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By Clifton B. Parker on March 23, 2010 in University

Hotel opens on campus

A conference-goer from Portugal, a graduate student and a businessman were among the first guests to check into the $13.2 million Hyatt Place when it opened on campus March 17.

The four-story, 75-room hotel, just east of the new Conference Center, is part of the campus's new "front door" and is visible from Interstate 80.

The hotel is expected to provide convenient accommodation for campus visitors and help generate conference business on the campus, said Mary Hayakawa, executive director of real estate services at UC Davis.

For example, the hotel will house some of the 65 people attending the UC Davis Wine Executive Program, March 21-25, a program of the Graduate School of Management and the Department of Viticulture and Enology.

Guneet Bajwa of Fairfield-based Presidio Companies, the developer and Hyatt franchise operator, said the hotel will employ about 20 people. The developer is leasing land from the university on a long-term ground lease.

The hotel is the 149th to open under the Hyatt Place brand, which Hyatt says provides "casual hospitality in a well-designed, high-tech and contemporary environment." Davis architect Aubrey Moore adapted the Hyatt's design to the location.

Each room includes one king or two queen beds, a sectional sofa-sleeper and a small refrigerator.

Each room also includes a 42-inch, flat-screen, high-definition television, and a panel by which guests can connect laptop computers and other personal media devices to the TV. Free wireless Internet is available throughout the hotel, and guests can print from their computers to a printer in the lobby. The lobby area also features two computer stations.

The hotel includes 1,200 square feet of meeting space, an outdoor pool, fitness room, and complimentary parking and local shuttle service.

The hotel offers food and beverages—including Starbucks coffee—around the clock in the lobby and lounge areas. A continental breakfast is complimentary for guests.

Bajwa said that while published room rates are $209 a night, the rate for university affiliates will be about $169, and additional discounts will be available.

The hotel will offer public tours on Picnic Day, April 17, and is planning a grand opening on May 7.

— Julia Ann Easley

Vying for Google fiber

UC Davis has joined a community effort to put more Google fiber in the Davis diet.

The fiber in this case is Google’s “Fiber for Communities” project, whereby the Internet giant plans to test ultra-high speed broadband networks in one or more trial locations across the country, offering fiber-to-home connection speeds of more than 1 gigabit per second—more than 100 times faster than what is available to most Americans today.

The city of Davis has offered itself up as a test site (Google plans to offer the ultrafast connections “at a competitive price to at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people”).

Chancellor Linda Katehi has agreed to sign a letter to Mayor Ruth Asmundson in support of the city’s application. Next, Katehi enlisted two units, Information and Educational Technology and Government and Community Relations, to rally the campus troops.

“Tell the folks at Google why you think the city of Davis is a great candidate,” said Gary Sandy, the Davis campus’s director of Local Government Relations.

You can do it online: (click on “Get involved”). And you can be creative, say, with a poem or a song or a video extolling the benefits of Davis and encouraging Google to make Davis a test site.

IET officials added: “We encourage each resident of Davis to go online and provide a personal statement to Google about why this project belongs in Davis.”

You can also join the “Google Fiber for Davis” page on Facebook.

Whatever you do, you need to do it quickly: Google’s deadline is March 26.

“So please, do your part,” Sandy said. “Join with Chancellor Katehi and your friends and colleagues at UC Davis in supporting our local community by doing your part to make the city of Davis a Google test site.”

More about the Davis effort, on the Davis Wiki.

Dateline staff

Firearms arrest

Police arrested a Davis campus employee the night of March 17 on a felony firearms charge for alleged possession of a shotgun and rifle on campus.

Police said they found the unloaded guns in the suspect's truck when it was parked on campus. Officers do not believe the incident posed a threat to the campus.

Police said a parking officer saw the weapons and ammunition, in plain view, while on routine patrol around 8 p.m. in Lot 25 adjacent to the Activities and Recreation Center and the Segundo Dining Commons.

A records check identified Kristopher Eldon Wiggins as the trucks' registered owner, police said, and they found him nearby. He is employed by Student Housing as a cook.

He was booked at the Yolo County Jail on a single count of possession of firearms on university property.

— Andy Fell

Message to students: Heed Mexico warning

Just days away from spring break, Student Affairs Vice Chancellor Fred Wood advised students by e-mail to take heed of the State Department’s March 14 declaration of a “travel warning” for Mexico.

The warning (a step up from alert) focuses on the northern border cities of Tijuana, Nogales, Ciudad Juarez, Nuevo Laredo, Monterrey and Matamoros, in connection with increased violence surrounding the drug trade.

Wood’s March 16 e-mail said: “We encourage students to review this warning before traveling to Mexico.” He also advised students to review additional information on the State Department’s Mexico travel information Web page.

Zachary J. Frieders, associate director of UC Davis’ Education Abroad Center, said two UC Davis students are in Mexico as participants in the systemwide Education Abroad Program. One is with a group at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, in Mexico City, and the other is with a group doing field research in Guadalajara.

Generally, UC policy calls for the suspension of EAP in countries that are subject to State Department travel warnings, according to Freiders.

In this case, however, because the EAP groups are far from the northern border (Guadalajara is 964 miles from Ciudad Juarez, and Mexico City is 1,130 miles away), the UC Office of the President has granted an exception to policy, at least for the time being.

Frieders said EAP participants are being contacted in Mexico, and the program will assist any student who wants to return to the United States. The students are being ordered not to travel to the border region or the Atlantic coast.

Dateline staff

Retirement benefits subject of 2nd forum

The UC system’s Post-Employment Benefits Task Force is scheduled to return to UC Davis for forums on the Davis and Sacramento campuses on April 19.

Registration is under way for limited seating. Online enrollment systems are in place for faculty and staff, while retirees are asked to reserve seats through the Retiree Center: (530) 752-5182 or

Task force representatives held forums around the system last fall to explain the financial predicament in which the university finds itself, in regard to pension and retiree health benefits.

Now, in a second round of forums, the task force plans to talk about the range of possible recommendations that it is considering for delivery to UC President Mark G. Yudof.

The task force also intends to share the results of the recent employee preference survey.

Executive Director Randy Scott and Director Gary Schlimgen from systemwide Human Resources are due to make the presentations.

A panel of task force representatives will answer questions and listen to comments, forum organizers said.

The UC Davis forums:

Davis campus — 10 a.m.-noon, Activities and Recreation Center Ballroom. Enrollment: (search for “forum”).

Sacramento campus — 2-4 p.m., auditorium, Cancer Center, 4501 X St. Enrollment: The course name is Post Employment Benefits (PEB), and the course number is 06411.

Unable to attend? Organizers said the Davis campus forum will be carried live on the Web; look for the link on the UC Davis home page ( the morning of the forum. Also, the organizers said, a recording of the forum will be available for online viewing.

Dateline staff


Media contact(s)

Clifton B. Parker, Dateline, (530) 752-1932,