Technopocrisy of UC Merced

We are happy to see that the latest cypher to hold the position of chancellor at UC Merced writes so well about the campus’s impeccably green water policies and, particularly, its state-of-the-art technology.

It is possible Chancellor Leland is not even aware that local environmental groups sued the City of Merced for providing sewer and water services to the UC Merced campus. The argument of the suit was the plain reading of the city’s ordinance prohibiting provision of utility services outside its corporate limits. State superior and appellate courts found exceptions to the ordinance invisible to those not steeped in legal sophistry and in full reception of the opinion of the finance, insurance and real estate special interest. 

As for the techno-babble below, we are grateful to it because it suggests a defining characteristic of UC Merced, TECHNO-POCRICY.  For example,


UC Merced began slashing water usage long before even the specter of drought began to loom. As of the 2012-13 school year, UC Merced had reduced its per-capita water use by 43% since 2007. – Leland, Fresno Bee, March 19, 2014.

UC Merced graduated 52 students in 2006-07. It graduated 862 in 2012-13. How many students, professors, staff and other employees have you added since 2007, Chancellor? Now you have over 1,000 and the campus is less than a quarter of  its projected capacity of 25,000 students.

Every square foot of pavement and rooftop on the campus diverts water from recharging the city's aquifer.
But that’s fine because it gets the overabundant, overpaid caste of UC administrators more time to polish their technopocrisy re. UC Merced. Personally, we’re sticking with John Burton’s characterization: “Biggest boondoggle I’ve ever seen.” Burton said it when he was state Senate pro tem. Today, due to term limits, he is chairman of the California state Democratic Party and a professor of political science at California State University, San Francisco.--blj

John L. Burton 

Chairman of the
California Democratic Party


Assumed office

Fresno Bee
Dorothy Leland: UC Merced aims high with water
Water is being discussed everywhere as California endures one of the worst documented droughts in decades. Now more than ever, it is critical to consider the full scope of water's significance — economic, geologic, political, socioeconomic and more — and the urgent need to make its conservation and management a top priority in our thirsty state.
At UC Merced, we take water seriously. From conserving water on campus through state-of-the-art technology to researching water quality and quantity, its effects on the environment, and resource management, we're proud to serve as a living laboratory for the San Joaquin Valley and its residents.
As educators, we must do everything we can to change daily habits related to water usage.
Resource conservation is part of our fabric. So it should come as no surprise that we welcomed University of California President Janet Napolitano's call to cut water consumption by 20% by 2020. In fact, we have already exceeded that expectation — this year.
Napolitano announced the new initiative to cut per-capita water use just after the first of this year, saying that as California experiences the driest winter on record, the UC must do its part to preserve the state's most precious natural resource.
UC Merced began slashing water usage long before even the specter of drought began to loom. As of the 2012-13 school year, UC Merced had reduced its per-capita water use by 43% since 2007.
UC Merced's design — from inception — has incorporated goals for both water and electricity usage that are 40% below baseline levels at other UC campuses. The campus infrastructure is designed to conserve water, from its native-plant landscaping and drought-resistant, permeable pavement to its storm-water retention.
The university's drinking, sewer and irrigation water are all carefully audited, and each building is individually metered so officials can see real-time usage. That metering system is also used each year for a residence-hall competition to see which building can cut the most water use. That competition was started by a student, and although he has since graduated, the effort continues.
Beyond best-practice conservation measures implemented throughout campus, our researchers are examining how changes in water amounts and availability are affecting a variety of environments from the coast to the Sierra Nevada peaks — above and under the ground.
Their research, both in the field and the lab, will help us better understand what to expect in the future and suggest solutions that could be undertaken now.
For example, reduced snowpack and lower precipitation throughout the state mean earlier soil drying and less water for irrigation and other basic needs. Researchers are working to discover the effects those factors will have not just at higher elevations, but all the way "downstream" to the Valley floor and its fragile agricultural ecosystem.
In addition, paleoecologist and professor Jessica Blois is scouring the Sierra Nevada fossil record to see what previous droughts can tell us about similar events today and in the future, and how they might affect plants and animals, including humans. Her work suggests our region's landscape and beyond could look much different in coming decades as plants and animals migrate to climates that better suit them.
This kind of research adds to the database that allows our researchers to model the large-scale and local impacts of multiyear droughts.
California's drought is a critical problem that will have immediate effects this year — including on the availability and prices of Valley produce — as well as a lasting legacy.
That's why we are stepping up our efforts to understand the impact of drought on our state's vitality while redoubling our own commitment to design and operate our facilities in a sustainable manner.
Every wasted drop of water is a drop we no longer can afford to lose.
UC Merced began slashing its water usage long before even the specter of drought began to loom. As of the 2012-13 school year, UC Merced has reduced its per-capita water use by 43% since 2007.