Listen, we know what you’re thinking and we’re thinking it too: mythological creatures have been so underappreciated lately. They used to be the talk of the town, and now they’ve just sort of fallen to the wayside. But never fear! We’ve been brainstorming ways to get them back into the limelight (where they belong). So let’s all imagine for a second. What if the biggest (or lamest, in Stanfurd’s case) universities in California had mythological mascots?! We know, we’re really excited too.

Let’s start with a few obvious choices as a warm-up: UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara.

The UC Davis Garden Gnomes


Let’s be real. read more »

It’s true, folks–Berkeley kids are quite the studious bunch

. According to the California Dropout Research Project (no, we didn’t make up the name) of UC Santa Barbara, our city’s schools boasted the best ratios of dropouts to graduates in a study of 17 cities in the state.

The worst ratio, on the other hand, hails from Stockton; its 2006-07 class will apparently cost the rest of us $476 million over the decades to come, as it was comprised of a greater number of dropouts than graduates.

What can we say? Berkeley’s clearly a breeding ground for academic drive … or maybe just nerd-dom. Must be something in the water.

Image Source: margolove

Killing Me Softly

under Creative Commons
Stockton Tops Calif. In Dropouts, Berkeley Lowest []

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]

Usually, we talk about what happened in the UC system last week or stories written about other UC schools in UC Roundup.

But this week, since the UC Regents met at UC Santa Barbara, we decided to take a look at what the Regents are doing—since it only affects the entire system and since they control most of the money.

*First Off…Chancellors’ Spouses Able to Use Purse*
For a long, long time, the spouses of the various chancellors of the UC system have conducted special “hostess” type events. They’ve gone around to fundraisers, they make appearances, but didn’t really get much compensation for it.

Not anymore. The Regents approved to expand the benefits of the most active of chancellors’ spouses.

Under the new policy, the top leaders’ spouses who are significantly involved in promoting the university will be reimbursed on all university-related travel and entertainment and costs associated with cell phones and other portable electronic devices. They will also be able to use a university laptop, and receive business cards, a UC parking permit, travel insurance and workers compensation coverage. They will not receive a salary.

Aw shucks. No salary? At least they get a card with the nice UC seal on it.

*No Vote on Tobacco*
The Regents postponed a vote that may have banned professors from accepting money from tobacco companies.

Instead the Regents through out the ‘C’ word—compromise.

One option would have faculty committees evaluate grant proposals for tobacco industry funding and monitor whether the research is used responsibly.

Another would let departments and other school divisions decide not to take tobacco money.

The question that UC administrators and UC faculty bring up is whether or not a ban on receiving funding from Big Tobacco is an infringement on academic freedom.

What about the public’s right to know that research done by UC isn’t being skewed by tobacco companies?

*Yaay! More Fees!*
UC professional sent a proposal to the Regents last week, asking them to change the structure of the graduate school fee policy. This would mean that there could be a substantial fee increase for UC’s graduate schools.

Under this new policy, fee levels would be set by each individual campus.

Haas and Boalt are asking for a huge fee increase.

UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and the Boalt Hall School of Law have requested the largest increases, asking for fees to be raised to $44,154 for the graduate business program in 2010-11 and $43,932 for Boalt Hall graduate students in the same year.

We, as undergraduates, always bitch and whine about fee increases, but what about the grad students? Don’t they deserve some help too? Where can they bitch?

*Regents Complain About Budget Cuts*
So, the California state legislature and not the state’s governator is looking like the bad guys when it comes to UC’s budget.

Governor Terminator promised UC a four percent increase in its budget for the upcoming fiscal year. However, the state legislature is looking to cut the budget by $2 billion. That would mean only a three percent increase in the budget, instead of the promised four percent, and a loss of about $30 million.

And if UC loses $30 million, it might mean an increase in student fees.

Regent John Moores said the proposed $30 million decrease could potentially result in a fee increase.

“Once again, the university may have to consider raising fees, as distasteful as it is,” he said.

Great. Who would have thought that we would want the Governator to win a battle against the state legislature?

But of course, the Regents have their hands tied. That letter they sent to Sacramento is the only thing they can do to stop this. Kind of sucks, huh?

UC Professional Schools Recommend Higher Fees [Daily Cal]
Regents: Proposed Budget Cuts Would Violate Compact [Daily Cal]
Traditional roles shift for college leaders’ spouses [SignOnSanDiego]
UC professional programs face steep fee hikes [SignOnSanDiego]
Compromise sought on taking tobacco money [SF Gate]