Monday, October 26, 2020

UCOP and UC campus play 'hot potato' on a controversial research fund, again.

Shocked,Dismayed,Apologize,Freeze, Rename Repurpose, -- Rinse, repeat-Leaving it unresolved as a management style?

If UCOP and Cal has known about this problem for so long- why didn't they deal with it then so that CRISPR Cas 9 would not come up in stories related to it? 

 "UC Berkeley is disavowing its eugenic research fund after bioethicist and other faculty call it out "

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-10-26/uc-berkeley-disavows-eugenics-research-fund
includes:"
In late 2018, UC Berkeley bioethics professor Osagie K. Obasogie received a campus email about a research fund available to faculty members in the School of Public Health.

He was stunned by what he read.

The Genealogical Eugenic Institute Fund, the email said, supports research and education in eugenics....

But Berkeley’s eugenic research fund has been very much active.

The $2.4-million fund was offering an annual payout of about $70,000 in fiscal year 2020 to support research and education on policies, practices and technologies ...

“I was shocked and dismayed,” Obasogie told the Los Angeles Times. He, along with a small group of faculty, raised his concerns with the email’s author, a former senior administrator.

Those alarm bells prompted the school to freeze the fund and launch a review into how the university could have accepted such a gift in its modern past — it came from a family trust to the University of California Board of Regents in 1975 — for research under the banner of a now-reviled ideology. 

On Monday, School of Public Health Dean Michael C. Lu disclosed the existence of the fund to the wider school faculty. Lu, who took the school’s helm in July 2019, has asked for feedback on renaming and repurposing the fund, along with potential actions such as a public apology and a public education project on eugenics across UC campuses.

No evidence has yet surfaced that Berkeley used the money for eugenic research. Instead, it funded a genetic counseling training program, among other uses. But that does not absolve the school, Lu said.

“By accepting and using these funds over the past four decades, we must acknowledge that Berkeley Public Health has been a part of this horrific legacy of eugenics and its disastrous impacts,” Lu wrote in a letter Monday to the School of Public Health faculty. “It was wrong then. It is wrong now.” 
...
Science walks a fine line between developments that can advance human progress and perpetuate injustice, university ethicists said.
...
Then this :
Gene editing technologies, such as CRISPR-Cas9 — whose discovery won a Nobel Prize in chemistry this month for UC Berkeley biochemist Jennifer A. Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier of the Max Planck Unit for the Science of Pathogens in Berlin — can alter DNA to help treat diseases but also potentially favor future generations with socially desirable skin colors, hair textures or height.

...The eugenic fund was established by a family trust called the Rogers Family Foundation, which was created in 1960 by trustees and Alta Corp. Lu said they had not yet found much information about the foundation or corporation. The fund’s primary stated purpose was “the improvement of the human race through research and education in that field generally known as eugenics,” Obasogie said.

It was transferred to UC regents in 1975. It is not clear when the regents sent the funds to Berkeley, Lu said. The first documented expenditures were in 1987 to train genetic counselors — ...— until the program was shut down in the 1990s.

Since 2000, about $1 million has been drawn from the account. The disbursements include $138,325 for the school’s budget deficit, $72,647 for financial aid for low-income students, $575,999 for student support and staff salary and benefits, $123,212 for travel and conferences, and the rest on office supplies, operations and journal subscriptions.

In recent years, the funds were primarily used by one faculty member, who has denied using them for eugenic research — an assertion supported by a review of the person’s academic activities, Lu said. The dean declined to name the faculty member because the fact-finding review was ongoing.

So far, faculty and staff have suggested that Berkeley repurpose the fund to increase financial aid for underrepresented minority students, support research with communities that have been disproportionately harmed by the eugenic ideology and establish an institute to stand against eugenics and racism.

Another recommendation is to create a “1907 Project,” named for the year the world’s first eugenic law was passed in Indiana, that would explore the centrality of eugenics in contemporary life sciences and public health through essays and UC-wide forums.

The activities are aimed at correcting what Obasogie says has been the failure of medicine, public health and other scientific fields to fully acknowledge and confront their central role in giving eugenic ideologies legitimacy in the past and understanding their legacy today.

“Regardless of what was done with the money, it was just wrong for us to take it in the first place,” Lu said. “It’s antithetical to everything that the school stands for.”
__
UC Berkeley public relations has now put together this response  on an issue that was a known issue for a long while apparently:
"Berkeley Public Health announces plans to rename, repurpose former eugenics fund"
https://news.berkeley.edu/2020/10/26/berkeley-public-health-announces-plans-to-rename-repurpose-former-eugenics-fund/
______
" How career and technical education shuts out Black and Latino students from high-paying professions
Career and technical education is viewed as a gateway to good jobs. But a new Hechinger/AP analysis finds a deep racial divide in who benefits "
https://hechingerreport.org/how-career-and-technical-education-shuts-out-black-and-latino-students-from-high-paying-professions/
______
"The UC must adjust tuition and fee costs to match the quality of education"
https://www.highlandernews.org/75364/the-uc-must-adjust-tuition-and-fee-costs-to-match-the-quality-of-education/
includes:
...While the UC has claimed that students are continuing to earn full credit for their coursework, the quality of education is just not the same. Over the course of the pandemic, students were reassured that they would be paying full tuition for the same quality of resources online. It soon became clear that this was not the case at all. Students are finding themselves paying thousands for empty facilities and Zoom classes. For instance, at UCR, the Student Recreation Center (SRC) remains closed to the campus community, yet it is still getting paid for by students. Additionally, important resources, such as the financial aid office, have gone completely online, and the accessibility of these resources has become a steadily increasing challenge. Even if students were to call the financial aid office, their phone lines are turned off, making them only available through email. This makes getting a response even more difficult, considering they probably have to sift through an immense amount of emails from students who rely heavily on financial aid. It does not make sense that students are still paying for these facilities as if they were operating in person. 

The UC has also tried to justify that they have to keep tuition the same by claiming they need it in order to pay their lower-wage employees and to deal with the other large costs of coronavirus, but they have otherwise shown that this is not the case, since they decided to lay most employees off anyways. The lack of transparency when it comes to what exactly tuition is funding is extremely problematic. Although it is promised that money goes directly back to the students at their respective schools, it is difficult to believe this sentiment when the UC regents have obscenely high salaries while some buildings on campuses, such as several at UCR, are falling apart and while important resources remain unavailable.  

Furthermore, the UC needs to stop placing the financial burden on students and start looking to themselves as an institution. It seems as if whatever decision the UC comes to with tuition, the students will always pay the biggest price. While it may look like the UC is counting on this virus being a temporary setback, they are missing the bigger picture and are not thinking about who this is directly affecting. Even if tuition were to be lowered, this would give the UC more of a reason to cut whole academic or athletic programs. Consider UCR and their proposals to eliminate the School of Public Policy (SPP) and Athletics in order to cope with financial strain. If tuition was actually lowered, this proposal would most definitely take place not just at UCR, but at other underfunded UC campuses all because at the end of the day, the UC will continue to place the burden on their students. Again, this is rather vulturous of the UC to make students either pay full tuition for half a college experience or give up programs that they benefit from"...
_____

"More than half of California State University campuses saw enrollment gains this fall, despite pandemic"
https://edsource.org/2020/more-than-half-of-csu-campuses-saw-enrollment-gains-this-fall-despite-pandemic/642072
_____
and ,
https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/satco-receives-key-rulings-from-us-patent-and-trademark-appeal-board-301159662.html

BRENTWOOD, N.Y., Oct. 26, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Satco Products, Inc., a leading supplier of lighting products for the commercial, residential and industrial markets, today announced that it had received key rulings from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Appeal Board in connection with four patents at issue in a pending litigation in the Eastern District of New York ("EDNY") with the Regents of the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Specifically, after receiving unsubstantiated threats of alleged patent infringement by the University of California, Satco filed a lawsuit in the EDNY seeking a ruling by the Court that the patents identified by the University of California were not infringed by Satco.  In addition, Satco filed petitions for inter partes review against U.S. Patent Nos. 7,781,789, 9,240,529, 9,859,464, and 10,217,916—which the University of California had asserted against some Satco products in a complaint previously filed with the International Trade Commission ("ITC").  In a series of decisions capped by a ruling on October 22, the U.S. Patent Office instituted inter partes review of all four patents challenged by Satco, finding that there is a "reasonable likelihood" that Satco will prevail in demonstrating that at least one claim in each of those patents is invalid. 

SATCO, a leading supplier of lighting solutions, received key rulings from U.S. Patent Office and Trademark Appeal Board

The recent setbacks for the University of California follow earlier losses it sustained in its continuing effort to extract royalties from numerous companies in the LED lighting industry.  As explained in Satco's complaint in the EDNY, the University of California has mounted what it calls a "patent monetization campaign," which is being funded by a private investment company in exchange for a portion of the proceeds.  This campaign was kicked off on July 30, 2019, when the University of California filed the ITC complaint mentioned above against five retailers.  That same day, the University of California began sending threatening letters to numerous retailers attaching copies of its ITC complaint, and demanding payment of royalties.  Yet, after months of litigation and letter-writing, the University of California mysteriously withdrew its first ITC complaint, and on May 26, 2020 the ITC terminated the investigation in its entirety.

More recently, it has refiled a substantially similar complaint with the ITC, based on the same patents and additional ones.  Satco intends to vigorously defend its products in the 2nd ITC matter.
....

"We are pleased with the orders from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and look forward to finally resolving all claims made by UCSB," Bornstein said....
_____
At UC San Diego 
"Some Graduate Students Lose UCSD-Sponsored Health Insurance at Start of Fall Quarter"
https://ucsdguardian.org/2020/10/23/graduate-students-lose-ucsd-sponsored-health-insurance-at-start-of-fall-quarter/
and grievance here
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1_jsEwMezUzhZg-oMRNbR8zIADhRqXFxC/view?usp=sharing
includes no direct reference to UC PATH but:
At the start of the 2020 Fall Quarter, approximately 500 graduate students were left without their University of California Student Health Insurance Plans, because UC San Diego did not enroll them on time. Some of these students allege that they were left without insurance for approximately two weeks, during which time they had to make out-of-pocket expenses if they wanted to have their doctors appointments and receive their prescription drugs. 

According to the United Auto Workers Local 2865 union’s grievance filed against UCSD, some academic student employees noticed that their insurance remained inactivated even though they had provided all payments and documentation on time. The grievance, which was sent to the University of California’s Labor Relations for adjudication, claims that UCSD had violated a part of the UC/UAW Collective Bargaining Agreement by not renewing the students’ insurance in a timely fashion. ...

UCSD claims that they sent the processing notification early in order to get more students insured by the start of the academic year on Oct. 1. They have also since stated that students who received medical services during their period without SHIP will be retroactively covered and be provided with reimbursements for their out-of-pocket expenses.

“UC San Diego did not purposely delay insurance for any students. The eligibility process takes time and if students are not registered when the enrollment files are transferred, their active eligibility is delayed,” a Student Health & Wellbeing representative said to The UCSD Guardian in an email. “UC San Diego works to abide by the AHP’s schedule for enrollment, but due to slow selection into various graduate education programs and registration of students, some students may not be listed on the enrollment file.”
...
The university has responded by citing discrepancies that exist between insurance enrollment and student registration. Rather than allowing students to enroll for insurance on their own, some academic departments act as an intermediary by processing and sending student documentation to SHIP. This additional step consequently makes the overall enrollment process longer. 

“Moving forward, our department will work with these academic departments to create a better schedule, so that we include all students that are expecting to be included in the insurance offering,” the Student Health & Wellbeing representative said. “We would love to have everyone covered by the first day of the quarter but due to a fluid registration process – in which students are still registering for classes past the first official date of the quarter – we are unable to do this. We are working on our timing, so that this issue doesn’t affect students in the future.”

UCSD Student Health & Wellbeing will continue to work with the Graduate Division to develop better, more timely registration practices to ensure that all students who want SHIP insurance are able to receive it. However, without that support and earlier notification in September, students still found themselves in a difficult situation."

Friday, October 23, 2020

"UC’s proposed systemwide curtailment/salary reduction plan" begins taking shape ...and how to avoid problem of super spreader Us during surge?

pick one--so many things, see:

The  issue is for staff and faculty but important for students and others  who may rely on certain services that may see cuts, changes--at least UCSC says it:
https://ucnet.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/2020/10/president-drake-begins-consultation-process-on-possible-expanded-curtailment-program.html

https://news.ucsc.edu/2020/10/images/proposed-curtailment-program.pdf

"Provide feedback on UC’s proposed systemwide curtailment/salary reduction plan"
https://news.ucsc.edu/2020/10/provide-feedback-on-curtailment-salary-reduction-plan.html
includes:
"There has been some confusion created by the use of the term “curtailment” to describe the President’s plan. You will see it used throughout the documents from the Office of the President, but please note that Office of the President is referring to a combination of a curtailment and salary reduction by prohibiting some employees from using vacation leave during these curtailment days, depending on salary level. That is why we will describe it as a combined curtailment and salary reduction plan to distinguish it from our campus annual winter curtailment. If approved, these proposed curtailment and salary reduction days would require a campus closure and the campus would take the five days at the same time regardless of use of leave. We do not yet have more detail on the salary tiers."
_____
some  CA props UC has interests in:
this on Prop 16
https://www.wsj.com/articles/california-campaign-to-revive-affirmative-action-is-struggling-11603364415

Should California allow affirmative action? Here’s why some say the UC isn’t diverse enough"
https://www.latimes.com/projects/prop-16-uc-diversity-evolution/

Supporters of Proposition 16, including the UC Board of Regents, argue that affirmative action is needed to ensure that California’s higher education reflects the diversity of the state.

Opponents view racial preferences in admissions as a form of discrimination. Some detractors also fear that affirmative action in the admissions process could harm groups admitted at higher than average rates, namely Asian Americans.

In some ways, both positions underscore how little the UC student body currently reflects the state’s demographics
Includes sections on:.

Stark disparities in the UC system

A look at the most recent admissions data shows two glaring gaps.
...Eligible high school graduates vs. enrolled freshmen...UC has diversified since the ban, but not as fast as California...The challenge of a more selective UC...Overall freshmen admission rateGaps in representation vary by campus...What will happen if Proposition 16 passes?...

also see:https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-09-09/uc-debates-affirmative-action-black-latino-students

this on Prop 15 and others:
https://calmatters.org/politics/2020/09/california-naacp-president-helps-corporate-ballot-measure-campaigns/

"The UC System Has Officially Gone Test Optional. What Now?
Inside the University of California’s bold move to reinvent admissions amid a pandemic"
https://alumni.berkeley.edu/california-magazine/fall-2020/uc-system-is-test-optional-what-now

"Making Berkeley Home: NavCal creates community for nontraditional students"
https://news.berkeley.edu/2020/10/22/making-berkeley-home-navcal-creates-community-for-nontraditional-students/
___
"Investments in new California projects move UC nearly halfway to its clean energy goals"
https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/press-room/investments-new-california-projects-move-uc-nearly-halfway-its-clean-energy-goals

-that might be in response to something pointed to recently:
"The University of California’s Investment Chief Said It’s ‘Fossil Free.’ So Why Does It Own Oil Companies? | Institutional Investor"
https://www.institutionalinvestor.com/article/b1nmg2glqbddtf/the-university-of-california-s-investment-chief-said-it-s-fossil-free-so-why-does-it-own-oil-companies
___
"For first time, heads of all California’s public education systems are Black or Latino
All face challenges, and opportunities, in moving forward on racial equity"
https://edsource.org/2020/for-the-first-time-in-history-heads-of-all-californias-public-education-systems-are-black-or-latino/640753
and they are all men- have yet to see it   'all women of color' or 'all women and men raised and educated in CA segments' etc etc. but there has been over many years been leadership 'raised and educated outside of CA' taking those roles...
 Cal and UC admin is silent on occurrences as covered in this story:
Campus Protests Are Out (for Now), But Student Activism at UC Berkeley Is Still Alive and Well
https://www.kqed.org/news/11841946/at-uc-berkeley-campus-protests-are-out-for-now-but-student-activism-is-still-alive-and-well

and UC systemwide UCOP silent on this as covered by :UCLA Fac Blog:

and here in Daily Bruin- UC is not responding to them?
____

Chancellor C.Christ's offers up a  subreddit exchange called "ask me anything event" :
https://www.reddit.com/r/berkeley/
(you have to click on the bar toward the bottom to view all the comments there)
is that the best platform, approach to it by a chancelllor?
https://www.reddit.com/r/berkeley/comments/jcb30i/i_am_uc_berkeley_chancellor_carol_christ_ask_me/
- some Smithies alumna from Smith College also asked some  questions of her and it was very illuminating, funny even -but with a whole lotta shade...
- During Chancellor C.Christ 'ask me anything' session on reddit 
(where Chancellor C.Christ said the "UC admissions process is sound" during it.)
 Ask Me Anything — Chancellor Carol Christ answers questions on Reddit
 https://news.berkeley.edu/2020/10/21/ask-me-anything-chancellor-carol-christ-answers-questions-on-reddit/-
-good skim for current issues students and others are focused on... p/np and grad school admissions, students services in current arrangemnet, tuition and fees, and don't miss The Smithies experiences they offer Bears as an fyi there!
___ The BFA on "The University We Are For" https://ucbfa.org/2020/10/weekly-commentary-10-19-20-176-the-university-we-are-for/ ____ Meeting: Health Services Committee, October 20, 2020 ***Revised *** https://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/meetings/agendas/oct2020.html https://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/meetings/videos/oct2020/oct2020.html
___
Lots happening at UCD:
Faculty association pushes back against UCD’s plan to cut PE program
https://www.davisenterprise.com/local-news/faculty-association-pushes-back-against-ucds-plan-to-cut-pe-programs/

UC Davis will vote to suspend its teachers program | The Sacramento Bee
https://www.sacbee.com/news/local/education/article246456505.html

Also :
"With an eye on social justice, UC Davis holds off changing how it trains teachers UC Davis pauses changes to School of Education | The Sacramento Bee"
https://www.sacbee.com/news/local/education/article246503540.html
UCOP Pres. Drake's time at UCI is bringing up things like this at UCD and systemwide:
https://www.davisvanguard.org/2020/10/asucd-ecac-stands-in-solidarity-with-muslim-and-palestinian-communities-following-uc-president-michael-drakes-recent-appointment/
___
"In pilot program, some UC Berkeley courses are moving outside"
https://news.berkeley.edu/2020/10/22/in-pilot-program-some-uc-berkeley-courses-are-moving-outside/
-and, that 'market salary reference zone comparator':
UC admin always comparing models, plans with U Mich...:
"University of Michigan students given immediate stay-at-home order amid a spike in Covid-19 cases"
https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/20/us/university-of-michigan-stay-at-home-trnd/index.html
"Many colleges and universities have attempted to control the spread, but as of September 14, more than 45,000 Covid-19 cases had been reported at colleges and universities across the US." 
how to avoid surge super spreader Us?
and then immediately the concern turns to:
https://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/30155430/university-michigan-stay-place-order-impact-wolverines-athletics
___ yep, all those Nobels and "UC Berkeley still No.1 public, fourth best globally in U.S. News rankings" https://news.berkeley.edu/2020/10/20/uc-berkeley-still-no-1-public-fourth-best-globally-in-u-s-news-rankings/ https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/each-uc-campus-among-worlds-best-us-news

Thursday, October 15, 2020

UC Grad and Post Doc Student Workers Claim Widespread UC Path Payroll Problems Again

 This also must in some way negatively impact grad student recruitment efforts by UC impresssions etc but that is never mentioned in coverage or at UC Regents meetings.

"Widespread UCPath payroll errors continue, union workers allege"
https://www.dailycal.org/2020/10/14/widespread-ucpath-payroll-errors-continue-union-workers-allege/
"More than a year after the campus deployment of the payroll system UCPath, postdoctoral students and academic researchers continue to experience payroll errors, according to several members of the Union of Postdocs and Academic Researchers, or UAW Local 5810.

Neal Sweeney, vice president of UAW Local 5810, said many people have been underpaid or paid weeks late. He added that some employees were unable to enroll in health benefits through UCPath when they started working and others have had their benefits canceled without warning.

“From a university side, this may seem like simple bureaucratic errors, but this has real substantial consequences for people who are not getting paid on time or receiving those necessary benefits,” said Ambika Kamath, a campus postdoctoral researcher and head steward at UAW Local 5810.

According to Sweeney, some UAW Local 5810 members are being underpaid by more than $10,000 at UC Berkeley on a monthly basis. For UAW workers, these late payments can mean falling behind on rent or being unable to fund basic needs.

These effects are “scary and distressing,” especially during a pandemic that has led to an uncertain economic situation, where the lack of health benefits cause a lot of stress, anxiety and fear.

“Simultaneously with correcting mistakes that have been made up until this point with accurate and timely payment, whatever systemic fixes are needed to ensure this doesn’t happen in the future, UC should be taking those steps,” Kamath said.

Campus postdoctoral student and union steward Stacey Frederick said she did not know she was not employed until she stopped getting paychecks and was unable to access her email.

According to Frederick, this issue had happened to her before and had taken months without a union to resolve.

“It’s strange that you can spend months working and not get paid,” Frederick said. “Having just one month without a paycheck can really affect us personally.”

UC Office of the President spokesperson Stett Holbrook said many of the issues that arise with systemwide upgrades like UCPath can only be identified and addressed after the system is “live and operational.” According to the UCPath website, the last four deployments are scheduled for this year.

In Oct. 2019, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed SB 698, which requires the UC system to have the same payroll protections as private employers in order to prioritize accurate and timely payment.

Kamath said it is “really great” that those legal protections exist now. She added, however, that she hopes these issues are resolved before legal protections are necessary as widespread payroll problems should not exist in the first place.

“UC did its best to process payroll promptly and accurately prior to SB 698’s passage and will continue to do so,” Holbrook said in an email. “We will continue to diligently apply lessons learned and best practices to quickly identify and resolve problems"
-- 
We remind  again here that the UC Regents heard first hand accounts throughout the past year and a half at public comment in their UC Regents meetings... and again  directly from a graduate student at their meeting  most recently in Septemer 17, 2020, when the President of the UC Graduate and Professional Council in her address to the regents presented to the regents a detailed account of her extended problems with her payroll handled by UC Path over the last year. see  starting at the 47:15 minute mark  where she is introduced by president Drake then at the 51:00 minute mark on UC Path in general and the at the 53:00 on her own experiences with UC Path and her comments conclude at the 56:00 mark  and president Drake  and UC Regents Chair Perez  give her a quick thank you for her comments and immediately move to another agenda item- here:


(also mentioned here https://cloudminder.blogspot.com/2020/09/reverse-course-all-over-on-training-and.html but not mentioned in recap by other outlets for some reason)

you can also watch it at the regents 1 yr archive at the 47:15 mark  in the last vid listed here:
https://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/meetings/videos/sept2020/sept2020.html
which is:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vi96r6ZTIQ&feature=youtu.be

UC President Drake introduces her and she makes reference to UC Regents reaching out to her directly to ask if her problems were addressed in recent months- they know of her long list of experiences in advance of her speech at the UC Regents meeting just as the UC Regents know of the myriad problems other student employeess and staff throughout the system have experienced with UC Path over what is now multiple years. She mentions Regent Sures asks her about the problems... This is the same as the last two years when multiple alumni regents also tried to step in to help hundreds of students at various campuses who were experiencing problems - some of those alumni regents tried to lend their expertise but ...Prior UCOP leadership like P.Taylor used to mention how he had to hand process paper cut checks to staff employees and how that was a hassle with PPS - but now employee Health benefits eligibility errors issues and far more pay discrepancies seem to be occurring with UC Path and on vulnerable groups, so...
Remember years ago earlier in the project when Sac Bee coverage was that someone at UC had been given a 'blank check to fix a computing problem' - much more than that now it seems.
We remind again that CSA did an audit of UC Path and noted that the project costs UC originally projected at $220 million fell into the $550 million range of actual costs at that point -- and then Lt Gov Newsom stated as an ex officio regent at a regents meeting that he would not be surprised if the project reached $750 million easily...
https://www.bsa.ca.gov/pdfs/reports/2016-125.2.pdf
remember:
 https://dailybruin.com/2017/08/27/uc-disputes-state-audit-report-on-new-payroll-system-costs

CSA in their audit findings also predicts that  the UC Path project will actually cost over $950 million dollars. The project sponsor from inception is the UCOP CFO Brostrom. (BTW, UCOP Systemwide HR VP Duckett left UCOP and went to U Penn Med system in July of this year- imagine he is glad to be rid of UC Path ....) Newsom's dear good buddy Benioff (who also partners with UC on UC med) even lent Salesforce servers or something to try to help deal with some of the UC Path problems apparently- that was alluded to in prior UC Regents meetings sessions where UC Regents Fin Cap committee tried to address the project costs overruns - strangely UC Regents compliance and audit committee have not handled the UC Path project in any meaningful or extensive way for some reason... 
_________________________

October 20th there will be:
https://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/meetings/agendas/oct2020.html
October 20, 2020

10:00 am

Health Services Committee (closed session)
https://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/regmeet/oct20/hsx.pdf

Upon adjournment of closed session
	
Health Services Committee (open session-includes public comment session)
https://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/regmeet/oct20/hs.pdf

Committee membership:  Regents Blum, Guber, Lansing (Chair), Makarechian, Park, Sherman (Vice Chair), and Zettel; Ex officio members Drake, Newsom, and P érez; Executive Vice President Byington; Chancellors Block, Hawgood, and Khosla; Advisory members Bindman, Hernandez, and Spahlinger

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Congrats on the Nobel but...Gestures for Logos- And, What kind of representation and allies does it really have?

See -this is classic at Cal - the faculty with one view of budget projections for their research center and the administration with another set of budget projections in part based on their own agendas -when one would think numbers should just be numbers, right?- and the Vice Chancellor for Research Office that always seems so ..'distant' to campus life- see this new article (an update to orig post below earlier) see:

"Berkeley Social-Justice Institute to Be Shuttered, but Not Without a Fight 
Leaders of the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, at the U. of California at Berkeley, argue that abandonment would do more harm than good."
https://www.chronicle.com/article/berkeley-social-justice-institute-to-be-shuttered-but-not-without-a-fight
includes a strange section that claims there were FEW APPLICANTS TO A RESEARCH DIRECTOR POSITION AT UC BERKELEY IN THIS ECONOMY?! Why? And many other questions raised in this :
..."staff members and alumni of the institute, who say the closure sends a troubling message about the university’s priorities.

Supporters say the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues is not only Berkeley’s primary hub for social justice-related research but also a source of community for scholars of color. To them, its closure, at a time of intense national conversation about systemic racism, amounts to a shirking of Berkeley’s commitment to marginalized communities. They’ve begun a campaign to preserve the institute, whose website features dozens of testimonials and a petition that so far has more than 400 signatures."...

The institute’s signature initiative, ...has seen 159 participants earn their Ph.D.s since 1976...

Rugg’s email outlined a difficult set of circumstances: The building that houses the institute, part of the historic Anna Head Complex, needed “tens of millions of dollars” in renovation costs. ...

What’s more, she wrote, the ISSI had been spending down its reserves at a rate that would extinguish its funds in four years, and the budget crisis prompted by Covid-19 might require her office to further cut funding to institute and other research units....

"Deborah Freedman Lustig, the institute’s associate director, and Martín Sánchez-Jankowski, whose term as director ended on June 30, said they learned of its closure in an email from Linda Haverty Rugg, Berkeley’s associate vice chancellor for research, on June 4.

Rugg’s email outlined a difficult set of circumstances: The building that houses the institute, part of the historic Anna Head Complex, needed “tens of millions of dollars” in renovation costs. Most urgently, a wooden porch, the only wheelchair-accessible entrance to one wing of the building, was rotted, putting the ISSI in noncompliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act. Even the cost of fixing the porch or adding another wheelchair-accessible entry was more than what either ISSI or Rugg’s office could afford.

What’s more, she wrote, the ISSI had been spending down its reserves at a rate that would extinguish its funds in four years, and the budget crisis prompted by Covid-19 might require her office to further cut funding to institute and other research units.

The $350,000 provided by the vice chancellor’s office to ISSI each year, which amounted to the bulk of the institute’s income, made it among the most expensive of the 50 units the office oversees, Rugg said. Outside funding — either through gifts or grants — had been minimal, and there’d been few applicants to replace Sánchez-Jankowski as director. Rugg would work with the institutes’ leaders to find new homes for its programs, she wrote, but “we don’t see a way forward for ISSI.”

Lustig and Sánchez-Jankowski saw things differently. They’d had no indication that closing the doors was under consideration, and Rugg’s office hadn’t made its expectations or concerns known to them, they said. “We were never approached in kind of a collaborative spirit of, ‘Here are some issues. What’s your plan going forward? We have limited resources to help you. So is this going to work out?’ Lustig said. Instead, she said, Rugg’s email felt like an “edict coming down.”

Rugg’s impression of the institute’s budget was inaccurate, Lustig said, and the ISSI’s budget for this fiscal year would have been sustainable for at least five years. As for the accessibility concerns, Lustig and Sánchez-Jankowski felt that cheaper solutions could be found.

Both wondered whether there was a hidden agenda behind the closure. “I kind of thought, ‘Was this decision made a long time ago and we weren’t told about it?’” Lustig said.

A meeting with Rugg, she said, didn’t offer much hope for reversing the decision. “It was like she had clearly made up her mind. I took it as a chance to register my protest.”

I kind of thought, ‘Was this decision made a long time ago and we weren’t told about it?’
The promise to house ISSI’s projects in various other places on campus is not a solution, Sánchez-Jankowski said. “It won’t be the same program, because they don’t understand that it’s not about something you institutionalize. It’s a place — a social space that was provided and social support that was provided — that was special,” he said.

Sánchez-Jankowski sees a troubling racial subtext in the decision to close the ISSI. “Berkeley is in an economic crisis because of Covid and other things, and they have bills to pay and everything else,” he said. “So who do they ask to pay a very heavy price? It’s a place like this, that serves nonwhite people.” While such a decision “would be problematic under any time, it is really problematic now.”
...
...Michael Burawoy, a professor of sociology and secretary of the Berkeley Faculty Association, who with Celeste Langan, the association’s co-chair, wrote a letter of support for the ISSI, took issue with the timing of the announcement.

“It just seemed extraordinary that they should announce this at the very time of all these protests around social/racial justice,” he said. “Why close this institute of all the institutes on the campus? It’s just a terrible signal to the rest of the world.”

Other campus leaders have echoed that sentiment. Twenty-five people, among them department chairs and program and center directors, signed a letter supporting ISSI. “Changing our campus climate depends on building on positive nodes and cultivating existing relationships and places of belonging,” the letter reads in part. “ISSI has been there since the beginning of this process at Cal and is a crucial part of the ecosystem that we are nurturing.”

‘They Were Going Into the Hole’
Rugg, for her part, said the decision to close ISSI was the result of a “perfect storm,” forced by the confluence of concerns about the institute’s finances and its building, in the Anna Head Complex.

"All of the units overseen by the vice chancellor for research’s office, Rugg said, have faced budget cuts since the 2008 economic crisis. The ISSI, unlike many of the other units, was completely dependent on that campus funding and was unable to find other sources of support, she said.

“We’re looking at this model where they were going into the hole, and they weren’t going to be able to support their administrative function, let alone their programs,” Rugg said. She’d been exploring ways to help the institute stay afloat, she said, when she learned of the physical problems with the Anna Head Complex and the ADA-compliance issue. For that, too, she said, she tried to find a solution, asking the campus architect and an ADA compliance officer to evaluate the building while Rugg explored fund-raising possibilities for repairs.

But the report came back that the building was in such bad shape that it wouldn’t be worthwhile to make the accessibility repairs. Considering the budget problems as well, Rugg decided that the only path forward was to save the individual programs that make up ISSI.

She and others have been working to identify new homes for the ISSI’s projects. "...

..."At the same time, Rugg doesn’t see how the decision to close ISSI could have come as a great surprise to its leaders. “They knew that they were in a state of decline. They also knew that they were eating into their reserves. One of the things that I found in talking to people is that there’s a little bit of a resistance to accepting realities.”

“In battling about preserving ISSI exactly the way it has been, we’re losing sight of our need to really support these programs and make sure that they have good homes and that they continue to exist for the people that they’ve served,” Rugg said.

“This was not about deciding not to fund social-justice programs. It was about having to make a decision about this particular unit and its difficult situation that it found itself in. And because the decision happened to coincide with all of these things are going on, people sort of grabbed that and said, ‘Oh, Berkeley doesn’t care about social justice.’ And that’s not true.”"

Then see:
"Higher Ed Needs an Actual Recovery Plan, Not Wishful Thinking"
http://utotherescue.blogspot.com/2020/10/higher-ed-needs-actual-recovery-plan.html

"Beyond Bruin Walk: UC Board of Regents needs reform to ensure better representation - Daily Bruin"
https://dailybruin.com/2020/10/09/beyond-bruin-walk-uc-board-of-regents-needs-reform-to-ensure-better-representation

"ASUC executives call for Regent Richard Blum’s resignation from board"
https://www.dailycal.org/2020/10/13/asuc-executives-call-for-regent-richard-blums-resignation-from-board/
-seems at UCSA and other spaces there is also a similar sentiment.

"UC layoffs further reveal that the UC is run like a corporation instead of a learning institution - Highlander"
https://www.highlandernews.org/75240/uc-layoffs-further-reveal-that-the-uc-is-ran-like-a-corporation-instead-of-a-learning-institution/

"UC San Diego ends up with 5,000 fewer dorm students than projected"
https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/education/story/2020-10-09/uc-san-diego-5000-fewer-dorm-students

"Under Armour says it did not breach the UCLA athlete uniform contract because COVID-19 disrupted sports season - Baltimore Sun"
https://www.baltimoresun.com/coronavirus/bs-md-under-armour-responds-ucla-lawsuit-20201009-vakc77niuzhlxj7pb6ycsrc6ey-story.html

"Ikea Says It Already Beat UC Regents' LED IP Claims In ITC - Law360"
https://www.law360.com/retail/articles/1318531/ikea-says-it-already-beat-uc-regents-led-ip-claims-in-it

"UC Regents place 556k-square-foot Oakland tower up for sale The building, which the Regents purchased in 2014 for $215 million, could fetch as much as $310 million."
https://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/news/2020/10/13/uc-regents-556k-square-foot-oakland-tower-broadway.html
-they've been buying though recently at the campuses UCD, UCSD etc

"UC Berkeley played big role in Nobel Prize-winning work | University of California"
https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/uc-berkeley-played-big-role-nobel-prize-winning-work

"Unique Twist To Cal-Stanford Rivalry; Stanford Economists, Berkeley Scientists Dominate Nobel Prize Awards This Year – CBS San Francisco"
https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2020/10/12/unique-twist-to-cal-stanford-rivalry-stanford-economists-berkeley-scientists-dominate-nobel-prize-awards-this-year/

It is strange that a non diverse elderly faculty women panel with full tenure above scale salaries and/or emeritus status  discussing this and the archive remains
https://www.dailycal.org/2020/10/13/uc-berkeley-chancellor-faculty-discuss-150w-history-project-legacy-of-women-on-campus/
-And the faculty only reference grad students and faculty experiences as 'of value" to learn about...Undergrad and Staff experiences completely invisible in their comments ? The staff undergrad stories narratives ignored, unmentioned or literally erased?

 Compare to recently when a diverse mid career Cal senior staff panel held a talk in August on the same subject and  the archive was quickly removed from the university web page that had the youtube hour long talk , they replaced the video witha limited generic non specific description or profile of the panelists instead. Now only limited Daily Cal coverage of it remains:
https://www.dailycal.org/2020/08/20/unsung-staff-heroines-uc-berkeley-women-of-color-in-leadership-discuss-experiences-empowering-women/
Berkeley removed the archive of the talk.
Wrote about it then: https://cloudminder.blogspot.com/2020/08/uc-berkeleys-approach-to-their-150w.html
The 150W project now in ways looks like a vanity project for some when the above happens without any explanation and then the 150W project just offers alteration to their project logo as some sort of 'empty' and 'one note' kind of gesture 
https://150w.berkeley.edu/home
"Message from the 150W Executive Committee:
150W Black Lives Matter logoThe 150W project announces a new version of the 150W logo featuring "Black Lives Matter". 150W is, in part, a celebration of the contributions of women over the history of UC Berkeley. That includes celebrating a number of incredible, remarkable, Black and brown women. But that number is not nearly what it could or should be. 150W is also a history project. Any history of UC Berkeley includes the honest and painful recognition that societal and institutional racism excluded so many women from the UC student body, staff, and professoriate, and put obstacles in their paths every step of the way. We grieve this oppression. It has caused tremendous loss and pain to individuals, to UC, to society. At 150W, the stories of Black women's lives matter. We are committed to lifting up those stories, as well as to shining an honest light on the places where those stories are grievously absent, due to oppression that as a society we have not yet addressed."
-but at that link where that statement is at the bottom -note the content just points to Doudna-Nobel latest  -but as noted above they don't want to talk about the staff or staff POC experiences at Cal or really hear the narratives directly from the folks living them it seems...instead its really generic tired form of PR profiles of cherry picked staff and PR friendly cherry picked anecdotes... 

Thus the 150W related details in this - came as no surprise either:
"‘A boiling point’: UC Berkeley art community calls for institutional change"
https://www.dailycal.org/2020/09/21/a-boiling-point-uc-berkeley-art-community-calls-for-institutional-change/
At this time some feel:
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/women-are-not-ok-coronavirus-career_n_5f7cdfb2c5b61229a058bd08
In an atmosphere of:
https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-science-femme-was-allegedly-a-white-male-professor-who-posed-as-woman-of-color-and-bullied-women?ref=home
So when,
"New Nobel Laureate Doudna on Science and Covid"
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/06/science/covid-universities-women.html
Important to remember the back story:
"The latest round in the CRISPR patent battle has an apparent victor, but the fight continues'
https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/09/latest-round-crispr-patent-battle-has-apparent-victor-fight-continues

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/12/us/jennifer-doudna-nobel-laureate.html
and different takes:
"These Scientists Deserved A Nobel Prize, But Didn’t Discover Crispr"
https://www.forbes.com/sites/jvchamary/2020/10/07/crispr-genome-editing-nobel-prize/#5d12bd842d32

Then,  this conclusion:
https://news.berkeley.edu/2020/10/07/jennifer-doudna-wins-2020-nobel-prize-in-chemistry/
"Today’s honor also brings another first: Doudna and Charpentier are the first women to win a Nobel Prize in the sciences together, which sends the message, Doudna said, that “women rock.”

“Many women think that, no matter what they do, their work will never be recognized the way it would be if they were a man,” said Doudna, who was awakened from a sound sleep by a reporter at 2:53 a.m. today, learning for the first time that she’d won a Nobel. “And I think (this prize) refutes that. It makes a strong statement that women can do science, women can do chemistry, and that great science is recognized and honored."
“That means a lot to me personally, because I know that, when I was growing up, I couldn’t, in a million years, have ever imagined this moment.”

-And "the prize" v. "the research itself" distinctions....
Also,
"2 women won the Nobel for CRISPR, but the battle for its patent rages on
Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier won the Nobel Prize for figuring out how to use biological mechanisms to edit genes, but an ongoing legal battle makes their win complicated." 
https://www.fastcompany.com/90561762/nobel-prize-jennifer-doudna-emmanuelle-charpentier-crispr-patent-lawsuit
..."Rewriting history

The debacle has showcased how nasty the science world can get. In 2016, the Broad’s president and founding director, Eric Lander, published an article in the scientific journal Cell that was at best opportunistic and at worst an attempt to control the historical narrative around CRISPR Cas-9. It was called “The Heroes of CRISPR.” The title alone connotes that men are responsible for the various discoveries around enzyme-based gene editing, and unsurprisingly, the article focused on the men behind CRISPR. The article casts the Broad’s Feng Zhang as the hero who discovered CRISPR Cas-9’s editing capabilities in human cells and significantly downplays the roles of Doudna and Charpentier.

After it came out, three of the scientists mentioned in the story put out statements that Lander’s story was inaccurate"...

Also see
http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2020/10/numbers-numbers.html

this Covid thing, a talk here:
https://news.berkeley.edu/2020/10/08/watch-dr-anthony-faucis-fireside-chat-live-at-the-berkeley-forum/

13  a good number for it ? :
https://blogs.berkeley.edu/2020/10/13/op-ed-democrats-have-a-secret-weapon-to-thwart-a-rapid-ginsburg-replacement-they-should-use-it/


Monday, October 5, 2020

On University of California Admissions Fees During Covid 19: Judge "said she believes University of California officials are entitled to qualified immunity." "

 "Judge: Federal Court Not the Place to Sue University of California Over Fees"

https://www.courthousenews.com/judge-federal-court-not-the-place-to-sue-university-of-california-over-fees/
(bold added in below for highlight)
University of California officials cannot be sued on claims of cheating students out of hundreds of millions of dollars in fees for on-campus services not provided due to the Covid-19 pandemic because they are immune from federal lawsuits, a judge said in court Monday.

Advancing two federal lawsuits over on-campus fees would allow “every person who is unhappy with the services” provided by state governments to sue in federal court, despite state officials’ right to immunity from federal lawsuits under the 11th Amendment, U.S. Magistrate Judge Sallie Kim said during a virtual hearing Monday on the UC system’s motion to dismiss.

“The door that you’re opening is huge,” Kim told a lawyer for students suing the University of California Regents and former UC President Janet Napolitano.
...

Attorneys for the University of California say the state-funded institution and its officials are immune from federal liability unless they violate a clearly established constitutional right. Students don’t have a clearly established constitutional right in the fees they pay to the university,” UC Regents attorney Karen Johnson-McKewan of the firm Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe in San Francisco argued in court Monday.

Johnson-McKewan said these cases belong in state court, where six separate class actions seeking to recover on-campus fees from University of California schools were recently consolidated in Los Angeles Superior Court.

The plaintiffs say the millions of dollars in fees charged for services not provided represents an unjust taking of property in violation of the Fifth Amendment.

Noting that the U.S. Supreme Court has twice called out the Ninth Circuit for improperly limiting qualified immunity, Judge Kim said the nation’s highest court has made clear that a prior court decision is necessary to put a state official on notice that their conduct is “clearly unconstitutional.”

Levitt cited the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Horne v. Department of Agriculture as establishing that “taking without just compensation” is unconstitutional. But Judge Kim accused Levitt of using that case to rely on “general principles” rather than specific, on-point case law.

“You’re saying any time a state official or actor is accused of taking property in violation of the Takings Clause, that person cannot claim qualified immunity,” Kim said.

Levitt then cited the First Appellate District’s 2007 decision in Kashmiri v. Regents of the University of California, which found the university system could not raise educational fee prices after students enrolled without warning them the prices were subject to change.

But Kim said that case was about breach of contract, not a constitutional violation.

Arguing for the university, Johnson-McKewan said the plaintiffs cannot claim a violation of the Takings Clause because the fees they paid for on-campus services belong to the university, not the students.Their theory is the university doesn’t own those fees until a later point,” Johnson-McKewan said. “Do they have to wait until the end of the academic term to claim those fees?”

Johnson-McKewan also cited the Third Appellate District’s 1982 decision in Erzinger v. Regents of the University of California, in which the court found a policy requiring students to pay a health care services fee that included providing birth control and abortions did not violate a student’s religious freedom rights. In that case, the court also held that “once the university collects mandatory student fees, such funds become university property.”

Levitt argued that case covered a completely separate issue — whether students can “pick and choose” what their campus fees are used for. This case involves paying a fee and receiving no services in return, he said.

“When you pay fees for a specific service that can’t be given and they don’t’ give it back, that’s actually a taking of your property,” Levitt insisted.

After nearly an hour of debate, Kim said she believes University of California officials are entitled to qualified immunity.

“Nothing you have said today has persuaded me to the contrary,” Kim told the plaintiffs’ lawyer.

The judge said the only issue she was still wrestling with is whether to let plaintiffs amend their complaint
see article in full here: https://www.courthousenews.com/judge-federal-court-not-the-place-to-sue-university-of-california-over-fees/
where they mention the Kashmiri case recall also that the verdict for the students in that case resulted in the current CFO asking the UC regents to vote approval of something he called the 'Kashmiri Fee" so that future cohorts of students would effectively pay for the Kashmiri ruling- the student regent at the time called it unseemly and distasteful... 
here is that regents committee meeting:

--With the above in mind we point you back to the details that pop out iin this article:

Other ways to get a tuition increase?:

"Welcome to Zoom University. That’ll be $500."
https://calmatters.org/education/higher-education/college-beat-higher-education/2020/09/college-orientation-fees/
-Some University of California campuses are charging new students hundreds of dollars for orientation sessions even though they take place entirely online.
uc regents public engagement committee meets this week to discuss alumni relations... and the admissions scandal is continuing to produce bad headlines, now the above...
here is that regents committee meeting :

__

"UC Berkeley students react to announcement of mostly online spring 2021"
https://www.dailycal.org/2020/10/01/uc-berkeley-students-react-to-announcement-of-mostly-remote-spring-semester/

"UC Berkeley announces plans for the spring 2021 semester | Berkeley News"
https://news.berkeley.edu/2020/09/29/uc-berkeley-announces-plans-for-the-spring-2021-semester/

"UC Berkeley is mostly closed and the economic impact on nearby businesses is devastating."
https://www.berkeleyside.com/2020/09/28/with-most-cal-classes-online-berkeley-ca-feels-like-a-ghost-town-businesses-struggling

"Coronavirus layoffs send middle-class workers down the economic ladder | CalMatters"
https://calmatters.org/california-divide/2020/09/coronavirus-layoffs-middle-class-workers/

"Campus considers public access ban to comply with state mandate"
https://www.dailycal.org/2020/09/29/uc-berkeley-considers-public-access-ban-in-compliance-with-ca-covid-19-mandate/

and yet: 
"Opinion: Berkeley school district should return students to schools as soon as possible"
https://www.berkeleyside.com/2020/09/24/opinion-berkeley-school-district-should-return-students-to-schools-as-soon-as-possible

"Cal Athletic Director Says Football Will Help School Balance Sports Budget - The New York Times"
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/28/sports/ncaafootball/cal-athletic-director.html


If Fossil Free UC is still around??: 
"The University of California’s Investment Chief Said It’s ‘Fossil Free.’ So Why Does It Own Oil Companies? | Institutional Investor"
https://www.institutionalinvestor.com/article/b1nmg2glqbddtf/the-university-of-california-s-investment-chief-said-it-s-fossil-free-so-why-does-it-own-oil-companies

"Contract negotiations between UC-AFT Local 1990 and UC likely to reach impasse"
https://dailybruin.com/2020/10/02/contract-negotiations-between-uc-aft-local-1990-and-uc-likely-to-reach-impasse
_____
There is this group of communications stories:
https://news.berkeley.edu/2020/09/30/american-democracy-needed-reforms/

This message to UC employees on what and where and how they can talk about, including in virtual onlines settings:
https://news.berkeley.edu/2020/10/01/a-message-to-the-campus-community-about-novembers-election/

CUCFA's :
"Our Letter to UC about the Potential for Censorship of Faculty by Private Technology Providers"
https://cucfa.org/2020/09/potential-censorship-by-technology-providers/

This is an interesting reaction to  recent UC Davis PR and chancellors history :
https://www.davisenterprise.com/forum/owen-yancher-i-havent-forgotten-have-you/

"As University of California campuses reopen, UC San Diego deploys aggressive strategy to contain Covid-19 | EdSource"
https://edsource.org/2020/as-university-of-california-campuses-reopen-uc-san-diego-deploys-aggressive-strategy-to-contain-covid-19/640910

Daily Bruin now has recap of the Sept UC Regents meeting here:
"UC Regents recap – Sept. 15-17 - Daily Bruin"
https://dailybruin.com/2020/10/01/uc-regents-recap-sept-15-17

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

"Asked if there were other policies regents didn’t know about, Bagley laughed and said yes. “There’s no such thing as a school for regents.” --And more 'How can you know or not know that ? Relying on connections' turns.

see:

"Emails suggest cozy relationship between UC Berkeley admissions and fundraising offices"
https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Emails-suggest-cozy-relationshp-between-UC-15604434.php
includes:
...
The emails also reveal a cozy relationship between the admissions office and the UC Berkeley Foundation responsible for raising money. The documents include a letter to Christ from an unnamed former regent inquiring about a different applicant and reminding her, in a brief postscript, that he had recently gotten a client of his to donate to the university.

The Chronicle has learned that the former regent is William Bagley, who said in an interview that the donation was for $1 million. It’s not clear whether UC Berkeley admitted the student.

-- adding in here that Bagley appears to be  of Bagley-Keene mentioned in prior coverage at SF Chron and here back in the day when regents tried to restrict student reporters at regents meetings...

Blum’s email suggests not only that he violated UC policy prohibiting current regents from using their influence on behalf of applicants, but that UC Berkeley also broke the rules simply by accepting the recommendation. UC’s policy 2110 bars any letters of recommendation from being considered except when solicited by admissions officers under rare circumstances — an exception that the regents approved in July 2017. Waitlisted students may not receive recommendations.

UC Berkeley accepted Blum’s waitlisted family friend even though the applicant had only a 25% chance of getting in, according to a state audit of UC admissions.

Because the audit revealed an overlap between admissions and donations, California’s independent auditor, Elaine Howle, used her report to try to end that relationship.

“All communications between Admissions and Fundraising about applicants or prospective applicants (should) be strictly prohibited,” Howle recommended in the audit she released on Sept. 22, noting that “ultimately, it is the UC system’s responsibility to ensure fairness in its admissions process.”

The audit, which looked at four UC campuses, found that UC Berkeley improperly admitted 55 underqualified, often wealthy students based on insider connections between 2013 and 2018. Another nine incidents were spread among UCLA, UC San Diego and UC Santa Barbara. The audit raises questions about the legitimacy of hundreds of other admissions at Berkeley and three other UC campuses that investigators could not confirm.

Blum, a regent since 2002, told The Chronicle on Thursday that he’d been writing such letters to chancellors “forever. For years,” adding, “Nobody told me that that was wrong.” One letter was for a cousin, which prompted former Regent Ward Connerly to accuse Blum of nepotism.

Such letters have been prohibited at UC since 1996, when the regents approved policy 2201 barring them from seeking to influence admissions decisions outside the “regular admissions process and officers.”

In an interview, Blum a financier, said he would stop writing recommendations.

The story has made news across the country in part because Blum’s wife is U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Also, the state audit was prompted by last year’s “Varsity Blues” college admissions scandal, a criminal sting operation that crushed public confidence in the integrity of admissions at some of the nation’s most elite universities, including UCLA and Stanford. The scandal ensnared dozens of wealthy parents, including Hollywood’s Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, who bribed and cheated to get their children into the schools. Many of the parents are cooperating with federal investigators and have pleaded guilty.

Blum’s actions don’t involve illegal activity. But the idea that influential people can use clout to help applicants get around the usual process can similarly undermine confidence that the public university has a fair admissions system.

The university turns away more students than it admits, including many low-income people of color who don’t have the same personal access to regents as their friends and family.

...

Meanwhile, the ethics and compliance department at UC’s Office of the President has said it is reviewing the audit finding “to determine whether the alleged conduct violates” UC policy.

UC Berkeley handled at least one more recommendation linked to a donation, this one from Bagley, who left the governing board in 2002. Bagley confirmed he wrote it.

Former regents are no longer bound by the rules of the regents, and the First Amendment allows them — and anyone else — to dangle whatever tempting incentives they like before university leaders.

In a graciously worded letter to Christ congratulating her on being named UC Berkeley chancellor, Bagley tells her he has a request, “not a favor.” He’s asking that a “poised, polite and public spirited” applicant who has been waitlisted “be given a full and insightful review.”

Bagley’s signature is blacked out. He then adds “a small ps,” and reminds Christ that he recently urged a client to donate [redacted] dollars to the Berkeley Law School.

In an interview, Bagley said the donor gave $1 million, which created the Wheeler Water Institute on campus.

Although it’s not clear whether UC Berkeley accepted the applicant, who turned out to be Bagley’s neighbor, the student enrolled in UC Davis.

Bagley also spoke out in defense of Blum, and said: “He certainly didn’t do anything wrong.” He said Blum had made an “innocent mistake” and that he, too, was unaware of the policy.

-- more what looks like self serving added in with absolute statements that don't quite explain how they square...

Asked if there were other policies regents didn’t know about, Bagley laughed and said yes. “There’s no such thing as a school for regents.”

_________
'University of California Admissions Disgrace'
New revelations emerge about attempts to get students into Berkeley.
https://www.insidehighered.com/admissions/article/2020/09/28/university-california-admissions-scandal-worsens
(this article attributes a confirmation from UCB spokesperson but it actually came from CSA spokesperson)
includes:
"All of this raises questions for the university -- and for all of higher education.

A Los Angeles Times editorial headlined "The University of California Admissions Disgrace" said of those who got into Berkeley, "They simply had some form of extraordinary privilege. Some were the offspring of parents who made big donations. Others had connections, family or otherwise, to campus staff, leaders or donors."

The editorial continued, "Make no mistake, at private colleges, students often are accepted because they have connections or parents who make big donations. Just having a parent who is an alumnus gives applicants a significant boost, a practice known as legacy admissions. But that isn’t supposed to happen at California’s public universities, paid for in part by taxpayers, with policies that call for fair, merit-based admission. In fairness, the number of improperly accepted students is barely a blip. Berkeley admits about 14,000 freshmen a year. But at a time when the fairness of college admissions is under new scrutiny, it is galling to see privilege prevail over merit at a campus known for its commitment to social justice."

A representative of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, which represents fundraisers, declined to comment, saying that CASE does not comment on its members.

David Hawkins, executive director for educational content and policy of the National Association for College Admission Counseling, said via email, "The system that facilitates and allows these ‘transactions’ is fundamentally flawed. Public resources should be publicly available. While the audit identifies important flaws in the current system, what remains unaddressed is why there is artificially imposed scarcity in public higher education, and how that scarcity results in the manipulative behavior outlined in this report. So long as this scarcity remains, the potential for this behavior will persist."

He added that "the audit findings present a clear challenge to those involved in public university governance: access to higher education should not be part of the spoils of leadership or power. Responsible stewardship of public higher education, particularly, requires a fiduciary obligation to the institution’s overall mission, which includes representing the interests of all students. Students with wealth, privilege, or connections to influential voices in the university governance system should not be given a ‘leg up’ in gaining access to college."

At the same time, Hawkins said, "we have to be careful not to make the mistake of allowing these instances to characterize all of college admission. During this audit’s period of the review, the four UC campuses received more than 2.3 million applications and admitted almost 600,000 applicants. So while influence-peddling is a problem that needs to be addressed in college admission regardless of its scale, it’s also important to keep in mind that the 64 cases cited in the audit report represent a small fraction (0.0027 percent of applications and 0.011 percent of acceptances) of all admission decisions over this time period, even just at the four institutions covered by the audit."

-- IHE does not note for readers that the AVC Admissions director at Cal is/was also a member of leadership at the above outfit...

Donald Hossler, a senior scholar at the Center for Enrollment Research Policy and Practice of the University of Southern California, said, "There are too many back doors to admissions."

"Too many places where athletics, alumni, development, or state/federal relations staff can enable students who might not otherwise be admitted," he said. "At highly selective schools these back doors take away seats for other prospective students. At less selective schools it does not take away seats but these back doors can result in admissions for students from families with social capital to which low[-income]/first-gen students will never be able to take advantage."
...

Some of the practices -- faking an athletic background -- were used in the admissions scandal that broke last year and for which many parents have since pleaded guilty. But other practices, such as pressure from fundraisers, are different.
...
"In those interactions, the development office often provided the admissions office with the names of applicants connected to donors and potential donors. In one of the years we reviewed, the development office indicated which of the applicants were 'priority.' UC Berkeley admitted every applicant that the development office indicated was a priority. None of these applicants had received ratings on their applications that would have made them competitive on their own merit for admission to UC Berkeley," the report said.
...

Michael V. Drake, president of the university system, released a statement in response to the audit.

"I take the findings and recommendations very seriously and will do all I can to prevent inappropriate admissions at UC. I have zero tolerance in matters of compromised integrity," he said.
Drake said that "the university will swiftly address the concerns the state auditor raised. Furthermore, individuals involved in improper activities will be disciplined appropriately."

He noted, however, "the significant progress the university has made in the past year following two internal audits, which identified many of the same issues the state auditor raised."
...
Christ, the chancellor at Berkeley, ...
She too noted that several improvements in admissions procedures had been made recently.
....
____
from 2019 IHE piece on it:
"The Admissions Scandal: A Job for Internal Audit
Ramping up scrutiny of their admissions practices could threaten selective colleges' fund-raising efforts -- but the risks of not doing so are much greater, "
https://www.insidehighered.com/views/2019/03/18/colleges-should-let-internal-auditors-loose-admissions-offices-wake-scandal-opinion

But,
There are, of a  planned total team of proposed seven positions,  four vacancies- boxes of long term empty TBA principal and senior auditors positions left unfilled listed on this 7/9/2020 Cal chancellor's org chart doc here:
https://chancellor.berkeley.edu/sites/default/files/visio-ac_cerco_7.9.20_4_2.pdf
-top heavy.
- Also want to remind here again that this hire occurred from OSU along with Drake coming to UCOP from OSU :
https://www.dailycal.org/2020/07/28/uc-berkeley-hires-kellie-brennan-as-civil-rights-whistleblower-compliance-director/
mentioned towards the end of this post:
https://cloudminder.blogspot.com/2020/08/who-is-at-helm-leadership-approaches.html
this was the job description:
http://jobboard.lgbtbar.org/job/executive-director-of-civil-rights-amp-whistleblower-compliance-0555u-berkeley-california-0954
how does one do that job remotely from another state, even now?
https://bsa.berkeley.edu/news/welcoming-kellie-brennan-executive-director-civil-rights-whistleblower-compliance
and it looks like a weird reporting line that avoids org connection to UC Berkeley's campus counsel office....
but Cal is looking strange in many ways right now so not much surprise
__

Also, now that this is - in the above coverage at top- is not just about undergrad admissions and is expanding out to discussion of those cases of donor development mixed in with  admission decisions at the  professional schools at UC - it seems an appropriate time to point to   FPPC oversight of higher ed and UC policy in:
http://www.fppc.ca.gov/content/dam/fppc/NS-Documents/LegalDiv/Regulations/Index/Chapter7/Article3/18755.pdf
  - on researchers and donors and gifts etc.
Also, separately,
It also does not appear clear how a SF Chron staff writer can conclusively state in the SF Chron articles of coverage on it: "Blum’s actions don’t involve illegal activity." - In going back and doing a search through the CSA audit report they do not come to that conclusion and they don't state anything like that-so where does that conclusion come from? LA Times offered an expert opinion in their coverage and even that expert did not state anything so absolute.
Does that reporter know of  each and every instance? each case? CSA admits even they don't know of every case where it happened or the details of each and how it went down. And conflicts of interests could easily occur--imagine wealthy parents with their own  biz that could have created a conflict for a regent with their own biz or a regents' spouse mixed into the communications on it,  and combined poof a conflict occurs -or a biz interest of the university itself is in the middle of it-  these scenarios may easily  have been present in these interactions. This is why CSA is putting out the report saying there may be other instances...They repeatedly say there may be hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of more cases (in the report 400+ mentioned)  of influence peddling in these admissions decisions at UC,so...

So who judges that ? UC judges itself because of constitutional autonomy?

And when UCOP's Drake says : "the significant progress the university has made in the past year following two internal audits, which identified many of the same issues the state auditor raised."  -- he does not make clear whether or not UC went back to tell those running Operation Varsity Blues about what they were finding in their internal audit as they were finding it and Varsity Blues cases were progressing ? or at the end of the UC internal audit if what UC claims now to have  found in the internal audit was ever reported back to those in Boston in charge of Op Varsity Blues??-- And, if not, as UC was one of the targets in Ops Varsity Blues -how did they avoid having to do so? Or, did the UC internal audit findings just remain undisclosed until the CSA audit occurred and UCOP-Drake only acknowledges the problems then? 

___
Now let's have a back to the archives moment, here: some transcript from UC Regents meetings referenced in  prior posts- they touch on the role of regents and the role of state audits of UC and more:

Blum at various times at the UC Regents table when he wants things to happen a certain way at Cal  says "Cal -Berkeley is not a happy place"

May 18th 2017
Regent Blum
Madam Chair I have had my hand up for  a while.
I unfortunately have to leave so I will say three or four things which are totally out of order
If you can give me 3 minutes maybe 4 minutes...
Um, you're not going to like this  I bet you're probably wondering why I voted no on the budget.
I think we've been given an assignment we should have turned down. I've served on many boards, particularly the big ones. 
For us to be able as a board that meets every two months for a day and a half to be able to opine on every line item position 
and really think we know what we are doing we are simply kidding ourselves. You can't do it. 
You can get talked into or out of any of that-unless you want to go and spend a half day or two days on each one of those line items
 it doesn't make any sense.
 Meanwhile, let's think about what we are not talking about 
oh there's this little medical healthcare operation $8 billion dollars and we have a healthcare committee chaired by Sherry
 and I go to those meetings and I  think they do well but again its the same thing - 
the whole world on healthcare is gonna change in one way or another because of what is going on in congress. 
Remember the labs? There's these three little labs that our whole nuclear supply operation depends on - 
Los Alamos, Livermore and at Berkeley we don't talk about them either and by the way if we did
 I'm not sure we'd know what the hell we're talking about. 
So, we make some noise in Sacramento we get some newspaper articles which I try to make a little more interesting 
and I don't know what we achieve by this. 
Yes, I think we will understand OP better b/c of this but I'm not sure how much difference it makes. 
Back in 2008 when everything hit the fan and I was chairman of this board and we 
retired a UC president and spent a year and a half firing another one,
 I used to go two days a week over to OP
 and if you think I really understood what was really going on after doing that  a year and a half 
 you're kidding yourself I never really understood much of what was going on
 and to think that this board really can pass judgment on those line items you're kidding yourself. You just are.
 I don't expect that most of you will agree with me but I think I've been on this board for fifteen years and I think I ought to tell you what I really think, end of story.
chair Lozano replies: Thank you Dick. We're gonna try to get the balance right, you know. We are fiduciaries and we should operate at a certain level but right now we have to have an obligation to look a little deeper.
(Lozano left the board a few months later several years before her term was to expire to serve on a higher ed non profit board with former regent Gould that opperates in Sacto alot.)
____

UC Regents January 2017  Special Meeting of the Board
(in response to earlier comments from Regent Perez and Regent Ortiz Oakley): 
UC Regent Blum: I've been on this board for 15 years and maybe I've been on it for too long.
 I've never heard more nonsense in my entire life. 
Now  let me start with 'we don't make our pitch to the legislature' do they bother to try and find out what this university is like? 
Alot of them went to school here. All I can tell you is when I was chairman  for three years 
I'd go up to Sacramento some of your key guys up there I can't even remember their names. 
 I 'd have a meeting set with them when they heard I  was walking down the hall they cancelled the meeting
 'cause they didn't want to talk to me. 
We've had every  one of our chancellors several times a year go to Sacramento and and talk to these people.
So, the idea that they don't know what we're doing is absolute utter nonsense and - 
he gestures to Ortiz Oakley - you ought to know this you're a smart guy
 And this other thing 'well, we've lost trust cuz of OP" and now 
we've gotta tell them whether its $50 million or its $40 million' is also utter nonsense
 (he leans in toward Regent Perez) and if you look to those numbers (pointing to a screen with presentation slide) 
you will now find in real terms adjusted for inflation
 we are paying, our students are paying, one third of what they did ten or fifteen years ago
 --When I went to school there were 68,000 less students here then there are now on only slightly less money 
so what happened class size and tuition and um ya know um Carol Christ's  numbers 
about  the size of the engineering  class - I thought maybe they'd go from 50-70 but  50-200. 
Now um  Peter Guber and I  maybe the only regents who spend time at the university teaching or whatever
 So we talk to these people we understand their problems and we understand what it is that they need.
 And yeah I think we're holding our ratiings at places like the campuses where they are they will not stay there forever.
 Berkeley will not forever be considered where they are unless we fund them properly. 
 I don't know where the Lt Governor is in all this - 
Lt Governor you come to the meetings you vote against the tuition increases 
and I've never yet to see you up there lobbying for more money for the university and I don't mean to pick on Gavin
Regent Newsom: Well, you are picking on me
Regent Blum: Alright I am picking on you so answer me
 Regent Newsom: And here's what, publicly what I am not going to do : I am not going to take the bait
Regent Blum : Okay don't take the bait - some other time- 
I just found most of the discussion was ridiuculous because all of these things have been tried 
and I'm all in favor of starting over and  trying to get the right numbers 
take as many people as you want  and take as many meetings as you want 
but all this as an excuse for not increasing the  tuition 3% I find is nonsense. 
 Vice Chair Regent Perez, : Point of personal privilege
 Chair Regent Keiffer, : naw, I' m just gonna keep ...
Regent Perez: Mr Chair I am asking for a point of personal privilege there were direct attacks on three members of this board
Regent Kieffer: yeah I'm going to just...  I think we are better off if we just continue with the discussion and 
Regent Perez: I am asking the chair to admonish the board to talk on substance and not to engage in attacks on board members
Keiffer: I  think that's proper.and I would request that that be considered as your discussing these issues.
http://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/meetings/videos/jan2018/jan2018.html#sboard
UC disabled it now, but it was at:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BENqFhopJ5Y&feature=youtu.be
­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­
__
Public Engagement Committee September 13, 2017- last seven minutes
Public Engagement & Development:
[ source https://archive.org/details/PublicEngagementAndDevelopment91317AMedited/PublicEngagementAndDevelopment9-13-17AMedited.wma 
at around 1:26:00 timemark
 Note: After the meeting ended, the mike remained on briefly and a regent can be heard complaining about state audits and opining that "Sacramento" wants to control the university.
http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2017/09/listen-to-regents-meeting-morning-of.html
listen at this link: 
https://archive.org/details/PublicEngagementAndDevelopment91317AMedited/PublicEngagementAndDevelopment9-13-17AMedited.wma

Regent Blum comments: once again remarks begin without mic on he turns on mic in mid-sentence 
"... I don't understand why when the the University of California is audited by a major auditing firm 
that  the legislature needs  to reaudit the audit
 and in my view came to conclusions and publicity that made the university look bad. 
I'm not saying we're perfect but 90% of those stories were baloney; 
and then on top of that they came here and asked this board  to effectively micromanage  the office of the president. 
This is a $30  billion dollar institution and for them to ask us , with everything else that is going on-
 to micromanage what goes on at the UCOP is ridiculous 
and I would like that message to be delivered and I would like them to reconsider 
why they found it necessary to spend state money and time re-auditing what has already been done by a major auditing firm.
(it elicits this response, exchange)
Regent Pattiz  Thank you. I would like to address a couple of the comments that my good friend regent Blum made early on , I think it would be a terrible thing to push back on the CA Legislature's, their ability to um audit the University of California. I think it would look terrible. There isn't a public company in the United States that isn't audited by a legitimate accounting firm but yet the SEC looks over every single thing that goes on.
Its part of life, its part of responsiblity and I don't think we should take the attitude of saying - 
especially after an audit where certain things were found that we agreed should be changed- 
to then be pushing back in any way on their ability to do these things. 
Secondly relative to the responsiblity of the regents  it is the responsiblity of the regents to oversee the office of the president 
and everybody else. 
When you get a parking ticket on a uc campus the check is made out to the  regents of the university of california . 
The regents serve twelve year terms  so that they are not going to be under the thumb of any governor or... 
and so their independence and be assured and so when someone sues the university of california
 they don't sue the UC president they sue the regents. 
So, I think that the regents have the responsibility to do their jobs. and I think the continued close cooperation
 between the regents and the office of the president so that we can wind up being on the same page 
on the issues of great importance to the university should continue to be essential as it has always been.
Regent Lozano chairing this committee: made unintelligible comments
Regent Kieffer: made unintelligible comments
then Regent blum:  respectfully Norm, my good friend who i think in fifteen years we have never had a publc disagreement with , privately yes publicly no, for your information Norm the SEC doesn't go around auditing the audits unless there is a very specific reason that is not what the SEC does
Lozano: thank you
Pattiz: excuse me, excuse me
Lozano: um no no no we..
Pattiz: excuse me, I know what the SEC does. The SEC has the right to audit public companies 
just like the state of california auditors don't go around the state auditing everything and 
I just don't think on this subject we rreally, that getting into a pushing and shoving match with the state legislature is  
exactly what the tone of this publiic engagement committee really should be
(Blum is laughing loudly and gesturing at Pattiz  from across the meeting room)
Lozano: I am going to conclude this, there are varying points on that particular issue...
the UC Regents archive of their meeting cuts off at this point but in the live feed it streamed
 This hot mic statement is made by UC Regent Blum as he sits in between chancellors C.Christ and Hawgood and makes the following statement:
"He (Norm) knows he is wrong and doesn't want to admit it . Its not what the SEC does- the SEC only goes in if there's a problem. These people audit us hassle us on a regular basis for no reason. And, what its all about- and Janet can tell you -what its all about is the increasing desire of people in Sacramento to contol the university and then to ask this board to oversee this little piece of the university which everybody sort of went along with  is ridiculous- As you can see ... Anyway" ( he turns specifically to Hawgood to discuss a UCSF specific piece of business)... " I talked to ...and  so... it is supposed to be  set up to happen in November" .

-- Bagley "There's no such thing as a school for UC Regents" -- ha, ha, ha funny?