Wednesday, March 22, 2017

CSU Trustees Voted To Increase Tuition By 5 Percent

Despite public outcries from students and elected officials, the California State University Board of Trustees voted Wednesday to raise tuition by 5 percent for the next school year to address an expected shortfall in funding from the state.
The vote was 11-8, with Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and state schools Superintendent Tom Torlakson -- all ex-officio members of the board -- among those dissenting.
The trustees approved two amendments -- one to rescind the hike if sufficient state funding comes through, and another calling for reports over the next two years detailing how the additional dollars are spent...
The combo of UC and CSU planning tuition increases will likely trigger political reactions in the legislature. But the legislature is facing possible major cuts in "Obamacare" aid. Whether it will want to come up with more for higher ed while under that threat is unknown. And whether the governor would permit it is another unknown. On the other hand, political flailing can be harmful. And worth noting:
[Click to enlarge.]

Now you don't see them; now you do

Berkeley's 20,000 disappearing videos seem to be coming back. This blog earlier noted that some independent entity could preserve them. It now seems to be happening: [Excerpt from Daily Cal

LBRY, a content sharing and publishing platform, copied 20,000 lectures from UC Berkeley’s YouTube channel before they were deleted and will make them publicly available beginning in April.
UC Berkeley announced in early March that it would restrict public access to legacy recorded classroom lectures, or Course Capture, after the Department of Justice determined that the publicly available lectures were not up to standards under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Jeremy Kauffman, founder and CEO of LBRY, said it was unfortunate that the campus was forced to take down the lectures and that his company believed it would be better if they were still available without subtitles than not available at all.
“What motivated our community is that we saw information disappearing that shouldn’t disappear and our technology is designed to keep information around,” Kauffman said.
The videos being uploaded onto LBRY currently do not have subtitles, but Kauffman said he’d be happy to work with anyone interested in collaborating with their company to provide them.
The lawsuit, which was filed in 2014 by viewers unaffiliated with UC Berkeley, alleged many aspects of the Course Captures were in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, including inaccessible video captions, and concluded that those with disabilities are denied equal access to UC Berkeley’s services. After its investigation, the DOJ found “significant portions of UC Berkeley’s online content in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which states equality must be granted on all public forums...

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Signature events

A letter from many university and college presidents went to President Trump on March 16 urging protections for DREAM students. You can find the letter at:

Among the signatures:

University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Davis
University of California, Irvine
University of California, Los Angeles
University of California, Merced
University of California, Riverside
University of California, Santa Cruz

Not found:

UC-San Francisco
UC-San Diego
UC-Santa Barbara

Yours truly noticed that there was no signature from UC systemwide and thought it was because UC was a system, not a single entity. But then he found University of Illinois System on the list of signatures. There may be explanations.

Monday, March 20, 2017

When you gotta go

Ignore the fighting words between state lawmakers: California’s ban on publicly funded travel to “bathroom bill” states won’t block UCLA’s trip to the Big Dance this week.
The Bruins are punching their tickets to the Sweet 16 in Memphis even though Tennessee is on California’s list of no-go destinations under a new law that prohibits travel to states with policies that Golden State leaders consider to be discriminatory.
A UCLA spokesman told The Bee in December that the school will not schedule athletic games in banned states.
Since then, UCLA has decided that it won’t “deny our student-athletes the right to participate in postseason play,” according to a report in the Wichita Eagle. That means the campus is not letting the travel ban stand in the way of the NCAA tournament.
The California law, adopted in response to a North Carolina measure that requires people using restrooms in government buildings to choose the one that corresponds to their gender at birth, has triggered conflicting interpretations about how universities should apply it to college sports. Tennessee made the list because of a law allowing therapists to deny services to gay and transgender clients.
On one hand, leaders from UC and California State University campuses have said they will not schedule games in states on the banned list. On the other, they have noted that they do not use public funds for certain athletic events, and they retain the choice of attending marquee events.

Free how?

A California lawmaker wants to tax millionaires to provide a free education for residents at the state’s public colleges and universities – the second proposal put forth in as many weeks to address the soaring cost of a higher education.
Assembly Bill 1356, by Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman, would add a 1 percent tax on annual California household incomes of $1 million or more, to be placed in a financial aid fund. 
The tax would generate an estimated $2.2 billion* annually, according to the Stockton Democrat, which could be combined with existing aid programs to cover the cost of tuition and fees for in-state students at the University of California, California State University and California community colleges...
*Note: The current state allocation to UC alone is $3.3 billion. It's roughly matched by tuition (at all levels, grad and undergrad). But then there is CSU and the community colleges. Hard to see how $2.2 billion covers all of that. A puzzle. Also a puzzle is that the bill cited in the article seems to have to do with protecting immigrants, not taxes and tuition.

The way we live now

From the Bruin:

UCLA has implemented new campus safety initiatives since the murder-suicide in June, including trainings with updated protocol for active shooter incidents and an improved Bruin Alert system...

Stephen Yeazell, chair of the Campus Safety Task Force, said OEM* has also updated faculty trainings with active shooter protocol. About 50 people attended the first session Jan. 25.

Garg said OEM emailed all faculty Tuesday instructing them how to use recently installed electronic emergency locks. As of January, they have been installed in 192 general assignment classrooms such as Moore 100 and La Kretz 110. A button on the lock flashes red when pressed to indicate the door is inaccessible from the outside; when pressed again, the button turns green...
OEM has also implemented other measures for campus improvement, said Director Art Kirkland. For example, Bruin Alert – the campus’ emergency notification system – added the capability for two-way communication since the murder-suicide last year. Students can now click on embedded links within the alert to confirm receipt of the message, or share their status during an emergency.
In addition, users can respond to Bruin Alerts with a “1″ for “I’m safe” or a “2″ for “I’m not safe” during emergencies. If someone sends “2,” OEM can communicate with that individual to gauge location, situation and course of action.
Kirkland added that Bruin Alert now allows subscription of multiple emails and phone numbers to the system, which would allow parents and significant others to receive updates in an emergency situation.
Additionally, OEM designed an application, called Bruins Safe, to assist students, faculty and staff campuswide with emergency protocol and community awareness, he said. OEM plans to formally reveal the app at the beginning of spring quarter.
The app includes additional features for everyday safety: a tab for calling campus escorts and a tab that lets people track their friends’ GPS location as they walk. It will also alert students if their friend has disconnected.
OEM is also making changes to campus infrastructure, Kirkland said, including an outdoor siren and speaker system for emergency poles, and digital signs for classrooms that will display Bruin Alert messages in an emergency.
They expect 90 percent of all classrooms to receive the digital signs by the start of fall quarter.
*Office of Emergency Management:

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Listen to the Regents Meeting of March 16, 2017

At the link at the bottom of this message, you will find the audio of the March 16, 2017 meeting of the full Board of Regents. We again archive it indefinitely since the Regents preserve their recordings for only one year, a limit without any reasonable rationale. The one-year policy is particularly outrageous since the original recordings are now being put on YouTube by the Regents. All they would have to do is not delete the recordings to make them indefinitely available.

Below is a summary of the meeting, some of which has appeared in an earlier post on this blog

UC regents debate enrollment limits on students from other states and countries, approve Berkeley chancellor

Teresa Watanabe   LA Times   3-16-17

University of California regents expressed an array of concerns Thursday over a controversial proposal to limit the number of undergraduates from other states and countries to 20% of total systemwide enrollment.

The regents, meeting in San Francisco, also unanimously approved Carol T. Christ, a longtime UC Berkeley administrator and professor, as the next chancellor to lead the renowned but troubled public research university.

Regents initially were scheduled to vote Thursday on the nonresident proposal, which UC unveiled this month to ease public controversy over its admissions practices and clear the way to receiving $18.5 million in additional state funding that is tied to adoption of a limit.

UC’s proposed cap allows for some growth — nonresidents currently make up 16.5% of the system's 210,170 undergraduates — except at UCLA, UC San Diego and UC Berkeley. Those three campuses would be allowed to maintain but not increase their current percentages, which are higher than 20%.

But regents delayed a vote until May and will continue discussions until then as some critics call for lower limits and others for no quota at all.

The debate Thursday underscored the deep concerns over the proposal.

Regent Sherry Lansing fretted that the limit could deprive campuses with fewer out-of-state students, such as UC Riverside and UC Santa Cruz, of future opportunities to attract them and the extra tuition dollars they bring in. James Chalfant, chair of the UC Academic Senate, echoed that concern, saying the proposal would create “tiered campuses” because some would be able to bring in more nonresident tuition dollars than others.

“We don’t want to reinforce a policy of haves and have-nots … and put them in competition with each other,” Chalfant said.

Regent Eloy Ortiz Oakley said the UC system should first make a better case to the state about its funding needs. He referred to nonresident tuition as “sugar water” and public funding as “protein,” to stress the need for the state to beef up the UC system with more money.

Others wanted to know how nonresident students affected campus diversity. Regent Gareth Elliott rejected adopting any nonresident policy at all.

But UC President Janet Napolitano reminded regents that state lawmakers required the UC system to set a limit before they released additional funding.

“Somehow, we’ve got to navigate our way through this and end up … with the right answer,” she said.

The 10-campus system quadrupled its nonresident enrollment between 2007 and 2016 to make up for steep state budget cuts following the recession. Although UC also increased the number of California students by 10% during that time, the growing reliance on nonresidents sparked a backlash from California families and legislators.

Chancellors from UCLA and UC San Diego told regents how the additional money from nonresidents — who pay about $27,000 more in annual tuition than their California counterparts — has helped pay for more faculty and courses as well as needed building repairs.

UCLA, for instance, received $145 million in nonresident tuition last year, which helped it make up significant state funding cuts, said Chancellor Gene Block. The money helped UCLA offer more courses, which reduced the average time needed to graduate to less than four years. It also helped UCLA manage rising costs for employee benefits and salaries.

“This really made up the hole in UCLA’s budget,” Block said.

Regent Richard Blum added that the university richly benefits from international students who study at UC campuses and return home to become successful business and political leaders. At a UC Berkeley reunion in Hong Kong, he said, 500 people showed up.

“It’s amazing how many people — successful leaders, heads of companies — still talk about Berkeley and may give back one way or another,” he said.

On other matters, the regents were firmly united.

They approved Christ as the new UC Berkeley chancellor “enthusiastically and unanimously,” as Board Chairwoman Monica Lozano put it after the vote.

Christ, currently Berkeley’s interim executive vice chancellor and provost, will take the helm July 1. She will succeed Nicholas Dirks, who announced his resignation last year following widespread criticism over his handling of sexual misconduct scandals, the budget deficit and what many regarded as a distant and disengaged leadership style.

Christ, 72, will earn the same salary Dirks did: $531,939 annually. She has spent more than 30 years at Berkeley as a professor and administrator and also served as president of Smith College for a decade.

Napolitano told regents that Christ, the 11th chancellor and first woman to lead the 149-year-old campus, was “a remarkable person, a visionary and a first.”

“Dr. Christ has a way with making things better. She builds strong relationships, and trust, with diverse groups and diverse individuals, and then forms consensus and finds solutions,” Napolitano said.

Blum said Christ’s collaborative style and intimate knowledge of Berkeley’s culture was just what the university needed.

“Berkeley is a troubled campus in terms of people learning to get along,” he said shortly before the vote. “It is not going well, and we needed somebody from the inside who understood the place to straighten it out.”

Christ, speaking to reporters after the vote, said she would focus on Berkeley’s multimillion-dollar budget deficit, the student housing crunch, undergraduate education and faculty issues to help the renowned public research university through what she called its worst difficulties in 50 years.

Christ said she would aim to enhance Berkeley’s tradition of “excellence and access.”

“It is Berkeley's DNA,” she said.

In other actions, the regents approved changes to rules on faculty sexual misconduct, including eliminating time limits to file complaints.

They also approved the UC system’s first policy that would impose sanctions on regents found to have violated university rules on ethics and sexual misconduct, even outside their university roles.


You can hear the audio of the March 16 meeting at: