Media Coverage 10/23/17

Over the week, the student journalists at the Daily Cal published a number of well-reported pieces, including an article on a power struggle within the Berkeley College Republicans student organization. The group is marred by a split between a rising “alt-right” wing and those who claim fidelity to established Republican doctrine, a divide that resembles what the GOP is facing nationally. In a separate piece, the paper reported that Cal Athletics will receive $20 million from the chancellor’s office, which pushes the total amount of bailout funding to $100 million since 2010. In another piece, the paper documented how severe the university’s reliance on corporate research sponsors has become: industry funds have grown from $32 million in FY 2007 to $72 million in FY 2017, a figure that accounts for around nine percent of all new research awards. Among the donors are Altria, which owns Philip Morris. The online version of the article has a very detailed visualization of funding sources and receiving departments, which is worth taking a close look at (scroll to the bottom of the article).

In other news, UC President Janet Napolitano emphasized the university’s commitment to survivors of domestic abuse in a Huff Po op-ed and an interview with the Daily Cal. In the op-ed, Napolitano writes, “UC is setting clear expectations, demanding accountability, communicating about services we provide for survivors of violence, and much more.” The interview is worth a close look, as Napolitano also touches on recent security costs for right-wing speakers and the possibility of tuition hikes.

Gov. Jerry Brown surprised a number of commentators when he vetoed a bill that “would have codified into law controversial guidance issued by the Obama administration’s Department of Education on Title IX,” according to the Atlantic. Brown said his veto was driven by concern about due process rights for students accused of sexual misconduct, a concern more often voiced on the right than left. In a less surprising move, the governor signed a bill that covers tuition for first-year community college students.

Gainesville, Florida became the focus of the campus free speech debate last week, as white supremacist Richard Spencer made an appearance at the University of Florida. After his talk was cut short by hecklers, The Chronicle of Higher Education published a piece exploring how some campuses have made moves to limit heckling, which is often employed to silence speakers. UF President W. Kent Fuchs called the costs of providing security “unfair,” though he looks wise for taking the threat of violence seriously, as Spencer supporters allegedly fired a gun at protestors. Away from the Sunshine State, the University of Chicago hosted a closed-door session for campus leaders to discuss free speech.

Daily Cal on a Roll

10/15 – Berkeley College Republicans president impeached by secretary amid power struggle (DailyCal): The student who led the ouster of the organization’s president accused his colleague of turning the organization into a “troll factory.”

10/19 – ‘An impossible situation’: Cal Athletics gets $20M bailout from chancellor’s office (DailyCal): As Cal Athletics struggles with its debt, the article notes, “Major cuts to Cal Athletics could be on the way in the coming months. Teams might be removed, rosters may be reduced and Edwards Stadium could be turned into housing.”

10/13 – Industry-funded research takes on a larger role on a cash-strapped campus (DailyCal): According to the piece, “For every dollar that was awarded to STEM recipients from 2014 to 2016, less than 3 cents were awarded to non-STEM recipients.”

President Napolitano

10/18 – Napolitano: University of California and State Leaders Work to Enhance Public University Support for Survivors of Domestic Violence (HuffPo): The piece makes the case that UC is making progress on the issue.

10/13 – Transcript: Napolitano talks DACA, sexual harassment and tuition (DailyCal): Napolitano calls the aborted “Free Speech Week” at Berkeley exceptional:

(My) thought process was that the campus was making the right decisions. In other words, even though the campus and its leadership disagreed vehemently with the views of the speaker, they were still views that were entitled to First Amendment protection, they were speech. But it seemed that the expenses that were being borne by the campus were exceptional. Normally, campuses pay for their own security expenses — we don’t pay for that as the Office of the President.

But there’s always room for exceptions to the general rule, and the combination of Shapiro plus Milo (Yiannopoulos) and “Free Speech Week” seemed to me to be a set of exceptional circumstances where we could — the Office of the President should — pitch in and help. 

Gov. Brown

10/19 – An Unexpected Ally for Betsy DeVos on Campus Sexual Assault (Atlantic): The article quotes Brown as noting, “(T)houghtful legal minds have increasingly questioned whether federal and state actions to prevent and redress sexual harassment and assault—well-intentioned as they are—have also unintentionally resulted in some colleges’ failure to uphold due process for accused students.”

10/13 – Jerry Brown signs bill to make community college free statewide for first year (SFGate): The bill will save students about $1,000 their first year.

Free Speech

10/18 – University Chief: Security Cost for Spencer Speech ‘Unfair’ (NYT): Costs were estimated to be $600,000.

10/19 – Heckling Is a Staple of Controversial Campus Speeches. Should Colleges Intervene? (Chronicle): The University of Wisconsin disciplines students who heckle speakers.

10/20 – White nationalist shot at protesters after Richard Spencer speech in Florida, police say (LATimes): The alleged shooters were quickly arrested driving away from the scene.

10/16 – Presidents and Provosts Gather to Consider Free Speech Issues (Inside|HigherEd): Some attendees pushed against the portrayal of college students as sensitive “snowflakes,” a term popular on the right.



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