The biggest story this week is the resignation (or forced resignation, whichever you want to believe) of UC President Robert Dynes. But, as always, there are other things going on in the UC system. And there’s no better start than to talk about squirrels.

First Up…Squirrels Can Fend Off Rattlesnakes?

Yep. Well, at least that’s what the research coming out of the Animal Behavior Graduate Group at UC Davis said.

How does the squirrel do it? He (or she; it if you will) somehow heats up his (or her) tail and shakes it “aggressively.”

We guess there is some sort of benefit to having all those squirrels around campus.

But squirrels can only fend off rattlesnakes. Researchers tried testing this method by introducing gopher snakes to squirrels. The squirrels waved their tales vigorously, but didn’t heat them up.

Oh well. You can’t always be perfect.

Once Every Four Year Conference Heads to UCSB

We guess UC Santa Barbara is heading up the prestige level. First it held the UC Regents meetings a few months ago, and now it gets this conference that’s held only once every four years.

The conference is about Antarctica and is being sponsored by Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research and the U.S. National Science Foundation.

What will they be talking about? Well, science-y things. Like:

  •  Antarctic Climate Evolution –– Global Linkages from Records in Ice Cores, Geological Cores, Outcrops, and Models
  •  GeoCryoDynamics –– Feedbacks and Coupling between the Geosphere, Cryosphere and Climate
  •   Antarctica in the Global Geodynamic System
  •   Antarctic Earth Science in the International Polar Year
  •   Polar Education and Outreach Initiatives
  •   Antarctica’s Impact on Global Biosphere Evolution
  •   New Frontiers in Technologies and Polar Databases

Ok, so you can figure it out.

Dynes to Conduct Interviews for UC Santa Cruz Chancellor

Dynes may be leaving his post, but that’s not going to prevent him from naming a new chancellor over on the Santa Cruz campus.

The reason why he says he’ll still be conducting the search is because, well, he’s still president of the UC.

But this process can still take several months—it kind of already has.

bq. The search for a permanent chancellor got under way when an advisory committee was formed in March. That group has met several times.

bq. UC spokesman Paul Schwartz said Dynes is “still hoping to bring a recommendation to the board sometime within the next few months”

California squirrels fend off rattlesnakes by heated tails [USA Today]
Major international conference on Antarctica to be held at UC Santa Barbara this month [First Science]
Dynes says interviews on tap today for UC Santa Cruz chancellor [Sentinel]

Unnamed sources told Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross of the Chron that UC President Robert Dynes was asked to resign.

Dynes announced his resignation Monday and stated that he will stay on as president no later than June 2008. Wyatt Hume, provost of the UC, will take over as chief operating officer during the search for a new president.

Sources speaking to the Chron said that UC Regents Chairman Richard Blum met with Dynes three weeks ago in Emeryville and told him that the Regents were getting restless with Dynes’ ability to run UC.

Of course Blum really isn’t talking.

“I know you have a job to do,” Blum told The Chronicle, “but the answer to everything else is going to be, ‘No comment.’ “

If the Chron is right, then the Regents must have been fed up with all the controversies that occurred under Dynes’ reign as president. And maybe the Regents knew that they were going to ask for Dynes’ resignation last May, and maybe that’s why they just gave Dynes a slap on the wrist. Obviously, this is all speculation.

And then, of course, this may also end this whole scientists-leading-the-largest-university-in-the-world thing.

One state official familiar with the meeting said several regents had concluded that after nearly four years on the job, Dynes, a former physicist and UC San Diego chancellor, was in over his head at the top of the 10-campus system.

“But then, what do you expect?” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Spending 17 years in laboratories doesn’t exactly set you up for running what is, in effect, a multibillion-dollar corporation.”


Earlier: Breaking: Dynes Steps Down as UC President

Matier and Ross: UC president didn’t bail, he was pushed out, sources say [SF Gate]

Robert Dynes sent a letter today to the UC Regents announcing his resignation as President of the University of California.

Dynes said that he will step down by June 2008 or until someone else is appointed to take his place. Provost Wyatt Hume will take over as chief operating officer while the search for a new president takes place.

Of course, this puts an end to a somewhat dubious tenure for Dynes as the head of the UC system. Not only were all those student fee increases very unpopular, but the Regents also found that Dynes committed 22 compensation violations.

“As you all know, the University’s methods and policies by which it determined and disclosed compensation of senior management over a period of many years became heavily scrutinized and criticized,” he wrote. “I continue to emphasize that these practices were intended for the good of the institution; the intention was to enable the University to remain competitive in the marketplace for intellectual and administrative talent. Only in a few instances were there insignificant incidences of inappropriate action.”

Dynes said in his letter to the Regents that he was resigning because of changes in his personal life. We wonder how much of this had to with all the trouble he got into in the last couple of years.

UC President Announces Resignation [Daily Cal]
UC President Robert Dynes to resign [SF Gate]

Ahoy! We’re approaching the Daily Cal’s Monday issue, and we’ve got the scoop on the scoop. Read tomorrow’s news today.

Whoa. That just blew your mind. Pick up an issue tomorrow to read more on the following:

* UC President Robert Dynes is untouchable. The Regents think he’s a pretty classy guy. We’re not so sure.
* Regents meeting appoints three new administrators. We imagined this involved a process akin to “The Price is Right” with the call to “come on down” to a creepy orange-colored man with white hair. One can only hope.
* The Governator really getting into the green thing. He came to an unveiling of a plan to measure greenhouse gas emissions. That’s coo’, but we don’t think “hasta la vista, global warming” has the right ring to it.
* The president was in town! No, not Bush–Bartlet. You know, Martin Sheen? Best. President. Ever.
* Thirteen peeps busted for getting too jiggy during the regents meeting. Party off.
* The Regents, nevertheless, are tearin’ it up. Well, Warren Hall at least. We hope you weren’t too attached, School of Public Health.

It looks like UC President Robert Dynes will get off easy.

Yesterday, the UC Board of Regents approved a report that documented disciplnary action taken against the individuals involved in last year’s compensation scandal.

However, the Daily Cal and the Chron report that the document issued by the Regents did not detail what those exact disciplinary actions entailed and who was disciplined.

Don’t remember the compensation scandal? In a nut shell, top executives within the University of California got compensated without Regents approval, and some rules were bent to go around the Regents and pay for inappropriate things such as extra vacation, bonuses, etc.

This includes Dynes. Dynes himself was found to have at least 20 policy violations during his reign as president; however, the report doesn’t fault Dynes and said that he acted on some really bad advice.

It is clear … that President Dynes’ actions were taken as a result of advice and recommendations from those in positions whose responsibility was to know University policies.

Great, maybe the next time we do something wrong, we should blame the people who told us to do it. And shouldn’t Dynes also know these policies as president of the entire UC system?

This all sounds very shady to us. If the audits from last year found Dynes to have violated some sort of policy, then are the Regents just not looking into the audits themselves? Are the regents just discrediting the audits from last year?

UC also came under fire after a reported pay increase to Dynes’ salary, which he reportedly declined in November. However, UC Regent Judith Hopkinson, chair of the compensation committee, said that the Regents did not offer Dynes a pay increase.

Even more shady! We think the Regents or even President Dynes needs to make an Anonymous Confession. If the Regents continue to muddy the waters in which they operate by not disclosing who was punished or how they were punished, scandals like this can only occur again.

Regents Approve Response to Compensation Audit Findings [Daily Cal]

Regents excuse UC president in salary scandal [SF Gate]