UC regents to vote on code of conduct amendment, Carol Christ appointment

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The UC Board of Regents will convene Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at UCSF Mission Bay to vote on an amendment to the systemwide faculty code of conduct, vote on Carol Christ’s appointment as UC Berkeley’s new chancellor and discuss UC investments and undergraduate cost of attendance.

If the amendment to Regents Policy 7401 — the UC faculty code of conduct — is approved, the policy will explicitly state that sexual harassment and sexual violence are violations of the code of conduct, and it will clarify the deadline by which a UC campus’s chancellor must begin disciplinary proceedings against a faculty member alleged to have violated the code of conduct. Additionally, the proposed amendment emphasizes that complainants may report an alleged violation without a time constraint.

ASUC Student Advocate Selina Lao said while she supported the policy’s revised language, she hoped to see more specific support for survivors of sexual violence.

“Leadership on sexual violence issues has been lacking on a UC-wide level,” Lao said. “I think that having more trauma-informed policies from a UC-wide level makes a strong statement that UC is supporting survivors (and) ensuring a fair process.”

The proposed amendment comes about two weeks after the university released more than 100 documents regarding cases of UC sexual misconduct policy violations from a three-year period.

The board will also vote on the appointment of UC Berkeley chancellor nominee Carol Christ in a special meeting Thursday held concurrently with the regular board meeting, according to UCOP spokesperson Ricardo Vazquez. If confirmed, Christ will become UC Berkeley’s 11th chancellor and the first woman to hold the position.

At the meeting, the regents will hear an update on the state budget process. The budget allocates $3.3 billion of the governor’s estimated $122.5 billion in State General Fund Expenditures to the university. According to the agenda item, the State Budget Act of 2016 includes $18.5 million for UC enrollment growth in the 2017-18 academic year. No funding has yet been confirmed for the university to increase enrollment in the 2018-19 academic year. Additionally, Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed phasing out the Middle Class Scholarships program — which allows middle-income students to receive up to 40 percent of their tuition in aid — beginning in 2017-18.

In light of proposed federal changes regarding the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, the board will discuss Wednesday the potential impact of such changes on UC medical centers and health professional schools. A statement released Monday by the university emphasized that the UC system would continue to advocate for legislation that gives its patients affordable coverage.

Kim LaPean, spokesperson for UC Berkeley’s University Health Services, confirmed that students with Student Health Insurance Plan, or SHIP, coverage would not be affected by a repeal of ACA. LaPean added that students can get SHIP if they do not currently have it.

“We know that students are very concerned about cost, (and we) have a financial responsibility to offer plans that are affordable and keep costs contained,” LaPean said. “We have a lot of local control and can work to make sure we keep it financially viable here.”

Also on the agenda is an update regarding UC Berkeley’s housing situation. According to the agenda item, UC Berkeley has the lowest percentage of available beds in the UC system. Recommendations listed in the report include consulting various constituencies, surveying students and increasing outreach to the Berkeley community.

Campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof said in an email that housing is a top concern for UC Berkeley administration and that the campus is working with members of the community to address housing issues. He added, however, that the campus’s primary objective is housing all incoming freshmen.

On Wednesday, the board will discuss the rising cost of undergraduate attendance throughout the UC system. As per UC policy, the university determines cost of attendance by totaling direct costs — tuition and fees paid directly to the university — and indirect costs, which account for personal expenses. To gauge cost of attendance, the university implements a Cost of Attendance Survey, or COAS, approximately every three years.

The spring 2016 COAS demonstrated increases in food and rent costs and declines in books and transportation costs.

“It’s good that we have data that the UC can rely on that can change policy and change financial support, such that we can satisfy basic needs,” said UC Student Association President Ralph Washington Jr.

The regents will also vote this week on changes to the UC General Endowment Pool asset allocation and on a policy to cap UC nonresident enrollment, among other items.

Revati Thatte covers higher education. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @revati_thatte.