Monday, April 24, 2017

Conservative students file suit against UC-Berkeley over Coulter event

Charging that the University of California has attempted to “restrict conservative free speech’’ regarding author Ann Coulter’s appearance on campus, two Berkeley student groups filed suit Monday in federal court to challenge the university’s efforts to reschedule her April 27 event.

The lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court of Northern California on behalf of two organizations — the national Young America’s Foundation and the UC Berkeley College Republicans — names UC President Janet Napolitano and university officials, including the head of the campus police department, as defendants.

San Francisco attorney Harmeet Dhillon, a Republican National Committee member who is representing the student groups, said in an interview that progressive leaders including Sen. Bernie Sanders, former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown,* and Rep. Keith Ellison have all spoken up for the right of the student groups in Berkeley, the "birthplace of the Free Speech Movement" to schedule Coulter's address…

Note: During the radio interview with the UC prez (see earlier post), she was asked by a caller why - if there is a venue that was safe for the date in May which UC-Berkeley offered as a rescheduled date - it could not be made available on the original invitation date. No clear answer was received. Not asked was whether the governor - who likes to emphasize his role as titular leader of the Board of Regents - should be asked to assist in providing security. If campus and Berkeley City police cannot provide adequate security, shouldn't the state step in?

UCLA Ranked High in Tech Transfer

UCLA is ranked high (#15) in an index of technology transfer - the highest UC campus - by the Milken Institute. See the document below. There is a methodological statement on how the index was constructed on p. 15-16 (document pages; 17-18 file pages).

As usual in such rankings, the weights applied to various factors are somewhat arbitrary. But... The document is at:

Radio Interview With UC Prez

UC prez Napolitano was interviewed recently (4-19-17) on KQED on topics such as free speech (Ann Coulter upcoming talk), tuition, admissions, out of state students, outsourcing, etc. The interview was pretty much softball questions. Some phone questions from the radio audience were included.

You can hear the program at the link below:

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Erosion of the Master Plan

Erosion eventually undermines a once-solid structure
From time to time, this blog has pointed to the political erosion of the 1960 Master Plan. Dan Walters, in a column in the Sacramento Bee, points to two bills currently in the legislature which move in that direction.*

One (AB405) would allow community colleges to offer 4-year degrees in cybersecurity.** The pattern in the legislature has been to find some topic in which no formal 4-year degree is being offered by UC or CSU and then propose that community colleges should fill the gap.

The other bill (AB207) would authorize Fresno State U to open a medical school.***

Although Walters characterizes these two bills as "stalled," there will be more such bills in the future and some will be enacted. The Master Plan was developed because at the time such ad hoc developments were occurring as every higher ed institution sought to build its own empire. So maybe it's time to consider developing a new plan rather than have the legislature create an incoherent jumble of programs.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Uh Oh - Part 2

We have noted in prior posts the apparently upcoming Ann Coulter appearance at Berkeley. Earlier this year, there was the clash over the appearance of Milo Yiannopoulos that led to violence. Yiannopoulos - probably to take advantage of the publicity given the Coulter event - has announced a return to Berkeley. However, no specific date was announced:

Conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos announced that he was planning to launch a comeback tour after his abrupt resignation as editor from the far-right website Breitbart News earlier this year. The multi-day event, which he called "Milo's Free Speech Week," is scheduled be held in Berkeley, California — one of the cities known for its promotion of free speech since the 1960s — sometime later this year... "If UC Berkeley does not actively assist us in the planning and execution of this event, we will extend festivities to an entire month," he said...

Full story at

The Coulter matter, in particular, may come up at the next Regents meeting in May, especially if litigation arises from it* or if violence ensues.
"Students who invited right-wing pundit Ann Coulter to UC Berkeley next week gave campus administrators an ultimatum Friday: Let her speak on campus Thursday evening or they will sue the university in federal court on grounds UC is violating their constitutional right to free speech." Full story at:

Friday, April 21, 2017

Berkeley is getting it from all angles today
As they say:

Health Care Fraud

The University of California is alleging that it’s uncovered a scheme that targeted hundreds of students through its student healthcare plan and cost the UC almost $12 million.

In a complaint filed Thursday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, the UC said the scheme used information from more than 500 students enrolled in its systemwide Student Health Insurance Plan that allowed doctors to write fraudulent medical prescriptions.

The UC is seeking a temporary restraining order hoping to halt the practice and the people behind it.

According to the UC, students were invited via social media to participate in fake clinical trials or recruited at campus job fairs. They were asked to divulge health insurance information, which the UC contends was used to forge prescriptions, court documents said. Payment for those prescriptions was made by the UC’s heath system...

Full story at