UC regents discuss sustainability, UCSF Health, UC national laboratories

Photo of a UC regents meeting
Sunny Shen/Senior Staff
The UC Board of Regents heard public comment, approved items regarding UCSF, reviewed the performances and ratings of the three UC national laboratories and approved a proposal to fund the Southern California pilot program.

Related Posts

On its first day of January meetings, the UC Board of Regents heard public comment, approved items regarding UCSF, reviewed the performances and ratings of the three UC national laboratories and approved a proposal to fund the Southern California pilot program.

During the board meeting, regents heard from various members of the UC community who expressed their disappointment with the UC Annual Report on Sustainable Practices and urged the regents to expedite the university’s transition toward becoming fossil-free.

UC San Diego graduate student Monica Nelson alleged that despite the university’s 2019 declaration of a climate emergency, its carbon emissions — totaling 1 million tons per year — have not decreased in the past decade.

“As a leading academic institution and one of the largest employers in California, the UC has a moral and intellectual obligation to decrease its own carbon emissions to help reduce the climate crisis,” Nelson said during the meeting.

Nelson urged the regents and UC President Michael Drake to create “actionable milestones” for the next decade for the university’s climate action plan to reduce carbon emissions. The regents will continue discussing their annual report Thursday.

In addition, several UCLA faculty members expressed their concerns regarding “a hateful statement” about the state of Israel and its people. The statement was posted on the UCLA website by the UCLA Asian American studies department in May.

UCLA professor and former director of the UCLA Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies Yoram Cohen alleged the statement violated UCLA policy and state education codes. He also alleged the statement was a form of anti-Zionism and “an intolerable form of antisemitism.”

Cohen and others called on the regents to publicly reject the actions of the UCLA Asian American studies department.

Following public comment, the regents’ Health Services Committee approved two action items regarding UCSF.

The first item considers the appointment of Suresh Gunasekaran to the role of CEO for UCSF Health’s San Francisco campus, including a hiring bonus of $370,000 in addition to a $1.85 million salary. Interim Vice President Cheryl Lloyd noted the base salary is slightly above 75% of the 2019 market reference zone.

“We need to be consistent about how we view these questions of pay equity,” said committee chair John Pérez during the meeting. “There are different subsets of our employees … who don’t always benefit from the same consistency.”

After the approval of the first item, UCSF Chancellor Sam Hawgood introduced the second item regarding preliminary funding plans for UCSF Health’s outpatient center improvement project. The $78 million project was approved by the Health Services Committee and will seek approval from the Finance and Capital Strategies Committee later this week.

After the Health Services Committee adjourned, the National Laboratories Committee presented two discussion items and one action item regarding the UC system’s three national laboratories.

Craig Leasure, vice president of the UC Office of the President National Laboratories, shared the Department of Energy’s Performance Ratings of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory for the 2021 fiscal year.

Leasure noted that Berkeley Lab was awarded 94% of available revenue for the 2021 fiscal year, which has been consistent since the 2018 fiscal year.

He added that Berkeley Lab also received a grade of A by the DOE’s Office of Science for the category of “Mission Accomplishment” and A- for other supporting categories in the performance rating.

According to Leasure, a DOE Office of Science grade of B+ is considered “good,” and anything above that is “above and beyond.”

“We were viewed very favorably by the Department of Energy in our oversight and governance of the laboratory,” Leasure said during the meeting. “The department noted a continued strong relationship between Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley.”

For the last action item, Leasure presented a proposal to have the regents approve an extra $300,000 for the Southern California Hub pilot program, in addition to the $1 million that was previously approved. Leasure noted these funds would be used for “seedling initiatives” and to “improve back-office capabilities.”

Drake and all regents approved the action item.

The regents will continue their meetings tomorrow.

Contact Riley Cooke, Tarunika Kapoor and Karen Vo at [email protected].