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Presidents/Chancellors in the News

Several Pac-12 leaders responded this week to a large-scale college admissions scandal whereby William Singer, founder of the college preparatory firm Edge College & Career Network, known also as The Key, allegedly helped students cheat on standardized tests in order to gain admission into prestigious universities. The racketeering, bribery, and money laundering charges also allege that college coaches at several universities accepted millions of dollars in bribes to help students get into colleges using fake athletic credentials. In addition to Singer, 33 affluent parents, including actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, are among the 50 who have so far been charged. Universities named in the charges include Stanford, UCLA, USC, Yale, Georgetown, Texas, and Wake Forest; however, authorities say the colleges are not considered co-conspirators. (link); Stanford President Tessier-Lavigne and Provost Drell called the news "nothing short of appalling" and announced that the head sailing coach has been let go from the university. "Let us be clear: The conduct reported in this case is absolutely contrary to Stanford’s values, and to the norms this university has lived by for decades. Today’s news is a shock exactly because it so clearly violates our institutional expectations for ethical conduct." (link); USC Interim President Austin called it "immensely disappointing that that individuals would abuse their position at the university in this way" and added that USC is "planning significant remedial efforts," including identifying all the funds received. (link); UCLA Chancellor Block announced that Men's Soccer Coach Jorge Salcedo has been placed on leave, adding: "Honesty, integrity and fairness are core values at UCLA and admission to UCLA is a notable accomplishment that cannot be bought by any individual, no matter how wealthy, prominent or powerful." (link); The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that $1.3M was paid to accounts controlled by USC Senior Associate Athletic Director Donna Heinel; $200K was paid either directly or indirectly to Salcedo; and $270K was paid to the Stanford sailing team. - link

Stanford President Tessier-Lavigne and Provost Drell updated the campus community last Friday on a number of topics, including the long-range planning process, opening of the Redwood City campus, and results of the recent staff engagement survey. Tessier-Lavigne opened by remarking that the long-range planning process development and implementation will continue over the coming months with reports from design teams being presented to trustees by the summer. Some initiatives, such as Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence, Tessier-Lavigne explained, will take shape soon, while others, such as the work being done by the Affordability Task Force, will require more time. "Taking the thousands of ideas we received and turning them into robust proposals is tremendous work -- on top of everybody’s already busy jobs. We’re really excited by many of the plans that are being put forward. The design teams have really done an amazing job of rethinking Stanford and our priorities in very bold ways.” Tessier-Lavigne also addressed the university's engagement with the external community, as Stanford intends to take a more intentional approach to the topic by identifying top priorities. "Stanford is doing many wonderful things in terms of external engagement with our local community, our regional community, our national community and even our global community, but we didn’t have an overall framework for that engagement or a specific strategy." - link

During Arizona State's third Family Education Night, President Crow addressed more than 1,000 Latter-day Saint high school students and their parents on topics ranging from the evolution of education to ASU's commitment to faith communities. The event focused on a conversation between Crow, Elder Gerrit W. Gong, an apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and his wife, Susan Lindsay Gong. Of particular note, on the topic of lifelong learning, Crow explained: "You want to embrace this concept that you are a learning creature, and this learning process is going to allow you to become a comprehensive person. You're going to be able to raise your family better. You're going to be able to help the democracy to be more successful. You're going to help our country be more successful. And that's what the product of your learning is about.” More from Crow. - link

Arizona President Robbins penned a letter this week in remembrance of alumnus and longtime UA supporter Karl Eller, who passed away over the weekend. Robbins called Eller's support of the university "transformative," adding: "Karl was a true pillar of this community and an inspiration to the many people whose lives were positively impacted by his generosity, dedication and Wildcat spirit. The UA is incredibly fortunate to carry on his legacy through our students in the Eller College of Management and programs throughout our campus for many generations to come. ... He will be remembered and missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him. I personally count myself as very fortunate to have known him as a friend and a selfless contributor to our school, state and country." - link

Washington President Cauce also sent a letter this week to the campus community mourning the tragic losses this quarter at UW, including that of Vikram Jandhyala, UW's vice president for innovation strategy. Cauce expresses heartbreak for Jandhyala and his loved ones and credited Jandhyala for his commitment to "inclusive innovation." She added: "Vikram was always striving for excellence and was driven by his belief that we should never stop learning. Whether it was exploring the sights and tastes of our region with his sons or the time he put into studying new fields and in fostering new connections, he was always seeking to learn something new. It was Vikram’s curiosity that I’ll remember -- and miss -- the most." - link
Institutional Leadership

Christoph Lindner, dean of the Oregon College of Design, will step down from his post in August. Lindner, who has been at UO for three years, has accepted a position as dean of the Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment at University College London. - link
Money, Money, Money

Arizona has received a $15M gift from author and philanthropist Dr. Andrew Weil to support UA's Center for Integrative Medicine, which will be renamed the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine in recognition of the gift. Weil, a pioneer in the field of integrative medicine, has previously donated gifts totaling $5M to UA, and his newest gift will also establish the Andrew Weil Endowed Chair in Integrative Medicine, the Andrew Weil Endowed Chair for Research in Integrative Medicine, and the Andrew Weil Endowed Program Fund for Integrative Medicine. President Robbins: "The UA Center for Integrative Medicine has a longstanding history of leadership in promoting a healthful lifestyle and taking greater responsibility for our own health, due to Dr. Andrew Weil’s vision and innovation. We owe Dr. Weil a debt of gratitude for making integrative medicine a significant component of our nation's medical education, practice and research. It is truly fitting that the center will now bear his name." - link

Utah brought in over $514M in research and grant funding during the 2017-18 academic year, according to the Utah System of Higher Education (USHE). The figure represents the majority of the nearly $828M USHE institutions brought in during the year, an increase of 18% over 2016-17. - link

Staying with Utah, the university has proposed a tuition increase of up to 3.9% for resident students, which would raise the total annual cost to $8,309 and bring in $12M in additional tuition revenue for the next academic year. The increase, which must still be approved, would largely fund the hiring of more faculty and pay increases for professors and administrators. In addition, $1.4M would go toward student success and $1M would be invested in campus safety. Trustees approved the plan on Tuesday, and regents will review the proposal later this year. - link
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Facilities & Construction

Stanford has agreed to enter into direct talks with the Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) to discuss potential community benefits associated with a development agreement for the university's proposed General Use Permit. Martin Shell, chief external relations officer for Stanford, explains: "We believe it is important to directly engage with PAUSD to accelerate the generation of ideas that can be brought to development agreement discussions with Santa Clara County. Stanford and PAUSD have a great history of partnership that has lasted more than a century and a shared interest in high-quality public education. Stanford is committed to furthering that partnership as part of our future land use plans.” - link
Local/State Government

Utah HB190, known widely as "Lauren's Law" in honor of recently passed Utah student Lauren McCluskey, has failed to advance out of committee. The law had sought to increase penalties for gun owners who loan their firearms negligently, but lawmakers concluded it could lead to harsh punishments for well-intentioned gun owners. Representative Andrew Stoddard, who sponsored the bill, intimated he would introduce legislation next year that would make it easier for crime victims to sue the owner of firearms used in violent felonies. - link

A group of Utah students organized a demonstration that sent letters to the governor, lieutenant governor, and members of the legislature urging them to denounce homophobia and transphobia after a measure banning LGBTQ conversion therapy failed to gain traction. The letters read, in part: "House leadership must recognize the vulnerability of transgender Utahns, validate their humanity and right to basic freedoms, and support their livelihood with future legislative efforts." About 20 people held demonstrations at the capitol. - link
Academic Updates

U.S. News & World Report has released its latest rankings of the country's best graduate schools in several areas. (link); Included in the rankings are the nation's best law schools, and Stanford leads the way for the Pac-12 by ranking second nationally, followed by UC Berkeley (10), UCLA (15), USC (17), Arizona State (27), Arizona (39), Washington (44), Colorado (45), and Utah (47) in the top 50. Yale retained its position at the top, followed by Harvard (3), Chicago (4), and Columbia (5). - link

Arizona State and UC Berkeley have joined the Public Interest Technology University Network, a partnership of 21 colleges and universities dedicated to building the emerging field of public interest technology along with a new generation of civic-minded technologists. The network was started by the Ford Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, and New America, and other member universities include Harvard, Princeton, MIT, Michigan, Georgetown, Georgia Tech, and Pepperdine. - link

Oregon Knight Campus Executive Director Robert Guldberg recently sent an update on the Knight Campus's progress, noting that the campus has so far contributed more than $650K to science-related capital projects in the science core while expending $500K for equipment in shared facilities and $400K in matching funds for science equipment to address general science needs and those of the Knight Campus. Meanwhile, talks continue with Oregon State and Oregon Health & Science University on potential joint programs and degree offerings. "Building a new science campus from the ground up is a formidable challenge. Yet the steel skeleton rapidly rising from the ground always manages to instill me with fresh optimism. ... But what most excites me is not the building itself but the people we will recruit to fill it and the impactful collaborative science that will result." - link

USC announced that applicants implicated in the wide-ranging college admissions bribery and cheating scheme will be denied admission. For those who are already enrolled, the school says it will conduct a case-by-case review and make "informed, appropriate decisions once those reviews have been completed. Some of these individuals may have been minors at the time of their application process." - link
What's Going on Around Campus?

California patient care technical workers have announced they will join a planned strike on March 20 in solidarity with those represented by the UPTE-CWA 9119 union, which represents 14,000 university professional and technical employees, and AFSCME Local 3299, which represents the university's service and patient care technical workers. Kathryn Lybarger, president of AFSCME local: "For nearly two years, UC has refused to recognize the value of its workers and has instead worked to worsen income inequality. Thousands of UC workers represented by UPTE-CWA recognize that the university's efforts to flatten wages, cut benefits and eliminate middle-class career pathways are hurting families, and our members are proud to strike with them in solidarity." UC spokesperson Claire Doan: "The university feels the way to a deal is at the bargaining table -- not on the picket lines -- and should not come at the expense of patients, students, the university and our communities." - link

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued U.S. Patent Number 10,227,611, which covers the use of single-molecule RNA guides and Cas9 protein in any cell, thereby creating efficient ways for scientists to target and edit genes, to the University of California and other patent holders. The CRISPR-Cas9 technology was invented by UC Berkeley researchers Jennifer Doudna and Martin Jinek, along with Emmanuelle Charpentier, formerly with Umea University in Sweden, and University of Vienna researcher Krzystof Chylinski. Edward Penhoet, special advisor to UC Berkeley Chancellor Christ and UC President Napolitano: "The Doudna-Charpentier teams’ invention is changing the future of our world for the better. We are pleased that the USPTO has recognized the unique importance of each of the CRISPR innovations that have been pioneered here at the University of California with its collaborators.” - link

The Arizona Board of Regents has filed four motions seeking to dismiss the lawsuit brought by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich concerning developments on university property. The motions assert that the Attorney General has no authority to bring such a suit. Additionally, the motions contend that "even if the AG has the statutory authority to sue his own client…he cannot force the taxing authorities to assess and collect property taxes against tax-exempt property.” ABOR Chair Ron Shoopman: "For decades, the courts have made clear the Attorney General does not have statutory authority and free purview to file suit against whomever he wants. Yet, once again, we are called to respond to a senseless lawsuit perpetuating false narratives. This lawsuit wastes time and resources at the board and universities, and detracts us from the crucial work we do to serve the students and families of Arizona.” - link
Campus Safety

A Colorado student has been arrested for sexual assault following an alleged incident that took place after a sorority date event in January. The student remained in custody as of earlier this week. - link

Also at Colorado, we wish to send our best wishes to a CU student who is reportedly in critical condition after suffering a fall from a balcony Saturday night. Officials do not suspect the incident was criminal in nature. - link

Following the tragic passing of two graduate students, Stanford Vice Provost for Student Affairs Susie Brubaker-Cole, Senior Vice Provost for Education Harry Elam, and Vice Provost for Graduate Education & Postdoctoral Affairs Patricia Gumport sent a letter to the campus community to update members on current initiatives to address student well-being. In addition to Counseling and Psychological Services taking steps to expand its access to services, Student Affairs will soon pilot a new approach to wellness coaching that will include embedding counselors within community and academic spaces. Additionally, the university is collaborating with students, faculty, and staff to change the culture of graduate advising. "We believe a deep and abiding sense of belonging is fundamental to a student’s well-being. The three of us are leading significant campus-wide efforts, such as the president’s IDEAL (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Access in a Learning Community) initiative to increase the sense of community and belonging at Stanford among all our students." - link

A Utah film professor has resigned from the university following the release of an audio recording in which he allegedly admitted to sexual misconduct. The professor had been on leave from the university. - link

Oregon will launch a study abroad program this summer aimed at bridging the gap between the African and African-American experience. The program is partnering with two historically black colleges and universities and will begin in New Orleans, the city that served as the first port of entry for many slaves who were brought to America. While there, students will stay on the campus of Xavier University of Louisiana and visit landmarks and other important sites in the state. From there, students will travel to Ghana, where they will live with host families while attending classes and visiting historical points of interest related to the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The group will then travel to Kumasi and Cape Coast to visit one of the largest open-air markets in Africa and see castles used in the slave trade. The program is offered in partnership with Xavier University in Louisiana and Southern University and A&M College. - link
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