The best reporting on the UC Regents is Peter Byrne’s “Investor’s Club,” from which I’ve liberally poached a lot of details. But I’ve spent some time profiling the appointed regents more briefly, just so we can get a sense for their overall makeup.
Some, like Richard Blum, are almost caricatures of everything the Occupy Wall Street movement is opposed to: a hyper-connected investment banker (founder of Blum Capital) who sits on the boards of all sorts of corporate and nonprofit firms, is married to a powerful congresswoman, and functions as a living and breathing embodiment of the phrase “conflict of interest.” Blum takes center stage in Byrne’s reporting, here, for example. Or this, from Changing Universities.
One tidbit from Byrne’s reporting, though you should read the whole thing if you’re interested; Blum oversees investment for the UC’s $63 billion portfolio, and is also the largest shareholder in two for-profit corporate-run universities, which the UC invests in. As Peter Byrne puts it,
“Marketing strategy aside, Mr. Blum has taken on two seemingly disparate roles— one as an advocate for a nonprofit university, and the other as an owner of two for-profit educational corporations. As a regent, Mr. Blum has approved cost-cutting policies for UC that appear to have enhanced the profitability of his vocational schools. And in 2007, Mr. Blum’s spouse, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), wrote federal legislation that benefited the for-profit college industry. For several years, Mr. Blum’s firm, Blum Capital Partners, has been the dominant shareholder in two of the nation’s largest for-profit universities, Career Education Corporation and ITT Educational Services.”