2004 UCUES: Results and Summary: Part 2

Supplemental results (Management of DOE national laboratories)

Number of responses: 3,376 (self-identified Berkeley undergraduates)

The University of California Office of the President would like your anonymous opinion regarding its management of the DOE national laboratories.

As you may or may not know, the University of California manages three national laboratories on behalf of the Department of Energy (DOE). They are the Berkeley Lab, operated for the DOE Office of Science, and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the Los Alamos National Laboratory, operated for the National Nuclear Security Administration. The latter two labs engage in classified, security-related research related in part to maintaining the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile, and are the primary sites of the United States' nuclear weapons research and design program. The University of California has managed the three national laboratories as a public service to the nation for over sixty years.

The contracts between UC and the federal government to manage all three labs are set to expire in 2005, and for the first time in the history of these labs, the federal government has decided to put the contracts for managing the labs out for competitive bidding. The competition for the Berkeley Lab contract is expected to take place later this year, as the current contract extension expires in January 2005.

DOE has announced its intention to compete the Los Alamos contract in time for its expiration in September 2005. A competition schedule has not yet been issued for the Livermore contract.

The University is continuing to prepare as if it will compete to manage the laboratories, but the final decision has not been made. The UC Board of Regents will make the final decision after more is known about the terms of each competition as provided by the Department of Energy in a Request for Proposals.

Student opinion about competing for management of the Los Alamos and Livermore labs, which engage in both classified, security-related research related in part to maintaining the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile and non-classified (non-national-security-related) research on a wide variety of issues, is being asked for here.

Arguments in favor of UC bidding to continue its management of the Los Alamos and Livermore labs include:

  1. It continues the sixty-year-old tradition of UC's public service obligation to the nation.
  2. UC's scientific and management expertise is very important to the nation's security.
  3. The nation benefits from UC's involvement with the labs' non-classified (non-national-security-related) research programs and activities.
  4. UC faculty and students benefit from their collaboration with the labs' research programs and activities.
  5. UC's management of the labs allows for greater public oversight of the labs than would management by a private contractor.

Arguments against UC bidding to continue its management of the Los Alamos and Livermore labs include:

  1. The national security mission of the labs, in particular in its relation to nuclear weapons stockpile stewardship, conflicts with UC's research and public service missions.
  2. UC's association with the labs' nuclear weapons work damages UC's reputation.
  3. The difficulty of managing the labs outweighs the benefits.
  4. UC's management of the labs does not allow for any greater public oversight of the labs than would management by a private contractor.
  5. Having managed the labs for sixty years as a public service without having to bid competitively, UC should not now be required to compete against other entities in order to continue its management of the labs.

What is your opinion?

1. Do you favor or oppose the University of California's bidding competitively to continue its management of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory?

929  (27.8%)   I do not know enough about the issues to have an informed opinion.
824  (24.7%)   I am strongly in favor of UC's bidding to continue its management.
755  (22.6%)   I am in favor of UC's bidding to continue its management.
458  (13.7%)   I am undecided.
235  (7.0%)   I am opposed to UC's bidding to continue its management.
140  (4.2%)   I am strongly opposed to UC's bidding to continue its management.

2. Suppose it were possible for UC to manage the scientific and technological work of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory while having another entity manage the business, financial and physical-security-related issues. Do you favor or oppose the University of California's bidding competitively to manage just the scientific and technological work of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory?

954  (28.6%)   I do not know enough about the issues to have an informed opinion.
626  (18.8%)   I am strongly in favor of UC's bidding to manage just the science and technology of the labs.
740  (22.2%)   I am in favor of UC's bidding to manage just the science and technology of the labs.
584  (17.5%)   I am undecided.
252  (7.6%)   I am opposed to UC's bidding to manage just the science and technology of the labs.
177  (5.3%)   I am strongly opposed to UC's bidding to manage just the science and technology of the labs.

3. If you are in FAVOR of UC's bidding to continue its management of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory, which of the following are reasons that are important to you? (click all that apply)

1112     It continues the sixty-year-old tradition of UC's public service obligation to the nation.
1202     UC's scientific and management expertise is very important to the nation's security.
1303     The nation benefits from UC's involvement with the labs' non-classified (non-national-security-related) research programs and activities.
1713     UC faculty and students benefit from their collaboration with the labs' research programs and activities.
1057     UC's management of the labs allows for greater public oversight of the labs than would management by a private contractor.
200     Other important reason in favor of UC's management of the labs. Please specify: [Open-ended textarea field]

4. If you are OPPOSED to UC's bidding to continue its management of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory, which of the following are reasons that are important to you? (click all that apply)

466     The national security mission of the labs, in particular in its relation to nuclear weapons stockpile stewardship, conflicts with UC's research and public service missions.
332     UC's association with the labs' nuclear weapons work damages UC's reputation.
214     The difficulty of managing the labs outweighs the benefits.
147     UC's management of the labs does not allow for any greater public oversight of the labs than would management by a private contractor
145     Having managed the labs for sixty years as a public service without having to bid competitively, UC should not now be required to compete against other entities in order to continue its management of the labs.
94     Other important reason against UC's management of the labs. Please specify: [Open-ended textarea field]

5. I am an undergraduate student at the following campus:

3376  (100.0%)   Berkeley
Davis
Irvine
Los Angeles
Riverside
San Diego
Santa Barbara
Santa Cruz

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