Monday, July 7, 2014

Aim to limit... and that term 'allegiance'

Investors' paths diverge on fossil fuels
Public funds choose engagement, while some endowments divest

One major university that in the next few months could make a divestment decision regarding its $7.8 billion endowment is the University of California system, Oakland.

Board of Regents Chairman Bruce Varner in May announced a task force would be formed to study the issue. Mr. Varner said task force members would meet with the university's new chief investment officer, Jagdeep Singh Bachher, and the university's investment committee.

“We'll have some definitive recommendations or comebacks for our meeting in September,” Mr. Varner said in an audio tape of the meeting on the university website.

Daily Cal: UC Aims To Limit $10 Billion Unfunded Pension Liability
In a statement released Tuesday, Nathan Brostrom, the university’s executive vice president for business operations, detailed the university’s attempts to fund the pension system. This currently includes the increase in employee and university pension contributions and borrowing from internal and external sources. The university’s pension plan, which has about $50 billion in assets, currently has a $10 billion unfunded liability.

The statement was published in response to a recently issued special comment from Moody’s Investors Service, a credit rating agency, detailing the growing pension burden of public universities in the United States. Moody’s downgraded the university’s credit rating in March by one level to Aa2, the third-highest possible credit rating.

“The downgrade is reflective of Moody’s negative outlook for universities across the country,” said UC spokesperson Brooke Converse in an email. “For UC, it is a slight downgrade that reflects the challenging fiscal environment of the past five or six years.”

Daily Cal OpEd: Oved Should Still Be Confirmed
Despite the controversy surrounding the appointment of student regent-designate nominee Avi Oved, we believe that the UC Board of Regents should still confirm him in July. But the occasion of his confirmation has shed a light on the failings of the UC student government elections process.

The Daily Californian published some information linking Oved’s campaign to funding from Adam Milstein, co-founder of the Adam and Gila Milstein Family Foundation, in return for ensuring that “UCLA would maintain its allegiance to Israel and the Jewish community.” In response, the University of California Student Association Board of Directors held an emergency meeting about Oved to determine whether this funding and connection indicated any kind of conflict of interest for Oved if he were to take office. Both Oved and Milstein have denied any wrongdoing and asserted their belief that this attention has been brought to Oved’s appointment specifically because of his ties to the Jewish community and his support of the Israeli state. His request for our retraction of the published email from himself to Adam Milstein were summarily denied.

-Was the email they received given to them by one of the recipients?
Students and free speech rights nationwide topic here
UC employees and an oath of allegiance -it, in fact has a history at CSU and statewide too
more: here.

Are UC Regents asked to make an oath like this before they become UC Regents? Don't think so.

'UC sovereignty' and questions around allegiance came up in a big way for UC recently in this story, recall:
Controversial Legal Defense Expected for UCI Ex-Professor

and,Immigrants take an oath and use the allegiance term when they gain citizenship, too.

Many have been saying for long time: the student regents positions should be expanded by an additional two slots. Prior news coverage claimed Oved said he wanted to work on that as a major goal- and that he had support for that from several UC Regents already-- so that would really help-- in many ways. A representation of undergraduate, graduate, professional students and also a mix of genders would then be on the UC Regent board representing students. (As Title IX issues are discussed going forward in this year especially, one of the other possible issues might be a perceived male-female labeling/spin of UC student regents and that marginalization would be a disservice to the two student regents as well- having more students regents would be a help.)

And yeah, campaign finance reform on student regent positions--and all around, a good thing.
Big issues to tackle for: the upcoming UC Regents meeting.

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