Sunday, July 31, 2022

Still Waiting...

You have probably seen the headlines that at the national level, there have been two quarters of declining real GDP. See below:

It is often said that two consecutive negative quarters mean a recession, but as the articles under those headlines point out, in the U.S. a recession is when the private National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) says there is one. Even use of NBER dating is a practice among economists; there is no legal authority behind the dating.

However, the data are contradictory. Labor market data - such as the series we follow for California (new weekly claims for unemployment benefits) remain at pre-pandemic levels. 

With regard to the labor market, we are starting from levels - both in California and the U.S. - in which there are reported labor shortages. So, in a slowdown, employers may "lay off" vacancies rather than real workers, thus limiting the effect of the real decline. In any case, as they say, we live in interesting times. We're still waiting for clear signs of the direction of the economy. And there are exogenous forces at play: Russia's war on Ukraine, new COVID variants, etc.

As always, the latest new claims data are at

Returning UC's Native American Artifacts

Click on chart to enlarge and clarify.

An AP article includes a searchable table concerning Native American artifacts in the hands of universities, museums, and other institutions that are supposed to be returned to tribes. UC-Berkeley tops the list. Above is the listing for all UC campuses. From the article:

...Some 870,000 Native American artifacts — including nearly 110,000 human remains — that should be returned to tribes under federal law are still in the possession of colleges, museums and other institutions across the country, according to an Associated Press review of data maintained by the National Park ServiceThe University of California, Berkeley tops the list, followed closely by the Ohio History Connection, the state’s historical society. State museums and universities in Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Alabama, Illinois and Kansas as well as Harvard University round out the other top institutions...

Dan Mogulof, an assistant vice chancellor at UC Berkeley, says the university is committed to repatriating the entire 123,000 artifacts in question “in the coming years at a pace that works for tribes.” ...

Full story at

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Date Confusion? Priorities?

From the Bruin: The Bruins were a focus of George Kliavkoff’s press conference at Pac-12 Football Media Day. But it had nothing to do with the gridiron. “As a conference, we are of course very disappointed by the decisions by USC and UCLA to leave the Pac-12 and a century of tradition and rivalries,” the Pac-12 commissioner said. Kliavkoff is referencing USC’s and UCLA’s moves to the Big Ten beginning in 2024, leaving the Pac-12 with 10 teams on the precipice of its monthlong media rights negotiations period with ESPN and FOX. Although the move has already been officially announced, Kliavkoff added that it will be rough sailing for the blue and gold in the coming months.

“I’d say UCLA is in a really difficult position,” Kliavkoff said. “Student-athletes, the families of student-athletes, the faculty, the staff, the politicians, the fans, the alumni – there’s a lot of really, really upset people with that decision.” UCLA has been called out by California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who said the school needs to publicly explain its decision after leaving the University of California Board of Regents in the dark in the lead up to the announcement. Newsom also said UCLA will have to find a way to honor its commitment to California, the other UC school in the Pac-12. Some ideas include forcing UCLA to pay an exit fee to Cal or split its Big Ten revenue with the Golden Bears, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Kliavkoff pointed to a UC Regents meeting scheduled for Oct. 17 – in which the Bruins will have to “defend” their decision to leave the Pac-12 – as the turning point in any final decisions. “Everything is wrapped up in that,” Kliavkoff said. For now, though, UCLA and USC will be members of the Pac-12 for at least the next two years...

Full article at

Note: There is only one problem here. According to the Regents website, there is no meeting scheduled on October 17. (Screenshot below.) Normally, the Regents meet in September and November, not October. Did he mean Nov. 17? Of course, the Regents could schedule a special meeting at any time.

And by the way, apart from date confusion, am I the only one who thinks that among the many issues facing the state - homelessness, poverty, pandemic, you name it - it's a bit odd for the governor to be focused on where UCLA plays football. Just saying...

UCLA Authorized? - Part 2 (Caveat Emptor Again)

A few days ago, ads started to pop up on Facebook from a financial firm aimed at UCLA-affiliated individuals. The ads seem to imply a UCLA connection. As we noted in our previous posting on this subject, the firm seems to be connected to a parent organization in New Hampshire that apparently tries to attract investments from alumni of various universities.* There is at least one SEC complaint.

Yours truly again advises caution about making any investments with this company.

Where's the money?

Response to questions of why he robbed banks.
In case you were wondering about the financial aspect of various UC majors, there is information in the UC "Accountability Report" that was presented to the Regents at their last meetings.*

Below is a listing of inflation-adjusted data by field from page 65 of the Report. It's probably not surprising that computer science majors come out on top. So, if Willie Sutton had been a UC graduate and had been asked why he majored in computer science, we know what he would have answered:

Click to enlarge and clarify.


Friday, July 29, 2022

Remember When Satanic Mills Referred to Old Factories?

Nowadays, there is another kind of Satanic Mill afflicting academia, particularly in the sciences. Read on:

US lawmakers have warned that fake research papers risk compromising trust in the entire scientific system, as artificial intelligence (AI) makes it ever easier for so-called paper mills to fool journals into accepting made up articles.

Some estimates suggest hundreds of thousands of fake papers could exist in the human genomics literature alone. Paper mills have also managed to impersonate guest journal editors to wave through hundreds of their own fraudulent articles. “The automation arms race is upon us,” warned Democratic congressman Bill Foster in a hearing of the US House of Representatives’ science, space and technology committee last week.

Click on image to enlarge.

To prove his point, Foster, along with another representative, created a fake nuclear physics paper using a text generator that easily evaded plagiarism detectors. “The creation of hundreds of papers – complete with figures and citations – becomes the work of an afternoon, much to the disgust of real scientists who might spend months on a single paper,” said Foster.

Fraud in scientific work will undermine honest academics’ work, and could have “disastrous” effects if it ends up influencing policy or public behavior, warned congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, who chairs the committee. Concern around paper mills has existed for at least a decade, but improvements in AI image and text generation have made fake paper production possible on an industrial scale. Now, with last week’s congressional hearing, there is high level political attention focused on what it could do to the scientific system.

“This is the first time the US Congress has been interested,” said Chris Graf, research integrity director at scientific publisher Springer Nature, and one of those who testified at the hearing, told Science|Business.

Paper mills use AI tools to create realistic-seeming papers that are submitted to journals, normally many at a time. They then sell authorship spots on those journals to academics willing to pay for authorship. This might then earn the academic a bonus or promotion. One Latvia-based paper mill uncovered by a publishers’ report last month claims to have sold close to 13,000 articles into real journals. But Graf said publishers often didn’t know where the mills were based because they conceal their locations...

Full story at

Getting Out from Under

UCLA, Under Armour drop dueling litigation over $280 million sportswear deal

Orange County Register | City News Service | 7-28-22

UCLA and Under Armour Inc. have dropped dueling litigation that began when the university sued the company alleging that the firm wrongfully reneged on its $280 million sports apparel deal with the school in 2020 and cited the pandemic. A lawyer for the UC Regents, acting on behalf of UCLA, filed court papers with Santa Monica Superior Court Judge H. Jay Ford III asking that all litigation be dismissed “with prejudice,” meaning it cannot be refiled. The court papers do not state whether a settlement was reached, but lawyers in the case told the judge during a June 2 hearing that settlement talks were in progress. The UC Regents sued Baltimore-based Under Armour in September 2020, alleging that Under Armour told UCLA it was invoking a clause in the agreement due to the coronavirus pandemic to terminate the contract...

The judge, in denying a motion by Under Armour to dismiss the case last August, concluded that the company did not show that its cancellation of the contract was specifically allowed under the clause cited...

In its countersuit filed last Sept. 15, Under Armour alleged UCLA breached the record-breaking contract by failing to provide marketing benefits while teams were unable to perform due to the suspension of college sports in 2020 due to the pandemic. Under Armour also alleged UCLA violated a separate agreement by using social justice patches to cover up the brand’s logo on uniforms provided to the university after the original sponsorship deal was terminated...

UCLA announced a new deal with Nike’s Jordan brand in December 2020.

Full story at and UCOP Daily News Clips.

UPDATE: The LA Times reports that the settlement referred to above involves a payment of over $61 million to UCLA:

Resolution on Hawaiian Telescope?

As it turned out, the meetings of the Regents last week managed to have two public comment sessions in which nobody mentioned the Hawaiian telescope (TMT) project in which UC has an interest. A recent article suggests that there is now a process in place in Hawaii that could produce a resolution:

A new law is putting astronomy back in the hands of Native Hawaiians: It's a huge first step in Native Hawaiians' fight to regain stewardship of Mauna Kea, the planned site for the Thirty Meter Telescope

Popular Science, 7-27-22, Tatyana Woodall

Earlier this month, Hawaiian Governor David Ige signed legislation that transfers control of Mauna Kea—one of two large mountains that dominate the Hawaiian landscape and where some of the world’s most powerful observatories call home—away from the University of Hawai’i and back to Native Hawaiians. The new law declares astronomy as a state policy of Hawaii, which means that in addition to the scientific knowledge it brings, the state sees the field as an important contributor to jobs and the economy. It also establishes the Mauna Kea Stewardship and Oversight Authority, an 11-member voting group that will now have majority authority over how the land is managed. According to the bill, the group’s responsibilities will also include building a new framework for the development of astronomy research on the islands, limiting commercial use and activities on Mauna Kea’s land, and requiring the “timely decommissioning” of certain telescopes. 

The governor is expected to select members of the new authority soon: The deadline for the public to submit their names into the application pool for a seat is July 28, but the law includes that the group must include one member who is a “lineal descendant” of a practitioner of Native Hawaiian traditions associated with the mountain, and another who is currently a recognized practitioner of those Native Hawaiian traditional practices. That stipulation is especially important as it’s the first time community experts and practitioners will be able to make those kinds of decisions for their community.  

While the University of Hawai’i has until 2028 to officially hand off its management duties to the group, locals like native activist Noe Noe Wong-Wilson are optimistic about the change. She and others note that it feels like policy makers are finally listening to Native Hawaiians’ voices regarding the stewardship and care of their own community. “This is the first time with the new authority that cultural practitioners and community members will actually have seats in the governing organization,” says Wong-Wilson, who is the executive director of the Lālākea Foundation, a nonprofit Native Hawaiian cultural organization. Wong-Wilson, who is a member of the working group that helped develop the bill proposal, says that the choice to bring in people and ideas from all over the community is what helped make the new law a reality. 

She adds that the law’s mutual stewardship model takes into account all human activities on the mountain, and is designed to help “protect Mauna Kea for future generations,” as Native Hawaiians believe the mountain is a sacred place—a part of their spirituality as well as their culture. But years of mismanagement has created a mistrust in the state’s stakeholders, which included the University and Hawaiian government officials, and deepened a rift between Indigenous culture and western science. 

Mauna Kea has been a hot spot for astronomical research since the first large telescopes broke ground on the summit in the early 1970s. The height of the mountain, the torrid atmosphere, and the natural lack of light pollution make the dormant volcano an exquisite location for observing the sky. But Native Hawaiians say that placing too many facilities on the land, including large observatories, draws in activity that puts an immense strain on the environment and its fragile ecosystem. “In Hawaii, there’s always tension about tourism, and overuse of some of our environmentally sensitive spaces for recreational use,” Wong-Wilson says.

Thirteen telescopes already operate atop Mauna Kea, with a fourteenth that, if and when completed, will sit about 18 stories tall. The long-planned Thirty Meter Telescope, is “in its own way, poised to have a comparable impact as the James Webb Space Telescope,” says Doug Simons, the director of the University of Hawai’i Institute for Astronomy. Although it was proposed nearly a decade ago, its construction has been repeatedly halted by protestors who have blocked access to the mountain. While the TMT would be able to help scientists study distant supernovae and teach us more about how stars and planets form, Simons says that local researchers within the observatory community need to be prepared for several outcomes when it comes to astronomy’s fate on the mountain. “This is essentially a big experiment,” Simons says. “There’s a tremendous amount of hard work ahead, and a constrained amount of time to achieve what this new authority needs to achieve.” 

In the current land use agreements made by the University, all of the mountain’s telescopes are committed to cease operations and come down by 2033. The TMT could still continue construction until then, but as of now, the new bill includes a moratorium on any new leases or lease extensions. It’s unclear whether that could stymie the TMT’s future science goals or if the new authority will choose to issue new leases, but Robert Kirshner, executive director for the TMT International Observatory (TIO), says the team behind the observatory supports the new bill. “TIO welcomes this community-based stewardship model for Maunakea’s management,” wrote Kirshner in an email to Popular Science. “We value the respect, responsibility, caring, and inclusivity that this act is intended to foster.” He added that the observatory will work with the new authority to support astronomy and education programs that are in harmony with the culture and environment on the mountain. 

Trisha Kehaulani Watson, a Native Hawaiian and the vice president of Aina Momona, a non-profit dedicated to achieving environmental sustainability on the islands, says while it’s still too early to tell if the new law is truly a victory, she hopes people understand the value of involving Indigenous communities in the conversation before taking advantage of their resources. “I strongly believe that had the University better engaged and invited people with different viewpoints into the fold from the start in regards to management, we wouldn’t be here today,” says Watson. “How [the law] will sort out for the community, I think time will tell, but I certainly think it’s a step in the right direction.”


Thursday, July 28, 2022

High Demand for UCLA

Yesterday, we took note of Chancellor Block's presentation on UCLA enrollment growth planning including the possibility of creating a satellite campus and more use of the summertime.* The chart above shows freshman applications by UC campus. Note that UCLA receives far more freshman applications than any other campus.

Similarly, when it comes to transfer applications - see below, the same phenomenon occurs; more to UCLA than any other campus.

Note that the admit rates currently for UC-Merced and UC-Riverside are quite high now, Yet the political pressure from the legislature to increase enrollment is what is driving the agenda. So, the question is whether what the legislature really wants is more enrollment anywhere, or more enrollment to certain campuses. If it is the latter, even with satellite campuses and increased summertime use, the political pressure will continue.

The charts are from the UC Accountability Report, available at:




On a less serious note, there must be a reason that the Accountability Report has a phonograph record on the cover featuring "What Now My Love" (with no question mark).** Putting aside the punctuation issue, does My Love really want to know about admission data? Just wondering...


**The actual record did not have a question mark.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

UCLA Authorized?

If you are on Facebook and affiliated with UCLA in some way, you may have received the ad shown on the right. It is unclear whether this commercial venture is authorized to use the UCLA name. (At least one "reply" to the ad raised that question.)

Yours truly clicked on the ad and was taken to what appears to be a New Hampshire company - Alumni Ventures - which suggests the parent firm markets to other universities using the alumni appeal through local affiliates. There is also an SEC complaint listed:

I have flagged the ad for the powers-that-be at UCLA. In the meantime, caveat emptor.


UPDATE (7-29-22): Another Facebook ad has appeared from the same company:

The Hastings Name Change Issue Continues - Part 3

Board of Directors for UC Hastings College of Law Votes to Rename School 

Alaina Lancaster, The Recorder, 7-27-22 

The Board of Directors for University of California, Hastings College of the Law voted to decouple the founder of the school from its name, in recognition of his reported role in financing and ordering the removal of native people that resulted in the genocide of several hundred Yuki Indians in Northeast Mendocino County. On Wednesday, the school’s board of directors unanimously voted to rename the school College of the Law, San Francisco, following the recommendation of a committee charged with considering new names. Following the vote, the legislature will consider legislation that will eliminate the name of Serranus Hastings, California’s first chief justice, whom historians have tied to the genocide of Yuki Indians in 1859 and 1860, two decades before he founded the law school. 


Faculty Club Reopening - Part 2

Email received today from UCLA Faculty Club:


Join us Thursday, August 4th from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm for a delicious barbecue meal. Enjoy a wide selection of specialty items like braised short ribs dripping in sauce, fresh grilled salmon, or mouthwatering vegetarian skewers. To make it a perfect meal, pair it with your choice of wine, a cold beverage, or a Faculty Club signature cocktail. 


Watch the Regents Meetings of July 21, 2022

We continue with out discussion of what happened at the Regents last week, albeit a week late in the case of this post. Links to the recordings are provided below, since the Regents delete their recordings after one year.

At the second day of the Regents meetings last week, public comments included undocumented students and SB 1141 (in-state tuition and other matters),* fossil fuels, the proposed Munger Hall at UC-Santa Barbara, abortion, etc., at affiliated Catholic hospitals, and labor relations matters. 

After various statements by student leaders and the chair of the UC Staff Association, the Regents voted to replace Anne Shaw - who has now retired as Chief of Staff to the Regents - with an interim chief: Tricia Lyall. (The Chief of Staff is the person you see at meetings who calls the roll, etc.)

There was considerable discussion of increasing enrollment. As we noted in a posting yesterday, one option is the creation of satellite campuses for those that are space-constrained.** In particular, there was discussion of UCLA by Chancellor Block; UCLA is definitely among the space-constrained campuses. In his presentation on how UCLA plans to expand enrollment, Block listed:

-Making the summer session into a real summer quarter, albeit with modifications in recognition there would be need to modify the quarter through such measures as online courses and scheduling at off-hours.

-Adding a satellite campus.

-Creating internships in the LA area.

-A "program" - but not a satellite campus - in downtown LA.

Later in the discussion, he was asked by Regents Chair Leib (who was Zooming in because of COVID), where the satellite for UCLA might be located. He mentioned Santa Clarita - where there are already archives - and San Pedro (the Port of LA) and perhaps the AltaSea project (mentioned by Leib) - but said the buildings at AltaSea are in bad shape.

When yours truly Googled AltaSea, he found a lot of puffery (with pretty pictures of buildings that don't seem in bad shape), some kind of connection between AltaSea and USC, and no clear information on what the AltaSea organization really is, who or what is paying for it, etc.

Since UCLA's plans may be of special interest to blog readers, below is a video of 1) Block's presentation to the Regents on enrollment expansion, and 2) the Leib-Block interchange on a UCLA satellite campus.

Or direct to

There was finally discussion of COVID and, in particular, COVID policy at UC-San Diego. It was said that expert opinion is now that herd immunity cannot be achieved because the immunity given either by actual infection or vaccination wears off too quickly. 

Links to the videos of the July 21st sessions are below:

Full program:


Health Services, Governance, Board:

Note: The scheduled joint meeting of Academic and Student Affairs Committee and Finance and Capital Strategies Committee was postponed to a later meeting.


*SB 1141 is at and refers to CSU and the community colleges. It does not directly affect UC, but has features that may facilitate transfers to UC.



Note: Prof. David Saltzberg of Physics and Astronomy won our name-that-satellite contest yesterday with the correct answer: Telstar. Telstar was the first satellite that could transmit live TV pictures, allowing instant communication from abroad for 18 minutes when it passed overhead. (It was not geostationary so pictures were transmitted only in that interval.) Telstar was such a wonder that there was a major demonstration of it on US and European TV with images of the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower shown live. For the history:

A hit record - Telstar - was one result of this public interest:

Or direct to

Because the hit record was instrumental, someone added words and various versions under the name "Magic Star" also became popular. Here is one such recording:

Or direct to

Tuesday, July 26, 2022


From the LA Times:

Abortion pills will soon be easily and cheaply available to students at the University of California and California State University under a state law aimed at expanding access to the medication to college students, a move that could become a flashpoint for antiabortion groups vowing to challenge it. The pills will be available through campus medical centers starting Jan. 1, 2023, when a 2019 law takes effect that made California the first state in the nation to require public universities to offer the pills... Up to 6,228 UC and CSU students a year seek a medical abortion, according to a 2018 report from UC San Francisco...

Full story at

Satellite UC Campuses?

Not this kind of satellite.
Not the kind in space - just in different geographic locations from the main location for those campuses - presumably such as UCLA - that have run out of room. UCLA's campus is said to be the smallest in geographical terms. This discussion - see below - is linked to the pressure to increase UC enrollment.

New chair of UC Board of Regents talks about creating ‘satellite campuses’

EdSource, 7-25-22, Betty Márquez Rosales

The new chair of the University of California Board of Regents, Rich Leib, spoke favorably recently of expanding UC San Diego further south into Chula Vista.

In an interview with the San Diego Union-Tribune,  Lieb suggested the idea of “satellite campuses” to allow for existing UC campuses to “expand beyond their current physical campuses.” Such expansions could offer a potential solution to the issue of capacity, he said in the interview.

Leib also suggested collaborating with the California State University and California Community College systems, offering Sacramento City College’s branch of UC Davis as an example.

Leib was appointed as a regent by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2018 and will serve until 2026. He is one of 26 members who are part of the UC Board of Regents.


PS: Anyone want to tell me which satellite is depicted above? Old timers may recognize it. Hint: There was a hit song about it.

Monday, July 25, 2022

CalPERS Spillover Effects

Any time there is bad news from CalPERS, as in the case of today's headlines about Russian investment losses, it's bad news for UCRP. Of course, the two pension funds are unconnected. But bad CalPERS news - CalPERS has had more than its share of scandals and bad headlines - reflects on public pension funds generally and thus on UC's fund. It's a political problem.

As for the Russian problem, we noted in an earlier post that UCRP has very little Russian exposure.*

If you want to read about CalPERS' Russian problems, the article is at:


More NIL

Apart from the governor's sudden interest in UCLA's proposed move to the Big Ten, we have noted in the past the legislature's interest in the concept of NIL (name, image, likeness) funds that student-athletes are now allowed to receive.*

Meanwhile, UCLA is continuing to unveil a NIL program of its own. From the LA Times:

One year into the NIL era, the newest moneymaking endeavor to reach Westwood is rich in novelties. It will be run by Bruins athletes from every sport. They will make the decisions. They will raise the money. They will design the program centered on community outreach and fan engagement.

The athletes will profit by showing up to events, serving on an advisory board and fundraising. Show them the money, yes, but also watch them show you the many ways they can galvanize the UCLA sports community... The concept was created by BFA [Bruin Fan Alliance] chairman Gene Karzen, a UCLA alumnus who took $50,000 in seed money to start the nonprofit organization that will be athlete-driven, such former Bruins stars as Olympic gold medalist hurdler Dawn Harper-Nelson working in an advisory capacity with current athletes to craft the program...

Karzen also envisioned a program in which the collective recruited at-risk kids with athletic talent and put them on 15 to 20 club-style teams, each coached by a UCLA athlete. The collective would provide tutoring, life counseling and nutritional support with the hope of landing each kid an athletic or academic college scholarship, some of those kids possibly ending up in Westwood as part of the philanthropy...

Full story at

Readers will note that the article above is short on details. Some athletes (and sports) will clearly have more potential for NIL money generation than others. Are they compelled to share their revenue? 

And, of course, one might note that there are bigger issues in the state for the legislature and governor to worry about than NIL revenue and Big Ten participation. Just saying...


*SB 1401, we have previously noted, seeks to regulate the practice, As amended, the bill would create funds to help student-athletes complete their degrees. See and

UC Dissertations & Lots More at California Digital Library

From a recent news release by the UC California Digital library. The CDL can be found at If you are unfamiliar with it, it is worth visiting this online library.

Thousands of older dissertations from UCSF newly available in eScholarship

Author: Katie Fortney

Over three thousand dissertations and theses digitized from UCSF’s archives, originally submitted to the university between 1965 and 2006, were added to eScholarship this year. These titles cover topics as disparate as the pregnancy experiences of black women, AIDS and identity in the gay press of the 1980s, and models for examining the clearance of drugs from the liver. Before the project was undertaken to add these dissertations and theses to eScholarship, accessing them was challenging: you may have been able to find one in a database if you were at a subscribing institution, but if the title was old enough, your only option might have been to travel to California and visit a library storage facility. 

This is the case with dissertation literature around the world, especially older dissertations. Unique work produced by graduate students at thousands of academic institutions, representing their intellectual labor and that of their advisors and committees, sits behind paywalls or worse. As a result, researchers are often thwarted in trying to track down a citation to what sounds like the perfect source for their own studies.

“I am extremely proud of the tremendous amount of work completed by everyone associated with this project,” commented Christian Sweatt. Sweatt is the Student Services Advisor in the UCSF Graduate Division Dean’s Office. Sweatt continued, “Not only does open access further UC’s mission to make our students’ research freely accessible to anyone who is interested, but this project also enables our students’ groundbreaking research to be discoverable, recognized on a much broader plane, easily referenced, and included in further research. This is a big win for everyone involved!”

Needhi Bhalla, now a professor at UC Santa Cruz, is the author of “Sister chromatid separation in budding yeast,” one of the recently opened dissertations. “Wow, I experienced so many emotions upon seeing the digital version of my thesis,” said Bhalla. “Being able to look back on my graduate work reminds me of how much work I did, some of which got formally published and some of which did not. I’m grateful to this project for making all of this information available through eScholarship.”

Newer dissertations and theses — going back to 2007 — had been submitted electronically and were already available in eScholarship. Making older works available, however, proved complex. Even though the volumes had already been scanned as part of UC’s work with the Google Books project and the HathiTrust Digital Library, many questions remained. What permissions did students grant the university when they filed their dissertation paperwork? How could the image files generated by the scanning process be converted to document files for eScholarship? Where would the record data come from, so that each document’s title and author displayed properly? Answering these questions and several more required the expertise of numerous people at UCSF and the California Digital Library.

Several meetings, rounds of trial and error, and problems solved later, these works of scholarship are now free to read for anyone in the world. On top of that, now that this pilot has established workflows for projects like this, other dissertations may be able to follow the same path and join them — and those from UC Davis that were recently opened up in HathiTrust — in finding new audiences.


Sunday, July 24, 2022

Watch the Regents' Afternoon Meetings of July 20, 2022

We continue our review of the Regents meetings of last week as time permits. As usual, we preserve the recordings and links are below because the Regents delete them after one year.

In the afternoon sessions of Wednesday, July 20th, the National Labs Committee spent only a few minutes approving an allocation of its revenue to various purposes. There was no discussion - just a vote. The Finance and Capital Strategies Committee divided its time between various capital projects - with one deferred until the September meetings because of time constraints. There was considerable discussion of the state budget and its UC component. During this discussion, there was much gushing about how generous the budget is to UC this fiscal year and praise for the "compact" agreement with the governor. 

Frankly, it seemed overblown. The Dept. of Finance has now provided more detail to its summary budget numbers. In terms of the general fund's spending on UC, we are due to receive $5.1 billion in 2022-23, up from $4.7 billion last year. That is an 8% increase. There is other funding that goes to UC for special purposes. To estimate what the total was including that funding, I took the total budget 2022-23 for UC of $46.4 billion and subtracted out federal funds and UC generated funds (such as tuition, research grants, etc.) and got a total of $5.3 billion from the state. I repeated the process for last year and got a total of $4.9 billion. Overall, the increase was 7.4%.*




So, while I understand the politics of gratitude, in loose terms the real budget was about the same as last year. Of course, it could always have been worse. But we do know the history of compacts is not good. They "work" when the state budget is not under stress. When things get tough, they are abandoned.

You will notice that 8% is less than the most recent inflation figure over 12 months which exceeded 9%. The California CPI estimates that the state derives from city estimates within California is only available through April at this time and it showed inflation of 7.7%.** Of course, none of this tells us for sure what inflation will be when 2022-23 is complete relative to 2021-22. And the mix of items in the goods and services "consumed" by UC is different from the consumption basket of the CPI. Still...




Finally, the Committee discussed a proposed ad hoc COLA (cost of living adjustment) for retirees under the pension plan whose purchasing power had fallen below 85% of their starting pensions. About 4,800 annuitants fell into this category, 900 of which had fallen below 75%. This erosion is due to fact that the built-in COLA of the pension plan gives retirees smaller increases than the CPI when inflation is over 2%. So, in an inflation environment above 2%, longer duration retirees begin to fall below 100% and eventually below a target number such as 75% or 85%. (The regular COLA for most pension recipients was 3.7% despite much higher inflation.)

In the past, the Regents from time to time surveyed the retirees and would periodically - but not regularly - make ad hoc adjustments for those below the target to bring them up to the target.*** The most recent such ad hoc adjustment was in 2001 when the target was 85%. So, the proposal was to repeat the 2001 adjustment. 


***Doing it irregularly was the Regents' method of trying to ensure that the adjustments would not at some point be seen as legally integral to the plan.


While the proposal was approved, there was some reluctance on the part of some Regents. Regent Perez wanted to revisit the whole defined benefit vs. defined contribution matter - not a bad idea by itself. But he pointed to the fact that the proposed ad hoc COLA wouldn't do anything for more recent cohorts who had larger portions (or all) of their retirement money in defined contribution accounts.

Regent Cohen - a former budget director under Gov. Jerry Brown - noted that back in 2001, the pension was 100% funded and now it isn't. While the $32.6 million this particular proposal would cost had only a small impact on the degree of underfunding, he didn't think that such adjustments in the future could be continued.

Although the links to the full session of the Committee are at the bottom of this blog post, you can see just the COLA discussion here: 


Or direct to


For the Academic and Student Affairs Committee, we'll let the Daily Cal tell the story: The Academic and Student Affairs Committee members unanimously approved a measure amending Regents Policy 2110 on augmented review in undergraduate admissions. The amendment would codify the removal of standardized testing from the admissions requirements for entrance into the UC system. Furthermore, it will combine seven separate policies on admissions into one Regents Policy on undergraduate admissions. In addition, two provisions were added that would ensure that non-California residents who are admitted to the UC system have, on average, a higher level of academic achievement than resident students.

In a review of a report on undergraduate admissions, the chair of the Board of Admissions and Relations with Schools Madeleine Sorapure reported key findings that demonstrated a 13% increase in total applications in 2021. “In 2021, UC also admitted more California residents than ever before,” Sorapure said. “The increase in applications in 2021 may be partly attributable to the elimination of standardized tests.” She added that 16.2% of California high school graduates were admitted, which exceeded the state’s mandate that the UC system should enroll students from the top 12.5% of state high school graduates. The report further found that the 2021 cycle represented the highest enrollment ever of first-generation, underrepresented and low-income students, with each of these communities representing more than a third of the total student-body population. The report also found that transfer applications and graduation rates were at their highest levels ever.

During discussion of the 51% yield rate for admitted students, UC regent Lark Park questioned what the academic senate is doing to raise the rates for Black and Indigenous applicants. Sorapure and faculty representative Robert Horwitz emphasized that such programs are mostly specific to campus. However, UCLA director of undergraduate admissions Gary Clark proposed that the senate may pressure**** faculty to run more individual programs to raise this yield rate.


****Why do I think Clark would not like this characterization and especially not like to see it in print?


“We do coordinate programs for our admitted students from underrepresented backgrounds and have programs where our faculty on campus help to coordinate programming for admitted students and their families,” Clark said at the meeting. “I just want to reinforce how extraordinarily helpful that is.”

Full story at


Links to the videos of the various committee sessions are below:

Full afternoon:

National Labs:

Finance and Capital Strategies:

Academic and Student Affairs:

Saturday, July 23, 2022


Confucius Institutes, such as the one at UCLA, have mainly disappeared because of their connection to the Chinese government. Yours truly was recently asked what happened to the one at UCLA. So he went back to the Wayback machine (see above) to see when it was last picked up. The last date was December 22, 2020, so it likely disappeared by the end of 2020. 

PS: If you are not aware of the Wayback machine, go to and familiarize yourself with it. It finds things that were on the web at one time but have disappeared.

Still No Sign of Economic Decline or Slowdown

On a weekly basis, we look at new weekly claims for unemployment benefits in California as a guide to state labor market and more general economic conditions. The figures remain in the pre-pandemic range and so do not indicate a slowdown or recession is occurring. As many have noted, there seems to be contradictory information coming from the standard economic indicators. First quarter real GDP declined. We are awaiting second quarter figures. Some forecasters have suggested a weak or possibly negative report from that measure. We will see.

As always, the latest claims data are at

More on the Harvard/North Carolina Affirmative Action Cases

From the LA Times: The Supreme Court on Friday took a step that will allow new Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman on the court, to take part in a case that could lead to the end of the use of race in college admissions. Jackson, who joined the court June 30 after the retirement of Justice Stephen G. Breyer, had pledged during her confirmation hearing to sit out the case involving Harvard’s admissions policy because she was a member of the school’s board.

The Harvard dispute had been joined to a similar lawsuit involving the University of North Carolina. The court split the case in two, allowing Jackson to hear arguments and vote in the North Carolina case. She will not participate in the Harvard case. Harvard is a private institution, while North Carolina is a public university. Jackson’s participation in the North Carolina case seems unlikely to make a difference in the outcome on a court with a 6-3 conservative majority that is skeptical of the role of race in education, voting and other areas...

Jackson was a member of Harvard’s Board of Overseers from 2016 until the spring. It is made up of alumni and is one of Harvard’s two governing bodies. She is a graduate both of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. Three other justices also got their law degrees from Harvard: Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Elena Kagan and Neil M. Gorsuch. Roberts also was a Harvard undergraduate and Kagan was the law school dean for a time...

Full story at


Since the two cases are now separated, and since the North Carolina case involves a public institution similar to UC, it is possible that the difference in composition of the justices in the two cases could result in separate outcomes, despite the skepticism expressed in the article above. As we have noted before, UC might well argue that since it complies with Prop 209 (anti-affirmative action initiative), whatever decision emerges from the cases would not affect its admission process. As we have also noted, if that outcome occurs, it will be ironic that the Regents unsuccessfully urged voters to repeal Prop 209 since it could become their future defense.

The Governor Is Annoyed About the Big Ten Decision - Part 4 (Open Secrets)

Yesterday, we raised questions about the legality of the closed Regents meeting on UCLA's move to the Big Ten.* As we noted, the rationale officially offered for a closed session discussion cited an Education Code section on secrecy needed for "litigation." But, as far as anyone knows, there is no litigation pending or even rumored. 

We do know that the governor - who normally doesn't attend Regents meetings even though he is an ex officio Regent - did attend the closed session. He spoke about his opinion BEFORE the session - so there is no secrecy about that. And, as the LA Times pointed out below, there is no secrecy about  UC's response. Specifically, there will be a presumably public report by August 17 from UC president Drake about this matter. In short, the secret meeting is becoming an open secret:

The University of California announced Thursday it will scrutinize UCLA’s Pac-12 exit and issue a public report on the effect on student-athletes and the ripple effect on UC Berkeley and other campuses. The request for a review came from the UC Board of Regents and Gov. Gavin Newsom, who demanded an explanation from UCLA on its planned move in August 2024 after he attended a closed-door regents meeting Wednesday about the matter in San Francisco. He has expressed concern about what he views as a lack of transparency by UCLA, which informed UC President Michael V. Drake about its conversations with Big Ten officials but did not consult with regents. Only a handful of UC regents were notified just before the decision was announced. UC Berkeley — the only UC campus that will be left behind in a weakened conference without UCLA and USC — will probably take a big financial hit...

Drake’s office will conduct and publicly present its findings and recommendations to the regents on or before Aug. 17. The report will assess several major areas. First, regents have asked for information on the effect of the Pac-12 move on UCLA and other UC campuses’ culture, operations and finances.

UCLA stands to gain big, touting its move to the Big Ten as a huge boost for its male and female athletes. In addition to the ability to compete for national titles across all sports and draw high-profile media exposure, the change in conferences will help secure the financial future of an athletic department facing an unprecedented $102.8-million deficit.**

A new Big Ten media rights deal including USC and UCLA, which is expected to yield in excess of $1 billion, could more than double the yearly payout the Bruins would have received by remaining in the Pac-12. Also, the move spares UCLA from a doomsday scenario it potentially faced — the elimination of some Olympic sports teams — because of diminished resources. But regents also want to know how other UC campuses will fare. UC Berkeley is bracing to lose millions in media revenue under a new TV contract in two years, which will probably be far less lucrative without USC and UCLA and the huge Southern California market.

Regents also want to know the effects of the move on UCLA’s student-athletes, including how the campus plans to address issues related to travel, competition schedules and academic support. As part of the Big Ten, UCLA student-athletes will play in the nation’s only conference spanning coast to coast, boosting recruiting efforts and enhancing their ability to secure lucrative name, image and likeness deals. But the longer travel distances and time zone differences could affect their health and academic achievement. Finally, UC will examine the regents’ policy that allows each university to control its athletics operations, and offer recommendations on policy changes necessary to ensure “proper oversight of major athletics-related decisions.” ...

Full story at

It is doubtful there is any recording of the closed session, but if there is, it should be made public. There surely are minutes which should now immediately be made public. If not, there should be an explanation as to what litigation justified closing the meeting.



**It's unclear whether this sum is a debt or a deficit. Most likely, it is the former. As blog readers will know from our coverage of state budgeting, news reports often confuse the two concepts.

Friday, July 22, 2022

The Governor Is Annoyed About the Big Ten Decision - Part 3 (Why Was the Discussion Closed?)

The AP speculated yesterday about the governor's concerns about UCLA moving to the Big Ten as reportedly expressed at a closed Regents meeting on Wednesday:

...The UC Board of Regents cannot force UCLA to reverse the decision. In 1991, campus chancellors were delegated authority by the UC Office of the President to execute their own contracts, including intercollegiate athletic agreements.  The regents though could require UCLA pay UC Berkeley an exit fee for leaving the Pac-12 or share TV revenues they will gain from a move to the Big Ten...

Full story at

Note that the entire session was closed  - so only the participants know for sure what went on. The closed session for this topic was supposed to be on Thursday according to the original agenda, but apparently the Regents used the closed session on Wednesday instead.* 

The grounds for closing the session on a topic in which there was an evident public interest is given in the agenda as "Litigation [Education Code §92032(b)(5)]." Note that the element that seemed to be of concern to the governor was the financial impact on Berkeley, not "litigation." If there is any litigation going on or pending, it is surprising that no one knows about it, again given the level of public interest. 

Note that other items for which there is litigation and for which there is closed discussion in fact list the specific cases. The cases are listed publicly on the agenda even though discussion about them was to be closed. No litigation case was listed on the agenda item related to the Big Ten.

Let's look at Education Code Section 92032(b)(5). It says:

(a) The Regents of the University of California, as occasioned by necessity, may hold special meetings. The regents shall give public notice for these meetings. This notice shall be given by means of a notice hand delivered or mailed to each newspaper of general circulation and television or radio station that has requested notice in writing, so that the notice may be published or broadcast at least 72 hours before the time of the meeting. The notice shall specify the time, place, and agenda of the special meeting.  The regents shall not consider any business not included in the agenda portion of the notice. Failure to comply with this subdivision shall not be excused by the fact that no action was taken at the special meeting.

(b) The Regents of the University of California may conduct closed sessions when they meet to consider or discuss any of the following matters: ...

(5) Matters involving litigation, when discussion in open session concerning those matters would adversely affect, or be detrimental to, the public interest.


In fact, if you look at the entire section, not just part (5), there doesn't seem to be anything that would cover a general policy surrounding a campus athletic program moving to the Big Ten. So, why was the entire session on the Big Ten closed? The governor didn't seem to be reticent about talking in public about the topic. What seems to have occurred was a violation of the Education Code.


* In case there is a change in the official agenda, here is a screenshot of the original item:

Watch the Regents' Morning Meeting of July 20, 2022

At the first meeting of the two-day set of Regents sessions, the full board had its usual public comments session. Comments included admissions from community colleges (transfers), vaccine mandates, abortion, ethnic studies, fossil fuel use, labor relations, pesticides on campuses, UC enrollment, and online education. Although the Regents are now mainly back in-person, Chair Leib was on Zoom due to his having COVID. 

Following the public comments, there were the usual statements by Leib and Drake. Academic Senate Chair Robert Horwitz spoke about the Senate's fossil fuel memorial, affiliation with religious hospitals, and tensions around BOARS and ethnic studies. He said BOARS is in consultation with ethnic studies faculty, but gave no timing about the process. New Student Regent-designate Tesfai from UCLA was introduced.*

Similarly, he noted tensions around departmental political statements and some Regents' concerns about them which are somehow being addressed. Again, no timing was mentioned. Statements are supposed to have disclaimers indicating they do not represent the official position of the university and should have indications as to who in the department supports the statement. Horwitz expressed skepticism of the idea of an online undergraduate degree. 

After these remarks, there was a lengthy review of the US Supreme Court's Roe/abortion decision.

The Compliance and Audit Committee heard a description of the various audit plans. Regent Makarechian took note of the various medical sexual harassment cases that have arisen and wondered why audits didn't spot the potential for such situations to arise before they occurred.

Regent Park noted the plethora of audits that are done and wondered if - with so many audits - resources aren't overstretched to the point where a proper job cannot be done. She also asked why UCLA seemed to be overrepresented in the proportion of audit hours.

In Public Engagement and Development, there was much discussion of a student volunteer program. The university is opposing SB1364 in the legislature - a bill limiting contracting out.

As always, we preserve the Regents' recordings since they are otherwise deleted after one year for no particular reason. The links to the morning sessions are below:

Full session:

Full Board:

Compliance and Audit:

Public Engagement and Development: