Media Coverage 10/16/17

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law this weekend which imposes strict new budget transparency rules on the University of California, a response to a highly critical state audit that argued UC hid $175 million in reserves. The UC system disputed the audit’s framing, conceding the budget may have been hard to read, but resisting the characterization that money was concealed. In response to allegations UCOP interfered in the audit, the bill also prevents campuses from coordinating with UCOP when the state auditor’s office requests information.

In a follow-up to a piece from last week, Fox News reported on the harassment of conservative students on Berkeley’s campus. This week’s article frames such students as a persecuted minority, writing, “(Conservative Berkeley undergrad Jonathan) Chow is not like most of his fellow students. He’s part of a small minority of seemingly marginalized students at one of the largest universities in the U.S. He’s a conservative.” The article quotes Steven Hayward, a senior resident fellow at the Institute for Governmental Studies.

“It’s certainly not easy,” Hayward, a conservative, told Fox News. “There are not many conservative students — and those that are conservative are, many times, afraid to speak for fear of being mocked or trolled by their fellow students.”

In other news, UC Berkeley’s endowment office hired a new chief investment officer, who comes to campus from the University of Washington. At UC Davis, a professor was forced to return $1,000, which he had received as reimbursements for limo rides.

In the realm of free speech, Wendy Brown and Judith Butler both published reflections on the path forward in the Trump era as part of The Big Picture, a symposium organized by Public Books and NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge. Brown considers what the definition of freedom promoted by the right conceals, while Butler explores the repercussions of Antifa’s tactics on the broader left community. Meanwhile, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra was prevented from speaking at Whittier College by right-wing protestors, flipping a script that usually pits left-wing campus activists against conservative thinkers. Meanwhile, the White House suggested UNLV investigate a professor who linked the shooting in Las Vegas to Trump’s election. And at Drexel, a professor whose outspoken positions have earlier attracted controversy was suspended for what the university claims is his own protection.

UC News

10/14 – After scathing audit, UC will have to be more transparent in reporting costs (LATimes): The bill will further require UC to “use publicly available financial information when it publishes its biennial report on the costs of undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees.”

10/12 – Conservative students at UC Berkeley face everything from insults to threats of violence (FoxNews): The article ends with a nice glimmer of productive introspection:

(“Free Speech Week”) also highlighted a divide among the school’s conservatives that some blame for the ramping up in the harassment aimed at the group.

Chow, who has been a member of BCR for two years, said the organization’s new leadership is taking the group in a different direction – now it focuses on bringing in provocative speakers with far-right views and creating pet projects like the Berkeley Patriot. He said the group now seems more interested in sparking controversy than making positive changes.

“They are all about creating outlandish remarks and trying to pull off these outlandish events,” Chow said, “… there is hypocrisy on both sides.”

10/11 – UC Berkeley Finds New CIO at University of Washington (Institutional.Investor): The Berkeley Endowment Management Company oversees $1.8 billion.

10/12 – UC Davis professor charged school almost $1,000 for limo trips, audit says (SacBee): The audit report into the matter does not name the professor.

Free Speech

10/10 – Wendy Brown – The Big Picture: Defending Society (PublicBooks): UC Berkeley Professor Wendy Brown argues that the political right’s embrace of a neoliberal conception of freedom  has obscured the connection between the broader social good and freedom. In particular, she is critical of the right’s move to cover white nationalism and patriarchy in the guise of free speech. In response, she argues:

…we may still want to extend to all the right to speak and assemble. Or we may want to consider that the West’s first known democracy, in ancient Athens, did not feature free speech but isegoria, equal speech, the right of every citizen to be heard in assemblies concerning public policy. It did not feature freedom from state interference but isonomia, equality before the laws of the state. It did not feature managed and bought elections, but isopoliteia, equally weighted votes and equal access to political office. Democracy in its cradle was not rooted in individual license but in freedom resting on three pillars of political equality.

If we cannot afford stupidity about how profoundly neoliberalism has stripped freedom of the context and culture that make it an element of justice and popular sovereignty, we also cannot cede freedom to the right, to neoliberalism, and to the white nationalism daily attracting new recruits in the Euro-Atlantic world. Plutocrats, nativists, and fascists have grabbed freedom’s mantle to attack democracy, but we cannot fall into the trap of opposing it in the name of other values—security, safety, inclusion, or fairness. Rather, our task is to challenge the neoliberal and right-wing discourse of libertarian and market freedom with a discourse that relinks freedom with emancipation (and thus with social justice) and with democracy (and thus with political equality).

10/13 – Judith Butler – The Big Picture: Protest, Violent and Nonviolent (PublicBooks): UC Berkeley Professor Judith Butler argues that debates over the appropriateness and effectiveness of Antifa’s violent tactics fail to consider the “radical exclusions” from American democracy that contributed to Trump’s rise. As Butler contends:

A minority elected this government, which means that the electoral result signifies a crisis in democratic politics. Violence only compounds the sense of hopelessness and skepticism about the possibility of practicing democracy, when that is precisely what we need most: the exercise of judgment, freedom, and power within the sphere of politics that can activate the true majority to drive Trump and his crew out of office.

Again, one can argue against violence both on principle and on practical grounds. It is of course ironic, if not appalling, that the members of the Black Bloc, a group of mainly white men emphatically able-bodied, decided to turn the police barricades into instruments of violence and destroyed part of the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union on the UC Berkeley campus last spring. Did they think in advance about how painful it would be for many people to witness an attack on the building on campus that symbolizes and honors the struggle for civil rights?

10/10 – A college professor criticized Trump. Now the White House wants an investigation (Salon): The publication accuses the Trump administration of hypocrisy for criticizing the professor while also promoting free speech on campus.

10/15 – Who’s Exercising a “Heckler’s Veto” Now? (Academe): The hecklers have frequently sought attention by disrupting appearances by Democrats.

10/15 – On Missing the Point About Academic Freedom and Free Speech (Academe): The post wades into a debate about the suspension of a Drexel professor who was threatened after expressing views on the Las Vegas shooting. The AAUP weighed in to criticize Drexel for suspending the professor without due process.

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Media Coverage 8/28/17

Berkeley Protest on Aug. 27

As of early evening Sunday, press reports indicate clashes between right-wing protestors and counter-protesters in downtown Berkeley turned violent, with police using tear gas to disperse the crowds. Those on the right claim they gathered to promote free speech and counter what they perceive to be the spread of Marxism in the US. Counter protestors have organized around a desire to reject what they argue is a right-wing movement centered around racism. Early reports suggest violence surged when antifa protestors jumped a barrier separating the two sides. A full report on media coverage from the protest will be included in next week’s summary.

More audits, Christ center stage, and the right-wing’s fall plans

A state audit deeply critical of UC’s payroll system was released Thursday. The report highlights not only that costs have trebled beyond projections to nearly $1 billion, but that the time to completion has been extended by five years. UC Path was intended to upgrade disparate HR systems across the system’s campuses and save money by eliminating the need for duplicate positions, but the audit says such savings “will not materialize.”

A few days earlier, the state auditor released another report that found UC failed to follow its policies regarding replacing workers with cheaper contract employees. Of 31 contracts the audit reviewed, two were found to violate rules requiring the system to provide justification for any contracts that will displace existing university employees.

The week before the two audits brought negative attention to UC, back-to-school coverage of Berkeley cheered the campus’s new leader, Carol Christ. The San Francisco Chronicle focused on the financial challenges facing Christ and the recently announced plan to reduce Berkeley’s $110 million deficit. The article notes Christ’s long tenure at the campus offers its advantages: “Many faculty appreciate that, and say she’s an insider who understands UC Berkeley’s culture and politics far better than the outsiders who preceded her.” However, the article foreshadows what may be a controversial decision to “help athletics pay the seismic retrofit portion of its stadium debt.”

In its take on Christ, the Mercury-News emphasized her status as the first woman to lead the campus, one rocked by a string of recent sexual harassment scandals. A profile in the LA Times painted a flattering portrait of Christ greeting newly-arrived freshman as they moved into Cal. The article notes her myriad professional achievements but goes on to add, “But it is her personable style, her penchant to listen and learn, and her natural instinct to connect that draw people in. Those qualities have helped stir new optimism and excitement on a campus battered by financial woesfree speech controversiessexual harassment scandals and a leadership crisis under her predecessor.” In an interview with Times Higher Education, Christ discussed the campus’s financial challenges and expressed pessimism that state funding will ever return to its historic norm.

Meanwhile, while plans to bring right-wing provocateurs Milo Yiannopoulos and Ann Coulter back to campus have circulated for months, the details remain murky, according to the Chronicle of Higher Ed. The student group reportedly behind the invitation, Berkeley Patriot, may also be attempting to bring Breitbart editor and former Trump administration official Stephen Bannon to Berkeley. In an editorial ahead of Sunday’s protests, the Daily Cal criticized campus and city leaders for urging counter-protesters to stay away from the right-wing rally in downtown Berkeley. The editorial cites the recent right-wing protest in Boston which was peacefully drowned out by a sizable counter-protest.

Meanwhile, as happens annually, UC’s salary information was made public. Two former coaches earned nearly $3 million. On a happier note, UC President Janet Napolitano published an op-ed touting the system’s welcoming of 30,000 first-generation incoming students. Beyond urging other universities to reach out to first-generation students, she notes policies UC has implemented to attract and retain such students.

Audit

8/22 – New UC audit raises more questions about Office of the President (SJMN): The article on the contract audit notes a lawsuit is in the works related to the violation of protocol.

8/24 – UC’s new payroll system will cost at least $200 million more than expected (LATimes): The article notes, “As she did in that stinging audit earlier this year, (State Auditor Elaine) Howle on Thursday accused the president’s office of leaving the UC Board of Regents in the dark on the problems.”

8/24 – UC ripped again in latest audit that finds bungling of payroll upgrade (SFGate): The article notes Napolitano pointed out she arrived two years after UC Path was initiated.

8/22 – University of California system didn’t follow its own contracting rules, state audit finds (LATimes): A UC spokesperson, noting that only a few contracts reviewed violated the rules, said the contracts “generally adhered to the Office of the President’s contracting policy.”

For a copy of the full UC Path audit, click here. For a copy of the contract audit, click here.

The Right Returns

8/24 – Details on Berkeley Free-Speech Event Are Hazy, but Campus Readies for Another Fight (Chronicle): Students involved in Berkeley Patriot refused to confirm details to the paper.

8/22 – When white supremacists flood the city, Berkeley should not back down (DailyCal): The student paper argues:

“But recent events show how a bloodbath can be avoided, and it’s not by staying away. In Boston, one week after Charlottesville, tens of thousands of counter-protesters drowned out the planned alt-right rally (dubbed a “free speech” protest, which nobody’s buying). And by 1 p.m., rally attendees had slunk away before they even made the speeches they had planned, and the Washington Post reported that no one was injured.”

Carol Christ Profiles

8/15 – New UC Berkeley leader takes over as school seeks creative money sources (SFChronicle): BFA Chair Michael Burawoy is quoted as saying, “She’s been very impressive. She is so prepared to talk with everybody.”

8/15 – Meet UC Berkeley’s groundbreaking new chancellor (SJMN): The article emphasizes Christ’s long tenure at Berkeley and provides a good overview of her career and recent campus controversies.

8/18 – UC Berkeley’s new chancellor brings optimism — and a world record — to an embattled campus (LATimes): The article says Christ is planning “open hours for students, community-building events, a new blog and visits to students, staff and faculty.”

8/19 – Berkeley chancellor to focus on funding and rebuilding community (TimesHigherEducation): Christ told the website, ““I will certainly do everything I can to advocate that state funding stays stable. [But] understanding the state budget in the way that I do, I don’t think it’s likely it’s going to go back to its former levels when it was much higher.”

8/18 – UC Berkeley wants students to know it’s OK to fail (SJMN): Recognizing how many students may challenged for the first time at Cal, the campus is doing what it can to help students face and grow from setbacks.

Other News

8/21 – Here are the 5 highest-paid UC Berkeley employees last year (DailyCal): Berkeley’s former mens basketball and football coaches led the list.

8/23 – Op-Ed: How UC is Shaping the Next Generation with First Generation (HuffPo): The article notes ways UC has offered targeted support to first-generation students, including special housing at UCLA.

Media Coverage 7/3/17

UC Berkeley’s new chancellor, Carol Christ, has announced the outlines of her plan to reduce the campus’s deficit from $110 million to $57 million during the 2017-18 school year. The cut is part of a four-year deal the campus made with UCOP, though coverage by the Mercury News portrayed it as Christ’s decision. Just over half of the reduction will come from increased revenue, including gifts, Christ announced in a press release. Nonetheless, she notes meeting the goal will be “painful.” Excluded from the cuts are “contracts and grants, including research funding from non-governmental sources; all scholarships and fellowships; programs funded with student fees; all instructional salaries; and utilities.” According to the release:

The (budget reduction) targets that divisions have been assigned are highly differentiated because of the way in which we have calculated the base. Targets for instructional divisions are about 1 percent; those for administrative, research, and service divisions are between 4 percent and 5 percent. I am pleased that many instructional divisions will meet their targets almost entirely from increased revenues.

Non-academic units are meeting their targets primarily through staff and service level reductions. Our overall staff workforce has shrunk by approximately 450 FTE within the last fiscal year. Total salary growth has slowed substantially over the past two years. We experienced a high of 6 percent growth in FY 2014-15 and expect it to remain flat in FY 2017-18 compared to this fiscal year. For the coming year, with the approval of the Office of the President, the senior leadership of the campus has agreed to forgo any salary increases.

In other news, the UC system announced new policies for responding to staff and faculty sexual misconduct, including a clear timetable for investigations and the involvement of chancellor’s in approving punishment. This week’s development in the UCOP audit saga includes a failed attempt by Republican lawmakers in Sacramento to authorize a forensic audit of UCOP. Democrats insisted the office be given time to make reforms, while the LA Times quoted State Auditor Elaine Howle saying she never found anything “nefarious” in her audit of UCOP. Meanwhile, the Regents approved a joint venture with Owl Rock to create a strategic loan fund, with UC committing $100 million in equity capital.

6/27 – Incoming UC Berkeley chancellor lays out plan to reduce budget deficit (SJMN): The article infers layoffs will result from the cuts and fails to note that the cuts are part of a deal Christ inherited.

See the official UC Berkeley statement here.

6/28 – Carol Christ teases budget, plans to halve $110M deficit (DailyCal): The article notes the campus deficit is scheduled to be eliminated by 2020. In an interview with the student paper, Christ emphasized a focus on revenue-generating programs, such as “UC Berkeley Extension, Summer Sessions, self-supporting degree programs and philanthropy.”

6/29 – U. of California System Changes How It Responds to Sexual Harassment and Violence (ChronHE): The article notes some of the changes:

Clear roles and responsibilities for Title IX offices and other campus offices in the adjudication and discipline processes for cases of sexual harassment and violence.

Completion of investigations within 60 business days. And 40 days after an investigation is completed, a decision on discipline should be made. After an investigation, respondents and complainants can communicate with the decision maker about the outcome.

Review and approval by a chancellor or chancellor-designee of discipline proposed by a staff member’s supervisors. For faculty members, a peer-review committee on each campus will help the chancellor come up with a resolution that includes discipline. All complainants and respondents will be informed of any outcomes.

6/28 – Democrats block Republican legislator’s proposal for forensic audit of UC Office of President (LATimes): Assemblyman Dante Acosta, R-Santa Clarita, argued such a review would bolster UC’s credibility.

6/22 – Op-Ed: UC San Diego is failing in equity and diversity (SDUT): A retired UCSD administrator argues the campus is failing Chicano students.

6/29 – Owl Rock forms loan fund with University of California Regents (Reuters): The fund will “invest in senior secured loans that are made to middle market companies or in broadly syndicated loans.”

6/29 – UC Berkeley: Free speech lawsuit is unfounded (Berkeleyside): UC Berkeley has asked a court to dismiss a free speech case raised by student groups who allege the campus blocked conservative speakers from campus.

6/28 – A possible first in Berkeley: Housing for the homeless in People’s Park (Berkeleyside): A plan to address a shortage of student housing may also include housing for long-term homeless individuals.

Media Coverage 6/26/17

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.

Media Coverage 6/19/17

Last Tuesday Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders reached an agreement on a $125 billion budget deal that includes a provision they claim will strip UCOP of much of its financial independence. The move comes in response to the blistering audit of the office Janet Napolitano leads as UC’s president. According to the audit, UC had been concealing funds and carrying out misleading accounting techniques, though UCOP has refuted the audit’s characterization. Under previous funding schemes, UCOP was funded by assessing fees on the system’s campuses. Under the new deal, the state will reshuffle the money it typically gave to campuses in order to fund UCOP by handing the money directly to the office. In total, the state will give UCOP $296.4 million for the fiscal year that begins July 1. The office will also receive $52.4 million for UC Path, a troubled HR system. The state promises to withhold $50 million if UCOP doesn’t implement a number of changes. According to a summary document:

…to withhold $50 million General Fund from UC until UC provides evidence to the Department of Finance by May 1, 2018 that it has completed pilot programs of activity-based costing at the Riverside campus and at two other campuses in three departments each; taken actions to attempt to attain a ratio at each of its campuses, except for the Merced and San Francisco campuses, of at least one entering transfer student for every two entering freshman students beginning in the 2018-19 academic year; taken actions directed by the California State Auditor in its audit report “Report 2016-130,” dated April 25, 2017, regarding the University of California Office of the President, adopted a policy that prohibits supplemental retirement payments for new senior managers, and provided information on the Office of the President budget to the Legislature. 

In other news, media coverage highlighted the recent revelation that Gov. Brown appears to be skirting the law in his approach to nominating UC regents. In an editorial, the San Francisco Chronicle notes the state constitution says the governor “shall consult an advisory committee” when selecting regents, a practice Gov. Brown and other recent state leaders have failed to follow through on. The editorial argues:

This oversight failure has had a negative outcome on the regents board. The 18 appointed regents fit a specific profile: wealthy executives, financiers or attorneys. Considering this narrow milieu, some of their recent tone-deaf decisions, like charging the university thousands of dollars for pricey parties and dinners, make more sense. But it’s inappropriate behavior in a state with high poverty rates and a struggling middle class. These are precisely the kinds of reasons why voters want more public accountability — as they decided in 1974.

Budget

6/13 – New state budget deal punishes UC President’s Office (SFGate): The article also notes that the deal preserves the Middle Class Scholarship program, which Gov. Brown had suggested be scrapped.

6/14 – State budget would put limits on University of California (AP): The article notes that UCOP opposes the change, saying any such move should come from the regents, which govern the system, and not the Legislature.

6/14 – Cal State University to guarantee qualified students a spot under California budget deal (OCRegister): The policy is similar to one in place at UC, where qualified students denied entry at one campus are given a spot at another campus. Currently, that other campus is UC Merced, the system’s newest and least-selective campus.

Regents

6/12 – Editorial: Follow the law, Gov. Brown (SFChronicle):

6/13 – Critics say UC board is latest proof that Gov. Brown ignores the Valley (ModBee): The article notes that no one from the state’s Central Valley is on the board of Regents, a situation that has drawn criticism from San Joaquin leaders:

“This is another example of the governor essentially dismissing Central California as a flyover area,” said Assemblyman Jim Patterson, R-Fresno. “It’s inexplicable to me to have the region utterly ignored like this, with an appointment of this magnitude. It raises all kinds of questions about whether this region is really getting its due.”

Media Coverage 6/5/17

Amidst criticism that the UC Regents failed to properly scrutinize the financial operations of UCOP and indulged in extravagant parties, Gov. Jerry Brown appointed four new Regents on Friday. If approved by the senate, the Regents will serve 12-year terms. The appointees are:

  • Peter Guber, 75, a minority owner of the Golden State Warriors and Chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment Group. There is some disagreement online about whether Guber is a professor at UCLA, which a UCLA website notes. According to public salary information, he is a lecturer.
  • Ellen Tauscher, 65, a former Bay Area Democratic congresswoman and State Department undersecretary. Tauscher is now an advisor for a private law firm focused on health care.
  • Maria Anguino, 38, is a former vice chancellor at UC Riverside and UCOP employee. She is now CFO for the Minerva Project, an education and technology outfit associated with the Claremont Colleges consortium.
  • Lark Park, 47, is Gov. Brown’s senior advisor for policy.

In other news, Monica Lozano, chair of the Regents, emphasized in a letter to a newspaper the board’s commitment to implementing the changes proposed by the audit and investigating claims that UCOP tampered with surveys. After receiving criticism, the Regents will no longer bill a private UC fund for festivities. Meanwhile, a flurry of four lawsuits were filed against the Regents on Tuesday. Two concern students (one from Berkeley, the other, Irvine) who claim they were improperly punished following a Title IX investigation. Another lawsuit concerns a company who claims Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory misrepresented the scope of a demolition job. The final lawsuit was fired by UCSF IT workers whose positions were outsourced. The claimants argue they were discriminated against.

Another item that picked up some coverage this weeks concerns the investigation into out-going Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks, which found he had improperly failed to pay the university $4,990. The week’s news focuses on the cost of the investigation, which stands at $57,671.

New Regents

6/2 – Warriors’ co-owner among new UC regents appointed by governor (SFChronicle): Coverage of the appointees has been thin so far, with this piece emphasizing Guber’s ties to the NBA championship-contending Warriors.

6/2 – Riverside finance expert Maria Anguiano named to UC Board of Regents (PressEnterprise): Anguiano is noted for being the daughter of immigrants and a first-generation college student.

6/2 – Brown Names Four New UC Regents (CapRadio): The brief article frames the appointments using the turmoil the recent UCOP audit sparked.

Read Gov. Brown’s press release here.

The Audit

5/31 – Letter: UC Board of Regents committed to increased transparency (SDUT): According to the letter:

I have repeatedly stated that as part of UC’s response to the state audit of the Office of the President (UCOP), the board must, and will, act above all else in the best interests of the institution.

5/29 – UC reverses policy, won’t pick up tab for regents’ parties (SFGate): The article notes the poor optics of the former policy:

Some of the banquets were poorly timed: The $270-a-head Jan. 25 banquet was held the night before the regents voted to raise student tuition. And the similarly priced May 17 party happened a few hours after student protesters shut down the regents’ meeting, objecting to both the tuition increase and a $175 million secret fund uncovered by a state audit this year.

Lawsuits

6/2 – 4 lawsuits, including 2 Title IX investigation petitions, filed against regents (DailyCal): The article gives an overview of the four lawsuits.

6/1 – Student alleges he was improperly disciplined in campus Title IX investigation (DailyCal): The in-depth article concerns the Berkeley Title IX lawsuit, wherein a male student contends he was improperly punished for violating the campus’s sexual violence and harassment policies.

5/30 – Outsourced UCSF workers sue state regents (SJMN): The layoffs at the center of the case drew widespread criticism, but UCSF says the outsourcing will save the university millions.

Dirks

5/30 – Investigation revealing Chancellor Dirks’ $4,990 misuse of public funds cost university $57,671 (DailyCal): The Daily Cal dug up the costs and revels in the irony of the expense.

 

Media Coverage 5/29/17

Assistant Professor of South and Southeast Asian Studies Blake Wentworth was fired nearly two years after an investigation substantiated claims of sexual harassment made by a graduate student. Wentworth, who had been placed on paid leave, has sued three of his accusers and the university. Even news of Wentworth’s firing, however, wasn’t free of the UCOP audit, as Wentworth’s attorneys claimed the timing of their client’s firing was intended to distract from the controversy. Over the week, newspapers continued to weigh in on the audit with opinion pieces. The San Diego Union-Tribune argued Gov. Brown should fill the four vacant Regent positions with individuals who will be more critical of the university system. In the Legislature, one lawmaker introduced a constitutional amendment that would limit UC’s autonomy, though the proposal is unlikely to clear the high bar for adoption. In a New York Times op-ed, the UC system was noted for its exemplary embrace of low-income students, though the piece notes declining state funding imperils the system’s commitment to inclusion.

Wentworth

5/24 – UC Berkeley professor fired nearly two years after sexual harassment claims substantiated (Guardian): The firing of Assistant Professor of South and Southeast Asian Studies Blake Wentworth comes two years after an investigation substantiated some of the claims against him. Wentworth has sued three accusers and the university. His attorneys claim the timing of the firing is intended to distract attention from the UCOP audit.

Also see Daily Cal

Audit and Finances

5/23 – State senator to introduce a constitutional amendment to limit UC’s 138-year-old autonomy (LATimes): State Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-Azusa) has proposed a constitutional amendment to directly fund UCOP, a move intended to limit the autonomy of the UC system. Because the proposal is a constitutional amendment, not only would the Legislature need to approve the change, but voters would have to approve it as well.

See more SFGate

5/24 – Too many UC administrators make more than the governor (SFChronicle): State Senator Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton) argues that UC administrators are paid too much to justify raising tuition. Galgiani notes 712 administrators earn more than $190,103, the salary paid to the governor.

5/25 – Op-Ed: The Assault on Colleges — and the American Dream (NYT): A nice overview of how declining public funding for higher education has limited economic diversity on campuses. The UC system is highlighted as an exemplar of inclusion, though the author notes the future is precarious for the institution.

5/23 – Editorial: How Gov. Jerry Brown can force change fastest at UC (SDUT): The editorial calls for Gov. Brown to fill the four vacant UC Regent posts willing to take a more critical look at the system.

5/20 – Op-Ed: UC regents must take responsibility for independent audits of UC (SFChronicle): The City of Berkeley’s elected auditor argues the Regents need to insure UC’s own internal audit office is independent of and positioned to keep an eye on UCOP.

5/24 – Angst Over Middle-Class Aid (InsiderHigherEd): An overview of Gov. Brown’s push to eliminate the Middle Class Scholarship program, which benefits students whose families earn less than $156,000 but who do not qualify for aid targeted at low-income students.

Fruits & Genetics

5/24 – Sweet victory: UC Davis wins big-money strawberry fight (SacBee): A jury ruled that two retired UC Davis scientists stole the university’s intellectual property when they took a strawberry they developed while employed at Davis to a private company. The court still could decide UC must license the plants to the scientists.