Review of March UC Board of Regents meeting

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The UC Board of Regents met Wednesday to vote on an amended Statement of Principles Against Intolerance, discuss mental health accessibility on UC campuses and vote on UC President Janet Napolitano’s new UC retirement plan, among other items.

  • The Committee on Educational Policy unanimously approved an amended Statement of Principles Against Intolerance that condemned anti-Semitism but did not expressly list anti-Zionism itself as a form of discrimination.
  • UCLA student Omar Zahzah, who said his relatives were uprooted when Israel was created, added during public comment that the language of the unamended statement implied that there is no place for the stories of Palestinians’ struggles on UC campuses.
  • Regent Bonnie Reiss, along with several other regents at the meeting, voiced her support of the amended statement. She added that she was a supporter of the state of Israel and of first amendment rights.
  • Regina Fleming, medical director of the UC Student Health Insurance Program, presented an update on UC mental health accessibility and noted that access to nonurgent care is a central issue.
  • Regent Charlene Zettel attested to the difficulty of securing competent mental health personnel and suggested hiring mental health interns for UC counseling centers as a potential way forward.
  • Fleming said it is the intent of the Student Mental Health Services workgroup to have hired 85 new UC mental staff personnel by the beginning of the next academic year, 24 of which have already been hired.
  • The Committee on Finance discussed a new UC retirement program proposed by Napolitano. The new plan requires UC employees hired on or after July 1 to choose between two pension plans, both of which restrict pensionable earnings, the income amount used by the university to calculate its contribution to an employee’s pension.
  • Napolitano undertook these changes to improve the financial sustainability of the university. She said the recommendation will save the university $99 million per year over the next 15 years. Several regents voiced their support for such measures to maintain the university’s sustainability and voted unanimously to approve the recommendation.
  • Some individuals, however, expressed concerns. Deidre Acker, a staff adviser to the UC regents, noted that the new plan would likely cause the university to lose “highly skilled expert staff” to the private sector.
  • Regent Eloy Oakley expressed concern regarding whether the new retirement plan would affect the university’s unfunded liabilities, the amount by which the university’s future payment obligations to employees exceed its present value of funding available to pay them.
  • Nathan Brostrom, the university’s chief financial officer, said this would depend on employer contribution and urged the board to maintain employer contribution in order to minimize unfunded liabilities.

The regents met Thursday to present the summary of the results of the university’s 2015 A-133 audit, approve the preliminary funds of the Mission Bay Neurosciences building and discuss building projects at the campuses. They also approved a motion for contract compensation.

  • The Committee on Compliance and Audit presented the results of the university’s 2015 A-133 audit report. This audit highlighted that the total federal awards expenditures and loans disbursements were $5.5 billion, 60 percent of which is allocated to research and development funds and 33 percent of that being financial aid.
  • The Committee on Grounds and Buildings approved the use of $21 million of campus funds for the preliminary plans of the Mission Bay Neurosciences Building (Block 23A) in the San Francisco campus. This building will be the primary home of a new neuroscience institute that will support research programs in fields such as psychiatry and the neurosciences.
  • The Committee on Grounds and Buildings also heard a discussion of a Nueva West Graduate Student Housing project at UC San Diego. This proposal involves the demolishing and redevelopment of a small section of existing, low-density apartments located in the West Mesa Housing neighborhood. The project would provide a minimum of 800 beds for single and professional students, as well as a new parking structure, in order to increase on-campus housing.
  • The Committee on Compensation approved the use of nonstate funds for the contract compensation of UCLA assistant football coach, William “Rip” Scherer.

Contact Sofia Gonzalez-Platas and Harini Shyamsundar at [email protected].