Wednesday, March 24, 2010

UCLA's HIV Modeler
Denounced at Regents Meeting

The Regents of the University of California held a regularly scheduled meeting today in San Francisco, and I was there to criticize UCLA's controversial mathematician Sally Blower because of her stigmatizing model on HIV drug resistance here.

I arrived at the UCSF Mission Bay campus early this morning and was greeted by at least 15 uniformed UC police officers. There were about 25 demonstrators picketing on the sidewalk for a living wage for janitorial and clerical workers, and I expressed my support for their demands on my way into the building.

Everyone had to open all bags for inspection at the entrance, and if you were going to the Regents meeting, then you got a small pink sticker with today's date on it. At the next security check-point, the UC police looked at the sticker, then directed me to the second floor auditorium.

There was a long line of students and community protesters waiting to get in, and because I had signed up in advance for public comment, I was moved to the head of the line, where I had to give up my camera, and go through another search of my bag and get wanded. Each public comment speaker was allowed what seemed like only 90-seconds, maybe two-minutes, at the mic.

The gist of my presentation was that UCLA and Sally Blower dumped their HIV math model on the people with AIDS community in San Francisco, that the model needed to be investigated and that Blower has done nothing to help find solutions to the problems she says exist here. I loudly said all that was not okay, gave an old-fashioned shout of "Act up, fight back, fight AIDS," and my time was up.

It was a good thing that I sent several pieces of criticism against Blower and UCLA from the past few months, to the assistants for the Regents because no one was allowed to hand anything to the Regents. Did I mention the security was incredibly tight?

The audio portion of all of today's Regents' meetings were streamed, and are supposed to be archived here. And the campaign for accountability from UCLA and the UC Regents regarding Blower's questionable study, goes on.

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