University of California scandal could lead to race to replace Jerry Brown

Janet NapolitanoUniversity of California Regents have bought UC President Janet Napolitano’s story about how her office came to interfere with an audit of its performance ordered by the state Legislature, with regents saying they were disappointed by the scandal but prepared to move on after reprimanding Napolitano.

But there could be more fallout on two fronts: in the Legislature and in the governor’s race, where the frontrunner, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, is an ex-officio UC regent.

That’s because Napolitano’s story seems so implausible. According to an independent report prepared at regents’ behest by former California Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno and the Hueston Henningan law firm, after state Auditor Elaine Howle sent surveys to UC campuses in October 2016 asking for their assessment of UC’s Office of the President, Seth Grossman, Napolitano’s chief of staff, and Bernie Jones, her deputy chief of staff, put out the word that they needed to review the responses. This was done even though Howle had emphasized the responses were supposed to be confidential. Subsequently, three campuses – UC Santa Cruz, UC Irvine and UC San Diego – revised their responses to make them more favorable to Napolitano’s office.

But Napolitano told the Legislature in May, and Moreno’s investigators more recently, that while she approved the plan to have her office review the responses, she did so because she wanted to ensure the responses were correct – not because she wanted to protect her image. She also said campuses had requested help.

Moreno’s report did not suggest the UC president was lying. But it found no evidence that campuses sought help with their responses. And it noted that UC Santa Cruz Chancellor George Blumenthal said that he was chewed out by Napolitano for his campus sending in a response to Howle without running it by her staff. UC Santa Cruz’s response was the harshest of any campus, giving Napolitano’s office one “poor” and three “fair” ratings out of the 10 categories in the survey questions. After Blumenthal’s telephone conversation with what he described as a “furious” Napolitano, UC Santa Cruz changed the “poor” and “fair” ratings to good and upgraded three “good” ratings to “exceptional.”

Napolitano said she remembers her conversation with Blumenthal as being routine, not angry. But Blumenthal’s account is consistent with other findings in the Moreno report, such as Napolitano’s declaration in a text message that Howle was on a “witch hunt.”

The two aides cited in the Moreno report resigned a week before the report’s release and declined substantive comment on the allegations against them.

Lawmakers unlikely to be satisfied with handling of scandal

The Legislature, which passed a bill last session subsequently signed by Gov. Jerry Brown making it a crime for a state agency to interfere with a state audit, could consider follow-up legislation. There’s considerable residual anger overNapolitano’s May testimony to a joint legislative hearing in which she repeatedly denied personal wrongdoing of any kind. Assemblywoman Catharine Baker, R-Dublin, vice chair of the Higher Education Committee, cited that testimony last week in calling for Napolitano to be fired.

In the gubernatorial race, UC-related sparks seem just as likely to fly. While Newsom told the Los Angeles Times that he considered regents’ decision to reprimand Napolitano “insignificant” – suggesting he wanted stronger punishment – he joined the unanimous vote to retain her as UC president.

This is tough to square with Newsom’s reported comments about how he would deal with corruption and ethical issues in state government: “I will not be known for being timid about this or anything else. Gov. Brown says reform is overrated; I say it’s underrated.”

As for Howle’s part, she wants regents to take additional actions beyond reprimanding Napolitano, according to a letter she sent to regents and an internal report by her office that were obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

Howle asked regents to “consider disciplining university employees who repeatedly interfered with a state audit, tried to hide their actions, misled investigators and withheld requested information until threatened with court action,” the Times reported.

At the regents’ Nov. 17 meeting in San Francisco, they began consideration of measures meant to “clarify and strengthen” how UC officials who report both to the regents and to Napolitano must deal with state audits.

This article was originally published by CalWatchdog.com

California school officials use President Trump to mask their own failures

LAUSD school busThe nuance – the back-and-forth – was lost on many Obama-haters who celebrated the president. But it was also lost on Trump-haters, including public education officials and union leaders in California. They’ve used President Trump’s non-decision as an opportunity to rally their faithful by terrorizing undocumented families in the state.

California schools Superintendent Tom Torlakson denounced the president’s message as a “mean-spirited, political attack on students who are working hard to succeed.” Randall Booker, superintendent of Piedmont Unified in the Bay Area, said the president had launched a “direct attack on California families and their children.” In a letter to the California congressional delegation, University of California President Janet Napolitano called the president’s non-decision “callous and misguided” and said it “unnecessarily punishes hundreds of thousands of bright young people.”

Within a week of the announcement, closer to home, the board of the Santa Ana Unified School District voted to condemn the president’s move – or rather “non-move,” if you like. The resolution claimed “great uncertainty exists amongst students about what specific immigration policies will be pursued by the federal government, and immigrants and other populations within the SAUSD community are fearful of policies that may result in deportation or forced registration based on immigration status, religion or beliefs.”

I was the sole vote against the resolution, in part because we already passed a resolution in December 2016 asking Congress to act on immigration reform. But I was especially opposed to the resolution because the “uncertainty” it highlights has been caused by the very people behind this and similar resolutions. They are certainly the cause – and, if you believe them, the cure – of communal anxiety.

But I also voted against the resolution because I see it for what it really is: a tactic to transform Washington politics into local anxiety. Panic is useful for teacher’s union leaders and school officials who hope to distract us from the real issue: their failure to educate out students.

Their failure is documented in state tests that show a majority of our school children cannot read or perform math at grade level. Despite that undeniable evidence, SAUSD graduates these students from high school even though they’re unprepared for college or career. That’s a fraud.

Instead of correcting this social injustice, my fellow board members voted last week to condemn the president. That same night, teachers union leaders took their three minutes at the public-comments dais to condemn me for documenting the catastrophic, decades-long slide in student performance.

There is a crisis haunting our community. But it’s not a crisis the president caused. It’s not a crisis emanating from distant Washington, DC. Indeed, in the last several days, the president has begun talking with congressional Democrats about a deal that would permanently resolve the problem of people covered by the DACA program.

No, the crisis that should concern everyone has its origin right here in Santa Ana, California. It has been created by teacher’s union leaders, their allies and school officials who fail to educate generations of our children – and who attempt to distract us by sowing terror.

Under the law, all children, including immigrant children, have the right to a quality public education. Any other conversation is at best a sideshow meant to keep our community down.

This commentary appeared first in the Orange County Register. Cecilia Iglesias is a Santa Ana Unified school board trustee, president of the Parent Union, and director of community relations and education at the California Policy Center in Tustin. Researcher Stuart Clay contributed to this commentary.

University of California Sues Trump Administration over DACA Decision

Janet NapolitanoThe University of California has sued the Trump administration for its decision to rescind the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy.

UC lawyers allege that the rights of the nation’s largest college system were violated when President Donald Trump, on “nothing more than unreasoned executive whim,” dumped DACA.

Many conservatives complain that President Barack Obama issued DACA in violation of the Constitution, after failing to win congressional approval for a “pathway to citizenship” for 11.5 million illegal aliens.

UC President Janet Napolitano is especially knowledgeable regarding DACA, because as Obama’s Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security between 2009 to 2013, she issued the memorandum, “Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion with Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children,” to stop up to 2 million deportations of those brought illegally to the U.S. as children.

Although the title of Napolitano’s DACA memo talked about U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) using their professional discretion to decide deportation issues, the document’s language specifically mandated that for any individual meeting Napolitano’s criteria, ICE and CBP would “prevent low priority individuals from being placed into removal proceedings or removed from the United States.”

Breitbart News reported that of the 790,000 eligible aliens that enrolled in DACA, California has 223,000 California, or 28 percent of DACA enrollees. That is more than the combined totals of the next four states, including Texas, Illinois, Arizona and New York; and also more than in the lowest 28 states combined.

Despite the constant emphasis by DACA supporters about vulnerable children being victimized by their parents’ actions, DACA only covers aliens between the ages of 15 to 30 years old. The median age of a DACA enrollee is 25 years old.

One of the reasons that California is such a magnet to so-called “Dreamers” is the spectacular array of college educational benefits made available through the 2003 passage of AB 540, a waiver of out-of-state tuition for illegal aliens; and the 2011 passage of the California DREAM Act, which made all “undocumented” immigrants eligible for financial aid if they attended high school in the state or received a GED.

Financial aid programs available to “Dreamers” include Cal Grants for tuition; a Board of Governor’s fee waiver; and institution-specific grants and scholarships for UC and California State University campuses. Illegal aliens can also receive the UC’s California DREAM Loan Program and resources through campus Undocumented Student Centers.

Napolitano told NPR, “Neither I, nor the University of California, take the step of suing the federal government lightly, especially not the very agency that I led.”

She added: “It is imperative, however, that we stand up for these vital members of the UC community. They represent the best of who we are — hard working, resilient and motivated high achievers.”

This article was originally published by Breitbart.com/California

UC President Napolitano Hid $175 Million While Raising Tuition

Photo courtesy The National Guard, flickr.

The California State Auditor issued a scathing report last week alleging that University of California President and former Obama Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano raised tuitions while her office hid $175 million.

The cover page for State Auditor Elaine Howle’s 167-page audit report states bluntly that the UC president’s office  “Failed to Disclose Tens of Millions in Surplus Funds, and Its Budget Practices Are Misleading.”

The audit found that the UC spent $32.5 billion on expenses during the 2015-16 school year to fund 10 campuses, five medical centers, and its Office of the President headquarters. Although the UC states that its “fundamental missions are teaching, research and public service,” the UC only spent “$6.7 billion (21 percent) on teaching, “$4.6 billion (14 percent) on research” and “$630 million (2 percent) on public service.” The other $20.6 billion (63 percent) was spent on non-fundamental activities.

The audit highlighted criticism in January from students and lawmakers after the UC regents approved President Napolitano’s 2.7 percent tuition increase for the 2017-18 year, given that UC tuition nearly doubled from $6,141 in 2006–07 to the current $12,192 this school year.

In addition, State Auditor Howle’s audit found the “Office of the President has amassed substantial reserve funds, used misleading budgeting practices, provided its employees with generous salaries and atypical benefits, and failed to satisfactorily justify its spending on systemwide initiatives.”

Howle ominously added that the “Office of the President intentionally interfered with our audit process. Auditing standards require that we disclose this interference and prohibit us from drawing valid conclusions from this portion of our work.” Specific concerns, outlined in a cover letter to Governor Jerry Brown, include:

  • The Office of the President has accumulated more than $175 million in undisclosed restricted and discretionary reserves; as of fiscal year 2015–16, it had $83 million in its restricted reserve and $92 million in its discretionary reserve.
  • More than one-third of its discretionary reserve, or $32 million, came from unspent funds from the campus assessment— an annual charge that the Office of the President levies on campuses to fund the majority of its discretionary operations.
  • In certain years, the Office of the President requested and received approval from the Board of Regents (regents) to increase the campus assessment even though it had not spent all of the funds it received from campuses in prior years.
  • The Office of the President did not disclose the reserves it had accumulated, nor did it inform the regents of the annual undisclosed budget that it created to spend some of those funds. The undisclosed budget ranged from $77 million to $114 million during the four years we reviewed.
  • The Office of the President was unable to provide a complete listing of the systemwide initiatives, their costs, or an assessment of their continued benefit to the university.
  • While it appears that the Office of the President’s administrative spending increased by 28 percent, or $80 million, from fiscal years 2012–13 through 2015–16, the Office of the President continues to lack consistent definitions of and methods for tracking the university’s administrative expenses.

Breitbart called the University of California’s Office of the President and left a message requesting a comment regarding the audit. No response was received.

This piece was originally published by Breitbart.com/California

California University’s “Sanctuary” Policy a Threat to Federal Funding

FILE - In this July 17, 2007 file photo, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, before the Senate Judiciary hearing on the prosecution of Jose Alonso Compean and Ignacio Ramos, two former Border Patrol agents imprisoned for shooting a drug smuggler in the backside as he sprinted toward Mexico. Rohrabacher's suggestion Friday, June 10, 2011, during a trip to Baghdad, that Iraq repay the United States for the money it has spent in the country has stirred anger, with an Iraqi lawmaker ridiculing the idea as "stupid" and others saying Iraqis should be compensated for the hardships they've endured. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher last week warned UC President Janet Napolitano that the system’s sanctuary campus polices could jeopardize federal funding for research.

The Costa Mesa Republican denounced a recent announcement from UC that campus police would not be cooperating with federal officials in deportation efforts of undocumented immigrants.

“Your commitment to spending scarce resources to finance people illegally present in the United States is unacceptable and a flagrant misuse of taxpayer money,” Rohrabacher wrote. “This is an insult to Americans and legal immigrants who pay your salary.”

While sanctuary policies align with the state’s liberal lean, one of the main policy reasons supporters turn to is that by creating a space where deportation is off the table, undocumented immigrants are more likely to cooperate with police in other investigations.

“It is in the best interest of all members of the UC community to encourage cooperation with the investigation of criminal activity,” according to the UC statement. “To encourage such cooperation, all individuals, regardless of their immigration status, must feel secure that contacting or being addressed by UC police officers will not automatically lead to an immigration inquiry and/or a risk of removal.”

The UC system gets more than half of its research funding from the federal government, which Rohrabacher claimed is jeopardized by resistance to the upcoming administration.

“I assure you that, in the next session of Congress, those who receive and spend federal dollars in a manner that includes people illegally present in our country will find it difficult to obtain those funds,” Rohrabacher wrote.

The issue of sanctuary campuses is a small part of a bigger showdown between California and President-elect Donald Trump. While Trump campaigned heavily on a tough stance on immigration — which included mass deportation and the construction of a wall along the country’s southern border — California Democrats have since announced their intention to fight those efforts at every turn.

Though Rohrabacher initially supported a different candidate in the Republican primary, he eventually came around to Trump with a full-throated endorsement, even going so far as to call other Republicans “gutless” who backed away from Trump at times of turmoil. His name was even floated as a potential candidate for secretary of state, although he was not chosen.

This piece was originally published by CalWatchdog.com

UC regents approve new limits on moonlighting by administrators

As reported by the Sacramento Bee:

University of California regents voted Thursday to limit top administrators to two outside paid jobs and add another layer of approval to ensure moonlighting doesn’t pose a conflict of interest or a “reputational risk” to the university system.

The regents approved the changes without opposition during their full board meeting in San Francisco. The new restrictions come after UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi drew criticism this year for accepting past board positions with a textbook publisher and for-profit DeVry Education Group.

The new policy, initially proposed by UC President Janet Napolitano, would require administrators to explain the benefits an outside job or paid board seat would bring their campus and UC, as well as a statement that spells out how much time the job would require. The new policy adds a mid-year review of outside jobs, as well as a review panel for questionable applications.

“The changes we are recommending today would be among the most careful and restrictive in the nation,” said UC regent Bonnie Reiss, who chairs the board’s Compensation Committee. …

UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi on investigatory leave due to ‘serious questions’

As reported by the Sacramento Bee:

Citing “serious questions” about whether UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi violated policies on employment of her family members and the use of contracts to remove negative information from the Internet, UC President Janet Napolitano placed Katehi on leave Wednesday night pending the outcome of “a rigorous and transparent investigation.”

“Information has recently come to light that raises serious questions about whether Chancellor Katehi may have violated several University of California policies, including questions about the campus’s employment and compensation of some of the chancellor’s immediate family members, the veracity of the chancellor’s accounts of her involvement in contracts related to managing both the campus’s and her personal reputation on social media, and the potential improper use of student fees,” Napolitano’s office said in a statement issued Wednesday night. “The serious and troubling nature of these questions, as well as the initial evidence, requires a rigorous and transparent investigation.”

Napolitano said she would appoint an independent investigator to compile a report before the start of the next academic year and that UC Davis Provost Ralph Hexter would fill the chancellor’s post on an acting basis. …

Click here to read the full article

 

UC system minimum wage increases to $13 per hour

As reported by the San Jose Mercury News:

The University of California’s plan to raise the minimum wage for all workers systemwide took effect Thursday, the first of three incremental raises expected to bring wages to at least $15 an hour by 2017.

The minimum wage rose to $13 an hour for all university employees hired to work 20 hours or more a week. It will be increased to $14 an hour on Oct. 1, 2016, and to $15 an hour on the same day in 2017.

UC president Janet Napolitano announced the voluntary minimum wage increase in July, the first of its kind to be established by a public university.

Click here to read the full article

Avoiding Alphabetical Microaggression

Whenever political correctness fades from the headlines, “new and improved” examples arise. Now the progressive language police want us to avoid microaggressions, to insulate everyone from potential mental distress, as when UC President Janet Napolitano’s website advised professors to avoid referring to America as a “land of opportunity,” opposing affirmative action as “inherently racist,” etc., to prevent aggressing on any hearers’ feelings. But at least teachers haven’t been threatened (yet) with an official “check your privilege” reprimand.

In the supercharged PC world ruled by fears of microaggression, nothing is allowed to be negative or twistable into conveying any negative connotation. Anything that could be construed as evaluative or judgmental must be avoided or expressed as positive. But because reality gets in the way of that requirement, clarity and analytical thinking are thereby often sacrificed to verbal contortions.

Even traditional children’s alphabet books violate microaggression protocol. “A is for Apple” could trigger thoughts of Eve’s role in the Garden of Eden story, which some might find sexist. “B is for Ball” has potential sexual overtones. “C is for Cat” and “D is for Dog” connect to verbal sniping (being catty) or being lazy (dogging it). We would have to abandon such books.

A microaggression-free alphabet book would have to mollify objections of potential psychic dents. Given the vast number of words and phrases people find ways to object to, it would be almost impossible. But perhaps the following almost alliterative approach — 3 As to match the 3 Rs — could work.

A can be for Attitudinal Antiquity, which can replace the potentially insulting “old fashioned.” B can be for Botanical Bankruptcy, a kinder, gentler way of saying that someone lacks a green thumb. Cranially Constrained can be substituted for stupid and Diplomatically Deprived for rude, so that stupid and rude people won’t think you noticed. Euphemistic Enhancements could replace accusations of lying.

We could use Follically Fortunate to avoid upsetting both the hirsutely over- and under-endowed. And being Gravitationally Gifted is certainly better than being fat. In the same vein, since no one likes being called egotistical, we could substitute Honorifically Habituated, and shy people could instead become Interactionally Impaired. Hurt feelings could also be avoided by substituting Judicially Juxtaposed for confused and Karmically Keen for superstitious. Similarly, criminals could be upgraded to Legally Lavish, schizophrenics to Mentally Mobile, and inattentive listeners to Neurologically Noncompliant.

We could turn slobs into people who are Organizationally Overburdened, and replace good-looking (a term which injures the psyches of those who don’t think it extends to them) with being Perceptionally Preferenced. Complainers can rise to being Quintessentially Querulous, bad dancers to being Rhythmically Repressed, and poor dressers to being Sartorially Stressed. Being old can be transformed into Temporally Troubled, a “lazy bum” into Ubiquitously Underutilized and someone who can’t hold a job into Vocationally Variable.

To fully dodge microaggression accusations, W-Z would best be left undecided, to avoid hurting anyone by implying that they couldn’t advance society with their own contributions.

This approach might allow us to pass microaggression muster (though that would end when people recognized the potential connotations of such substitute wording). Of course, few will know what others are saying anymore, hamstringing clarity and our ability to bring logic to bear in understanding or evaluating virtually anything. That would be particularly true of anything relating to social issues, given how many claim to be infringed upon by even the suggestion of disagreement with their understanding or their “solution” to be imposed. And it would not solve the problem, because nanoaggressions could then trigger outcries, and still more convoluted conversations will become necessary.

Gary M. Galles is a professor of economics at Pepperdine University.

California Trains Professors To Avoid ‘Microaggressions’

University of CaliforniaUniversity of California president Janet Napolitano’s office has been training faculty members at the University of California to avoid describing America as a “land of opportunity,” along with other phrases the school claims are offensive “microaggressions.”

According to activists, “microaggressions” are subtle actions, usually unintentional, that perpetuate discrimination against disadvantaged groups even in environments where overt discrimination has been abolished. Now, the UC system has fully committed itself to formally training faculty to avoid and root out these perceived microaggressions for the good of all.

The attack on microaggressions is the centerpiece of a series of faculty leadership seminars carried out by Napolitano’s office at several campuses across the UC system. One document used in the seminars is titled Tool: Recognizing Microaggressions and the Messages They Send, and lists dozens of menacing microaggressions for faculty to avoid.

One of the largest categories of microaggressions are those that that promote the “myth of meritocracy.” According to the document, this “myth” is spread by statements such as “America is the land of opportunity,” “I believe the most qualified person should get the job,” and “Affirmative action is racist.”

Other examples of sinister microaggressions, according to the guide, include:

  • Describing America as a “melting pot” (it orders people to assimilate)
  • Stating that “there is only one race, the human race” (denying the significance of a person’s ethnic or racial history)
  • Asking Asians, Hispanics, or Native Americans to speak up more (“pathologizing” foreign norms and treating white norms as “normal”)
  • Using “he” as a generic pronoun for all people (it makes the male experience universal and the female experience “invisible”)
  • Using forms where individuals must identify as male or female (it excludes the full LGBT experience)

The guide was used in faculty training sessions for UC faculty members throughout the 2014-15 school year, but its contents only recently drew more widespread attention when one professor notified The College Fix about the materials.

A PowerPoint used for seminar in April shows the dramatic tollvUC believes even a single microaggression take on students. Even a simple compliment, such as calling a student “articulate,” can set off a cascade of self-doubt and anxiety for the recipient

A second document instructs faculty on the proper ways to intervene against microaggressions. For example, if a person commits the offense of starting a sentence with “You people”, a suggested reaction is to say “I was so upset by that remark that I shut down and couldn’t hear anything else.”

Microaggressions aren’t the only threat faculty have been taught to mind. Another document, the Tool for Identifying Implicit Bias, instructs faculty how to avoid being biased in evaluations or hiring decisions. The document singles out phrases such as “hard worker” as being “euphemisms” for bias that must be rooted out.

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Originally published by the Daily Caller News Foundation