Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Another Critical Report by the State Auditor

The California State Auditor has released another critical report of UC, actually UCOP specifically. The headline element in the report is a $175 million reserve:

HIGHLIGHTS: Our audit of the University of California Office of the President’s budget and staffing processes revealed the following:
  • The Office of the President did not disclose to the University of California Board of Regents, the Legislature, and the public $175 million in budget reserve funds.
    • It spent significantly less than it budgeted for and asked for increases based on its previous years’ over‑estimated budgets rather than its actual expenditures.
    • It created an undisclosed budget to spend the reserve funds; the budget ranged from $77 million to $114 million during a four-year period.
    • The reserve included $32 million in unspent funds it received from an annual charge levied on the campuses—funds that campuses could have spent on students.
  • The Office of the President’s executive and administrative salaries are significantly higher than comparable state employee salaries.
  • During a five-year period, the Office of the President spent at least $21.6 million on employee benefits some of which are atypical to the public sector, such as supplemental retirement contributions.
  • The Office of the President has failed to satisfactorily justify its spending on systemwide initiatives, and it does not evaluate these programs’ continued priority or cost.
  • Both Office of the President and campus administrative spending increased and annual budget and staffing levels for the Office of the President are higher than administrations at other comparable public universities.
  • Auditing standards prohibited us from drawing conclusions from some of our work because the Office of the President intentionally interfered with our audit process.
    • It inappropriately screened the campuses’ survey responses before campuses submitted the surveys to us.
    • Campus statements that were initially critical of the Office of the President had been revised and quality ratings shifted to be more positive.
  • Significant reforms are necessary to strengthen the public’s trust in the Office of the President.

Full report - including UC's response - is at:

The reserve appears to result from campus assessments that go to UCOP and various programs that in a given year spent less than allocated. Some of the reserves are earmarked for use by such programs, i.e., they are carryover funds.

There is also a response to the UC response in the report. At least some of the responses on both sides remind one of Monty Python:

Here is a news report:

The University of California’s headquarters hid $175 million from the public and lawmakers in a secret reserve fund while the Office of the President was asking the state for more money, according to a report released Tuesday by state Auditor Elaine Howell...

Full story at

Berkeley Makes the Onion

Monday, April 24, 2017

Conservative students file suit against UC-Berkeley over Coulter event

Charging that the University of California has attempted to “restrict conservative free speech’’ regarding author Ann Coulter’s appearance on campus, two Berkeley student groups filed suit Monday in federal court to challenge the university’s efforts to reschedule her April 27 event.

The lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court of Northern California on behalf of two organizations — the national Young America’s Foundation and the UC Berkeley College Republicans — names UC President Janet Napolitano and university officials, including the head of the campus police department, as defendants.

San Francisco attorney Harmeet Dhillon, a Republican National Committee member who is representing the student groups, said in an interview that progressive leaders including Sen. Bernie Sanders, former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown,* and Rep. Keith Ellison have all spoken up for the right of the student groups in Berkeley, the "birthplace of the Free Speech Movement" to schedule Coulter's address…

Note: During the radio interview with the UC prez (see earlier post), she was asked by a caller why - if there is a venue that was safe for the date in May which UC-Berkeley offered as a rescheduled date - it could not be made available on the original invitation date. No clear answer was received. Not asked was whether the governor - who likes to emphasize his role as titular leader of the Board of Regents - should be asked to assist in providing security. If campus and Berkeley City police cannot provide adequate security, shouldn't the state step in?

UCLA Ranked High in Tech Transfer

UCLA is ranked high (#15) in an index of technology transfer - the highest UC campus - by the Milken Institute. See the document below. There is a methodological statement on how the index was constructed on p. 15-16 (document pages; 17-18 file pages).

As usual in such rankings, the weights applied to various factors are somewhat arbitrary. But... The document is at:

Radio Interview With UC Prez

UC prez Napolitano was interviewed recently (4-19-17) on KQED on topics such as free speech (Ann Coulter upcoming talk), tuition, admissions, out of state students, outsourcing, etc. The interview was pretty much softball questions. Some phone questions from the radio audience were included.

You can hear the program at the link below:

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Erosion of the Master Plan

Erosion eventually undermines a once-solid structure
From time to time, this blog has pointed to the political erosion of the 1960 Master Plan. Dan Walters, in a column in the Sacramento Bee, points to two bills currently in the legislature which move in that direction.*

One (AB405) would allow community colleges to offer 4-year degrees in cybersecurity.** The pattern in the legislature has been to find some topic in which no formal 4-year degree is being offered by UC or CSU and then propose that community colleges should fill the gap.

The other bill (AB207) would authorize Fresno State U to open a medical school.***

Although Walters characterizes these two bills as "stalled," there will be more such bills in the future and some will be enacted. The Master Plan was developed because at the time such ad hoc developments were occurring as every higher ed institution sought to build its own empire. So maybe it's time to consider developing a new plan rather than have the legislature create an incoherent jumble of programs.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Uh Oh - Part 2

We have noted in prior posts the apparently upcoming Ann Coulter appearance at Berkeley. Earlier this year, there was the clash over the appearance of Milo Yiannopoulos that led to violence. Yiannopoulos - probably to take advantage of the publicity given the Coulter event - has announced a return to Berkeley. However, no specific date was announced:

Conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos announced that he was planning to launch a comeback tour after his abrupt resignation as editor from the far-right website Breitbart News earlier this year. The multi-day event, which he called "Milo's Free Speech Week," is scheduled be held in Berkeley, California — one of the cities known for its promotion of free speech since the 1960s — sometime later this year... "If UC Berkeley does not actively assist us in the planning and execution of this event, we will extend festivities to an entire month," he said...

Full story at

The Coulter matter, in particular, may come up at the next Regents meeting in May, especially if litigation arises from it* or if violence ensues.
"Students who invited right-wing pundit Ann Coulter to UC Berkeley next week gave campus administrators an ultimatum Friday: Let her speak on campus Thursday evening or they will sue the university in federal court on grounds UC is violating their constitutional right to free speech." Full story at: