Saturday, January 20, 2018

Tuition Vote Moved to Wednesday

According to the LA Times, the Regents' vote on a tuition increase will take place next week and will not be delayed - as some have requested - until the March meeting. The date of the vote was moved to Wednesday since the ex officio regents will be attending the governor's state of the state address on Thursday. From the LA Times:

The University of California is proposing to raise tuition and the student services fee for state residents by 2.7%, an increase of $342 to a total of $12,972 for the 2018-19 academic year... The vote on the tuition proposal was moved up a day, to Wednesday, to avoid a conflict for ex-officio regents who will attend Brown’s State of the State address on Thursday.

State Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and others had asked UC President Janet Napolitano to change the date so more could attend the meeting. Student regent Paul Monge and two other student leaders had asked that the vote be moved to the March meeting at UCLA, because the Westwood campus is accessible to more students than UC San Francisco, which has no undergraduate campus.

Despite the scheduling change, Rendon will not attend the regents meeting because he has a “fully booked day in the Capitol,” his spokesman said. (Lt. Gov.) Newsom is scheduled to attend.

Full story at

As we noted in prior posts, the governor in his budget message is opposed to a tuition increase.

UCLA History: Faculty Club Fundraising

The latest Faculty Center newsletter contains this photo of a fundraiser in the 1950s to establish the Center.

DACA message

FYI: An email message concerning DACA-eligibles went out yesterday from Professor Abel Valenzuela, Special Advisor to the Chancellor on Immigration Policy, and Jerry Kang, Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion:

UCLA Advisory Council on Immigration Policy

To the Campus Community:

Updates on DACA: As of January 9, 2018, due to a preliminary injunction in the case of Regents of Univ. of Cal. v. Dep’t of Homeland Security, the Department of Homeland Security has resumed processing DACA renewal applications. However, this is only a preliminary injunction, which means that renewals will be allowed pending a final decision in the case. We do not know how long this renewal opportunity will last – it could only be a few days, so we urge students and staff who are eligible to renew their DACA [or? and?] to seriously consider doing so as quickly as possible...

The message goes on to provide various informational links.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Vandalism incident sparks responses from Jewish student leaders

Vandalism incident sparks responses from Jewish student leaders

Daily Bruin, 1-18-18, Thomas Lim

The president of UCLA’s undergraduate student government rededicated a new mezuzah outside of her office Thursday after her previous mezuzah was vandalized over winter break.

Rabbi Dovid Gurevich led the rededication with a speech about the cultural significance of the mezuzah in the Jewish faith and closed the event with the installment of the new mezuzah. The previous one was torn off Undergraduate Students Association Council President Arielle Yael Mokhtarzadeh’s doorframe between Jan. 2 and Jan. 8.

A mezuzah outside former USAC President Danny Siegel’s doorpost was damaged in 2017 as well, Mokhtarzadeh said.

A mezuzah is a small ornament that is placed on the doorframe of Jewish homes and synagogues. It contains two passages from the Torah that symbolize protection for practitioners of the faith, Gurevich said.

UCPD Lt. Kevin Kilgore said the department is investigating the incident as a potential hate crime because the mezuzah is religiously significant to the Jewish faith, and Mokhtarzadeh identifies as Jewish. He added there are currently no suspects or leads in the investigation...

Mokhtarzadeh said she plans to take measures to prevent these types of incidents from occurring again by working with Associated Students UCLA to install security cameras on the third floor of Kerckhoff Hall.

Full story at


CRISPR case never seems to draw to a conclusion

A decision from the European Patent Office (EPO) has put the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on shaky ground with its intellectual property claims to the gene-editing tool CRISPR. EPO yesterday revoked a patent granted to the Broad for fundamental aspects of the technology, one of several of its patents facing opposition in Europe.

In the United States, the Broad has had better fortune. It has so far prevailed in a high-profile patent dispute with the University of California (UC), Berkeley. Last February, the U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board ruled that although a team led by UC Berkeley structural biologist Jennifer Doudna had first laid claim to the use of CRISPR to cut DNA in a test tube, the use of the method on human cells by molecular biologist Feng Zhang’s team at the Broad was still an advance.

But in Europe, a dispute that has gotten much less attention could derail several key Broad patents. The patent just revoked was filed in December 2013, but to show that its claims predate competing publications and patent filings from UC and other groups, the Broad cites U.S. patent applications dating back to December 2012.

Unfortunately, those earliest U.S. filings include an inventor, microbiologist Luciano Marraffini of The Rockefeller University in New York City, who was not listed on the European filing. Disagreement between Rockefeller and the Broad over Marraffini’s role in key CRISPR inventions led to a bizarre dispute, creating conflicting, identical patents with different authors, The Scientist reported in 2016.

The two institutions settled the disagreement earlier this week. But because of strict rules in Europe about the listing of inventors on patents, Marraffini’s exclusion from the European filing meant the Broad couldn’t claim the “priority date” of the earliest U.S. patents, and therefore couldn’t lay first claim in Europe to the technologies described.

The invalidated patent is one of several facing formal “oppositions” filed with EPO. One opponent of the now-revoked patent was CRISPR Therapeutics, co-founded by microbiologist Emmanuelle Charpentier, now at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin, who collaborated with Doudna on early CRISPR technology and is listed on key patents. And the same issue could threaten more of the Broad’s intellectual property in Europe, says Jacob Sherkow, a patent specialist at New York Law School in New York City. “If the Broad can’t get the priority date that they want in their patents, things are just going to be really bad for them,” he says. “It looks like UC Berkeley and Emmanuelle Charpentier are going to have the dominant patent position in Europe going forward.”

The Broad said in a statement that it plans to appeal the decision. But the likelihood that EPO will reverse course is “slim,” says Catherine Coombes, a patent attorney with HGF Limited in York, U.K., who has handled some CRISPR-related litigation but is not involved with what she refers to as “the foundational” intellectual property at the center of these disputes.

She notes that the decision doesn’t threaten the many follow-on patents the Broad has filed for gene-editing technologies, including alternatives to the Cas9 enzyme used in the early CRISPR work. And the new blow to the Broad doesn’t change the fact that companies commercializing CRISPR-based products will likely have to license technology from multiple patent holders. “The CRISPR landscape is a lot murkier in Europe because it’s perfectly feasible to have lots of overlapping rights,” she says. “I can’t say that it’s suddenly a winner-takes-all scenario.”



Yesterday, yours truly noted an article in the Bruin indicating that a ban had been imposed on alcohol at frat parties. There was no further information. Below is what happened:

A former UCLA fraternity president was free on bail Thursday following his arrest in Westwood last weekend on suspicion of assault with intent to commit rape and oral copulation. Benjamin Orr, 21, was arrested after police were called about 9:15 a.m. Sunday to the 500 block of Gayley Avenue to investigate a report of a sexual assault that allegedly occurred the previous night at an off-campus party, according to UCLA Police Department Lt. Scott Scheffler.
Orr, who was arrested at 547 Gayley Ave., was booked into sheriff's custody and was freed after posting $100,000 bail, Scheffler said.
The address is that of the Theta Delta Chi fraternity. The Daily Bruin reports that Orr was the fraternity's 2016-17 president. On Tuesday, the UCLA Interfraternity Council Executive Board and President's Council met and voted to impose "an indefinite ban on events involving alcohol that take place within IFC chapter facilities," according to a statement from the council's executive board.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

UCPath now at ASUCLA

The UCPath payroll system, which has featured repeated delays and large cost overruns, is now in place at ASUCLA. It was due originally to replace the local system at UCLA as a whole, but was confined initially to just ASUCLA to see what happened. Details can be found in the Bruin: