UC411 – Day 1

Building Projects

5:00PM – The Regents do approve the Lawrence Berkeley National Labs rebuilding, despite public comment concerns that such a thing would be subject to environmental and landslide issues.

4:30PM – Talking about UCSB new Bioengineering  building – it’s going to cost 72million dollars, and UC is asking for 25million dollars from the State budget.  There has been a number of questions of whether state funding will come in (VP Lenz believes that there is a good chance that it will), what will happen if it doesn’t.  25million dollars could come from the state either in Lease Revenue Bonds or General Obligation Bond that would go in front of the voters in November.  The building is also considering 4.5million dollars from the indirect cost recovery from federal grants, that would be gained from the federal grants the faculty would apply for and execute in the building.

Faculty also raise the issue – why are we building when faculty, services, and fees are being hit very hard.  they are worried that the UC is betting on growing at a time of budget crisis – they suggest that right now, there is such a fiscal restraint that we must look so much closer at every building we build.  The indirect cost recovery that’s going to this building (4.5million) could have gone to other budget priorities.

UCSB Chancellor Yang says that this building represents that this is where UCSB wants to find it’s intellectual niche – bioengineering.  They find this is a worthy investment.

4:00PM – UCSD’s new hospital wing environmental report was just certified by the Regents – the major issue there was traffic concerns from the city due to the traffic created by the hospital.  That was mostly cleared by General Counsel and the Regents through an understanding that the UCSD would also pay for mitigation of any traffic impacts – and although we may not be able to completely mitigate the traffic concerns, the road would be widened to help the issue.

Public Comment

3:30PM – We just heard public comment for the Committee on Grounds and Buildings.  The five speakers were all talking about the rebuilding happening at the Lawrence National Labs – the claim is that they are building both on a landslide zone, and a SuperFund zone that is contaminated.

10:30AM – I’m on the CalTrain heading to the July Regents Meeting in UCSF which is starting today with the Committee on Grounds And Buildings! It is the first Regent Meeting of the year, so the Board is going to see some new players, including Alfredo Mireles, the new student Regent-designate; Bob Anderson, the new vice chair of the Academic Senate; and Penelope Herbert, the new Staff Advisor-designate.

Along with that, Dan Simmions from UC Davis has become the official Chair of Academic Senate, and Juliann Martinez has become the official Staff Advisor to the Regents.  I have moved into my voting Student Regent term as well.

The big issues this Regent meeting will involve new admissions data and processes from the faculty.  They are examining in particular the diversity impacts of the admissions processes used by different campuses.  It should be noted that while all the campuses use the same “Comprehensive Review” standards for admissions, every campus chooses to implement those standards in different ways, which has resulted in significantly different student body demographics, particularly in UCSD, which sees a huge disparity in the number of black students on their campus.

Other big topics will include online admissions, which is getting its first look from the Regents.  It is currently only in it’s pilot phase, and is looking to convert 40 undergrad core courses into completely online instruction.  The pilot will be externally funded (and so will need fundraising), and the core courses will be tested for academic quality for future efforts.

Finally, look for updates on the Governor’s budget and the UC response from the Committee on Finance. This will come coupled with one action item – the Regents will adopt a resolution regarding administrative efficiencies.  The resolution will empower the Office of the President more authority to approve or decline new campus administrative systems, and more power from the top to regulate system-wide uniformity for campus systems.  The goal is to improve the cost efficiencies on all the campuses.

But for Day 1, we are just doing Grounds and Buildings!  I’ll start liveblogging again at 3PM, so please stay tuned!


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