A former Berkeley employee who worked closely with outgoing Chancellor Nicholas Dirks claims in a lawsuit she was forced to lie on tax forms. After reporting a series of personal jobs she completed for Dirks and his family on a form, including servicing the chancellor’s personal car and taking his child to the dentist, Alice McNeil alleges she was instructed by Dirk’s chief of staff to alter the form. In the lawsuit, McNeil says she complied to keep her job, but under a subsequent chief of staff, she again attempted to include personal work she performed on tax documents and again was told to alter the forms. She claims she was later forced out of her job under false pretenses. In a statement, Berkeley claims:
It is the case that questions were raised about the accuracy of personal services reports that Ms. McNeil submitted for herself and other University House staff after she failed to submit them in a timely fashion and then informed management that her reported numbers were based on rough estimates and not on any actual record-keeping. Because of the campus’s commitment to accuracy, the reports had to be corrected based on interviews with staff about their specific activities. Staff signed off on these corrected reports, and the Chancellor and his wife paid taxes based on them.
In other news, UC’s one-of-a-kind Immigrant Legal Services Center has seen its caseload swell under Trump’s administration. This week also offered a new wrinkle in the fallout from the state’s audit of UCOP. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, UC will spend up to $210,000 investigating whether UCOP interfered with the audit. During the week, Berkeley became a frequent target of the right. Amid a Senate Judiciary Hearing on free speech on campus, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, took aim at Berkeley’s handling of Ann Coulter’s planned appearance, though Sen. Dianne Feinstein defended UC’s response to the events. Meanwhile, Fox News published an article highlighting resentment by some that out-of-state students have an easier time getting in to UC campuses than in-state students.
6/20 – Former UC Berkeley employee told to lie on taxes, per lawsuit (SJMN):
6/21 – UC paying top dollar to investigate Napolitano’s office (SFChronicle): The article notes costly investigations are fairly typical at UC, citing the $1 million investigation into Linda Katehi, the nearly $500,000 spent looking into the pepper-spraying of student demonstrators at UC Davis and the $57,000 spent on the Dirks investigation (which turned up misdeeds worth $5,000).
6/19 – Demand for UC immigrant student legal services soars as Trump policies sow uncertainty (LATimes): The number of students seeking help increased by almost 500 from the previous school year to reach over 800.
6/20 – Dianne Feinstein defends Janet Napolitano, Berkeley during Senate hearing on campus free speech (WashingtonExaminer): The conservative publication fairly represents Feinstein’s defense.
6/20 – Critics rip University of California for favoring illegal immigrants over out-of-state Americans (FoxNews): The report is not very balanced.
6/20 – Stanford, UC Berkeley named as two of the world’s most reputable universities for 2017 (SFGate): Berkeley is the top public university in the world, according to a reputation survey by Times Higher Education.