UC regents discuss new legislation, bid for Los Alamos lab

Sophia Brown/Staff

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The UC Board of Regents reviewed the status of the university’s bid for management of the Los Alamos National Laboratory at its regular board meeting Wednesday.

In addition to postponing the vote on another tuition hike, the board applauded the university’s influence in state legislation and reviewed upcoming UC-sponsored legislation at the meeting, which was held at UCSF Mission Bay. The regents addressed several issues regarding the university’s push for affordable cost of attendance for undergraduates and the development of the UC Center in Sacramento.

The current contract for the Los Alamos lab’s management is set to expire in September. In November 2017, the regents approved the university’s submission of a bid to manage the lab after its management contract expires. The university submitted its bid in December 2017 to the National Nuclear Security Administration, which will announce the winning bid about late April or early May, according to Kim Budil, vice president for national laboratories at the UC Office of the President, or UCOP.

“It’s significant in its creativity (and) innovation,” Regent Ellen Tauscher said. “We don’t know what’s going to happen. I think if it’s on the merits, then we will get the contract.”

The board’s Academic and Student Affairs Committee also received an update on the UC Center in Sacramento. Committee chair John Pérez said the university should increase its staff and student diversity in Sacramento, California’s state capital. UC President Janet Napolitano voiced her support for the further development of the center in Sacramento, saying she will assemble an internal group to develop a plan for the center’s growth.

Chris Harrington, interim associate vice president for federal governmental relations at UCOP, updated the regents on federal issues and legislation, highlighting the university’s concern regarding how congressional decisions such as the recent federal tax cuts — which the university opposed — and the debate over immigration policy would affect UC students.

“The university continues to advocate for legislation to protect our DACA recipients,” Harrington said during the meeting.

Kieran Flaherty, associate vice president and director of the UCOP’s state governmental relations, said all UC-sponsored state legislation goals for 2017 had been achieved. He went on to identify three new bills, a resolution and two issues for the UC to try to finance through the university’s 2018 fiscal year budget.

One of the bills aims to address California’s need for more Spanish-speaking primary care doctors and physicians. To address this, UCLA intends to start a pre-residency program to bring bilingual students from other campuses and give them the chance to become licensed to practice in California in exchange for service in “medically underserved areas” for up to three years, according to Flaherty.

Flaherty added that the regents will be working with State Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, to work on legislation to try to continue Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

The regents will reconvene Thursday morning to discuss the university’s executive compensation practices.


Contact Adrianna Buenviaje, Ashley Wong and Ani Vahradyan at [email protected].