Recap of UC Regents November meeting

ZOË REINHARDT / AGGIE

UC Regents gather for bi-monthly meeting at UCSF

From Nov. 14 to 16, the UC Regents met for their regular bi-monthly meeting at UC San Francisco. Throughout the week, the Regents discussed a variety of topics, including student affairs, university and admissions policies and university interaction with the public.

One of the main focuses of the Nov. 14 meeting was approving investments related to pension and retirement and the improvement of policies on investment matters. The Investments Subcommittee is responsible for assisting the Board of Regents in overseeing the UC system’s endowment, planning and investment guidelines.

The Nov. 15 meeting agenda included presentations of topics by the following committees: public engagement and development, compliance and audit, governance and compensation, academic and student affairs and finance and capital strategies.

During the Compliance and Audit Committee meeting, Rachel Nava, the executive vice president and chief operating officer of the UC Office of the President, introduced the meeting’s goal.

“The purpose of our conversation this morning is just [to] provide you on an update on where we are with our audit implementation efforts related to the UCOP Audit of Administrative Expenditures that occurred earlier this year,” Nava said.

Matthew Hicks, the systemwide deputy audit officer for the UC Internal Audit Offices, provided an overview of the six-month status report on independent recommendations from the California State Auditor.

“As members of the committee will recall, the audit report contained 33 recommendations to UCOP, and UC agreed to implement all the recommendations,” Hicks said. “Ten of the recommendations to UCOP will be due for completion in April 2018. Based on the target dates designated by the state auditor, the University believes that it is on track to implement those recommendations by that date, and four of the ten are already reported as completed.”

The Academic and Student Affairs Committee mainly discussed the Academic Verification Task Force. According the a press release from UCOP, the Task Force will be responsible for evaluating  “current procedures and recommend policies and best practices in order to standardize and make UC’s academic verification process more effective, efficient and student-friendly.”

UC Provost Michael Brown began with a presentation of the three main findings from the initiation of the Academic Verification Task Force.

“I would like to highlight three major findings of the task force’s work,” Brown said. “The first finding [is] verifying students’ academic qualifications for admission [to] the University of California is important to ensure integrity and fairness within an admissions process that is highly competitive and to help ensure that students are properly prepared for the academic rigor of the university.”

The next two primary findings, according to the presentation slides at the meeting, were that “campuses have invested interest in admitted students and want to enroll them” and that “verification may inadvertently communicate the opposite of a welcoming message.”

The Finance and Capital Strategies Committee discussed the budget and financing for new arts, sciences and housing buildings at UC San Diego. The committee also addressed the delay of a partnership with Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. — a producer of hybrid seeds — due to risk. It also approved the campus-wide 10-year capital financial plan and discussed the future implementation of UCPath — a campus-wide system for managing payroll.

The general meeting of the Regents on Nov. 16 comprised reports from the UC Student Association and approval of items from the Governance and Compensation Committee and National Laboratories Subcommittee, the Financial and Capital Strategies Committee and the Health Services Committee. An increase in philanthropic donations to UC campuses and public involvement with the UC System were also discussed.

During the general meeting, UCSA President Judith Gutierrez brought up the recent allegations against Regent Norman Pattiz and the current lack of UC action.

“I will respectfully ask you to revisit a critical issue regarding the actions of one of your own,” Gutierrez said. “As you’ve seen, it is the opinion of many students that as long as Regent Pattiz is on the board, the UC cannot stand by its commitment to end sexual violence. It has been alleged and, in some cases, recorded on audiotape that Regent Pattiz engaged in sexual violence and brandished a gun at his employees. Survivors of sexual and workplace violence have to go through the trauma again and again knowing that a man voting on their critical decisions affecting them at their university is an assailant.”

Gutierrez continued to elaborate on this issue from the perspective of a UC student.

“We do not take this lightly,” Gutierrez said. “It has been 11 months since the news of the allegations broke. We understand you cannot remove Regent Pattiz outright, but you can care about what this means for the university and for those affected. On behalf of all of us, and those who have spoke up against this, I ask you to act now.”

In addition to the general board meeting that took place on Nov. 16, a special meeting was held in which UC President Janet Napolitano faced backlash from Regent Chair George Kieffer regarding her recent approval of a plan that interfered with a state audit of her office. According to the Los Angeles Times, Napolitano has previously defended her actions and apologized for the impression that her actions have caused.

 

Written by: Priyanka Shreedar — campus@theaggie.org