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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Listen to the Morning Regents Sessions of November 15, 2017

We continue here our process of catching up with the Regents. Below are the audio recordings of the morning session of November 15, 2017.

The session began with the full board, much of which was devoted to public comments. Comments include demands for removal of Regent Pattiz, possible cutbacks in retiree health care, concern about pay increases, mandatory overtime for nurses, past pension cuts, campus visits of regents, renewable energy, Pell grants, outsourcing of parking valets, provision of mental health care for students, status of DACA students, and fossil fuel divestment. Regent Pérez raised the issue of how items get on the agenda and expressed dissatisfaction. President Napolitano and faculty rep White made reports.

The Public Engagement and Development Committee discussed fundraising, advocacy, and political developments at the state and federal levels. It was noted that the current federal tax bill disadvantages higher ed in various ways.

At the Compliance and Audit Committee, the aftermath of the state audit was the major issue. Also discussed was UC's creation of a captive insurance company.

Governance and Compensation discussed adding responsibility to the Investment Subcommittee. An item was pulled from the agenda. Regent Pérez raised concerns about the process for pulling items off just as he had earlier raised concerns about the procedures for putting things on the agenda.

Link to Board:


Alternative Link to Board:
https://ia801500.us.archive.org/7/items/RegentsPublicEngagementAndDevelopmentCommittee111517edit/regentsBoard11-15-17edited.mp3

Compliance and Audit:
https://ia801500.us.archive.org/7/items/RegentsPublicEngagementAndDevelopmentCommittee111517edit/regentsComplianceAndAuditCommittee11-15-17edited.mp3

Governance and Compensation:
https://ia801500.us.archive.org/7/items/RegentsPublicEngagementAndDevelopmentCommittee111517edit/regentsGovernanceAndCompensation11-15-17edited.mp3

Public Engagement and Development:
https://ia801500.us.archive.org/7/items/RegentsPublicEngagementAndDevelopmentCommittee111517edit/regentsPublic%20Engagement%20and%20Development%20Committee%2011-15-17edit.mp3

Friday, November 17, 2017

Regents Require Apology from UC Prez on State Audit

We'll be catching up with the recent Regents meeting as time permits. The full audio for indefinite archiving has now been captured (it's trickier than you might think) and has to be edited to remove blank areas where there was no open session. Some of the editing has been done; other parts remain.

In the interim, you probably know that there has been an investigation into UCOP and UC prez interference with a state audit. At the meeting of November 16, 2017, the Regents implemented some new procedures and required the UC president to make an apology - which she did.

From the San Francisco ChronicleThe University of California regents took disciplinary action against President Janet Napolitano on Thursday, publicly admonishing her for authorizing actions that led to her staff’s interference with a state auditor’s investigation last year. The regents also ordered Napolitano to apologize for approving the scheme that resulted in her chief of staff and his deputy pressuring campuses to change their responses to a confidential state auditor survey to remove negative remarks and instead have them reflect positively on the president’s office.


“The president’s decision to approve a plan to coordinate the survey responses reflected poor judgment and set in motion a course of conduct that the Board of Regents finds unacceptable,” UC Regents Chair George Kieffer said during a UC regents meeting in San Francisco with Napolitano sitting beside him.

“I regret deeply that I did not show better judgment,” Napolitano said in her apology. “I made this decision. I made a serious error in judgment. I apologize.”

The regents’ action came after an hours-long closed-door session and as the board publicly released an independent fact-finding report by retired state Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno. The report found that Napolitano’s chief of staff, Seth Grossman, and his deputy, Bernie Jones, directed the interference and then tried to cover their tracks. Both executives resigned from their jobs last week and have denied wrongdoing. During a news conference after the meeting, Kieffer said Grossman and Jones would have faced “serious disciplinary actions” if they had not resigned...



Video of relevant Regents session with UC prez apology:

New Westwood Neighborhood Council?

Westwood in 1949
From the Bruin: Student leaders said at a town hall meeting Thursday they want to create a more representative and democratic council to represent Westwood.
Westwood Forward, a student-run coalition that is also comprised of local homeowners and business owners, held a town hall meeting in Ackerman Union to address more than 45 members of the public about plans to subdivide the Westwood Neighborhood Council. The proposed North Westwood Neighborhood Council will serve those who live, work or own property near UCLA, the North Village and Westwood Village.
The WWNC is the official adviser to the city on Westwood-related matters. The council provides recommendations to the Los Angeles City Council for housing projects, business permits and proposed infrastructure for Westwood.
Student leaders announced plans to create a new council at the Graduate Students Association forum Nov. 8. Chloe Pan, Undergraduate Students Association Council external vice president and a member of Westwood Forward, said at the event she and other student leaders want to create the new council because they believe the WWNC stifles business operations, opposes student interests and makes it difficult for students to vote...
Student organizers for Westwood Forward said the coalition plans to hold a larger town hall meeting in two weeks.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Not an anthem of praise for a major UC provider

The California Department of Managed Health Care announced Wednesday that it had leveled a $5 million fine against Anthem Blue Cross, saying the insurer demonstrated a systemic pattern and practice of failing to identify, process and resolve grievances for enrollees in its managed-care plans.

“The grievance process is fundamental to protecting consumers’ health-care rights and ensuring consumers receive the care they need,” said DMHC Director Shelley Rouillard. “Anthem Blue Cross’ failures to comply with the law surrounding grievance and appeals rights are longstanding, ongoing and unacceptable. The plan must correct the deficiencies in their grievance and appeals system and comply with the law.”

Including this latest enforcement action, DMHC leaders said, the agency has fined Anthem Blue Cross $11.66 million for grievance system violations since 2002. This figure far outstrips the $1.76 million in fines leveled against Blue Shield of California, the insurer with the next highest enforcement actions in this category.

In a statement emailed Wednesday, Anthem spokeswoman Suzanne Meraz said: “Anthem strongly disagrees with the DMHC’s findings and the assertion that these findings are systemic and ongoing. Unfortunately the DMHC has not fulfilled its obligations to clarify the regulatory standards and definitions being applied in the audits, despite multiple requests from Anthem to do so.”...

Full story at http://www.sacbee.com/news/business/article184877248.html

Coming soon to Westwood?

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

For decades, a Berkeley elementary school has carried the name of a prominent conservationist and co-founder of the Sierra Club.
But that 19th century geologist, Joseph LeConte, was also a slave owner and munitions supplier to the Confederacy during the Civil War, and parents want his name off their children’s school.
The Berkeley school board honored that request Wednesday evening, voting to strip the LeConte name off the school and launch a process to select a new moniker.
The decision follows similar ones across the state to remove the names of those with pasts stained by racism. Palo Alto last year rebranded two schools that were named after men who supported eugenics, the belief that selective breeding and sterilization can improve the human race.
The vote in Berkeley follows a months-long process initiated by community members to rename the south Berkeley school that included meetings, straw polls and conversations about LeConte’s record...
In 1892, when the school was named, LeConte was a renowned professor at UC Berkeley, joining the faculty after the Civil War...
LeConte still has a waterfall, canyon, glacier and mountain named after him in addition to schools and university buildings, including one at UC Berkeley...

End of the Unfortunate Incident (for now)

The three UCLA Basketball players at the heart of an international incident when they were arrested in China on shoplifting charges have been suspended from the team.

According to basketball head coach Steve Alford, the three players have been suspended indefinitely from the team. They will not travel with the team or suit-up for home games, and they will remain suspended as the players go through the university's disciplinary review process.

The trio — freshman players LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill — were detained last Tuesday on suspicion of shoplifting sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store next to the team's hotel in Hangzhou. ESPN reported Monday that Chinese authorities have surveillance video showing the players taking merchandise from as many as three upscale shops.

UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said Tuesday the players will to through the university's disciplinary process.

"I want to be clear that we take seriously any violations of the law," Block said. "In this particular case, both Athletics and the Office of Student Conduct will review this incident and guide any action with respect to the involved students. Such proceedings are confidential, which limits the specific information that can be shared."

LiAngelo Ball's brother is Los Angeles Laker Lonzo Ball.

Earlier Wednesday, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to suggest that the three young men give thanks to him for intervening on their behalf. The players promptly did so.

Riley thanked President Donald Trump for his help resolving the shoplifting case against him and two of his teammates in China. "We really appreciate you helping us out," he said. Hill followed suit also thanking President Donald Trump for his help resolving the shoplifting case.

"President Xi has been terrific on that subject," Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One Tuesday. "But that was not a good subject. That was not something that should have happened....What they did was unfortunate. You know, you're talking about very long prison sentences. They do not play games."

Source: https://patch.com/california/centurycity/ucla-suspends-basketball-players-international-incident

It remains to be seen how long indefinite is - or what the players will do.

==
Below is the NY Times version:

How Trump Helped Liberate U.C.L.A. ‘Knuckleheads’ From China

By Mark Landler and Michael D. Shearnov, Nov. 14, 2017

MANILA — President Trump found out about the great U.C.L.A.-China basketball episode of 2017 when members of his staff saw it on CNN just before Mr. Trump’s dinner with the president of China in Beijing last week.

They learned that three American college basketball players — representing a storied sports program visiting China for an early-season game sponsored by one of China’s largest companies — had been arrested on Nov. 8, accused of stealing designer sunglasses at a high-end shopping mall.

The alleged offense was hardly life or death. But what had begun as a simple accusation of celebrity shoplifting threatened to escalate into a full-blown international incident just as Mr. Trump arrived in China on a 12-day mission through Asia, his first foreign trip to the region.

“These are law and order guys; they have pretty swift justice,” John Kelly, the president’s chief of staff, said of the Chinese authorities in a telephone interview later. “An awful lot of American kids don’t realize that the kinds of things that in United States society we tolerate with a slap on the wrist, a lot of countries they take very seriously.”

In addition to Mr. Trump, the weeklong diplomatic drama involved the players themselves, who remained detained at their hotel in the provincial city of Hangzhou for most of the week; U.C.L.A., an elite American university with an international reputation; and the Chinese retail giant Alibaba, which sponsored the team’s visit.

In other cases, detained Americans have become geopolitical pawns, often trapped in a kind of legal limbo for months or years.

And in a few instances, the outcome has been horrific, as in the case of Otto Warmbier, an American student in North Korea who was tortured and later died after being detained on charges that he tried to steal a poster from his hotel.

But just as concern deepened about the fate of the three young athletes in China, their detention abruptly ended, aided, it seems, by Mr. Trump’s direct intervention with the country’s president, Xi Jinping. On Tuesday, the three players, including the star freshman LiAngelo Ball, the brother of the N.B.A. rookie Lonzo Ball, were allowed to leave their hotel and board a flight back to California.

“The three U.C.L.A. men’s basketball student-athletes involved in the incident with authorities in Hangzhou, China, are on a flight back home to Los Angeles,” the Pacific-12, the athletics conference to which the university belongs, said in a statement, adding that “the matter has been resolved to the satisfaction of the Chinese authorities.”

“We want to thank the president, the White House and the U.S. State Department for their efforts towards resolution,” the statement said.

Mr. Kelly, who arrived back in the United States with Mr. Trump Tuesday night aboard Air Force One, provided details about the president’s diplomatic outreach on behalf of the U.C.L.A. players.

“Our president said to Xi, ‘Do you know anything about these knuckleheads that got caught allegedly stealing?’” Mr. Kelly said. Unaware of the episode, the Chinese president dispatched an aide to get more information. “The president was saying, ‘It’s not too serious. We’d love to see this taken care of in an expeditious way,’” Mr. Kelly added.

The three players had been accused of shoplifting from a Louis Vuitton store next to their hotel in Hangzhou, in eastern China, where they were preparing to play in a tournament. (Playing without the three freshmen, U.C.L.A. defeated Georgia Tech, 63-60, in Shanghai on Friday.)

Mr. Kelly said Mr. Trump’s intervention, as well as diplomatic efforts by State Department diplomats, led to the reduction of the charges to the equivalent of misdemeanors as well as the release of the three players to their hotel, where they were placed under temporary house arrest. It was there that Mr. Kelly talked to Chris Carlson, an associate athletic director at U.C.L.A., and to the players on the phone the next day.

“To say the least, they were very apologetic,” said Mr. Kelly, who pointedly did not ask the student-athletes whether they had, in fact, attempted to steal the merchandise they were accused of taking. “They were just profuse in their apologies for embarrassing the country and embarrassing the team.”

Mr. Kelly told the players that Mr. Trump had intervened on their behalf and that he was “very optimistic that this would be taken care of in short order.”

In China, where the justice system has a very high conviction rate, theft can bring punishment ranging from a few days to years in prison. Mr. Kelly said that had the players been charged with the equivalent of felonies — because of the high cost of the merchandise — they could have received prison sentences of five to 10 years.

“I bet they learned a lesson in their lives,” he said.

Mr. Trump was uncharacteristically quiet about the players and their situation until his overseas trip was winding down. He did not tweet about the case as the players sat trapped in their rooms. American officials did not put out any statements about the situation.

But once he was headed home, Mr. Trump provided the first indications that the actions of the three young men had prompted a conversation at the highest of levels.

“I will tell you, when I heard about it two days ago, I had a great conversation with President Xi,” Mr. Trump told reporters during a brief conversation Tuesday before the students were formally allowed to leave their hotel. “He was terrific, and they’re working on it right now. And hopefully everything is going to work out.”

Mr. Trump called the alleged actions of the basketball players “unfortunate,” and grimly noted the toughness of the Chinese judicial system. “You know, you’re talking about very long prison sentences,” the president told reporters. “They do not play games.”

Mr. Trump has made much of his personal rapport with Mr. Xi, who hosted a lavish state visit last week for the president in Beijing. The two leaders met again at an economic summit meeting on Sunday in Vietnam, where Mr. Trump raised the case of the detained basketball players.

“He’s been terrific,” the president said. “President Xi has been terrific on that subject.”

The warm presidential relationship appeared to pay off with the release of Ball, a freshman guard; and Cody Riley and Jalen Hill, both freshman forwards. Mr. Trump emphasized that it was a “very, very rough situation, with what happened to them.”

The highest-profile of the three who had been detained was Ball, the middle of three sons in a basketball-playing family so well known that it has its own reality show on Facebook, “Ball in the Family.” The eldest brother, Lonzo, plays for the Los Angeles Lakers, and the youngest, LaMelo, is a high schooler who has committed to play at U.C.L.A. Their father, LaVar, has become a public figure, and has started a sports-apparel company, Big Baller Brand, to market both his sons and the family name.

The U.C.L.A. team’s trip to China had been seen as a way to raise the profile of the university in that country, possibly attracting students who have well-to-do parents and who want to study abroad. Many American universities in recent years have increasingly relied on tuition payments from foreign students.

The arrests of the three young men could have derailed efforts to bridge the cultural divide. Hours before their release, Mr. Trump told reporters that the incident “was not something that should have happened.”

But even then the president seemed to know something positive might be in the works. Asked if he expected to see the basketball players coming home soon, he answered: “I hope so. I hope so.”

Just hours later, they were on a plane, too.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/14/us/politics/trump-ucla-basketball-china.html

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Echo of 2016 Election: Lawsuit at UC-San Diego

Student Hit by Car After Entering Freeway During Election Night Protests Sues UCSD

November 15, 2017, Lauren Holt, UC-San Diego

Exactly one year after a car struck Revelle sophomore Mariana Flores as she entered Interstate-5 during the election night protests, Flores’ attorney filed a personal injury and property damage lawsuit against UC San Diego and several other entities. According to the complaint submitted to the San Diego Superior Court last Wednesday, Flores suffered wage loss, loss of earning capacity, hospital and medical expenses, general damage, property damage, and loss of personal property as a result of the incident.

The protests during which Flores was injured began shortly after Donald Trump was announced the projected winner of the 2016 election. Students living in all six colleges gathered on Library Walk and spread throughout campus, chanting criticisms of the president-elect as they moved. The protest then spilled off-campus near the freeway, where demonstrators walked onto the interstate.

As an emergency vehicle was attempting to shut down Interstate-5 by driving in an “S” formation across the southbound lanes, the driver hit Flores, crushing her pelvis, fracturing her leg, and causing other serious injuries.

Flores’ attorney Gene Sullivan informed the UCSD Guardian that due to the nature of her injuries, Flores’ medical bills over the course of her life will be in the millions of dollars, so he and his client hope that the university will offer assistance in covering the costs.   

The lawsuit, which also names the UC Board of Regents, the City and County of San Diego, the State of California, and the driver of the vehicle as defendants, states that the protest was organized by the university and that UCSD is responsible for failing to end the demonstration.

“Plaintiff was participating in a citizen protest that had been organized by the University of California, San Diego and/or the University of California Regents,” the complaint reads. “The protest continued all over campus for hours and was never stopped, controlled, or refrained by the County of San Diego, City of San Diego, State of California, University of California Regents or the University of California, San Diego.”   

Sullivan explained that there are a number of people culpable for the accident, including Flores herself, but because the university is partially responsible, it is also partially responsible for the harms and damages. Under the doctrine of tort law known as “comparative responsibility,” the jury will determine what percentages of responsibility the university and other defendants comprise for the incident and assign damages accordingly.

Elaborating on the notion that the university “organized” the protest, Sullivan told the Guardian that the university “planned, organized” and knew the protest was happening for hours but did nothing to stop it. According to Sullivan, not doing anything and failing to act is legally the same thing as supporting the protest.

Sullivan further alleged that the protest was encouraged by people in positions of authority at the university, and that “if anyone that is in authority with the university – a [Residential Advisor] – says ‘let’s go,’ the university would be responsible.”

The complaint additionally claims that UCSD is liable for Flores’ injuries because it allowed the protesters to enter the freeway and failed to warn Flores that there was no one providing security for the demonstrators along the freeway even though campus police officers were present during the protests on campus and shut down the surrounding streets.

“It’s a long-established rule that a university or any public entity has a duty to protect their students and have them be safe,” Sullivan said.

UCSD has not yet informed Sullivan of its position on the lawsuit.

The UCSD Guardian contacted UCSD representatives for comments, but they did not respond. 

Source: http://ucsdguardian.org/2017/11/15/student-hit-by-car-after-entering-freeway-during-election-night-protests-sues-ucsd/