Media Coverage 9/11/17

The University of California has sued the Department of Homeland Security, challenging President Trump’s decision to rescind DACA following a six month delay. According to a statement from UC President Janet Napolitano, UC’s legal case rests on three points:

  1. The DHS decision to rescind DACA is not supported by reasoned decision-making as required by federal law. It did not consider the impact of the decision on Dreamers — for example, their expectation that they could study, work, and live in the only country they call home — or the costs of the rescission on the universities and communities in which they live, study, and work. And, most fundamentally, the legal rationale DHS provided was wrong. No court has held DACA unlawful and, in fact, the office at the Department of Justice responsible for reviewing the constitutionality of executive branch actions determined that DACA was lawful.
  2. In ending the program, the administration also failed to comply with mandatory procedures that federal law requires for a decision of this type and magnitude. These procedures, among other things, require the agency to allow and consider public comment on a proposed action from affected parties, such as from the DACA recipients themselves and institutions like UC that are deeply impacted by the decision.
  3. Finally, this action tramples on the due process rights of the University and its students and employees. DHS cannot take away those rights by executive fiat without any process whatsoever.

As a number of media outlets have pointed out, Napolitano helped author the 2012 program while she was Secretary of Homeland Security in the Obama administration. Since then, the order has shielded 800,000 Dreamers from deportation. Despite her strong support for DACA, Napolitano has been criticized by immigrant rights activists for overseeing 2.5 million deportations while with the DHS, as the Sacramento Bee notes in its coverage. Nonetheless, Napolitano has also received praise for her support of undocumented UC students, most notably through the creation of a legal services center. UC’s case is being handled pro bono by Covington & Burling, which employs former US Attorney General Eric Holder.

In other news, the Sacramento Bee covered the disparate proposals for some form of a statewide “free college” program in California. Among the proposals mentioned is the $48 Fix, a plan endorsed by 17 California faculty associations, including the BFA, unions and other organizations. The name of the program comes from the average level of an income-adjusted tax that would generate $9.4 billion annually. That amount of revenue could be used to eliminate tuition costs at all three of the state’s higher ed systems and return per pupil funding to levels last seen in 2000. As the article notes, “The California Democratic Party passed a resolution supporting the plan last week.” Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a leading candidate for governor, has endorsed a plan that would instead offer two free years of community college.

Dreamers

9/8 – UC sues Trump administration over DACA decision (SacBee): Napolitano says of Dreamers, “They really represent the spirit of the American dream, and by its action, the administration has bashed those dreams.”

9/8 – Obama Official Who Created DACA Sues Trump To Protect It (HuffPo): The article notes around 4,000 undocumented students attend a UC campus.

9/8 – UC sues Trump administration over repeal of DACA (DailyCal): The article reports a rise in the number of students seeking mental health services since the decision was announced.

Press releases: UC Berkeley | UCOP Community Letter | UCOP Lawsuit

Other News

9/5 – ‘Free college’ is a new rallying cry in California (SacBee): The article notes that the state’s existing scholarship program is, by some measures, the most generous in the nation.

9/10 – Berkeley protests expensive for East Bay police departments (SFChronicle): UC spent $700,000 on police work associated with a cancelled appearance by Ann Coulter in April.

9/8 – Why Berkeley’s Battle Against White Supremacy Is Not About Free Speech (TheNation): The article, which conflates the city of Berkeley with UC Berkeley, argues that media coverage has dwelled upon Antifa violence without reporting the threats and harassments students face from various right wing activists.

9/7 – DeVos says Obama-era approach to campus sexual assault ‘failed’ (SJMN): DeVos has said the current approach “isn’t working,” and emphasized the plight of the wrongly accused, but details of how she hopes to change the policy are scant. UC President Janet Napolitano is quoted as saying:

“Changes to the Title IX policy announced today signal that the Trump administration aims to undo six years’ worth of federal enforcement designed to strengthen sexual violence protections on college campuses. This is extremely troubling. Even in the midst of unwelcome change and uncertainty, the university’s commitment to a learning environment free of sexual violence and sexual harassment will not waver. UC will continue its work to foster a culture of safety and security on all its campuses.”

9/6 – Dirks: Berkeley needs ‘serious debate’ on public-private future (THE): Berkeley’s ousted former chancellor argues the campus needs to consider becoming a private institution in order to survive its financial struggles.

9/6 – UCLA beats UC Berkeley as No. 1 public university in US, ranking reports (DailyCal): A UC spokesperson chalked up the change to natural fluctuations in research funding, which influence the ranking:

“(T)he primary reason for this year’s change in Berkeley’s position in this particular ranking was a decrease in the level of federal research funding that flowed into campus,” (UC Berkeley spokesperson Dan) Mogulof said in an email. “That funding fluctuates on an annual basis, and is determined by many factors beyond the University’s control or influence.”

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Media Coverage 8/14/17

Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ last week released a plan for cutting the campus’s $110 million deficit by about $53 million during the 2018 fiscal year. The plan relies on new revenue from expanded academic offerings and gifts to account for over half the reduction. Nearly $20 million is slated to be cut from academic, research and administrative units, with a four percent cut for Cal Athletics and a five percent cut for BAMPFA. The campus’s top leaders will also forgo a salary increase.

According to campus leaders, the revenue-generating academic offerings include “new or expanded academic programming in University Extension, Summer Sessions, Concurrent Enrollment, Self Supporting Graduate Professional Degree Programs, and via Professional Degree Supplemental Tuition.” Despite the plan, there exists a $2 billion gap between the campus’s capital needs and projected funding. Budget items that will not face any reductions include academic salaries, scholarships and fellowships, funding of the Student Health Insurance Program and the campus’s Sexual Harassment Prevention Program.

It was a bad week for former Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks, who newspapers noted will have a fully-paid year off before returning to Cal as a professor. As is typical for exiting UC chancellors, Dirks will receive 80 percent of his former salary during his time away, which in this case means Dirks will make $434,000. Both lawmakers and faculty leaders are quoted criticizing the generous policy. Further, an editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle questioned the utility of paying Dirks such a high rate as the university struggles to stay afloat. Meanwhile, a rather un-timely Wall Street Journal revived the “escape hatch” fiasco from Dirks’ tenure, when the campus was criticized for building an escape route from the chancellor’s office. The op-ed cites email records which show staff were concerned about violent student protests, and ends by suggesting the campus arrest students who break the law. Dirks had his own op-ed published last week in The Washington Post, in which he discussed the challenge of protecting free speech on campus in the face of violent protesters. The piece was criticized in a response published by the conservative National Review.

While the national media focused this week on the college town of Charlottesville, VA, where a white supremacist attending a rally murdered a counter-protester, local media covered the trials of two left-wing protestors accused of violence that allegedly occurred during riots in Berkeley earlier this year. Eric Clanton, a former community college philosophy professor, has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon, a felony, for striking a man with a bike lock. Yvette Felarca, a teacher at Berkeley Middle School, is charged with felony assault and two misdemeanors. During the week, UC President Janet Napolitano waded into the political arena, writing an op-ed in The Washington Post calling on Congress to pass legislation protecting “dreamers” covered under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Ten GOP state attorneys general have threatened to sue the Trump Administration if the president doesn’t repeal DACA by early September.

Berkeley’s Budget

8/10 – Campus unveils revenue-driven budget that cuts $15M from academic, research and administrative divisions (DailyCal): The article includes a nice campus-produced graphic that breaks down the cuts.

8/11 – UC Berkeley Budget Cuts Campus Deficit by Nearly Half (KQED): According to the article, “Teaching units would, for the most part, be able to use new revenue to meet their budget targets. Research units, however, would not have that cushion and would need to reduce their expenses by an average of 4 percent.”

Dirks’ Week

8/11 – Editorial: UC Berkeley perks are part of the problem (SFChronicle): The editorial notes such policies are not uncommon, but characterized UC’s as especially generous.

8/8 – UC Berkeley ex-chancellor to receive $434,000 while on leave (SFChronicle): The article quotes a spokesperson explaining the policy by saying its purpose “is to allow top-flight academics to get back up to speed in their field and begin research, which they weren’t able to do while in their administrative role.”

8/8 – Former UC Berkeley chancellor to earn $434,000 in paid time off (SJMN): BFA Chair Michael Burawoy is quoted as commenting, “Even though it’s part of his contract, this looks like a reward for incompetence. It is an appalling commentary on the distribution of benefits at a time of supposed fiscal crisis and when many students can barely scrape together a living. He should contribute half his salary to a fund for homeless students.”

8/9 – Op-Ed: The real issue in the campus speech debate: The university is under assault (WaPo): Dirks writes, “At Berkeley, as at other college campuses across the country, ensuring that students from minority backgrounds feel welcomed and supported, while also insisting on the unfettered exploration of diverse ideas, raises complicated issues even without the eruption of violent protest. Indeed, free speech controversies are embedded in what might seem to be fundamental contradictions, most notably between widely held campus commitments to diversity, inclusion, and social mobility on the one hand, and the constitutional right to free speech on the other.”

8/10 – Berkeley Chancellor Dirks Mischaracterizes Goldwater Proposal (NationalReview): The author argues his plan for campuses was mischaracterized.

8/9 – A Berkeley ‘Escape Hatch’ (WSJ): The rather unfocused editorial ends by noting, “So there you have it: Administrators are no longer figuratively retreating or cowering from out-of-control students. They’re creating the physical architecture to literally do so. It might be more dignified and less expensive to have these kids arrested when they break the law.”

Other News

8/11 – Op-Ed: Congress has the power — and the responsibility — to protect the ‘dreamers’ (WaPo): In the op-ed, Napolitano writes, “As University of California president, I also see the exceptional contributions that young dreamers make to our country. Most are the first in their families to attend college, and they work hard to further their educations.”

8/11 – UC owes $1.3 million to thousands of underpaid employees (SacBee): The settlement comes after a Department of Labor investigation found UC underpaid 13,700 non-academic workers by small amounts.

8/10 – Preliminary hearing for Eric Clanton, charged with Berkeley bike lock assault, pushed to September (Berkeleyside): Clanton was identified by an online effort that became a popular cause on the right.

8/10 – Berkeley Teacher Filmed Punching Neo-Nazi Arraigned In Sacramento (CBS/SF): Video allegedly shows Felarca attacking a man who has his hands raised.

 

Media Coverage 12/02/16

UC received national attention for announcing it intends to oppose any action the Trump administration may take to deport Dreamers or register Muslim citizens. Elsewhere, sexual misconduct by senior members of the UC community continued to be an issue with previously disgraced Regent Pattiz facing fallout over leaked audio. Elsewhere, Nancy Pelosi has weighed in on UCSF’s outsourcing scheme.

12/1 -UC won’t assist federal agents in immigration actions against students (LATimes): UC has announced it will not cooperate–sans a court order–with efforts to deport undocumented students or to create a registry of citizens based on religion or race. About 3,700 students have in-state tuition under a state law that allows undocumented students to be treated as California residents.

11/30 – Op-Ed: The Truth About Young Immigrants and DACA (NYT): UC President Janet Napolitano argues that DACA reflects a lawful use of prosecutorial discretion and should be left unchanged by the Trump administration. I’m honestly a bit puzzles by how little this op-ed says.

12/2 – The Fight for a Field (DailyCal): After being displaced from their field to accommodate a new football facility, Cal’s field hockey team has languished without a proper home field. Both federal and campus Title IX investigations are ongoing, while the relocation costs have topped $7.2 million and handle litigation.

12/2 – How top U.S. colleges hooked up with controversial Chinese companies (Reuters): UC Berkeley is among a number of elite schools that has had admissions counselors flown to China to meet with students who have paid for the help of an education consultant.

11/27 – Leaked audio reveals additional lewd comments from UC Regent Norman Pattiz (DailyCal): Leaked audio reveals Regent Norman Pattiz made additional lewd comments at his place of work.

11/30 – Editorial: UC Regent Norman Pattiz needs to resign from position (DailyBruin): The editorial is fairly straightforward:

If you want a porn connoisseur making decisions about our school’s academic, administrative and yes, sexual harassment policies, then by all means, Pattiz should remain a regent. But if he has any remaining respect for himself and the institution he works for, he must resign.

11/29 – Search begins for permanent lead on UC Berkeley sexual misconduct cases (DailyCal): Amid a number of sexual harassment scandals, UC is moving to hire its first (non-interim) lead on campus sexual violence and sexual harassment cases.

11/21 – Call for Due Process for Accused Berkeley Professor (IHE): A group of current and former students are asking the university to withhold judgment on Nezar AlSayyad, who has been accused of sexually harassing a student, until an investigation is complete. The names of the students involved in the petition are not being publicly released.

11/23 – Pelosi says UC IT workers are in ‘untenable position’ (ComputerWorld): House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has waded into a debate over UCSF’s plan to offshore some IT services asking the university to reverse course.