Thursday, April 28, 2011

Great Californian SLAPPed To Death?

Dunno, it's just a question we can't shake since hearing the news of Rich McKee's death and all the stress he endured in recent years as a punishment for his efforts to shed light on important issues. Condolences to Cal Aware and his family- one helluva legacy. RIP, never forget. You can read more here and here.
read this section carefully:
"Meanwhile Rich and CalAware, in our first joint litigation, sued a school board for censuring (and censoring, on cable TV) one of its members for stating his opinion about something done in closed session—one he hadn't attended. The suit was dismissed on an anti-SLAPP motion when the trial court concluded we were were attacking the school board majority's right to voice its own opinion. The dismissal was upheld in an unpublished opinion of the Court of Appeal, and as a consequence the court ordered us to pay the district's attorney fees. Since CalAware had no money, the fee payment came from a bond earlier purchased by Rich (anticipating recovery on appeal), and backfilling payments he made from his own funds, ultimately costing him more than $80,000. He had to invade his retirement savings and endure a lien put on his home before the ordeal was over. His experience led the California Legislature, in a bill by Senator Leland Yee of San Francisco, SB 786, to amend the anti-SLAPP law to provide that cases brought under the open government laws, even if SLAPPed out of court on the merits, will not result in an attorney fee debt to the government, unless they are not only without merit but frivolous."

It reminds us of these recent stories related to UC:

UC Davis Uses Anti-SLAPP Provisions To Kill Prof's Discrimination Lawsuit (2009)

Former UCD Police Officer SLAPPed For 20K in Fees in Civil Rights Suit (2010)

UCD Professor Ordered To Pay 30K for Violating University’s First Amendment Rights (2011)

UC Doctor Accused of Sex Assaults At Cal Clinic Tang Center

looks like there might be another mess at university health services : UC Doctor Accused of Sex Assaults At Cal Clinic Tang Center

(li'l update: seems the headline of the story keeps getting altered -- it now leads with Ex-Cal etc-- maybe someone got a call...)

Daily Cal is now covering it:
Former Tang Center physician charged with 19 counts of sex crimes

KTVU coverage

KPIX coverage

KRON coverage

KGO coverage
and here are the CYA Administration statements with info for former patients etc.

UPDATE: see this story: UC Doctor Charged With Sexually Assaulting Patients
"Kevess’ attorney, Robert Beles, said that his client was innocent. While he did have sexual relations with some of his patients, there was no coercion.

“Everything was consensual,” said Bales. “It’s professional bad judgment having consensual activity with patients, but it was consensual.”

Kevess, who was also medical director and doctor at the Berkeley Free Clinic, has resigned from UC and has turned in his medical license, said Bales. He is scheduled to appear in court at 2 pm today and will plead not guilty, said Bales.

Kevess allegedly used his position as a doctor to touch and have sex with his patients, according to the indictment. At times he would fondle his patients pretending that his touches were medically necessary. In some cases, Kevess treated a patient and then got involved in a relationship with him, according to the charges.'
AND THEN CHECK OUT THE CORRECTION MADE AT THAT ARTICLE:"Correction: A previous version of the article incorrectly stated Robert Kevess' age as 62. His correct age is 52. It also incorrectly stated "some of the patients were unconscious when the assaults occured." The correct version is that the patients were unconscious of the nature of the assault because Kevass said it was a medical procedure. The story also incorrectly said that Kevass had anal sex with his patients."
Source: The Bay Citizen (

The whole thing is just a huge mess! Especially coming on the heels of this recent story about rape at UC Davis. and the treatment of Ol' Blue Cal Alumni family members bodies in this story:
Lost UCLA cadavers' final chapter

Deeply disturbing, deeply sad.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

False Choices, Better Choices

54 page long “Choices Report,” authored by the Academic Senate’s University Committee on Planning and Budget (UCPB). We're still reading but -Enjoy.
the bullets are:
"We recommend that UC:
• Maintain or increase state support
• Avoid suffocating core academic programs
• Delay the start of any new programs until the core is stable
• Adopt a multi-year fee strategy
• Increase budget transparency
• Balance system-wide needs and campus needs
• Disentangle sources of funds but recognize essential cross-subsidization
• Avoid stratification and tiering
• Increase diversity by recruiting non-resident students
• Prioritize retirement funding and total remuneration
• Honor its commitment to current employees by rewarding future service
under current UCRP plan terms
• Consider Pension Obligation Bonds to maintain the health of UCRP
• Recognize that online education will not substantially cut cost
• Recognize that shifting salaries to grants will have adverse consequences
• Overhaul Indirect Cost Recovery
• Tax auxiliaries and medical centers
• Increase fundraising efforts
• Review growth of campus administration
• Curb construction projects
• Recognize UC Merced’s unique situation and fund that campus accordingly"

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Other UC Campuses Copying UC Berkeley OE Model?

Fascinating that UCSF is using NO outside consultants, and UCSB is using ONE individual consultant (the entire UCSB left to ONE individual consultant?!)

Other UC campuses adopt OE model
By Alisha Azevedo Daily Cal Staff Writer
--Daily Cal mentioned Huron Consulting-- but excluded reference to this story.

Does anyone else see the irony in Daily Cal's posting of these two stories next to each other?:
Homeland Security chief visits UC Berkeley

while less than a mile away - this story:
Lab neglects employment verification

Is there an "Undergrad Student Regent" and a "Grad Student Regent"? -reason we ask is because of some of what is discussed in Changing Universities recent posts, including this one.

Monday, April 25, 2011

"Cal 'becoming a finishing school for rich Asians'.”

that quote comes from this piece: UC Berkeley: The 1881 Californians Who Aren’t There
by Peter Schrag
some excerpts:
"At the same time, as UC officials talked about admitting more non resident students, there was also a clear implication that they were trying to send a message that to maintain quality the university would have to reduce admission of many of the California students that the state was no longer paying for.

But the new admissions report says nothing about that. On the contrary, it goes out of its way to assure Californians that their sons and daughters are not being shut out.
"To the extent that that’s correct, it sends a very different message from the one delivered last year by Birgeneau and some of his UC colleagues. Is the budgetary squeeze forcing UC to accept higher-paying out-of-state students whose places would otherwise be filled by Californians or is it not?"

"UC seems to have shied away from that or from any other consistent approach"
--and then wring their hands wondering why many Californians don't trust what is going on with admissions at UC...

Friday, April 22, 2011

Schwarzenegger's David Crane: "someone unafraid to point out when an emperor isn't wearing clothes."

read the latest on David Crane's UC Regent status here.
other notable quotes:

"That access I care the most about is for undergraduates."

"He said that he would explore the UC's five medical centers - which generated $5.9 billion in the 2009-10 fiscal year, according to UC documents - as one source of that revenue."

and, within this latest story, we are reminded of this quote: ""Collective bargaining is a good thing when it's needed to equalize power, but when public employees already have that equality because of civil service protections, collective bargaining in the public sector serves to reduce benefits for citizens and to raise costs for taxpayers,"

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

On Line Course Evals at Cal Shake Up and more

The creators of the online course evaluation at Cal have removed it from Operational Exodus initiative:
"Online Course Evaluations Removed-The sponsors of the Online Course Evaluation proposal requested to remove the proposal and will pursue the project outside of Operational Excellence." Listed under "latest news", here.
SAVE & BFA have submitted a resolution to the Academic Senate at Berkeley calling for a halt to the administration’s plan to convert course evaluations by students to publicly available on-line evaluations. Senate meeting on Wed. April 20th, 3-5, in Sibley Auditorium to support this resolution.
Proposed Senate resolution on online evaluation 4-14

-- we still wonder: why aren't there any publicly available on-line evaluations of capital projects, admin initiatives, admin trainers, admin instructors, etc?
Changing Universities has this interesting section: "One thing the current funding system reveals is that undergraduate students at UCSC, UCR, UCI, and UCSB have been subsidizing graduate students and research at UCLA, UCB, UCSD, and UCD. While the university likes to claim that undergraduate students benefit from the research done on their campuses, it is unclear how students at UCSC benefit from research performed at UC Davis. "
in this piece: The New Funding Model for the UC System
and more on student surveillance by the UC, CSU Admin here: Editorial: Campuses must avoid overreach on protesters -
Yudof's great champion of higher education is covered in this story.

and Obama is hitting up Silicon Valley again -- but not coming close to Cal or deep blue but not deep pocket East Bay. You can watch the Facebook-Obama townhall here live at 1:45PST-- he has to raise $1 Billion to fight against this.
As usual, check out Remaking the University latest post:
Why is UC Borrowing 7 Million to Fund the On-Line Education Pilot Project?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Private UC Regent Meetings This Week April 13, 21 and Round-Up

God only knows what happens at these meetings- we do wonder why the delay in approving minutes from MAY 2010(!) listed in the agenda. The press isn't covering it, or can't cover it. Apparently, it is a well known fact that investigative journalism needs reviving:
David Weir, Local Journalist, Joins Ace News Team to Report on The Demise of Bay Area Journalism

Oh, but we do get to read some LA Times Op Ed superficial blather: How the University of California can remain one of the state's most valuable assets they cover this in five paragraph short essay form with a quote from a USC prof.
And, includes link to "Turncoat" BS-- that never asks the question-- "who turned their coat/back first?"-- UC or the legislature? UC was only too happy to leave the master plan unaddressed for decades. UC has fought almost every legislative attempt at reforms and transparency.
Date: April 13, 2011
Time: 9:00 a.m.
Locations: 700 South Flower Street, Los Angeles
501 South Alta Avenue, Dinuba
Agenda – Closed Session - Regents Only1
Roll Call
Reading of Notice and Statement of Service Thereof
Action Approval of the Minutes of the Meeting of May 4, 2010
G1(XX) Action Recommendations for Election


Date: April 21, 2011
Time: 10:00 a.m.
Locations: 501 South Alta Avenue, Dinuba
3750 University Avenue, Riverside
335 North Maple Drive, Beverly Hills
3110 Main Street, Santa Monica
1 MetroTech Center, Brooklyn, New York
Agenda – Closed Session - Regents Only1
Roll Call
Reading of Notice and Statement of Service Thereof
Action Approval of the Minutes of the Meeting of May 4, 2010
G1(XX) Action Recommendations for Election of Officers and Appointments to
Standing Committees
Attendance is expected of Committee members only

Interesting article related to Cal UC Athletics and overall funding:

Program-specific donations at Cal may alter funding practices

The way colleges fund some sports could change to rely more on program-specific donations after fans and alumni of the University of California scrambled to save four sports that the school had announced would be cut or downgraded.
The full UC Admissions report is also available here. or from UCOP here.

Friday, April 15, 2011

UPDATE! "700 UC Davis women were victims of rape, or attempted rape, every year."?! Latest UC Davis Scandal, Intrigue

Important Disturbing Update:University Diaries has important info on this whole thing, part of UD's post includes this:
"When Jennifer Beeman ran the UC Davis Violence Prevention Program, she claimed that around 700 Davis women were victims of rape, or attempted rape, every year.
Nobody was terribly skeptical about this at the time — except for the local paper and a few bloggers. I mean, sure, seven hundred women … Sounds about right …
But then lots of money started disappearing from her office too, and the university decided to investigate. Beeman has now pleaded no contest to embezzlement and falsifying accounts. She was accused of a bunch of other felonies too, but she cut a deal. She might go to jail, or she might get probation. Plus restitution."

And: "UC Davis returned more than $100,000 to the U.S. Department of Justice after determining that unallowable expenses had been charged to a violence prevention grant Beeman administered…"

Please read the full post here. So many scandals, so little time-as far as we can recall- this is the first we've heard about any of this - simply gobsmacked! So many scandals to keep track of...
"Former director of the campus violence prevention program at the university, pleaded no contest on Wednesday to two felony counts of embezzlement and keeping false accounts"- read the full story here.

We wonder if this event listed below was organized by that former employee listed in the story above?:
UCD students get realistic training to survive campus gun attacks

(Hat tip to UC Student Regent on the second story.)
Seems a sad state of affairs at UC Davis.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Call on CA Attorney General To Investigate The UC Regents For Conflicts Of Interest-Petition

Hat tip to Daily Nexus: UC Regents Face Ethics Allegations

And, view the petition letter: here.

Also, AFSCME Local 3299 and Bob Samuels, among many others, ask for letters petitioning Mark Yudof re: online university,see:

Online Education and the End of UC Education

No, they do not have Stockholm Syndrome -- they actually really do want letters sent to Yudof because they really do believe he might listen to the feedback...
and we are happy to post the info fyi. Peace.

"In 4 Years Things Will Be Peachy"-So, Why Plan For A Century Of Austerity?

Blumenthal: "The result of all of our efforts will be a financial equilibrium within three to four years that will retain UC Berkeley's preeminent status among institutions of higher education." in this article on Cal:
Academic departments instructed to cut $17 million

is that because they are planning on a UCOP/Edley on line university in full force by then-- along with ever increasing tuition rates?:

Reversing Course, U. of California to Borrow Millions for Online Classes

Is International House at UC Berkeley Union Busting?

we came across this comment: "gsi
I-house has fired or laid off 13 workers who were represented by AFSCME this year, there are only 7 union workers left. They then re-hire for those positions outside of the union's contract. The 7 workers left have been wearing union stickers and the I-house management is threatening to send them home if they don't take off the stickers. This is called union busting, on a small scale it's the same issue as in Wisconsin.Tuesday, April 05, 2011, 12:21:36 PM"

in this story Union members rally for solidarity

-is it true? if so, then it is very sad --we have to ask what has become of I House? it seems to have turned on its history and mission...

UC Davis Denies Infiltrating Student Protests

it's all just a misunderstanding-- um, just incompetence rather than corrupt or nefarious...

University Acknowledges Errors in Handling of Police Matter But Denies Infiltrating Student Protests-Written by David Greenwald

--it's just a coincidence that similar stories are coming out of UCSC, UCB and other campuses- wink, nod-- and on we go.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

UCLA's "Treatment" of Whistleblowing Professor

Foundation for Individual Rights in Education on this story:

'San Francisco Chronicle' and Others Criticize UCLA's Treatment of Whistleblowing Professor

"Torch readers by now may be quite familiar with the story of Dr. James Enstrom, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) scientist and professor who is fighting for his job after being told he did not fit his department's "mission," in retaliation for critiquing some of the California Air Resources Board's (CARB's) scientific findings, as well as his whistleblowing on a CARB scientist with a fake Ph.D. and other problems at CARB." read the full story: here and a list of references and links on the case here. (a la Nick Gillespie et al) has an informative 10 minute video on the subject here.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

$6.9+Million, Fac Get Raises, Undergrads Can Suck It Up

$6.9 Million from UCOP: Program for web classes gets UC loan

and there is this sentence (from Daniel Greenstein Vice Provost at UCOP -in the salary database it looks like he is paid $245,000 per year):"Mr. Greenstein outlined a new plan to offer the online courses to people not enrolled at the University of California, as well as to undergraduates." that we would really like answers to- in this story: Reversing Course, U. of California to Borrow Millions for Online Classes--why spend UC millions developing online courses for people NOT enrolled at UC?!

but, while the faculty on campus is around... it looks like they will get raises:
President Mark Yudof's five-year plan for UC
UC proposes voluntary pay reduction program for staff

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Gov. Brown Talks With Yudof,Reed, Scott- UC Supports Gov's Proposals

see: Gov. Jerry Brown talks tax extensions with university leaders

here are Brown's comments

Also see video of Yudof, Scott and Reed (at midpage) at this story: Higher education leaders lobby against all-cuts budget-- video for Yudof cuts off after 3 minutes- and they label him "Yudog"haha, can't find the full length posted anywhere - seems it was not much of a presser...

Read comments posted there to get a flavor of Californian response.

and there is this quote from Yudof:"You can't be optimistic that I'll be so persuasive I'll bring tears to his eyes and all will be well. But you never miss an opportunity to make your case to your elected leaders."

in this article: University Leaders Worried About Deeper Cuts

Monday, April 4, 2011

UC Should Remember McDaniel and Denton

As Cal launches its Suicide Prevention Week (aimed at students) it should recall stories like these:
(This particular story is chilling in the detail of economic woe for state and staff at that time. Now, the present day economy is even worse!)
"Yet California in 1992 was a state mired in a severe economic recession, and its multi-billion-dollar state budget deficits were just beginning to be felt strongly at taxpayer-supported institutions like UC Davis.

To cope with state funding that had been slashed by nearly one-third, the university instituted a plan to cut staffing costs with early retirement packages and layoffs. The staff got smaller, but the workload didn’t.

McDaniel dodged the layoff bullet, using her experience at the University of Texas in special events and fund raising to transfer to an administrative assistant job in the Davis Chancellor’s Club.

Part of the Development Office fund raising function of the university, the Davis Chancellor’s Club was an advisory body made up of those individuals who donated at least $5,000 a year to the university. McDaniel became part of the team that would help the university fulfill its educational mission on reduced public funds.

“For me, it was the job of my dreams, and I think Donna felt that way too,” said Jackie Rogers, a writer in the Development Office who worked with McDaniel on newsletters and other correspondence, but who has since left the university.

Yet, as some dreams do, this one changed into a nightmare. Rogers’ friendship with McDaniel began one afternoon when Rogers found her crying in her office, distraught over a daunting workload and demanding bosses. Rogers had cried over the same thing and had seen others in the office do the same: “The struggles we were facing really, really brought us together.”

A group of Development Office employees who felt abused by the working environment even took to calling themselves the “Walking Wounded.”

“They all considered themselves to be targets of this,” Landry said, “and they would go out and drink margaritas and talk about their survival in the system.”

Rogers, McDaniel and several others who worked in the Development Office, describe it as a high-pressure environment, where too few employees were expected to meet increased demands for cash from fund raising. The turnover rate was high, leaving McDaniel and others to pick up the slack when someone left.

“It starts with managers not having the resources to successfully complete their goals, so they push the staff hard,” Rogers said.

Office receptionist Tawny Yambrovich also saw the strain. She too saw employees crying at work. She watched them eating lunch at their desks. She felt the pressure from bosses who wanted something and wanted it now. She saw McDaniel and others still hard at work everyday when she left at 5 o’clock.

“It was definitely a high-pressure work environment with high expectations and there was an unwritten expectation that you would work more than eight hours if the job needed it,” Yambrovich said. “A lot of that was the attitude at the top. It was like workaholic trickle-down.”

If what McDaniel encountered on the job at UC Davis was unusual, if this was an otherwise healthy and nurturing working environment, then perhaps this suicide could easily be dismissed as solely the product of depression, as many have tried to do.

But in recent years, battles between labor and management at UC Davis have been fierce and emotional, while understaffing and sometimes unreasonable workloads on campus are now universally acknowledged as serious problems.

In June, the entire University of California system was blasted during a special hearing before the Assembly Committee on Higher Education as an authoritarian employer that treats its employees badly.

“I believe you’re the worst public employer in the state of California,” Assemblywoman Dion Aroner, D-Berkeley, reportedly said during the hearing, with many of her colleagues offering equally bleak assessments.

Union activists at UC Davis say the situation is even worse here than at most other UC campuses, where employee unions have been longer established and don’t encounter the kind of resistance they have faced at Davis.

It was in this climate that word of McDaniel’s suicide and the message on the sign she left rolled through the ranks of beleaguered UC Davis employees like a tidal wave, circulated in e-mails and by word of mouth.

To some, McDaniel’s final words resonated deeply, making her a martyr for the cause of employees who felt harassed, overworked, bullied and otherwise ill-treated by the university. They saw “UC Davis Burnout” as their sign, too.

“She made a great sacrifice to leave this message,” Rogers said. “I believe she died to make this point.”

Yet others dismissed the suicide as a desperate act by a deeply troubled woman, an impression strongly reinforced by a brief account of the suicide in the Davis Enterprise, headlined “Woman found dead at home.”

After the memorial, many who knew McDaniel expected that something would come from the suicide, some acknowledgement by the university that what McDaniel faced was a problem that should be addressed.

Yet McDaniel’s suicide would never be publicly addressed by the university, even today, despite several requests for comment regarding this story.

It was also a tragedy that would quickly be subsumed by other tragedies on campus. A March 27 boating accident in the Sea of Cortez killed five UC Davis researchers. And then, on April 3, UC Davis senior David Thornton died of alcohol poisoning.

Both tragedies were the subject of numerous forums and memorials on campus. The Sacramento Bee, which did not report the McDaniel suicide, did nine articles on the boating accident and seven on the drinking death.

Yambrovich, the Development Office receptionist, was shocked by the suicide, and said the university shouldn’t have ignored McDaniel’s message: “I wish they had mounted as serious a campaign about unchecked depression at that time as they did about the dangers of alcohol.”

Yambrovich said she brought up McDaniel’s suicide at one of the monthly Chancellor’s Office brown bag lunches, trying to spark a discussion of the workplace stressors that contributed to her death, “but I was told it was inappropriate to discuss.”

Today, even with Landry wanting her mother’s story to be told, Dennis Shimek— associate vice chancellor of human resources, and the person to whom all inquires about McDaniel were forwarded—said it is inappropriate for university officials to discuss McDaniel’s suicide or the issues it raises.

“There are personnel and privacy rights that need to be protected by this institution,” Shimek said, although he did talk about the issues of understaffing and employee stress in general terms.

For employees who suffer from workplace stress, Shimek said the university offers a wide array of services, from stress management seminars to one-on-one counseling through the Office of Employee Assistance. For employees who have problems with their supervisors, there are mediation services, and both formal and informal complaint procedures. “The university, like most other employers, recognizes that there are a lot of stressors on the job,” Shimek said.

Ironically, the university began to seriously address the problems raised by McDaniel in the same month she killed herself. Just two weeks earlier, the Administration Management Group advisory board presented Chancellor Vanderhoef with information showing how many forms of employee discontent stem from the issue of understaffing.

Vanderhoef responded by immediately allocating $2 million from his discretionary funds to beef up staffing in key administrative areas and within individual colleges. As Shimek said, “The Chancellor has made it a high priority to deal with the staff workload issue.”

The university’s new Staff Workload and Compensation Action Plan calls for more funding for reclassifications, salary increases and new positions; improved management and oversight of managers by deans’ offices; and more open communications with employees.

Yet most of the employees interviewed for this article say they have seen few results from the efforts, and they express skepticism that this “high priority” is anything more than lip service. CUE responded to the suicide by sponsoring a series of workshops on workplace bullying, dedicated to McDaniel’s memory.

Among the attendees at the workshop this fall was Jackie Rogers: “I just broke down and sobbed for an hour at that meeting on bullying,” she said. “I still cry, a year and some later, when I think about that time. And not just about Donna, but about what we all faced there.”

Read the full article here: Last words-Did the stress of working on campus drive a woman to shoot herself, or was she a suicide waiting to happen?

Also see: UC Santa Cruz chancellor dies in suicide plunge