News

Lower-Tier UC Campuses Dropped From System

In a move that sent shock waves through the academic world, UC President Richard C. Atkinson announced that the university is severing its ties with five UC campuses. The campuses, described by Atkinson in a press conference as “”bottom tier”” and “”inferior,”” received letters approved by the UC Board of Regents on Friday detailing their dissolution from the UC system. The campuses affected include UC Irvine, UC Santa Cruz, UC Riverside, UC Santa Barbara and UC Davis. According to sources at the UC Office of the President in Oakland, Calif., the decision to drop the five campuses came because the university sought “”to overhaul its image.”” The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, stipulated that UC administrators made the move to increase the prestige of the university by trimming off, as the source put it, “”the dead weight bringing down the other three UCs.”” Spokesmen for the evicted campuses described the move as an unexpected and untimely event. “”We’re left reeling,”” said Paul Masterson, media relations manager for UC Davis. “”We’re among the top 25 public schools in the nation, so we don’t understand why we’re not good enough for UC.”” Administrators from the dropped universities called emergency meetings over the weekend to determine how the campuses would respond to the university’s move. As of Monday morning, only two of the five affected campuses had formulated plans. Representatives for UC Riverside and UC Santa Cruz have stated that the campuses will seek membership in the California State University system. “”What makes them think we want them?”” asked Christopher Lawrence, a spokesman for CSU’s central office in Bakersfield, Calif. “”If they want to latch on to some other university system, it’s not going to be us.”” Whatever paths the campuses’ administrators take, the situation requires decisive action. Without the university’s backing, the campuses are left without funding and patronage. Though each campus maintains a modest endowment, no endowment can cover the day-to-day costs of running a university for very long. “”Maybe we’ll just try to turn into a private school,”” said UC Santa Barbara spokesman Mike Cosford. “”And if that doesn’t work, we’ll blow the endowment on keggers until there’s nothing left.”” Though the move presents trouble for the UCs left behind, there has been unforeseen hardship for the three remaining campuses, which must bear the weight of being the University of California by themselves. The UCOP source indicated that UCSD narrowly escaped a decision to have been cut from the system as well, which would have resulted in the creation of a two-campus University of California. “”UCSD’s respected in some academic circles,”” the source said. “”But what we were really concerned about was that it would bring down the hotness factor of the two other, more prestigious UCs.”” The use of a “”hotness factor,”” a quantitative computation used to measure how good-looking a campus’ student population is, has never been confirmed by a UC official willing to go on the record. Sources at UCOP, however, have revealed for the first time that the hotness factor is derived by computing the inverse square of the number of contraceptive devices purchased on a particular campus during a one-year period. The figure is then converted to a percentage, a higher percentage indicating a hotter campus. Put into perspective, SDSU boasts a hotness factor of 97 percent, while UC Berkeley’s hotness factor stands at 74 percent. UCSD’s hotness factor, in stark contrast, ranks well within the bounds of expectation at 28 percent. “”Without UCSB’s presence in the UC system, the UC-wide hotness factor will probably drop by several percent,”” the source said. “”UCLA and Berkeley will have to carry the burden for the whole system on their own — UCSD is certainly no help.”” ...

Economics Professor Heller Dies at 59

The UCSD community was saddened by the loss of longtime economics professor Walter Perrin Heller to pancreatic cancer March 2. He was 59. Heller made many contributions to UCSD during his residency, which began in 1974 after he left the University of Pennsylvania’s economics department. As an early member of the UCSD economics faculty, Heller played an active role in shaping the department. He was involved in research, teaching and campus land-use planning, and was distinguished in the Academic Senate as the chairman of the Campus Community and Environment Committee. On the committee, Heller helped plan construction projects for the development of the UCSD campus. It is this sphere of Heller’s work that is, as friend and colleague Ross Starr stated, “”his most visible contribution to the UCSD campus.”” Theodore Groves, a colleague of Heller’s, said that “”Walter had a deep sense of responsibility to [the Campus Community and Environment Committee].”” According to Groves, Heller was instrumental in creating UCSD’s current master plan for development. The master plan is responsible for the five, soon to be six, colleges at UCSD and linking them in a way that accommodates pedestrians and vehicular traffic. Heller was widely praised by his students and colleagues as an economist with solutions to economic problems that no textbook could solve. Heller’s teaching centered around economic policy and the effective allocation of resources in government services and the environment. As a teacher and an economist, Heller was devoted to ensuring that UCSD economics students received the best education possible. “”Walter cared deeply about economics and economic theory and wanted his students to be prepared to discuss economics and deal with public policy,”” Groves said. “”He was very concerned that the students we put out on the job market were good economists.”” Richard Carson, who also worked with Heller, said that “”[Heller] took an active role in working with assistant professors, making a concerted effort to raise the standard of teaching in the department.”” Heller was deeply concerned with his students’ quality of education and also had “”a personal warmth and really cared about his students, which certainly came through in his teaching,”” Starr said. Heller’s research was published frequently in leading academic journals and books. Topics of those included foundations of unemployment, stability of economic growth, demand for money and use of markets to distribute resources with the risk of failure due to incompleteness or monopoly. Heller served on the Executive Committee of the American Economic Association and served as associate editor for the Journal of Economic Theory. In 1964, Heller received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics at the University of Minnesota, where Lenoid Hurwiez, eminent economist and winner of the U.S. National Medal of Science, was his professor. Heller received his doctorate in 1970 from Stanford University, where he received dissertation guidance from Nobel Prize recipient Kenneth J. Arrow. Starr shared an office with Heller at Stanford during his graduate years and emphasized the impact that studying under Arrow, along with UC Berkeley Nobel Prize winner Gerard Debreu, had on himself and Heller as students of economic theory. Heller is survived by his wife Diemut, his son Nicholas, who is a sophomore at UCSD, and his daughter Marika, who is a student at Frances Parker School. Heller’s brother Eric resides in Cambridge, Mass., and his sister Karen Davis lives in Seattle. A private memorial service is planned. Heller’s family asks that donations be made to the Walter P. Heller Memorial Fund in place of flowers. ...

Out-of-State Tuition Policies Face Lawsuit

The University of California system is facing a lawsuit over its stringent but potentially unconstitutional residency requirements that result in out-of-state tuition and fees for some California residents. “”Schools can charge out-of-state tuition,”” said Neal Markowitz, a lawyer for the San Diego-based Eppsteiner and Associates law firm, which is handling the suit. “”Just don’t charge it to California citizens.”” California students who attend state-run universities have their education subsidized by the state and federal governments. Because out-of-state students do not receive similar benefits, the cost of their tuition reflects the actual, marginal cost for their education. By California state law, it takes less than six months to become a California citizen, which includes rights such as the right to vote and to receive welfare. However, the UC system sets residency requirements that are much more strict than those of the state. In addition to living in California for 12 months, the UC system requires that students must prove they are financially independent before they can pay in-state tuition and fees. To demonstrate this, students are not allowed to leave California for more than six weeks during the year in which they are trying to become residents, and they must not have received more than $750 per year for the previous three years from their guardians. In addition, they must submit a copy of their guardians’ tax statement. These rules prohibit students who want to become California residents from taking advantage of opportunities outside of the state. “”I think it is absolutely ridiculous that I couldn’t get an internship [outside of] California this summer if I want to stay eligible to pay regular in-state tuition,”” said Marshall junior Scott Edgers, who is originally from Illinois. “”I am being penalized for trying to expand my educational limits.”” Many students are upset that being eligible to pay in-state fees is not solely based on being a California citizen. “”I am a registered voter of California and pay California taxes, yet I still have to pay out-of-state tuition,”” said Muir sophomore Steve Reis, a native of Arizona. “”This system is absurd.”” Reis has not been financially independent from his parents for three years. Therefore, he is required to pay the additional $9,000 per year to attend UCSD as an out-of-state student, regardless of his California citizenship. Currently, Josh Markowitz, a third-year graduate student at UC Hastings School of Law, is suing the Hastings Board of Education under similar circumstances. As a new California citizen, Markowitz filed suit against Hastings, stating that the UC requirements are unconstitutional, and that he should not have to pay the extra $11,232 per year in tuition that results from his out-of-state status. The fact that Hastings is a three-year school makes it impossible for new California residents to garner the opportunity to pay in-state tuition and fees, due to the school’s requirement that a student must not have received a payment of more than $750 from his guardian in the last three years. Those attending Hastings who did their undergraduate work in a state other than California do not usually have the chance to qualify for in-state tuition and fees, because their parents likely supported them during their undergraduate studies. These discrepancies have been called unconstitutional by the Eppsteiner and Associates law firm. Markowitz said that the jurisdiction in the Hastings case is above the school’s education board and will most likely result in the passage of new legislation to overrule the current laws. A precedent to change such a decision was made in 1999 in the case of Saenz v. California Dept. of Social Services et al., when the State of California ruled that becoming a resident of California guarantees a person all the rights that any other resident receives. The court ruled that becoming a resident of California entitles a person to be eligible to receive California welfare payments. This refuted previous legislation, which had stated that a new California resident would receive the lower of the two payments between what is offered by California and the person’s previous state of residence. Markowitz said the case against the UC system will probably commence early this summer and will have to be settled at a later date. ...

Briefly

Scientists at the UCSD School of Medicine and the Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center have found that rats with spinal cord injuries can recover motor skills after just a few weeks due to spontaneous growth of the injured nerves. The findings were published in the March 13 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The article states that scientists removed spinal cord connections from the rats, which soon recovered coordinated forepaw movement. The scientists believe that these findings indicate self-regeneration of the nerves, because 40 percent of humans who suffer from nerve damage in the spinal cord or from head trauma also spontaneously recover motor function. Next, scientists will test whether their findings can lead to the development of techniques to ensure even more rapid recovery. The study was conducted in the lab of UCSD associate professor of neurosciences Mark Tuszynski, with the assistance of UCSD department of neurosciences researchers Norbert Weidner, Arvin Ner and Nima Salimi. Salute to Service Dogs to be Held March 18 Paws’tive Teams, an organization that trains and places dogs with disabled people, will hold its Salute to Service Dogs on Sunday, March 18 at 2 p.m. in the Price Center Ballroom. Kurt Benirschke from the San Diego Zoo will speak at the event. Some of the topics he will discuss include the use of dogs with large animals at the zoo and the training techniques used to teach the dogs to work with the animals. The ceremony will feature a puppy kissing booth and individual dogs will be recognized for their service to persons with disabilities. For more information, visit http://www.pawsteams.org Study Finds Mood Effects of Exercise May be Short-Lived A study at the UCSD School of Medicine has found that ceasing exercise also stops its mood-enhancing effects. The study was published in the March 15 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology. The new information confirmed the researchers’ hypothesis. The pool of elderly participants were chosen from the northern San Diego community of Rancho Bernardo. The study followed their exercise habits through two time intervals, 1984 to 1987 and 1992 to 1995. The study used the Beck Depression Inventory to assess the participants’ moods as they worked out three times a week. The study assessed the participants some time later and found that those who were still exercising were generally happier. UCSD associate professor of family and preventative medicine Donna Kritz-Silverstein, Elizabeth Barrett-Connor and Catherine Corbeau conducted the study. Heparin May Stop Cancer from Spreading in Mice Researchers at the UCSD Cancer Center have found that the common drug heparin may stop the spread of cancer in mice by blocking interaction of normal blood cells and tumor cell molecules. Past research with animals and heparin showed that the drug slows metastasis, the process by which tumor cells enter the bloodstream. However, studies using the drug have all but stopped, due to some unsuccessful attempts at the use of oral forms of the drug. Ajit Varki authored the study with the help of postdoctoral fellow Lubor Borsig. ...

Events

Thursday, March 15 Performing Arts: ‘This Blue Heart’ The UCSD theatre & dance department will sponsor the event, which will take place at the Mandell Weiss Forum Studio at 8 p.m. UCSD theatre & dance students will perform three short films by Caryl Churchill. The event is open to the public. General admission is $5 and student admission is $4. For more information call (858) 534-4574. Special Event: Urban Studies and Planning Expo The Urban Studies and Planning Department will sponsor the event, which will take place at 10 a.m. in the Price Center Theater lobby. The event will showcase USP senior research projects. The event is free and open to the public. For more information call (858) 534-3690. Fundraiser: UCSD Dance Bake Sale The UCSD dance department will sponsor a bake sale from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event is open to the public. Saturday, March 16 Special Event: UCSD Convocation This Obie Award-winning play will be performed at 8:30 p.m. in the Price Center Theater. The event is sponsored by the Women’s Center. The cost is $5. For more information, call (858) 822-0074. ...

UC System, Enron Dispute Energy Contract

The University of California and California State University systems filed legal action against Enron Energy Services in the U.S. District Court in Oakland Monday, asking for a preliminary injunction to prevent Enron from what the University of California alleges “”unilaterally alters the contract under which Enron delivers electrical power and other services to the two university systems.”” Enron denies these allegations, maintaining that it “”continues to honor the financial and other terms of its agreement with UC/CSU.”” The dispute stems from a 1998 contract that specified that UC and CSU would become “”direct access customers”” of Houston-based Enron. Under the contract, Enron provides electricity to the two university systems at discounted costs and helps to install special metering systems and conservation programs on the individual campuses, bypassing utilities such as Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas and Electric. The long-term, low-cost power contract was allowed by the implementation of deregulation laws at the time. At the height of the power crisis in February, Enron asked the UC and CSU systems to switch their meters from the high-tech meters linked to Enron’s system back to meters that would make the individual campuses customers of their respective local utilities. “”This move by Enron to escape the requirements of the UC-CSU contract would mean higher profits for Enron, but it has the potential for costing California students, parents and taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in additional expenses,”” said Joe Mullinix, UC senior vice president of business and finance. UC alleges that the motive behind what it deems “”a breach of contract”” is the pursuit of profit by Enron, which, if successful, could sell on the California “”spot market”” the electricity that was previously reserved for the UC campuses. This day-by-day market could garner much higher prices for electricity due to California’s recent critical power shortages and high demand. “”Enron is not seeing any windfall gain from this action,”” said Enron Energy Services spokeswoman Peggy Mahoney. She also claims that since the utilities did not compensate Enron for power during the power crisis, the company had to purchase power at market prices to supply its customers. While Enron guaranteed that prices would not fluctuate as a result of this move, UC calculates the total cost of the move could be anywhere between $132 million and $297 million. Some of the costs would stem from the procedural changes: UC maintains all the meters, and the billing system set up with Enron would have to be revamped at each campus. However, UC and CSU say they would be liable to help pay off the debts incurred by PG&E and SCE over the near-bankrupting power crisis earlier this year. UC would be at risk to cover higher energy costs, should Enron not be able to procure cheap power on the spot market in the remaining 13 months of the contract, which runs through March of 2002. According to UC, this is because the energy earmarked for the UC and CSU systems would already be sold on the spot market by Enron, and Enron would have to procure energy for the university systems elsewhere. “”Enron does not have and is therefore not reselling power previously purchase to serve UC/CSU,”” Mahoney said in response to UC’s allegations. UCSD alone saved $12.3 million as a result of the contract in the eight months between April and November of last year. While San Diego energy prices skyrocketed last summer before the rest of the state’s prices, savings across all the campuses during the energy crisis were a likely result of the contract with Enron. Enron denies that shifting campuses back over to utilities is its goal. Instead, Mahoney blames the California state Legislature for suspending direct access, a critical part of deregulation, as an option for customers during the latest power crisis. ...

Persian Club Holds 'NoRouz' Celebration

UCSD’s Persian Club held a two-tiered celebration of the Persian New Year, “”NoRouz””, in the Price Center Ballrooms Saturday night. The evening consisted of a cultural show, providing background history of the celebration, as well as a dance party afterward. The celebration was put together in conjunction with the Persian Cultural Center of San Diego, which has been a supporter of the Persian Club since its inception. A.S. Council funding also made the event possible. Sam Borghei and Ramin Tabatabai, co-presidents of the UCSD Persian Club, wanted to create an event that would unite Persians from all over Southern California, not just UCSD students. “”We wanted to do something that would involve a lot of So-Cal Persians who would not usually celebrate the holiday, those who are detached from the culture,”” Borghei said. “”Especially those who can’t go home because of finals week,”” Tabatabai added. “”NoRouz,”” which means “”new day”” in the Persian language, Farsi, is a 20-day celebration. The year begins on the Spring Equinox, which falls on March 20 this year, in the middle of finals week. Consequently, many students will not be able to go home and celebrate with their families. Marshall freshman Yashar Parvin was excited about the night. “”It gets me back in the mood of the Persian culture,”” Parvin said. “”I want to meet all the Persians coming tonight from the Southern California area.”” The cultural presentations included an overview of the Persian new year holiday, which dates back as many as 3,000 years. One of the major traditions in celebrating the new year is setting a special table with seven specific items, known as “”Haftseen.”” These items begin with the letter “”S”” in Farsi, and each are symbolic of various attributes of life, including beauty, represented by apples; health, represented by garlic; and fertility, represented by eggs. A Haftseen table was on display just outside the ballrooms for guests to see. Marcia Strong, A.S. adviser for the Persian Club, called the night an “”overall success,”” and saw it as a great chance for everyone to come to learn about the celebration. “”I know that the club invites people of all backgrounds to come,”” she said. “”I know they invite parents and administrators to come, as well. It’s a good tool to educate the community. It lets them learn more than what’s at face value.”” Indeed, students of various backgrounds were celebrating. “”I just wanted to have fun and be aware of the culture,”” she said. ...

52-33-28 Protests Policies

Hundreds of students who believe that the UC system wrongly eliminated its affirmative action program rallied at the Price Center Plaza Thursday in support of reinstating it. Students at the 52-33-28 Rally were alarmed at the decline in black students enrolling at UCSD. In 1997, the last year affirmative action was used in the admissions process, 64 black freshmen enrolled at UCSD. A year later, that total fell to 52. The drop continued, and 33 enrolled in 1999. In 2000, only 28 blacks enrolled at UCSD, marking an all-time low. Blacks now compose 1 percent of new enrollees at UCSD. “”It’s not a white problem, it’s not a black problem,”” said student Denise Pacheco. “”It’s a people problem.”” In 1995, the regents passed resolution SP-1, which banned consideration of race and gender in the UC admissions process. SP-1 also provided for an outreach program aimed at minorities. Rally Coordinator Jessica Lopez, Pacheco and other opponents of SP-1 believe that reinstating affirmative action will provide a more accurate representation of minorities at UCSD. “”We need to have about five times as many of you here,”” Jorge Mariscal, a UCSD literature professor, said to the mostly nonwhite crowd of approximately 300. “”The playing field is dramatically out of whack. “”[Students] are not getting a good education if they don’t have people of color in the classroom,”” Mariscal said. Participants in the rally were also concerned with declining numbers of minorities and women in the UCSD faculty. SP-2, which also went into effect in 1997, prevents race and gender from use as criteria for employment by the UC system. Before SP-2, 33 percent of UCSD’s faculty was female, compared with 25 percent of the faculty now. Mariscal said that Chicanos and blacks each make up about one percent of UCSD’s faculty. UCSD typically accepts one-third of its applicants, and about a quarter of those admitted choose to attend. Last year, UCSD accepted 20 percent of blacks and 49 percent of Asian-Americans who applied. Fourteen percent of accepted blacks enrolled. Whites composed 59 percent of UCSD’s student population in 1990; today they are just 39 percent. Asian-Americans, who made up 16 percent of UCSD’s population then, now compose 30 percent of the student body. ...

Briefly

Biology researchers at UCSD have recently discovered that nerve cells in a fetus are directed throughout the body by intracellular calcium that acts as gophers between the embryo and the cells. The scientists published their findings in the March 9 issue of “”Science,”” which describes how filopodia, which are projections from a nerve cell, test the outside environment and create calcium as is needed to serve as a transmitter for information between the organism’s developing brain and other parts of its body. Timothy Gomez, an assistant professor of anatomy at the University of Wisconsin Medical School, led the research and explained that the calcium phenomenon may have previously gone undetected because of their minute size. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke funded the team’s research. The team used spinal nerve cells from frog embryos in their research, because they are easily multiplied and grow rapidly. UCSD to Present 17th Annual Film Festival Later This Month David G. McKendrick and Stephan Haggard, researchers at UCSD have written “”From Silicon Valley to Singapore: Location and Competitive Advantage in the Hard Disk Drive Industry,”” with Richard Donor, a professor at Emory University. The book explores the dominance of the United States in the global hard disk drive industry. In the book, the researchers present their findings as to why the United States has excelled in the industry, which has made the information age possible with the ever-growing use of the personal computer. They say that much of United States’ success is due to effective globalization and the fact that they chose to research and develop the product in California, but to manufacture in Singapore, thus giving them an edge over Japanese companies. McKendrick is currently the research director of UCSD’s Information Storage Industry Center and Haggard is currently acting as Interim Dean of UCSD’s Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies. UCSD will sponsor this year’s annual San Diego International Film Festival, which will be held March 30 through April 12 at Mann’s Hazard Center Theater in Mission Valley. UCSD Scientists Collaborate to Author Book on Hard Disk Drive Industry Twenty-two films will be shown at the Hazard Center Theater and many will be shown on campus. The evening of April 10 will feature 22 short films, and on April 11, an event devoted solely to international animation will be held, featuring 19 animated films. Films from France, England, Australia, China, India, South Korea, the Netherlands, Austria, Turkey, Thailand, Taiwan, Spain, Italy, Poland, Hungary, Sweden and South Africa will be shown. Opening night will offer films that proved successful at the Cannes Film Festival, including “”With a Friend Like Harry,”” a French film directed by Gilles Marchand. For more information and a complete listing of all the films to be screened during the festival call the University Events Office at (858) 534-0497. Jacobs School Structural Engineers Survey Seattle Structural Engineers at UCSD’s Jacobs School of Engineering will hold a free public seminar March 12 to discuss their conclusions from a recent trip to Seattle, the site of a recent major earthquake. The team of engineers, which includes professors Andre Filiatrault and Chia-Ming Uang, looked at the damage done to buildings and bridges in the Puget Sound area. The quake measured 6.8 on the Richter scale, but damage remained limited because the earthquake was deep below the ground. The engineers found that structural damages were prevalent even though earthquake retrofit procedures had worked successfully. Damages have reached $2 billion and according to the Washington Emergency Management Division, there were over 400 injuries related to the Seattle earthquake. The seminar will take place at noon at UCSD’s Center for Magnetic Recording Research auditorium, and the complete findings of the research group can be found online at http://www.structures.ucsd.edu/UCSD%20Reconnaissance%20Report.htm. For more information about the seminar call Andre Filiatrault at (858) 822-2161. ...

A.S. President Ranked in USA Today Top 100

UCSD’s A.S. Council President Doc Khaleghi has been named one of the top 100 college students in the nation by USA TODAY in the Feb. 15 issue. Khaleghi, 20, is a Revelle senior and a premedical bioengineering major. He was selected for the USA Today distinction on the basis of scholarship, leadership and extracurricular activities. Khaleghi feels that being one of the 100 awarded out of the 638 applicants was a result of his diversity of experience. Khaleghi has served as a teaching assistant 12 times, received two research grants and served as A.S. Commissioner of Academic Affairs and is currently the A.S. President. He has worked as a research assistant at Scripps Research Institute and as a researcher at the UCSD School of Medicine. Last year, he discovered an error on the MCAT exam. Khaleghi has a cumulative 3.6 grade point average in his studies at UCSD, a lower GPA than most applicants. “”They look at GPA first,”” Khaleghi said. “”This is why I thought I had no chance of winning.”” Rather, he was evaluated on his “”academic product,”” an essay in which he described his role as A.S. president. Assistant Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Tom Tucker wrote the letter nominating Khaleghi. “”I think Doc is a special student leader and a special student, so I thought it would be appropriate to nominate him,”” Tucker said. “”I just think he’s unique: his energy and involvement in a variety of campus activities.”” Tucker pointed out Khaleghi’s qualities in the academic realm in his nomination letter. “”[Khaleghi] is also dedicated, honest and provides leadership while preserving an uncompromised pattern of personal integrity,”” Tucker stated in the letter. “”Khaleghi frequently demonstrates the exceptional management ability to foster concise solutions to complex and intricate organizational and operational problems.”” Both Khaleghi and Tucker remember when each learned of Khaleghi’s win of the honor. Twice a day Khaleghi was checking the mail that arrived in the A.S. boxes because he was waiting for medical school acceptances. He spotted a big envelope from USA Today. “”I tore it open, looked and went nuts,”” Khaleghi said. ...