News

SIO Engineer Receives Nichol Award

Scripps Institution of Oceanography research engineer and senior lecturer Richard Seymour was recently honored with the 2000 John G. Moffatt and Frank E. Nichol Harbor and Coastal Engineering Award. The prestigious honor is awarded annually by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Seymour received the award in recognition of his lifelong contributions and leadership in the field of coastal engineering. His status with the ASCE was also elevated to Fellow in Commendation for his life work in the field. “”It is very rewarding to be recognized by your peers,”” Seymour said. The rich history of past recipients of the prestigious award is not lost on him. “”I’m very proud to get the award,”” Seymour said. “”The gods of coastal engineering have been past recipient s. I’m very proud to be included.”” Robert Guza, a professor at Scripps, acknowledged Seymour as having a “”long and illustrious career,”” as well as “”being a leader in studying the California wave climate.”” Throughout his career, Seymour’s research has covered a wide range of topics from the practical to the theoretical. On the practical side, he has studied coastal sediment transport and shoreline erosion. He is also renowned for his theoretical work with surface gravity waves. His greatest achievement may be the creation of the Scripps Coastal Data Information Program for furthering the study of surface gravity waves. What started in 1976 with a single buoy off Imperial Beach has blossomed into one of the world’s largest scientific data collection networks. Scripps research associate Ron Flick credits the success of the CDIP to Seymour’s innovative thinking and ability to make the theoretical accessible. Flick noted that Seymour “”was the first to make a practical system to measure statistical properties of ocean waves.”” One of the goals of the project was to bring a research tool to the level of common practicality. Seymour helped make this goal a reality. Currently, he is working on an expansion of CDIP to measure the impact of waves on the shoreline. The research is taking place at North Torrey Pines. It will include monitoring sand movement on and off the beach, all of which is valuable for testing computer models. ...

Neuroscience Professor Passes Away

UCSD Professor of Neurosci-ences and founder of Myelos Neurosciences Corporation, John S. O’Brien, passed away in his La Jolla home Thursday, February 1. Internationally known for his discovery of the genetic cause of Tay-Sachs disease and his development of screening tests for the disease, O’Brien was first recruited by the UCSD School of Medicine in 1968 after six years as a faculty member at the University of Southern California. His scientific work and his efforts in support of screening led to the establishment of widespread, coordinated screening, education and counseling programs for high-risk individuals, resulting in a decrease in the number of Tay-Sachs deaths. Chairman of the Department of Neurosciences at the UCSD School of Medicine, Leon Thal, remembers O’Brien fondly. “”John was a world-class scientist, an esteemed colleague, a wondrful mentor to his students and a warm, caring individual who will be deeply missed,”” Thal said. UCSD Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences Edward W. Holmes remarked on O’ Brien’s contributions to the field of science. “”[He] was an early pioneer in the application of knowledge gained in the laboratory to help patients,”” Holmes said. “”He built upon his imporant scientific work to become an advocate for genetic screening and education programs, effectively bridging the gap between basic science and patient care.”” O’Brien is survived by his wife Susan, his mother, Esther, his sister Linda and her husband Peter O’Brien-Rothe, six children, John E. and his wife Janet, Maggie and her husband Jack Mathers, Kathleen and her husband Chris Alex, Bridgt and her husband Douglas Youngdale, Michael and his wife Terri, Patrick and his wife Lisa and 20 grandchildren. At this time, only private family services are planned. The family requests that all donations be sent in lieu of flowers to support the UCSD Graduate Program in Neurosciences. In addition, checks should be made out to the UCSD Foundation and sent to the following name and address: Leon J. Thal, MD, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA. 92093-0624. ...

Briefly

Thurgood Marshall college recently initiated the Public Service minor at UCSD, which will focus on public service to the nonprofit sector and will be available to all UCSD students beginning next fall quarter. The minor will require students to take a series of seven courses which will educate them in the histories of four areas of education, government, social research and health. Internships with local nonprofit organizations with also be available to students choosing to pursue the new minor. This is the first minor of its type and it is expected to teach people what an important role nonprofit organizations play in society. Selected Study Abroad Deadlines Extended The deadlines for some Study Abroad destinations in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the Americas have recently been extended. It is not too late for students wishing to travel to Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Russia, Sweden, the U.K., Vietnam, Egypt, Israel, Turkey, Barbados, Canada, Chile or Mexico to apply. In order to make the new deadlines, it is recommended that students pick up applications now in the Programs Abroad office or Library, make an advising appointment and go to an Education Abroad Program application workshop. The Programs Abroad office is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and can be reached for more information at (858) 534-1123. Rape Aggression Defense System to be Taught at UCSD Thurgood Marshall college and the Women’s Center will sponsor R.A.D., a 12-hour self-defense training system. The Rape Aggression Defense System teaches women how to realistically defend themselves in the face of a sexual assault. The course will begin Feb. 21 and end March 2. The course is for women only and will take the students through various stages including awareness, prevention, risk education and avoidance. With its proven effectiveness and simplicity, the R.A.D. system is quickly becoming an accepted and trusted method of self defense and is currently being taught at numerous colleges and universities. The class size will be limited to 14, so early registration is strongly recommended. The cost is $10 for registered Marshall students and $12 for students of other colleges, staff and faculty. For more information, call Emelyn dela Pena at (858) 822-1475. CHAD Rally to Benefit Community Service Agencies A UCSD United Way/Combined Health Agency Drive rally will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Sun God. Various activities will be set up to raise money to help CHAD assist local community service agencies make the community a better place to live. Money raised from the activities, which include a book fair, will go to programs that enhance senior wellness, develop diverse communities, empower disabled persons, improve health and wellness, protect the environment, strengthen families, and invest in children and youth. The rally will kick off UCSD’s own CHAD campaign and the UCSD United Way Campaign Steering Committee members will be on hand to provide literature and information about UCSD’s campaign. ...

UC to Pay $22.5 Million in Billing Fraud Settlement

The University of California agreed this week to pay $22.5 million in response to an audit by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General. The settlement effectively closed suits of two alleged False Claims Act violations brought against the university in 1996 and 1999 in Federal District Courts in San Francisco and Sacramento. The suits alleged fraudulent billing procedures, claiming that the five UC medical school hospitals used incorrect coding procedures. Government-funded programs such as Medicare and Medi-Cal were allegedly billed incorrectly for procedures done by residents instead of teaching physicians. John Lundberg, general deputy counsel for the UC Board of Regents, said there was no fraud. “”There were certainly no damages, fines or penalties,”” Lundberg said. The False Claims Act enables plaintiffs in a lawsuit to receive at least 15 percent of the recovered amount if the case is settled. In this situation, there was no payment from the university to the individuals who filed the suit. In fact, Lundberg said that the 1996 San Francisco case will be dismissed entirely, being “”devoid of facts.”” The 1999 Sacramento case against UC Davis’ medical facility will also be dismissed, except for one claim charging the institution with falsely charging California’s government-funded health care provider, Medi-Cal. It is unknown whether the plaintiffs are receiving any of the compensation the government derived from the settlement. The Office of General Counsel stated that the University of California “”came out rather well”” in this settlement, due to its “”high degree of compliance to begin with.”” In an audit including 500 patient charts, 7,000 entries, technical vocabulary and specialized billing codes, the charges centered around “”up-coding,”” or billing in such a way that inappropriately assesses the complexity of the services rendered, resulting in the care provider being overcharged for the procedures. Lundberg said the institutions were down-coding as much as they were up-coding, that the occurrence of both were both minimal, and that the hospital practices were close to accurate. The Physicians at Teaching Hospitals initiative was started by the Office of the Inspector General to evaluate the billing practices of over 40 hospitals across the nation. In 1995, as a result of the same audit, the University of Pennsylvania paid $30 million to the federal government for the violations of one hospital. Public universities have also been hit. The University of Texas San Antonio paid a $17 million settlement, again for only one hospital. The UCSD School of Medicine spent $3.5 million during the course of the investigation, according to sources within the medical school. The UC system spent approximately $15 million in professional fees during the course of the audit. The motivation for this settlement was economic, as running out the litigation would have cost millions more than the $22.5 million paid as a result of the settlement. According to Lundberg, the real savings was time. Attempting to settle the matter in court would have been “”a long, protracted litigation,”” he said. Following the audit, the UC schools have implemented compliance plans that call for specialized officers on each campus, a committee to deal with potential violations, and education programs designed to increase awareness of proper accounting procedures. This increase in oversight aims to bring the hospitals into further compliance with federal regulations. Lundberg cited the clearer regulations put in place in 1996 as enabling the university to implement effective plans for financial accountability. ...

Trolley Stop Debate Starts

The Metropolitan Transit Development Board and the A.S. Council have narrowed down the 12 original on-campus trolley station location proposals to four, in preparation for the Feb. 22 deadline when only two proposals will remain. “”The way parking is going to be, we need a way to get [drivers] out of their cars,”” said A.S. President Doc Kaleghi. “”We need something that will serve the entire campus community.”” Currently, the four proposed sites for the extension of the San Diego Trolley are underneath Price Center, in Pepper Canyon and there are two proposals for a station in East Campus. Though each site has its own advantages, Khaleghi has expressed major interest in the building of the Price Center station. “”I hope the city and the administration get together to recognize that we all need an alternative form of transportation that is as close to the center of campus as possible,”” he said. Most students believe that this location is the best of the proposed sites, as it would not require a shuttle to get to the center of campus unlike the other sites. “”It would be so nice just being able to hop on a trolley and having it actually taking me to where I want to go,”” said Revelle junior Scott Simmonds. “”Waiting in line for shuttles and buses would defeat the whole purpose for me because I could easily park my car in East Parking and take the shuttle there.”” Moreover, many say that this site would save them money by not forcing them to buy a parking permit. “”I think some people would take it depending on how efficient it was,”” said Muir freshman Allison Long. “”It would be convenient and cheap.”” Currently, the San Diego Trolley costs between $1 and $2.25 per ride, although monthly passes are available. The proposed Price Center site would be located underground, with an entrance in close vicinity of the food court. By contrast, the other sites would involve students taking a shuttle that would take more time. This extra time may be a strong enough deterrent that students may not use the trolley and may instead encourage them to continue driving. “”Having to take a shuttle from the parking lot to the center of campus would actually take more time than it would just driving into East Parking and waiting,”” Simmonds said. “”I would be willing to wait for the trolley if it took me where I needed to go, but not for [Pepper Canyon or East Campus].”” Mark Thompson, Senior Transportation Planner for MTDB, said there is still some time before the final location will be decided, and that no such date can be estimated at this time. However, Khaleghi said the elimination process will continue this week, as he is meeting with Campus Community Planning Commission today to discuss the four suggested sites. Once the list has been refined to three, UCSD Chancellor Robert C. Dynes, in collaboration with MTDB, will narrow down the locations by Feb. 22 to two possible sites, taking into consideration cost, location and convenience to students, among other factors. The Trolley Board will make the ultimate decision once the university and the administration have approved it. Even though the location of the trolley station will be decided within the next six months, the UCSD site would not open until October of 2008, according to Thompson. Students are unhappy over this late date, because putting a trolley on campus was originally proposed 20 years ago, although nothing happened until recently. “”This is typical government bureaucracy,”” said Muir sophomore Steve Reis. “”It takes years for anything to get done.”” The structure will not be completed until this late date, as the Federal Transit Administration and Congress will only fund one large trolley project within a certain radius at a time. A trolley station is currently being built for San Diego State University near Mission Valley, which will be completed in 2004. Once this $117 million project is done, construction will begin with the Balboa extension that will include a stop at UCSD on the Orange and Blue line. The Blue line is a 25.2 mile line that makes 23 stops between Mission Valley and the International Border, while the 21.6 mile Orange line makes 15 stops between Bayside in Centre City and Santee Town Center Station. ...

UCSD Freshman Dies in Fall at Blacks Beach

Revelle freshman Gilbert F.D. Nunez Jr. fell to his death from atop the cliffs above Blacks Beach Saturday at about 5 p.m. He was 18. Nunez and some of his friends had gone to the cliffs to study just after 4 p.m. The victim strayed away from the group to climb on a rock situated on the edge of the cliff when he lost his balance and fell. Lifeguards estimate that Nunez descended nearly 200 feet before landing on the beach below. “”He was an avid climber — he was practically a monkey,”” recalls Revelle freshman Becky Bowen, a friend of Nunez’s. “”He was climbing and slipped and fell to his death.”” Several people walking along the shore saw the victim plummet down the cliff. Shortly thereafter, paramedics from La Jolla’s engine company No. 9 arrived on scene along with San Diego lifeguards. CPR was performed, but there was little anyone could do to save the fallen student. Those that knew Nunez describe him as the type of person that everyone loved. “”He was a friend to all of us,””said Jennifer Pae, a friend of Nunez’s. “”He loved to make people laugh, he was so much fun to be around. He was the only person who knew everyone in the building. He was such a friendly, loving person, and that’s what makes it so difficult, because he was so close to everyone.”” When students heard of the accident, they immediately came together and took action. Some went to the cliff where the accident happened to lay flowers in memory of their friend. Others plan to hold a candlelight vigil this week. By Sunday afternoon, less than 24 hours after the accident took place, family members had arrived at Revelle College’s Atlantis Hall to retrieve Nunez’s belongings. Students could hardly maintain their composure as they assisted Nunez’s father in moving his belongings out of his room. Some openly wept as they packed boxes filled with personal items into a rented U-Haul trailer. Others wrapped their arms around those that were overtaken by the reality that their friend was gone. Perhaps the most emotional moment took place when several students presented the victim’s father with a picture frame containing a poem written especially for his son. The poem was surrounded by a dozen photographs of Nunez with his suitemates and friends taken at UCSD. Several friends worked through the night to finish the project in time to present it to the Nunez family. More than 20 students and several family members then held hands and formed a circle in the parking lot to remember their friend one last time. Each bowed their heads in respect, and some offered a few words in memory of their good friend. As the family prepared to depart, one student brought a bouquet of flowers to the victim’s father. At that moment, many students broke down crying. As one person ran to get tissues, the last of Nunez’s belongings were packed up. Family members thanked the students one last time for their support before they left UCSD for the long journey home. “”You got to kind of remember what he did, and not just what happened recently,”” said Graham Lubinsky, a Revelle freshman and suitemate of Nunez’s. “”He led a full life. He had an impact on everyone he dealt with, and that’s what you have to remember. You can’t be upset forever about one incident — you just got to keep him in your heart.”” ...

Lights & Sirens

Monday, Feb. 5 12:29 a.m.: Officers arrested an 18-year-old male student at Stewart Hall for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana. Cited and released. 10:00 a.m.: A student reported vandalism to a sign in Lot 106. 3:48 p.m.: A staff member reported the theft of a laptop computer from the Ratner Eye Center. Loss: $2,500. 3:55 p.m.: A staff member reported the theft of cash from a wallet at Nierenberg Annex. Loss: $80. Thursday, Feb. 8 2:25 a.m.: Officers arrested a 48-year-old male nonaffiliate for an outstanding misdemeanor warrant for drinking alcohol in public. Cited and released. Bail: $92. 6:13 p.m.: A student reported the attempted theft of a silver ’87 Ford Taurus from Lot 510. No monetary loss. 8:22 p.m.: A student reported burglary to a blue ’87 Honda Accord in Lot 510. Loss: $735. Friday, Feb. 9 11:00 a.m.: A student reported the theft of a dark gray ’90 Chrysler New Yorker from Lot 702. Loss: $2,000. 12:20 p.m.: A staff member reported the theft of U.S. currency from McGill Hall. Loss: $710. 11:56 p.m.: California Highway patrol recovered the dark gray ’90 Chrysler New Yorker stolen in Lot 702. Vehicle stored at Star Towing. Saturday, Feb. 10 12:36 a.m.: Officers detained an 18-year-old male nonaffiliate for being drunk in public in lot 406. Transported to Detox. Officers detained two 17-year-old male nonaffiliates for curfew violation and possession of coca-ine at same location. Released to parents. 2:39 a.m.: Officers impounded a black ’01 Toyota Tacoma from Lot 406 for driver being taken to Detox. Stored at Star Towing. 3:13 p.m.: A student reported vandalism to a vehicle in Lot 502. Loss: $300. 3:23 p.m.: A 19-year-old female nonaffiliate fainted in the Price Center Ballroom. Transported to Kaiser by paramedics. 8:08 p.m.: A student reported the theft of a cellular phone from CLICS. Loss: $100. 10:20 p.m.: Officers arrested a 21-year-old male student at Tenaya Hall for furnishing alcohol to a minor. Cited and released. ...

Scripps Ritter Building to be Demolished

Ritter Hall, once the site of many classrooms and labs, currently stands as only a concrete shell. The destruction of the large academic building, located on the campus of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, began Dec. 11 of last year. The company contracted to do the demolition is Clauss Construction. Bernard Clauss is the project manager in charge of the SIO project. Vaughn Hall, where the aquarium used to be located, is also scheduled to be demolished. This will occur simultaneously with the Ritter Hall demolition. Much of the material out of Ritter Hall is being recycled; 96 percent, according to Clauss. “”The only material not recycled out of that building was the hazardous material,”” he said. The first step to demolishing Ritter Hall was the removal of asbestos from the ceilings and other surfaces. The asbestos removal was completed last week. The air inside the building was then tested to make sure no airborne fibers were present after the asbestos removal. These particles are a health hazard if people inhale them. The building was pronounced safe for workers, and demolition continued. Steel, metal and wood materials were removed from the hall next and sent to be recycled. The metals go to a recycler, where they are melted to form new steel for reuse. The wood products are either to be reused or sold as scrap wood. “”When they’re all done with that, all there is is a concrete shell,”” Clauss said. This “”concrete shell”” is currently still standing on the Scripps campus. According to Clauss, the demolition is approximately 75 percent complete. Once the building has been completely demolished, the building will be crushed and used as road base or back-fill material. Road base is the layer put down on roads before asphalt or concrete is laid. The steel rebar of the concrete structure is also recycled after the concrete is taken to be crushed. The Ritter Hall and Vaughn Hall demolitions are scheduled to be completed March 23, 2001. The space that will remain when the building is demolished will be turned into a park. The park will be built with funds provided by the family of a deceased Scripps graduate student as a memorial. ...

Briefly

The UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering will hold its Research Review, which is themed “”A Blueprint for the Information Infrastructure,”” on Friday, Feb. 23 in the Price Center. Five industry leaders and various faculty will be at the review to give presentations. Information about current graduate work in the field and technical exhibits from 38 companies will also be on display. Approximately 600 students, graduates, faculty and alumni are expected to attend the event, which will start at 8 a.m. with registration and a continental breakfast and will end at 4:30 p.m. Some industry leaders participating in the Executive Forum include Paul Horn, senior vice president and director of research for the IBM Corporation; Paul Jacobs, the executive vice president of Qualcomm, Inc.; Greg Papadopoulos, senior vice president and chief technology officer for Sun Microsystems, Inc.; and Larry Smarr, the director of UCSD’s new California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology. Bank of America president to speak at UCSD Liam McGee, the president of Bank of America California, is scheduled to visit UCSD on Feb. 13 for the UCSD Economics Roundtable, which will commence at 7:30 a.m. in the Faculty Club with a breakfast for those in attendance. McGee graduated from UCSD and joined Bank of America in 1990, eventually rising to become the chief executive of California’s largest bank. McGee has also served two terms on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Tickets for the roundtable are $50. The price includes continental breakfast and parking. To purchase tickets for the event contact Edie Munk at (858) 822-0510. Construction to be completed on campus electrical system The Office of the Assistant Vice Chancellor announced this week that the final phase of construction on the campus electrical system will be completed, alleviating electrical supply and distribution worries on campus. The work done on the Campus High Voltage Electrical system will take five months and will connect the new Cogeneration plant, enable high voltage cabling to be run underneath Interstate 5 and facilitate the installation of a third transformer at the main campus substation. Efforts will be made to ensure that the campus power supply will not be affected by the work. Construction alerts will be made prior to any major work. Work on the system will also be done Saturday, Feb. 10 starting at 6 a.m. and ending at 9 p.m. Questions can be directed to John Dilliott, the project manager for facilities design and construction at (858) 822-3349, or Mike Griffith, the assistant director of physical plant services at (858) 534-2927. Electronic music event to take place at Porter’s Pub The UCSD DJs and Vinylphiles Club, in cooperation with the A.S. Council, will present Heartbreakz, a free evening of electronic music, on Friday, Feb. 9. The event will showcase the older talent of the DVC and will also introduce several new DJs. There will be two sound areas, one outside and one inside. Heartbreakz will go from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m., and while tickets are free, early attendance is recommended as the Pub has limited capacity. This event is open only to UCSD students. Mexican-American singer/songwriter Perla Batalla will perform in Mandeville Auditorium on Feb. 23. at 7:30 p.m. Perla Batalla to perform at UCSD Feb. 23 Over the years, Batalla has lived and performed in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Mexico. Her music has included everything from Gershwin to Mexican lullabies. Named “”Best Emerging Artist of 1999″” by Amazon.com, Batalla’s music is a mix of Latin-American-gypsy-fospel-folk-pop. Her songs range from traditional Latino melodies to bluesy ballads with a contemporary twist – each with a distinctive voice. ...

Events

Thursday, Feb. 8 Seminar: Hear Me: A Legacy of Student Activism Student activists will discuss how they have worked for change on the UCSD campus. The event is sponsored by the Cross Cultural Center and will begin at 4 p.m. in the Cross Cultural Center. The event is free and open to the public. For more information call (858) 534-9689. Friday, Feb. 9 Workshop: Social Issues and Action Research Group The Cross Cultural Center will sponsor the forum, which will explore the politics of the University of California. The event is free and open to the public. The event will take place at 2 p.m. in the Cross Cultural Center. For more information call (858) 534-9689. Dance Party: Heartbreakz The UCSD DJ and Vinylphiles Club and the A.S. Council will sponsor the event which will take place at 5 p.m. in the Porter’s Pub. The event is open to UCSD students and admission is free. Saturday, Feb. 10 Performing Arts: ‘Bash’ The UCSD theater and dance department will sponsor Neil LaBute’s presentation, which explores everyday evil in three short plays. The event is open to the public. General admission is $12 and student admission is $6. For more information call (858) 534-4574. Sunday, Feb. 11 Performing Arts: ‘Satish’ The University Centers will sponsor the event, which will take place at 8 p.m. in Espresso Roma in the Price Center. The event is free and open to the public. For more information call (858) 534-4022. Monday, Feb. 12 Seminar: Special Molecular Biology Section Seminar The Division of Biology will sponsor the event, which will take place at noon. in Pacific Hall. The event is free and open to the public. For more information call (858) 534-9737. Tuesday, Feb. 13 Community Service: Condom Awareness Week The Student Health Advocates will sponsor the event, which will call attention to the week-long awareness event and will provide free condoms to students. The event will take place at 11 a.m. in the Price Center Plaza. Film: “”Love and Basketball”” The University Centers will sponsor the film, which will be shown at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m in the Price Center Theater. Admission is $2. Wednesday, Feb. 14 Special Event: Undeclared Majors Faire Marshall College Academic Advising will sponsor the event, which will take place at 11:30 a.m. on Library Walk. The event is free and open to the public. For more information call (858) 534-4110. ...