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Friday, April 20, 2018

Afterword

There seems to be no end to the tale of former (and disgraced) state senator Leland Yee who made a political career of attacking UC. He was eventually convicted of gun-running and other crimes and went to prison.

One of his flacks, when Yee was in his heyday, put negative comments on this blog at one point, as yours truly pointed out some of Yee's faults. But it seems as if all of his associates eventually have "problems." Here is the latest:

Adam Keigwin, who served as chief of staff to former state Sen. Leland Yee, allegedly sexually harassed and touched a former colleague and subordinate between 2013 and 2014, according to a Senate investigation released Thursday.
An unidentified woman who worked in the Senate with Keigwin at the time made the allegations. She said Keigwin, now a managing director at Mercury Public Affairs in Sacramento, sexually harassed her, according to the investigation. His behavior happened on numerous occasions when he was drunk or had been drinking, investigators found.
A “preponderance of the evidence” supports the Senate’s finding that Keigwin "engaged in sexually inappropriate conduct during the time that he worked in the Senate, including unwanted touching, exposing himself and engaging in sexually explicit talk," the investigation found. "The evidence supported a finding that this behavior occurred at social events that involved drinking when Keigwin had become inebriated."...
You can find links to some past posts on Yee at:
The search engine can locate others.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Union calls for speaker boycott at graduations

President Sproul at UCLA graduation in Hollywood Bowl, 1930s
University of California union votes for strike, commencement speakers urged to boycott

LA Daily News, 4-19-18

The union that says it represents more than 25,000 employees in the University of California system announced today that 97 percent of its members have voted to authorize a strike.
The union also called today on speakers invited to participate at upcoming UC graduation events to support workers by boycotting university engagements until the labor dispute is resolved. Scheduled commencement speakers include Sen. Kamala Harris, who’s due at UC Berkeley on May 12th, and Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, who’s scheduled to speak at UC San Diego on June 16th.
“With contract negotiations and post-impasse mediation procedures being exhausted after a year of bargaining, AFSCME Local 3299-represented workers at the University of California voted with 97 percent approval to authorize a system-wide strike,” according to a union announcement. “The union has also called on speakers invited to participate at upcoming UC graduation events to support workers by boycotting university engagements until the labor dispute is resolved.”...

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

It's the vision thing

The seemingly-endless drama of the Thirty Meter Telescope in which UC has a stake continues. It was originally planned for Mauna Kea in Hawaii, a mountaintop where other telescopes are already located. Objections by native Hawaiians held up the plan and seem to be a continuing barrier. Hawaiian Public Radio reports large majorities of the general Hawaiian population and native Hawaiians in fact favor the plan. But one house of the state legislature has voted to bar construction and there is an alternative plan, which sounds a bit like a bargaining chip, to move the project to the Canary Islands, a Spanish possession in the Atlantic off Morocco.

For a public radio program on these developments, go to:
http://hpr2.org/post/tmt-still-committed-hawaii-now 

Monday, April 16, 2018

The Light at the End of the Retiree Health Care Tunnel May Be a Train


Below in italics is the text of a recent analysis of the options being circulated and debated for the future of retiree health care. I have not included the source and have slightly edited the text. (It's not yours truly). As blog readers will recall, a reduction in retiree health care support suddenly appeared on the Regents agenda without Senate consultation and then was removed after protest. A committee was set up to evaluate the options. A document outlining options was then circulated (and can be read below):

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I’m pleased to see that these materials* are being distributed. A few observations:

Though in current form the date is April 2018, I am told by two reliable sources that much the same info and framing of alternatives has been bouncing around since around January 2017.  YES, 2017, a full year before the Task Force was formed.

Note the 4% growth rate for retiree health in the chart on page 9. THE 4% IS NOT A RANDOM OR HYPOTHETICAL RATE. MY UNDERSTANDING IS THAT IT IS THE MAXIMUM THAT UCOP MONEY FOLKS ARE GOING TO ALLOW GOING FORWARD. IF CORRECT, THEN THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT NUMBER IN THE DOCUMENT; EVERYTHING ELSE HAS TO DO WITH HOW THAT GOAL CAN BE MET. My understanding is that a/the major change since January 2017 has been a grudging agreement to allow up to 4% growth, rather than the 3% that the Finance folks wanted to impose early in 2017.  

I did a once-over of the full document (what else to do on a sunny afternoon) and it is pretty clear that by far the biggest saving to UC would come from the shifting of all of us to the Medicare Exchange alternative currently used for retirees living out of state.  No surprise, of course; HR has been saying this for years. The only other change with palpable impact on costs would be shifting the current Medicare PPO plans to a Medicare Advantage PPO or HMO.The rest is noise. 

Cheers(?)

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*The "materials" refer to the report below:

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Aftershock at Riverside

UC Riverside Chancellor Kim Wilcox denies ignoring sexual harassment, abuse complaints at Michigan State

By BEAU YARBROUGH | Press-Enterprise | April 13, 2018

UC Riverside Chancellor Kim Wilcox on Friday denied allegations he ignored sexual harassment and abuse while he was provost at Michigan State University, saying he was unaware of his associate’s behavior.

William Strampel, the former dean of MSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, was arrested March 26 as part of an investigation into how former sports doctor Larry Nassar was able to sexually abuse more than 250 girls and women while at the university, including many members of the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics team.

It is the worst sexual abuse case in sports history.

Last year, Nassar pleaded guilty to molesting patients and possessing child pornography. He will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Strampel is the first person besides Nassar to be charged in connection with the case. He is charged with harassing, propositioning, sexually assaulting and soliciting pornographic videos of female students. He’s also accused of not keeping an eye on Nassar after MSU cleared the doctor in 2014 of inappropriate sexual behavior with a former student.

Complaints from students and faculty members about Strampel came up in a review process eight years ago.

In a 2010 letter in Strampel’s personnel file, obtained in part by the Detroit News, Wilcox wrote that Strampel would stay medical school dean after the review.

“Our several discussions over the past several months have reinforced my commitment and that of Dean Strampel to advancing the goals of the College within the broad mission of Michigan State University,” Wilcox wrote.

On Friday, Wilcox released a written statement saying he was unaware of Strampel’s behavior and expressing regret for Strampel’s alleged victims...

Full story at https://www.pe.com/2018/04/13/uc-riverside-chancellor-kim-wilcox-denies-ignoring-sexual-harassment-abuse-complaints-at-michigan-state/

Saturday, April 14, 2018