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UC Regents recap – July 12

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The Academic and Student Affairs Committee established a policy in undergraduate admissions that includes requesting letters of recommendation from possible admits. (Daily Bruin file photo)

The Academic and Student Affairs Committee established a policy in undergraduate admissions that includes requesting letters of recommendation from possible admits. (Daily Bruin file photo)

The University of California Board of Regents, the governing body of the UC, discussed diversity in graduate student programs, outcomes of surveys targeting graduate students and undergraduate admission policy, among other items, on the second day of its board meeting at UC San Francisco.

Board of Regents

  • Students gave public comments about tuition and housing costs, hate speech on campuses and lack of student representation among regents.
  • President Janet Napolitano gave opening remarks on admission statistics released last week. She added that two weeks ago, her office announced new systemwide procedures in handling sexual violence and sexual harassment cases involving staff. She said her office is implementing 33 recommendations that the state auditor has made to the University of California Office of the President, adding that progress is being updated online.
  • Jim Chalfant, academic senate chair, talked about the importance of maintaining a close relationship between regents and faculty, and said that improvement among the UCOP is gradual. He also criticized the decline in state funds and added that budget blackmail only harms the students.
  • The board appointed Devon Graves, a doctoral student in education at the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, as the 44th student regent-designate.

Compliance and Audit Committee

  • Vanessa Ridley, director of health care compliance and systemwide privacy, spoke about the 2017-2018 ethics and compliance work plan. She listed nine compliance-risk priorities, with six priority areas focused on campuses and three on medical centers. The risks included cybersecurity, sexual violence and harassment and privacy.
  • The board unanimously approved the audit plan for the risk assessment process for 2017-2018.
  • Rachael Nava, executive vice president of the Office of the Chief Operating Officer; Matthew Hicks, systemwide deputy audit officer and Charlie F. Robinson, general counsel and vice president of legal affairs, gave updates on the implementation of recommendations made by the California state auditor regarding the UCOP expenditures.

Public Engagement and Development

  • Claire Holmes, UC interim senior vice president of public affairs, gave the regents a presentation on the university’s past public communication efforts. She said surveys, focus groups and studies have shown the public has a positive perception of the UC campuses. However, she added that participants were less aware of how the different components of the UC system work together and affect Californians every day. Holmes also gave brief overviews of different campaigns that engage the UC with the public such as Achieve UC or Climate Lab.
  • Regents and campus chancellors brainstormed ways to use media coverage and advertisements to engage different communities that affect the UC, such as state legislators and members of the public.
  • Kieran Flaherty, UC associate vice president and director of state governmental relations, gave updates on five UC-supported pieces of legislation working their way through various committees of the legislature, including the state budget and an extension of an umbilical cord blood collection program. He added the UC is developing relationships with different state executive and legislative contacts in Sacramento.
  • UC San Francisco chancellor Sam Hawgood said the campus is engaging with the local community through outreach programs such as health screenings, summer camps and job training sessions.

Academic and Student Affairs Committee

  • The committee discussed outcomes of the Graduate Student Well-Being Survey, administered in 2016. The survey, which received 5,000 responses, showed that most students were satisfied with their experiences but had concerns on issues such as food insecurity and career prospects. 30 percent of respondents in the survey indicated symptoms of depression.
  • The committee also discussed diversity in graduate student programs. Aimée Dorr, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, said the enrollment of underrepresented minority students, or URMs, and female students has increased over the last 15 years. The percentage of URMs increased from 3 to 6 percent in engineering, and from 10 to 24 percent in health sciences.
  • Regent Eloy Ortiz Oakley and Regent John Pérez criticized the lack of action items that address underrepresentation and inequalities among students.
  • The board approved establishing a policy on augmented reviews in undergraduate admissions. This systemwide policy allows admission offices to request letters of recommendations from possible admits.
  • Some board members said they were concerned about how the recommendation letters will be used and whether the policy will put some students at a disadvantage. They were specifically worried about the quality of such letters for students from low-resource schools.
  • The committee also discussed the ongoing activity-based costing pilot studies currently being implemented at UC Riverside, UC Davis and UC Merced. Activity-based costing is an alternative way of determining the pricing of product or service. Instead of estimating costs through an aggregate, more general basis, ABC tries to use more detailed analyses to more accurately determine the cost of a service or product.

Finance and Capital Strategies Committee

  • The regents approved a budget of $266 million to fund the Nuevo East Student Housing project at UC San Diego. The project will add about 546,975 square feet of housing space, supplying about 1,414 beds for graduate students.
  • The regents approved two projects at UC San Diego to development more student housing and construct more academic department buildings. The North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood project will operate with a budget of $509 million and the Ridge Walk Academic Complex project will operate with a budget of $12 million.
  • The regents approved a plan to appropriate $3 million in funding for housing development projects in UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC Riverside, UC San Diego, UC San Francisco, UC Santa Barbara and UC Santa Cruz. The projects are in response to increased enrollment at UC campuses.

Contributing reports from Ryan Leou, Daily Bruin senior staff, and Jacob Preal, assistant news editor for city and crime.

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Zhen is an assistant news editor for the national and higher education beat. She was previously a contributor for the campus politics beat and an online contributor.

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