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UCLA Study Finds Price of Freedom Too High for Poor L.A. Families While bail companies made millions in profit, hundreds of thousands of residents in poor communities remained behind bars awaiting trial, according to researchers

By Stan Paul

Between 2012 and 2016 more than $19 billion in bail was levied on individuals arrested for felonies and misdemeanors by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), according to a new study conducted by the Million Dollar Hoods Research team based at UCLA. Of this, $17.5 million in cash went to the court and more than $193 million in nonrefundable bail bond deposits were pocketed by bail bond agents.

The report, “The Price for Freedom: Bail in the City of L.A.,” is the work of Kelly Lytle Hernandez, interim director of UCLA’s Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies, and two UCLA graduate students: Isaac Bryan, a master of public policy student at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, and Terry Allen, an education Ph.D. candidate.

In California, those who are arrested for crimes, in most cases, have the right to freedom prior to trial if they can post bail determined by the court. Money bail is the mechanism for this freedom, which is also intended to ensure that the accused will appear for all court pretrial and trial proceedings.

Of the total of bail assessed — nearly $4 billion for each of the years in the study — approximately 70 percent was unpaid, meaning that nearly a quarter of a million people remained in custody before arraignment and trial. This percentage, which translates to more than $13.5 billion that went unpaid, also represents overwhelmingly those unable to pay — the poor. According to the study, disproportionately bearing the burden of the actual dollars paid for bail bonds were women, “namely black women and Latinas, representing mothers, grandmothers, aunts, friends and wives of the accused,” the researchers said in the report.

“This is an astounding toll that Los Angeles residents — not yet convicted of any crime — are charged for their freedom,” said Hernandez, also an associate professor of history at UCLA and one of the nation’s leading historians on race, policing, immigration and incarceration. “It’s no wonder that so many Californians remain imprisoned before trial simply because they cannot afford bail. This is an extraordinary amount of wealth taken primarily from low-income, communities of color.”

Of almost $200 million paid for bail bonds, Latinos represented $92.1 million, African Americans $40.7 million, and whites $37.9 million, the study’s authors reported. Among communities studied, four out of the top five were located in South Central Los Angeles and the greatest amounts of bail paid were in city council districts with the highest unemployment, with homeless individuals making up nearly $4 billion of the money bail levied in the areas studied.

The information, obtained through public records act requests fulfilled by the LAPD in March of 2017, was broken down by City Council districts “so elected officials can see how much their constituents are paying to a private industry that doesn’t generate outcomes,” Hernandez said.

Bryan, who served as lead author of the report, is a second-year MPP student at UCLA Luskin.

“I think the bail report will revive a conversation on the economic sustainability of such a wide net in pretrial incarceration, the morality of such a punitive system reaction to poverty, and the disparate racial impacts associated with the current money bail system,” he said. “I am hoping it is the final push that is needed to spur policymakers toward a more equitable pretrial system.” Bryan is also serving as a David Bohnett Fellow in Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Office of Reentry, established in 2015.

Hernandez said that other states have found other non-monetary ways to ensure that the accused will return to court. Six states currently use an algorithm to help determine risk to public safety and risk of flight, Bryan said. New Jersey, for example, uses such a risk assessment tool. Prosecutors are still able to disagree with the algorithm, which may require another hearing before a judge.

According to Hernandez, the alternatives have “functioned well, if not better than money bail.”

But, for L.A., most people are not able to pay money bail, according to the researchers. For those who pay bail bond agents, that money — typically about 10 percent of the bail amount levied — is never returned and additional fees apply, the research team reported. “Among them, many individuals as well as their families and communities are simply too poor to pay the price of freedom,” they conclude.

The report may be accessed online.

A New Tool to Help Plan for Expected Growth in Electric Vehicles Luskin Center’s Plug-in Electric Vehicle Readiness Atlas informs investments, policies and plans to meet consumer demand

More than 82,000 electric vehicles were registered in Southern California between 2011 and 2015. The number of new plug-in electric vehicles registered there during 2015 increased a whopping 992 percent from 2011.

Now, a report produced by the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation forecasts continued exponential growth in the electric vehicle market, with more than 700,000 plug-in electric vehicles expected to hit Southern California roads by the end of 2025.

This forecast assumes that over time more residents of apartments and other multi-unit dwellings will be able to charge at home. The report, the Southern California Plug-In Electric Vehicle Readiness Atlas, can help make that happen, according to J.R. DeShazo, director of the Luskin Center for Innovation.

“We wanted to provide a tool that decision-makers can use to accommodate forecasted consumer demand for electric vehicles and charging infrastructure,” DeShazo said. For example, the atlas provides planners with critical spatial information for meeting charging demand in multi-unit residences and other places. It can also help utilities identify where utility upgrades may be needed to accommodate additional electricity loads.

The atlas documents the concentration of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) in a given neighborhood, visualizes how that concentration varies over the course of a day, and projects PEV growth over the next 10 years for each of the 15 sub-regional councils of government within Southern California.

With support from the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) and the California Energy Commission, the 2017 atlas is an update to the first Southern California PEV Readiness Plan and Atlas created by the Luskin Center for Innovation in 2013. Recognizing that the plug-in electric vehicle market has changed considerably in the last five years, the updated atlas helps decision-makers plan for future changes.

“Like the region’s first PEV plan and atlas, the 2017 update can help open people’s eyes to the promises and challenges posed by electric charging stations,” said Marco Anderson, a senior regional planner with SCAG. As a liaison to cities in the region, he has seen how many cities used the first atlas to find local partners for charging station sites.

The new maps include the following spatial information:

  • the locations and sizes of workplaces, multiunit residences and retail establishments that could potentially host PEV charging
  • the locations of existing charging infrastructure, including the number of charging units/cords and level of service
  • and the locations of publicly accessible parking facilities to fill in gaps in PEV charging, particularly in older urban cores.

 

Guiding the Next Gen of Leaders UCLA Luskin welcomes new and returning Senior Fellows from the public, private and nonprofit sectors

By Stan Paul

For more than two decades the Senior Fellows Leadership Program at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs has matched the School’s students with professionals.

UCLA Luskin Public Policy, Social Welfare and Urban Planning students have enhanced their academic experience with real-world, practical applications by making direct connections with individuals working in their areas of interest.

This year is no exception. Now in its 21st run, the program has fielded an outstanding class of fellows representing a wide range of professional expertise. The 2017-18 class includes a former U.S. Congresswoman, a current U.S. Foreign Service officer, the president of a popular local news media and cultural outlet, and an advocate for children’s rights.

“We are particularly proud of this group of Senior Fellows in part because it’s one of the largest groups of new and returning fellows,” Dean Gary Segura said in his opening remarks at an Oct. 26, 2017, welcome breakfast marking the kickoff of the 2017-18 Senior Fellows. “We are overwhelmed by your generosity. More importantly, we are overwhelmed by your willingness to share some of your valuable time with the next generation of leaders in Los Angeles and beyond. And, I mean by that, the 575 young people that make up the student body of the Luskin School of Public Affairs.”

Among the returning Senior Fellows is David Carlisle, president and CEO of Charles Drew University of Medicine. Carlisle, who also is an adjunct professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, served as keynote speaker for the gathering at UCLA’s Faculty Center.

“This is one of the most wonderful activities that I do every year … and I look forward to coming back because of the interaction with young people that this program provides,” Carlisle said to Luskin student mentees, faculty, staff and guests.

In his presentation, Carlisle, who has served as a Senior Fellow since 2007, stressed the continued importance of the mentor program. In an economic sense California is experiencing a “golden age,” Carlisle said. But “we are still challenged by meeting demands cultivating personal capital in the state of California and the United States … human capital. And, there are too many places in our state where people are still challenged to participate fully in the economic engine that is the state of California.”

For second-year Master of Urban and Regional Planning student Sonia Suresh, an interest in affordable housing development and working with homeless populations led to her choice of Anita Nelson as a Senior Fellow mentor. Nelson is the CEO of SFO Housing Corporation, a Los Angeles-based organization committed to providing housing and support services for homeless and low-income people.

“We had a great conversation on our backgrounds and interests, as well as the type of affordable housing her organization builds,” said Suresh, who is also a member of Planners of Color for Social Equity at UCLA Luskin. “We have set up a day for me to shadow her and her development team.”

Second-year Master of Public Policy student Bei Zhao and first-year urban planning student Alexander Salgado were partnered with returning fellow Steven Nissen, senior vice president, legal and governmental Affairs, for NBC Universal.

Zhao, a native of China who has worked in investment banking in Beijing, said that the breakfast and mentor program provided the opportunity to talk about participants’ backgrounds and professional experience. She said she was amazed by Nissen’s experience bridging the private, public and nonprofit sectors, “which is also the direction I want to build for my own career.” Zhao said she hopes to apply her public policy and finance experience in the public sector of a nonprofit organization.

Nissen and his mentees have already planned on continuing their conversation. “At the end of the breakfast, he invited us to visit NBC Universal for further meetings … which shows his generosity for the future generation,” Zhao said.

The Senior Fellows Leadership Program is part of the Luskin School’s Leadership Development Program which is led and organized each year by VC Powe, director of career services and leadership development.

In addition to Nelson, new members of the Senior Fellows are:

  • Elizabeth Calvin, senior advocate, Children’s Rights Division, Human Rights Watch
  • Rick Cole, city manager, city of Santa Monica
  • Efrain Escobedo, vice president, civic engagement & policy, California Community Foundation
  • Christine Essel, president and CEO, Southern California Grantmakers
  • Jennifer Ferro, president, KCRW
  • Anne Miskey, chief executive officer, Downtown Women’s Center
  • Erica Murray, president and CEO, California Association of Public Hospitals
  • Rick Nahmias, founder/executive director, Food Forward
  • Seleta Reynolds, general manager, Los Angeles Department of Transportation
  • Michelle Rhone-Collins, executive director, LIFT-Los Angeles
  • Lynn Schenk, former Congresswoman, California 39th Congressional District
  • Dan Schnur, director, American Jewish Committee; former director, USC Unruh Institute of Politics
  • Heather Joy Thompson, diplomat-in-residence based at UCLA Luskin; Foreign Service Officer, U.S. State Department
  • David Wright, CEO, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power

More information on the Senior Fellows Leadership Program, Senior Fellow bios and a full list of returning Senior Fellows are available online.

Water Justice for Mobile Home Residents UCLA Luskin School study highlights substandard water service and quality in California’s mobile home parks

By Stan Paul

Gregory Pierce

Although California officially recognizes the right to safe, clean, affordable and accessible water for all citizens, the Human Right to Water law passed in 2012 has no teeth, according to Urban Planning researchers at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs.

In a new study, co-authors Gregory Pierce MA UP ’11 PhD ’15 and Silvia González MURP ’13 looked at drinking water access and quality in mobile home parks, a significant but often overlooked segment of the California population.

“Right now, I don’t think state and local policymakers are focusing nearly enough attention on this issue,” said Pierce, an adjunct assistant professor of urban planning and a senior researcher on water and transportation initiatives at the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation.

The study, published this month in the journal Environmental Justice, is titled “Public Drinking Water System Coverage and its Discontents: The Prevalence and Severity of Water Access Problems in California’s Mobile Home Parks.” Co-author González, who has collaborated with Pierce on a number of drinking water-related studies, is a doctoral student in urban planning and assistant director of the Center for Neighborhood Knowledge at UCLA Luskin.

Although some existing research broadly suggests that water service and quality in the state’s mobile home parks is substandard, Pierce and González said that a lack of literature and targeted studies on the subject spurred their research, which is based on a range of quantitative and qualitative sources, including more than 1,300 news reports related to mobile home water access.

Silvia Gonzalez

The study concluded that mobile home parks are:

  • likely to incur more health-related violations than other systems
  • four times more likely to experience a significant service shutoff (more than 24 hours)
  • 40 percent more likely to rely on groundwater, a known risk for reliability and quality

In their report, the authors said they were surprised to find that available data on water system reliability suggests that mobile home parks in California are as likely as the general population to be served by community water systems. The authors pointed out that mobile home parks are more likely to have small water systems, a characteristic well-documented to diminish access.

“This demonstrates that any deficiencies in water service in parks are indeed problems for which the public sector maintains oversight and authority to rectify,” the researchers said in the study.

Pierce and González also found that evidence on affordability was less conclusive, but it suggested that the cost of drinking water could pose an “outsized” burden on some mobile home park residents who, because of reliability and quality, may purchase bottled water, which is more expensive than alternative water sources.

Pierce, who presented the study findings at the 2017 Water and Health Conference held Oct. 16-20 at the University of North Carolina’s Gillings School of Global Public Health, said that he hopes progress will be made in the coming years, “but the trend is not promising at this point.”

“The key message I tried to convey is that access issues faced by mobile home park water systems reflect inequities both in the governance of drinking water systems more generally and in landlord-tenant relations in mobile home parks,” Pierce said. “A lot of the issues faced by tenants are caused by landlord neglect.”

González pointed out that, specifically in Los Angeles, one of the nation’s most unaffordable housing markets, residents also experience the pressures of gentrification and displacement.

“As manufactured housing becomes an increasingly important affordable housing option, policymakers need to ensure these residents aren’t being put at a disproportionate health risk, and address accessibility and affordability issues when they are,” González said.

The article is available online.

Bringing Experience, Expertise to Problem-Solving Professions Four scholars join UCLA Luskin’s faculty in Public Policy, Social Welfare and Urban Planning

By Stan Paul

Four new faculty members will add a wide range of knowledge and expertise to the world-class faculty of UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs, as of the 2017-18 academic year.

The four will expand research and teaching in public policy, social welfare and urban planning at the Luskin School, with expertise in areas including housing and spatial inequality, labor and human capital impacts of climate change, health disparities for marginalized populations, and youth and urban violence.

Kenya Covington, who has experience teaching undergraduate and graduate courses at Luskin, was officially appointed to Public Policy in July. She has taught courses at Luskin on housing policy, research methods, forces of urbanization, social inequality and urban poverty. This summer, Covington completed her second online version of the school’s popular undergraduate introductory public affairs course, which she developed. The course is a requirement for the public affairs minor.

Covington, a former longtime professor of urban studies and planning — and 2015 Distinguished Teacher of the Year — at California State University, Northridge, studies social and economic inequality associated with the structural makeup of metropolitan areas. Her work suggests ways to better utilize social and urban policies that likely mitigate disparities in economic opportunity. Covington earned her Ph.D. in public policy from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Latoya Small joins Luskin Social Welfare as an assistant professor from her former appointment at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill School of Social Work. Her research addresses health disparities and social justice issues for marginalized populations at the intersection of poverty, mental health and behavioral health. In her work related to HIV, women and children, she has looked at ways to empower HIV-infected youth in South Africa to maintain their medicine regimes and promote the avoidance of risky behaviors, while encouraging family participation in their health care.

Small earned her Ph.D. at New York University Silver School Of Social Work.

Karen Umemoto, formerly of the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, is expected to hold a joint appointment with Urban Planning at Luskin and the Asian American Studies Department. Umemoto, who holds a doctorate in urban studies from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, focuses her teaching and research on planning and governance in multicultural societies, race and ethnic relations, youth and urban violence, and community building.

At the University of Hawai’i, Umemoto taught courses on public policy and planning theory, community planning, community-based economic development, diversity and multiculturalism in planning, and qualitative methods and evaluation.

Jisung Park will join Public Policy as an assistant professor in January 2018. Park will also be a member of the faculty of UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health. His research agenda includes the labor and human capital impacts of climate change, the prospects for long-run climate adaptation, and environmental determinants of economic mobility.

Park, a Rhodes Scholar, earned his Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University, where he is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Kennedy School of Government. He has taught courses at the undergraduate and graduate level on American economic policy, and environmental economics and policy.

“Such an exceptional group of new faculty will bring tremendous opportunities and expertise to the Luskin School and our students,” Dean Gary Segura said in announcing the new faculty. “All three departments will benefit from these new colleagues and their path-breaking research and pedagogy.”

Study Tracks College Enrollment Rate of LAUSD Graduates Research team led by UCLA Luskin Public Policy scholar, in collaboration with the Los Angeles Education Research Institute, also examines how L.A. schools prepare students for enrollment in higher-education institutions

By George Foulsham

In the first comprehensive analysis of college enrollment of Los Angeles Unified School District graduates, UCLA and Claremont Graduate University researchers show that 70 percent of high school graduates enrolled in either two- or four-year colleges, but only 25 percent of graduates went on to earn a college degree within six years.

A separate, parallel study that focused on college readiness revealed that while over 75 percent of high school counselors say they have adequate information to help students complete college and financial aid applications, less than half (42 percent) said they have enough time to provide students with the assistance they need.

Both studies were co-directed by Meredith Phillips, associate professor of public policy and sociology at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, and Kyo Yamashiro, associate professor of education at Claremont Graduate University. Carrie Miller, a doctoral candidate at UCLA, co-authored the report on college readiness supports; Thomas Jacobson, a Luskin Master of Public Policy graduate and incoming doctoral student at UCLA, co-authored the report on college enrollment. Phillips, Yamashiro, Miller and Jacobson are all research collaborators with the Los Angeles Education Research Institute (LAERI), a nonprofit research organization engaged in a research-practice partnership with L.A. Unified. The studies were funded by a grant from the College Futures Foundation to UCLA and LAERI.

“In the first report, we analyze data on college enrollment, persistence and completion from the National Student Clearinghouse and L.A. Unified data on students’ high school performance, and ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, to provide the first detailed description of graduates’ postsecondary outcomes,” Phillips said. “In the second report, we examine the prevalence of college readiness supports throughout the school district. We hope these reports, taken together, contribute to a broader conversation about preparing L.A. Unified students for their post-secondary options and how the Los Angeles community can work together to ensure that more students enroll in college and complete a four-year degree.”

Enrollment Numbers

The analysis examines college-going outcomes for district graduates who had passed critical milestones for enrollment within one year (class of 2014), persistence into a second year (class of 2013), and completion within six years (class of 2008).

Among the key findings:

  • Seventy percent of 2014 L.A. Unified students enrolled in college within one year of high school graduation; college enrollment rates were similar for the classes of 2008 and 2013.
  • Most college attendees persisted into a second year of college.
  • However, only 25 percent of 2008 graduates had earned a college degree within six years of high school graduation (by 2014). More than two-thirds were four-year degrees.

The researchers also found that L.A. Unified graduates were more likely to enroll in two-year than four-year colleges. Most of the 2008, 2013 and 2014 graduates enrolled in public colleges and universities in California. About 8 percent of the class of 2014 enrolled in “very selective” four-year universities such as UCLA, UC Berkeley, Stanford and USC, or “selective” four-year colleges such as Loyola Marymount University, UC Irvine, UC Santa Cruz and San Diego State University.

The study also revealed disparities based on gender and ethnicity:

  • College enrollment, persistence and completion rates were lower for Filipino American, African American and Latino graduates than for white and Asian American graduates.
  • Female graduates were more likely than their male classmates to enroll in, persist in and complete college.
  • Gender disparities were especially stark for Filipino American, African American and Latino male graduates, who were roughly one-third less likely to enroll or persist in four-year colleges than their female classmates of the same ethnicity.

According to the researchers, improving L.A. Unified students’ academic preparation is essential for ensuring that more graduates start and complete college, and must begin earlier than high school. In addition, striving to ensure that all District students complete their A-G course requirements with at least a C is critical for students’ immediate enrollment after high school in a public, four-year college.

“This report provides a first look at L.A. Unified graduates’ pathways to and through college,” UCLA co-author Jacobson said. “It will be important to continue to track these college-going outcomes in upcoming years to understand students’ successes and challenges as they progress through college, and to learn about how college outcomes change for future graduate cohorts.”

L.A. Unified officials say the study’s recommendations align with the district’s new and ongoing efforts to ensure that students develop the skills and mindset to thrive in college and the workforce.

“The LAERI goals serve as the framework for an array of strategies we are implementing to address the needs of students, families and schools,” said Frances Gipson, the District’s chief academic officer. “We are passionate about continuing our work to foster a college-going climate in our schools and to strengthen our college planning and academic supports as we provide more robust counseling services for our students.”

“We look forward to continuing our partnership with LAERI to learn more about promising strategies for increasing our students’ college readiness,” Gipson said.

Preparation for College

The college readiness study explores the prevalence of support for high school students in L.A. Unified. The data analyzed for this report include survey data from school staff and students in more than 90 percent of the district’s traditional high schools and 76 external service providers, as well as data collected during interviews with district and school staff.

Although more than 75 percent of counselors said they have adequate information to assist students with the college application and financial aid process, less than half said they have enough time to provide students with the individualized college application assistance they need. And counselors at 75 percent of schools report that some students at their schools are not getting the help they need.

Other key findings:

  • Counselors cite large caseloads and competing demands on their time as barriers to helping students with the college application and financial aid process. Counselors spend nearly the same amount of time coordinating academic testing and performing non-counseling activities as they do advising students about college and financial aid.
  • Nearly all schools offer college readiness support but students still need more help with the college application, financial aid and college enrollment process. About one-fifth of 12th graders in the survey said they didn’t feel that adults at their school had helped them learn the details of getting into college.
  • Most L.A. Unified schools rely on external service providers to help them provide college application, financial aid and college enrollment assistance. At more than two-thirds of schools, counselors report that both school and external staff provide college application (66 percent) and financial aid (75 percent) help.

Learning more about disparities among students in their access to college readiness support is an important next step for improving college-going among L.A. Unified graduates, according to the study.

Researchers on the UCLA-LAERI LAUSD study include Meredith Phillips, front, associate professor of public policy and sociology at UCLA; and, back row, from left, Kyo Yamashiro, associate professor of education at Claremont Graduate University; Thomas Jacobson, a Luskin Master of Public Policy graduate and incoming doctoral student at UCLA; and Carrie Miller, a doctoral candidate at UCLA.

The researchers offer several recommendations for increasing schools’ capacity to meet students’ college counseling needs, including clarifying a common set of college counseling expectations by grade level, diversifying the type of school staff responsible for specific aspects of college counseling assistance, incorporating key college application tasks into required academic coursework, and providing professional development specific to college counseling tasks.

The researchers concluded that the district could maximize the effectiveness of existing partnerships with external service providers by:

  • providing counselors and other school staff who connect schools and students to external providers with additional support to develop and maintain these partnerships;
  • asking external service providers to contribute to a common information system to aid individual schools or the district in determining which students are and are not receiving sufficient help; and
  • evaluating the effectiveness of the college-related services that students receive from external providers.

“This report is a first step toward understanding the college readiness resources available to LAUSD students,” UCLA co-author Miller said. “While we find that nearly all schools offer a range of college readiness resources, identifying the extent of these services — the proportion of students served and the intensity of the services they receive — is essential for more effectively targeting school and district resources.”

Phillips said that LAERI will continue its collaboration with L.A. Unified by gathering additional data on college counseling resources available to students and the relationship between those resources and whether and where students enroll in college.

“Our partnership with LAERI and this research informed our approach to the state’s College Readiness Block Grant,” said Gipson, of L.A. Unified. “Through this research, Phillips and Yamashiro’s team developed a counselor section of our annual staff survey, which provided the first districtwide data on college readiness resources. Additionally, these initial data have provided a foundation for the college readiness professional development resources we are developing for schools.”

“We’re very excited to present the first detailed overviews of LAUSD graduates’ postsecondary outcomes and college readiness supports,” Yamashiro said. “As we build on this research partnership work, we look forward to continuing to collaborate with the district to get a better understanding of elementary and middle school predictors of college readiness and success, identifying schools that are doing an especially good job of preparing their students for college, and helping the district identify the most effective practices and interventions for improving college access.”

Click below to download the full reports in PDF format.

 

“College Going in LAUSD: An Analysis of College Enrollment, Persistence, and Completion Patterns”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“College Readiness Supports In LAUSD High Schools: A First Look”

 

 

Dispensing Knowledge in Real Time UCLA Luskin Social Welfare students present the results of their rapid response research projects

By Stan Paul

Research, by design, is focused, systematic, methodical. It takes time.

But when information moves at the speed of social media, and false, distracting and potentially harmful information can be spread worldwide via tapping a screen in the middle of the night, there is a pressing need for responsible research that can be produced in real time.

A dozen social welfare graduate students at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs reacted to this challenge by taking on projects — above and beyond their required studies — to match their data-gathering and synthesizing skills with the ability to make useful information available quickly to communities that may need it.

The social welfare master’s and doctoral students researched topics such as hate speech and immigration.

“You are going to enter your profession, a profession built around the question of human caring, at a time where human caring is not held in particularly high esteem,” UCLA Luskin Dean Gary Segura said in introducing “Rapid Response Research in the Trump Era,” a June 1, 2017, gathering at the Luskin School to review student projects.

Segura, whose research has centered on representation and empowerment, said: “You know the challenges that all of us face … across all racial and ethnic, socioeconomic subpopulations in the United States: access to affordable health care, dealing realistically and honestly with challenges that individuals and families face, providing quality education and job opportunities for people. The list is unbelievably long.

“The first piece of advice I’m going to give you for resistance is to call things by their name,” Segura said. “We must begin our resistance by calling things what they are: Racism is racism, sexism is sexism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia are what they are.” He urged students not to pass these things off as merely rants not worthy of comment or notice.

Laura Abrams, the incoming chair of UCLA Luskin Social Welfare, said that a list of potential research ideas was presented to social welfare students early in the academic year, and a number of groups responded. The criteria for the projects included working with real-time data from social media platforms such as Twitter.

Abrams said the research topics “were going to be more immediately applicable to what communities might need in order to resist and they had to be social justice oriented.” Social welfare faculty such as assistant professors Ian Holloway and Laura Wray-Lake served as advisers for the students.

One project examined Twitter data based on the motivations of those who participated in the Women’s March, and how that motivation connects — or doesn’t — with broader issues of racial justice.

One immigration issue tackled by the students was part of a nationwide project asking how young people have been affected by the policies and rhetoric of the Trump administration. That project relied on responses from Latino high school students. The information gathered is intended to inform educators and others working with adolescents.

First-year MSW student Alexandra Rhodes said she studied anti-LGBT hate speech and the incidence of particular words used on Twitter.

“I was interested in seeing if anti-LGBT hate speech on Twitter increased after Donald Trump’s election,” said Rhodes, who gathered information from more than 40,000 users who had tweeted anti-LGBT search terms. From that group, just over 10,000 users were randomly selected for comparison of the number of such tweets before and after the election.

“I was most interested in how Donald Trump’s election was affecting the LGBT population given his seemingly anti-LGBT rhetoric and policies,” said Rhodes, who is primarily interested in working with the LGBT population and is considering pursing a Ph.D. in social welfare.

“It is very important to me to do ethical and essential research in my community and build evidence to support how we have been affected by various social changes and policies,” Rhodes said. “For now, I’m focusing on getting involved with research in whatever way I can as an MSW student. It is important to do research and look at the data and respond to what is happening right now.”

Abrams said she hopes that this becomes a tradition that can continue to be built into the curriculum in a meaningful way.

“As a Social Welfare Department, the rapid response research projects are a prime example of what we can accomplish when we have an idea, put our heads together, and work hard as team,” Abrams said. “I am proud of the students for carrying out their projects in such a timely and rigorous manner.”

Women Provide More ‘Care’ Across Continents and Cultures New Luskin Social Welfare faculty member Leyla Karimli is the lead author of a report on unpaid care work and "reality of care" in women’s lives in rural communities around the world

By Stan Paul

From looking after children and dependent adults to preparing meals and ensuring that food, water and household necessities are available, care can be defined in a multitude of ways.

In a study of rural communities in five countries, researchers found that women provide far more hours of care in their daily lives than do their male counterparts. Leyla Karimli, assistant professor of Social Welfare at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, is lead author of the new report published by the UK-based international organization Oxfam.

“Care work is essential for personal well-being and for maintaining societies,” states Karimli and her co-authors. “But across the world, it is overwhelmingly the preserve of women, and it often restricts their opportunities for education, employment, politics and leisure.”

In gathering data for the study, “Factors and Norms Influencing Unpaid Care Work,” a number of teams interviewed more than 1,000 households in rural communities in five countries — Colombia, Ethiopia, the Philippines, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

The researchers used the Household Care Survey (HCS) to analyze change that may have occurred in households participating in We-Care (Women’s Economic Empowerment and Care) programs over the year, part of Oxfam’s global policy and advocacy work on unpaid care work and women’s empowerment. Karimli also was part of the team that developed the HCS.

Recognizing that the “heavy” and “unequal” distribution of care work is a human rights issue, the survey focused on a number of “levers of change” at the household level, including factors such as the recognition of the importance of care work and women’s role in carrying it out; women’s ability to make decisions in the household; and access to time/labor-saving equipment. Researchers examined the extent to which these and other factors were associated with the amount of time women and men spent on unpaid care work, and the distribution of that care within the household.

Based on the survey, the researchers found:

  • On average, women spent 5.4 hours on care as a primary activity during the day before the survey, compared to just under an hour (0.99) for men.
  • When care as a secondary activity was included, women spent an average of 7.0 hours on care, compared to 1.4 hours for men.
  • Over one-third of all men in the sample reported spending no time on any care activity.
  • On average, 78 percent of women had been responsible for a child compared to 48 percent of men, and 11 percent of women had been responsible for a dependent adult compared to 9 percent of men.
  • Women reported an average of 13.8 hours of their previous day was devoted to at least one care responsibility, including supervision, compared to the 4.3 hours that men reported having any care responsibility.
  • On average, women spent 6.1 hours on multitasking compared to 1.2 hours for men.

Women also spent relatively more time on total paid and unpaid work — 9.1 hours compared to 7.3 hours for men — while spending less time on leisure and personal care.

The authors add that when supervision is taken into account, the average number of hours that women reported having some care responsibility rises by 250 percent, from an average of 5.4 hours a day of care work as a primary activity to 13.8 hours per day that women have any care responsibility. In addition, the amount of time that women spend relative to men in these predominantly rural, developing country contexts is much greater than the global figures suggest.

The analysis also considered the relationship between the amount of care work in which women engaged and their education, relative household assets, income and savings, as well as household access to time-saving equipment such as water taps and fuel-efficient stoves. None of these factors was consistently associated with the amount of care work provided by women.

For example, the authors point out, “Although some equipment and service access — notably the provision of electricity — seemed to have a positive effect on women’s care loads, our results also make clear that a focus on only one dimension of care, such as childcare provision or stoves or water systems, cannot be expected to significantly ‘free up’ these rural women’s time.” However, the authors report that the data did suggest some evidence that in households where “social norms were more progressive” care work was more evenly distributed.

Overall, the researchers say, the aim of the study is to “generate evidence that helps local organizations address problematic aspects of care work, contributing to women’s ability to participate, lead and benefit from development initiatives.”

The full report is available online.

Amy Zegart Named to FBI Intelligence Analysts Association (IAA) Board Zegart will provide advice and assistance to the FBI IAA to advance the interests of the FBI’s intelligence analysts in an effort to increase our national security

The School of Public Affairs congratulates Professor Amy Zegart on her recent appointment to the FBI Intelligence Analysts Association (IAA) external advisory board. In this role, she will provide advice and assistance to the FBI IAA to advance the interests of the FBI’s intelligence analysts in an effort to increase our national security.

Professor Zegart has been featured in the National Journal as one of the ten most influential experts in intelligence reform. In addition to her role as an associate professor at UCLA’s School of Public Affairs, she is also a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, and a fellow at UCLA’s Burkle Center of International Relations. In 1993, Professor Zegart served on the Clinton administration’s National Security Council staff. Before her academic career, she spent several years as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company.

The FBI IAA is an independent professional association dedicated to improving the professional development of the FBI’s 2,500 intelligence analysts throughout the FBI’s fifty-six field offices, FBI headquarters, and its offices abroad.

Examining the Legacy of Slavery and Racism In an effort to explore social justice issues and their relevance to students' future careers, the School of Public Affairs hosted a film viewing and discussion about the legacy of slavery and racism in the U.S.

By Robin Heffler
As part of a School of Public Affairs effort to explore social justice issues and their relevance to students’ future careers, some 170 students, faculty, and community members recently viewed a film and engaged in a lively discussion about the legacy of slavery and racism in the U.S.

Hosted by Dean Franklin D. Gilliam, with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, participants gathered on Jan. 19 in the screening room of the Acosta Training Complex to see an abridged version of the documentary film, Traces of the Trade.

In the film, which aired on PBS in 2008, producer and director Katrina Browne tells of her shocking discovery that the De Wolfs of Rhode Island, her prominent, Caucasian ancestors, were the largest slave-trading family in U.S. history. Together with nine other De Wolf descendants, Browne retraces the slave-trade triangle — from Bristol, Rhode Island to slave forts in Ghana to a family plantation in Cuba and back to Bristol. Along the way, they struggle with the politics of race, how to “repair” the centuries-long damage of slavery, and their own Yankee culture and privilege.

After the screening, Browne reflected on one cousin’s insistence that he would have gone to Harvard even if he wasn’t from a privileged family. “When the wind is at your back you don’t notice it,” she said. “You don’t realize the forces supporting you as you move forward, but you do when you’re faced with obstacles to success.”

African-American co-producer Juanita Brown noted that “We must recognize that race is complex, and that black and white is only one element. We invite you to see this conversation as the jumping off point for conversations about other people and races.”

Program participants engaged in one-on-one discussions about the film, as well as a question-and-answer session.

“No one wants to associate with the oppressor because of the guilt and shame involved, but we need to acknowledge history and how it plays out in the present,” said Amy Smith, a first-year social welfare graduate student, who had just spent the day discussing white privilege in her class on “Cross-Cultural Awareness.” “And, since racism is a problem that affects everyone, everyone should be part of the solution.”

Associate Professor Laura Abrams, who along with Joy Crumpton and Gerardo Laviña leads the “Cross-Cultural Awareness” class in the Department of Social Welfare, saw the issues raised by the film as important for social workers. “In a helping profession, it’s easy to see clients as having made bad choices rather than seeing their lives as structured by disadvantages and inequalities related to race, class, and gender,” she said.

Gilliam, who served as an early advisor to the film, said the event was the second of a planned series of programs focused on social justice issues. Last year, the UCLA School of Public Affairs had an exchange with the Wagner School of Public Service at New York University, with each school hosting conferences on how to talk about race in the context of graduate education in public affairs.

“We want to do a better job of giving students the analytical tools to examine issues of social justice, which they will need to deal with the people they will be helping when they graduate,” he said.

Gilliam said plans include developing a curriculum, research opportunities, and a summer institute related to social justice. Together with Student Affairs, he also would like to hold social-justice dialogues with undergraduates, who then would dialogue with Los Angeles-area high school students.

Heffler is a Los Angeles-based free-lance writer and former UCLA editor

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