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Friday, June 23, 2017

Long-Term Lawsuit

Although UC employees are not under CalPERS, at one time when CalPERS began offering long-term care policies, UC employees were invited to take out the insurance. Long-term care is offered by various commercial insurance companies. But the problem is that a subscriber is inherently trusting such firms - many years in the future - to do right by them when they are not in a position to ensure compliance. The fact that CalPERS would be the offerer seemed to resolve that problem and a significant number of older UC employees subscribed. But then CalPERS substantially jacked up the premiums. Was it because they had low-balled to get participants? Or did they simply underestimate the costs? Whatever the answer, many subscribers either dropped the coverage or had to take cut-rate policies to lower the premiums. Now there is a lawsuit:  (from the Sacramento Bee)

A class-action lawsuit against CalPERS filed on behalf of more than 130,000 California government workers and retirees can move forward to trial, a Los Angeles judge has ruled.

The lawsuit challenges a sharp increase in fees that the California Public Employees’ Retirement System levied on people who bought insurance for long-term health care through the pension fund. It argues that the rate hike was different in scale and purpose than any previous fee increase on those policy holders.

A lawyer for the group suing CalPERS cast the decision by Judge Ann Jones as a “very positive event moving forward to trial.”

It was “the largest obstacle standing in our way,” attorney Mike Bidart said.

The lawsuit stems from a series of rate increases that CalPERS adopted for long-term care insurance beginning in 2013, peaking with an 85 percent rate hike in 2015. People with those plans could have avoided the rate hikes if they dropped lifetime coverage and inflation protection policies that they also bought, according to documents cited by Jones in her ruling.

Bidart contends that the structure of the rate increases breached the contracts people signed when they bought the policies. Those agreements included assurances that rate hikes would be spread among those who bought long-term care insurance, and that people who bought inflation protection policies would not see their rates increase because of expanded benefits.

The judge wrote that structuring the rate increases in such a way that they deterred people from continuing lifetime care plans suggested that “a driving reason behind the 85 percent premium increase was to do away with the inflation protection and/or lifetime benefits.”

Her ruling followed motions from CalPERS to dismiss the case. CalPERS argued that the contracts allowed rate increases and that policy holders did not protest significant rates hike in 2003 and 2007.

Jones dismissed a part of the lawsuit that named individual members of the CalPERS Board of Administration. The lawsuit had claimed that they failed in their responsibility to effectively manage funds for long-term care policy holders. The remaining case centers on breach-of-contract claims.

Jones “did not rule on the merits of these claims, which CalPERS looks forward to disproving at trial,” CalPERS General Counsel Matt Jacobs said in a written statement.

Bidart said the lawsuit, known as Sanchez vs. CalPERS, likely will go to trial in the first half 2018.

Source: http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/the-state-worker/article157501584.html

Travel Ban

CALIFORNIA TRAVEL BAN EXTENDED TO FOUR MORE STATES OVER ANTI-LGBT LAWS

Newsweek  6-23-17

California has expanded the scope of a travel ban that took effect in January to include states that have laws discriminating against LGBTQ people.

The ban forbids state-funded travel to states that, since June 26, 2015, have enacted laws discriminating against people on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra added four more states to the travel ban on Thursday—Alabama, Kentucky, South Dakota and Texas—doubling the number of the blacklisted states initially included in the legislation.

California’s AB 1887 legislation was signed into law in September 2016, after North Carolina passed the controversial “bathroom bill,” which barred people from using bathrooms in government buildings that do not correspond to their sex assigned at birth.

California enacted the bill in January under Becerra’s predecessor Kamela Harris. It originally included North Carolina, Mississippi, Tennessee and Kansas but it provided for the Attorney General to update the blacklist as necessary. The four other southern states were added to the list after they passed legislation discriminating against sexual minorities and their families.

In Alabama, South Dakota and Texas, laws enacted in the past three months target prospective LGBT parents, potentially preventing them from adopting or becoming foster parents. In Kentucky, legislation SB 17, enacted in March, could allow student-run organizations in colleges and public schools to discriminate against classmates based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

"Our country has made great strides in dismantling prejudicial laws that have deprived too many of our fellow Americans of their precious rights. Sadly, that is not the case in all parts of our nation, even in the 21st century," Becerra said  in a statement. “Discriminatory laws in any part of our country send all of us several steps back. That's why when California said we would not tolerate discrimination against LGBTQ members of our community, we meant it.”

California legislator Evan Low, who authored the original bill, praised Becerra’s decision. “AB 1887 was enacted to ensure our taxpayer dollars do not fund bigotry or hatred. Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s action today sends a strong message that discrimination beyond our borders will not be tolerated,” he said in a statement.

Critics, however, believe the travel ban hurts students who need state funds to pay for their travel to those states for academic or athletic purposes. “The law is a juvenile but well-intended reaction to a real problem,” Mark Rivera, a UC Davis senior majoring in religious studies and cognitive science, told the L.A. Times in February. “Instead of discouraging travel to supposedly backward places, we should encourage travel; otherwise, campuses will become more insular and make the problem worse.”

Source: http://www.newsweek.com/california-travel-ban-eight-states-lgbt-discrimination-homophobic-laws-628483

Note: Because the ban applies to state-funded travel, UC academic travel funded by non-state external grants can occur. However, certain student and athletic travel is affected, according to an earlier report:
http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-uc-lgbt-02212017-story.html

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Costly Facts

From Matier and Ross, San Francisco Chronicle:

In keeping with its tradition of big-name and big-bucks investigations, the University of California will pay up to $210,000 for an independent look into allegations that President Janet Napolitano’s office interfered with a recent state audit into its spending habits.

UC will pay the law firm of Hueston Hennigan a “blended” rate of $595 an hour for partners who work on the investigation and $395 an hour for associates. The tab will be capped at $165,000, unless the UC regents give the OK to spend more. In addition, UC is tapping former state Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno to help with the investigation for a fee “not to exceed $45,000.”

The investigation was prompted by a state audit that found that Napolitano’s office had squirreled away $175 million and had tampered with campuses’ responses to a state survey on the effectiveness of programs run by the president’s office. While $210,000 for an investigation is a hefty price, it is just a fraction of the $1 million that the president’s office spent investigating allegations of wrongdoing by former UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi. That probe, headed by former U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag, led to Katehi’s resignation in August.

In 2012, UC paid $445,879 to the security consulting firm Kroll Associates to help with a task force headed by former state Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso looking into the pepper spaying of student demonstrators by UC Davis police.

More recently, the president’s office spent $57,671 on the probe into how outgoing UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks received a free campus gym membership, personal training sessions and an elliptical machine — perks that totaled all of about $5,000.

Monica Lozano, who chairs the Board of Regents, declined to discuss the review of the president’s office while it is under way. As for the other investigations, UC spokeswoman Dianne Klein said UC had “a legal and ethical responsibility to determine the facts when there is credible evidence that might suggest improper activity.”

Source: http://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/UC-paying-top-dollar-to-investigate-11234606.php

Senate Hearing

The Committee on the Judiciary of the U.S. Senate held a hearing yesterday on "Free Speech 101: The Assault on the First Amendment on College Campuses." As the title suggests, it focused on complaints over incidents (such as at Berkeley) in which speakers were prevented from speaking and related matters. Blog readers can see the hearings at:

https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/hearings/watch?hearingid=571FF5A9-5056-A066-6004-F98AECC63BAF

Witness statements are at:
https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/meetings/free-speech-101-the-assault-on-the-first-amendment-on-college-campuses

Witnesses: Mr. Zachary R. Wood, Student, Williams College; Mr. Frederick M. Lawrence, Secretary And CEO, Phi Beta Kappa Society; Mr. Isaac Smith, Student, University Of Cincinnati College of Law, Graduate Of Ohio University; Dr. Fanta Aw, Interim Vice President Of Campus Life, American University; Professor Eugene Volokh, Gary T. Schwartz Distinguished Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law; Mr. Richard Cohen, President, Southern Poverty Law Center; Mr. Floyd Abrams, Senior Counsel, Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP.

No specific legislation was discussed. Readers might have an interest in remarks by Sen. Diane Feinstein of California who raised the question of what university officials were expected to do when violence is threatened.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

UC CRISPR Patent in China

West Wing of  Old Patent Office Building, c1900
Intellia holds rights to CRISPR intellectual property developed by the Regents of the University of California (UC), the University of Vienna, and Emmanuelle Charpentier, Ph.D., a director at the Max-Planck Institute in Berlin, through a 2014 license agreement with Caribou Biosciences, the exclusive licensee of the UC and University of Vienna. Those rights include human therapeutic, prophylactic, and palliative uses (including companion diagnostics), excluding antifungal and antimicrobial applications.
CRISPR ownership has been at the heart of a bitter legal battle royal with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. A researcher based at the Institute, Feng Zhang, Ph.D., is listed an inventor on 12 patents related to CRISPR technology awarded in the U.S.
In February, the U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) sided with the Broad Institute by finding “no interference in fact” between the 12 patents, and a patent application by Dr. Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna, Ph.D., of UC Berkeley. UC, University of Vienna, and Dr. Charpentier are appealing the PTAB decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
China’s plans to grant a patent for CRISPR come less than a year after the nation has seen two clinical trials involving the technology...
“SIPO’s decision further expands our IP portfolio and is further global recognition that Jennifer Doudna, Emmanuelle Charpentier, and their team are the pioneers in the application of CRISPR/Cas9 in all cell types,” Nessan Bermingham, Ph.D., Intellia’s CEO and president, said in a statement.
In March, Intellia and Caribou—co-founded by one of the original CRISPR researchers, Dr. Doudna, of UC Berkeley—joined ERS Genomics and CRISPR Therapeutics in signing a global cross-consent and invention management agreement for the foundational intellectual property covering CRISPR/Cas9 with the Regents of UC, the University of Vienna, and Dr. Charpentier.
That intellectual property underlies patents awarded by the European Patent Office and the United Kingdom’s Intellectual Property Office earlier this year. Those patents were issued from an international patent application based on the same U.S. priority applications filed by UC, University of Vienna, and Dr. Doudna on May 25, 2012.
The EPO acted on European patent application No. 13793997, which had been challenged by parties that include the Broad Institute.

Monday, June 19, 2017

What is the actual status of DREAMERs?

We earlier posted the statement of UC prez Janet Napolitano heralding the president's decision to continue the DREAMER program.* After that time, there have been reports on conservative websites that the president didn't in fact make such a decision. However, the official government (Dept. of Homeland Security) statement says otherwise (kind of):

Q. Does this mean that DACA recipients will not be able to apply for a three-year work authorization, as established in the DAPA memorandum?

A. DACA recipients will continue to be eligible as outlined in the June 15, 2012 memorandum. DACA recipients who were issued three-year extensions before the district court’s injunction will not be affected, and will be eligible to seek a two-year extension upon their expiration. No work permits will be terminated prior to their current expiration dates. 
Of course, the president, at some future date, could change the policy. But at present, the policy is as above. So:

"DAPA and DACA are two different programs,” a spokeswoman for DHS said. “Yesterday, based on litigation, the administration decided to rescind DAPA. The fact that DACA [DREAMER program] was not rescinded by the same memo should not be interpreted as bearing any relevance on the long-term future of that program.” She continued, “The future of the DACA program continues to be under review with the administration.”

Source: https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2017/06/19/trump-keeps-daca-place-now

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Marilyn Monroe Checks Card Catalog at UCLA Powell Library

Marilyn Monroe Checks Card Catalog at UCLA Powell Library in 1952

Saturday, June 17, 2017

DREAMER statement

UC President Napolitano statement on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program

Friday, June 16, 2017

University of California President Janet Napolitano today (June 16) released the following statement after the Department of Homeland Security issued its guidance on the status of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program known as DACA:

I applaud reports that the Trump administration will maintain the DACA program that for the past five years has allowed hundreds of thousands of students known as Dreamers to live, work and study in the United States. This common sense approach to immigration enforcement, implemented while I served as secretary of homeland security, benefits not only the program recipients — thousands of whom are students at the University of California — but our nation as a whole. DACA recipients continue to contribute their talents and vision to the United States, the country they know as home. Our communities are enriched by their drive and perseverance to succeed, a hallmark of a nation built by immigrants and a crucial reminder of the need for comprehensive immigration reform.

Source: https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/press-room/uc-president-napolitano-statement-deferred-action-childhood-arrivals-program

Friday, June 16, 2017

News Hogs

The litter of pigs “rescued” from a Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta island earlier this week may not be headed to a Farm Sanctuary pig refuge after all.

A sergeant with the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office weighed in Thursday on the custody fight between the New York-based animal rights group and Roger Stevenson, the man who says he owns the six pigs “rescued” Tuesday from a tiny island in the Delta.

The pigs are currently being examined at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

“The Sheriff’s Office has contacted UC Davis and requested they return the hogs to their owner, Mr. Stevenson,” San Joaquin sheriff’s Sgt. Carey Pehl said Thursday.

Farm Sanctuary representatives could not be reached for comment Thursday.

UC Davis took custody of the pigs Tuesday after Farm Sanctuary removed them from a 14.7-acre island near Stockton. The group said they rescued the pigs out of concern for their health. Stevenson, who lives in Arnold, says he is the pigs’ rightful owner, and was housing them on the island to fatten them up while at the same time helping clear the island of vegetation for its owner. He told The Bee on Wednesday he wants his hogs back.

Kim Hale a spokeswoman for the university, said it would comply with a valid law enforcement order.

“We will return the pigs to whoever law enforcement tells us to,” Hale said.

Four pigs were placed on the island four years ago. In the years since, local boaters have taken to feeding the animals, the progeny of the original group. Winter weather made feedings more difficult, and some visitors expressed concern about the pigs’ health.

Fearing for the heath of the pigs, local activist Sabine Strunk sought Farm Sanctuary’s help. Farm Sanctuary said the island’s owner gave them permission to take the pigs.

Pehl said he spoke with the veterinary officials and was assured the condition of the pigs did not warrant animal welfare action against Stevenson.

The sheriff’s boat patrol came in contact with the pigs regularly and would have taken action if they saw reason, Pehl said. “They have never contacted animal services regarding the health and welfare of those animals.”

While Farm Sanctuary argued Stevenson in essence abandoned the pigs – and their offspring – by leaving them on the island, Pehl disagreed. He said if Stevenson bought the original pigs, he owns the children.

“Mr. Stevenson owns the lineage of the hogs that are currently on the island,” Pehl said.

Stevenson told the Bee on Tuesday that if returning the pigs to the island wasn’t an option, he’d find a new home for them.

Source: http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/environment/article156415719.html

Pigs is Pigs:

We're waiting for the numbers

You probably saw the headlines that the legislature passed a budget yesterday, meeting the constitutional deadline. However, other than general news summaries, the numbers are not yet available from the Dept. of Finance or the Legislative Analyst. In addition, the budget isn't final until the governor signs it and makes whatever line-item vetoes he decides. So we'll patiently await the numbers and make them available in due course. The governor has until June 30 to make his decisions. Since he reached a deal with the Democratic leaders in the legislature, the final enacted budget may be available before then.

A news account on the legislative action is at:
http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article156475214.html

Thursday, June 15, 2017

UCLA History: Cards

Powell Library card catalog in 1950s

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

No Valley

Complaints have been mounting concerning Gov. Brown's recent choice of new regents. One complaint has been the ignoring of the constitutional process of using an advisory committee.* Now there is a complaint that representation of the Central Valley is missing.

From the Fresno Bee:

For the first time in decades, no one from the San Joaquin Valley is serving on the University of California’s 26-seat governing board – perpetuating local concerns that some of the state’s neediest areas are not well-represented.

“This is another example of the governor essentially dismissing Central California as a flyover area,” said Assemblyman Jim Patterson, R-Fresno. “It’s inexplicable to me to have the region utterly ignored like this, with an appointment of this magnitude. It raises all kinds of questions about whether this region is really getting its due.”

Patterson plans to take the issue to the San Joaquin Valley Caucus – a bipartisan group of legislators formed in 2015 – and says that Gov. Jerry Brown would not neglect other big cities in such an appointment. None of the 18 governor-appointed members on the UC Board of Regents are Valley residents, with most based in the greater Los Angeles area. The other regents are ex officio members, which include the governor himself and the state superintendent of schools, plus a student representative...

Fred Ruiz, co-founder of Dinuba-based Ruiz Foods, was the last Valley representative on the board, but was not re-appointed when his term ended in 2016. While Ruiz, 73, said the decision was voluntary, he urged that another Valley resident be appointed – sending a list of about 20 potential candidates to Brown’s office this year.

But when Brown appointed four new members to the board on June 2, none were from the Valley...

“Regardless of where appointees were born – or currently live – we expect them to represent the entire state and its students,” said Evan Westrup, the spokesman for Brown.

Full story at:
http://www.fresnobee.com/news/local/education/article155956179.html
---
*http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2017/06/jerry-rigged-regents.html

Tomorrow's Budget Passage Day - But Not Final Budget

The legislature has retained the Middle Class Scholarship program, which funds scholarships to UC and CSU for California residents. See:
https://middleclassscholarships.org/

These scholarships were a pet project of Regent John A. Pérez when he was in the legislature. He was later appointed to the regents by Gov. Brown who now is proposing to end the program. The governor did not mention the program in his announced deal with the legislative leaders. See:
https://www.gov.ca.gov/news.php?id=19844

So will he use his line-item veto to kill the program or reduce it? Somewhere between June 15 and June 30, we will find out:

The California Legislature’s final actions this year on higher education funding will please some middle-income families but may lead to conflicts with Gov. Jerry Brown.

The embattled Middle Class Scholarship program that Brown sought to end was kept alive in the conference committee budget legislation that both houses are expected to approve this week. Saying it was too expensive and not efficient, Brown wanted to phase out the program that provided aid for about 50,000 middle class students at California’s two public university systems this year. But parents around the state whose income was not low enough to qualify for Cal Grants lobbied the Legislature for the Middle Class aid to continue.

Begun in 2014-15, the grants were aimed at easing the tuition burden of families with annual incomes generally between $80,000 and $150,000. Depending on school, income and other aid a student receives, those grants will be as much as $5,052 next year for a UC student and $2,298 for a CSU student, according to the California Student Aid Commission, which administers the grants.

Brown’s staff had estimated that the phase-out over four years would have saved about $116 million. His administration did not answer requests for comment about whether Brown might line-veto the aid program...

Full story at https://edsource.org/2017/california-middle-class-families-may-still-get-scholarship-help/583237

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Jerry-rigged regents?

Et les regents, c'est Jerry
Follow the law, Gov. Brown

San Francisco Chronicle Editorial Board, 6-12-17

The regents board for the University of California has “full powers of organization and governance” over California’s most prized public university system.

Yet the board, which consists of 26 members, has recently been in the spotlight for its lack of transparency and a string of controversial decisions.

Now it turns out that even the process by which the regents themselves are chosen has a tremendous transparency problem.

According to California’s Constitution, Gov. Jerry Brown “shall consult an advisory committee” of 12 people in “the selection of the regents.” That advisory committee consists of six members of the public, two elected officials from the Legislature, a UC student, a faculty member, an alumnus and the regents chair.

As three different institutions (the governor, the Legislature, and UC’s faculty and student body) are responsible for appointing people to the committee, the idea is to get a wide range of opinions on the best people to serve on the critical regents board.

A wide range of opinions is good for decision making and good for the diverse people of California. That’s a big part of the reason California voters approved the advisory committee in 1974. Even then, there were concerns about making the UC Board of Regents more accountable to the public.

But it seems the governor isn’t following this provision of the state Constitution.

Six advisory committee members whom The Chronicle were able to reach said they haven’t been consulted in the selection of any of the governor’s regents.

Instead, they were told who the new regents would be shortly before the governor’s public announcement.

The governor’s office said he “welcomes input” from the committee before issuing the public announcements.

Brown may not be alone in ignoring this state constitutional provision.

According to our interviews with previous advisory committee members, previous governors also failed to consult with them on regent selections. Some previous members said the committee had failed to meet during their tenures and questioned whether it had ever met at all.

This oversight failure has had a negative outcome on the regents board. The 18 appointed regents fit a specific profile: wealthy executives, financiers or attorneys.

Considering this narrow milieu, some of their recent tone-deaf decisions, like charging the university thousands of dollars for pricey parties and dinners, make more sense. But it’s inappropriate behavior in a state with high poverty rates and a struggling middle class. These are precisely the kinds of reasons why voters want more public accountability — as they decided in 1974.

Most importantly, California’s Constitution is not a list of suggestions for our elected leaders. In a society subject to the rule of law, its provisions must be followed. The state’s courts may have to correct this, and we urge them to look into it.

Legislature & governor punish UCOP over state audit

Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders announced a budget deal Tuesday that strips University of California President Janet Napolitano's office of some of its financial autonomy...

The main budget bill, AB97, includes $296.4 million for Napolitano’s office in the upcoming fiscal year that begins July 1 and another $52.4 million for UC Path, the university’s payroll and human resources system.

Currently, the office receives state funding indirectly through fees collected from all 10 campuses, which give the president’s office exclusive control over how to spend that money. The state would instead directly send money to Napolitano’s office and eliminate the campus fees, so that lawmakers could oversee and control how that money is spent. UC opposed the change.

Lawmakers moved to wrest control of spending by Napolitano’s office after a state audit found a litany of problems there, including hidden funds and misleading accounting practices. The budget bill also includes other strings on the president’s office, such as barring it from providing supplemental retirement payments for new senior administrators.

The state would withhold $50 million in funding if UC doesn’t fix financial problems the state auditor identified in the review...

Full story at http://www.sfchronicle.com/politics/article/New-state-budget-deal-punishes-UC-president-s-11216554.php

Irvine Bargain Discount

Pilot program at UCI to slash tuition in half for incoming freshmen

By BRIAN WHITEHEAD | Orange County Register, June 12, 2017

In a twist to boost enrollment of California residents, UC Irvine is launching a pilot program that lets up to 500 incoming freshman next fall pay about half the price of first-year admission.

The Anteater Leadership Academy program would let students take fully-accredited courses, taught by accredited instructors in the Division of Continuing Education during their freshman year, paying tuition of $6,315, a savings of about $6,000. Students also would take a leadership course, something the school considers an incentive for those in the program. After their freshmen year, students would be eligible to take all courses throughout the campus at standard prices.

In recent years, the UC system has come under fire for increasing its revenue by accepting more out-of-state students, who typically pay tuition that’s nearly triple in-state rates. Last year, out-of-state students accounted for about 16.5 percent of the system’s total enrollment of 210,000, according to a state report.

Last year, at UCI, out-of-state students accounted for about 19 percent of the 25,256 undergrads, most coming from out of the country. It’s unclear what the breakdown will be next year. More than 104,000 incoming freshmen and transfer students applied to UC Irvine for the 2017 fall semester, of which about 41,000 were from out of state. The school will accept about 5,200 students for the freshman class.

Though UC officials didn’t say if the financial side of the program at UCI would be a model for other campuses, they pointed to another element of the program — clustering a group of students by class within the broader student population — as something that might be picked up elsewhere.

“The general theme of providing a first-year cohort experience is something that could expand to other UCs,” said Mike Dennin, a vice provost who helped put the program together.

The new Anteater Leadership Academy will target local students: Participants can’t live on campus or receive income-based financial aid. It allows UCI to take on hundreds more students than it would otherwise. Admittance is first come, first serve until the June 30 deadline.

“With almost 39 million people now in California, there’s a pressing need to have our universities, our state system of higher education, accommodate in-state students,” said Tom Vasich, a UCI spokesman. “The mission of this university is to think of innovative approaches for creating undergraduate programs that can allow us to provide a UCI education to more students.

“These first students are going to be the pioneers in that they’ll be providing feedback to our program managers,” Vasich added.

“It’s definitely an exciting opportunity for students looking for a non-traditional way to get a UCI education and make a difference for the future leaders coming through campus.”

The Anteater Leadership Academy will offer general-education courses in fields such as sociology, economics, political science and math, and special courses aimed at beefing up leadership skills.

Taught by UCI professors, classes will be in a new Division of Continuing Education building and elsewhere on campus. Vasich said the courses are transferable.

“The first year of college for students can be difficult,” Vasich said. “When they’re rooted with a peer group, they thrive in the college environment at a much higher rate. As an Anteater Leader, they’ll hit the ground running.”

In 2009, UCI offered a similar incentive when it covered tuition for the first year for its inaugural law school students. That law school quickly excelled; the last two years, U.S. News & World Report listed UCI 28th in its annual ranking of best law schools in the country.

Source: http://www.ocregister.com/2017/06/12/pilot-program-at-uci-to-slash-tuition-in-half-for-incoming-freshmen/

Can we make a modest proposal for PR for this offer?
video
Click twice if needed.

More Slowly

Yours truly will attend the UCLA Anderson economic forecast later today. But the LA Times this morning carries a summary of implications for California:

California will increase jobs and incomes more slowly than expected this year, mainly because President Trump’s big spending plans don’t seem to be coming to fruition yet.

That’s the upshot of the latest forecast from economists at UCLA, released Tuesday, that predicts employment in California will increase by a modest 1.4% and personal income will grow by 3.1% this year. Earlier projections were more optimistic.

Over the last several months, Trump has promised to pour money into a “great rebuilding of the armed forces” and has hyped a $1-trillion investment into upgrading the country’s roads and bridges.

But his budget proposal doesn’t include a huge increase in defense spending, and “infrastructure week” passed without much of an update from the administration on the prospects of securing government funds for a national rebuilding plan.

“Congress seems to be so tied up in considering healthcare and taxes that they aren’t ready to take on a massive infrastructure bill,” said Jerry Nickelsburg, a coauthor of the UCLA report.

Nickelsburg noted that the president spent months saying he would bulk up the Navy by buying more than 70 new ships, but his budget included no extra money for shipbuilding. Trump’s original proposal didn’t go beyond former President Obama’s plan to buy eight new ships in 2018, and Trump cut the number of aircraft to be purchased next year, according to a report on Breakingdefense.com.according to a report on Breakingdefense.com.

Bringing the battle force up to 350 ships, as Trump promised, would cost $165 billion over 30 years, the Congressional Budget Office calculated. Those billions would have been a boon to the three large shipyards in San Diego, and could have lead to new military jobs across the state.

“If there were to be an expansion of the military and size of military forces stationed at the bases in California, that would have been stimulative,” Nickelsburg said.

The state will have to fight headwinds as it approaches full employment and there are fewer and fewer job candidates available to fill openings. Trump's “deportations, or the threat thereof, of unskilled workers" will only make things worse in an already tight job market, the report said.

Source: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-anderson-forecast-20170612-story.html

Monday, June 12, 2017

Early Bird Budget

Under Prop 54, enacted by voters last year, bills - including budget bills - have to be available for at least 72 hours before passage. So the legislature has to finalize its state budget by the end of today, June 12, so that it can be passed by the constitutional deadline of June 15.

Even when passed by the legislature, the budget isn't final until the governor signs it some time before July 1. The governor has a line-item veto, but since he presumably will have worked out a deal with the Democratic legislative leaders, any such vetoes will likely be minor.

Details at:
http://customwire.ap.org/dynamic/stories/C/CA_XGR_CALIFORNIA_BUDGET_CAOL-?SITE=CASON&SECTION=STATE&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2017-06-12-03-06-28

Sunday, June 11, 2017

BruinCast

Yours truly came across an op ed in the Daily Bruin complaining that many faculty are not aware of the BruinCast option at UCLA.* And, indeed, yours truly was not aware of it. Basically, it is a system run by the Office of Instructional Development (OID) in which - from selected classrooms only - lectures can be video and audio recorded with access to the students enrolled provided. As it happens, when you go on the OID-BruinCast webpage to find out about the system, although there is a lot of descriptive material, if you try to access a course to see what the recordings look or sound like, you get a message saying that you have to be an enrolled student.** I did find one course, which although it was supposed to be "locked," gave me access. I won't say which it was, but you can see an image above taken from a screenshot of the course.***

Anyway, if you didn't know about BruinCast, now you do. Note that if you are not in a classroom equipped for BruinCast, it is pretty easy to audio record lectures and put them on your course website. Video is more complicated, but if you have PowerPoint-type slides (as in the image above), you can audio record the lecture and then sync the slides with the audio in various programs. The resulting video can then be put online or on the course website.
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*http://dailybruin.com/2017/06/07/avvalzameer-bhatia-ucla-must-better-inform-professors-about-bruincast-equip-more-rooms/
**http://www.oid.ucla.edu/classroom/bruincast/info
***I also found that the video from the class shown in the image would not work in Chrome, but would work in Internet Explorer, although I had the right program in Chrome that was supposed to work.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

More or less

The state controller has issued the cash report through May, i.e., through the first 11 months of the current fiscal year.

So far there is an estimated $133 million more revenue than was estimated back in January when the governor's first budget proposal for next year was introduced. But it is $1.3 billion less than the revenue that was estimated a year ago at the time of the enactment of the current year's budget.

We are pretty close to the June 15 deadline for the legislature to enact next year's budget and there are reports that the governor and the legislative leaders (Democrats only) were near a budget deal.* So it's not clear that the new cash report will have much influence on the outcome.

The controller's report is at:
http://sco.ca.gov/Files-ARD/CASH/May%202017%20Statement%20of%20General%20Fund%20Cash%20Receipts%20and%20Disbursements.pdf
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*https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/california/articles/2017-06-08/california-lawmakers-governor-near-state-budget-deal

Don't ask; he'll tell

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

Most of the 26 regents who run the University of California are chosen in a process involving a ghostly, unnamed committee of 12 people who never meet, produce no public record of their actions, and publish no list of members. Some don’t even know who the other members are.

That’s how it’s been for more than four decades. And that’s how it was this month when Gov. Jerry Brown appointed four new regents, including Lark Park, his own policy adviser, and Peter Guber, co-owner of the Golden State Warriors.

It isn’t supposed to be that way.

“In the selection of the regents,” says the California Constitution, “the governor shall consult an advisory committee” of 12 people: six members of the public, two elected officials (the Assembly speaker and state Senate president), a UC student, a faculty member, an alumnus and the regents chair. Some committee members are appointed by the governor, others by members of the Legislature, and others by faculty and students.

California voters approved the system in 1974 as part of several constitutional changes intended to make the UC regents more responsive to the public. The governing board of the $30 billion university oversees 10 campuses with 238,000 students, five hospitals and three national laboratories.
But six committee members reached by The Chronicle said they are never consulted in the selection of regents — only told shortly before the announcement that choices have been made.

“Typically, I get a heads-up with a phone call that appointments will be happening,” said Rishi Kumar, a Saratoga city councilman and public member of the volunteer advisory committee. “We receive an email with the profiles of the folks that are going to be appointed.”

Whether the governor is breaking the law would be up to a judge, said Jessica Levinson, a law professor and government ethics expert at Loyola Law School.

“But it’s pretty clear that it doesn’t meet our expectation,” she said. “Our general expectation of ‘consult’ is that it’s distinct from ‘informing.’ You wouldn’t say, ‘I’m consulting this person by leaving a note on their door.’”

The governor’s office did not respond to repeated requests for comment. The office did provide the current list of committee members, but not previous lists as requested.

Terms on the advisory committee range from one to four years, the Constitution says. Former state Sen. Gary Hart doesn’t recall how long he has served on it, but said he was appointed by Gov. Gray Davis. Davis left office in 2003.

“The committee hasn’t met for over a decade and does no work,” Hart said. But Brown’s office duly phoned the former senator to let him know of the impending appointments. “I was given a brief biographical description of each and was certainly free to express an opinion on his nominees.” Hart said he did not weigh in, however, because he wasn’t familiar with the names.

It’s unclear whether the committee has ever met.

“I had no recollection of the existence of the committee in my 14 years on the Board of Regents,” said Bill Bagley, who was named a regent by Gov. George Deukmejian in 1988 and served in the state Assembly when voters approved the advisory committee.

Bagley, an expert on government ethics for whom California’s Bagley-Keene open records and open meetings law was named, said the committee should have at least a week to opine on the governor’s preferred regent candidates.

The governor appoints 18 of the 26 voting regents, who serve 12-year terms. The others include one student and seven “ex-officio” regents who serve automatically because of their job. Brown, himself an ex-officio regent, has appointed eight regents since taking office in 2011 — half of them this month. Appointees have a year to be confirmed by the Senate or lose their seat.

Kumar said he learned the names of the four most recent appointees on June 2, the same day the governor announced them. Asked why the governor’s office notified him at all, Kumar said:

“Because I am on the selection committee.”

The duties of committee members are often unclear — even to the members themselves.

Cynthia So Schroeder is not only on the advisory committee but holds one of two alumni positions on UC’s Board of Regents.

“I think that as an alumni regent, I’m notified (of regents appointees), but I’m not part of the search,” she said, although nothing in the Constitution says that anyone on the committee is excluded from helping the governor select regents.

Another committee member who asked not to be identified said: “I don’t even know who is on the committee.”

Besides creating the committee, voters in 1974 also changed the state Constitution to say the regents should be “broadly reflective of the economic, cultural, and social diversity of the state, including ethnic minorities and women.”

...“We’d be interested in reviving” the committee’s work, said one of its members, James Chalfant, chairman of UC’s Academic Senate.

“We were not consulted at all,” said Chalfant who, like the others, received a voice mail from the governor’s office the same day the new regents appointees were announced. “It’s very disappointing.”

Nanette Asimov is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer.

Full story at http://www.sfchronicle.com/education/article/For-decades-UC-has-selected-board-of-regents-11209660.php

Friday, June 9, 2017

Uber at UCLA: You'll be Surprised

Students are taking Uber from their dorms to classes, apparently causing an uptick in campus traffic issues. Click on link below:

Sunset problems this weekend

The City of Los Angeles, Bureau of Street Services will cold plane and resurface the street on Sunset Boulevard, from Veteran Avenue to Thurston Avenue (see map below) this Saturday and Sunday. Traffic will be restricted to one lane in each direction during the scheduled working hours. The public is advised to use Wilshire Bl., Santa Monica Bl. or other alternate routes.

WHEN: Saturday, June 10, 2017 and Sunday, June 11, 2017
6:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Location Details: Sunset Boulevard, from Veteran Avenue to Thurston Avenue

Thursday, June 8, 2017

The cost mounts up

From the Mercury News: The University of California will pay up to $210,000 for an independent investigation into a recent state audit that accused the system of failing to disclose hundreds of millions of dollars and tampering with a survey sent to UC campuses that was supposed to remain confidential.
According to a contract obtained by this news organization, UC will pay the law firm Hueston Hennigan “at the blended rates of $595 per hour for partners and $395 for associates. Your total fees are not to exceed $165,000 for this matter, without prior written approval.” The firm will contract with former California Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno “at an additional fee not to exceed $45,000.”
The contract notes that in “a departure from past practice, overages will only be granted in extraordinary circumstances.”
That last part is crucial, because the audit found that UC has been less than transparent about how it spends taxpayer money.
The audit also showed that some campuses changed responses to what were supposed to be confidential surveys about how the UC Office of the President operates after talking to that office about those surveys. Emails obtained by this news organization and others seem to indicate some of those responses were changed at the direction of officials in the central office. The Board of Regents that oversees UC has asked the law firm and Moreno to look into it.
According to the contract, “This independent fact-finding mission will involve a thorough and complete discovery and evaluation of any facts related to the State Auditor’s allegations that the UCOP interfered with the Auditor’s efforts through purported involvement with the completion of responses to campus-wide surveys.”
UC is asking for an investigation into whether there was interference, if so, why, and who did it. While the audit has sparked calls even among some Democrats for Janet Napolitano, UC’s president, to step down, the regents have generally supported her leadership.
The contract does not specify when the fact-finding mission should conclude, but asks Hueston Hennigan and Moreno to “use their best efforts to provide this report by as soon as practicable.”
"Best efforts" sound OK:

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Patents

Source: http://www.academyofinventors.com/pdf/top-100-universities-2016.pdf

Look at Me!

There were serious issues raised by how Berkeley (UC- and City of) dealt with the Yiannopoulous affair. But in the lawsuit described below, somebody's lawyer appears to be grandstanding. Throwing Pelosi and Soros in as defendants, and asking for $20 million+, suggests attorney self-promotion. And there is a history in this case.*

A woman who says she was pepper-sprayed by protesters demonstrating against a planned appearance by a right-wing speaker in February has sued the University of California at Berkeley for infringing on her First Amendment free speech rights.

Kiara Robles of Oakland, California is suing 18 individuals and organizations including officials at the University of California, UC Berkeley's police department, Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin, the Berkeley Police Department, U.S. Representative Nancy Pelosi and investor George Soros.

"Robles was attacked with extremely painful pepper spray and bear mace by masked assailants amongst the protesters because she chose to exercise her right to freedom of speech and show support for the planned speaker, Milo Yiannopoulous," according to the lawsuit.

The suit was filed on Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California by Larry Klayman, a conservative activist and one of Robles' attorneys.

In an emailed statement on Tuesday, Dan Mogulof, a spokesman for the University of California at Berkeley, defended the actions of campus administrators and police, and said the university would vigorously fight the suit.

A spokesman for the Berkeley mayor's office, Stefan Elgstrand, said the office has no comment on pending litigation.

According to the lawsuit, Robles went to UC Berkeley to hear Yiannopoulous' speech. But violence erupted after more than 1,500 protesters gathered on the campus, forcing the former Breitbart News editor to cancel his appearance at the liberal-leaning institution.

According to the lawsuit, the University of California, Berkeley unconstitutionally limited the First Amendment rights of its students and invitees at the event "who do not subscribe to the radical, left-wing philosophies sanctioned by defendants."

Representative for the University of California's office of the president and the city of Berkeley Police Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

A statement from Pelosi was not immediately available, according to a spokeswoman from her office, Caroline Behringer.

George Soros could not immediately be reached.

Robles is demanding a trial by jury and is seeking more than $20,000,000 in damages and other relief, the lawsuit said.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-california-ucberkeley-lawsuit-idUSKBN18X2N7
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*https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larry_Klayman

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Berkeley Seems to Have a Problem Finding Athletic Cutbacks

From the Daily Californian:
UC Berkeley’s Chancellor’s Task Force for Intercollegiate Athletics released its report Monday and could not reach a consensus regarding cutting any of Cal’s sports teams.
In the report, the task force recommended an external review of Cal Athletics’ finances and structure, focusing on potential cuts to administrative expenses which are “not directly related to sports programs.” 
Cal Athletics has come under fire in recent years for its large deficit, which stood at about $22 million in fiscal year 2016. The campus holds more than $400 million of debt after seismically retrofitting California Memorial Stadium and building the Simpson Center for Student-Athlete High Performance in 2012. The athletic deficit has compounded a campuswide fiscal crisis, where campus administrators have scrambled in recent years to address a structural deficit of more than $100 million.
The report said it is “virtually certain” that the cost of interest payments on the department’s debt will exceed its income for the foreseeable future regardless of any actions taken to change the program’s scope, such as cutting sports...
Maybe save some money via fewer games? Or maybe the folks on the task force should be playing fewer games:

Finding the Culprit

From the Mercury News:
The regents who oversee the University of California have hired former California Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno and law firm Hueston Hennigan LLP to investigate how the system’s central office handled what were supposed to be confidential surveys sent to campuses as part of a state audit.
The audit, which showed UC failed to disclose $175 million in funds and paid administrators lofty salaries even as it prepared to raise tuition, showed that campuses removed criticism of the UC Office of the President, led by former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, from survey responses seemingly at the direction of central office officials.
That revelation caused the auditor to throw out the responses as tainted and sparked outrage among lawmakers in Sacramento, with even some Democrats calling on Napolitano to step down. At a meeting in mid-May, the regents defended Napolitano but agreed to retain a law firm or other consultant to help review the allegations...
I wonder if Moreno can find whoever it was:

Monday, June 5, 2017

LAO doesn't want UC to do it

The Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) notes that the Assembly wanted to give UC $50 million for three years to increase output of physicians, while the Senate did not (and only a little to another agency - the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development [OSHPD]), LAO suggests a compromise whereby OSHPD would cut a middle-ground figure. UC would get nothing, apparently on the grounds that it is due to get some Prop 56 tobacco tax money.

Source: http://www.lao.ca.gov/handouts/Conf_Comm/2017/OSHPD-and-UC-53117.pdf

I see moonbeams

The Goddess Minerva
Gov. Brown in his first iteration as governor in the 1970s and early 1980s was sometimes termed "Governor Moonbeam" for his interests in the off-beat. He seems now to resist that characterization but his nomination of Maria Anguiano of the Minerva Project to the Regents seems in line with the moonbeam approach. It's hard to figure out what the Minerva higher education thing is exactly from its website. Check out https://www.minerva.kgi.edu/. But it is "different" from the standard higher ed model, which presumably is its appeal to the governor. And, yes, a handful of students globetrotting around the world and imbibing wisdom along the way isn't the standard model. But it is hardly replicable on a large scale.

We seem to be back to moonbeam: