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  • Higher Education
  • University of California
A police officer separates opposing political sides before a speech by Milo Yiannopoulos in Berkeley.
A police officer separates opposing political sides before a speech by Milo Yiannopoulos in Berkeley. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

UC Irvine will oversee the University of California’s new center to promote free speech and civic engagement, the campus announced Thursday. 

UC Irvine Chancellor Howard Gillman, a constitutional law scholar, also announced the center’s inaugural class of 10 fellows. The scholars, students and analysts from across the country will explore such issues as the intersection of diversity and free speech, protests over police practices and challenges to safeguard the 1st Amendment amid today’s polarized politics.

Several fellows also plan to develop curricula and toolkits to help students better understand free speech issues.

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A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge on Wednesday set a May preliminary hearing date for L.A. school board member Ref Rodriguez, making it more likely that Rodriguez, who faces criminal charges, will be on hand to cast important votes on the school board in the coming months.

Rodriguez has pleaded not guilty to the charges, including three felony counts. Prosecutors allege he engaged in political money laundering in his 2015 campaign for office.

The unexpected departure of Los Angeles schools Supt. Michelle King — after less than two years on the job — has triggered a rarely used clause in the contract of an executive search firm: its warranty.

The contract the school district signed with Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates stated that the firm would not charge a consulting fee for a new search if the superintendent were to leave the job within two years.

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USC, known nationally for its aggressive fundraising operation, saw contributions tumble in the second half of 2017, a period in which scandals roiled its medical school.

An internal accounting reviewed by The Times shows donations to the university were down nearly $100 million between July and December of last year compared with the same period in 2016. The falloff represents a 22% decline and was particularly severe at the Keck School of Medicine, where donations dropped 55%, or roughly $45 million.

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge on Wednesday set a May preliminary hearing date for L.A. school board member Ref Rodriguez, making it more likely that Rodriguez, who faces criminal charges, will be on hand to cast important votes on the school board in the coming months.

Rodriguez has pleaded not guilty to the charges, including three felony counts. Prosecutors allege he engaged in political money laundering in his 2015 campaign for office.

  • K-12
  • HS Insider
A campaign poster at San Dieguito Academy calls students to action.
A campaign poster at San Dieguito Academy calls students to action.

Mallika Seshadri, a senior at San Dieguito Academy, reports on her school’s efforts to combat human trafficking. 

Human trafficking, often referred to as modern-day slavery, is where individuals are forced into participating in commercial sexual acts, according to the State of California Department of Justice.

San Dieguito’s Amnesty International club conducted a signature drive advocating for increased police involvement and the Christian Mission Mustang club held a benefit concert called “Breaking Chains” to raise funds for faith-based organizations that combat trafficking.

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  • Betsy DeVos
  • Higher Education
  • K-12
A page from the California School Dashboard.
A page from the California School Dashboard. (California Department of Education)

In and around Los Angeles:

Mark Keppel and South Pasadena high schools aced L.A. County’s Academic Decathlon Super Quiz.

A La Verne special education aide has been charged with sexually abusing a young student in her care.

Students returned to Sal Castro Middle School.
Students returned to Sal Castro Middle School. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

In and around Los Angeles:

Sal Castro Middle School students returned to school Friday following Thursday’s campus shooting, which police said was caused by a gun discharging from a backpack.

For this year’s superintendent search, L.A. Unified will likely use the same search firm that helped them hire Michelle King.

At first, reports of gunshots at an L.A. middle school seemed likely to follow an all-too-familiar narrative: A young person opens fire on a campus with deadly consequences. Then a new story emerged, still harrowing but less grim — more of a cautionary tale about unintended consequences when children get their hands on guns.

The account that began to fill out Friday was that a 12-year-old girl at Sal Castro Middle School had brought a gun in her backpack and that the gun had gone off, firing a single round that injured two students shortly after the start of the school day.

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