UC studying staff’s use
of online travel services
As lawmakers and regulators work to create rules for an emerging sharing economy, the University of California system is grappling with its own set of safety and liability concerns when employees use popular services like Uber, Lyft and Airbnb.
It appeared earlier this week that UC had banned staff members from using the online-based services after a UCLA administrator emailed top campus officials a notice that the university was prohibiting such tools while traveling on business. The decision from the UC general counsel was prompted by “concerns that these services are not fully regulated and do not protect users to the same extent as a commercially regulated business,” the email said.
After media reports and criticism, UC President Janet Napolitano’s office clarified the policy. The services are allowed, the university told employees, but under review.
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a supporter of ridesharing and a UC regent, criticized the reported ban in a letter to Napolitano, saying he recognizes “legitimate regulatory questions” about the sharing economy, but warned that a ban could result in higher costs and would send an anti-innovation message.
“That’s what we call Brown power.”