UC Settles with Arthur Andersen Entity

On April 8, the University of California filed a complaint in federal court against Enron executives and several financial and legal institutions directly involved in defrauding investors of more than $25 billion. The University of California was named lead plaintiff in the securities class action suit in February.

When discussions with Enron’s auditor – Arthur Andersen LLP – failed to reach a settlement, the University entered into negotiations with Arthur Andersen’s international entities, independent of the U.S. firm. The UC announced Aug. 27 that a tentative $40 million settlement had been reached with Andersen Worldwide SC, an umbrella organization representing the international divisions. The trial against the American firm is scheduled for Dec. 1, 2003.

The UC is one of several large public and private institutions that invested in Enron based on inaccurate company statements, documents and audits. The UC purchased a total of 2.2 million shares of Enron stock between May 2000 and Jan. 2001, and lost $144.9 million. The losses represent less than 0.3 percent of the University’s total portfolio.

Court Rules Students Cannot Sue Colleges for Releasing Records

Through Gonzaga University and Roberta S. League v. John Doe, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 7-2 decision in June that students cannot file suit when universities disclose confidential student records to nongovernmental agencies.

Instead of filing civil suit, students can file a complaint to the secretary of education, who can then cut federal funding to the university. In order for students to file suit, Congress must create “new rights” regarding student privacy, the Supreme Court said.

Critics argue the ruling leaves too much to administrative discretion. Since students cannot file lawsuits, the secretary of education may choose to ignore complaints.

Critics also contend that cutting federal funding from an institution because of student privacy violations is too strict a punishment and may weaken the effectiveness of the Freedom of Information Act since federal agencies may not release information for fear of legal action.

UC Raises Nonresident Fees

The UC Board of Regents passed a nonresident tuition hike of 10 percent July 18, raising fees for nonresident undergraduates from $10,704 to $12,009, effective fall 2002. Resident tuition fees remained the same for the eighth consecutive year.

Due to cuts in the state budget and concerns about the UC’s ability to meet the rising cost of health benefits for its employees, undergraduate nonresident tuition is expected to increase by another 6 percent in spring 2003.

Graduate nonresident tuition was increased by 4 percent as part of the measure, also effective in fall 2002.

New UCSB Center Studies Law Enforcement

A new law enforcement center at UCSB was inaugurated Tuesday at the Faculty Club.

The Center on Police Practices and Community (COPPAC) is a groundbreaking research center that will study the effectiveness of law enforcement in the community.

“Not many Americans have much direct contact with law enforcement officials, though at times … media coverage does aid the public in understanding the risks and dangers officers willingly undertake for the sake of their communities,” COPPAC Director Howard Giles said in a press release Tuesday. “But, an underappreciated fact is that law enforcement officers are an integral part of their communities – citizens when off-duty as well as on.”

Giles is a communications professor and a reserve sergeant with the Santa Barbara Police Department.

Scholars in several fields will collaborate with law enforcement officials to ensure the relevance of the research to the needs of the officers and the communities they serve. Current research projects include police response to domestic violence, sexual violence, hate crimes and the role of film and media in portraying law enforcement.