Media Coverage 5/22/17

The flood of news concerning the UCOP audit slowed to a trickle this week, though the repercussions of an earlier audit made news. The Regents approved a cap on nonresident undergraduate enrollment, a policy change spurred by a 2016 audit that found in-state students were disadvantaged in the admissions process as UC sought the financial benefits of out-state-students. System-wide, UC’s undergraduate student body is about 16.5 percent nonresident. The cap will allow the proportion to grow to 18 percent at five campuses currently below that threshold. Four campuses—Berkeley, UCLA, San Diego and Irvine—exceed that limit. Instead of being forced to cut down on the proportion of nonresident students, these campuses will be capped at their current level. The Regents considered an even more lax plan, but withdrew it from consideration after lawmakers expressed exasperation, citing constituents with high-achieving high schoolers who had been denied admission to the state’s premier higher education system. As part of a deal with Gov. Brown, the system should now receive an additional $18.5 million in funding, money that will be used to fund the enrollment of additional resident undergrads, according to the Sacramento Bee.

News about the more recent UCOP audit focused on a Regents meeting which protestors briefly shutdown. The protestors were there to criticize UCOP for what the audit characterized as excessive compensation. The Regents voiced their support for President Napolitano at the meeting, pushing back against some aspects of the auditor’s characterization of UCOP’s budgeting practices. In an op-ed, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-South Gate) urged the Regents to more closely monitor UCOP.

In other news, Gov. Brown’s May budget revision makes the receipt of $50 million contingent on three conditions:

  1. State Auditor Recommendations: In an April 2017 report, the State Auditor identified a number of problems with the UC Office of the President (UCOP), including the office’s staffing size and costs, spending on systemwide programs, and overall budget. The Auditor’s report included dozens of recommendations designed to enhance transparency, operational performance, and state oversight. The Auditor called for these recommendations to be implemented over a three-year period (between April 2018 and April 2020). The May Revision would link budget-year funding with UC’s implementation of the April 2018 recommendations.
  2. Transfer Enrollment: The May Revision also expects all but two campuses (Merced and San Francisco) to enroll at least one new transfer student for every two new freshman students for the 2018-19 academic year. That is, at least one-third of each campus’s new resident undergraduate enrollment would need to be transfer students. This target is intended to align with policies called for in the 1960 Master Plan for Higher Education. In 2015-16, 31 percent of UC’s incoming resident undergraduates were transfer students.
  3. Activity-Based Costing:  The May Revision’s final condition is for UC to pilot activity-based costing at three campuses. The purpose of activity-based costing is to identify program- and course-level costs of providing instruction and other services to students. Currently, one pilot is underway at the Riverside campus, and two campuses (Merced and Davis) have completed scoping studies for pilot programs

The Legislature is debating the budget, which has a June 15 deadline for passage.

Non-Residents

5/18 – UC pulls back welcome mat for nonresident students with first enrollment cap (SacBee): The article notes that nonresident enrollment increased rapidly during the recession, when the UC system saw its budget sharply cut. However, as the budget has recovered, nonresident enrollment has not slowed. Two Regents voted against the measure, with at least one casting their vote to signal support for more out-of-state students and the diversity they bring.

5/19 – UC leaders to cap nonresident student enrollment in 2018 (SFGate): The article notes UC enrolls more resident students than peer public universities.

UCOP

5/18 – UC regents defend Napolitano, thank auditor for probe (SFGate): The Regents pushed back on the auditor’s characterization of funds being hidden.

5/17 – UC students protest hidden funds, shut down regents meeting (SFGate): Protestors briefly shut down the Regents meeting, calling out President Napolitano for the perceived excesses of her office.

5/17 – UC regents meeting disrupted by protests over state audit finding of undisclosed surplus (LATimes): “Shame on you, Janet Napolitano. Shame on you, UCOP,” one student said at the meeting.

5/16 – Op-Ed: Speaker Rendon: In wake of audit, UC Regents need to wake up, better oversee President Napolitano and roll back tuition hike (SJMN): In his op-ed, Rendon wrote:

Regents must also demand transparency. We must receive clear, quality information and timely answers to our questions. That’s the only way to make informed budget, personnel and policy decisions.

I am frustrated with what Napolitano’s office has communicated and not communicated to the State Auditor, the public and the students. I will be ready with tough questions at the meeting. Legislators have to hold the Regents accountable, and the Regents have to hold the President accountable. That is what will bring lasting change.

Budget Revision

5/15 – State of California: LAO Budget Revision Analysis (LAO): The UC information is on page 26 of the report.

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Media Coverage 5/15/17

A week-long parade of bad press following the state audit of UCOP has put questions about President Janet Napolitano’s leadership front and center. One lawmaker has already called for the former governor and Homeland Security secretary to step down. Gov. Jerry Brown is even in the mix, saying $50 million will be withheld from UC if the system doesn’t adopt the audit’s recommendations. In an op-ed, Napolitano said her office is in the process of implementing the changes. She struck notes of both apology and defiance, saying that things could have been done better, but insisting the audit’s implications of hidden money are fiction. Despite the negative news, Regent Richard Blum has called the criticism over the reserve fund “utter nonsense” and added he believes UCOP’s account of allegations concerning interference with the audit.

Nonetheless, concerns about UCOP meddling in the audit have led the Regents to vote to bring in an independent investigator to look into the interference claims. The San Francisco Chronicle reported three campuses changed responses in ways that painted UCOP in a better light, a finding that elicited harsh criticism from lawmakers. In response, Democrats have proposed making such interference a criminal offense.

Making matters worse, another story from the San Francisco Chronicle highlighted the high costs of retirement parties for UCOP employees, including one in 2015 with a bill of $4,200. The article also notes the $11,500 monthly rent on Napolitano’s Oakland apartment, though UCOP emphasized the space is used for official business and is paid for with private funds. Buried in the story is a note that iPads and cell phones have cost UCOP $2 million over a four-year stretch, a 29 percent increase. During the same period, the State of California was cutting cell phone costs by about 30 percent.

Amid the audit dustup, UC has also proposed a more politically palatable out-of-state student cap. Earlier, the university proposed capping the system-wide proportion at 20 percent, but after facing criticism, they’ve moved the cap down to 18 percent. Just as before, this new cap would not be enforced at campuses which currently exceed the limit.

Audit Fallout

5/11 – Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget holds back $50 million from UC to ‘hold their feet to the fire’ on reform (LATimes): Brown questioned the salaries of UC administrators and said his move would “hold their feet to the fire.”

2017-18 May Budget Revision

5/10 – Janet Napolitano, the ‘Political Heavyweight,’ Now Finds Herself Under Fire (Chronicle): This overview of Napolitano’s recent trials includes the amusing understatement: “Given the audit’s findings, however, (Napolitano) foresees spending more time working with state legislators to explain how the system is adopting the changes recommended in the audit.”

5/9 – UC audit reveals president’s office has extravagant taste (SFChronicle): UCOP spent $4,200 on a single retirement party in 2015. Between 2014 and 2016, at least 20 parties cost over $500. Additionally, UCOP spent $13,000 on dinner and security at a celebration of two departing Regents, though the money came from private sources.

5/10 – Op-Ed: UC president responds to critical audit (SFChronicle): Napolitano notes the suggested reforms will be implemented but emphasized the scope of UC’s responsibilities and questioned the audit’s characterization of its findings.

5/12 – $350 hotel nights, limo rides in Europe: UC audit finds more questionable travel expenses (LATimes): The LA Times piles on with more accounts of lavish spending, including a stay at a luxury hotel in Baltimore. UCOP notes no other hotels were available.

5/11 – California State Assembly member calls for Janet Napolitano’s resignation (DailyCal): Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton) has called for Napolitano to step down. The article also quotes student leaders who are critical of the system president.

5/11 – UC regents take first steps to investigate alleged interference in state audit surveys (LATimes): The Regents will hire an independent investigator to look into allegations that UCOP interfered with the state’s audit. Napolitano says she supports the move.

5/14 – Column: Key UC regent is standing by Napolitano (SFChronicle): Regent Richard Blum called the brouhaha over the reserve money “utter nonsense.”  Blum used colorful language to describe Lt. Gov. Newsom’s characterization of the audit’s finding.

5/11 – A Cloud Over the University of California (NYT): The California-focused daily newsletter from the New York Times highlighted the system’s woes.

5/14 – Closer look at $175 million UC hid from the public (SFChronicle): A closer look at the “hidden” $175 million, which UC insists wasn’t hidden. The vast majority of the funds have been allocated, including money for food pantries and sexual harassment training.

Audit Interference?

5/10 – 3 UC campuses change responses in state auditor’s survey (SFChronicle): The article relies on records from the audit:

The surveys and previously unreleased emails show that administrators at UC Santa Cruz, UC San Diego and UC Irvine removed criticism of Napolitano’s office or upgraded performance ratings in key areas at the direction of Napolitano’s staff. The interference — including a systemwide conference call conducted by the president’s office to coordinate responses among all campuses — prompted (State Auditor) Howle to discard all the results as tainted.

“The tampering is absolutely outrageous and unbelievable,” said Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, who requested the audit last year with Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, amid concerns over increased spending and rising tuition and fees. Napolitano oversees an office with a $686 million budget and nearly 1,700 employees.

5/9 – After blistering UC audit, interfering with state auditor could become crime (SJMN): Republican lawmakers are calling for a subpoena of relevant documents from UCOP’s offices.

5/9 – After UC probe, interfering with state auditor could soon be a crime (SacBee): The plan by two Democrats to introduce a bill is intended to clear up any confusion over whether such interference is criminal.

Out-of-State

 

5/9 – UC revises its plan to limit the share of spots going to out-of-state students (LATimes): UC has lowered the proposed cap on out-of-state students from 20 to 18 percent, though the four campuses above that limit would be able to maintain their current levels. Berkeley’s undergraduate population is 24.4 percent out-of-state.

 

Media Coverage 3/17/17

Carol Christ has been appointed Berkeley’s next chancellor, the first female to hold the position. An expert on Victorian literature, Christ served as executive vice chancellor and provost for six years in the 1990s. In 2002, she left Berkeley, where she had worked since becoming an assistant professor in 1970, to become president of Smith College, a role she held from 2002 to 2013. Christ returned to UC in 2015 to lead the campus’s Center for Studies in Higher Education and became interim executive vice chancellor and provost in May, replacing Claude Steele who resigned due to a perception that he and other campus leaders were tolerant of sexual misconduct. Christ has again been called on to fill a post vacated by a controversial resignation, as current Chancellor Nicholas Dirks agreed to step down following mounting criticism around his handling of sexual misconduct and an investigation into misuse of funds. The move was met with a high-level of praise from various bodies representing campus communities, including the Faculty Senate, the BFA and the Daily Cal’s editorial board. Christ’s salary will be$532,000, the same as what Dirks currently earns. Regents approved her appointment on Thursday and she will officially take over July 1.

In other news, Assembly Democrats announced a plan to reduce student debt. The plan has four components: (1) to make community colleges tuition free for one-year; (2) to expand the Success Grants program for low-income community college students; (3) reject Gov. Brown’s proposed elimination of the Middle Class Scholarship, which covers about 40 percent of tuition for 55,000 students; (4) and to create a new Degrees Not Debt Scholarship to help with non-tuition related costs of attending a UC or CSU campus. The governor’s office has expressed skepticism about the state’s ability to fund the $1.6 billion program. Elsewhere, the UC Regents delayed a vote on the non-resident enrollment cap until May. While it hasn’t received media attention, Assemblymembers Kevin Kiley (R-Roseville) and Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) have proposed a bill that would “urge” higher education campuses in California to adopt a free speech statement similar to the one produced by the University of Chicago (which you can read here).

3/13 – Carol Christ is named UC Berkeley’s chancellor (SFChronicle): Note the following reactions quoted by the paper:

“It’s fantastic news for the campus. Carol already commands a great deal of respect from the faculty,” said Robert Powell, a political science professor who chairs the Faculty Senate on campus.

“Carol Christ’s integrity, commitment to transparency and genuine love for UC Berkeley make her a worthy choice,” said the group’s co-chair, Celeste Langan, an associate professor of English, though “we don’t expect always to agree with (her) on every issue.”

For example, Langan said, her group believes the solution to the campus deficit “is to restore full public funding of tuition, not to turn the university into a revenue-generating business enterprise.” But she said Christ, who has not advocated eliminating tuition, has “demonstrated her willingness to engage in respectful, collegial dialogue.”

Michael O’Hare, a professor at the campus’ Goldman School of Public Policy, was so enthused by her selection that he emailed lyrics from Gilbert & Sullivan’s “Mikado,” which include the sentiment: “With joyous shout and ringing cheer, inaugurate our new career!”

O’Hare said he thinks Christ might be the first chancellor willing to slash money-losing intercollegiate athletics.

“I think she’ll have the courage to put them on a short financial leash, even if that means we have to leave Division 1, which I think would be great,” he said.

Kathryn Lybarger, a UC Berkeley gardener and president of the statewide labor union, congratulated Christ in a statement while inviting her to “join our efforts to address skyrocketing executive compensation (and) prevent outsourcing of career jobs to poverty wage contractors.”

3/17 – Editorial: Appointment of Carol Christ good for campus (DailyCal): Student editorial praises Christ for her knowledge of the campus and notes some of the challenges she may face, such a decision over whether to build a dorm on People’s Park.

3/14 – Editorial: Assembly Democrats over-promise free college (SacBee): Given uncertainty around Federal funding for social programs, now may not be the best time for a large new expenditure, the paper writes.

Also see: Official Statement

3/13 – Debt-free college? Assembly Democrats want to make it possible for California students (SacBee): The plan would cost the state about $1.6 billion, a figure the governor is citing in statements reflecting his office’s skepticism toward the state’s ability to pay for plan.

3/16 – UC regents debate enrollment limits on students from other states and countries, approve Berkeley chancellor (LATimes): The Regents delayed until May a vote on a proposal to limit out-of-state enrollment system-wide to 20 percent. A number of issues are in the air, including how to treat campuses which already exceed the limit and will be allowed to maintain their current levels under the plan and whether the cap is set at the right level. There is pressure both to lower the cap and to eliminate it.

3/16 -Four-year degree costs drop at California systems (IHE): According to a report, the institutional costs per degree dropped by 6 percent at UC from 1987 to 2013. In 2013, the cost was $109,000.

3/15 – University of California Fund to Double Private-Equity Holdings (Bloomberg): UC will double its investment in private equity (such as startups) and reduce what is held in traditional stocks, a move the fund’s manager said is made with long-term stability in mind.

Media Coverage 7/15/16

A busy week for UC news, as Berkeley’s chancellor is under investigation by the university system for improperly accepting free athletic training from a university employee and misusing public funds for a trip to India. The investigation comes on the heels of a number of accusations that the chancellor has mishandled sexual harassment incidents and an investigation into a football coach suspected of inciting violence. Speaking of football, it’s possible a current coach at UCLA was privy to the serial sexual child abuse by Jerry Sandusky while the UCLA coach worked at Penn State. Additionally, a report found widespread hunger among UC Students and the national media paid attention to California’s fight over out-of-state enrollment. On a brighter note, UC earned more US patents in 2015 than any other university.

Dirks

7/12 – UC Berkeley chancellor under investigation for alleged misuse of public funds, personal use of campus athletic trainer (LATimes): Chancellor Dirks is being investigated for “misuse of public funds for travel and the personal use of a campus athletic trainer without payment.” Dirks says he will comment when the investigation is over.

7/13 – Chancellor Nicholas Dirks under investigation for alleged misuse of funds, athletic services (DailyCal):  Faculty claim this incident adds to a general sense of distrust toward Dirks.

& more from SFGate, including the detail that the whistler-blower, a former colleague of the trainer being investigated alongside Dirks, was fired for embezzlement.  The San Jose Mercury News puts the investigation into the context of recent campus controversies. Also, read the letter from UC COO Rachael Nava to Dirks.

Hunger

7/12 – 1 in 5 University of California students struggles with hunger, study finds (SJMN): A total of 42 percent of students are food insecure, based on a survey of 9,000 students.

& more coverage from the LA Times.

Football

7/11 – UC Berkeley renews controversial coach’s contract (SFGate): Damon Harrington’s $150,000 contract was renewed. While faculty ask for a new investigation into his role in an athlete’s beating and another athlete’s death, Cal football players have rallied behind the coach.

7/12 – Unsealed testimony claims Tom Bradley knew of Penn State abuse (DailyBruin): UCLA football defensive coordinator Tom Bradley knew of Jerry Sandusky’s serial sexual child abuse while working at Penn State, according to testimony recently unsealed by a Pennsylvania court. Bradley denies knowing about any abuse.

& a nice student op-ed on what is sacrificed by the desire to win on the field.

Out-of-State

7/8 – Editorial: University of California in denial over damage it did (SDUT): Short editorial questions UCOP’s dismissal of the state’s audit.

7/7 – Public Colleges Chase Out-of-State Students, and Tuition (NYT): While the political fight over UC’s out-of-state student population has drawn much attention, this article notes public universities across the country have turned en masse to out-of-state students for the money they bring. As schools let in more students from out-of-state capable of paying higher tuition, the enrollment of black, Hispanic and low-income students declines.

7/12 – After Outcry, University of California Increases In-State Admission Offers (NYT): A recap of the UC system’s increased in-state admission offers in light of political pressure.

7/11 – Flagships Must Create New Models to Preserve the Public Good (Chronicle): Dirks recounts the history of declining state support for higher education, noting the current course is unsustainable if schools like Berkeley wish to remain great. Take note:

For Berkeley, as for other public institutions, this will mean becoming ever more aggressive in developing new funding models, including innovative master’s programs and more executive education. It also means using our assets in more commercial ways. While we need to shore up and sustain traditional sources of support from state and federal governments, we must also turn to methods that have been successfully used by private universities, including modest though regular increases in tuition while raising the discount level for financial aid, and endowing need-based student aid through fund raising.

This & That

7/8 – CSU cries foul on research grants in San Onofre deal (SDUT): CSU claims UC was unfairly privileged in getting access to $25 million for greenhouse gas research tied to a settlement over the failure of a nuclear plant. A plan to distribute the money to five UC campuses was struck down by the Public Utilities Commission, which may reopen the entire settlement.

& the UCLA Faculty Association with a few comments.

7/13 – Report: UC system secures more US patents in 2015 than any other university (NAI): UC had 489, followed by MIT with 278.

 

 

Media Coverage 7/8/16

The UC system followed through on a deal with the state to admit more in-state students and, at the same time, increased its enrollment of students of color. At Berkeley, the chancellor agreed to hold a follow-up investigation on the football team, though it’s unclear how much of a focus there will be on a coach who was linked to a student’s death and the beating of a player.

Enrollment

7/6 – UCLA, UC Berkeley boost admissions of Californians, including blacks and Latinos (LATimes): Both UC flagship schools admitted 1,000 more Californians each, including a significant boost in the number of black and Latino students. System-wide, the number of Californians admitted increased by 15 percent, which the article speculates may help ease the concerns of legislators critical of the university following a state audit that alleged the system exercised preferential admission practices for out-of-state students.

7/6 – UC campuses admit more Californians after years of falling rates (SJMercury): Assemblyman McCarty, who has led the criticism of UC’s out-of-state admissions policies, called the news “a good start.”

Football

7/2 – UC Berkeley chancellor orders new probe of football program (SFGate): UC Berkeley chancellor orders a new investigation into the school’s football program following a student death and team-led beating. Faculty protested after a Chronicle investigation revealed a probe into a coach linked to both incidents was biased. The new investigation will not focus on the coach, but instead the overall program.

This & That

7/2 – Cal student among victims in Bangladesh attack (SFChronicle): Tarishi Jain, a native of India, was 18.

7/1 – UC Davis chancellor withholds $200,000 scholarship donation as inquiry continues (SacBee): Embattled UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi has withheld donating $200,000 to the university as she is investigated by UCOP. The money comes from her service on the board of an academic publisher, a position she has been criticized for taking.

7/3 – Katehi investigation proceeds, compromises made (DavisEnterprise): UC agrees with Katehi’s team regarding a third party handling the chancellor’s university-owned electronic devices.

6/30 – UCLA Professor Accused Of Sexually Harassing Grad Students Is Returning (HuffPo): Gabriel Piterberg was suspended without pay for the Spring 2015 term, at which point the history professor left for a European fellowship.

Media Coverage 6/16/16

The legislature passed a $171 billion statewide budget that increases funding for UC, though the specter of AB 1711 — which would cap out-of-state enrollment at 10 percent and increase overall enrollment by quite a bit — still looms. Beyond UC, the budget is more conservative than legislative Democrats had hoped, as Brown was able to secure $2 billion to shore up the state’s rainy day fund. While the state’s economy has been growing, Brown senses a future recession is near. In total, UC gets $3.3 billion, an increase of $125.4 million over last year, though $18.5 million is tied to the Regents adopting a cap on out-of-state enrollment. The nature of that cap is unspecified by the budget bill. UC already has such policies in place on the three campuses with the highest rate of out-of-state enrollment — Berkeley, LA and San Diego.

Budget & out-of-state cap

6/15 – State budget heads to Gov. Brown: How education fared (EdSource): In addition to UC ‘s increased funding, CSU also saw a raise of $161 million. In the K-12 world, there was a big focus on early childhood education.

6/17 – Budget pushes UC to limit non-resident enrollment, CSU to boost graduation rates (EdSource):  The Regents are likely to discuss how to cap out-of-state enrollment in July or September.

6/16 – California lawmakers create a University of California research center on gun violence (LATimes): Included in the budget is $5 million to establish a center on gun research. The federal government has long had a ban on funding such research. The funding will cover the first five years of operations. Where the center will be located is still up in the air.

6/10 – California budget deal seeks nonresident enrollment cap at UC (SacBee): Written before the budget passed, this article notes an Assembly plan to give $1.1 million to the state auditor to annually look into UC was left out of the final budget deal.

More coverage: California Legislature approves $171 billion state budget (LATimes); California budget by the numbers (AP); California lawmakers approve budget bill – on deadline (SacBee); More State Funds, on One Condition (IHE)

UC Merced expansion

6/16 – UC Merced moves forward with major campus expansion (LATimes): UC Merced will take a public-private partnership approach to a $1.14 billion expansion that will create room for 4,000 new students.

6/15 – UC Merced to expand through unusual partnership (AP): The campus expansion will be funded by the university, the UC system and developers, who will share in the operating revenue from new dorms, a dining hall and other facilities. According to Napolitano: “UC Merced, the youngest campus in our system, is poised to become a model for our other campuses as we look for the most efficient ways to construct, operate and maintain facilities that enable us to pursue our teaching, research and public service missions.”

Katehi

6/15 – UC Davis chancellor sent aides to Switzerland to learn image-boosting tactics (SacBee): About $17,000 was spent on sending staff to study PR pros abroad and across the country in an effort to revamp the university’s own image.

6/10 – UC delays release of public records in UC Davis, Katehi probe (SacBee): UC says it is delaying the release of records requested by the Bee so as to not interfere with witness interviews pertaining to the Katehi investigation. The documents, requested in late March, include “contracts issued to consultants, emails, travel expenses for Katehi and other UC Davis officials and the complete text of a 2012 marketing study.” Also, it’s noted Napolitano claims she never asked Katehi to give up her faculty post.

This & That

6/12 – Students mark 32nd annual Latino graduation at UC Davis (SacBee): Less than 40 percent of latina/o and chicana/o students are enrolled by their junior year. UC Davis hosts a special graduation ceremony to celebrate those who do make it through.

6/13 – Report: California public colleges not producing enough STEM degrees (EdSource): California compares poorly to other states in terms of producing STEM grads, which this nonprofit thinks is a huge deal. The group, the Campaign for College Opportunity, seems to put more blame on CSU than UC, noting both systems produce about the same number of STEM grads despite CSU having twice the enrollment of UC.

Elsewhere in the great American West…

6/15 – University of Wyoming president to evaluate program cuts (AP): A downturn in the nation’s least populous state is forcing budget tightening at Wyoming’s only public four-year university. The school needs to trim $40 million. For perspective, the entire state budget is about $1.5 billion a year. Some of the savings will be made by reducing the amount of research faculty conduct and increasing the amount of teaching, as positions are left vacant.