Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Attn U.C. students, parents, alumni - investigating UC Regents

...or they will be, with your help.
Everyone in California is touched by this story and we need your help to spread the word and the link: to any students or alumni of the U.C. system.
Pass it on.
...this investigation proposes to determine to what degree (if any) the current regents have been spinning public money intended to finance education into a source of financial leverage (and income) for friends, business partners, and themselves.

National-award winning investigative reporter Peter Byrne will lead a team of forensic investigators, including R.V. Scheide of the Sacramento News & Review, as it unravels the complex web of financial connections that bind the Regents into an Investor’s Club.
Since money's been tight, I've been a benchwarmer for the last year or so; but this one's worth ponying up for.

JeffP? George Rebane? Tony Waters? who else has UC ties and wants to see a light shined on what these folks are doing?


Tony Waters said...

Yep, UC is deeply embedded in the existing corporate system. It is always tempting to kick them around a little, particularly those from the self-described "flagship" campuses at Berkeley and UCLA where undergraduate education is so poorly attended to.

But with the furloughs, fee hikes, budget cuts, and layoffs they have been dealing with, it is perhaps not the time.

Anna Haynes said...

re Tony's
> It is always tempting to kick them (UC?) around a little...but...

Tony, I think the concern is that, without shining a light on what the *Regents* are doing with the *UC's* money and influence, it's the Regents that'll be kicking the UC - and also, by extension, kicking all of us who the UC system is intended to serve.

Sunlight is the best of disinfectants...

I hope you agree that it's important to draw a distinction between the institution, and those governing it - and to recognize that shining a light on the latter can greatly benefit the former.

Anna Haynes said...

"...kicking all of us who the UC system is intended to serve" - and all of us who are funding it with our taxpayer dollars.

If the Regents are treating our money as if it were their money, I'd like to know about it.

George said...

"...the dark art of private equity investing ..."

Anna, I wasn't able to dig out any charge of wrongdoing in Byrne's article. Did someone break a law? Did they invest monies unprofessionally, or achieve below par returns? What/where is the smoking gun that is launching this "investigation"?

Anna Haynes said...

Is that George Rebane, or some other George?

> I wasn't able to dig out any charge of wrongdoing in Byrne's article.

Byrne hasn't written the article yet. The Q is, do we want someone to shine a light on the Regents' dealings (involving our public institutions & taxpayer money), and if so, are we willing to help pay for it?

To me it's a no-brainer.

I haven't heard back from Tony, as to whether he's rethought his answer.
(note to readers, disclosure re Tony - he's a UCDavis grad, now a sociology professor at Cal State Chico.)

George said...

Anna, yes it's your favorite George Rebane. Here's the Byrne piece.

DigiDave said...

Wow - I'm embarrassingly late to this conversation - sorry.

George: That link is the pitch for Byrne's investigation - but it isn't the result of it.

We will be putting out some preliminary info soon. I spent a good 2-3 weeks scanning public disclosure documents of all the regents and their investments. It's all public records (ie: legally obtained) but they aren't available easily - nor online.

Meanwhile: Byrne has started compiling them into a database - and that's where the real work begins.

While there is no "smoking gun" there is def reason to look further into the matters.

I'd much rather we fund an investigation and find out everything is kosher than just sit on our hands and assume.

Meanwhile: Anna - it's always a pleasure to see you (on the intertubes). I hope we can hang out again soon.