Wednesday, April 8, 2015

There’s a failing here though I think and the failing I think is in the process... Um, anybody, Bueller?

If you read the LA Times piece earlier: Efforts To Expand California University Systems Are Growing - you might also want to view or listen to: this section of the UC Regents March meeting to follow how UC Regents deal with building and expansion, how they want to try and do it this time and, most importantly, the process for how they discuss it at their meetings...

It was a section of the meeting that received l'il coverage in any real detail…
Here’s some of the discussion outline markers, you can watch it, listen and decide for yourself: the same link is repeatedly available on all the time marks below for convenience - with other background links interspersed as well.

At 02:17:00 time mark: in video here The Governor in his opening comments mentioned the state buildings sales under Schwarzenegger that Gov. Brown later backed out of- he raises it as a cautionary tale for UC– here’s an SFGate article on how that ended-- if you don’t recall. As a side note recall that: Regent Makarechian, chair of UC buildings and grounds committee, was one of the potential buyers of some of the state buildings and so likely was part of that settlement the Governor brought up at UC Regents etc. More on that aspect if you click Regent M's tab at the top of the page.)

At 02:19:40 the UCM Chancellor said something about being willing to talk in closed session in details about the massive build-out project of UCM.

Later in the discussion Regent Makarechian begins to discuss risk mitigation and developers - and, like the Governor, he raises a cautionary tale-- the current concerns over UC PATH as another example to keep in mind as they move through this UCM building agenda item...

(and we note here that Regent Makarechian was the only UC Regent we can recall who raised real questions about the contingency plans Peter Taylor mentioned for UC PATH during UC Regents meetings- he questioned the 6% contingency on $ budgeting for cost overruns, later he raised questions about vendor arrangements, relationships etc. Zettel also raised some other peripheral questions and concerns on it as well during her committee meetings.)

Then around 02:26:00 Regent M says he is very, very surprised to see the UCM agenda item was moved out of his Building and Grounds committee and over to Finance committee w/out advance notice to him as a chair. He then goes on to talk about his worries that the wrong kind of deal could potentially result in a development nightmare where closing up/turning out the lights on students at that campus might occur in a worst case scenario years down the road, he also wanted to remind all in the room of the difficulty in using the 'tuition as a recovery' solution if the project fails, or goes over budget etc.

State appropriation questions also raised…

At 02:28:00 Regent Makarechian says again he is very, very surprised by the moving of the agenda item. In response to a staff comment about .10 basis points flex rate on some financing for the project he also mentions example of .10 basis points on something like, say, maybe like an example of $1 Billion dollars toward development funding for the project - he highlights that it is a lot of money… he also mentions the fiduciary responsibilities of the UC Regents.

At 02:32:00 UCGC talks again about the process as he understands it for how UC Regents and/or staff assigns agenda items to UC Regents committees for UC Regents meetings.

At 02:45:00 Regent Perez discusses and questions the moving of the agenda item from one committee to a new one
At 02:51:00 Regent Perez questions UC General Counsel (UCGC) on the moving of this particular agenda item from Buildings and Grounds committee to Finance committee and

At 02:52:20 The UCGC says he was asked about placement of the item in either Finance committee or Buildings and Grounds.

and then Perez says to UCGC he 'appreciates the telepathy by which this process was conveyed prior to this moment'.
Some moments later Keiffer asks Perez if he is comfortable that he got his questions answered- Perez says words to the effect that no he is not comfortable but that he received the answer that was given.

The UCM Chancellor also some moments later says that the UCGC ”rules” on when UC Regents go into closed session or move agenda items.
UCGC corrects that particular UCM Chancellor statement. UCM Chancellor apologizes for being inartful.
(the real concern here for us in this post is not about the UCM growth merits or demerits/ pros or cons in this-- but concern over the way UC Regents discuss, deliberate on an item like this, handle committee moves and agenda items.)

Regent Zettel at the 03:01:50 raises (the not often talked about by UC Regents) issue of staff morale negatively affected by staff being placed in locations away from students.

Then UC Regents Sherman and Island comment on the UCM project…

Then Regent Pattiz at the 03:13:00 says
There’s a failing here though I think and the failing I think is on the process. Um, you can’t walk in here and make a presentation as good as the presentation you made and then leave it open to something that just doesn’t pass the smell test: which is two days ago this was in Hadi’s committee and today it is in somebody else’s committee and there doesn’t seem to be any logical explanation to why that happened and so I would like to know why that happened? Anybody, Bueller?

UCM chancellor says she got a memo that recommended it go into Finance committee then she says she instructed her staff that she would like to have it communicated on her behalf that she would like to have it presented it to a joint committee of Finance and Buildings and Grounds.

Pattiz begins to say Yeah but, you know, come on- this is an item that has lived in one committee, there is a committee chairman who has got some issues with it, I believe it should go back to the committee that has been looking at it, and then when it passes through grounds and buildings and it becomes an issue that is appropriately in finance that’s where it should go- but right now - now there is this great big mystery

03:14:20 Keiffer interrupts Pattiz questions with
Let’s accept that Norm. Let’s accept that Regent Pattiz. Let’s accept that as the reality we’re gonna be -this is going to be either a joint committee or it is going to go to buildings and grounds and I think we’ve hit that one hard and I don’t think it was intentional but I don’t know --I wasn’t there I am filling in as chair for the committee but I think that let’s deal with that one as we go forward and …

To which Pattiz says to Keiffer
Whoa whoa whoa I appreciate your interrupting my questions but I DO think it would be helpful to know how this happened. I mean two days ago a committee chair thought it was under the purview of his committee and today it is not under the purview of his committee. Is it too much to ask what happened?

Keiffer then says Anne do you have anything additional to add?

Then the UC Secretary to UC Regents says
Well, I know we noticed it at least twelve days ago in finance and I believe there were earlier emails about it. It was not changed two days ago.

The General Counsel to the UC Regents says
I’m a little concerned that there’s the impression that something nefarious went on … and then he says he can't remember who it was who asked him for legal advice on the agenda items and their placement in the UC Regents committees.

Then Regent Gould closes out this section.

Just some sorta 'end chapter notes' on this:
– Regent Ruiz, who has always been openly vocal about UCM, gifts he made to UCM were recently mentioned at UC Regents meeting, and he frequently mentions he has local ties to the region when the subject comes up. He was notably absent for this March UC Regents meeting when this agenda item came up - and this Finance committee meeting would normally be chaired by him. Regent Keiffer, as vice chair of the finance committee served as chair for the committee in Ruiz's absence.

-We did not see the UC Regents webpage with meeting items listed/posted for the UC Regents March meeting until Sunday March 8th– and the question still remains: should UC Regents get notification that agenda items have been moved from one committee to another committee via the UC Regents website posting a few days before their own meeting?)

- At the last UC regents meetings in Jan and late 2014 there also were questions about 'Roberts Rules', and Brown Act etc. raised in the midst of meetings - and, at some points, a striking difference of opinion b/ween how some ex officio and other UC Regents understand Roberts rules and how another section of some Regents and UCOP personnel interpret Roberts rules differently.

- There also have been complaints about the moving of agenda items out of one committee and into another committee without advance notice. (other e.g. Regent Makarechian and Regent De La Pena complained when it occurred within their committees they chair over a major UCSD Jacobs med center building project recently.)

That section of the UC Regents March Meeting was an important one to view, observe on UC Regents processes.

Also, one can read short synopsis of each section of that March UC Regents meetings courtesy of UCLA Fac Blog and listen to audio clips of the UC Regents March meeting, see:

Listen to the Regents: March 17, 2015

Listen to the Regents morning session of March 18 UC Regents Meeting

Listen to the March 18, 2015 afternoon session of UC Regents Meeting

Listen to the Regents Meeting of March 19, 2015

and there's UCI's : March UC Regents Meeting Recap at New University Online

Pattiz called some of it a big mystery...

btw (Other mysteries include the "Life Safety Fee" nomenclature at UCB?)

Yep - The UC Regents have governance issues – besides committee assignments… but they only met on committee assignments at: April 3rd Special Meeting: Committee on Governance (Regents only session)

Then take a look at how the UC Regents - in this case the UC 'student regents' governance comes up here, Daily Bruin:
UC Denies Violating State Transparency Law With Tuition Hike Proposal

However, the UC said the regents and UC President Janet Napolitano had discussed the possibility of a tuition hike publicly with students multiple times before the November vote.

“President Napolitano has personally consulted with students many times,” said UC spokeswoman Shelly Meron in an email statement. “The tuition issue was discussed in each of these conversations.”

Meron said she could not provide specific information about when students were consulted or how much information they were provided regarding the tuition hike proposal.

But leaders of the UC Student Association said they were not aware of any tuition hike proposal before the University’s announcement.

At the organization’s October Board of Directors meeting, a representative from the UC Office of the President provided little to no information about a possible tuition hike proposal, said Kevin Sabo, chair of the UCSA Board of Directors.

“(The regents) had been talking about this (among themselves) but they didn’t want to tell us at all,” said Undergraduate Students Association Council External Vice President Conrad Contreras.

Sabo said Napolitano never met with the UCSA Board of Directors until the evening before the November Board of Regents meeting.

“The fact that they sprung this out of nowhere is the problem,” Sabo said. “No one can believe them because they are leaving us in the dark. That is a huge agitator of students.”

Student Regent-Designate Avi Oved said he thinks the University was not openly communicative.

“I think students want to be involved in the conversation, but I don’t think that opportunity is being afforded to them,” Oved said. “People asked if the UC was transparent when rolling the proposal out. No, it wasn’t.”

Student Regent Sadia Saifuddin said that even as a voting member of the board’s Committee on Long Range Planning, she was not consulted or included in the drafting of the proposal.

Daily Cal on it too: A report released last week by the Legislative Analyst’s Office found the university did not comply with certain provisions of state law related to the consultation of students prior to implementing a recent fee increase.

*bold emphasis added here.

UCSA with Sign the Petition – Call for a Public Forum with Brown and Napolitano!

Then see Daily Bruin: Students Meet with Napolitano to Discuss UC Transparency
No students from the UC Student Association, the UC-wide student government body, attended the meeting. Conrad Contreras, USAC external vice president, claimed UCSA students were not invited to the meeting, although UC spokeswoman Dianne Klein said they were. UCSA frequently circulates petitions and holds protests against University decisions.

“I’m not shaming anyone, but I’m challenging the approach the way the UC is navigating around the UCSA to get to students,” Contreras said during the USAC meeting Tuesday.

Baral said that as a representative, this was an opportunity he couldn’t turn down. He added he was pushing Napolitano to make the University more transparent to students

Daily Cal with
Public Employment Relations Board Considers Charge Filed By UC Student-Workers Union

For Barrett, the case brings to light broader issues of the role of self-supporting programs within the UC system. There are more than 50 self-supporting programs in the UC system, which generate more than $100 million in fee revenue annually.

Barrett cited the alleged denial of her fee remission as evidence that the programs potentially detract from the university’s public mission.

“The bigger issue is that the university is a public university — it has public obligations,” Barrett said.

The union’s current contract, which began last June, specifies that academic student employees who are enrolled in self-supporting programs and meet certain criteria are eligible to receive a partial fee remission, “equivalent in dollar amount to what an eligible (academic student employee) enrolled in a UC state-supported program would receive for tuition and student services fee.”

And,San Jose Mercury with:
University of California Physicians To Strike April 9
The strike by the Union of American Physicians and Dentists is one of five planned at University of California campuses in Northern California. Physicians at five Southern California campuses will begin their strike Saturday.

Also, Daily Bruin with other faculty concerns on their health care benefits: Petition Protests Potential Changes To UC Employee Health Care Plan

Daily Cal: Campus Internal Consolidation To Increase Efficiency, Future Student Housing Options

The plan aims to transition functions related to custodial, facility maintenance and design services from within RSSP to the real estate division. Additionally, the realignment positions the campus to better prepare for future partnerships with private third-party entities should the school pursue expanding university housing

Also: ASUC Senate committee passes bill aiming to create Real Estate Student Board

The office, headed by Vice Chancellor for Real Estate Robert Lalanne, has in recent months revealed plans to replace Ramona’s Cafe in Wurster Hall with a Vietnamese restaurant, create multiple new residence spaces for students with private partners and assist in the construction of the Berkeley Global Campus at Richmond Bay.

Some of these projects have drawn the ire of campus student groups.

Christine Shaff, director of communications for the campus real estate division, said in an email that the office was surprised at the level of interest the student body has in real estate. She added that the office welcomes the creation of the board and hopes it would increase the level of transparency in proceedings.

Shaff, however, did note the office’s concerns about the board’s ability to relay information about its discussions to the rest of the campus.

Additionally, the meeting saw a contentious discussion about the potential effect of an upcoming bill that would change the way funds are allocated by the ASUC to Greek organizations on campus, making it a first-come, first-served process.

abc local on: Almost 8,000 Grad Students Affected In UC Riverside Data Breach
HuffPo 106 Colleges Are Under Federal Investigation For Sexual Assault Cases
includes this latest on new UC campuses added to it last month:
The latest investigations started in March: Cases were opened at the University of California's Davis and Santa Cruz campuses;

but, read this other post on remaking the US professoriate here: look closely also at important comments there include:
"There can be no question at this point that tenured faculty shat the bed, during the years in which we had more power to head off deprofessionalization."

--an important linkage wanna point out here: the deprofessionalization includes all kinds of gender equity issues in it and other equity issues that come up routinely in various pieces...

So, then read through this post to: in light of all the above- this here: Surely, there is enough legal talent within the UC faculty to enable to the Academic Senate to play an active role in ensuring that a workable set of procedures is implemented.

...heavy sigh.

Changing Universities: The University for No One
on that Kevin Carey 'The End of College' book.

Also check out: this video clip for how the msm discusses it and puts it out to viewers in this interview with Carey.

In LA Review of Books see: Review of Michael Crow's new book: What Is New About the New American University?

The unexcellence -IHE on : American higher education is significantly damaging its top universities through continuous budget cuts by state governments. One might call this an American “unExcellence initiative” as the world’s leading higher education systematically damages its top research universities. Current developments are bad enough in a national context, but in a globalized world, policies in one country will inevitably have implications elsewhere. Thus, American disinvestment, coming at the same time as significant investment elsewhere, will magnify the decline of a great higher education system.
Condolences to Governor and President of the UC Regents'- his sister passed away just before his birthday this week - the newspapers wrote in depths of a strong and lifelong commitment she had to public education in SF,
First Amendment Coalition with: Campus free expression takes hit in Supreme Court decision
UCR Highlander: UC president sticks with tuition hike, threatens to release Kraken

UCSB Bottom Line op ed: "Napolitano—“This Crap” Pays Your $570,000 Base Salary"

UCSC's Blumenthal wrote up something for the SF Chron op ed section about how public ed can be tranformative

How do they know it is "productive"?:
see Fox and Hounds: A healthy sign that the governor may be tuning into the realities of funding public higher education is his participation in a “Committee of 2”,
along with UC President Janet Napolitano, to review the nuts and bolts of UC and come up with a meeting of the minds on key issues.

No crisis in higher ed?...

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