The news from abroad is disturbing and heartbreaking. Not a day goes by without me asking, “Where is the justice in our world today?”
Recently protests erupted around the world as an outcry over the killing of Mahsa Amini. If you haven’t had a chance to learn about the extraordinary developments in Iran over the past two weeks, I highly recommend the recent episode of The Daily podcast. Many members of the UCSF community are from Iran and are gravely concerned for the safety of friends and family who live there. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.” Indeed, we must unite in solidarity with the brave women in Iran who are risking their lives to stand against oppression. They must, they will, prevail.
And amid the ongoing upheaval of the war in Ukraine, the actions of many people in Russia who are speaking out against Putin’s draft is a reason to be hopeful in the long run. Here’s another recent episode of The Daily that I found simply remarkable – a young man now facing the draft shares his thoughts about the truth of the war, his relationship with his parents, and Russian society in general.
So, as dark as the news can be, there is still good reason to see brightness on the horizon.
Switching gears: here at home, fall is in full swing. At UCSF, the campuses and shuttles are once again bustling with people, and it’s great to see Saunders Court filled with activity and smiling faces.
Over the past two months, UCSF news brings us progress for the Parnassus Research and Academic Building, a message of peace by way of a new mural at Mission Bay, and an award for the removal of our historic Toland Hall murals as the University works toward finding a permanent home. Exciting!
Let’s move on to this month’s Expresso topics:
- Improving the Parnassus Library: A peek behind the wrapping
- Building a Circle of Trust: Restorative Justice Practices
- California Public Records Act: The sunshine law
Have a question about anything you’ve read in Expresso? Drop me a line at [email protected].
With best wishes,
Improving the Parnassus Library: A peek behind the wrapping
When a building gets to be 25 years old, it often needs what’s called “renewal.” (Just ask anyone who has lived in a house that long!) The Kalmanovitz Library on our Parnassus campus opened in 1990, so the renewal is slightly overdue, but I’m happy to report that it’s now underway.
Currently, the building might be mistaken from a distance as an homage to the late artist Christo. Micquel Little, associate university librarian for research and learning, explains that the white plastic sheeting covers scaffolding that allows for much needed waterproofing of the roof, windows, terraces, doors, and walls. The waterproofing started in March and should be finished by next summer. The terraces around the building will be opened for the first time in years to allow faculty, staff, and students to enjoy the outdoors, weather permitting. The library is also getting an energy efficiency makeover, from LED bulbs with motion sensors to save electricity, to an upgraded HVAC system.
Due to the pandemic, the library is currently limited to UCSF badge holders only. The Hearst Room, which is accessible from its own street entrance, is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week for UCSF students, providing them with a quiet and safe place to study. All services are available to the UCSF community, both virtually and in person, while you go about your research, education, and clinical duties. You can find a timeline for the reopening on the library’s website.
Because the Kalmanovitz Library was built on a steep hillside, its main entrance on Parnassus Avenue is actually on the third floor, which also is getting attention. There will be a newly designed information desk, new gender-inclusive restrooms, and access controls to the four other floors are being installed.
The new access controls mean that the general public will be welcomed to the third floor during regular operating hours and UCSF students, faculty, and staff will have 24-7 access to the entire third floor. Access to the other floors for the general public will be by invitation or appointment only. (UCSF badge holders can get to all floors during business hours.) Everyone will once again be able to enjoy those fabulous views that extend over Golden Gate Park to the Marin Headlands. In addition, the popular Caffé Central is expected to reopen next year!
“The library is a benefit to the entire UCSF and San Francisco community, and we take our role in providing services and health care information to people suffering homelessness and mental health challenges very seriously,” says Chris Shaffer, university librarian and assistant vice chancellor for academic information management. “We will continue providing that vital service to everyone at all levels of equity, and all levels of resources, whether they are unhoused or a visiting health professional from another hospital. This will allow us to continue providing high-quality service while providing secure space for our students to study.”
Two stories down, on the first floor, in a space full of compact shelving – those stacks that could be moved by turning big wheels like those on a ship – a new environmentally controlled archives and special collections vault is being built. It will house UCSF’s rare books and artifacts. Both are extremely intriguing. For starters, check out the glass eyeball collection.
Seizing the opportunity that the renewal presents, UCSF’s Education Space Programming Task Force (co-chaired by Chris and Sharon Youmans, School of Pharmacy vice dean and professor) has been working with the architectural firm HGA, which also is designing the Parnassus Research and Academic Building. HGA proposed a full-blown renovation to increase the number and size of library classrooms.
Part of the proposal aligns with two key goals of the library’s strategic plan. The first is to build a Technology Innovation Hub, comprising spaces that provide fluid pathways for the UCSF community to design, create, and embed cutting-edge technologies into curriculum and research. The second is to build a Center for Teaching Excellence. The center will provide equitable access to expertise and instructional technologies, support evolving pedagogy, and empower faculty to facilitate superior learning by giving all users an experience that is streamlined and intuitive within an optimal educational environment, whether online or in the physical classroom. Other HGA improvements include expanding the Kanbar simulation center and creating group study rooms to support team-based learning models, which are an important component of health professionals’ new curriculum. Once HGA draws up the entire plan, the next step will be determining the feasibility and timing of renovations given all the other projects lining up for Parnassus.
To prepare, the library has begun the process of “decanting” its collection. While everything that can be digitized has been converted, other books will be sent to a UC-wide storage facility housed in Richmond and run by UC Berkeley, and to the Internet Archive, a nonprofit based in San Francisco. The level of service is impressive. The Berkeley facility can get a book to a UCSF researcher who needs it within one business day via courier. Journal articles can be scanned and delivered digitally, often in just a few hours.
“These changes will result in wonderful spaces for you as a member of the campus community to study, learn, and heal,” Chris says. And the virtual services, many of which were pioneered during the pandemic, will remain. An important part of the library’s strategic plan and message for the future are the programs and resources that are available beyond the brick and mortar.
Once the renewal is complete, I hope you’ll visit – and visit frequently! If you’re now a remote employee, explore the wealth of information and resources available online.
Building a Circle of Trust: Restorative Justice Practices
Restorative justice has received a lot of attention in recent years, with the movement expanding from the criminal justice system to K-12 school systems, higher education institutions, and now the workplace. The practice of restorative justice is not new. The teaching and values have and continue to be practiced by many indigenous communities across the globe.
In line with our principles of community and our PRIDE Values, the work of Restorative Justice Practices (RJP) began as a service for UCSF students through Student Academic Affairs. The success of the program continued during the pandemic when restorative justice circles had to move to the grid that is Zoom, but the significance of forming a circle was not diminished. It was at this time that Maria Jaochico, director of the Office of Restorative Justice Practices, noticed many UCSF employees expressing interest in participating in circles, too.
Faculty members also would recognize the value and say things like, “I want to incorporate community-building circles in research group.” Thus began the organic spread throughout the University. To assess viability at a larger scale, we conducted a pilot from February to June, opening up the circle experience to trainees, faculty, and staff. It was received really well and, as a result, was funded in July to bring this practice to the entire UCSF organization. With the expansion of services, RJP is now housed within the overarching Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost.
One of the reasons that RJP have been effective at UCSF is that we’re not just only utilizing circles to respond to harm, but we’re also realizing their value as a preventive measure.
For our community to foster belonging, we need to be able to get to know and trust one another. We need to create spaces where trusting relationships can form and be conducive to RJP.
UCSF’s RJP consists of two approaches:
- a proactive approach to building community and strengthening relationships
- a responsive approach that focuses on addressing the harm, identifying individual and community needs, and restoring the community.
“When we’re just responsive, restoring relationships becomes an afterthought,” Maria says. “Success comes when the community embodies the restorative mindset and the concepts of using RJP proactively for community building. The relational value of restorative justice is connected to the indigenous belief that we are interconnected with one another as human beings.”
In community circles, we learn to respect, care for, and trust our colleagues in ways that strengthen our relationships. If a harm occurs later, we have a solid foundation from which we can seek to address that harm. If we can be successful in building these intentional communities, we could perhaps prevent a lot of harms from happening in the first place.
Don’t mistake RJP as a way of letting people escape accountability. To address harm, active accountability is necessary. In retributive models, the focus is on “What did you do wrong? What was the policy violation?” In a restorative justice model, the focus is on “Who was harmed? What was the impact of the harm? What is needed for repair?” Maria says, “When harmful behaviors and conflicts between community members are left unaddressed, these incidents fester and affect the community.” When harm happens, there is a deterioration of trust, respect, dignity, and care between individuals, which also impacts the community. Respect, dignity, and care need to be restored back to the individual that experienced the harm, back to the individual that perpetuated the harm, and back to the community. This concept of restoration is at the heart of restorative justice practices.
Juri Sanchez, associate director of the Office of Restorative Justice Practices, reinforces the circle experience, “It creates a space of psychological safety for participants, so that people who are part of this community feel respected, heard, and valued. People leave the circle feeling validated.”
As a member of the Chancellor’s Cabinet, I can vouch for the impact of RJP. While at a Cabinet retreat, we formed a restorative justice circle. Maria reminded us that at UCSF, we tend to spend too much time in our heads, and not enough time looking into our hearts. She told us to pause, slow down, remember our humanness, our interconnection to one another, and our sense of belonging. The shift was palpable. Our sense of community grew before our eyes.
While practicing restorative justice across UCSF may be in its nascent stages, I encourage everyone to learn more, ask questions, and actively seek ways to incorporate RJP into your work life.
California Public Records Act: The sunshine law
I first wrote about this topic in 2016, and I want to provide an update because it is so very important that everyone is aware of this aspect of our work at UCSF!
Eighty to ninety percent of UCSF records are public. This includes our salaries, our job descriptions, contracts and agreements, publications, our email and correspondence, and other records and documents.
The most common way to obtain these records from UC is via the California Public Records Act (CPRA), Government Code Section 6250, which states “the Legislature … finds and declares that access to information concerning the conduct of the people’s business is a fundamental and necessary right of every person in this state.”
CPRA Section 6252(e) broadly defines a “public record” to include any “writing relating to the conduct of the public’s business prepared, owned, used, or retained by any state or local agency regardless of physical form or characteristics.” This includes the University of California.
Furthermore Section 6252(g) broadly defines “Writing” as “any handwriting, typewriting, printing, photostating, photographing, photocopying, transmitting by electronic mail or facsimile, and every other means of recording upon any tangible thing any form of communication or representation, including letters, words, pictures, sounds, or symbols, or combinations thereof, and any record thereby created, regardless of the manner in which the record has been stored.” These records and communications must be collected from and disclosed by all university employees (including faculty) in response to a CPRA request.
If the CPRA team reaches out to you to conduct a search for responsive records that might be in your possession, please work with them as expeditiously as possible. UCSF leadership knows that this is an imposition to your work, research, and teaching, but we must comply. UCSF upholds the public’s right to access and inspect public records that demonstrate how the University conducts its business.
What sort of impact does the CPRA have on our campus? Back in 2016, UCSF received 75 requests comprising 416 individual items about which members of the public sought copies of records. In 2019, UCSF experienced an unusually high number of CPRA requests – 161 comprising 2,139 separate items.
Between 2011 and 2021, UCSF has seen a 350% increase in the number of items requested via the CPRA. In 2011, there were 240, and in 2021, 1,083. The increased level of activity in public records requests is real, and we expect the trend to continue.
What’s going on? Our observation is that requests are more complicated, voluminous, and politicized. Some requests come from the media, so the CPRA team works with the Office of Communications to keep them apprised. Outside attorneys are also using the CPRA as legal discovery, requesting records they intend to use for litigation purposes.
As is the case for most laws, there are definite consequences for noncompliance. If UCSF ignores requests or improperly withholds records, a member of the public may enforce, in court, their right to inspect or copy the records and receive payment for court costs and attorney’s fees.
A few points:
- We must follow the UC-wide Records Retention Schedule and Records Management Policies.
- Do not destroy writings (see above) that are responsive to an open CPRA request, subject to a litigation hold, part of an investigation activity, or under audit.
- The search for university records can include, but is not limited to, any files and folders in your UCSF accounts, e.g., Outlook, Box, DocuSign, SharePoint, Slack, Teams, Zoom, etc., as well as any physical records associated with your university activities.
- Work-related email in your personal email accounts, e.g., Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail; text and direct messages; and materials stored on personal devices are also subject to CPRA.
Remember, we are a public institution supported with public money, and UCSF must comply with CPRA. It’s the law. Another way of putting this: unless it is specified as privileged information or falls within a particular exemption, e.g., medical records, ePHI, HIPAA, nothing that you write or otherwise document as part of your work at UCSF is private.
Dan’s Tip of the Month
I encourage everyone to spend time with the 2022 UCSF Medal Awardees. UCSF recognizes outstanding community members biennially, acknowledging their exemplary contributions that benefit countless people. This year is particularly special. Through the poignant tribute videos, you will meet five remarkable individuals. One is a School of Nursing alumna, another is a Nobel Laureate, and three are co-founders of the Black Caucus.
Jennie Chin Hansen’s national leadership has changed and expanded care for our aging population, and David Julius’ discoveries on how we experience pain have opened up avenues for new drug targets as we continue to live through a devastating opioid epidemic.
Freeman Bradley, Charles Edgar Clary, and David Johnson are pioneers within our University’s history whose fight for social justice resulted in the oldest cultural affinity group in the UC system – the Black Caucus. During our nation’s great Civil Rights Movement, a courageous group saw injustices at UCSF and put their livelihood on the line to stand up for what was right. Along with other instrumental leaders, these three brave individuals called out the institutional racism within UCSF, bearing witness with their own accounts and personal experiences.
May you be as inspired by these medalists as I am!