Board of Regents to address intolerance, UC Health at upcoming meeting

Jessica Gleason/Staff

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The UC Board of Regents will meet Wednesday and Thursday to discuss issues including a new statement of principles regarding intolerance, a policy to improve UC Health governance and implementation of a recommendation made by the sexual violence task force.

The regents’ “Statement of Principles Against Intolerance,” developed and outlined in the time after the July regents meeting, has been criticized by some Jewish organizations as being overly broad because it does not specifically address anti-Semitism, according to the Associated Press. The AP reported last week that more than two dozen organizations sent a letter to the regents to voice their outrage about the proposed principles.

The new principles generally hold bias, violence and hate speech in contempt, although they do not outline any specific policy-enforced disciplinary action.

The principles state that the University of California will respond to reports of intolerant behavior and treat these “as opportunities to reinforce” the principles. The statement notes that these guidelines will not limit the “free exchange of ideas in keeping with the principles of academic freedom and free speech.”

The California State Senate introduced a resolution in March that encouraged the university to condemn anti-Semitism. The bill invoked the State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism, which raised objections from opponents who believe the department’s definition conflates criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism. The regents’ statement of principles does not specifically mention anti-Semitism.

At their meeting, the regents will also discuss a new policy and proposed amendments to a regents’ bylaw that aims to improve their oversight of UC Health, which generally provides direction for UC medical centers and professional schools. The proposed changes intend to add “individuals who are knowledgeable about the healthcare industry” to its governing body so as to help UC Health more efficiently respond to challenges, according to the agenda. The regents are set to vote to recommend these changes at their November meeting.

In July, a UC task force released its implementation plan for four recommendations to combat sexual violence within the UC system. These recommendations include improvements in investigation, adjudication and data-collection standards; resource allocation; and training and education.

The Committee on Educational Policy will receive an update specifically on the implementation of the recommendation that calls for comprehensive sexual violence awareness training for students, staff and faculty.

Additionally, the Committee on Investments will discuss fiscal performance for the 2014-15 year, which was also discussed at the committee’s individual meeting last week.

The board will hear an update on the financing of the 2020 Project, which focuses on the expansion and development of the Merced campus and aims to accommodate enrollment growth from 6,200 to 10,000 students by 2020. The financing for the project is hybrid, incorporating both public and private components.

The regents will also vote on several policy changes related to retirement-plan funding at their meeting.

The board will meet Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at UC Irvine.

Suhauna Hussain is the lead higher education reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @suhaunah.