Media Coverage 11/18/16

Another renowned member of UC Berkeley’s faculty has been found to have sexually harassed a student. Elsewhere, UC Regents are considering a tuition hike, though the political climate stemming from last summer’s audit may make it hard to pass.

Nezar AlSayyad

11/13 – Investigation: UC Berkeley professor sexually harassed student (SFChronicle): In this case, best to let the reporting speak for itself:

A renowned Middle East scholar and architecture professor at UC Berkeley spent months ingratiating himself with a graduate student before placing his hand on her upper thigh, proposing they become “close friends” and suggesting they go to Las Vegas, a campus investigation has found. / Nezar AlSayyad, an internationally recognized scholar and a frequent public voice on global issues, is the latest prominent faculty member at UC Berkeley found to have sexually harassed a student or colleague in violation of University of California rules, The Chronicle has learned. / A five-month investigation completed in October upheld nearly all of the student’s allegations. The 52-page report obtained by The Chronicle found that AlSayyad’s behavior became increasingly personal from 2012 to 2014, with frequent social invitations and hugs, as he sought to position himself as the student’s protector and make her beholden to him

11/15 – UC Berkeley students demand professor’s suspension (SFGate): Students have petitioned for AlSayyad’s firing.

See commentary 11/17 – Whom Does Secrecy Protect? (IHE)

Tuition

11/18 – UC tuition increase? Not after this year’s damning audit (SDUT): UC is making the case for its first tuition increase — on the scale of 2.5 to 3.1 percent — in six years, while CSU eyes a 5 percent hike. However, the articles questions whether the state’s audit of UC over the summer will make make it unlikely for the hike to be carried out.

11/18 – UC students disrupt regents’ meeting with protests against possible tuition hike (LATimes): As UC Regents met to discuss tuition hikes, about 80 student protestors demonstrated, momentarily derailing the meeting until police cleared the room.

Also see SJMN

Elsewhere in harassment news

11/17 – UC Regent’s Offensive Comments Lead To New Harassment Policy (AP): The UC Regents created new rules governing sexual harassment in response to comments Regent Norman Pattiz made to a woman at his place of work. Pattiz remains on the board. Under the new rules, all regents are required to take UC’s sexual harassment training.

Also see 11/9 – “UC regent’s breast comments prompt proposal for tighter rules on sexual harassment” (LATimes)

11/17 – Ex-UC dean accused of harassment drops suit against university (SFGate): Former UC Berkeley Law Dean Sujit Choudhry has dropped his lawsuit claiming racial bias against the university. The academic senate is set to hold a hearing to consider his job status.

Labor

11/16 – University of California workers strike for higher wages (KQED): Skilled trade workers at UC San Diego and UCLA were set to strike for higher wages.

11/16 – UCSF workers claim discrimination in IT outsourcing (SJMN): Ten UCSF employees fired as part of an outsourcing move are alleging they were fired due to their age and nationality (American).

Less Controversial

11/18 – UCD presents its housing plans to UC regents (DavisEnt): UC Davis aims to increase the portion of students living on campus from 35 to 40 percent as town-gown relationships begin to strain.

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Media Coverage 11/04/16

UC news this past week was dominated by reports of disgusting behavior by Regent Norman Pattiz, chairman of the Courtside Entertainment Group.

UC News

11/2 – UC regent apologizes for ‘inappropriate’ comments about women’s breasts (LATimes): Pattiz apologized for asking to hold the breasts of a  woman taping a bra commercial at Pattiz’s company. UC did not issue a statement. The Times dug up other accusations of inappropriate workplace harassment from Pattiz.

More: DailyCal | SFGate

11/3 – After pink slips, UCSF tech workers train their foreign replacements (SJMN): A $50 million outsourcing deal with an Indian company has resulted in 80 tech workers losing their jobs. UCSF says it will save $30 million over five years. U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren asked Napolitano to reverse the plan and questioned the legality of using H-1B visas to bring in some Indian workers on-site. Questions about patient data privacy have also been raised.

10/31- Op-Ed: The University Of California’s Censor In Sheep’s Clothing (Forbes): A not very thoughtful critique of Napolitano’s recent op-ed in the Boston Globe. Essentially, the author worries trigger warnings and safe spaces harm free speech. He dismisses concerns about inclusion.

10/30 – Faculty, staff voice expectations for next UC Berkeley chancellor at listening sessions (DailyCal): A very nice photograph is attached to this story about a recent “listening session.” The article notes the back-and-forth between those who wish for a shortlist to be made public and those who feel such a move would harm the process.

11/2 – Anti-immigrant graffiti found at UC San Diego (SDUT): The election is Tuesday.

Elsewhere

11/2 – Virginia colleges told to brace for 7.5 percent cuts (RichmondTD): Virginia, home to two of the nation’s great public universities, has told its higher ed system to prepare for cuts. 

11/4 – Historic Fine for Penn State (IHE): The US Dept. of Education will fine PSU $2.4 million for failing to disclose crimes relating to its infamous child molestation scandal.

Media Coverage 10/28/16

News has been slow to appear, but a study from Occidental College received national attention for its discovery of widespread hunger among UC employees. Elsewhere, the SF Chronicle dug into the “Kafkaesque” situation surrounding Dirks’ personal trainer (no one transforms along the lines of Gregor Samsa) who has been on paid leave pending an investigation.

Hunger among UC employees

10/19 – California Today: For Some U.C. Workers, Skipping Meals to Make Ends Meet (NYT): A study found 45 percent of the system’s full-time administrative employees experience hunger. The study was conducted with support from the Teamsters union, which represents the workers. UC suggests the timing may be political, as the system is in labor negotiations.

10/17 – Seven in 10 UC workers struggle with food insecurity (LATimes): See the report in full from Occidental College.

UC News

10/17 – UC Berkeley chancellor’s personal trainer in ‘Kafkaesque’ tangle (SFChron): The former boss of a trainer being investigated by UCOP for offering Dirks free training lessons has, essentially, accused UCOP of wasting the system’s money and time.

According to his whistle-blower complaint, if there’s been any improper spending, it’s the more than $53,000 in salary and benefits that has been wasted these past six months keeping Wicks on the payroll but not allowing him to work.

10/25 – Giving cash to Clinton’s campaign? Good chance you work for University of California (SacBee): Private donations by UC employees to the Clinton campaign led all such blocks, followed closely by Alphabet (Google).

10/20 – State lawmakers discuss future of higher education at campus forum Tuesday (DailyCal): At an event organized by the CSHE, Carol Christ asked lawmakers if a predictable formula for tuition increases would be palatable in Sacramento. She received a terse reply:
“I would think that would be perfectly reasonable,”  Liu, the District 25 senator, said at the forum. “In fact, we did carry a piece of legislation when I was in the lower house, (but) actually the UCs opposed it. They didn’t want anything that was gradual, predictable or affordable. They wanted do it on their own.”

10/24 – Campus leadership prompted vice chancellor Bob Lalanne’s resignation (DailyCal): Former VC for real estate had his position terminated and declined to take another post, citing tumult within the admin ranks.

Elsewhere in higher ed
10/26 – Tuition bills up, but borrowing down (Politico): Average in-state tuition rose about 2.4 percent, but borrowing is down to $106.8 billion, off from a peak of $124.2 billion in 2011.

See the College Board’s new report on pricing, “Trends in College Pricing 2016.”

10/24 – This photo essay shows what it really means to be adjunct faculty (WaPo): A collection of photographs from Ithaca College displays the plight of adjunct faculty members.

Media Coverage 10/14/16

The LA Times took a close look at Sujit Choudhry’s lawsuit against UC, and a few prominent labor lawyers think he may have a case. Elsewhere, UC’s $100 billion man departed and a firm accused of cheating the college admissions process was linked to UC.

UC News

10/11 – UC’s extraordinary legal battle with ex-Berkeley law school dean (LATimes):  Former Law Dean Sujit Choudhry is suing the UC system, arguing he is being treated more harshly than his white peers after he was forced to step down for sexual harassment. The suit claims Napolitano’s decision to increase his punishment was intended to “try to improve the university’s image, as well as her own.”

10/10 – Private Equity Chief at University of California Fund Departs (Bloomberg): Timothy Recker, who joined the system in 2007, was responsible for nearly $100 billion in assets. 

8/14 -How a Chinese company bought access to admissions officers at top U.S. colleges (Reuters): UC Berkeley admissions officials are noted for accepting plane tickets to attend a conference hosted by a Chinese firm accused of helping students cheat on college applications

10/13 – Campus Disabled Students’ Program has been noncompliant with state regulations for years (DailyCal): A program that helps students with disabilities adjust to college life will shut down at Berkeley after it was discovered the state-funded program was out of compliance with state rules.

10/13 – Online and Homegrown (IHE): California’s community college system is experimenting with a program whereby students can register for online classes hosted at other campuses should enrollment reach capacity at their home institution.

Elsewhere in higher ed

10/6 – University bureaucracies grew 15 percent during the recession, even as budgets were cut and tuition increased (Hechinger): A deep dive into the growing bureaucracies on college campuses and efforts to curtail the growth, often through consolidation under central services schemes.

Media Coverage 10/7/16

This week, Reich for UCB chancellor makes the news, Napolitano takes a stand for free speech and safe spaces in a Boston (?) newspaper, the Feds increase higher ed transparency, a strike at Harvard and Portland State University announces free tuition.

Robert Reich

10/4 – Robert Reich urged by faculty group as new UC Berkeley chancellor (SFC): The BFA supports Reich, but both the man himself and Napolitano remain mum. The new chancellor will be named in five months time.

10/4 – Op-Ed: Robert Reich would be superb leader for this campus (DailyCal): BFA argues Robert Reich is well-suited to address the university’s challenges.

Napolitano

10/2 – Op-Ed: It’s time to free speech on campus again (BostonGlobe): Napolitano notes that students shouldn’t be shielded from ideas they dislike, but notes the importance of safe spaces.

The University of California is the largest and best public research university in the country. In the 1960s, when the Free Speech Movement began, our student body was 55 percent male and overwhelmingly white. Today, 53 percent of UC students are women, 42 percent are the first in their families to attend college, and nearly 40 percent of this year’s entering class identified themselves as either black, Latino/Latina, or a member of another historically underrepresented ethnic or racial group. Moreover, sexual identity was hardly on the radar in the 1960s. Today, students self-identify in myriad ways.

Students, therefore, come from a much broader range of backgrounds, and they often benefit from gathering with others of similar backgrounds to share experiences and support one another. At UC we have many different types of student centers and student activities; some of our newest are for undocumented students. You can call these “safe spaces,” but I call them a good idea… 

…I’m not especially fond of the letter recently sent by the dean of students at the University of Chicago that seemed to support free speech Darwinism. As stated earlier, even free speech has its limits: time, place, and manner restrictions, for instance. Chalking an anti-immigrant pro-Trump slogan on a sidewalk is one thing; spray painting it on a building is another.

CSU

9/30 – ‘Finish in Four’ is new mantra for California State University (SacBee): CSU is adding more sections of popular classes, giving advisors tablets and setting them loose and asking students to sign pledges in an effort to increase the four-year graduation rate.  The project is estimated to cost $400 to $500 million and is intended to combat the state’s projected deficit of degree holders.

Elsewhere in higher ed

10/5 – Harvard Hit With Strike by Dining-Hall Workers (Chronicle): About 750 workers refused to arrive on a Tuesday after contract negotiations continued to stall. Frozen food was used to feed the hungry students.

NB: According to Politico: “The Education Department on Friday unveiled a database of the agreements that colleges have with banks and other providers of financial products on campus. Under new regulations finalized by the Obama administration last year, colleges were required to post online their contracts with banks and financial institutions.” No UC schools are listed, but a few CSU are.

NB: PSU is offering free tuition to students who meet the following criteria:

  • Current resident of Oregon
  • Graduate from an Oregon high school
  • Admissible to PSU as a first-year freshman for the fall 2017 term
  • Have a 3.4 cumulative unweighted high school GPA
  • Eligible to receive a federal Pell grant as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  • Enrolled full-time at PSU, 15 credits per term
  • Students must apply for federal loans

Media Coverage 9/30/16

Soon-to-be-former UC Berkeley Chancellor Dirks told an audience Clinton’s plan for free tuition “won’t happen.” To offset a mostly quiet week on the UC news front, I’ve included some recent reports on free tuition and the state of American higher education. Also this week, Blake Wentworth, a faculty member accused of sexually harassing students, filed defamation suits against three of his accusers.

Free Tuition

9/27 – Berkeley chancellor: Clinton free college plan ‘won’t happen’ (THE): Speaking at summit, Dirks said he would “love” to see Clinton’s plan happen, but that political realities will likely get in the way. He also noted free tuition may lead to greater government control of research institutions, which could be a problem. He may having in mind the federal ban on firearms research, an area where the UC system is actively picking up the slack.

9/29 – US Dept. of Ed report: Reaching the Limit (link): While college costs are rising, students have begun taking out more federal loans. However, a rising amount turn to the private market (with its higher fees and interest) before they’ve maxed out their federal options.

9/29 – Campaign for Free College Tuition report: How expensive is free college for states (link): Report calculates the cost per state of free tuition, but notes these large sums may be offset by returns from a more educated workforce.

9/29 – APLU report: Public University Values (link): The APLU has launched a campaign to improve the public image of large research universities. The campaign emphasizes decreased state funding.

Other UC News

9/30 – Low Returns, High Pressure (IHE): The return on UC’s endowment is a very poor -3.4 percent. Trump has suggested he would cut federal tax breaks for university endowments should they not lower costs sufficiently.

9/29 – Berkeley professor at center of sexual harassment scandal sues his accusers (Guardian): Blake Wentworth has sued three students who accused him of sexual harassment. The assistant professor of south and south-east Asian studies claims the accusations are false and intended to derail his career.

More DailyCal | SFGate

Elsewhere in higher ed

9/28 – Small Agency, Big Impact (IHE): The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has stepped into the world of private student loans and for-profit universities

9/29 – Mizzou Incident Rekindles Anger Over Treatment of Black Students (Chronicle): Mizzou is back in the spotlight after an ugly incident where slurs were shouted at students of color

Media Coverage 9/23/16

After caving to outside pressure from Jewish groups and banning (on officially technical grounds) a student-led DeCal course covering Palestine , UC Berkeley was again swayed by outside pressure to reinstate the class. However, the press hasn’t been able to get the inside story of decision-making that led to the reversal, it seems…

Officially, a university dean met with the class facilitator after she determined the course hadn’t been properly reviewed. After the meeting and a few tweaks to the syllabus, the course has been reinstated. Obviously, this is not the full story, but it is the one the university will admit to.

Elsewhere, a university is suing its student newspaper (an incredible story) and beer sales are now seen as a funding savior. But first, more students on UC campuses:

UC Enrollment

9/22 – UC campuses scramble to make room for thousands more new California students (LAT): The fallout from UCOP’s ‘more in-state students for more money’ deal with Gov. Brown is being felt in  ever tighter dorm rooms. This quote sums up the impact on Berkeley nicely: “Overall, Berkeley expects to hire more than 130 new instructors and teaching assistants. The nearly $3.8 million in state funds the campus received for the new students wasn’t enough to cover the extra classes, instruction, housing, tutoring, mental health services, technology, classrooms and housing. Berkeley had to redirect $2.2 million more to pay for them, even though it faces a critical budget deficit.”

Palestine: A Settler Colonial History

Dean of Social Sciences Carla Hesse’s letter about her decision to reinstate the class can be found here.

9/19 – UC Berkeley reinstates class on Palestine following outcry over its suspension (Guardian): A nice overview of reactions from various sides following the reinstatement.

9/20 – Op-Ed: DeCal’s cancellation transpired through unfair shortcuts (DailyCal): Associate Prof. Samera Esmeir argues the universities swift move to cancel the course throws into doubt “the survival of spaces for students to study and debate difficult and politically complex issues facing our world today.”

9/19 – UC Berkeley reinstates controversial course on history of Palestine (LAT): Article questions whether the syllabus was meaningfully changed.

CSU

9/22 – Governor signs bills to boost graduation rates at California universities (LAT): Law intended to boost the CSU system’s low graduation rate was signed.

Elsewhere in Higher Ed

9/22 – U. Kentucky is suing its student newspaper, trying to block sexual assault reporting (WaPo): In a truly incredible story, UK went ahead and sued its student newspaper, trying to prevent it from releasing public documents (which the state AG ordered the school to hand over to the newspaper). The newspaper believes the university is seeking to protect itself, as the documents in question concern a professor accused of sexual misconduct.

9/19 – Get Yer Beer Here (IHE): Despite fears of drunk undergrads, public universities are turning to alcohol sales at football games to boost revenue and attendance.

9/21 – CC not free for some Oregon students with heavy course loads (AP): A much-hyped free-tuition plan in Oregon comes with a bit of fine print, to the surprise of some students who will see (admittedly) small bills.