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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Our Halloween Scare

But it will pay for itself, right? Nothing to be scared of.
So let's have a little musical accompaniment (except for iPhones):

UCLA Med Art: What's in a name?

Some of the artwork in the medical complex is named. The item on top is "Passive Glory" by Jane Gottlieb. Some is unnamed, such as the other item. It's a mystery.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Passing the Hat for Higher Ed

These Colleges Received the Most in Gifts in 2014

Public
University of Texas at Austin
$529,391,225
University of Washington
$478,071,702
University of Michigan
$432,596,374
University of California at Los Angeles
$430,275,827
University of California at Berkeley
$389,934,620
Indiana University system
$341,312,881
Ohio State University
$332,627,393
Texas A&M University
$317,548,840
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
$298,804,228
University of Minnesota system
$298,386,266

Private
Harvard University
$1,155,610,000
Stanford University
$928,458,429
University of Southern California
$731,932,611
Northwestern University
$616,351,194
Johns Hopkins University
$614,606,146
Cornell University
$546,087,720
University of Pennsylvania
$483,569,483
Columbia University
$469,968,713
New York University
$455,718,216
Duke University
$437,381,590

Tough Medicine at Riverside

Despite what was said at the time, Dr. G. Richard Olds says he did not willingly step down in July as dean of the UC Riverside School of Medicine.

“This was obviously not my choice,” Olds said in an interview last week. “My desire was to stay at UCR at least until my inaugural class graduated” in 2017.

Olds, 65, was speaking by phone from the New York offices of St. George’s University, which operates a medical school in Grenada. Olds became president and chief executive of the school in late August...

Full story at http://www.pe.com/articles/school-784896-olds-medical.html

I guess he had this thing about him:

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Governor's View

Bust of Prof. J. Robert Oppenheimer, co-director of the Manhattan Project, at UC-Berkeley
Gov. Jerry Brown told climate scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography Tuesday that addressing climate change is the moral equivalent to building the atomic bomb first in World War II. He likened the “existential threat” of climate change to Nazi Germany, and noted that California’s universities managed the national laboratories that built the bomb 70 years ago. “That’s a good predicate to how to deal with the existential threat of climate change,” he said. “I can’t emphasize enough how important the University of California is in meeting this existential threat.”...

Full story at http://timesofsandiego.com/education/2015/10/27/governor-climate-change-challenge-equivalent-to-world-war-ii/

We have noted this history in prior posts, e.g., http://uclafacultyassociation.http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2015/07/more-of-berkeleyuc-history.htmlblogspot.com/2015/07/more-of-berkeleyuc-history.html. The governor forgot to note that the Manhattan Project and its counterpart activities at Berkeley were essentially funded during World War II with a blank check.

Anyway, it appears that UC prez Napolitano also has grand plans:

Reducing the human carbon footprint is a "moral imperative," University of California President Janet Napolitano said Tuesday as she vowed to turn the system's 10 campuses into a living laboratory for solutions that can be scaled up to state, national and global levels. Napolitano made the comments at a two-day climate change summit at UC San Diego, where researchers discussed their blueprint for actions that they say the state and the world should undertake to tackle the problem — including reducing the carbon footprint of the wealthiest 1 billion people. The plan will be presented at next month's landmark climate change conference in Paris...

Full story at http://www.sfgate.com/business/energy/article/UC-climate-change-experts-create-blueprint-to-6592211.php

UCLA History: Map

The building with the towers in the center of this detail from a larger map is the State Normal School, then located where the LA Central Library is now. The School later moved to a larger campus on Vermont Avenue and in 1919 became UCLA. LA City College at Vermont and Normal is located at that site. The full map of downtown LA is at http://www.bigmapblog.com/2013/birdseye-view-of-los-angeles/

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

More bits to add to the Hammer building deal

We noted in a posting yesterday that there were some puzzling aspects to a real estate deal announced by UCLA in which it was buying the building containing the Hammer Museum for something over $92 million from Occidental Petroleum.

The Hammer Museum, or so it was reported, had an option to buy the building (in the future) for substantially less.

Different news accounts seems to have different pieces of the transaction. The LA Times' version has this statement:

...As part of the real-estate negotiation, the museum said it has received a $25-million cash payment from Occidental...

Full story at http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/culture/la-et-cm-hammer-museum-expansion-20151026-story.html

So is the $25 million the reason the higher price was paid? It would be nice if UCLA released a detailed explanation.

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*http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2015/10/bought.html

What will the Regents intolerance group do? No clue

No clue from yesterday's session at UCLA, at least from the two write-ups available:

From the Bruin:

University of California faculty members, students and activist groups expressed mixed opinions about modifying the Statements of Principles Against Intolerance at a UC Board of Regents forum Monday.
The Board of Regents tasked a group of regents, faculty members and administrators with modifying the Statements of Principles Against Intolerance. The working group held a five-hour public forum in the Covel Grand Horizon room Monday which drew about 90 commenters and 20 audience members...

The main thing we learn is that more people had something to say than came to hear it. Otherwise, the arguments offered were much the same as before.

Full story at http://dailybruin.com/2015/10/26/regents-host-forum-on-controversial-principles-against-intolerance/

We do learn from the LA Times account that the report of the group is due in March:

See http://www.latimes.com/local/education/la-me-ln-uc-tolerance-20151026-story.html.

Patients is a Virtue

From the Westwood-Century City Patch:

UCLA Medical Center Is Only LA Hospital to Earn High Marks from Patients: Most LA hospitals earned low scores from patients.

Following a stay at one of about 5,000 hospitals nationwide, patients ranked their experiences in the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey, which was conducted Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 of 2014. The results, which range from one to five stars, were released in early October...

Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, Southern California Hospital At Hollywood, California Hospital Medical Center LA, Pacifica Hospital Of The Valley, Los Angeles Community Hospital, Mission Community Hospital, Sherman Oaks Hospital, and Silver Lake Medical Center all received the lowest score possible - one out of five.

Pacific Alliance Medical Center, Northridge Hospital Medical Center, Valley Presbyterian Hospital, Encino Hospital Medical Center, Olympia Medical Center, Lac+Usc Medical Center, Providence Tarzana Medical Center all earned a score two out of five.

Santa Monica - UCLA Med Ctr & Orthopaedic Hospital, White Memorial Medical Center, Simi Valley Hospital & Health Care Services, Kaiser Foundation Hospital - Panorama City, Kaiser Foundation Hospital - Los Angeles, Providence Saint John’s Health Center, Providence Holy Cross Medical Center, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Saint Vincent Medical Center, Good Samaritan Hospital, Kaiser Foundation Hospital - Woodland Hills, Kaiser Foundation Hospital - West LA, Keck Hospital Of USC all earned three stars.

Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center was one of only two Los Angeles area hospitals to earn a four star rating...

Full article with listing is at http://patch.com/california/centurycity/ucla-medical-center-only-la-hospital-earn-high-marks-patients

What do stars mean?

Monday, October 26, 2015

Bought

UCLA Acquires Oxy’s Former Westwood Home

By Hannah Miet, Monday, October 26, 2015, LA Business Journal
 
UCLA has purchased the former headquarters of Occidental Petroleum Corp., which relocated to Houston last year, for $92.5 million.The university’s deal for the Occidental Petroleum Building, at 10899 Wilshire Blvd. in Westwood Village, closed Friday. The purchase price was covered by the proceeds of a 2012 bond offering. The transaction includes the 16-story office tower, an adjacent building housing the Hammer Museum and a 634-space underground parking garage. The complex occupies a full city block bounded by Wilshire Boulevard, Westwood Boulevard, Lindbrook Drive and Glendon Avenue. Phil Hampton, director of UCLA Media Relations, said a plan for occupancy is still being developed and declined to comment on the specific uses the university plans for the 161,000 square feet it will occupy on floors six through 16 of the 311,000-square-foot office building.When Occidental vacated the building it was generally assumed that the Hammer, which had an option to purchase the building for $55 million at the end of its 30-year, rent-free lease in 2021, would buy the property. But the Hammer decided not to exercise its option, and Occidental listed the complex for sale earlier this year. Museum representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment about why the museum didn’t buy the building. The museum, founded by former Occidental Chairman Armand Hammer, who died several weeks after it opened, will continue to occupy the museum building and will expand into the first five floors of the office tower. UCLA has struck a 99-year lease with the Hammer that will allow the museum to stay in its exhibit space and use the office space rent-free. The school and the museum have been closely linked since they struck an agreement allowing UCLA to manage the institution in 1994. The next year, UCLA relocated the collections and the staff of the Wight Art Gallery and the Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts to the Hammer. Last year, it was rumored that the arts institution was working closely with UCLA to come up with the money to buy the Oxy building at an earlier date. The school said it made the move to purchase the complex because it will reduce office leasing expenses. “This is an important strategic acquisition for UCLA, said Steven Olsen, UCLA’s vice chancellor and chief financial officer said in a statement. “Owning rather than leasing office buildings results in major cost savings over the long term and allows us to more efficiently manage the use of space on campus.” UCLA leases about 300,000 square feet of space in Westwood, much of it office space, and the purchase will presumably consolidate much of that space. 

Source: http://labusinessjournal.com/news/2015/oct/26/ucla-acquires-oxys-former-westwood-home/

The article is based on the official media release, but the release doesn't mention the $55 million option. See: http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/ucla-acquires-occidental-petroleum-building-to-reduce-leasing-expenses

There are some unexplained puzzles in this article, mainly the gap between the $55 million option (albeit 6 years in the future) that the Hammer Museum, which UCLA "manages," had, and the purchase price (now) of $92 million. Not clear why something couldn't have been structured for UCLA to buy via Hammer. We're not saying it wasn't a good deal (or that it was). We're just saying the article doesn't provide an explanation and suggests the purchase at the higher price wasn't what was "generally assumed." And the release doesn't even hint that there is anything to be explained about the Hammer option.

After all we had the Hammer (sort of):

Input Today

From the Sacramento Bee:

Shaken by several anti-Semitic events on campuses this year, the University of California began work over the summer on a statement of “principles against intolerance.” Some Jewish groups asked that a broad U.S. State Department definition of anti-Semitism, which includes comments “demonizing Israel,” be adopted as part of the policy; that set off further controversy as supporters of Palestinians and faculty objected to what they regarded as infringement of their free speech. By the time a draft statement was released last month, it had been so watered down that virtually no one was satisfied with it. The Board of Regents rejected the document, calling a working group to craft a new policy that more directly addresses the anti-Semitic incidents. The working group will hold its first forum today to gather public input on the policy, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at UCLA. Among the participants are regents Norm Pattiz, who called the draft statement “frankly insulting” to the Jewish community at last month’s meeting, and former Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, who shot down the State Department definition of anti-Semitism, as well as Linda Katehi, chancellor of UC Davis, where swastikas were spray-painted onto a Jewish fraternity in January...

Source: http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article41262777.html

Location: Covel Commons, Grand Horizon Room, 9 am - 5 pm with a 1-hour break for lunch at noon.

Official announcement at http://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/_documents/pdf/publicforum.pdf 

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article41262777.html#storylink=cpy

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Old Way

The New York Times carries a defense of old-fashioned lectures as opposed to modern "active learning."

...In many quarters, the active learning craze is only the latest development in a long tradition of complaining about boring professors, flavored with a dash of that other great American pastime, populist resentment of experts. But there is an ominous note in the most recent chorus of calls to replace the “sage on the stage” with student-led discussion...

Full defense at http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/18/opinion/sunday/lecture-me-really.html

And for those unfamiliar with the old-fashioned lecture, we present one below:
 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Yik Yak Postings or Official Student Comments?

Recently, an article from the Chronicle of Higher Education was passed on to me dealing with a complaint submitted to a federal agency that a university (not UCLA) wasn't blocking the social medium Yik Yak despite offensive anti-feminine comments and threats anonymously posted there.* Yours truly is not up-to-speed on all social media. So he looked at Yik Yak. Yik Yak is basically a smartphone app. If you go to its website and put in your smartphone number, it sends you the app to download. If I understand it correctly, you then see what is being posted (anonymously) in your local area. It is aimed at college students but anyone can download the app and post.

The university president responded to the complaint by pointing to first amendment concerns and the technical issue that if Yik Yak were blocked from campus servers, it would still be accessible to students through their regular phone data plans. That is, you can access websites on your smartphone without linking to the campus wireless system.**

Anyway, I looked at Yik Yak postings and didn't find any aimed at individual faculty members, at particular students, or at anyone else who could be specifically identified. (That doesn't mean it doesn't happen, of course.) There are pop-ups if you want to post something warning you against bullying, etc. Many of the postings are off-color remarks and my guess is that posters tilt heavily male, based on what I saw. Most suggest that the posters have way too much time on their hands; that's the main lesson I drew. Aren't midterm exams coming up?

What is surprising about the focus on Yik Yak is that it centers on what a university really can't control, however lamentable that fact may be. Yik Yak and other websites aimed at college students are not part of the official systems universities have in place.

In contrast, there are official systems that influence campus personnel decisions, notably the end-of-class student teacher surveys. The comments in such surveys are anonymous (like those on Yik Yak) and as far as I know are just incorporated into faculty dossiers as written. (Admittedly, I don't know what would happen if a comment made a specific threat; I presume someone would do something.)

I saw many departments' student comments as a member and chair of CAP. They were not obscene, unlike some of those on Yik Yak. But there have been complaints that women faculty are rated differently than men by students.*** In addition, as noted, the comments for both males and females are simply incorporated into dossiers as written. There is no vetting for validity. I can recall one case that was raised at a faculty meeting in which a libelous comment - untrue - suggested a faculty member was high on drugs. But it was just put into the dossier along with all the others and was thus part of the official record.

Of course, what students say online about other students - an element in "campus climate" - is not reflected in class teaching surveys. But such teaching surveys a) are used in decisions on faculty advancement, and b) are something the university can directly control, unlike what gets posted on external websites.

It might be better to work on what can be fixed.
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*http://chronicle.com/article/Women-s-Groups-Urge-Colleges/233864
**http://www.fredericksburg.com/news/education/umw-president-richard-hurley-s-letter-to-feminist-majority-foundation/article_91ad966c-0e14-11e5-b5b2-e3469289a8dd.html
***https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/12/10/study-finds-gender-perception-affects-evaluations; https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/university-venus/gender-bias-student-evaluations; http://www.crlt.umich.edu/sites/default/files/resource_files/gsebibliography.pdf

Friday, October 23, 2015

And they thought the mansion in Giant was big!

But compared to the UCLA Grand Hotel, it was just a cottage!




 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

"A really good plan" - but what is it?

From the LA Times: UC President Janet Napolitano said Wednesday that she is preparing a plan to significantly increase the number of California undergraduates in the 2016-17 school year throughout the university system, including at UCLA and UC Berkeley, where admission is the most difficult. Napolitano declined to give details of the proposal and how it might meet the state Legislature’s demands until she unveils it at next month’s meeting of the UC Board of Regents in San Francisco. She described it as “a really good plan” that will "apply to all the campuses. It will apply to Berkeley and UCLA as well as to Riverside and Merced.” The Legislature is offering a $25-million bonus in state funding if UC increases the number of California undergraduates by 5,000 for the 2016-17 school year. That would amount to about a 10% rise over the nearly 50,000 new in-state freshman and transfer students who enrolled this fall...

Full story at http://www.latimes.com/local/education/la-me-ln-uc-president-20151021-story.html

So how many are coming?
 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Sex! Race! Lawsuit! Scandal! - Stanford B-School Soap Opera

Vanity Fair is running a long piece on the Stanford Business School affair that led the School's dean to resign. It's better than anything you could find on daytime TV. Just a sample below:

...Sometime that summer, Phills’s younger daughter, now eight, told her father how “Garth” had just visited with her mother, and how friendly he had been. That fall, in the ongoing pre-divorce mediation, Gruenfeld seemed to be digging in. Phills, suspecting that Saloner was doing some coaching, and that his wife was bad-mouthing him to his boss (and that some of his colleagues had become standoffish), began his surveillance. Technically it was easy, Phills says—Gruenfeld’s passwords were stored in his computer and iPad—but morally it was more dicey, and he sought out advice from both the university “ombuds” and its dean for religious life. As relevant tidbits turned up, and he grew more alarmed, the frequency of his reconnaissance increased. Though Saloner and Gruenfeld vowed to each other to delete their conversations immediately, in some instances Phills was too quick for them, capturing the exchanges with screen shots. In mid-to-late October, Saloner and Gruenfeld saw each other several times. What ensued would normally be of only voyeuristic interest but for the issue of recusal, which became obligatory at Stanford once a “consensual sexual or romantic” relationship begins. So it matters that, in the space of 10 days or so, the two scuttled dinner plans upon spotting some G.S.B. colleagues in a Palo Alto restaurant, and ended up at Saloner’s house; that Saloner proposed going to a movie in another county, where they could hold hands undetected; that Saloner grew “dizzy” while embracing Gruenfeld in his kitchen; that, before reluctantly parting ways on another evening, they groped each other at her house. (Despite all these facts, contained in intercepted chats, Stanford continues to insist they had yet to kiss—that, defying the rules of both flirtation and baseball, the dean had somehow approached second base without ever touching first.) ...

Full affair at http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2015/10/stanford-business-school-sex-scandal

(Bette Billet - the winner of our recent contest - passed this link to yours truly.)

People who liked the Vanity Fair piece might also like:

Some computer alerts may be more effective than others

The Bruin carries an article noting that the BruinAlert system was not especially effective since a recent event was reported faster in the news media than on the system. (There was reported to be a hostage situation in a student housing unit.) Yours truly can confirm that he saw the item on a news site before the BruinAlert came. The Bruin article also notes that there may be different info relevant depending on where or who you are. (I was at home and so didn't need to know on an emergency basis about something happening near the student housing unit.) Apparently, there are systems that are more focused than what we have. See http://dailybruin.com/2015/10/20/alumni-develop-emergency-notification-app-as-alternative-to-bruinalert/

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Climate

The governor's veto below a few days ago somehow escaped our attention: [click to enlarge]
Source: https://www.gov.ca.gov/docs/AB_340_Veto_Message.pdf
Although UC was requested, not mandated, in the bill, it is likely that UC would have followed the request. The vetoed bill is at http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160AB340

More on the Art of Management

From time to time, we bring you art work hanging or exhibited in various locations around UCLA. This one is entitled "Frida" by Roger Herman which can be found at the Anderson School of Management. Who was Frida? You'd have to ask Roger about that.

Monday, October 19, 2015

LAO Puts Out a Reminder

The Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) has just published its annual review of the state budget: "The California Spending Plan." If you look at the change in reserves (regular + rainy day under Prop 2), total reserves rise by $1.5 billion. So you can think of that fact as pointing to a surplus of that amount. Since Prop 2 includes some funding for debt repayment, it could be argued that you should add such repayment and if you do the surplus rises to $3 billion. So by that measure, the state is doing OK. Total reserves are expected to come to $4.6 billion by the end of the current fiscal year. That's a reserve-to-spending ratio of around 4% which would be quickly swallowed up by any downward economic movement.

Perhaps the most important thing from the UC viewpoint is a reminder. UC is doing all kinds of revamping of its pension plan for new hires to qualify for what its officials keep saying is a multiyear deal for pension funding. But this year UC gets only $96 million on a one-time (not multiyear) basis with no guarantee that the later years negotiated with the governor, but not the legislature, promise. To remind everyone of that fact, LAO makes it explicit:

The appropriation in the 2015-16 budget for unfunded liabilities of the University of California Retirement Plan (UCRP) does not constitute an obligation on behalf of the state to appropriate any additional funds in subsequent years for UCRP. (page 29)

You can find the new report at http://lao.ca.gov/reports/2015/3302/2015-16-spending-plan.pdf 
===
Note: There is a typo in the budget tables. Where it lists "encumbrances" of $97 million, the amount should be $971 according to the original budget documents. (The error may eventually be corrected in the version online.)
===
A summary of the higher ed budget is at:
http://www.lao.ca.gov/Publications/Report/3299#HiEd

And the winner of our exciting contest is...

Yesterday, this blog offered an exciting contest.* We noted that the old governor's mansion in Sacramento was being renovated and reopened and that Gov. Brown was moving in. The old mansion had been closed when he was elected back in 1974 and he famously refused to live in a newer one that had been built for his predecessor, Ronald Reagan. A recent political cartoon showed Brown touring the old mansion where he had lived when his dad was governor. In his old room was a collection of LPs; the one on top had the title "Stone Ponies." We asked what that meant.
The winner of our contest correctly noted that the Stone Poneys (note that the cartoon had the wrong spelling; Poneys is how the group spelled the word) was a group that introduced Linda Ronstadt as its lead singer. Ronstadt later went out on her own as a pop singer and became the girlfriend of Jerry Brown during his first iteration as governor.
A side note is that Mike Curb, Lt. Governor during Brown's first iteration, was a Republican. Under the California constitution, whenever the governor is out of the state, the Lt. Governor effectively becomes governor. In 1980, when Brown was running for President and thus had to be out of the state frequently, Curb would annoy him by making appointments, etc. So Curb and Brown were not on good terms. But before he became a political figure, Curb had been a music producer and in fact had formed the Stone Poneys. So he indirectly had gotten Brown his girlfriend.

Now I'm sure you want to know who the winner of the contest was. The winner is revealed on the video below. (Sorry, it won't work on iPhones; blame Steve Jobs and use a regular computer.)

===
* http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2015/10/exciting-contest.html

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Getting Crowded

The Daily Bruin has an article noting that if UC admits an extra 5,000 in-state students as part of its budget deal with the state, class sizes will likely grow, there will be unmet demand for dorm rooms, etc.

...Ellen Carpenter, a member of the Academic Senate’s Committee on Undergraduate Admission and Relations with Schools and a psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences professor, said she thinks increased enrollment will be problematic in larger departments such as life sciences. “We will need larger spaces, more instructors and perhaps alternative methods of delivering lectures,” Carpenter said. Trent Kajikawa, the Undergraduate Students Association Council’s Academic Affairs commissioner, said he thinks about 500 of the double occupancy rooms on the Hill will have to be converted into triple occupancy rooms to accommodate the increase...

Full story at http://dailybruin.com/2015/10/16/ucla-class-sizes-housing-demands-to-rise-in-response-to-state-mandate/

Domino Effect?

We earlier posted on the Marcy sexual harassment case at UC-Berkeley and the formation of a task force by UC president Napolitano to see how UC has been responding to similar cases.* One wonders whether there will be a change at the campus level in the way campuses respond to allegations and litigation. UCLA has a pending case in court that has gotten much media attention: http://dailybruin.com/2015/09/30/uc-denies-allegations-in-students-sexual-assault-lawsuit/. So far, the university's litigation response to the allegations in that case has been a standard legal defense: http://dailybruin.com/images/2015/09/031122078380.pdf. Will that approach now change? Possibly in other cases that may be pending as well?
===
*http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2015/10/follow-up.html

Exciting Contest!!!

The cartoon above pokes fun of Gov. Jerry Brown's age in connection with the renovation of the old governor's mansion in Sacramento. Gov. Reagan refused to live in the mansion - reportedly because his wife objected. It was closed and some private fund raisers had a new one built. Note that Jerry Brown as a student and Jesuit-priest-to-be had lived in the old mansion when his father, Pat Brown, was governor. But Brown Jr. refused to live in the new one as governor after being elected in 1974, and the new one was sold. No one has lived in the old one since Reagan's refusal. Now Brown is planning to move into the renovated building. See http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article39458778.html

So here is the contest. The center upper panel [click on the cartoon to enlarge so you can see details] shows Brown looking at his old room. His collection of LPs has an album that says "Stone Ponies." Why? If you know, email daniel.j.b.mitchell@anderson.ucla.edu with your answer and win acclamation on this blog!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Some say this and some say that

You probably saw the headline about the UC budget in today's LA Times. Unfortunately, it's one of those some-say-the-Earth-is-round-but-others-say-it's-flat articles. Still, for the curious, it's at http://www.latimes.com/local/education/la-me-uc-spending-20151011-story.html

Admissions Issues

State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León doesn’t mind bragging on himself. But at least he’s willing to go where many other politicians fear to tread. For instance, as part of his 2016 agenda, he vows to get more low-income, minority kids into the California State University and, especially, the University of California – even if it means looking into some preference in admissions. State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, wants more diversity among college students. In a sit-down this week with The Bee’s editorial board, the first Latino to be Senate president pro tem since 1883 proudly said he’s a product of affirmative action, though he knows that’s a toxic phrase in politics. He also knows he’s on the opposite side from most California voters, 55 percent of whom passed Proposition 209 in 1996 to ban racial preferences in public university admissions, as well as government hiring and contracts... As de León freely admits, he’s facing an uphill battle. In fact, you’d think he might be a little gun-shy about raising this issue. He wasn’t Senate leader then, but the last time, it didn’t go so well. When Sen. Ed Hernandez proposed a constitutional amendment last year to repeal Prop. 209, it caused a huge rift among Democrats between Asian American and Latino legislators. The bill passed the Senate, but was held in the Assembly...

Full story at http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/foon-rhee/article39567051.html

Will the VA play ball with UCLA?

Blog readers will know that the VA has gotten itself into trouble by using its large site near UCLA for purposes other than assisting veterans. One of those uses has been a baseball field used by UCLA. The LA Times is reporting a settlement which suggests UCLA may keep using the field:

After months of often rancorous meetings with veterans, Westside residents, health professionals and elected officials, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on Friday released a draft master land-use plan for the agency’s long-neglected West Los Angeles campus. The document satisfies a key requirement of the January settlement of a 2011 lawsuit filed on behalf of chronically homeless veterans. The suit alleged that the VA was illegally leasing land to corporations, schools and other entities while failing to provide adequate care for men and women who had served in the military... Vincent Kane, special assistant to McDonald who is overseeing the West L.A. effort, said he expected the draft document to be posted Wednesday in the Federal Register, which publishes federal agencies’ proposed and final rules. Interested parties will have 45 days to submit comments. A final document, he said, should be ready early in 2016... Still uncertain is what would happen to the acres under lease to UCLA, Brentwood School and other entities. UCLA appears poised to maintain its hold on Jackie Robinson Stadium, in exchange for stepping up its care and services for veterans. “People want to see UCLA do more,” Kane said...

Full story at http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-draft-master-plan-unveiled-for-long-neglected-veteran-s-campus-in-west-los-angeles-20151016-story.html

We'll just have to let the story of UCLA's field on which to play ball roll along:

Friday, October 16, 2015

Follow Up

Follow up on Berkeley sexual harassment case:

University of California President Janet Napolitano announced the immediate formation of a special joint committee that will examine the breakdown of UC policies and procedures in the wake of allegations of sexual harassment against former UC Berkeley professor Geoff Marcy. Marcy, who resigned Wednesday, is known for discovering hundreds of worlds outside this solar system and was considered in line for a Nobel Prize. Last week, published reports indicated that at least four graduate and undergraduate students had complained that Marcy had groped them or behaved inappropriately with other women. This is after a campus investigation determined in June that Marcy had sexually harassed female students during a nearly 10-year period...

Full story at http://ww2.kqed.org/news/2015/10/15/uc-president-napolitano-forms-task-force-in-wake-of-marcy-allegations

Would the Regents Resist Indefinite Archiving If the Legislature Were Mandated to Do It?

As we have noted many, many times on this blog, while the Regents live-stream their meetings on the Internet, they do not keep the recordings available for more than one year. So in order to archive them, we record the sessions in real time and then post them indefinitely.

Minority Republicans in the legislature have complained about last-minute bills being pushed through and now an initiative has been filed to ban the practice.* However, the initiative also mandates that the legislature stream all hearings and then archive them indefinitely. It doesn't include the Regents. But one wonders whether the Regents would feel obliged to change their policy if such an initiative were enacted by voters.

Of course, the filing of an initiative doesn't mean it will get on the ballot or be passed. You need at least $2 million to hire signature gathering firms for the petition. This one, however, lists Charles Munger, Jr., a wealthy Republican who has the money for such a campaign, as a proponent. It was filed by a law firm that specializes in ballot matters so it appears to be a serious effort. If the initiative did get on the 2016 ballot, it might not be all that controversial. Who would be against a requirement that bills could not be enacted until 72 hours after filing so that legislators would have a chance to read them? (There is an exception for emergencies.) Who would oppose streaming and archiving legislative hearings?
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*The proposed initiative is at https://www.oag.ca.gov/system/files/initiatives/pdfs/15-0083%20%28Legislature%20Transparency%29.pdf?

Thursday, October 15, 2015

What you can get for $99

A better use of $99
Our advice - based in part on the quality of English in the email offer below received today - is that if you have an extra $99, it would be better spent on the drain offer. More seriously, there has been a proliferation of vanity press type online journals trying to appeal to academics: (The name of the "journal" and its contacts have been omitted.)

Greetings from Journal of XX

At the outset, we would like to appreciate your eminent contribution towards the new views and thoughts in the field of social sciences. We have been through your articles and we are enthralled to know about your reputation and commitment in your field..  Thus on behalf of the Journal, we request you to present your research as a case report/ research/ mini - full review article for our upcoming issue. We strongly believe that this potential research would be beneficial to the people working in this field.
We strongly support Open Access initiative and promise International Standards of publication following Robust Peer-Review through Editorial Tracking System. The accepted papers (after peer-review) will be published within 7-10 days. We would truly gratify and appreciate receiving your submission before October 28, 2015 Else you can submit it as per your convenience. As the submitted papers undergo a robust peer-review (which usually takes time), early submissions would be deeply appreciated. Kindly let us know your feasibility regarding submission.
We also want to highlight one thing if you submit articles within your time limit then special discounts will be provided as we are having scientific week within the specified dates and we want to spread scientific information as much as we can. Based on All Fields and Key words related to Social subject articles are Accepted. Publishing fee USD$ 99.

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•User Friendly/feasible website translation of your paper to world’s leading languages (if interested)
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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

End of the Road

A well-known UC Berkeley astronomer facing sexual harassment allegations from multiple students has stepped down after a furor about whether the university had treated him too leniently. The university has faced growing criticism in recent days over its handling of an investigation of professor Geoffrey Marcy. The investigation, sparked by a series of complaints, found that he had sexually harassed women students over a nine-year period. In a statement Wednesday, UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas B. Dirks and provost Claude Steele confirmed Marcy's resignation and said: “We believe this outcome is entirely appropriate and have immediately accepted his resignation.” They described Marcy’s conduct, as determined by the investigation, as “contemptible and inexcusable.” However the two top campus leaders said they did not have the authority to fire Marcy without a lengthy and uncertain process. They noted that the standards of evidence in such cases are very high and they would be subject to a three-year statute of limitations, which could have excluded some of the older allegations against Marcy. After the results of an initial probe, the school had imposed strict guidelines on Marcy's behavior and warned him of suspension or dismissal if he violated them. “Our objective was to protect our students by immediately preventing any reoccurrence of the behavior described in the investigative report. We thus chose to establish, in writing, a strict set of behavioral standards that went beyond what is specifically proscribed by the University’s rules and regulations,” Dirks and Steele wrote. They said they would work “to reform the University’s disciplinary processes, criteria and standards so that in the future we have different and better options for discipline of faculty.” In a statement released earlier this week, the university said that, following the investigation, Marcy had agreed to meet certain expectations in his interactions with students and that a failure to do so could result in his suspension or dismissal...
According to his website, Prof. Marcy has been on the Berkeley faculty since 1999 and was an undergrad at UCLA. He received his PhD from UC-Santa Cruz. See http://w.astro.berkeley.edu/~gmarcy/cv.html 
It was reported earlier that a group of colleagues had urged his dismissal. See https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2015/10/14/berkeley-criticized-response-harassment

UPDATE: Inside Higher Ed has an extended article on this case: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/10/15/berkeley-astronomer-resigns-over-sexual-harassment-investigation

Noteworthy Quote

Blog readers will recall the legal dispute between USC and UC-San Diego over recruitment by the former of a key faculty member from the latter. At stake were large research grants. The Wall St. Journal carries a story on the dispute which contains the following quote:

...“As university research becomes big business, you’re going to see a lot of employment issues come up that are routine in the business world, such as no-compete agreements and suing employees to prevent escape of intellectual property,” said Samuel Estreicher, director of the Center for Labor and Employment Law at New York University, who isn’t involved in the lawsuits...

Full story at http://www.wsj.com/articles/alzheimers-research-effort-is-ensnared-in-legal-dispute-1444815180

A Faculty Regent? - Part 2

Yesterday, in response to a news article indicating that there was a campaign to add a second student Regent (with voting rights), we asked why there was no voting faculty Regent. Faculty representatives from the Academic Senate participate in Regents meetings as "advisers" but with no voting rights.* You could rationalize this arrangement on the grounds that a hypothetical faculty Regent would have a conflict of interest since the Regents vote on issues such as pay. But since there is already one student Regent with voting rights, the conflict of interest rationale is inconsistent with current practice. The student Regent discusses and votes on issues such as tuition, i.e., issues where there is a conflict of interest. 

In response to the posting, I was sent a 2004 web link from the Academic Senate which discusses the issue of why there is no faculty Regent. You can find it at http://senate.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/source/facultyonregents.november2004.html. As you might expect, the conflict of interest concept is put forth:

A question frequently asked is why the faculty, unlike students and alumni, do not have voting membership on the Board of Regents... A constitutional amendment approved by the voters in 1974 allowed that “The Regents may, at their discretion, appoint either or both a faculty and a student member to the Board.” This is now Bylaw Five, which further provides for a faculty regent who may be on the UC faculty or from another institution of higher education... The argument against full regental status, which ultimately prevailed, rested on the issue of trusteeship versus advocacy. President Hitch was forthright in expressing his view that having a faculty member as a regent would compromise the principle of regency as trusteeship. He felt, as did many faculty, that the trusteeship concept ruled out concurrent service as a regent and as an officer of the Academic Senate. A faculty regent could not function both as a trustee of the institution as a whole and as a representative or advocate of faculty interests. A faculty regent would have to withdraw from participating in matters where there is a conflict of interest, such as compensation, workload, promotion and tenure polities – indeed the very issues on which faculty would wish to see their representative exert strong leadership and influence. These arguments were persuasive, and in February 1987, the Regents adopted the recommendation of the Council to seat the chair of the Council on the Board of Regents as a nonvoting member...

The problem here is that the assumption in the item above is that where there is a conflict of interest, the faculty Regent could not participate. But that assumption is inconsistent with current practice in which the student Regent clearly participates and votes on issues in which he/she has a conflict of interest. Indeed, the campaign for a second student Regent is really a campaign to do more such participating and voting.

Of course, the world is full of inconsistencies. Hobgoblins of small minds, etc. And it is unlikely - but not impossible - that key issues will arise at the Regents in which one vote will be critical. However, if student representation goes up to two voting Regents, the inconsistency will be too glaring to ignore.

In short, the answer to why there is no faculty Regent is really "that's the way it is." But that's not the same as that's the way it has to be in the future.

Addendum: The constitutional amendment referred to in the italicized material above was placed on the ballot in 1974 by the state legislature. It's main feature was cutting the terms of appointed Regents from 16 years to 12 years. The amendment as it appeared on the ballot can be found at http://repository.uchastings.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1783&context=ca_ballot_props.  It passed with 55% of the popular vote. The official summary read:
Adds Vice-president of alumni association as ex-officio member. Adds two additional members appointed by Governor with approval of Senate. No appointment to new term shall be made during first year of any gubernatorial term. Reduces terms from sixteen to twelve years after 1976. Allows regents appointment of one faculty member of institution of higher education and one student 'to board. Requires regents be persons reflecting economic, cultural and social diversity• of state, including ethnic minorities and women. Provides for advisory committee which Governor must consult with in selection of regent appointees. Financial impact: Minor increase in state costs. 
From: http://repository.uchastings.edu/ca_ballot_props/784/ 

The amendment says that "no appointnent to the regents for a newly commencing term shall be made during the first year of any gubernatorial term of office." That language appears in the actual text of the amendment, not just the summary. You may wonder how Gov. Brown appointed some new Regents after the Nov. 2014 election as part of the tuition/budget fight. He actually made the appointments before he was inaugurated for his fourth term so they were made - at least by him - in the last year of his third term. One wonders, however, whether "appointed" would include confirmation by the state senate which came later. I will leave that issue to legal experts.
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*http://grammarist.com/spelling/adviser-advisor/

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Westwood BID is Proposing a Traffic-Free Plaza on Broxton

The Westwood Village Improvement Association (Business Improvement District or BID) is sponsoring a plan to turn part of Broxton into a traffic-free plaza. You can read about it at http://www.thewestwoodvillage.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Plaza-Information-Sheet-Final-Draft.pdf

There is an article in the Daily Bruin about the plan at http://dailybruin.com/2015/10/13/officials-propose-turning-part-of-broxton-avenue-into-community-plaza/

Wondering what happened at Davis?

You probably have seen reports about recent offensive vandalism at UC-Davis. The stories were vague - including the LA Times report.* The UC-Davis chancellor was also vague in condemning the vandalism:

Chancellor's statement on hate crime
10.10.15

Dear UC Davis Community:

I am deeply troubled and disappointed that the campus community has experienced another incident that included damaged property and, even more grievously, offensive and disparaging slurs. This is conduct most unbecoming and completely against our Principles of Community. We condemn all hate crimes and will see that the responsible party or parties, once identified, are held accountable. 

Each of us has a responsibility to build and maintain a culture and climate based on mutual respect and caring. No matter what religious, political or personal beliefs we hold, as members of a university community we have an obligation to treat each other with respect and dignity.

I look forward to working closely with the UC Davis Police Department as they investigate this crime.

Sincerely,
Linda P.B. Katehi


Source: http://chancellor.ucdavis.edu/messages/2015/statement101015.html

Now a local TV station has the actual story about the "disparaging slurs" and who they were aimed at. See below (typos and all):

Vandalism, Swastikas Left At UC Davis Campus Apartment Complex

Lemor Abrams
 
UC DAVIS (CBS13) — Swastikas and religious slurs carved into cars and tires being slashed are considered hate crimes at a UC Davis campus apartment complex.
Matthew Davidson snapped a picture of a large swastika carved into the hood of a car, keyed with “F— Jews.” It was one of 11 cars hit in the complex.
“It’s just shocking for me as a jew [sic] to see such hatefulness right outside my doorstep,” he said.
Wendy Hwon’s roommate’s tire was slashed, something she didn’t know until she got onto the freeway.
“It jeopardized her life,” she said. “She was on the freeway and her car in danger, and everyone in the car in danger.”
Campus police say a witness caught a vague description of the suspect, and won’t say it it’s linked to a swastika spraypainted on a Jewish fraternity down the street in February. No arrests have been made in either case.
Jordan Ranft says officers went door to door interviewing students, but for him the incident came out of left field.
“In Northern California it comes out of left field,” he said. “It would be less surprising if were [sic] like in east Europe or like the Middle East.”

Source: http://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2015/10/13/vandalism-swastikas-left-at-uc-davis-campus-apartment-complex/
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Although at their last meeting, the Regents told UCOP to come up with a new antisemitism/intolerance resolution but gave no deadline, this event may speed the process.

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*http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-uc-davis-hate-crime-20151012-story.html  (The story refers to past incidents in more detail but is as vague as the chancellor in reporting the recent incident.)