgood sought the regents’ approval for a new 875,000-square-foot hospital at the UCSF Helen Diller Medical Center, the renovation of existing space and the demolition of the Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute to make way for the new hospital. The budget for the new hospital and the renovations is over $4 billion. “My hope … is that we find ways to even make a fraction of that investment in places like Merced or Riverside that desperately need the same kind of medical support,” said UC Regent Eloy Ortiz Oakley during the meeting.

Pradeep Khosla, chancellor at UC San Diego, provided updates on rental rates for the Pepper Canyon West Housing project, noting that its rates were 33% below market within a three-mile radius of campus and 25% below market for all neighborhoods.

UCOP’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2022-23 is $1.035 billion, a 2.9% increase from the previous year. This change is due to the systemwide program investments, in order to enhance the pension administration system and the Retirement Administration Service Center. “This budget proposal is fiscally conservative and reflects the priorities of UCOP and the campuses,” said UC Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Rachael Nava during the meeting.


Editorial Note: There was a consent item in the agenda of Finance and Capital Strategies that involved a line of credit for telescopes on Mauna Kea in Hawaii. It was stated that this item had nothing to do with the proposed Thirty-Meter Telescope about which there has been controversy and referred only to the existing telescopes. An example was given of having an ability to spend in the event of a federal government shutdown.


The regents rounded out the day with the Governance Committee addressing the future of in-person meetings amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Leib said it is important for certain people, particularly those making presentations, to be physically present at board meetings. He noted how presenting over Zoom can become “awkward” and make it difficult for the audience to interact or start discussions. “People should be here unless they’re not central to the discussion,” Leib said during the meeting. “Sitting here, listening to people make full presentations and they’re doing it on Zoom, is just not the right way to go.”

While other regents agreed with Leib, UC Regent Jonathan Sures raised the question of what would happen in the case of another wave of COVID-19 cases. Drake responded and noted that any policy would take the pandemic into consideration. Committee members then turned to the topic of attendance for regents and advisors. Leib said there should be an expectation for regents to attend meetings in person unless they had a clear medical excuse. “If someone is just not interested in coming because of concerns of COVID but they’re not suffering from COVID or anything like that, it seems to me we should try to have people here,” Leib said during the meeting.

Full story at

As always, we preserve the Regents' sessions indefinitely since the Regents delete their recordings - for no apparent reason - after one year. The links are below:

Full afternoon session:

Academic & Student Affairs:

Finance & Capital Strategies:


Saturday, May 28, 2022

Swimming in Scandal - Part 3

Once a story like this one starts, it takes on its own momentum.* See below:

Ex-UC Berkeley swimmer on McKeever: ‘I honestly didn’t know how far she would go’

Scott Reid | Orange County Register | LA Daily News | May 28, 2022 

When Cal women’s swimming head coach Teri McKeever finally stopped berating Golden Bears distance swimmer Anna Kalandadze during a workout toward the end of the 2019-2020 season, she gave the freshman an ultimatum. It was the second day in a row that Kalandadze had shown up at the pool on crutches after suffering a serious hip flexor injury. Kalandadze was clearly struggling, according to three people at the session when McKeever told her to get out of the water. “She pulled me out of practice and screamed at me in front of everyone,” Kalandadze said. “Teri asked me what the doctor had said. I told her he said to take it easy for a few days. Teri said there was no way I’m going to to Pac 12s if I don’t swim. She said I ‘had to suck it up or just leave.’ “It was so painful. I could barely walk. But I got back in the pool and swam.”

And swam and swam and swam for 7,000 agonizing meters, nearly 4 1/2 miles, feeling with each meter, each kick like she was being stabbed in her hip. “I was crying into my goggles the whole time,” Kalandadze said, “but I wouldn’t let anyone see.”

McKeever targeted Kalandadze for almost daily bullying from the first month the freshman was on the Berkeley campus to the moment she left the team a week before the Pac 12 Championships, Kalandadze and nine Cal teammates as well as two parents of swimmers and a former member of the Golden Bears men’s team told the Southern California News Group. “Anna was a target for Teri,” said Nick Hart, a former Cal diver.

McKeever bullied, body-shamed, swore at, held Kalandadze out of meets and trips and regularly kicked her out of practice, even as the swimmer qualified for NCAAs and trained and competed on an injury that reduced her to getting to class and around campus on crutches, Kalandadze and her teammates said. “Teri was the reason I quit,” Kalandadze said. “She was awful to me.”

McKeever, the most successful female swim coach in the sport’s history, was placed on paid administrative leave by the university on Wednesday in response to an SCNG investigation that revealed at least six Cal women’s swimmers since 2018 had made plans to kill themselves or obsessed about suicide for weeks or months because of what they describe as McKeever’s bullying.

Kalandadze is one of 28 current or former Cal swimmers who have have told the SCNG that McKeever was a bully who for decades has allegedly verbally and emotionally abused, swore at and threatened swimmers on an almost daily basis. McKeever, 60, also reportedly pressured athletes to compete or train while injured or dealing with chronic illnesses or eating disorders. “Teri destroyed Anna and almost made her quit swimming after 15 years of swimming and dreaming about Olympics,” said Olga Zelenaia, Kalandadze’s mother.

McKeever grew up in Southern California and was an All-American swimmer at USC before getting into coaching. She was the 2012 U.S. Olympic women’s team head coach and has guided the Golden Bears to four NCAA team titles. She is the subject of at least three ongoing investigations. An external investigation by a Los Angeles-based law firm commissioned by the UC Berkeley, and a U.S. Center for SafeSport investigation into McKeever were launched this week following the SCNG report. The university’s Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination opened a formal investigation earlier this month into allegations that McKeever recently used a racial epithet and profanities in disparaging rap music, according to five swimmers familiar with the conversation and an email to Cal detailing the incident. The investigation into the incident will initially focus on potential racial discrimination but could be expanded to also consider possible discrimination based on sexual orientation and national origin, according to confidential university documents obtained by SCNG.

“Accountability is Teri’s favorite word,” Kalandadze said. “She wants everyone to be accountable. Where is the accountability for Teri?” McKeever has declined SCNG’s requests for comment...

Full story at


*Prior posts at: and

A Cautionary Tale About Remote Education

The NY Times carries a cautionary tale about remote education. Excerpts below:

Accused of Cheating by an Algorithm, and a Professor She Had Never Met: An unsettling glimpse at the digitization of education

Kashmir Hill, May 27, 2022 

A Florida teenager taking a biology class at a community college got an upsetting note this year. A start-up called Honorlock had flagged her as acting suspiciously during an exam in February. She was, she said in an email to The New York Times, a Black woman who had been “wrongfully accused of academic dishonesty by an algorithm.”

What happened, however, was more complicated than a simple algorithmic mistake. It involved several humans, academic bureaucracy and an automated facial detection tool from Amazon called Rekognition. Despite extensive data collection, including a recording of the girl, 17, and her screen while she took the test, the accusation of cheating was ultimately a human judgment call: Did looking away from the screen mean she was cheating? ...

Honorlock, based in Boca Raton, Fla., was founded by a couple of business school graduates who were frustrated by classmates they believed were gaming tests. The start-up administered nine million exams in 2021, charging about $5 per test or $10 per student to cover all the tests in the course. Honorlock has raised $40 million from investors, the vast majority of it since the pandemic began.

Keeping test takers honest has become a multimillion-dollar industry, but Honorlock and its competitors, including ExamSoft, ProctorU and Proctorio, have faced major blowback along the way: widespread activism, media reports on the technology’s problems and even a Senate inquiry. Some surveilled test takers have been frustrated by the software’s invasiveness, glitches, false allegations of cheating and failure to work equally well for all types of people...

The Florida teenager’s biology professor, Jonelle Orridge, ... distant, her interactions with students taking place by email, as she assigned readings and YouTube videos. The exam this past February was the second the teenager had taken in the class. She set up her laptop in her living room in North Lauderdale making sure to follow a long list of rules set out in the class syllabus and in an Honorlock drop-down menu: Do not eat or drink, use a phone, have others in the room, look offscreen to read notes, and so on.

The student had to pose in front of her laptop camera for a photo, show her student ID, and then pick her laptop up and use its camera to provide a 360-degree scan of the room to prove she didn’t have any contraband material. She didn’t mind any of this, she said, because she hoped the measures would prevent others from cheating.

“You were flagged by Honorlock,” Dr. Orridge wrote. “After review of your video, you were observed frequently looking down and away from the screen before answering questions.” She was receiving a zero on the exam, and the matter was being referred to the dean of student affairs. “If you are found responsible for academic dishonesty the grade of zero will remain,” Dr. Orridge wrote. “This must be a mistake,” the student replied in an email. “I was not being academically dishonest. Looking down does not indicate academic dishonesty.” ...

The New York Times has reviewed the video. Honorlock recordings of several other students are visible briefly in the screen capture, before the teenager’s video is played.

The student and her screen are visible, as is a partial log of time stamps, including at least one red flag, which is meant to indicate highly suspicious behavior, just a minute into her test. As the student begins the exam, at 8:29 a.m., she scrolls through four questions, appearing to look down after reading each one, once for as long as 10 seconds. She shifts slightly. She does not answer any of the questions during the 50-second clip. It’s impossible to say with certainty what is happening in the video. What the artificial intelligence technology got right is that she looked down. But to do what? She could be staring at the table, a smartphone or notes. The video is ambiguous...

The Times analyzed images from the student’s Honorlock video with Amazon Rekognition. It was 99.9 percent confident that a face was present and that it was sad, and 59 percent confident that the student was a man...

The teenager graduated from Broward College this month. She remains distraught at being labeled a cheater and fears it could happen again. “I try to become like a mannequin during tests now,” she said.

Of course, there are partial solutions to the problem identified in the article. Courses that require something other than a closed-book exam do not require artificial proctoring. Courses that do require such exams could require students who had been taking the course remotely to come to a central location to take the exam (a solution that may not be available in pandemics). We have noted in past posts that watching a "Sunrise Semester" college course on TV and then coming to a central place for exams is a concept that goes back to the 1950s:

Nonetheless, we are stuck with the reality that online education can deliver "content" and even some interaction. But it is not a perfect substitute for in-person instruction.

Friday, May 27, 2022

We are not alone

Our prior post reported that UCLA was reinstating its mask mandate and other rules, at least through the end of the spring quarter. But we're not alone:

From KEYT: UC Santa Barbara will reinstate its indoor masking mandate in all classrooms and other indoor campus shared spaces starting Friday – just weeks before the spring quarter and academic year are set to end, according to the Office of the Chancellor.

"Case numbers are significantly increasing in Santa Barbara County and here on campus," Chancellor Henry Yang's office said in a statement released Thursday.

"With our shared goal of supporting our students, as well as our dedicated staff and faculty, to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, we will require indoor masking on our campus during the remaining weeks of instruction and through finals and commencement weekend." ... 

Full story at

The past is not past

From the BruinUCLA announced in a campuswide email Thursday that it will reinstate universal indoor masking regulations effective Friday [today]. 

The reinstated guidelines will continue through the end of the quarter on June 15 and could be further extended, according to the announcement.

The change comes after UCLA recorded nearly 870 new COVID-19 cases in the past week, reflective of a countywide trend of rising infections.

Weekly testing and daily symptom monitoring will also continue to be required through June 15. Food and drink at indoor events are also strongly discouraged and, if organizers plan to serve food and drink, they should reserve a larger-capacity room, according to the updated guidelines. Organizers are also recommended to check that individuals are up to date on vaccinations and can socially distance themselves while eating and drinking...  

Full story at

And if you're looking for other health concerns to worry about, there is this from Jack Ohman of the Sacramento Bee:

Swimming in Scandal - Part 2

We posted yesterday about a budding scandal at Berkeley involving a swimming coach.* It appears now that the bud has opened:

From the San Francisco Chronicle: Teri McKeever, the UC Berkeley women’s swim coach, was placed on paid administrative leave Wednesday following accusations from more than two dozen people that she created a toxic environment by bullying student athletes.

Teri McKeever, the renowned UC Berkeley women’s swim coach, was placed on paid administrative leave Wednesday following accusations from more than two dozen people that she created a toxic environment by bullying student athletes.

Parents and former and current student athletes reported witnessing or experiencing verbal, emotional, homophobic and racially charged attacks by McKeever, 60. The alleged abuse, first reported Tuesday by the Orange County Register, led multiple students to consider killing themselves, according to the story in the Register.

“As reported, these allegations run counter to our core values and the expectations we have for every member of our department,” Cal Athletic Director Jim Knowlton said in a statement Wednesday. “As the person entrusted with the well-being of more than 1,000 student-athletes, coaches and staff, I have no greater responsibility than ensuring we do the right things in the right way. We will follow all university policies and protocols for investigating and addressing these allegations.”

McKeever has coached at UC Berkeley for three decades and had several stints coaching the U.S. Olympic women’s swim team. UC Berkeley has hired an external firm to conduct an investigation into the allegations reported by the Register, said Dan Mogulof, a spokesperson for the university.




Thursday, May 26, 2022

The Way We Live Now

I guess we have to post this tutorial again, given recent events. Click on link below:

Swimming in Scandal

There seems to be a scandal developing around women's swimming at Berkeley. Yesterday, there was a lengthy news article dealing with alleged bullying by a coach.* Today there is a report of a walkout by swimmers. See below:

From the Orange County RegisterCal women’s swim team members walked out of a Wednesday morning practice without training after briefly meeting with Golden Bears head coach Teri McKeever, the Southern California News Group has learned.

Cal athletic director Jim Knowlton associate AD Gordon Bayne and Graig Chow, the school’s director of high performance and well-being, have scheduled a meeting with Golden Bears swimmers after Wednesday’s afternoon practice.

The meeting comes a week after Cal was first informed of allegations uncovered in an SCNG investigation into alleged bullying and verbal and mental abuse by McKeever. It also comes amid increasing calls from current and former Cal swimmers and their families and supporters for McKeever’s firing, along with the firings of Knowlton and Jennifer Simon-O’Neill, the athletic department’s senior women’s administrator and a close friend of McKeever’s, for their handling of a series of prior complaints against the coach...

Cal’s response to the report in the 30 hours after it was posted has frustrated, confused and angered current swim team members and their parents. The school declined to address the allegations choosing instead to release a statement mid-day Tuesday. “We are deeply concerned by what our student-athletes have reported,” the statement read. “There is nothing more important to the university than the safety and well-being of our students, and it is that commitment which will guide and inform how we respond to all that has been reported..." ...

Full story at


*Excerpt: In interviews with SCNG, 19 current and former Cal swimmers, six parents, and a former member of the Golden Bears men’s team portray McKeever as a bully who for decades has allegedly verbally and emotionally abused, swore at and threatened swimmers on an almost daily basis, pressured athletes to compete or train while injured or dealing with chronic illnesses or eating disorders, even accusing some women of lying about their conditions despite being provided medical records by them. The interviews, as well as emails, letters, university documents, recordings of conversations between McKeever and swimmers, and journal entries, reveal an environment where swimmers from Olympians, World Championships participants and All-Americans to non-scholarship athletes are consumed with avoiding McKeever’s alleged wrath. This preoccupation has led to panic attacks, anxiety, sleepless nights, depression, self-doubt, suicidal thoughts and planning, and in some cases self harm...

Full story at

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Heaps of Money

From SFGATE: The University of California has agreed to another massive round of settlements in response to sex abuse claims from hundreds of patients of former UCLA gynecologist-oncologist James Heaps, officials said Tuesday, raising the university's total payouts in the case to nearly $700 million. That total is believed to set a record for a public university in resolving such allegations.

The settlements disclosed Tuesday, according to a statement from UCLA Health, will total $374.4 million and resolve lawsuits that 312 women filed in state court. That followed a disclosure from UC this year that its Board of Regents agreed to pay $241.2 million to settle claims from 201 women who alleged that Heaps sexually abused them. (The number of plaintiffs who qualified for that round of settlement has varied slightly.) In addition, a state court last year approved a $73 million agreement reached on behalf of former patients of Heaps.

In all, UC's payouts as a result of the Heaps scandal have reached more than $688 million. That is a landmark sum for a public university. It surpassed the $500 million that Michigan State University agreed to pay in 2018 to resolve litigation in the sexual abuse scandal connected to disgraced sports doctor Larry Nassar. Another major payout came in January, when the University of Michigan agreed to pay $490 million to former patients of a sports doctor who alleged that he sexually abused them over many years.

Attorneys for plaintiffs in the Heaps cases described the UC payout as the largest sexual abuse settlement for a public university...

Full story at


PS: If you are wondering why we have not finished our analysis of last week's Regents meetings, it's because it takes time to work through the recordings. We have so far gotten through Tuesday and Wednesday morning and posted about those sessions. We will eventually get to Wednesday afternoon and Thursday. This is a busy week for yours truly. (We have completed the mechanical process of downloading and uploading the recordings for preservation on

They're Not Paying Attention (to the coming Gann Problem)

The Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) keeps trying to get the legislature and the governor to pay attention to the future fiscal problem caused by the State Appropriations Limit (SAL), also known as the Gann limit. Back in 1979, voters passed the Gann Limit, a cap on how much revenue the state could collect based on population growth and inflation. In the original version, when revenue exceeded the limit, the state had to give rebates to taxpayers. Essentially, by limiting revenue the state could keep, the Gann limit was intended to limit expenditures. 

Because the state fell into a recession soon thereafter, the Gann limit was not reached until the late 1980s. When it was, rebates went out. A subsequent proposition modified and largely gutted the limit until the dot-com boom came along. But just as the state began bumping up against the modified limit, the dot-com boom turned into the dot-com bust, and the limit quickly faded away as a budgetary issue.

Nowadays, however, we are again bumping against the limit. And there is an additional problem. Because of other ballot-box budgeting, we have large elements of state spending geared by formulas to revenue. But the Gann limit says some of that revenue is not available for spending. So, the LAO keeps pointing out, even if there is no recession in the next few years - a circumstance that is normally associated with robust revenues and budgeting - we have a fiscal problem in that the net effect of voter-enacted policies is that each extra incoming dollar will require more than a dollar of spending, as the chart below - from the latest (futile?) LAO attempt to get the legislature's attention - shows.

It's another reason not to put a lot of confidence in the so-called multiyear budget compact UC thinks it has with the state.

Source of chart (issued yesterday):

So far, the main expression of the Gann limit is that the governor proposes various rebates that keep us just below the limit. But the chart shows that this approach will become harder to implement in future years. And, in an election year, this future problem is not something that anyone in Sacramento wants to worry about right now.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

You Don't Have to Be Nervous After All

Yesterday, we noted that an abrupt change was being made as of today in UCLA's Duo Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) prompt when logging in.* (The planned change did not apply to those on the UCLA Health system.) Apparently, the change was being made to prevent a(nother) security breach.

As a service to blog readers, yours truly has tried the new system this morning and it worked without any problems.



Briefs on the Pending Harvard/U of North Carolina Cases - Part 2

The NY Times carries an analysis of a brief filed in the Harvard/U of North Carolina cases before the US Supreme Court that makes a statutory - rather than a constitutional - argument against affirmative action in admissions. As we have noted in the past, UC's admissions practices - in the event that the Court rules against affirmative action - might be defended by the argument that UC complies with California's Prop 209, which bans affirmative action. There would be some irony in that defense, since the Regents unsuccessfully supported the recent attempt to repeal Prop 209. 

Note: The Jonathan F. Mitchell in the article below is no relation of yours truly.

Perhaps some legal experts might care to comment. 

A Conservative Lawyer’s New Target After Abortion: Affirmative Action

By Adam Liptak, May 23, 2022, NY Times

Jonathan F. Mitchell, the architect of the law that sharply curtailed abortions in Texas, filed a brief in the Supreme Court the other day. He has moved on to affirmative action. The filing has elicited rueful admiration from supporters of race-conscious admissions programs in higher education. “This brief supplies conservative justices with what they may well deem an enticing, elegant approach to dismantling affirmative action,” said Justin Driver, a law professor at Yale. The Texas law Mr. Mitchell helped devise was diabolical, critics said, in managing to insulate a ban on most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy from effective judicial review. His new friend-of-the-court brief, by contrast, made a simple point. He told the justices that they need not decide whether affirmative action is barred by the Constitution. All they need do, he wrote, is apply the plain language of a federal civil rights law, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars race discrimination by institutions that receive federal money.

The Supreme Court, which will hear arguments this fall in challenges to the admissions programs at Harvard and the University of North Carolina, has long held that the statute mirrors the Constitution’s equal protection clause. If an admissions program satisfies the Constitution, the court said, it must also be lawful under Title VI. That was a mistake, Mr. Mitchell wrote. His argument relies on textualism, which is the dominant mode of statutory interpretation at the Supreme Court these days, and not only on the political right. “We are all textualists now,” Justice Elena Kagan, a liberal, famously said.

Textualism is focused on the words of the statutes lawmakers have enacted rather than on their intentions or expectations. It can lead to results that please liberals, as when the court ruled in 2020 in Bostock v. Clayton County that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protected gay and transgender workers. The plain words of that provision, which barred discrimination based on sex, required the result, Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, a conservative, wrote for the majority. It did not matter, he wrote, that the lawmakers who had voted for the statute did not understand that they were striking a blow for gay rights.

Soon after the Bostock decision landed, Jeannie Suk Gersen, a law professor at Harvard, wrote in The New Yorker that “the court’s opinion also has some potential land mines for liberals” and that “there is reason to think that Bostock’s formalist articulations on discrimination will bolster a conservative decision to dismantle race-conscious admissions policies.” Last week, Professor Gersen said Mr. Mitchell’s approach “is likely a convincing strategy for Justice Gorsuch at a minimum and probably other justices” and “avoids more difficult constitutional questions, making it easier for the court to hold that considering race in admissions is unlawful.”

Mr. Mitchell’s brief, filed on behalf of America First Legal Foundation, a conservative group led by senior members of the Trump administration, said that “the command of Title VI is clear, unambiguous and absolute.” The statute says: “No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.” The equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, by contrast, says that “no state” shall “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

In the past, the Supreme Court has said the statute tracks the Constitution, relying on statements from lawmakers who had voted for it. “Examination of the voluminous legislative history of Title VI,” Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr. wrote in his controlling opinion in 1978 in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, “reveals a congressional intent to halt federal funding of entities that violate a prohibition of racial discrimination similar to that of the Constitution.” Mr. Mitchell wrote that Justice Powell’s consideration of legislative history was both illegitimate and incomplete, as “there are plenty of floor statements from legislators who insisted that Title VI would indeed require colorblindness, in accordance with the unambiguous statutory text.”

...A ruling based on the statute...would leave open, at least theoretically, the possibility of further legislation. Harvard could also, Mr. Mitchell wrote, turn down federal money. Harvard, for its part, told the justices that Congress is free to revise Title VI if it disagrees with the Supreme Court’s conclusion that it mimics the equal protection clause. “If Congress wanted to amend Title VI to prohibit private universities from considering race in admissions, it could do so,” the brief said, “but it has not.”

Full story at


The brief is at

Monday, May 23, 2022

Does this make you nervous?

From email received this morning.

Dear Bruin Community:

I write this message to inform the campus community that there are changes coming to the look and feel of the Duo Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) prompt when logging in to services with UCLA Single Sign-On (SSO).

UCLA utilizes Duo Security as our vendor for MFA integration, and the company has announced an updated version of the MFA prompt named “Universal Prompt.” To address a critical security vulnerability, UCLA needs to convert to Universal Prompt on Tuesday, May 24, 2022.

You may notice the following when logging in and utilizing the new MFA prompt:

  • The look and feel of Universal Prompt will be different but it will support the same features (please see images below and on the Changes to the DUO Prompt page)

  • The MFA prompt will automatically perform the most secure method of authorizing your logon (e.g. Duo push) when the Universal Prompt is first used

  • The MFA prompt will automatically perform the last utilized authorization method on subsequent logins

  • To change MFA device options there will be an “Other Options” link at the bottom of the prompt

  • “Remember me for 12 hours” has been renamed to “Trust this browser?” which will be displayed on a separate screen and does not state the amount of time for which the browser will be trusted


Please note these changes do not apply to Mednet accounts using the UCLA Health login; UCLA Health is not implementing Universal Prompt at this time.

Please visit the Office of the Chief Information Security Officer website to see the updated look and feel. While these adjustments may take some getting used to, they will streamline the authentication process while improving the security accessibility of the tool. Thank you for your attention to these changes.


David Shaw
Chief Information Security Officer


It's the 1940s at Berkeley

As we have noted from time to time, there is a lot of Hollywood buzz about the new "Oppenheimer" movie now in production that will open in summer 2023. The latest is an item in SFGATE noting that a bunch of 1940s cars have appeared on the UC-Berkeley campus.*

J. Robert Oppenheimer was the UC-Berkeley physics professor who headed research on the Manhattan Project during World War II and is essentially the reason why UC still plays a management role at Los Alamos and the other two Dept. of Energy funded labs. 

I should point out that there was filming of the movie at UCLA before the cameras got to Berkeley: and

As we have also noted, yours truly has been teaching a course which has students watching a 7-part 1980 BBC series on Oppenheimer which I strongly recommend. It's better than a lot of what is now available on TV and streaming and is free on YouTube. Links are below:

Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:
Part 4:
Part 5:
Part 6:
Part 7:


* More photos with old cars at Berkeley can be found at this link.


PS: If you are wondering why we have not finished our analysis of last week's Regents meetings, it's because it takes time to work through the recordings. We have so far gotten through Tuesday and Wednesday morning and posted about those sessions. We will eventually get to Wednesday afternoon and Thursday. This is a busy week for yours truly. (We have completed the mechanical process of downloading and uploading the recordings for preservation on

Comment on Comment

An email was received by yours truly from Vicki Steele after she tried to post a comment on the blog and somehow did not succeed. I reproduce below the comment she was trying to post. It refers to a comment on a prior blog posting about the ceiling of the main dining room at the renovated Faculty Club at: (Click on comment)*

The photo above was one of a series taken recently by yours truly which triggered the original anonymous comment. 

See also which shows the ceiling of another room before and after the renovation. 


From Victoria Steele, Ph.D., Curator Emerita, UCLA Collections:

Hello, Anonymous. You must not be aware that the ceiling was originally painted white. Later it was partially stripped, so that it was neither "beautiful wood" or white, but a wood color that was splotched with white.

Included with the email above was the picture below:

We don't get a lot of comments on our blog posts. The Blogger platform on which this blog appears permits comments to be made anonymously. If you try and post a comment, there is a message that refers to not posting anonymously - a stipulation that was added when we began to get commercial comments, often posted anonymously. I have removed only commercial (advertising) comments that have occasionally been posted.
Final note: This posting has been significantly changed from the original at the request of Vicki Steele who did not intend for her original email to me to be posted. At her request, I have posted the comment she later sent that with the wording that she unsuccessfully tried to post as a comment. 

*The comment is reproduced below:

Anonymous said...

Wow, they painted over all the beautiful wood of the ceiling in the main dining room. Someone probably thought it was a "fresh, clean look" but what they achieved instead was a hospital cafeteria.