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Monday, June 30, 2014

Not So Cheap Degree

Our previous post on this blog was about a proposal for cheap degrees, courtesy of Insidehighered.com.  The same source has a lengthy article on the self-sufficient MBA program at the Anderson School.  It even has a quote from yours truly.

Excerpt: A small chunk of the University of California is set to break slightly away tomorrow and become “self-supporting,” as the state system begins a closely watched experiment that could be repeated.  Following years of controversy, most of the University of California at Los Angeles’s Anderson School of Management will be giving up state funding in hopes of living off donations and likely higher tuitions...

Full story at: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/06/30/uclas-full-time-mba-program-turns-down-state-funding

Cheap Degree

From Insidehighered.com:

ALEC May Push $10,000 Degrees
June 30, 2014 

The American Legislative Exchange Council, a group known by its acronym ALEC that drafts model state legislation that is frequently used by conservative legislators, has its eye on higher education. Draft legislation that will be considered at ALEC's annual meeting would require all public four-year institutions to offer a $10,000 degree and would require that 10 percent of all degrees be awarded through this model. The legislation specifies that states could achieve these savings through online and competency education.

Full article at: http://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2014/06/30/alec-may-push-10000-degrees

It might be noted that - certainly at UC - enough students at public colleges around the country (I suspect) are likely to qualify for free or reduced tuition to meet the 10% target now.  So what is the purpose of this proposed law?  To take credit for what already exists?

Some universities apparently can drive a harder bargain than UCLA

Hillary Clinton pulled down a cool $300,000 to speak at UCLA in March — and now enraged students want her to forgo a $225,000 fee for a planned visit to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Clinton was paid by a “generous donor and no public money was involved,” a UCLA spokesman said.

In any event, all we can say is that the folks in Nevada know how to bargain:
Note: Apparently, the speaking fees of both Hillary and Bill Clinton go to their charitable foundation:

Nina Byers

Yours truly noted this paid obituary in the LA Times. A Google search indicated that only the paid notice had appeared in the Times.  The LA Times sometimes has obits on notable faculty deaths.  It is surprising that only a paid notice appeared in this case.  

[You can also read the text of the paid notice at:
http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/latimes/obituary.aspx?n=nina-byers&pid=171537465  Note: If someone finds a non-paid obit for Prof. Byers in the LA Times, I will run a correction.]

The departmental notice is at http://www.pa.ucla.edu/content/nina-byers.



Sunday, June 29, 2014

Regents' Conflict Avoidance Strategies May (Soon) Come to an End

The Regents have been following a conflict avoidance strategy on the issue of "social" divestment of university funds.  In the case of fossil fuel divestment, they followed the time-honored delaying strategy of forming a committee to study the issue.  Only one problem: Such committees eventually have to report something or decide something.  At the upcoming July Regents meeting, there will likely be at least be student demands for info on the committee's progress.

On anti-Israel divestment, the Regents sought "balance" by previously appointing a student Regent who was for such divestment and then appointing, as her successor, a student who was opposed.  That strategy, too, may unravel.  From the Daily Bruin:

UCSA investigates allegations about student regent-designate Avi Oved

On Saturday, the University of California Student Association called for an emergency meeting in the upcoming days to discuss whether Avi Oved, a student regent-designate nominee for the UC Board of Regents, submitted incomplete campaign finance reports when he ran for a UCLA undergraduate student government position in 2013.  In a UCSA Board of Directors meeting Saturday, Amal Ali, last year’s president of Students for Justice in Palestine at UC Riverside claimed Oved and other members of the Bruins United slate sent an email in 2013 thanking Adam Milstein, a prominent supporter of pro-Israel organizations, for donating to the slate. Ali alleged that Oved did not report the donation in his campaign finance reports for the election... (Oved) was nominated by a committee of UC regents in May to serve as the nonvoting student regent-designate for 2014-2015 and as the student regent for 2015-2016. The UC Board of Regents is set to confirm Oved’s nomination during its July meeting at UC San Francisco...


Some background from earlier postings:

Whatever the court decides, don't assume your emails are private

One of our periodic warnings that because UCLA is a public university, emails you send may end up in the public domain, even if you send them via non-university services.  But the California Supreme Court's decision may have some relevance in particular cases:

From the (Sonoma) Press-Democrat: The California Supreme Court will decide if private emails and other electronic communications of government officials are public records open for inspection. The high court announced Friday that it would step in and settle a long-simmering debate over access to public employees' private communications on personal devices discussing government issues. Since the coming of email, activists and others in the state have been battling at all levels of government over whether public issues discussed on private devices with personal accounts are covered by the Public Records Act. Similar legal battles and political debates have sprung up across the country as well...

Full story at http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20140628/wire/140629585

Saturday, June 28, 2014

UCLA History: Gayley View

The view from Gayley Avenue in the early 1930s.  Some of the streets in Westwood are named after Berkeley professors.  Charles Mill Gayley was a professor of English literature at Berkeley.  Hilgard and Le Conte were geologists at Berkeley.  The university engineer came up with the names of professors he had at Berkeley when he worked with the Janss company to lay out the streets. (From "UCLA on the Move")

Friday, June 27, 2014

The Triple Crown

UCLA mathematics professor Terence Tao already has a bevy of prestigious awards for his work in such fields as number theory and harmonic analysis. Now he is adding one more lucrative prize.

Tao, 38, has been named one of five winners of the new Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics, an award that provides $3 million to each of its recipients from a fund established by high-tech titans in Silicon Valley and Russia.
In 2006, he won the Fields Medal, described as the Nobel Prize of math, and also a $500,000 MacArthur Foundation grant, which is often referred to as the “genius prize.” ...

Full article at http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-ucla-math-prize-20140626-story.html

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

UC is trumpeting a new mechanism for investing in companies that use university research:

The University of California announced Thursday that it will now be allowed to invest directly in companies that commercialize technologies formed through UC research. UC President Janet Napolitano also announced that she will form a new UC Innovation Council to aid the University in commercializing research done by its campuses. The council, which will meet in August, will include business and investment executives, venture capitalists and experts, among other members. For the past 25 years, the UC was restricted from investing in companies that derive products from its research because it was concerned that the investments would be seen as favoring certain faculty members. The change in policy comes from recommendations from a systemwide working group and consultations from faculty and administrators...

Full story from Daily Bruin at http://dailybruin.com/2014/06/26/new-policy-allows-uc-to-invest-in-commercialization-of-its-research/

One can think of things that could go wrong but why dwell on unpleasant possible results?.  The Regents didn't dwell on possible unpleasantness when they approved a joint venture in China with a for-profit firm to do clinical trials on human subjects back in January:
http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2014/01/something-to-think-about-while-waiting.html.
What could possibly go wrong with that?

Problems rarely arise.  Right?

Why the Uber walkback by UC? The Lt. Guv - or a staff member - reads the blog

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom
Readers of this blog will be familiar with UC on-again/off-again policy banning and then unbanning use of Uber, Lyft, and AirBnB services for university-related travel.*  It appears that Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, or someone on his staff, reads this blog.  That conclusion may be drawn from the article below from the San Francisco Business Times:

Lt. Gov. Newsom criticizes UC's warning to staff about Uber, Airbnb

Some University of California staff have been told they will not be reimbursed for using "sharing economy" services like Airbnb, Uber and Lyft for lodging and travel, a move that spurred Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom to send a letter of complaint Thursday to UC President Janet Napolitano.

The Office of the President's general counsel has "determined that third party lodging and transportation services, commonly referred to as peer-to-peer or sharing businesses, should not be used because of concerns that these services are not fully regulated and do not protect users to the same extent as a commercially regulated business," according to a notice posted Monday by the UCLA Faculty Association

"As the market matures and these businesses evolve, the University may reconsider whether reimbursement of travel costs provided by peer-to-peer or sharing businesses will be allowed," wrote Belinda Borden, UCLA's director of travel services."Therefore, until further notice, please do not use services such as Uber, Lyft, Air B&B or any other similar business while traveling on or engaging in UC business," she wrote.

Steve Montiel, a spokesman in Napolitano's office, responded to a query with the following written statement: "The University of California system does not have a policy banning the use of peer-to-peer services such as AirBnb, Lyft and Uber. University employees currently use those services and are reimbursed for them when they involve UC business-related travel. We are, however, reviewing and evaluating issues revolving around the safety and security of our employees when they use such services. We are actively seeking ways to overcome potential liability and safety concerns and would like to work proactively with companies such as these to get everyone to a point of complete comfort with the risks involved."

Source: http://m.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/blog/techflash/2014/06/gavin-newsom-university-california-uber-airbnb.htm
====

*http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2014/06/undecided-uber-what-policy-is.html

====

The Lt. Guv is undoubtedly looking ahead to the 2018 gubernatorial election when Jerry Brown will be termed out.  Maybe UC is, too.  The tech sector could be an important source of support.  Hard to know, however, who the other candidates will be then but, according to a recent news item, one of them might be actor George Clooney: http://m.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Clooney-for-California-governor-Rumor-mill-runs-5583531.php

But maybe George won't be in the running.  It might depend on what his aunt, Rosemary, has to say about moving into the governor's mansion:


Thursday, June 26, 2014

A thoughtful review of the movie "Ivory Tower"

The Miseducation of America

While I was watching Ivory Tower, a documentary about the state of college in America that appears in select theaters this month (the movie also airs on CNN this fall), it occurred to me that of the many problems with higher education these days, not the least concerns the way we talk about it. "Efficiency," "art-history majors," "kids who graduate with $100,000 in debt," "the college bubble," the whole rhetoric of crisis and collapse: The public discourse is dominated by sound bites, one-liners, hearsay, horror stories, and a very great deal of misinformation.

Higher ed is not unique in this respect, of course, but it is particularly bad. College, as the movie points out, was always treated as a black box: 18-year-olds were inserted at one end, 22-year-olds came out the other, and as long as the system appeared to be working, no one bothered to inquire what happened in between. Americans, as a result, have very little understanding of what college is about—how it works, what it’s for, what larger social benefits it offers—and those employed in higher education have had very little practice in explaining it to them. The debate has been left to the politicians, the pundits, and increasingly, the hustlers and ideologues. Few who talk about college in public understand it, and few who understand it talk about it.

Ivory Tower, for the most part, is an honorable exception...

No, yours truly hasn't seen the movie (currently at the Laemmle Royal).  But the full review is at:
http://chronicle.com/article/The-Miseducation-of-America/147227/

Towards the end of the review, the author gets a bit carried away with thoughts about free tuition, etc.  But overall, the essay is of interest.  Thanks to Bette Billet for spotting this article.

We might pay you less but, on the other hand, it costs more to live here

The U.S. Dept. of Commerce estimates variations in the cost of living by state relative to the U.S. average.  Above is a chart* showing the results for 2012. [Click on the chart to enlarge.] California is a high cost state. An article in the San Francisco Chronicle also gives data from the same source by metropolitan area.  You will not be surprised to learn that the San Francisco area and Silicon Valley area are particularly expensive places to live, as is the LA area.  Keep the cost disadvantage in mind when you see comparison of UC faculty pay with other universities.  Typically, such comparisons are just in nominal dollars, unadjusted for local costs of living.

*http://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/regional/rpp/2014/pdf/rpp0414.pdf

==============
The news article mentioned above is at:
http://m.sfgate.com/business/article/How-far-100-000-stretches-in-San-Francisco-and-5568135.php

Undecided Uber what the policy is

Blog readers may recall that the UC community recently received emails from the powers-that-be saying not to use sharing services such as Uber, Lyft, and AirBnB on trips:
http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2014/06/sharing-ruled-out.html

We then noted that this ruling might offend some top people in these services who were UC grads:
http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2014/06/two-alumni-that-wont-be-contributing-to.html

Yours truly received the following email today, which seems to walk back the prohibition:
===============================================
From:    express@finance.ucla.edu

Date:     Thu, Jun 26, 2014 at 1:07 PM

Subject: Update to Peer-to-Peer Services

The University of California system does not have a policy banning the use of peer-to-peer services such as AirBnb, Lyft and Uber. University employees currently use those services and are reimbursed for them when they involve UC business-related travel. We are, however, reviewing and evaluating issues revolving around the safety and security of our employees when they use such services. We are actively seeking ways to overcome potential liability and safety concerns and would like to work proactively with companies such as these to get everyone to a point of complete comfort with the risks involved.
=========================================
So what is the policy?  Somebody can't decide:

UCLA History: Arroyo

The Arroyo that once cut through the Westwood campus of UCLA as seen in the 1920s while the new campus was under construction.  The bridge built over the Arroyo is still there but now appears to be a roadway because of the landfill on either side.  [Photo from "UCLA on the Move."]

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Two Alumni Who Won't Be Contributing to UC

In an earlier posting, we noted that UC was banning use of "sharing" services such as Uber, Lyft, and AirBnB.  In reporting on this ban, Inside Higher Ed points out that "some of the founders behind the startups even graduated from campuses in the university system. Logan Green, the CEO and co-founder of Lyft, attended UC-Santa Barbara, while Travis Kalanick, the CEO and co-founder of Uber, went to UCLA."


UCLA History: Model University

Before the move of UCLA to its Westwood campus, a scale model of the site and planned buildings was prepared.  [From "UCLA on the Move"]

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Sexual Harassment/Assault Audit Released

The California State Auditor released a report on sexual harassment/assault policies at CSU and UC.  The report 100+ page report was based on audits of two CSU campuses and two UC campuses, Berkeley and UCLA.

In an earlier post, we indicated that there were concerns about how Academic Senate policies covering faculty discipline would interact with sexual harassment/assault policies as prescribed by federal regulations.  See http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2014/06/will-due-process-for-faculty-be.html. The State Auditor report doesn't shed light on those concerns.

In their comments on the Auditor's report and recommendations, both UC President Napolitano and UCLA Chancellor Block expressed a general concern about a need for "flexibility" on campuses in handling sexual harassment/assault complaints, training, etc.  The Auditor's report disagreed.  You will find reference to this dispute towards the end of the report.  (See below for links.)

Members of the UCLA community will have received an email today from Chancellor Block concerning the report.  If you didn't, the text is below:
===========

To the Campus Community:

Today the office of the California State Auditor released its report on sexual harassment and sexual violence at selected California universities. The safety and welfare of our students, faculty and staff are our top priorities at UCLA, and our commitment to this is evident in the wide range of programs and services we provide to educate our community about sexual-assault prevention and to care for those who have been harmed. 

We thank the California State Auditor for reviewing our programs, policies and procedures that address sexual harassment and sexual violence. The report’s recommendations to UCLA center on training and communications, and we will evaluate them carefully before responding in greater detail at the time of the 60-day status update. UCLA also looks forward to participating in the new systemwide task force to oversee the University of California’s work to combat sexual violence, which was announced last week by President Janet Napolitano. The task force will allow all UC campuses to work together to develop and share best practices for preventing, investigating and responding to sexual violence.

UCLA is committed to being a leader in training, communication and resource development to protect our campus community from sexual harassment and sexual violence. I am grateful to the many professionals at UCLA who work tirelessly to ensure that our policies and procedures in this area are as innovative and effective as possible.

Sincerely,
Gene D. Block
==========
The chancellor's email doesn't mention the "flexibility" issue or provide links to the report.  So we provide the links below.

You can find the report at:

https://www.auditor.ca.gov/reports/summary/2013-124
and
https://www.auditor.ca.gov/pdfs/reports/2013-124.pdf


Sexual Assault Policy of UC Discussed on Airtalk KPCC

You can hear this program at http://www.scpr.org/programs/airtalk/2014/06/23/6621/  [Scroll down to second segment of the program with the image shown above.]

(Some) Financial Aid Coming to UC Students

Some financial relief is in sight for thousands of middle-class students at California's public universities, under a new and unusual state program that will provide aid to families that earn up to $150,000 annually.
Over the next month or so, an estimated 156,000 undergraduates are scheduled to be notified that they will receive tuition grants for the academic year estimated to be as much as $1,450 for UC students and $650 for Cal State, with smaller amounts for more affluent families in the eligible range.  The assistance is an attempt to help middle-class families that earn more than $80,000 and typically aren't eligible for the federal and state grants that cover much or all of the tuition for lower-income students...

Full story at http://www.latimes.com/local/education/la-me-middle-class-aid-20140624-story.html

Note: These grants come from the "middle class scholarships" program pushed by former assembly speaker John Pérez  The article goes on to discuss whether the money should have been more targeted to lower-income students.  It is targeted, however, to folks who have a propensity to vote..

UCLA Longevity Awards

Randy Newman (shown above): One of the UCLA Longevity Award Recipients
The UCLA Longevity Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing and extending productive and healthy lives through research and education, honored UCLA Chancellor Emeritus and Professor Albert Carnesale and his wife Robin Carnesale; singer, songwriter and composer Randy Newman;  Lockton Insurance Brokers President and CEO Timothy J. Noonan; and film, stage and television actress Eva Marie Saint at the 2014 ICON Awards gala, June 5, 2014 at the Montage Beverly Hills...

Full story at http://centurycity.patch.com/groups/opinion/p/ucla-longevity-center2014-icon-awards?

Maybe Newman will now love UCLA as much as LA:

Monday, June 23, 2014

Sharing Ruled Out

Maybe not
Dear Colleagues,
 
UCOP’s Office of General Counsel has determined that third party lodging and transportation services, commonly referred to as peer-to-peer or sharing businesses, should not be used because of concerns that these services are not fully regulated and do not protect users to the same extent as a commercially regulated business. As the market matures and these businesses evolve, the University may reconsider whether reimbursement of travel costs provided by peer-to-peer or sharing businesses will be allowed.

Therefore, until further notice, please do not use services such as Uber, Lyft, Air B&B or any other similar business while traveling on or engaging in UC business.


Sincerely,
Belinda Borden
Director
Travel Services


Sharing is apparently not the virtue you were taught:

Still UC has no opinion?

From the LA Daily News, 6-22-14:

Up to 15 community colleges could start offering a bachelor’s degree next year under a bill working its way through the state Assembly. Senate Bill 850, introduced by state Sen. Marty Block, D-San Diego, would authorize California Community Colleges, in consultation with the California State University and University of California systems, to launch the baccalaureate degree pilot program Jan. 1.

In an experimental departure from current law that restricts community colleges to offering two-year associate’s degrees only, SB 850, which passed the state Senate last month by a 34-0 vote and is in the Assembly Committee on Higher Education, would allow 15 campuses among the 112 community colleges in the state to offer one baccalaureate degree each under the pilot program, beginning no later than the 2017-18 academic year...

The UC system has not yet taken a position on SB 850. A spokesperson said Thursday it is still being analyzed and the system has historically viewed the state’s Master Plan for Higher Education as “an efficient way of managing and allocating limited resources to equally important higher education functions” that has served California well...

Full story at http://www.dailynews.com/social-affairs/20140622/california-community-colleges-may-soon-offer-bachelors-degrees

We've raised this issue in an earlier posting.  Four-year degrees would be a major departure from the Master Plan.  Yet UC had no opinion on the bill at our last posting almost a month ago.

Still no opinion?
  

Sunday, June 22, 2014

More Four-Oh!-Five

Southbound I-405 between U.S. Highway 101 and Getty Center Drive will close from midnight to 5 a.m. Monday to Thursday for construction, Metro officials said.

The on-ramps at Ventura Boulevard, Valley Vista Boulevard and Skirball Center Drive will begin to close at 7 p.m., along with the two 101 connectors to the southbound I-405. 

Lanes will begin closing at 11 p.m. each night... 

Full story at http://www.losangelesregister.com/articles/boulevard-601230-center-drive.html

So if you're in the San Fernando Valley, don't plan on an evening trip to UCLA.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

UCLA History: Empty Space

View of the location of UCLA today before the campus was built.  Lots of empty space.  Click on the picture to enlarge.  Wilshire is the road - shown on a diagonal - in the lower right hand corner.  From the book "UCLA on the Move" (1969).

Friday, June 20, 2014

Chem Lab Case Dismissed (Sort of)

The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office agreed today to defer its prosecution of a UCLA chemistry professor charged in connection with a 2008 lab fire that killed a research assistant, in a deal that could result in the case against him eventually being dismissed. Under the agreement, Patrick Harran must adhere to a series of requirements, including 800 hours of non-teaching community service at the UCLA Hospital System/UCLA Health Services. If he completes all of the requirements, the case against him is expected to be dismissed in five years, according to the deferred prosecution agreement...

Full article at http://centurycity.patch.com/groups/police-and-fire/p/ucla-prof-charged-in-death-of-lab-assistant-makes-deal-that-could-get-case-dismissed

As we noted in earlier posts as this case progressed, the matter should have been resolved - and likely will be - as a civil case.  The DA who originally filed the case and the successor DA who continued it were overreaching. At one point, the criminal prosecution included the Regents. This resolution seems like a face-saving move on the DA's part.

Earlier posts at:
http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2012/07/has-worm-turned-in-ucla-lab-fire-trial.html
http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2012/11/hearing-on-ucla-chemistry-fire-case.html
http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2013/07/were-waiting-for-complete-post-for-july.html

Our favorite:
http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2012/04/too-much-old-radio.html

http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2012/03/da-overreaching.html
http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2011/12/ucla-professor-charged-in-2008-lab-fire.html

No Major Changes in State Budget from Prior Post

Apart from some minor line-item vetoes, there is little change in the budget from our previous post.  Hence, the previous commentary remains as it was.  The earlier posting is at:

http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2014/06/planned-state-budget-seems-to-do-about.html

Will Due Process for Faculty be Maintained?

In case you are unaware of it, the issue of sexual assaults on campuses around the country has become a major topic, now involving various changes in federal rules.  Changes are in the works across the country involving such things as definitions of "consent" (particularly after drinking) and procedures when assault is charged.  Most of the anecdotal stories connected to this issue have involved student-on-student contact.  However, there could be instances in which faculty are involved.

Right now, faculty discipline takes place in the context of various Academic Senate procedures and processes designed to insure due process.  What remains unclear to yours truly is how the changes in federal rules will affect campus Academic Senate procedures, or even if they will, if a faculty member is involved.  According to the Chronicle of Higher Education:

...To help colleges in responding to students’ reports, the rules set guidelines for investigating and resolving alleged incidents of sexual violence. For instance, colleges should ensure that officials handling such cases are "appropriately trained and do not have a conflict of interest or bias for or against the accuser or the accused" and that both parties "receive simultaneous notification, in writing, of the result of the proceeding and any available appeal procedures."  The disciplinary process should be transparent, according to the draft regulations, with the "steps, anticipated timelines, and decision-making process" all spelled out. Colleges must also "list all of the possible sanctions" and "describe the range of protective measures" available to alleged victims, the proposed rules say...

Full story at http://chronicle.com/article/Colleges-Face-New-Requirements/147275/ 

So how do Academic Senate procedures fit into this framework?  Typically, for example, members of Senate committees would not be "appropriately trained" in such matters.  In short, this is an issue that bears watching.

Sterling Threatens UCLA Faculty Member

The Donald Sterling affair continues to involve UCLA.  We earlier posted about his newspaper ad and gift to the university (which was refunded).  See

http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2014/04/what-happens-when-you-post-too-soon.html

Now, Sterling has threatened two psychiatrists - one a UCLA faculty member - who had testified that he was incompetent to manage the Clippers.  He left the messages as voicemails (which seems to demonstrate bad judgment).  You can find the story - with audio links to the recordings - at:

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-donald-sterling-voicemail-recordings-20140619-htmlstory.html

or go to https://soundcloud.com/latimes/2-sparwav for the UCLA recording.

See also http://www.latimes.com/sports/clippers/la-sp-clippers-sterling-20140620-story.html

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Money is to the North

The (reconstructed) interior of the garage where Hewlett and Packard got started in the late 1930s.
Here's the county average weekly wage, 4th quarter, 2013.  The Silicon Valley influence is evident.

San Mateo $2724
Santa Clara $1972
San Francisco $1973
---
Los Angeles $1161

Source: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cewqtr.t01.htm

UCLA History: New Westwood Campus

Ceremony at start of construction of Westwood campus.  Regent Dickson is today remembered for the Dickson Award to emeriti faculty.  Janss was one of the Janss brothers who sold the land at a discount.  The Janss steps carry their name.  Moore was what today would be called chancellor.  Moore Hall carries his name.  Click on photo to enlarge.  Source: "UCLA on the Move."

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

UCLA History: Einstein

Einstein visited UCLA and gave a lecture in Royce Hall: Feb. 15, 1932

Planned State Budget Seems to Do an About Face: Surplus to Deficit

The planned budget for 2014-15, prior to any line-item vetoes by the governor, seems to be doing an about face from surplus to deficit according to the summary provided by the legislature.  You can find the summary at:
http://abgt.assembly.ca.gov/sites/abgt.assembly.ca.gov/files/Floor%20Report-June%2014%2C%202014%204%20PM%20Draft.pdf

In particular, take a look at page 3 or the table below from that page. The reserve in the general fund at the beginning of the current fiscal year (2013-14) was $2.429 billion.  By June 30, 2014, the projected reserve will be $3.903 billion.  So the general fund ran a surplus (inflow minus outflow) of $3.903 billion - $2.429 billion = +$1.474 billion. What happens in 2014-15?  Some money that would otherwise flow into the general fund reserve will instead be diverted into a rainy day fund which voters are supposed to approve in November. According to the figures provided in the official document, the reserve plus the new rainy day fund will drop to $3.010 billion.  ($1.404 billion in the regular reserve plus $1.606 in the rainy day fund.)  The two reserves fall by $0.893 billion ($3.903 billion - $3.010 billion) - which means that outflows exceed inflows, a deficit in common parlance, but not in Sacramento-speak.  The projected end-of-year 2014-15 reserve, about 3% of the general fund budget, isn't much of a cushion against hard times.

Now a budget is just a plan based on a forecast of revenues and spending.  It could be wrong.  Indeed, it will be wrong since no one can predict the future with 100% accuracy.*  But if you were to ask former Governor Gray Davis about the wisdom of running a budget deficit (outflows > inflows) in good times, he might say that he learned that if bad times come along during deficit budgets, really terrible things could happen to the budget (and the governor) as revenues drop. When you are at the top of a mountain, the only way to fall is down.  You can't fall up from the peak.  Even if there is a little extra money now, UC administrators might also keep that earlier Gray Davis lesson in mind when they plan future university budgets.** 

-------
*There is also the question - raised in past blog posts - about the discrepancy between the state controller's cash statement and the accrual accounting of the governor and legislature and the lack of any official reconciliation of the two.  We won't have the controller's final statement for 2013-14 until July.

**From page 21:

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Fossil Fuel Issue at Regents Could Become Entangled with Israel-Palestine Controversy

Oil well: La Cienega Blvd. in 1940s
Inside Higher Ed today has a lengthy feature on the anti-Israel divestment movement on various campuses with discussion of UC and UCLA in particular.*  See http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/06/17/pro-palestinian-student-activism-heats-causing-campus-tensions. The Regents will have fossil fuel divestment on their agenda in July.  It is quite possible the two issues will become entangled since both call for modifying UC investment practices for non-financial reasons.  The incoming student Regent favors anti-Israel divestment while the incoming student Regent-elect opposes it.  According to the article, "UC policy calls for divestment from a foreign country only in cases in which the U.S. declares its government guilty of acts of genocide."  The UC issue has also made its way into the both the California state legislature and the LA city council:

Bob Blumenfield, a pro-Israel Los Angeles City Councilman, is leading an effort to have the city go on the record to denounce the [UCLA student] ethics pledge for “intimidating” and “bullying” students.  Blumenfield’s resolution, introduced in late May, is supported by at least five other council members...

Bob Blumenfield, the author of the City Council resolution denouncing the ethics pledge, is no stranger to getting state and city representatives to denounce SJP [Students for Justice in Palestine] activism.  Last year, when Blumenfield was a state assemblyman, he helped organize a letter denouncing the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement on UC campuses.  Blumenfield also sponsored a 2012 California house resolution that denounced BDS and stated that calling Israel an “apartheid state” is anti-Semitic...

Full article at http://mondoweiss.net/2014/06/denounce-activists-critiquing.html

*See also our earlier post at http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2014/05/weltschmerz.html

From Santa Barbara to the New Yorker

Warning: Someone might be offended by this post.

In an earlier post, we noted that the UC-Santa Barbara student govt. push for "trigger" warnings on syllabi had gotten the attention of the NY Times.*

Now it appears that the matter has reached the New Yorker (June 2 issue), at least in the cartoon department.

Sorry for the lateness in noticing the cartoon.  Yours truly is chronically late in reading his New Yorker magazines.

*The earlier post is at http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2014/05/the-uc-santa-barbara-trigger-triggers.html

Monday, June 16, 2014

AAUP says fix it

From the Chronicle of Higher Education: 

The American Association of University Professors on Saturday urged colleges that operate Chinese language and culture centers financed by the People’s Republic of China to either scrap the partnerships or renegotiate them to promote transparency and protect academic freedom.

In a statement approved last week by the AAUP’s Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure and released here on Saturday at the association’s annual conference, the AAUP argues that many colleges in the United States and Canada have sacrificed their integrity and jeopardized academic freedom by giving the Chinese government considerable say over the centers, which are known as Confucius Institutes...

Full story at http://chronicle.com/article/AAUP-Rebukes-Colleges-for/147153/


UCLA History: Bonds

Yes, the legislature passed a state budget yesterday.  But in may be awhile before we see clear numbers and language as opposed to the newspaper leaks and tidbits about which we have been posting.

In the meantime, you might think about UCLA's fiscal history.  UCLA was created in 1919 out of the campus of the state normal school on Vermont Avenue (where LA Community College now stands).  To move to a new campus involved acquisition of land - which the Regents insisted had to be a gift - and construction of new buildings.  

The Janss family was willing to sell the Westwood site at a discount - but not as a gift.  (Contrary to popular belief, Janss did not give the land as a free gift even though putting UCLA in Westwood would substantially raise the value of the surround Janss land.)  So to make the land a free gift to the state, a bond issue - Prop 2 - went on the ballot in LA, Beverly Hills, and Santa Monica in May 1925 and passed.  In November, a second bond issue for construction - Prop 10 - was also passed.  [The images on this post are from the book "UCLA on the Move" (1969)].

There was then a dispute over whether there would be two campuses, one on Vermont for the "Teachers College" (seen by some as not fitting for a full-fledged university) and the other for Letters and Science at Westwood.  After a tussle over that issue, the entire university was moved.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

UCLA History: Beverly

The map above is reproduced from "UCLA on the Move" (1969) and was originally designed to show what would be the new location for UCLA in Westwood.  The new location was referred to as the "Beverly Site" because what is now Sunset Blvd. was Beverly Blvd. back then.  Click on the map to enlarge and see details.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Not in Service

No, it's not the bus that out of service.  It's the 405 once again:

From Metro:

Southbound 405 closures between Sunset and Santa Monica Boulevards planned nights of June 15 and 16

The I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project contractor is scheduled to conduct two consecutive nighttime freeway closures on the southbound I-405 between Sunset Boulevard and Santa Monica Boulevard in West Los Angeles the nights of Sunday, June 15 and Monday, June 16, 2014 to facilitate traffic loop installation and thermoplastic freeway striping.
Closure information is as follows:
  • Midnight on Sunday, June 15 to 5 a.m. Monday, June 16
  • Midnight on Monday, June 16 to 5 a.m. Tuesday, June 17
Ramps will begin to close at 7 p.m. and lanes will begin to close at 11 p.m.
Ramp Closures:
Southbound on-ramp from eastbound Wilshire Boulevard
Southbound on-ramp from westbound Wilshire Boulevard
Southbound on-ramp from eastbound Sunset Boulevard
Southbound on-ramp from westbound Sunset Boulevard

Source: http://thesource.metro.net/2014/06/13/southbound-405-closures-between-sunset-and-santa-monica-boulevards-planned-nights-of-june-15-and-16/

You Can Help UC by Buying a House

We noted yesterday that while the media were featuring leaks about the new state budget deal between the governor and legislative leaders, the various items mentioned did not seem to include UC.

However, later news reports mention that UC might get $50 million beyond what the governor had originally proposed, depending on whether property taxes were above what was forecast.  Now the property tax is a local tax so it may seem surprising that it figures in what UC gets.  However, under Prop 98, K-14 gets state funding under various formulas.  But what the school districts get from the local property tax figures into the total obligation.  So if there is more property tax, there will be less of a burden on the state.  Yours truly assumes this linkage is what the deal for UC (CSU gets the same) is all about.

Of course, it may seem odd to base the UC budget on the vagaries of the real estate market.  But that would not be the only odd thing about the state budget.

Even if the $50 million arrives, it would be less than half of what the Regents requested beyond the governor's proposal for ongoing UC expenses.  However, there is also reported to be an extra $100 million for "deferred maintenance" which probably goes into the capital budget.  Again, you should keep in mind that these are news reports, not actual budget language.  In the official media release, higher ed spending is not mentioned: http://gov.ca.gov/news.php?id=18557 The legislature has until Sunday midnight to enact the actual budget bill.  The governor has a line item veto so he could chop out the UC increment, whatever it is.

You can find mentions of the UC budget increment at:
http://www.dailynews.com/government-and-politics/20140613/10-things-to-know-about-the-california-budget
http://dailybruin.com/2014/06/13/uc-to-receive-50m-more-in-funding-if-tax-revenue-exceeds-expectations/
http://www.sacbee.com/2014/06/12/6480411/budget-deal-spends-cap-and-trade.html

A radio interview with senate president Steinberg on the budget deal is at:

Friday, June 13, 2014

UCLA and Hollywood Interns

A wave of lawsuits has led some of the biggest Hollywood companies to end their long-standing practice of not paying interns. But there's a high-profile holdout in this labor controversy: the popular horror and comedy studio Lionsgate. The company, known for squeezing maximum profit out of smaller genre movies such as "Saw" and "Kick-Ass," is the only major film and television studio with an unpaid internship program. It's a practice, legal experts say, that could expose Lionsgate to a potential lawsuit...

UCLA is among the universities that have guided students to Lionsgate. The school's Career Center, a resource for students seeking internships, said the company's program conforms to UCLA's standards. The Career Center staff reviews internship opportunities to make sure they comply with the federal guidelines...

Full story at www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-lionsgate-interns-20140613-story.html

UCLA FA to Rejoin CUCFA

Some years ago the UCLA Faculty Association was a member of Council of University of California Faculty Associations (CUCFA), but dropped. With new leadership at CUCFA and the UCLA FA, it seemed like a good time to revisit our membership in the Council, and recently the Executive Board voted unanimously to pursue a renewed membership with CUCFA.

What is CUCFA you ask? CUCFA (or "the Council") is a coalition of the faculty associations at University of California campuses. Each campus chapter is an independent organization with the Council serving as a coordinating and information sharing body. Each campus chapter delegates a representative to the Council, which meets as a body annually (and more regularly over email). The Council employes an executive director who also serves as an advocate in Sacramento for faculty issues before the state government. Currently, UCLA is the only campus faculty association in the UC system not affiliated with CUCFA.

In the fall, the UCLA FA Executive Board met with CUCFA president Patricia Morton (Art History, UCR) who warmly welcomed closer collaboration between campus Faculty Associations. During the winter we gathered information about CUCFA and kept in close touch with CUCFA deliberations via an Executive Board liaison to CUCFA.

Based on all of this information the Board considered the following motions:
First, "Whereas one key function of the UCLA Faculty Association listed in the By-laws is "to encourage the development of, and to cooperate with, parallel or similar organizations on other campuses of the University of California”; and whereas the Council of University of California Faculty Associations (CUCFA) is an organization that coordinates the activities of Faculty Associations on eight of the UC campuses, therefore the Executive Board affirms the desirability of formal affiliation with CUCFA, and authorizes the payment of affiliate fees to CUCFA."
Second, “The UCLA FA Executive Board creates and empowers a subcommittee to formalize affiliation on its behalf. The subcommittee will report back to the Executive Board and the Treasurer at its earliest convenience. In the meantime, the Executive Board directs its Chair to notify the membership of the decision to affiliate with CUCFA via electronic communication as soon as possible.”
The motions carried with 7 votes in favor and none opposed. For more information about CUCFA, see the organization's website http://cucfa.org/about.php

As with all decisions of the Executive Board, FA members who wish to comment or want more information are encouraged to contact the chair, Toby Higbie, to comment here, or to email the FA at uclafacultyassociation (at) gmail (dot) com.

In the meantime, we look forward to greater collaboration with FAs on other UC campuses in the future to address system-wide issues!