University of California regents vote to bid for Los Alamos contract

The University of California system, as expected, wants to keep operating Los Alamos National Laboratory. The system’s Board of Regents voted Thursday to authorize a bid for the management and operating contract at the federal nuclear weapons lab in the mountains of New Mexico.

University of Texas System regents, meanwhile, are expected to vote on a Los Alamos bid Nov. 27, having postponed action on the matter last week.

The University of California was the lab’s sole operator for decades. It currently is part of a consortium running the lab. Federal officials signaled in late 2015 that the consortium would lose its contract, which expires Sept. 30 next year, because it failed to earn high enough performance reviews.

“We are committed to assembling a proposal that upholds Los Alamos’ long tradition of scientific and technological excellence and ensures the continued high quality and integrity of its critical national security missions,” UC Regent Ellen Tauscher, a former undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, and Kimberly Budil, UC vice president for national laboratories, said in a statement.

UT Chancellor Bill McRaven feeling better after brief hospitalization

University of Texas System Chancellor Bill McRaven says he’s feeling better by the day following a brief hospitalization in Dallas.

“I’m far from 100 percent, but every day I’m feeling better,” McRaven, 62, told me following Wednesday’s Board of Regents’ meeting.

The CEO of the 14-campus system was hospitalized Wednesday last week and released the next day. He said it was “the perfect storm of bad health.” He had a virus the previous week and he has two chronic conditions, a form of leukemia and severe anemia.

Minor tweaks in the offing for UT’s concealed handgun policy

Rules regarding the carrying of concealed handguns at the University of Texas prompted considerable discussion by the university’s governing board as they were about to take effect last year.

On Wednesday, members of a UT System Board of Regents committee didn’t say a word about minor revisions expected to take effect in the coming days.

The changes to UT’s campus carry policy clarify some definitions but don’t materially change the policy, UT President Gregory L. Fenves told me.

“There are no changes to the exclusion zones,” Fenves said, referring to areas, like on-campus residence halls, that are largely off-limits to concealed handguns.

 

The clarifying definitions are written with lawyerly precision. Take, for example, the definition of a sole occupant office, which UT’s policy says can be declared off-limits to handguns only via oral notice to anyone who might enter:

“A sole occupant office is a room with at least one door and walls that extend to the ceiling that is assigned to a single person as his or her workspace. The occupant must give oral notice of exclusion.”

The revisions are scheduled to be discussed by the full UT board Thursday, but it’s extremely unlikely that the nine-member board will alter them. Under state law, a governing board must muster at least a two-thirds vote to change rules adopted by a campus president.

The UT board changed one of Fenves’ rules last year, voting 6-2 to eliminate a provision that would have prohibited chambered rounds in concealed semiautomatic handguns on campus.