8/12/16 Media Coverage

The big news this week, detailed in an earlier blog post, is the resignation of UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi. Elsewhere, lawmakers in Sacramento approved an audit of UCOP. UC Davis is also in the news for delayed financial aid payments to students and a tricky legal maneuver involving its medical school and claims of sexual harassment.

UC News

8/11 – Lawmakers approve audits of UC spending (SFChron): Legislators approved an audit of UCOP. “We must be assured the maximum resources are directed to classrooms and student services,” wrote Assemblyman Phil Ting, who requested the study, in a statement. The Chronicle begins its article with a noteworthy lede:

Spending at the University of California’s Oakland headquarters has nearly doubled in recent years, and official staff counts vary by nearly 500 people, depending on who’s doing the counting. / So on Wednesday, state lawmakers authorized an audit of UC’s Office of the President to determine whether its $686 million annual budget — more than twice that of the Legislature — is money well spent.

The article notes the lede is a bit misleading, as only half of the UCOP budget is actually spent on UCOP operations. The rest funds student services, research, study abroad trips, etc. Also see: LATimes

8/6 – San Jose State’s Spartan Stadium now named after credit union (SJMN): Not UC, but of note: The school gets $8 million for the name change.

8/10 – Top 100 (Capitol Weekly): Capitol Weekly’s list of the top 100 political players in the state includes Janet Napolitano at #24, calling her a an “aggressive advocate” for the UC system. Ironically, #25 is Elaine Howle, the state auditor who produced a report deeply critical of UC this year. The list also includes Steve Juarez, UCOP’s Sacramento lobbyist, as #89. Here’s what it says about Juarez:

UC is a mighty institution that gets things done, and one of the reasons is Steve Juarez, who lobbies on behalf of UC’s Office of the President. People in both houses who know higher education lobbying – and some outsiders, too – say Juarez is one of the reasons. He’s smart, prompt and detail-savvy – characteristics that count for much in the Capitol. UC offers up relatively few bills each session, so Juarez’ load may not seem all that heavy. But he also serves as a communications channel between the Legislature and the university – a critical role, given the image problems that have confronted the school this year and last.

8/10 – UC Davis’ Katehi gets $424,360 ‘parachute’ common for university presidents (SacBee): Katehi will retain her president-level pay for one year as she transitions to a full-time faculty member. The article notes:

The practice of paying a college president an additional year after leaving office is common across the country, said James Finkelstein, a George Mason University professor and expert on university executives. “What she is getting is very typical of the type of parachutes that other presidents have had,” he said.

Finkelstein said the policies began after lawyers started representing university presidents in contract negotiations. “It has begun to slip over from the private sector into the university sector – what I call the CEO-ization of the university presidency,” he said.

8/6 – Court spurns UC Davis harassment suit defense that cites First Amendment rights (SacBee): UC Davis is attempting to kill a lawsuit by a medical resident who says she was sexually harassed and unfairly criticized. The legal move raises questions about how easy it is to sue a large organization in California.

8/7 – UC Davis may issue emergency loans due to financial aid backlog (SacBee): UC Davis is behind by two months on giving out loans and financial aid. Students may need to take out short-term loans to get by.

Elsewhere

8/12 – Messy Breakups Make More Noise (IHE): Katehi isn’t the only campus leader to step down amid controversy. Some think this could signal a new trend in the relationship between campus executives and boards, who can hire and fire campus leaders. Others see a shift in the expectations places on campus presidents.

8/11 – Employees Sue Four More Universities Over Retirement Plan Fees (NYT):  A number of elite private schools have been sued for failing to secure better terms on retirement plan fees.

8/9 – AAU Memo to Clinton & Trump (AAU): The nation’s top research universities have asked the major party presidential nominees to back “policies that foster innovation, enhance college affordability, attract and retain top international talent, and make the federal investments in research and higher education more efficient.”

8/5 – How Much Does Living Off-Campus Cost? Who Knows? (NYT): A study by the Wisconsin HOPE lab, which was founded by sociologist Sara Goldrick-Rab and works to make colleges more affordable, found that schools frequently over- or underestimate the cost of living off campus. This matters, not only for a student determining where to enroll, but for how federal loan limits are calculated.

8/4 – The Mess at Oberlin (Academe): Steve Lubet, a professor of law at Northwestern, argues for keeping separate one’s academic career (and any discipline one may invite) and personal statements in light of a controversy surrounding an Oberlin professor’s conspiratorial social media posts maligning Jews and Israel.

8/11 – The Quality Crisis at 4-year Public Colleges (ThirdWay): A report on higher education in California finds much to criticize — including low graduation rates — but much to praise at various UC campuses, too, including above-average enrollment of Pell students paired with above-average graduation rates.

Media Coverage 7/1/16

It was a quiet week for UC in terms of media coverage. However, in the legislature, AB 1711 has appeared to falter. The bill, which is intended to cap out-of-state enrollment, has hit a roadblock and been significantly altered, according to the official website of the Legislature. First, the bill’s author, Kevin McCarty, amended the bill as it was being considered by the Senate Education Committee. Instead of setting a percentage cap on out-of-state enrollment, the bill now states out-of-state students must exceed the standards which in-state students are held to for admissions. The change is likely a response to the state audit’s finding that out-of-state students were being held to a lower standard than in-state students. However, the bill also failed to pass within the Senate Education Committee on June 29, though reconsideration was granted. See more here.

In other news, questions have arisen over Berkeley’s handling of an investigation into a football player’s death. Also, some have questioned whether UC attempted to stage a PR campaign to counter the impact of the state’s recent audit. Additionally, some UC Davis faculty members wrote a harsh editorial criticizing Napolitano over her handling of the Katehi affair.

Football

6/29 – Critics question Cal’s probe into football coach’s actions (SFChronicle): An inquiry that cleared Berkeley’s football coaching staff of dangerous practice techniques was conducted by those with personal ties to the coaching staff, thus raising questions about the legitimacy of the report.

6/30 – Faculty wants probe, asks UC Berkeley to suspend coach rehiring (SFGate): The BFA (meaning…Prof. Burawoy & co) have asked the university to not renew a contract with a Cal football coach until that coach’s role in a student’s death is properly investigated.

This & That

6/30 – Op Ed: Napolitano hurting UC system, action needed (EBTimes): Article accuses Napolitano of bungling the Katehi investigation, playing the press for political ends and failing to understand the role of the university in civic life.

6/27 – UC Berkeley spends big on chancellor’s campus fixer-upper (SFChronicle): University has spent $1 million sprucing up the chancellor’s official residence.

6/28 -UC spent $158,000 on campaign to counter critical state audit (SacBee): UCOP spent the money on a statewide campaign to boost its image, an effort at least partially intended to soften the blow from the state’s audit on out-of-state enrollment.

6/26 – Op Ed: How race-based affirmative action could return to UC (LATimes): A recent ruling by the Supreme Court that affirmed UT Austin’s consideration of race in admissions could open the doors for affirmative action at UC should voters overturn Prop. 209.

California Finances

6/30 – A Tale of Two Pension Funds (Medium): Stanford’s David Crane on how untimely reporting on California’s pension system makes it harder to manage.

Also, see the full California State Budget. Brown’s introductory budget message notes the importance of UC to the state very early on. Also, read the California Budget & Policy Center’s deep dive on the document.