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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Med School Assn. Opposes Latest Obamacare Repeal Effort

Note: UC's various medical schools are part of this organization.*

Medical Schools Oppose Plan to Kill Obamacare

By Andrew Kreighbaum, September 20, 2017, Inside Higher Ed

The Association of American Medical Colleges came out against the latest effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act in a letter to senators Tuesday. The Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson bill has been gaining momentum as Republicans attempt to meet a Sept. 30 deadline to pass repeal legislation with a simple majority in the Senate through a process known as reconciliation. But AAMC's president and CEO, Darrell G. Kirch, told senators they should pursue a bipartisan health-care deal through the committee process. And he said the latest repeal legislation failed to meet key principles the group considers fundamental to a successful health-care system.

"These principles include offering high-quality, affordable health insurance to all; preserving and fortifying the safety net through Medicaid and other policies; and encouraging innovation in the delivery system, among others," Kirch wrote. "The GCHJ legislation does not meet these principles, as it repeals the individual and employer mandates, repeals Medicaid expansion, and caps traditional Medicaid funding. Under this legislation, the number of uninsured patients nationwide will increase dramatically and important existing patient protections will be at risk."

He added that the proposal should be scored by the Congressional Budget Office before further action. But the CBO will only have a partial analysis of the legislation available by the Sept. 30 deadline.

Source: https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2017/09/20/medical-schools-oppose-plan-kill-obamacare

Letter from AAMC:
https://www.aamc.org/download/482922/data/aamclettertosenateongraham-cassidyproposal.pdf
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*https://members.aamc.org/eweb/DynamicPage.aspx?webcode=AAMCOrgSearchResult&orgtype=Medical%20School

China Reported to Retaliate Against UC-San Diego

Beijing has a lesson for overseas universities: Don’t invite speakers who oppose the Communist Party to big events. A branch of the Chinese government has barred Chinese scholars from receiving state funding to study at the University of California, San Diego, according to people at the school. The freeze highlights how Beijing is steadily placing pressure on overseas universities to suppress viewpoints that run counter to Communist Party orthodoxy.

In June, UCSD hosted the Dalai Lama to speak at its school-wide commencement ceremony for the 2016-2017 academic year. The invitation generated controversy among some members of school’s Chinese student population. The Chinese government strictly controls information within its borders about the Dalai Lama, who it views as a separatist and a symbol of China’s feudal past. Many Chinese citizens hold these same views...

The application freeze does not bar undergraduates, graduate students, or other academics from attending UCSD—it merely prevents scholars from obtaining CSC funding to do so. As a result, these specific measures alone will likely do little to curb the school’s influx of Chinese students. In the fall of 2015, Chinese students made up 10.6% of UCSD’s student population and 55.7% of its international student population...

Full story at https://qz.com/1080962/china-is-retaliating-against-the-university-of-california-san-diego-for-inviting-the-dalai-lama-to-speak-at-commencement/

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Listen to the Regents Afternoon Meeting of Sept. 13, 2017

With this post, we complete our archiving of the Sept. 2017 Regents meetings. Here is a summary from the Bruin (below). It might be added that there was reference to the upcoming rebidding on the Los Alamos lab as well:

...Academic and Student Affairs Committee (includes labs subcommittee)
  • UC Irvine Chancellor Howard Gillman apologized for rescinding a large number of new student admission offers during the summer for those who did not submit transcripts and test scores on time. Gillman said the university had to over-enroll students because more applicants had accepted offers than the university expected.
  • Ruben Canedo, a research coordinator at UC Berkeley and co-chair of the UC’s Global Food Initiative Basic Needs committee, said the UC will be releasing a Basic Needs report in November with details on students’ experiences with food and housing insecurity.
  • Several regents, including Regent John Perez and Newsom, said they think the University should do more to help student athletes and make sure that they are performing well academically. Michael Williams, director of athletics at UC Berkeley, said the campus provides student athletes with academic support and mentoring, and said that athletes at UC Berkeley have been improving their academic performance.
Finance and Capital Strategies Committee
  • The committee approved plans and funding for several construction projects, including the Northern Regional Library Facility at UC Berkeley, a science and engineering building at UC Irvine and a medical building at UC San Francisco. However, several regents, including Makarechian, said they think the costs for the building in UC Irvine are too high, and asked the campus to look into offsetting some of the construction costs.
  • Napolitano said the University needs more funding to support increases in enrollment and added the University also faces costs for compensation increases from collective bargaining and expanding and maintaining infrastructure. She added that any tuition increases proposed for the 2018-2019 year would be offset by need-based financial aid, with a third of the revenue from a tuition increase going to financial aid.
  • Brostrom gave the regents updates on the UC’s development of its budget for 2018-2019. Brostrom said when developing the budget, the UC is considering costs associated with enrollment growth, improving the student to faculty ratio, employee retirement benefits and financial aid. He added the UC is looking into additional sources of funding, including a tuition increase.
  • Brostrom said that while the UC has not yet developed a specific tuition proposal, it is currently consulting with campus and student leaders. He added the UC will present its budget proposal for approval by the regents during the board’s November meeting.

Link below to audio: (Academic & Student Affairs with labs)

Finance and Capital Strategies:

Berkeley May Cancel - Part 2

Cancelled?
The "free speech" event at Berkeley next week is looking progressively more dubious, although "progressively" is probably not the preferred word of its sponsors. From the Washington Post:

Organizers of the “Free Speech Week” at the University of California at Berkeley insisted Monday that the event will go on, despite school officials’ announcement that some large indoor venues could not be rented for the events.

“We’ll do it outdoors if we need to,” said Pranav Jandhyala, a sophomore who is a member of the Berkeley Patriot, the student group that invited provocative writer Milo Yiannopoulos and others to campus. He said that conservative commentator Ann Coulter, frequent critic of Islam Pamela Geller and former chief White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon are all planning to speak there next week.

Coulter, and a spokeswoman for Bannon, did not immediately respond to requests for comment Monday. Geller said she is planning to speak. University officials released a list of speakers they said had been confirmed that did not include Coulter, Geller or Bannon...

Full story at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2017/09/18/organizers-of-free-speech-week-at-uc-berkeley-vow-to-hold-events-even-if-they-cant-get-indoor-venues/

Somewhat related: A UCLA faculty member does a study on student attitudes toward the First Amendment/free speech for Brookings:
https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2017/09/19/study-casts-doubts-student-support-free-speech
and
https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2017/09/18/views-among-college-students-regarding-the-first-amendment-results-from-a-new-survey/

What could possibly go wrong?

Orange County philanthropists Susan and Henry Samueli will donate $200 million to UC Irvine, one of the largest gifts ever to any public university, to create a college that educates medical students in holistic practices as well as traditional ones and treat patients with a wide-ranging perspective...

“Susan has completely converted me into an advocate for integrative health,” (Henry Samueli) said. “When I feel a cold or flu coming on, rather than run to the doctor, I run to Susan to figure out which homeopathic remedy or Chinese herb I should be taking.”...

Full story at http://www.ocregister.com/2017/09/18/uci-receives-200-million-gift/


What do ducks say?

Monday, September 18, 2017

Strawberry Settlement

For those blog readers who have followed the Davis drama, this item from the Sacramento Bee appears to be the grand conclusion:

Fear not, strawberry lovers. A nasty lawsuit over the strawberry breeding program at UC Davis – the wellspring of about half of California’s strawberry crop – is history.

The university on Friday settled a lawsuit against two berry breeders who quit UC Davis, formed their own company and began developing new strawberry varieties without the school’s permission. The scientists can continue using some of the strawberry plants they developed at UC Davis, but have to return others. They also will forfeit $2.5 million in royalty payments they stand to collect from the university for work they did at Davis.

The lengthy dispute has been closely watched in the food industry. California’s $1.9 billion-a-year strawberry crop accounts for more than 80 percent of the nation’s supply. About half of the berries grown in California are grown with seeds developed in UC Davis’ greenhouses.

Over a two-decade run, UC Davis plant breeders Douglas Shaw and Kirk Lawson bred new generations of plumper and sweeter strawberries that boosted sales and helped cement California’s leadership in the business. While many of the largest strawberry growers breed their own varieties, including Driscoll Strawberry Associates of Watsonville, the UC varieties have been licensed by major brands like Dole and California Giant, as well as many independent farmers.

The strawberry breeds have generated tens of millions of dollars for the University of California, and Shaw and Larson have earned millions themselves through a royalty-sharing arrangement.

The relationship soured, though, and Shaw and Larson quit UC Davis in 2014. They formed a company called California Berry Cultivars in Orange County. The divorce quickly turned messy. UC sued the two men and their new company, saying they had violated their “duties of loyalty” by attempting to breed new varieties using plants that were the property of UC Davis. California Berry sued back, accusing the university of stifling innovation by refusing to grant Shaw and Larson a license to use the plants.

“If you want more and better strawberries on your table … you should care about whether the university should be able to keep these varieties in a lockbox,” the breeders’ lawyer Greg Lanier said in an interview earlier this year. “Strawberry farmers need new varieties to battle changing weather – it’s rain, it’s drought, it’s changes in what pesticides you can use.”

UC won. In May, after five days of trial testimony in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, a jury found that California Berry had improperly used the UC plants. But the case wasn’t over. Damages hadn’t been sorted out, and after the jury rendered its verdict the judge said he believed UC Davis was as guilty of “bad conduct” as the two scientists. Settlement negotiations ensued, leading to the agreement filed in court Friday.

University officials declined to comment on the settlement. California Berry’s chief executive, A.G. Kawamura, a former secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, couldn’t be reached for comment.

Source: http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/article173591931.html

Yes, but

The Chronicle of Higher Ed runs a flattering piece largely about Secretary to the Regents Anne Shaw:

Six times a year, 10 days ahead of each meeting of the University of California system’s Board of Regents, a notice goes out to the public. In that document is a carefully prepared agenda, complete with extensive background write-ups and relevant attachments — compliance reports, audits, budget documents.

Anne Shaw, secretary and chief of staff to the board, is responsible for these meticulous preparations. But Ms. Shaw, like many university board secretaries, fills far more roles than just that of fastidious note taker and organizer. Board secretaries are diplomats — strategic advisers who have the ear of the president and the responsibility of liaising with the governing board...

Ms. Shaw and her staff of about eight essentially exist as the bridge between the two most powerful entities in a university: the chief executive and the trustees. Much of the work of the president’s office will eventually come to the governing board for approval: new degrees and programs, approval of tuitions and fees, budgets, all end up on board agendas.

Ms. Shaw is a conscientious record keeper, archiving information from public commenters at board meetings — for example, their opinions on the system’s immunization and vaccine policy. Following up after a meeting, Ms. Shaw and her staff will take down "reminders" about questions regents had that couldn’t be answered at the time. She and her staff will then work to compile and present that information to the inquiring regent...


The reference on archiving caught the eye of yours truly, who continues to note that the Regents do not really archive the recordings of their meetings. They post them for only one year. Yours truly, in contrast, does archive them - at considerable time cost. So we ask for the umpteeth time, why - if the Regents are now putting their meetings on YouTube for just one year - they can't just leave them their indefinitely? How about the UC Regents stepping into the 21st century in that regard? The only answer we have ever gotten regarding the one-year rule is that CSU does it that way. Is that a reason? Let CSU be CSU. Bad practice there is no excuse for bad practice at UC.