Topping Board motions against fund restructuring

first_imgThe Norman Topping Student Aid Fund Governing Board passed three motions at an emergency meeting on Thursday, including one to void Provost Michael Quick’s elimination of the Topping director position. Students protested the provost’s decision to eliminate Christina Yokoyama’s position as the director of the Norman Topping Student Aid Fund by gathering at Tommy Trojan for six hours Thursday. Photo by Daniel Zhu | Daily TrojanThe first motion stated that the provost’s decision to restructure the Topping Fund, specifically the removal of Christina Yokoyama’s position as Topping Director, be voided and held invalid due to the lack of consultation and communication between the governing board and Quick. The motion was passed unanimously.To address any potential issues with the program’s funding in the future, the second motion moved to “freeze all NTSAF funds, specifically any salary reallocations or changes made to the NTSAF operating budget, NTSAF endowment and student fees allocated to the NTSAF until the USC senior administration reverses the decision” to eliminate Yokoyama’s position.This operating budget includes the salaries of Yokoyama, associate director Trista Beard, NTSAF Governing Board Chair Sierra Williams, and three existing graduate assistants.The third motion, passed unanimously, specified that Quick must abide by the governing board guidelines and reverse any decisions that have violated the guidelines, including the elimination of the director position.“We made these resolutions to make sure that the administration was not overstepping our authority as the governing board,” Williams said. The approved motions come the same day Topping students organized a sit-in at Tommy Trojan to protest the changes.Since the provost’s memorandum last Friday notifying the modifications made to the overall organization of the program, Topping scholars, alumni and several faculty members have united to request a reversal of the provost’s decision and have Yokoyama’s position reinstated. While Williams initially planned to go over the governing board guidelines with vice provost of undergraduate programs Andrea Hodge and assistant vice provost David Glasgow in attendance, both notified the governing board 15 minutes after the scheduled meeting start time that they would not be attending. “David and I will not be able to attend the emergency meeting tonight,” Hodge wrote in an email to Williams, obtained by the Daily Trojan. “We look forward to meeting all of you soon.”Williams explained that Hodge and Glasgow’s presence was expected, since Hodge had previously requested to meet with the board.Neither Hodge nor Glasgow immediately responded to multiple requests for comment.Earlier on Thursday, Topping scholars also gathered at Tommy Trojan to protest the provost’s decision.This past week, David Delgado, a Topping senior majoring in gender studies and theatre, and several other members of the Topping Fund spearheaded the sit-in at Tommy Trojan. During the sit-in, which lasted six hours, scholars held posters that read “#SaveTopping.” The scholars also requested that students sign an online petition addressed to Provost Michael Quick, which was launched Wednesday night.By the time of publication, the petition had received 1,202 signatures. “With an escalation plan, you want to slowly grow your movement,” Delgado said. “We didn’t want to do anything large and extremely verbose … Right now, we just want to touch the bases and make sure that the student population knows about what’s happening, that they are able to sign the petition if they support it and that they can get involved if they would like.”On Friday, Yokoyama will be meeting with Quick to further discuss the reasons behind her elimination from the Topping Fund.last_img read more

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Alia Atkinson wins 5th straight 50m breast stroke

first_imgJamaica’s swimming ace Alia Atkinson continued her impressive win streak in the 50m breaststroke this season by winning the event at the Beijing leg of the FINA/Airweave World Cup Tour on Friday, Nov 10.The 28-year-old Jamaican, described by FINA, the world governing body for swimming, as the fastest and most consistent breaststroker in the history of the Short Course World Cup, was a comfortable winner in 29.57 seconds.She was almost a full second ahead of Junyang Feng (30.40) and China’s Ran Suo (30.44).It was Atkinson’s fifth consecutive win in the event this season following previous gold medal performances Moscow, Eindhoven, Hong Kong and Qatar. It was also her fifth consecutive winning time in under 30 seconds this season.Atkinson currently holds the World Record of 28.64 seconds in the 50m backstroke event.For more on Alia Atkinson, click the link: Another goldlast_img read more

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Red Force wary of Jaguars’ spin for NAGICO Super50 semi-final

first_imgPORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC):Defending champions Trinidad and Tobago Red Force are wary of a dangerous spin attack when they meet Guyana Jaguars in the first semi-final of the NAGICO Super50 Tournament at the Queen’s Park Oval here today, starting at 12:30 p.m. (Jamaica time).Captain Jason Mohammed has admitted that his batsmen will have to step up if they are to defeat the persistent Jaguars and remain on course to retain their title.”I think the batting department is going to be the most difficult part of it. We see that the pitch is spinning a lot, and they have some quality spinners, but in saying that we have some quality batters in our team as well,” said Mohammed.”So I think we have the ammunition to counteract the Guyana bowlers, and hopefully we will come out on top tomorrow in terms of the batting, and the bowling will take care of itself.”In the preliminary phase of the tournament, Guyana posted four wins and suffered two defeats, while Trinidad and Tobago registered four wins and one loss.”It’s going to be a tough game; at the end of the day, we have to enjoy it as cricketers. This is the moment we cherish, when we beat the best team and we come up good against the best team and the best bowlers.”The match will be a repeat of last year’s grand final when the Red Force – inspired by a hundred from current captain Jason Mohammed and spell-binding bowling from champion spinner Sunil Narine – completed a comprehensive 135-run victory to take the title.”I don’t think the guys will be thinking a lot about it (revenge),” declared Leon Johnson, the captain of the Guyana Jaguars.”I think it will be a negative … us losing last year in the finals to Red Force … but we will probably have it a little bit in the back of our minds.”We just have to go out and play the game hard,” he said. “They will have a lot of crowd support obviously, and we normally get good support here in Trinidad as well, so we are looking forward to a good game.”last_img read more

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Universal Access to Data Repositories

first_imgUniversal access to any structured repository is a compelling concept and something that truly warrants the description of being a ‘disruptive technology’.  It’s still a dream, but it has become the goal behind many new technologies now operating under the name of Enterprise Information Integration (EII).  A commonality behind all or most of the EII approaches is an attempt to create a single unified interface that can provide virtual access to many different data stores and repositories that may have implementations spanning vastly different data structures.The same trend towards creating a virtual interface spanning heterogeneous systems has also been happening in the world of enterprise content management (ECM).  The last twenty years have seen many many companies take their stab at the content management space, all creating products with different subsets of the ECM-space feature list and all of them with competing architectural and data models.  This is to be expected. Formtek is one of these many vendors — we’ve concentrated on our customers and created  quality solutions for the niche industries of their businesses.  Like many vendors, we feel that the unique solutions we’ve created address very specialized customer requirements.But concepts within ECM have been evolving over time and a lot of concepts have matured.  Some areas still continue to evolve today, especially in the areas of search and compliance.  But because of the ever on-going evolution, there never was an industry-wide shared vision for ECM with a detailed blueprint for how to achieve that vision.  This approach has been a healthy one, one that lets products and ideas compete, leading to solutions that address real-world problems.The result of this proliferation of systems is that large enterprises are finding that their data is being managed by multiple systems.  Creating and providing access to enterprise-wide Business Intelligence is hampered by the disparate systems.  Collaborative and Convergence technologies are attempting more and more to create consolidated views of all information across the enterprise.In the world of Java, one standard has come about for specifying a common method for accessing content repositories across multiple systems.  It is JSR-170 and is also known as the Content Repository API for Java or JCR.  Day Software has been the main proponent behind hammering out this standard.  Day’s visionaries Roy Fielding and David Nuescheler (spec lead) have been authors and promoters of the new approach towards standardizing the access across repositories.  They have made great attempts of trying to be inclusive by bring more than 60 vendors into the standardization process, including vendors like IBM, Oracle, Stellant and Filenet.  Day clearly outlines the benefits of a standard approach towards accessing content, and with broad support, this could be very disruptive.Day has also been leading a reference implementation of JSR-170 called the JackRabbit project.  It is being hosted as an Apache incubator project.The JackRabbit project, perhaps for portability reasons, is a non-DB based implementation of the JSR-170 spec.  It serves the purpose well as a reference implementation, but some question whether this implementation can be ‘industrial strength’ enough for enterprise applications — DB vendors have spent years wrestling with problems related to high-volume transactions and scalability. Other factors that have impeded acceptance of JSR-170 to date have been no major commercial vendors offering JSR-170 connectors for their repositories, the fact that the specification was frameworked within Java, the level of difficulty in creating a JSR-170 interface for an existing product, and the implications of being a lowest-common-denominator technology. Undoubtedly many ECM vendors view JSR-170 as a threat to their installed base and have been reluctant to move forward with the technology.  Day has helped to accelerate the process by creating connectors for two major vendors, Documentum/EMC and Filenet.  Day has also pledged to create JSR-170 connectors for OpenText LiveLink, Microsoft SharePoint, IBM Domino.doc, Software AG Tamino, and Interwoven. The availability of connectors to existing ECM systems will be a major decision point for determining whether or not the technology can be useful for customers or not.  Maybe a decision by Day (and others) to Open Source a collection of JSR-170 connectors for popular ECM vendor systems would truely accelerate the disruptive power of this technology — but this does not yet seem to be their current business strategy.Then there is the choice of Java.  The ‘J’ of JSR-170 is ‘Java’.  While the overall concept of JSR-170 need not be limited to Java, that was how it was framed, but it may be limiting to any kind of cross-over acceptance.  Over the last decade Java has had many successes and can clearly be called an enterprise-level technology.  Most of the major ECM vendors are heavily, if not predominantly, Java based in their implementations. But there are competitors to Java.  Java is most commonly compared against the .Net equivalent language, C#.  Actually Java has reached a phase where it is being questioned.  Some well-known Java proponents have even recently defected to newer technologies, like Ruby.  There are issues with Java as having poor performance, being too complex and just too ‘heavy’.  Especially in the area of web development, the Java-based solutions have not been too nimble, leading to an explosion now of Java-based ‘frameworks’ that try to fill the short-comings.Because of the wide range of web technologies available for thin-client development, JSR-170, a technology framed within the Java community, may not seem to be very compelling for Web Content Management systems that aren’t Java-based.  One open-source attempt to create a PHP equivalent implementation of JSR-170 does not seem to have gotten much traction.There is the issue of the difficulty in implementing technology.  Implementation may not be ‘difficult’, but it is certainly not trivial.  And as with all specifications, it often takes a lot of time to ensure true compliance with and complete understanding of a specification document.  More template connector code and more examples might help better seed the vendor community to motivate them to create/contribute connectors.Finally, there is the issue that the technology is lowest-common-denominator.  If you want to build an application on top of XYZ vendor’s technology, you’d be able to access a much richer level of functionality by using that vendor’s API rather than using the somewhat limited capabilities of JSR-170.Formtek has great interest in JSR-170.  The capabilities of JSR-170 could lead to some very interesting applications.  It has great potential, but it still seems to lack momentum, and needs to become more widespread to become very useful.  Day’s continuing contributions to the list of available connectors may change that.The jury is out on that, but JSR-170 and Jackrabbit has certainly generated a lot of interest.The approach that Formtek has taken towards EII has been SOA and Web Services.  We believe the momentum behind SOA technology is there today and at least in the short-term that this is the best approach.last_img read more

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Microsoft’s Board Of Directors: Time For A Change

first_imgIt should surprise nobody that neither Steve Ballmer nor Bill Gates has a degree in computer science (Gates at least wrote software in the early days of the company, Ballmer has only managed developers). Neither has ever worked for an IT company outside Microsoft. Both have been Microsoft’s decisionmakers for more than 30 years.Given that, you might expect Microsoft’s board to include many directors knowledgeable about what goes on outside the company’s own technology realm! Yet I found only a meager three out of nine directors with such experience. And I graded on a curve, counting academic experience as real work experience.(In comparison, Facebook looks like the weakest company in regard to directors’ tech experience, while Google’s strength is obvious. Its board wins in every category, and that may be a key reason why it constantly beats Microsoft.)The Gates Era – And AfterwardI worked for 20 years at Microsoft – when Bill Gates was not only chairman and CEO but by far the company’s largest shareholder. During that time, the Board was never as strong as I would have liked. Yet until Microsoft lost its landmark antitrust trial in 2000, Gates did a good job guiding the company through the turbulent PC revolution, with the help of Jon Shirley, Microsoft’s former president and long-term board member, former COO Bob Herbold, and others.After Gates handed the CEO reins to Ballmer, things changed profoundly. Gates kept his chairman title even after he left the company in 2008, but the board did not get strengthened. I have served on several boards, and know how easy it is for a board to be reduced to a mere formality – especially when it’s dominated by founders or longtime company executives.Microsoft’s Board Today – And TomorrowMicrosoft’s tech leadership is being severely challenged. The chairman is no longer the respected tech guru he once seemed to be. Microsoft’s CEO has never been mentioned as a technology leader. So who on the Board provides the required oversight of company’s tech strategy? Who “works with management to determine the company’s mission and long-term strategy” instead of just dealing with financial and procedural issues?I can’t spot enough people with sufficient intellectual firepower or market insight to properly evaluate the company’s strategic objectives. Electing decent and well-meaning people to the Board is not enough to propel a company into the stratosphere of the highly competitive IT universe.For the last decade, Microsoft has managed to produce respectable revenues and profits by incrementally improving already well-established products. To win over the long haul in a fast-changing market, though, a leader must relentlessly out-innovate competitors.This was never Steve Ballmer’s personal strength. He needed help and I believe the board let him down, or maybe he didn’t listen carefully enough. I believe Microsoft’s shareholders need to overhaul their board and elect directors with tech foresight who will force the changes needed in the company’s senior leadership team.Experienced women and men should be on every board of directors to help guide the often younger executive teams. But sometimes this can be a severe handicap. Both Google’s and Facebook’s directors represent a younger generation than Microsoft’s. They seem to have a better handle on the pulse and the trends of the IT market.Why can’t Microsoft attract that type of talent? Two thoughts cross my mind. First, Microsoft might no longer be exciting and reputable enough to attract top talent. Second, and worse, Gates and Ballmer seem to be controlling Microsoft as their personal playground – avoiding bringing in most capable directors who might eventually threaten their positions.That’s the final straw for why I believe Microsoft’s board has served its time and should be replaced. Of course, if you really did chop up the Borg, as I recommended, this whole issue would naturally resolve itself.Bill Gates image courtesy of 3777190317 / Shutterstock. Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of… Tags:#Fixing Microsoft#Microsoft 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo… joachim kempin Related Posts IT + Project Management: A Love Affair One cure I recently recommended for Microsoft was to split up the company. I challenged its board of directors to do so before shareholders stage a revolution.(See What To Do With Microsoft? Chop Up The Borg – Now.)The shareholders could do just that, and did so last week with HP’s board, because “shareholders elect the board to oversee management and to assure that shareholder long-term interests are served.” On its website, Microsoft further mentions that its board “oversees the company’s business affairs and integrity, works with management to determine the company’s mission and long-term strategy” etc., etc., etc.Is Microsoft’s current board really doing a good job?Microsoft’s Board vs. Its CompetitorsMicrosoft’s competitors have similar charters. The duty of Google’s directors is “to oversee management and evaluate strategy,” and they are bound to assess “Google’s overall strategy and monitor Google’s performance against its operating plan and against the performance of its peers.”I like how Google emphasizes oversight of management and evaluation of all the company’s strategies. Microsoft’s directors, on the other hand, are being directed to look after long-term shareholder interests and evaluate long-term company strategies. Could this be the reason – or an excuse – for missing so many short-term opportunities in the last decade?The requirement for Google’s board to judge management’s performance against its competitors highlights the company’s competitive spirit. How well did Microsoft’s board do this over the last decade?In a recent NBC interview, Microsoft’s chairman – Bill Gates – said “amazing things” have happened under the tutelage of CEO Steve Ballmer. Most pundits would disagree. And so do I, knowing that in that same interview Gates contradicted himself by noting his unhappiness with Microsoft’s rate of innovation. Where does the buck stop in this regard: with Gates, with Ballmer or with the board?What Makes A Good Board Of Directors?Most tech companies’ shareholders have elected a mix of academics, venture capitalists and financiers to their boards. What interests me most is how well its members are actually educated and how much experience they bring to the table in regard to technology. Fortunately, their professional backgrounds are available on their companies’ websites.last_img read more

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