Wednesday, November 30, 2016

UC Issues Statement of What It Will and Won't Do With Regard to Immigration Status

...University of California President Janet Napolitano on Wednesday released “principles in support of undocumented members of the UC community” that stated campus police departments would not assist federal or local authorities in investigating, detaining or arresting individuals for violations of immigration law.
The principles also included promises that UC would continue to admit students and treat patients at its hospitals regardless of immigration status, and that it would not participate in any efforts to create a national registry based on characteristics such as religion.
“While we still do not know what policies and practices the incoming federal administration may adopt,” Napolitano said in a statement, “given the many public pronouncements made during the presidential campaign and its aftermath, we felt it necessary to reaffirm that UC will act upon its deeply held conviction that all members of our community have the right to work, study, and live safely and without fear at all UC locations.” ...
The official statement:
University of California Statement of Principles in Support of Undocumented Members of the UC Community
The University of California welcomes and supports students without regard to their immigration status. UC will continue to admit students in a manner consistent with our nondiscrimination policy and without regard to a student’s race, color, national origin, religion, citizenship or other protected characteristic. In other words, undocumented applicants with or without DACA status will be considered for admission on the same basis as any U.S. citizen or other applicant.
The University is committed to creating an environment in which all admitted students can successfully matriculate and graduate.
Federal law protects student privacy rights, and the California Constitution and statutes provide broad privacy protection to all members of the UC community. University policy provides additional privacy protections. When the University receives requests for information that implicate individual privacy rights, the University will continue its practice of working closely with the Office of General Counsel to protect the privacy of members of the UC community. We will not release immigration status or related information in confidential student records, without permission from a student, to federal agencies or other parties without a judicial warrant, a subpoena, a court order or as otherwise required by law.
Primary jurisdiction over enforcement of federal immigration laws rests with the federal government and not with UCPD or any other state or local law enforcement agency. UCPD is devoted to providing professional policing services that strive to ensure a safe and secure environment in which members of the University’s diverse community can pursue the University’s research, education and public service missions. Community trust and cooperation are essential to effective law enforcement on campus or other UC locations. The limited resources of UC police departments should not be diverted from this mission to enforcement of federal immigration laws. Accordingly:
a. No UC campus police department will join those state and local law enforcement agencies that have entered into an agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), or undertake other joint efforts with federal, state or local law enforcement agencies, to investigate, detain or arrest individuals for violation of federal immigration law.
b. It is in the best interest of all members of the UC community to encourage cooperation with the investigation of criminal activity. To encourage such cooperation, all individuals, regardless of their immigration status, must feel secure that contacting or being addressed by UC police officers will not automatically lead to an immigration inquiry and/or a risk of removal. Consequently:
1. Campus police officers will not contact, detain, question or arrest an individual solely on the basis of suspected undocumented immigration status or to discover the immigration status of an individual, except as required by law.
2. Campus police should avoid actions that create a disincentive to report crime, or to offer testimony as a witness to a crime, such as requesting information about immigration status from crime victims and witnesses.
c. The California Attorney General has concluded that civil immigration detainers are voluntary requests to local law enforcement and compliance is not mandatory. Local law enforcement agencies may be liable for improperly detaining an individual who is otherwise eligible for release based on a civil immigration detainer. Consequently:
1. Campus police officers will not detain an individual in response to an immigration hold request from ICE, or any other law enforcement agency enforcing federal immigration law, unless doing so is required by law or unless an individual has been convicted of a serious or violent felony.
2. In order to confirm compliance with legal requirements and these principles, campus police chiefs should review any other request for information from ICE, or any other law enforcement agency enforcing federal immigration law, before response.
d. If campus police receive a request to assist a victim of or witness to a crime with a U visa or T visa application, the request should be immediately forwarded to the campus police chief who should take prompt action to facilitate the request, if appropriate.
A federal effort to create a registry based on any protected characteristics, such as religion, national origin, race or sexual orientation, would be antithetical to the United States Constitution, the California Constitution, federal and state laws, and principles of nondiscrimination that guide our University.
The University’s medical centers treat all patients who require our services without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, citizenship or other protected characteristics. In keeping with the mission of the University of California, we recognize and understand that our ability to fulfill our public health responsibilities depends on the ability of patients to trust their providers. Our UC medical centers remain committed to these responsibilities and will vigorously enforce University nondiscrimination and privacy policies and standards of professional conduct.
These principles will be implemented through policies and procedures that will apply to all UC campuses and medical facilities.

Minutiae on Mnuchin?

There is an announcement from the Trump transition organization that Steven Mnuchin is to be Secretary of the Treasury and that he is a member of the "UCLA Health System Board."

...A statement this morning from the presidential transition team announcing Trump’s intent to nominate Mnuchin said he is a member of the board of The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the UCLA Health System board, the Los Angeles Police Foundation, as well as a number of organizations in New York.


That information may have come from his Bloomberg profile which also lists him as a member of the "UCLA Health System Board":

Now, there is a UCLA Health leadership team:

And there is a UCLA Health Executive Oversight Board:

When I type "Mnuchin" and "UCLA" into Google, I do find:

...OneWest Foundation is the philanthropic branch of OneWest Bank, led by Steven Mnuchin, Chairman of the Bank. "Steven Mnuchin and the Foundation's commitment to support the important lifestyle education arm of our effort is gratefully acknowledged and vital to children developing the skills to manage their own diabetes," said Dr. Kuk-Wha Lee, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Interim Chief, Division of Endocrinology, Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA...


So Mnuchin has some philanthropic connection to UCLA.

But when I type in "UCLA Health System Board" into Google, I don't find such a Board.

Perhaps someone would like to clarify. ???  What is the Board? Who is on it?

UC Prez Pens an Alternative to the Prevailing Interpretation of DACA

The Truth About Young Immigrants and DACA

By JANET NAPOLITANO, November 30, 2016, NY Times

OAKLAND, Calif. — Maybe you’ve heard this story line before. With the blithe stroke of a pen and without congressional approval, President Obama gave legal status to a vast population of immigrants who entered the country unlawfully — because he wanted to, and because he found a way.

I’m referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. That program is called DACA, which until the recent presidential campaign was an acronym known by few beyond the nation’s immigrant communities or the Washington beltway. Now DACA is trending news, and not in a good way.

This narrative about an initiative that has given temporary haven and work authorization to more than 700,000 undocumented minors, the so-called Dreamers, still has critics howling about presidential overreach, about brazen nose-thumbing at the rule of law and about encouraging others to breach the borders of the United States.

But there’s a problem with this take on the program. It is dead wrong. While much has been made about our incoming president possibly eliminating DACA with his own swift pen stroke, there has been scant attention paid to the careful, rational and lawful reasons for creating the program, which, especially now that its future is in doubt, merit a closer look.

As secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, I signed the June 15, 2012, directive that began, “I am setting forth how, in the exercise of our prosecutorial discretion, the Department of Homeland Security (D.H.S.) should enforce the nation’s immigration laws against certain young people who were brought to this country as children and know only this country as home.” On the same day, President Obama announced DACA from the Rose Garden in a message heavy on common-sense law enforcement — and hope.

I arrived in the department as a former United States attorney, attorney general and governor of a border state, and I already knew that many of our immigration policies made little, if any, sense because they did not prioritize the use of enforcement resources.

As secretary, I changed enforcement policies to focus on those immigrants who posed a national security or public safety threat, such as gang members and violent felons, and not on veterans, nursing mothers and those with longstanding ties to their communities.

Prioritizing the use of resources in law enforcement is nothing new. It is known as “prosecutorial discretion,” and we can see it all around us — from local police departments deciding whom to pull over instead of stopping every speeding car to federal prosecutors focusing on larger financial fraud instead of going after every bad check.

Indeed, the authority of the federal government to exercise prosecutorial discretion has been repeatedly recognized by the Supreme Court, including in a seminal opinion by Justice Antonin Scalia.

Our efforts to use immigration enforcement resources wisely made a real difference. But when it became clear that Congress was not going to take action on comprehensive immigration reform, I realized that more needed to be done with respect to one special population — Dreamers.

Dreamers, among other requirements, came to the United States as children, developed deep roots in the country and have become valuable contributors to their community. They must be in high school or have a diploma, or be a veteran, and they cannot have been convicted of a felony or major misdemeanor.

For this population, we developed DACA. Under this program, qualifying individuals apply for what is known as “deferred action,” which provides recipients security against removal and the ability to work lawfully for two years, subject to renewal.

Contrary to the sometimes overheated political rhetoric, the program is not the same as amnesty. Each case is assessed on its own merits to ensure the applicant meets the criteria and poses no security threat. This is similar, but not identical, to how a prosecutor decides to charge a case. The program does not grant categorical relief to an entire group.

Today, there are nearly three-quarters of a million Dreamers who no longer have to constantly fear an encounter with an immigration enforcement agent. Instead, they can live, study and work freely. Many are now studying at the system I lead, the University of California.

They are the Berkeley graduate who emigrated to San Francisco at the age of 9 and is now in the system’s medical school there. They are the U.C.L.A. student who, at the age of 12, worked in construction to help support his family, an experience that led him to study urban planning and community development.

Some of the debate about the future of DACA suggests that it provides Dreamers an official immigration status or a pathway to citizenship. As the memorandum establishing the program made clear, this is not the case. Only Congress has the power to confer those rights.

Rather, the program reflects the executive branch doing what it properly does every day — making decisions about how to best use resources within the framework of existing law. There is no reason to abandon these sensible priorities now.


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Letter to Trump

Leaders of California’s three systems of public higher education sent a joint letter* to President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday urging him to allow students who are in the country illegally to continue their educations without fear of deportation.
“These sons and daughters of undocumented immigrants are as American as any other child across the nation” in all but the letter of the law, do not pose a safety threat and have contributed to their communities, wrote University of California President Janet Napolitano, Cal State Chancellor Timothy P. White and Eloy Ortiz Oakley, chancellor-designate of California Community Colleges.  
“They represent some of the best our nation has to offer,” the letter said. “They should be able to pursue their dream of higher education without fear of being arrested, deported, or rounded up just for trying to learn…. we implore you to let them know they are valued members of our communities and that they will be allowed to continue to pursue the American dream.”

Trump said during his campaign that he would reverse an Obama administration program that deferred deportation proceedings against certain young people who were brought to the country illegally as minors but stayed in school and out of trouble. That program, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, has approved nearly 1.3 million cases nationally, including 367,000 in California, the most of any state…
*The link to the letter in the LA Times' story didn't work (at the time of this posting).

Changes to Faculty Code of Conduct Proposed

From the Daily Bruin:

Some UCLA faculty (say) they (are) concerned about potential changes to faculty conduct and sexual assault policy.

...The University of California Academic Senate proposed a revision to the Academic Personnel Manual and its bylaws to specify that sexual violence and harassment violate the faculty code of conduct. Other proposed revisions would establish a shorter timeline for discipline proceedings. The systemwide senate proposed the changes based on recommendations from the UC Joint Committee of the Administration and Academic Senate on investigation and adjudication processes for sexual harassment and sexual violence. UC President Janet Napolitano convened the committee in October 2015 to examine how the UC manages disciplinary proceedings for faculty respondents in cases alleging sexual assault, violence or harassment, referred to as SVSH.

The joint committee submitted recommendations to Napolitano in two reports in April and July, all of which she agreed to follow. The senate began reviewing the revisions in September. The systemwide review solicited comments from the academic senates of individual campuses...

Revisions to the Faculty Code of Conduct, or APM – 015, aim to clarify when the chancellor knows about an SVSH allegation, when the chancellor must initiate disciplinary action and how the chancellor informs the respondent of disciplinary action.

The proposal also added language explicitly stating that no time limit exists for someone to report an alleged violation of the conduct code.

James Chalfant, chair of the UC Academic Senate, said one of the joint committee’s findings was that many people misunderstood an existing three-year time limit. The limit referred to when a chancellor must notify a respondent of proposed disciplinary action, not a deadline for a person to report a violation...

Proposed changes to the University Policy on Faculty Conduct and the Administration of Discipline, or APM – 016, would require the chancellor to inform a faculty member within five days of placing him or her on involuntary leave of the reasons for the leave, when charges might be brought and when the leave might end.

In a letter on behalf of the committee, Areti Tillou, chair of the Faculty Welfare Committee of the UCLA Academic Senate, said its members were concerned about the statement clarifying the lack of a time limit for bringing forth a complaint...

Tillou added the revision did not require an anticipated end date for the involuntary leave, which might give the chancellor authority to keep faculty members in a state of involuntary leave for an extended period of time.

Alistair Cochran, chair of the UCLA Academic Senate’s Committee of Privilege and Tenure, said in submitted comments that committee members found the removal of a time limit for reporting complaints unworkable.

“Generally, time limits for complaint processes serve a good purpose both because evidence and witnesses may become more unreliable and because addressing older, more difficult-to-address complaints could only serve to slow responsiveness to more current complaints,” he said.

Jody Kreiman, chair of the UCLA Academic Senate’s Academic Freedom Committee, said in the committee’s comments that members opposed giving administrators the power to place faculty on paid leave with minimal involvement from the academic senate and giving the UC president the power to place faculty on involuntary unpaid leave.

“The problem is that putting somebody on involuntary leave in many cases gives the administration extreme leverage in settlement negotiations, especially if the faculty member cannot conduct his or her research without using university resources,” Kreiman said.

Chalfant said the systemwide senate could make further revisions based on comments from campus academic senates, or move forward to adopt the current language as policy.

The UC Academic Senate aims to finish the process of amending policies and bylaws by the end of the academic year.

Full story at

The play's the thing (in which to cut pay)

The University of California San Diego’s Department of Theatre and Dance has laid off its entire production staff, 21 employees, and instructed them to re-apply for positions that, for some, will reduce their annual income by as much as 45 percent. All of the staff affected are “joint-staff,” who have worked on productions for UCSD, where they are employed, and for La Jolla Playhouse.

UCSD and the Playhouse have shared university production employees working in the scenic, costumes, props, paints, sound, and lighting departments since 2001. The Playhouse also has its own full-time production staff; however, with the increase in shows over the years, the workload for joint-staff managers became too much. The new arrangement, therefore, is aimed at establishing two separate staffs for both institutions.

The “Dedicated Staffing Plan,” formulated by the Playhouse and UCSD, and obtained by, was announced to the UCSD production staff November 9 and will take effect in January 2017. Twenty-one staff members were given a 60-day notice of termination of their employment and encouraged to re-apply for the new positions. The new model, according to the plan, will follow a nine-month calendar, rather than a 12-month calendar, with an option for summertime work.

The laid-off UCSD employees—some of whom have worked at UCSD and the Playhouse for up to 30 years—are concerned for their futures. They say the nine-month arrangement, as well as a demotion in pay grade, will reduce their annual incomes severely, as well as their pension and retirement benefits. Some also say that they haven't been given the option for summertime work.

“The new model emerged after a thoughtful, lengthy process that involved the university and the Playhouse, and notification to the University Professional and Technical Employees union,” reads the Staffing Plan. The Staffing Plan says that it was necessary because of “the growth of each organization, the increase in the amount of theatre space, and the increase in the number of productions.”

While the staffing plan states that the laid-off staff will have preferential rehire status, one employee, who wished to remain anonymous, told that they felt they were being “targeted” and would not be rehired under the new conditions.

The affected employees have banded together to try and rescind the layoffs... 

Full story at

Monday, November 28, 2016

Another Regent Pattiz recording has surfaced... the Daily Bruin:

R&D Rank; Other Rankings

UCLA shows up as #9 in the NSF rankings of university R&D expenditures for 2015. See above. Note that in full-time grad students, UCLA's rank seems to have slipped somewhat since the Great Recession. See below:
[Click on table to enlarge.]


Into the Unknown

From Inside Higher Ed: President-elect Donald Trump's pick of the Michigan school choice activist Betsy DeVos as his education secretary drew praise from many conservatives and criticism from liberal groups and teachers' unions, who said the selection signaled intentions to privatize education. DeVos, who served as chair of the Michigan Republican party from 1996-2000, has a track record of promoting charter schools and school vouchers. It's expected that she will bring a focus on those issues to the federal Department of Education. Less clear is what that vision says about her potential priorities for the higher education sector.

The DeVos family has a history of supporting higher education institutions in Michigan through charitable contributions.
Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, served as president of Michigan State University from 1993 to 2004 and is familiar with the DeVos family. He said DeVos has been interested in making sure low-income students have an opportunity for good education and positive outcomes.
"My assumption is that those themes of interest in opportunity and accountability would be a major interest of hers in higher education," McPherson said.
What that will mean specifically for the approach DeVos takes to issues such as accountability and regulation in higher education as well as access to financial aid and the role of for-profit colleges was unclear, McPherson said. But he said DeVos has been dedicated in pursuing the causes she has supported.
"She’s a dynamo," he said. "She’s a real worker. She’s a formidable person."
If confirmed by the Senate, DeVos would not be the first education secretary without a substantial background in higher education. Arne Duncan, before serving in the Obama administration, was the CEO of Chicago Public Schools, and he went on to spend considerable energy on higher education issues. (The Associated Press reported Saturday that Jerry Falwell Jr., the president of Liberty University, said he had been offered the job of education secretary but turned it down.)
DeVos's father-in-law, Richard DeVos, is the founder of multilevel-marketing company Amway and the owner of the Orlando Magic of the National Basketball Association. And the DeVos Foundation has made a number of contributions to conservative think tanks as well as the free-speech group Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.
The DeVos family has a deep history of knowledge and involvement in higher education, McPherson said. Richard DeVos also played a key role in establishing Michigan State University's medical campus in Grand Rapids, Mich. Betsy DeVos and her husband, Dick, have a foundation that has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to Michigan colleges and universities, public and private.
But the family is best known for support of the charter school movement and expanded access to school vouchers. Betsy DeVos more recently chaired the American Federation for Children -- a coalition of private school choice organizations that advocates for school choice items, including vouchers. Trump has himself proposed a $20 billion national school voucher program, and his campaign in August added Rob Goad, a policy adviser to Indiana Representative Luke Messer, to craft school choice policies for the campaign.
After a primary campaign that heavily featured a debate about the costs of college, Democrats under Hillary Clinton were expected to prioritize higher education. After Trump's surprising win in the presidential election, the DeVos announcement signals the spotlight will shift to issues long favored by Republicans, such as school choice...

Sunday, November 27, 2016


From Mercury-News:

University officials: Undocumented students studying abroad should return home

College administrators nationwide are urging undocumented immigrant students studying abroad to come home before President-elect Donald Trump takes office in January.

If Trump makes good on his promise to cancel DACA, a controversial program that gives thousands of young, undocumented immigrants temporary relief from deportation, students abroad could be barred from re-entering the country, the administrators say...

The University of California’s Office of the President said advisers at its nine campuses are working with students participating in its Education Abroad Program to make sure they are aware of the implications of leaving the U.S. The program will waive withdrawal fees for DACA students who cancel plans to study abroad, said spokeswoman Claire Doan...

Full story at

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Testing, Testing

Probably not coming to Davis
An earlier posting on this blog suggested UC campuses might not be all that calm in the wake of the recent presidential election.* It appears that we will be testing that possibility out soon enough:

Milo Yiannopoulos, a controversial journalist who has been described as Donald Trump's “alt-right poster boy,” is scheduled to speak at UC Davis on Jan. 13. Yiannopoulos is a senior editor for the online magazine Breitbart, whose chairman, Steve Bannon, has been appointed as President-elect Donald Trump’s chief strategist. His UC Davis appearance is sponsored by the Davis College Republicans. Yiannopoulos, 32, was raised in England and founded an online media and techonology magazine, The Kernal, which he sold in 2014. He gained notoriety that year for his coverage and commentary of the Gamergate controversy, involving the harassment of women in the video game industry. He has been a critic of feminism, Islam and political correctness. Twitter has periodically suspended his account, most recently after he was accused of inciting racist trolls targeting “Ghostbusters” actress Leslie Jones.

The Davis College Republicans’ website includes a disclaimer regarding Yiannopoulos’ appearance, stating that “Milo is known for discussing topics, both political or not, that may offend some people but not others” and warns that “some topics may not be suitable for youth.”

Friday, November 25, 2016

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


The resignation of Linda P.B. Katehi as chancellor of UC Davis effectively ended efforts to make the university’s World Food Center the centerpiece of a third campus, possibly in Sacramento’s downtown railyard.

World Food Center spokesman Brad Hooker confirmed that the university was not pursuing such a plan, announced by Katehi in 2014. “No one is working on it,” he said.

In fact, Hooker said, the World Food Center is planning to move to another space on the existing UC Davis campus.

The World Food Center at UC Davis was established in 2013 to increase the economic benefit from campus research, influence national and international policy and to convene teams of scientists and innovators from industry, academic, government and nongovernmental organizations to tackle food-related challenges around the world, according to the university’s website.

“The railyard was an idea floated by Chancellor Katehi,” Hooker said. He said the six employees of the center were not involved in making the decision to move to Sacramento...

Full story at

Not everyone answered the call

Lots of college and university presidents signed a letter to Prez-Elect Trump calling for retaining the DACA program (which allows so-called "DREAMERs" to remain in the US and go to college). Included among the signatories were the chancellors of Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, UCLA, Riverside, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz. Missing were Merced, San Francisco, San Diego, and UCOP.

Letter at:

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Monday, November 21, 2016

Berkeley Case Continues

A group of University of California, Berkeley, current and former students is asking administrators, including Chancellor Nicholas Dirks, and members of the Academic Senate’s Committee on Privilege and Tenure to “withhold judgment” regarding a professor accused of sexual harassment. Some members of the group are now faculty members elsewhere, and their request comes after an on-campus protest by graduate students who criticized the campus's response to the allegations against Nezare AlSayyad, who teaches architecture, planning and urban design. A five-month investigation by Berkeley found that he spent months becoming close to, or "grooming," a graduate student before placing his hand on her upper thigh and proposing that they travel together to Las Vegas. The disciplinary process is ongoing, but some students said they wish they’d known earlier the results of the investigation and, in some cases, the nature of the allegations. AlSayyad denies wrongdoing...

A university spokesperson confirmed that the new letter sent to administrators includes 23 names and nine unnamed signers. But all signatories wish to remain anonymous to the broader public due to what they described as “potential risks of retaliation from activists.”...

Members of the group added via email, "Given the times provoking increased conflicts and racist sentiments, it is particularly easy to jump into quick judgment, especially when the subject is being identified in the news as Middle East scholar."

Full story at

Money is beginning to talk

Earlier posts on this blog have pointed to the importance of federal money to the overall UC budget and the potential impact that dependence could have given recent national political events.

Our friends in fellow "blue" state Massachusetts are beginning to take notice:

Scientists hope Trump won’t decrease the flow of federal research dollars

Priyanka Dayal McCluskey and Robert Weisman, Boston Globe, Nov. 20, 2016

Massachusetts is a powerhouse of life sciences research, bolstered by billions of dollars in federal money. But the state’s big biomedical research institutions, the engines of its thriving life sciences sector, could face an era of uncertainty around the future of federal research funding.

Heavily Democratic Massachusetts is expected to lose some of its Washington influence in January when the White House, in addition to both houses of Congress, will be controlled by Republicans.

The state depends on grants from agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, which support labs in Boston, Cambridge, and other communities. Research leaders say they are prepared to be more vocal with members of Congress and other officials in Washington to make sure Massachusetts doesn’t lose out under Donald Trump’s administration.

“We are going to have to stand up as scientists and talk about the importance of science and the importance of research,” said Dr. Michael F. Collins, chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester.

James T. Brett, president of The New England Council, a group that promotes economic growth, said it will take a “herculean effort” to protect the New England states from funding cuts. “We know it’s going to be a battle,” he said. “It’s a battle every year to secure adequate NIH funding.”

Research leaders said it’s difficult to predict what will happen under a Trump administration because his presidential campaign was short on specifics about many policies, including where he stands on biomedical research funding.

The president-elect’s transition website says his administration will work with Congress to “advance” medical research. A Trump surrogate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, last year called for doubling the NIH budget, but it’s unclear if he will encourage Trump to do so.

Executives at the state’s big research centers said federal funding for the kind of work they do historically has enjoyed bipartisan support.

President Obama’s administration supported medical science through initiatives in precision medicine and cancer research. And the Republican-led Senate has proposed a $2 billion increase to the $32 billion NIH budget next year. Research leaders are encouraged by the plan but note that NIH funding over the past several years hasn’t kept pace with inflation.

Massachusetts receives more NIH funding than any other state per capita, a fact touted by research leaders and politicians here but protested by those in other states.

Dr. David C. Page, director of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, acknowledged the longstanding tension between researchers in biomedical hubs like Boston and Cambridge that draw a disproportionate share of federal funds, and those in less populated regions who draw far less. Under the new administration, he said, there could be an effort to expand a small percentage of NIH money now set aside for underrepresented states.

Under Trump and the Republican Congress, red states could to try to gain more federal funding at the expense of blue ones like Massachusetts.

Researchers in rural states are eager to attract more federal funding under the new administration, said Carolyn Hovde Bohach, a microbiologist at the University of Idaho who leads a group of researchers advocating for more funding for 23 underserved states and Puerto Rico.

The NIH earmarks about 1 percent of its budget to research programs in those states, though they can also apply for other grants.

Dr. Anne Klibanski, chief academic officer at Partners HealthCare in Boston, is counting on grant distribution to still be based on a rigorous peer review process that she says has generally been free of politics. There’s a lot riding on it — Partners’ two biggest research hospitals, Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s, each received more than $300 million in NIH funding last year.

Senator Susan Collins, a Maine Republican on the Senate Committee on Appropriations, said she talked to Trump before the election about increasing the NIH budget.

“He seemed very interested,” she said. “There’s clearly widespread bipartisan support for increasing biomedical research. This is an issue that affects every American family and there are jobs behind it, also.”

Collins said she supports more federal research money for rural states like Maine, but that any increase won’t come at the expense of research centers like Boston.

A spokesman for Senator Thad Cochran, the Mississippi Republican who chairs the Appropriations Committee, was more guarded about how funds might be distributed. saying, “The senator will carefully review the new administration’s budget request for the NIH and work to ensure sufficient and responsible funding for public health research.”

Research leaders said it’s especially important for Trump and lawmakers to continue supporting research at a time when China is heavily investing in it.

“They are a sleeping tiger that has woken up,” said Dr. Laurie H. Glimcher, chief executive of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. “I don’t think anybody in America would like to see us overshadowed by China.” That argument may resonate with Trump, who has talked tough about China.

Dr. George Q. Daley, incoming dean of Harvard Medical School, said he’s “cautiously hopeful” that research dollars will keep flowing to Massachusetts institutions. But Daley, a stem cell scientist, said he’ll be watching for potential cuts to stem cell research under a Republican administration.

“It’s important that the clock not be turned back,” he said. “There are clinical trials under way and more anticipated that involve products from human embryonic stem cells.”


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Listen to the Regents Meeting of Nov. 17, 2016

The temporary archiving of the Regents meeting of November 17 was blocked by YouTube for a time - as blog readers will know. There was some kind of copyright problem. The best guess of yours truly is that it had something to do with the music that plays during closed sessions and points where the meeting is shut down by demonstrations. Anyway, the problem appears to have been overcome.

The Nov. 17th meeting lasted over five hours. I have only had a chance to sample what went on but there is some interesting material in which there is discussion of the 7.25% long-term earnings assumption for the pension fund. There is also a student protest over possible tuition increases which caused an interruption. And there were public comments against layoffs of IT workers at UC-San Francisco (where the meeting was held) and which have gotten news media attention.

As we have endlessly noted, the Regents "archive" their sessions for only one year. But we archive the audio indefinitely. You can hear the session at the link below:

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Sanctuary? - Part 2

We earlier posted about a) UC's dependence on federal funding* and b) the reluctance, therefore, of UC officialdom to go along with "sanctuary campus" demands.** In that context, consider this message from UCOP:

University of California President Janet Napolitano and the leaders of the California State University and the California Community College systems joined forces to urge Congress to reinstate year-round Pell Grants and to increase the maximum award available. Pell grants are the foundation of federal financial aid programs, and help millions of students around the country afford college. Eligible students receive up to $5,815 in annual need-based aid, funds that do not need to be paid back.
President Napolitano, CSU Chancellor Timothy White and Erik Skinner, interim chancellor for the community college system, said in a Nov. 17 letter to California’s congressional delegation that restoring year-round Pell Grants would help the nation’s low-income college students achieve timely graduation. Students often exhaust their Pell funding during the academic year and cannot afford summer classes. Restoring year-round Pell Grants would change that, allowing students to stay on track, and in some cases, accelerate their time to degree, they said...


Note: Fidelity manages UC's benefit services under contract and is offered as an outside broker by UC for its tax-favored savings plans.

A St. Louis lawyer who has been pressing universities and corporations to slash retirement plan fees has doubled down on his allegations that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology overpaid Fidelity Investments for years because of gifts it received from the mutual fund giant’s nonprofit foundations.

In an amended complaint this week, Jerome J. Schlichter alleges that MIT failed to properly monitor fees on its $3.6 billion 401(k) plan for employees, or put it out to competitive bids, in part because Fidelity chief executive Abigail Johnson serves on the MIT board of trustees.

Schlichter has filed lawsuits against MIT, Yale University and 10 other school, contending that they caused their employees to pay tens of millions of dollars in excess fees...

Full story at

Friday, November 18, 2016

Lawsuit Dropped

The former law school dean at UC Berkeley, who resigned while facing sexual harassment allegations and later had his pay cut and was temporarily barred from campus, has dropped his racial discrimination suit against the university.
Sujit Choudhry filed the suit in September seeking to prevent the university’s Academic Senate from holding hearings that could result in divesting him of his tenure and job security as a law professor. Choudhry, who is of Indian descent, contended he was being treated more harshly than two white colleagues also accused of sexual harassment — Graham Fleming, a former executive vice chancellor at Berkeley who remains a tenured professor, and renowned astronomer Geoffrey Marcy, who resigned as a professor last fall.
Last week, however, U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg denied Choudhry’s request to halt the proceedings. Seeborg said Choudhry could raise his constitutional challenges at the university’s hearings, where he will have legal representation and the right to present evidence, and could appeal an adverse ruling in the state courts.
Seeborg rejected the former dean’s claims of bias by UC President Janet Napolitano and by the Academic Senate, which recently praised the former assistant who accused Choudhry of harassing her. The senate commended the assistant, Tyann Sorrell, for outstanding service to the university.
Choudhry dropped his suit on Tuesday, without explanation. His lawyers could not be reached for comment...

Tuition Protest at Regents

The recording of the UC Regents meeting remains unavailable this morning, as we noted it was yesterday. However, it appears there was a student tuition protest at the meeting:

University of California students protesting tuition increases disrupted a UC Board of Regents meeting on Thursday and were threatened with arrest after they began chanting and refused to leave the meeting room. Students from across California had traveled by charter buses to UCSF’s Mission Bay Conference Center to protest against a probable tuition increase — the first in six years — that would apply in fall 2018...


No, yours truly has never seen the TV show depicted above, and doubts he ever will. But it is described as the story of a team that is engaged in "guarding the peace of the citizens, investigat(ing) and track(ing) down various supernatural creatures that somehow penetrated and invaded our world."* So it has a certain resonance to recent events in the polity.

In any event, ex officio Regent and Lieutenant Governor Newsom - running for governor - has called on all three California higher ed segments to declare themselves "sanctuary campuses" and so far both the UC prez and the CSU chancellor have been cautious about using the term**. First, there is the matter of UC funding that comes from the federal government - about which we have previously blogged.*** Second, as a practical manner, ICE agents can come on campuses, although campus police do not have to participate in their activities. Student records are private under federal law, although you would have consult a legal beagle to determine whether federal law blocks the federal government itself from access. In any case, it is federal law - which can be changed by Congress. There may be state laws involved, too, but what might override what... Who knows? Again, you need to consult a legal beagle.

Note - as our previous post of an email exchange at Anderson illustrated - terms such as "safe" and "sanctuary" nowadays come loaded with symbolism.**** It might be better to avoid symbols and instead take practical steps, including investigation of the legal issues noted above. Assuring students of "safety" that can't be provided would be a disservice, despite the impetus of a gubernatorial campaign.

Finally, there could be threats to academia that go beyond immigration issues and beyond students. There was a forum held at UCLA on Nov. 10, reacting to the election. You can see it below. Yours truly especially recommends listening to the brief remarks of Professor of Law Eugene Volokh which start at about 1:23 (1 hour & 23 minutes) into the forum. (Note: the audio throughout the entire video is terrible so listen carefully.)

** and

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Nov. 17 Regents Meeting is Currently Unavailable

As per above, we cannot archive the audio of the Nov. 17 Regents meeting due to some copyright issues. Yours truly has notified the powers that be.

One-Day Strike Yesterday

Skilled trade workers and administrative workers went on strike Wednesday, claiming that UCLA bargained with them in bad faith over a new contract.
Teamsters Local 2010, the union representing the workers, started the one-day strike at midnight because UCLA refused to negotiate wages for workers’ past work and over alleged University of California violations of state labor law.
About 600 people rallied at the Wilshire Center at noon, before blocking the Wilshire and Westwood Boulevard intersection. Protesters chanted “Who are we? Teamsters” and “No contract, no peace!”...
Note: The strike appeared to be timed to coincide with the Regents meeting. There were union spokespersons at the Regents meeting's public comment period in San Francisco


An interesting email back-and-forth dialog has been occurring among Anderson School faculty regarding assurances to students of a "safe" place, following the election. I won't assign names, but will excerpt below. (Of course, the emails were sent to all faculty in the School with the knowledge that such things are hardly private. But I will still not provide names here.)

The spark was an email that said in part:

Hi all,
In light of the recent elections, (name) has made copies of "safe zone" and "safety pin" placards that you can take and post outside your office.  If you would like one, or both, of the placards, please feel free to stop by (office location)...
Another email:
Hi all,

A few faculty have asked me to describe these two placards.  Written on the safe zone placard is the following: “This space RESPECTS all aspects of people including race, ethnicity, gender expression, sexual orientation, socio-economic background, age, religion, and ability."  The safety pin placard simply has a picture of a safety pin.
The trend to wear a safety pin begin in the UK after the Brexit vote to reflect tolerance for all people.  It is now starting to be used in the U.S.

My question is "who would not want these?" I understand and agree with the sentiments expressed in this statement but I worry how an institutional endorsement would be perceived. For example, if my next door neighbor (name) displays this on her office door and I don't, does that mean that my office is NOT a safe space? Then by implication, I MUST also display this in my office or else I will be perceived as an intolerant bigot.

So might it not be better, as one colleague wrote to me, to have a big sign on the entrance of Anderson building staying this rather than have some faculty offices displaying this and others not. The messaging in the latter is worse, in my opinion. Alternatively, we should All agree that we should have these signs in all of the offices.

I think that a big sign would be great. However, I think only doing that isn’t enough because it is again unclear who supports this. Is this only [name] (or some random admin person) whereas everyone else doesn’t support? The big sign + little signs on our doors would be the most effective. 

I agree with you that everyone should do it. Indeed, after getting (name)’s email I suggested that it would have likely been easier for everyone if a staff person put these signs on everyone’s doors and those who wanted to opt out could do that by pulling the sign off their doors. If faculty are in support of that, I am sure that (name) could coordinate that. 

So might it not be better, as one colleague wrote to me, to have a big sign on the entrance of Anderson building staying this rather than have some faculty offices displaying this and others not. The messaging in the latter is worse, in my opinion. Alternatively, we should All agree that we should have these signs in all of the offices.

I support the sentiment behind this statement, but I do not support this implementation. Asking people to pull the signs off their doors, if they don't agree, is a terrible idea, in my opinion. 

...Not having the placard on your door definitely does not mean your office is not safe. If your office is safe, people can also figure that out through other cues.  Individuals automatically scan their environment for safety all the time - all types of safety (e.g. physical, social, psychological).  The placards help with giving people a shortcut by explicitly communicating safety - but it's definitely not the only way to communicate safety.  

As (name) so eloquently addresses in her email, there is research supporting the effectiveness of explicitly signaling support. Silence is often interpreted as non-support, even when the silence is not intended to be a signal for that.  These signals make a difference. 

(Name) had put up the placard before the election as a way to express their own support for the University’s goal of promoting, diversity, equity and inclusion.  We wanted to give others this opportunity.  But we respect each person’s choice... 

...So, we may all strongly believe that no one on our faculty would ever say they are against respecting these groups and that no one on our faculty would want to actively marginalize these groups. Indeed, we may feel that this is so obvious that we don’t need to put up signs or confront people who are in the minority when they vocalize statements that marginalize certain groups. However, what is really important here is that it is clear to us, but is not clear to students and colleagues who are members of these groups. Furthermore, many events in the news and many experiences in the last week will have undoubtedly raised concerns and increased the ambiguity. How can they know how each of us feel? So, these explicit statements and signs go a long way to making these beliefs explicit...

I notice that the safe zone placard does not include respect for all political parties and political views. 

I would like to order a “FREE SPEECH ZONE” placard for my office. The small print should explain that the office occupant cannot guarantee that visitors will not hear discussions of ideas which make them uncomfortable. In addition, the office holder does guarantee that statements made in this office will not be reported to administrative commissars or other forms of thought and speech police.

​I don't respect all aspects of people.

For example, many religions explicitly disavow homosexuality and equal rights for women.​ Many religious interpretations have explicitly lower-class status for Jews and Christians, Buddhists, etc.  The Koran has the death penalty for apostates, and they have common practice to give out the death penalties for gays. Do you respect them, too? Or do we want to limit our respect.

And, how should I not discriminate by ability?

Do we really have to respect these AND advertise that we respect them?

​And I second (name)'s point that many (not all) political views deserve more respect than we give them., including the ones just elected to be president of the USA, majority in the Senate, majority in the House, and soon majority on the Supreme Court---even though I don't share these views..​.

With all due respect, I am afraid we may be dividing the faculty, not uniting them. I hope I am wrong.
There was another stream related to a fall in ranking of the School by Bloomberg, one of the various entities that rate business schools:

...We should stop all other activities and focus on this [the ratings]. We shouldn't be doing anything else until this gets under control. We must be willing to try some actual fundamental changes how we go about admitting, educating, and placing our students. 

Instead, we develop strategic plans and debate whether we should put up "safe space" signs. That is truly re-arranging the deck chairs and not steering clear of the icebergs...