Wednesday, December 13, 2017


The Sacramento Bee has a report on one of the now-common sexual harassment cases that came to light long after the event, this one involving a UC-Davis emeritus professor. (In this case, apparently same-sex harassment was involved.) The news report contains the following excerpt:

...Gray, director of academic employment and labor relations in the office of the vice provost for academic affairs, provided an advance copy of his blog post to the university last week. That sparked negotiations over the weekend between the university and Holoman that resulted in the professor agreeing to relinquish his emeritus status, said UC Davis spokeswoman Dana Topousis.
Holoman agreed to be demoted from distinguished professor to professor and relinquish his emeritus status, which means he can no longer teach or pursue research related to the University of California, according to a disciplinary letter signed by the university and Holoman on Monday. Holoman can, however, use the university library to finish his current projects as long as he has no contact with students...
It's not clear - despite the news report - that a ladder faculty member's emeritus title can be removed without some participation of the Academic Senate. Of course, there might have been some Senate participation which the news item missed. And the individual in question could voluntarily agree not to exercise whatever emeritus privileges the title offers. If there was no Senate consultation involved, maybe someone at Davis ought to take a look. Or maybe someone in the Academic Council. Bad cases make bad precedents.


UC submitted its bid to continue in a managerial role at the Los Alamos National Lab (LANL). But it won't say who its partners are. As blog readers will know, it has been reported that UC is partnering with Texas A&M.

The University of California was the only organization to confirm Monday it had submitted a bid to manage and operate Los Alamos National Laboratory for the next five years.

Bids were due to the National Nuclear Security Administration Monday. The NNSA would not release information about the contractors that submitted bids and would not say when bids would be opened.
The UC system confirmed its submission in an email to the Los Alamos Monitor.

“I can confirm that UC submitted a proposal today for the Los Alamos National Laboratory management contract. We aren’t confirming or discussing any of our bid partners at this time,” UC Spokeswoman Stephanie Beechem said.
UC is a managing partner in Los Alamos National Security LLC, the consortium operating the lab...

Many contractors on a list of possible bidders reached out to the Los Alamos Monitor Tuesday. While none that responded indicated they sent in a bid, many gave reasons why they did not bid. Many said after considering the issue carefully, that their companies would be better off in a support role to the companies that did put in a bid and later won the contract.
“Keystone has not committed to a team and does not have a plan to do so,” Keystone International President Michelle Detry said. “We believe our long-term options are best served by supporting whichever team wins.”

Bechtel, a for-profit company that is also in the LANS consortium, was also on the list of prospective bidders.
“We won’t be commenting on the procurement process right now. We’re concentrating on managing the Lab safely and efficiently as part of the LANS team,” Bechtel Nuclear, Security and Environmental Manager of Public Affairs Fred deSousa said. Other potential bidders said they thought that on further examination, it just wasn’t the path they wanted their companies to take at the time...

The UC system also manages the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and is also a partner that manages Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. 

The University of Texas system, which was expected to submit a bid to the NNSA, did not return requests for comment about whether the system submitted a bid.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Extra Billion

There's no evidence that he actually said it (and maybe you don't know who he was, anyway.)
The latest state controller's cash report though November indicates that there was an extra billion dollars in revenue during the current fiscal year. So, although the governor will undoubtedly push for fiscal prudence, more in the rainy day fund, etc., as he does with each budget message, there will be a counter-push in the legislature toward spending increases. Will UC benefit? We'll see.

The report is at:

Pots and Kettles at the Regents

There is a long article in the Huffington Post about Lt. Guv Gavin Newsom (a candidate for guv and an ex officio Regent) calling for the resignation of UC Regent Norman Pattiz because of the latter's sex-harassment scandal: [excerpt]

California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and education leaders are urging the University of California to address allegations of sexual harassment and workplace misconduct by University of California regent and radio mogul Norman Pattiz, nearly a year after several people said Pattiz made them uncomfortable in the workplace.

One of the women, comedian Heather McDonald, released a tape in November 2016 of Pattiz asking her if he could hold her breasts. Pattiz has confirmed that it’s his voice on the tape and apologized. Another employee accused Pattiz, a Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department reserve officer, of brandishing his firearm in a threatening manner. Pattiz denies those allegations.

In a letter dated Nov. 29, Newsom, California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and UC Student Regent Paul Monge asked university officials to make clear what they have done or will do about Pattiz, whom Gov. Jerry Brown reappointed to a 12-year term in 2014.

The issue is complicated by the fact that it’s not possible for anyone ― including the board itself, any California legislative body or the governor, who appoints most regents ― to remove Pattiz. Instead, Pattiz would need to voluntarily resign.

In a statement, Marvin Putnam, a lawyer for Pattiz, said the McDonald incident had been resolved and that if Newsom “took a moment to learn the facts, then he would not have sent the letter he did.”

“As Napolitano stated at the time, the matter is now closed,” Putnam said. “There is an American tradition of not rushing to judgment without knowing the facts; hopefully, we are not losing that august tradition in the midst of the important national conversation and reevaluation that is now underway.”

Brown wants Pattiz to resign, according to two sources familiar with his thinking. He has had a senior staff member request Pattiz’s resignation at least once, the sources said, but Pattiz refused.

The UC Regents, more formally known as the Regents of the University of California, is a governing board charged with overseeing the University of California system, including over 200,000 students and over 150,000 faculty and staff members. It has broad powers and helps to oversee a multibillion-dollar budget.

The scandal-plagued University of California system has been working to improve its handling of sexual harassment cases by speeding up investigation timelines. And earlier this year, the Board of Regents also strengthened its own ethics policies, addressing procedures for investigations into alleged misconduct and providing options for sanctioning a regent if allegations are proven...

Full story at

The Huffington Post's report neglects some past sex-related history of Newsom's back when he was mayor of San Francisco:

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's re-election campaign manager resigned Wednesday after confronting the mayor about an affair Newsom had with his wife while she worked in the mayor's office, City Hall sources said.
Alex Tourk, 39, who served as Newsom's deputy chief of staff before becoming his campaign manager in September, confronted the mayor after his wife, Ruby Rippey-Tourk, told him of the affair as part of a rehabilitation program she had been undergoing for substance abuse, said the sources, who had direct knowledge of Wednesday's meeting.
Rippey-Tourk, 34, was the mayor's appointments secretary from the start of his administration in 2004 until last spring. She told her husband that the affair with Newsom was short-lived and happened about a year and a half ago, while the mayor was undergoing a divorce from his then-wife, Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle, said the sources, who spoke on condition they not be identified.
Alex Tourk "confronted the mayor on the issue this afternoon, expressed his feeling about the situation in an honest and pointed way, and resigned," said one source close to Tourk and his wife...

Interesting Profile of a Title IX Lawyer

There is an interesting profile of a Title IX Lawyer in the New York Times. He begins by developing a practice suing universities on behalf of the accused. Spoiler Alert: He ends with doubts as to how to achieve balance.

Last year, the phone rang in the office of the New York attorney Andrew T. Miltenberg. On the line was Tom Rossley, a trustee for 23 years at Drake University in Iowa. His son, Thomas, had just been expelled after a woman accused him of rape, and Rossley, such a longtime booster that he was sometimes called Mr. Drake, was on the verge of being kicked off the board for protesting the verdict, he believed.

While a trustee’s son might be expected to receive favorable treatment, Rossley thought that possibility had been eclipsed by the school’s greater urgency to demonstrate how seriously it took sexual assault, because it was under federal investigation at the time for supposedly mishandling a victim’s complaint two years earlier. “I’m not definitively saying it didn’t happen,” he told Miltenberg. “I’m not saying it did happen. What I’m saying is we don’t know, and they didn’t really want to find out.”

As Rossley would explain to Miltenberg, on the night in question, Thomas, then 21, met up with a woman in his circle of friends. Each had drunk heavily. According to the school investigator’s report, the woman remembered Thomas having sex with her in his dorm room, her telling him to stop and him stopping. But Thomas, who said he’d had the equivalent of 15 drinks, didn’t recall having intercourse and woke up fully clothed. Rossley noted what he believed to be many flaws in the process of his son’s case, including the school investigator’s not accepting key witnesses — among them Thomas’s roommate, who claimed he was present in the room the entire night. Although in the classroom Drake accommodated Thomas’s lifelong language-based learning disability, which made communication difficult, he was left to defend himself in a nine-hour hearing, in which he frequently stumbled and was asked to speak up. (Drake declined to comment on the details of the case but broadly disputes the Rossleys’ characterization. In court filings, the school said Thomas could have introduced additional witnesses at the hearing and did not request disability accommodations.)

Rossley had contacted Miltenberg to ask him to handle their suits — Thomas’s claiming gender discrimination and due-process violations, and Rossley’s for retaliation after the board removed him. Miltenberg’s name was easy to find because by then he had established a reputation as “the rape-guy lawyer,” as a colleague describes him, or “the due-process guy,” as he sometimes calls himself. To Miltenberg, the Rossleys’ experience showcased “the disparity between how men and women are being treated” under Title IX — the federal law that prohibits gender discrimination in schools that receive public funds — and demonstrated how campus responses to sexual assault have become driven by internal politics and institutional fears...

(That's the opening of the article. Here is the end below.)

...When DeVos rescinded the letter in September, Miltenberg released a statement that did not betray any doubts but instead stated that he was “encouraged” by the action. But when he elaborated to me, he sounded more conflicted. Although he was glad more people were talking about the issue, he said he was “having a bit of a crisis of conscience.” Over the months he had worked on the woman’s case, the conventional wisdom about campus sexual assault had changed, with greater public focus on concerns about due process. “And insanely, I’m one of the people, for better or worse, who had some impact on shifting the narrative.” At the same time, he worried that the rescission could lead to a reaction of its own. He had received nearly a dozen new cases — all decided in the weeks immediately surrounding DeVos’s speech — in which he believed the schools had meted out unduly harsh penalties to make “a political counterstatement.” That prospect was as concerning to him as the school’s inaction on his female client’s case.

“There are real topics in this world that are zero-sum games,” he said; finding a balance between addressing sexual assault and ensuring due process didn’t need to be one. He found himself thinking that advocates on either side of the debate shared a sense of battlefield camaraderie, because only they saw what was really going on. “Sometimes you sit in this hearing and your heart breaks for both people,” he said. “Sometimes I walk out and think the whole thing is a [expletive]: terrible for him, terrible for her, terrible for the parents.” It would be disingenuous, he said, not to acknowledge the concerns of the other side: That if the process is broken, it’s broken at least as much for victims as the accused. That correction can become overcorrection in either direction. The pendulum swings both ways. It shouldn’t, he said, “but I don’t know how to stop it.”

Full story (with the middle) at:

Monday, December 11, 2017

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Somebody at UCOP was thinking outside the box...

Was the somebody the politically-minded UC prez?

UC is about to bid to continue its managerial role in Los Alamos National Lab. But it is competing against the U of Texas (whose regents seemed to be split on making the bid)* and Texas A&M, which seems more gung ho about the effort. And, of course, California is not beloved to the Trump folks. So - read on:

Here is Wikipedia on Rick Perry, the current head of the Department of Energy (which will soon be evaluating the bid of UC to continue its managerial role in Los Alamos:

...Upon graduation from high school, Perry attended Texas A&M University where he was a member of the Corps of Cadets and the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity. He was elected senior class social secretary, and one of A&M's five "yell leaders" - students that lead Aggie fans in a series of "yells" during athletic events or other school events. He graduated in 1972 with a Bachelor of Science degree in animal science...

And here is an article dated Dec. 9 from the Santa Fe New Mexican:

When the University of California submits its bid Monday to continue management of Los Alamos National Laboratory, the public institution from the biggest, bluest state in the country will have an eye-grabbing partner: Texas A&M University.

The two large university systems, one from a solid Democratic state and the other from the largest Republican-led state, are planning to join forces in a proposal to manage the national lab for the next decade, the Austin American-Statesman reported Saturday, citing unnamed sources.

University officials would not confirm the partnership to The New Mexican, but the director of one lab watchdog group, who was unaware of the partnership, said while it might seem like the two university systems make “strange bedfellows,” a Cal-Texas A&M partnership would be a good fit in many ways.

“It would make sense politically, certainly,” Greg Mello of the Los Alamos Study Group said in an interview with The New Mexican earlier this week. “And it would seem to make sense from a research perspective. Both schools have a little different niche in that regard.”

Texas A&M, a land-grant college system with 11 campuses and a flagship in College Station, Texas, also gives the University of California, the lab’s operator in some form since its inception in 1943, a chance to move ahead with a fresh partner that can bring operational success in areas where it has been criticized: nuclear safety, hazardous materials handling, mechanics and logistics.

Another known bidder is the University of Texas System, a consortium of 14 campuses with a flagship in Austin. The UT System Board of Regents approved moving ahead with a bid at its November meeting...

University of California officials, who spent time in Northern New Mexico touting their long history and successes at the lab in late November, would not talk about potential alliances when contacted by The New Mexican.

“We can’t confirm or discuss any of our bid partners,” said UC’s Gary Falle, a government relations specialist working with California regents...

Full story at

In short, the winds suddenly seem to have shifted in favor of UC's Los Alamos bid: