Media Coverage 3/17/17

Carol Christ has been appointed Berkeley’s next chancellor, the first female to hold the position. An expert on Victorian literature, Christ served as executive vice chancellor and provost for six years in the 1990s. In 2002, she left Berkeley, where she had worked since becoming an assistant professor in 1970, to become president of Smith College, a role she held from 2002 to 2013. Christ returned to UC in 2015 to lead the campus’s Center for Studies in Higher Education and became interim executive vice chancellor and provost in May, replacing Claude Steele who resigned due to a perception that he and other campus leaders were tolerant of sexual misconduct. Christ has again been called on to fill a post vacated by a controversial resignation, as current Chancellor Nicholas Dirks agreed to step down following mounting criticism around his handling of sexual misconduct and an investigation into misuse of funds. The move was met with a high-level of praise from various bodies representing campus communities, including the Faculty Senate, the BFA and the Daily Cal’s editorial board. Christ’s salary will be$532,000, the same as what Dirks currently earns. Regents approved her appointment on Thursday and she will officially take over July 1.

In other news, Assembly Democrats announced a plan to reduce student debt. The plan has four components: (1) to make community colleges tuition free for one-year; (2) to expand the Success Grants program for low-income community college students; (3) reject Gov. Brown’s proposed elimination of the Middle Class Scholarship, which covers about 40 percent of tuition for 55,000 students; (4) and to create a new Degrees Not Debt Scholarship to help with non-tuition related costs of attending a UC or CSU campus. The governor’s office has expressed skepticism about the state’s ability to fund the $1.6 billion program. Elsewhere, the UC Regents delayed a vote on the non-resident enrollment cap until May. While it hasn’t received media attention, Assemblymembers Kevin Kiley (R-Roseville) and Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) have proposed a bill that would “urge” higher education campuses in California to adopt a free speech statement similar to the one produced by the University of Chicago (which you can read here).

3/13 – Carol Christ is named UC Berkeley’s chancellor (SFChronicle): Note the following reactions quoted by the paper:

“It’s fantastic news for the campus. Carol already commands a great deal of respect from the faculty,” said Robert Powell, a political science professor who chairs the Faculty Senate on campus.

“Carol Christ’s integrity, commitment to transparency and genuine love for UC Berkeley make her a worthy choice,” said the group’s co-chair, Celeste Langan, an associate professor of English, though “we don’t expect always to agree with (her) on every issue.”

For example, Langan said, her group believes the solution to the campus deficit “is to restore full public funding of tuition, not to turn the university into a revenue-generating business enterprise.” But she said Christ, who has not advocated eliminating tuition, has “demonstrated her willingness to engage in respectful, collegial dialogue.”

Michael O’Hare, a professor at the campus’ Goldman School of Public Policy, was so enthused by her selection that he emailed lyrics from Gilbert & Sullivan’s “Mikado,” which include the sentiment: “With joyous shout and ringing cheer, inaugurate our new career!”

O’Hare said he thinks Christ might be the first chancellor willing to slash money-losing intercollegiate athletics.

“I think she’ll have the courage to put them on a short financial leash, even if that means we have to leave Division 1, which I think would be great,” he said.

Kathryn Lybarger, a UC Berkeley gardener and president of the statewide labor union, congratulated Christ in a statement while inviting her to “join our efforts to address skyrocketing executive compensation (and) prevent outsourcing of career jobs to poverty wage contractors.”

3/17 – Editorial: Appointment of Carol Christ good for campus (DailyCal): Student editorial praises Christ for her knowledge of the campus and notes some of the challenges she may face, such a decision over whether to build a dorm on People’s Park.

3/14 – Editorial: Assembly Democrats over-promise free college (SacBee): Given uncertainty around Federal funding for social programs, now may not be the best time for a large new expenditure, the paper writes.

Also see: Official Statement

3/13 – Debt-free college? Assembly Democrats want to make it possible for California students (SacBee): The plan would cost the state about $1.6 billion, a figure the governor is citing in statements reflecting his office’s skepticism toward the state’s ability to pay for plan.

3/16 – UC regents debate enrollment limits on students from other states and countries, approve Berkeley chancellor (LATimes): The Regents delayed until May a vote on a proposal to limit out-of-state enrollment system-wide to 20 percent. A number of issues are in the air, including how to treat campuses which already exceed the limit and will be allowed to maintain their current levels under the plan and whether the cap is set at the right level. There is pressure both to lower the cap and to eliminate it.

3/16 -Four-year degree costs drop at California systems (IHE): According to a report, the institutional costs per degree dropped by 6 percent at UC from 1987 to 2013. In 2013, the cost was $109,000.

3/15 – University of California Fund to Double Private-Equity Holdings (Bloomberg): UC will double its investment in private equity (such as startups) and reduce what is held in traditional stocks, a move the fund’s manager said is made with long-term stability in mind.

Media Coverage 3/10/17

UC has proposed capping out-of-state undergraduate enrollment at 20 percent. The details to the proposal are key, as the cap would apply to the system-wide proportion, meaning some campuses would be able to exceed the 20 percent threshold (at Berkeley, nonresidents make up about 24.5 percent), so long as the inflated nonresident enrollment is balanced out elsewhere (at UC Merced, the rate is below one percent). However, the three campuses currently above 20 percent — Berkeley, UCLA and UC San Diego — would not be allowed to grow their share of out-of-state ranks any further. Last year, lawmakers in Sacramento said UC would not receive an additional $18.5 million unless it established a cap on such enrollment, a demand tied to a controversial state audit which criticized the system for admitting too many students from outside California. Currently, nonresident students make up 16.5 percent of the system’s 210,000 undergraduates. UC contends out-of-state enrollment increases diversity and funds the education of additional Californians, as nonresidents brought in $550 million in tuition in 2016-17. The average percent of nonresident enrollment within the 62-member AAU is 27.9 percent. In other news, a large group of former students of Nezar AlSayyad — a Berkeley architecture professor accused in media reports of sexual misconduct — decried the academic’s ‘trial by the press’ and questioned the validity of any investigation into his conduct.

3/6 – UC proposes its first enrollment cap — 20% — on out-of-state students (LATimes): The article notes a lukewarm response to the proposal, including from Assemblymen Kevin McCarty and faculty representatives:

“It’s a mixed bag,” McCarty said of the UC proposal. “Finally, after all of these years, UC is on the verge of setting a firm nonresident policy that will help us prioritize California kids. But we were hoping the cap would be at today’s numbers. It’s close, but it falls a little short.”

…Faculty members are not enthusiastic, said UC Academic Senate Chairman James Chalfant. They oppose an “arbitrary quota,” he said, that could force UC to turn away the best and the brightest and forgo additional needed dollars. The group has presented an alternative that would impose enrollment limits only on campuses at which the expansion of nonresident students hurts Californians and only after UC is given enough funding to maintain its quality.

3/6 – Op-Ed: Berkeley professor accused of misconduct being railroaded (EBT): Thirty-six former students of Berkeley Professor Professor Nezar AlSayyad question the treatment of their former mentor who has been accused in media accounts of sexual misconduct. The authors claim support for AlSayyad and question the investigation into his actions.

3/8 – Sexual harassment: records show how University of California faculty target students (Guardian): More coverage of last week’s records release concerning over 100 cases of sexual misconduct. This article highlights how faculty members have targeted students.

3/10 – UC Berkeley cops release photos of 31 suspects in campus riot (SFGate): UC Berkeley police have asked the public for help in identifying 31 suspects in the riot that prevented Milo Yiannopoulos from speaking on campus.

 

 

 

 

Media Coverage (3/3/17)

An investigation by the Bay Area News Group has exposed the extent of sexual misconduct on UC campuses, turning up 124 incidents following a records request, which the UC system took 16 months to respond to (a number of other outlets made a similar request, receiving the records at the same time). A number of upsetting stories emerged from UCSF, the campus with the greatest number of incidents. The documents also reveal a tendency to go easy on senior faculty compared to low-ranking staff employees. Elsewhere, a records request by the Sacramento Bee revealed that instead of relying on its own communications team, Berkeley hired an outside PR firm to the tune of $400,000 to manage fallout from a series of cuts announced last year. The lengthy article is worth a full read, as the Bee makes a good case that Berkeley’s early termination of the contract was motivated by the paper’s records request  (which took eight months for the campus to fulfill).

Also see Daily Bruin | KQED | DailyCal

2/28 – University of California: Sexual misconduct widespread across 10 campuses (SJMN): Between January 2013 and April 2016, over 100 UC employees were disciplined for sexual misconduct. About one quarter of the total are faculty members. A majority of the cases were the result of staff complaints, while 35 percent stem from student complaints. As the article notes:

UC San Francisco had 26 cases, the most of any UC campus, ranging from a cook offering a co-worker money for sex to a top fertility doctor inappropriately touching nurses and calling them “bitches.” UCLA had 25 cases, including a French professor who wrote over 300 poems professing his love to his graduate assistant, and a cancer researcher who sent sexually explicit jokes to colleagues and had been accused of sexual harassment twice before. UC Davis had 13 cases and UC Irvine had 11 and UC San Diego had 9. UC Berkeley had released records of 19 cases last year.

3/2 – Records reveal discipline inconsistencies in UC sex harassment (SFChronicle): The article argues that high-ranking faculty members have received more tempered punishment for their behavior compared to staff.

3/1 – Editorial: UC’s systemic problem — sexual harassment (SFChronicle): Given the scope of the problem, the paper calls for transparency moving forward when new incidents arise.

3/3 – Layoffs, budget cuts prompted UC Berkeley to pay out $306,000 for PR contract (SacBee): UC Berkeley signed a $419,400 contract for an outside firm to handle news of cuts last year instead of working with the campus’s full time communications team, a move UC President Janet Napolitano was aware of. The revelation is the fruit of a public records request by the Sacramento Bee which the campus took eight months to fulfill. Only about $300,000 was paid out as Berkeley cancelled the contract. The article notes that this move happened at the same time as UC Davis received scrutiny for a similar deal, also broken by the Bee. The article notes Berkeley began the process to cancel their contract the same day that the Bee made its records request to Berkeley. Berkeley denies a connection between the request and the cancellation.

3/2 – U. of California Leader Advises Patience as the Trump Era Dawns (Chronicle): UC President Janet Napolitano affirmed the university’s commitment to students covered by DACA. She also stressed that the system did all it could to allow Milo Yiannopoulos to speak at UC Berkeley before the event was cancelled due to violent protesters. The system’s leader also touched on Title IX, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and President Trump’s singling out of UC Berkeley on Twitter.

Media Coverage 2/24/17

Gary May will be the next leader of UC Davis. The electrical engineer and computer scientist, who earned his doctorate at Berkeley, will fill the void left by Linda Katehi, who resigned in August after having been found to violate a number of university policies. His salary will be $495,000, including $75,000 coming from a private endowment. Elsewhere, UC President Janet Napolitano’s role advocating for undocumented students was highlighted by multiple publications, one of which contrasted her current position with the 2.5 million people she deported as Secretary of Homeland Security. In an op-ed, Chancellor Nicholas Dirks committed UC Berkeley to education more low-income students.

2/23 – Gary May confirmed as UC Davis chancellor, permanent replacement for Linda Katehi (SacBee): Gary May, 51, was confirmed by the UC Regents as UC Davis’ new chancellor. May, who will become the school’s first African American leader, is currently dean of the College of Engineering at Georgia Tech. He assumes his post Aug. 1. The Bee notes:

May will receive an annual salary of $495,000, which includes $75,000 in faculty chairman funds from a private endowment. His combined salary will be almost 17 percent higher than former Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi’s $424,360. But UC made a point of saying in a statement that his base salary of $420,000 is less than Katehi’s base was.

Read more: LA Times | KCRA | Chronicle
2/23 – Why Immigrant Students Are Changing Their Minds About Janet Napolitano (Atlantic): The article notes that UC President Janet Napolitano has become a leading defender of students protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, despite overseeing the deportation of 2.5 million people while Secretary of Homeland Security.
2/22 – UC President Janet Napolitano blasts Trump immigration crackdown as a backward step (LATimes): Napolitano characterized Trump’s crackdown as too broad to be effective and likely to stir up fear and distrust, which will make communities less safe as people will be unlikely to cooperate with law enforcement.
2/23 – Dirks Op-Ed: Top universities must enroll more low-income students (SFChronicle): The out-going Berkeley chancellor affirms the campus’ commitment to educating more low-income students, via partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Aspen Institute, while characterizing the state of higher-education funding as perilous. A highlight:

Consider: An average of only 22 percent of students receive Pell Grants (an indicator of low-income status) at America’s top 270 colleges and universities — a list that includes the University of California campuses, Stanford, the California Institute of Technology, the Claremont colleges, and many others. By contrast, 38 percent of students enrolled at all other four-year institutions receive such grants.

In short, the wealthier among us have access to the best schools, while those from low-income families, who would benefit most from education at an excellent college, are excluded. This produces impediments to social mobility and contradicts our self-understanding as a meritocracy. The public has every right to demand more.

This is why UC Berkeley has joined a coalition of the country’s top colleges and universities in the American Talent Initiative, a Bloomberg Philanthropies and Aspen Institute-led effort that met for the first time last week. Our collective goal is to educate 50,000 more low- to moderate-income students by 2025. While UC Berkeley already prioritizes affordability and enrolls more low-income students — 9,000, or 34 percent of our student body — than any other university of our stature, we consider it essential to our public mission to give California’s underprivileged a stronger foothold in society.

2/17 – California assemblywoman introduces bill to freeze Cal State tuition until 2020 (LATimes): Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton) has authored a bill to cap CSU and CCC tuition and mandatory fees. It is backed by the California Faculty Association, which represents the faculty in the CSU system.
2/22 – State Sen. Glazer introduces $2 billion higher education bond bill (DailyCal): Voters will consider the bond in 2018. The last such bond centered on higher education was issued in 2006. Campus leaders stressed the importance of funding structural maintenance at the Berkeley campus.

Media Coverage 2/17/17

With the state budget slowly taking shape and two campuses (likely) nearing official announcements concerning their next leaders, it was a slow news week for UC. The big headline concerned a patent fight between Berkeley and MIT/Harvard. Despite an upbeat press release from Berkeley, most media outlets are portraying the decision as a win for the east coast universities. The most likely outcome moving forward is that Berkeley’s claim to CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology will be shared with the two private institutions. Also, the LAO offered its analysis of higher education funding to the Legislature, suggesting that “UC’s Academic Excellence initiative lacks clear objectives and detail. If UC is unable to provide sufficient justification for this initiative, we recommend redirecting the associated funding to higher priorities.”

2/15 – UC Berkeley Suffers Big Loss in Patent Fight (LATimes): Despite a sunny press release from UC Berkeley, the university faced a setback in a patent battle over CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology. A Berkeley scientist and collaborator first used the technology, successfully editing the genes of prokaryotic cells. However, shortly after, a scientist at the MIT and Harvard-affiliated Broad Institute successfully used the technology on eukaryotic cells, namely the cells found in animals and plants. Because the Broad patent application was relatively more narrow, applying only to the technology’s application to eukaryotic cells, it was approved before the Berkeley application, which, if approved, will apply to the CRISPR-Cas9 technology more broadly. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board this week decided to allow both patents to coexist, despite objections from Berkeley. The decision could be appealed, or future applications of the technology could be required from both parties.

Read the UC Berkeley press release here.

More coverage: Daily Cal | NYT | Nature

2/16 – LAO: Higher Education Analysis (LAO): The LAO offered its analysis of budget requests from the state’s higher education systems. Note the below about UC:

Second, UC’s Academic Excellence initiative lacks clear objectives and detail. If UC is unable to provide sufficient justification for this initiative, we recommend redirecting the associated funding to higher priorities. Finally, the Legislature faces two other significant UC decisions in the coming year: (1) whether to use Proposition 56 funding to replace or augment existing funding for graduate medical education, and (2) whether to allow UC to increase nonresident enrollment in 2017‑18.

2/14 – Livermore: UC admission at risk for charter students (EastBayTimes): UC Berkeley informed Livermore Valley Charter Prep that its seniors may not qualify for admission because of the high school’s accreditation woes.

Media Coverage 2/10/17

We now have a likely candidate for UC Berkeley’s top post, Paul Alivisatos, while UC’s run of large settlements following sexual misconduct continues at UC Riverside.

UC News

2/6 – Ex-Lawrence Berkeley chief is front-runner for Cal chancellor (SFChron): UC Berkeley Vice-Chancellor for Research Paul Alivisatos is considered the frontrunner in the search for Berkeley’s next campus leader. Alivisatos, who formerly ran the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, is apparently prized for his familiarity with the campus and his hard sciences background, which the article suggests is seen as key for fundraising. Robert Reich has not applied for the chancellor job, according to the article.

2/9 – Jury awards $2.5 million to former UC Riverside counsel fired after alleging sex discrimination by campus officials (LATimes): A jury has awarded a former UC Riverside attorney $2.5 million, finding that UCR officials fired her in retaliation for reporting allegations of gender discrimination. As the article notes:

Michele Coyle, who served as chief campus counsel from 2006 to 2012, alleged that she and other women were subjected to “rampant gender discrimination” by Dallas M. Rabenstein, who became UC Riverside executive vice chancellor in 2010. / In a civil complaint filed in March 2015, Coyle alleged that Rabenstein favored men for promotions and salary increases, intentionally misreported data on gender-based salary differences for a federal audit, refused to accommodate women with young children, called some women “biddies” and labeled others who asked for raises as “overly aggressive.”

See the complaint here. More from IHE.

2/7 – After landmark settlement, questions remain in UC Santa Cruz rape case (SJMN): Following a $1.15 million settlement concerning the alleged rape of a student by a professor at UC Santa Cruz, UC will soon issue a report describing its Title IX investigation of the matter.

2/7 – UC Berkeley Chancellor: Trump’s Threat to Cut Federal Funding ‘Ill Informed’ (KQED): Chancellor Dirks notes UC did what it could to allow Milo Yiannopoulos to speak on campus, and that President Trump’s threats to withhold funding are ill-informed. Dirks stressed that he believes the violent protestors were not students.

2/6 – UC Berkeley probes staffer after post-protest Web campaign (SFGate): A Berkeley staff member  has been accused by far right online circles of some crime relating to the protest of Milo Yiannopoulos. Campus police and the FBI are investigating.

2/6 – 2016 East Bay Person of the Year: Janet Napolitano (Oakland Magazine): In a lengthy article, the magazine praises Napolitano for her commitment to undocumented students and her ability to juggle addressing multiple chancellor scandals.

Media Coverage 2/3/17

The violent protest at Berkeley and President Trump’s threat to withdraw federal funding dominated the media discourse around UC, but other stories broke, including a $1.15 million settlement UC paid to a rape victim.

Non-Milo UC News

2/3 – Creating a Safe Space for California Dreamers (NYT): An in-depth look at UC Merced’s efforts to help undocumented and first-generation students

2/1 – Campus admin, UC professor discuss future of public university system (DailyCal): Coverage of Christopher Newfield’s talk with Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Carol Christ. Unfortunately, the article misidentifies Newfield’s home institution…
2/1 – Panel: UC Berkeley must change how it sanctions faculty accused of sexual harassment (SJMN): Panel recommends dropping the three-year rule which set a limit on sanctions against professors and giving victims a greater say in setting the punishment
Read the full report here
2/1 – Here’s what would it take to give California students a debt-free college education (LATimes): LAO finds the cost of debt-free education in California would be $3.3 billion annually, which covers not only tuition but living expenses
2/1 – UC settles sex assault case for $1.15 million (SFGate): The former UCSC student who was raped by a professor claims the campus knew of past bad behavior
Milo News
2/3 – Op-Ed: Berkeley Republicans VP: University ‘worked tirelessly’ to protect our rights (WaPo): Student notes the campus did what it could to allow the event
2/3 – Berkeley Mayor, UC Police Union Criticize Campus Over Plans for Milo Yiannopoulos Protest (KQED): The city’s mayor and the union which represents UC’s police force were critical of the lack of planning
2/3 – Editorial: The No Free Speech Movement at Berkeley (LATimes): Editorial notes that Berkeley did the right thing in allowing the speech to be scheduled, but bemoans its eventual fate, despite painting the speaker in a very bad light
2/2 – California’s members of Congress deride Trump idea to cut UC-Berkeley funding after violent protest (LATimes):  A number of the state’s Congressional delegation attacked Trump’s threat, including one Republican, Fullerton Rep. Ed Royce
2/3 – UC would lose $9 billion for research, healthcare, education if Trump cut federal funds (LATimes): “Legal experts” say that Trump has no authority to cut off funding to UC. A number of UC voices point out that federal funding supports a number of very beneficial projects, including cancer research and energy innovation
2/3 – Could Trump really cut funding to UC Berkeley? It would be very difficult (LATimes): Articles emphasizes the lack of a legal framework within which Trump could strip Berkeley of funding
More: NBC | USA Today | WaPo | SFGate | KQED