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 6/5/17

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 3/25/17

Once again UC Berkeley is in the news after a high-profile professor has been accused of sexual misconduct. John Searle, professor emeritus of philosophy, has been accused in a lawsuit of sexual assault, sexual harassment and wrongful termination. A 24-year-old UC Berkeley alumna alleges that, while she was employed at the Searle Center for Social Ontology, Searle groped her and told her they would become “lovers,” promising to support her career. The lawsuit alleges that the plaintiff told university employees, including the Center’s director, Jennifer Hudin, who took no formal action. The plaintiff claims that her salary was cut and she was fired after refusing Searle’s advances. The lawsuit, filed in Alameda County Superior Court, also alleges Searle watched pornography on campus. Searle stopped teaching an undergraduate course in March.

In other news, the Sacramento Bee reported that the four-month UC investigation into former UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi cost nearly $1 million, which came out of UCOP’s endowment. The UC system’s other tarnished chancellor, soon-to-be-former Chancellor Nicholas Dirks, was found to have improperly received around $10,000 worth of free gym benefits. At UC San Diego, a conservative organization is supporting a poster campaign targeting UC President Janet Napolitano over her support of sanctuary campuses. In an interview, Napolitano insisted the UC system is committed to continuing partnerships with Mexican researchers.

News

3/23 – A Former Student Says UC Berkeley’s Star Philosophy Professor Groped Her And Watched Porn At Work (BuzzFeed): The article contains a PDF of the lawsuit and notes that BuzzFeed has received tips of other complaints against Searle.

Also see: Inside Higher Ed | SFGate

3/24 – UC spent nearly $1 million in probe of former UC Davis Chancellor Katehi (SacBee): UCOP insists the money does not include tuition or state funding.

3/23 – UC is moving forward with Mexican initiative, regardless of Trump actions (LATimes): Despite President Trump’s hostile stance toward Mexico, UC insists it will continue a close collaboration with researchers within the United States’ southern neighbor.

3/24 – UC probe finds Cal chancellor got improper freebies from gym (SFGate): The report notes:

“After a months-long investigation by the president’s office, UC concluded in September that Dirks had improperly allowed a ‘newish’ $3,500 elliptical exercise machine to be installed in the chancellor’s home; had been given a complementary, four-year membership to the Recreational Sports Facility worth $1,870; and had 48 free workout sessions with Wicks worth ‘a minimum of $3,120.'”

Also see: LA Times

3/23 – Posters to go up at UC San Diego targeting Janet Napolitano and ‘sanctuary campuses’ (LATimes): A conservative organization plans a poster campaign to target UC President Napolitano over her support of sanctuary campuses.

3/23 – Press Release: UC, Teamsters reach tentative agreement on labor contract for clerical staff (UCOP): The contract will last until 2022. According to the press release:

  • Wages: An annual 3 percent wage increase for every covered employee, totaling 18 percent over the life of the contract.
  • Ratification bonus:  A $1,200 bonus per clerical employee, paid upon contract ratification (except those at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory due to U.S. Department of Energy regulations).
  • Health care: A $25 limit on any rate increases to the Kaiser and Health Net Blue and Gold health insurance plans, to further protect lower-salaried employees in an ever-changing health care market. The typical UC clerical employee will continue to pay an average of just $32 a month, or $384 per year, for generous health benefits for themselves and their dependents. By contrast, the average American worker pays more than $5,200 per year for less generous health benefits for just themselves.
  • Retirement benefits: Employees hired before July 1, 2016 — the vast majority of all UC clerical staff — will continue to receive the same retirement benefits they currently do at the same contribution rates. Employees hired on or after July 1, 2016 will have the option to choose either a traditional pension plan or a 401(k)-style plan, whichever fits their preference and needs.

Media Coverage (3/3/17)

An investigation by the Bay Area News Group has exposed the extent of sexual misconduct on UC campuses, turning up 124 incidents following a records request, which the UC system took 16 months to respond to (a number of other outlets made a similar request, receiving the records at the same time). A number of upsetting stories emerged from UCSF, the campus with the greatest number of incidents. The documents also reveal a tendency to go easy on senior faculty compared to low-ranking staff employees. Elsewhere, a records request by the Sacramento Bee revealed that instead of relying on its own communications team, Berkeley hired an outside PR firm to the tune of $400,000 to manage fallout from a series of cuts announced last year. The lengthy article is worth a full read, as the Bee makes a good case that Berkeley’s early termination of the contract was motivated by the paper’s records request  (which took eight months for the campus to fulfill).

Also see Daily Bruin | KQED | DailyCal

2/28 – University of California: Sexual misconduct widespread across 10 campuses (SJMN): Between January 2013 and April 2016, over 100 UC employees were disciplined for sexual misconduct. About one quarter of the total are faculty members. A majority of the cases were the result of staff complaints, while 35 percent stem from student complaints. As the article notes:

UC San Francisco had 26 cases, the most of any UC campus, ranging from a cook offering a co-worker money for sex to a top fertility doctor inappropriately touching nurses and calling them “bitches.” UCLA had 25 cases, including a French professor who wrote over 300 poems professing his love to his graduate assistant, and a cancer researcher who sent sexually explicit jokes to colleagues and had been accused of sexual harassment twice before. UC Davis had 13 cases and UC Irvine had 11 and UC San Diego had 9. UC Berkeley had released records of 19 cases last year.

3/2 – Records reveal discipline inconsistencies in UC sex harassment (SFChronicle): The article argues that high-ranking faculty members have received more tempered punishment for their behavior compared to staff.

3/1 – Editorial: UC’s systemic problem — sexual harassment (SFChronicle): Given the scope of the problem, the paper calls for transparency moving forward when new incidents arise.

3/3 – Layoffs, budget cuts prompted UC Berkeley to pay out $306,000 for PR contract (SacBee): UC Berkeley signed a $419,400 contract for an outside firm to handle news of cuts last year instead of working with the campus’s full time communications team, a move UC President Janet Napolitano was aware of. The revelation is the fruit of a public records request by the Sacramento Bee which the campus took eight months to fulfill. Only about $300,000 was paid out as Berkeley cancelled the contract. The article notes that this move happened at the same time as UC Davis received scrutiny for a similar deal, also broken by the Bee. The article notes Berkeley began the process to cancel their contract the same day that the Bee made its records request to Berkeley. Berkeley denies a connection between the request and the cancellation.

3/2 – U. of California Leader Advises Patience as the Trump Era Dawns (Chronicle): UC President Janet Napolitano affirmed the university’s commitment to students covered by DACA. She also stressed that the system did all it could to allow Milo Yiannopoulos to speak at UC Berkeley before the event was cancelled due to violent protesters. The system’s leader also touched on Title IX, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and President Trump’s singling out of UC Berkeley on Twitter.

Media Coverage 2/10/17

We now have a likely candidate for UC Berkeley’s top post, Paul Alivisatos, while UC’s run of large settlements following sexual misconduct continues at UC Riverside.

UC News

2/6 – Ex-Lawrence Berkeley chief is front-runner for Cal chancellor (SFChron): UC Berkeley Vice-Chancellor for Research Paul Alivisatos is considered the frontrunner in the search for Berkeley’s next campus leader. Alivisatos, who formerly ran the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, is apparently prized for his familiarity with the campus and his hard sciences background, which the article suggests is seen as key for fundraising. Robert Reich has not applied for the chancellor job, according to the article.

2/9 – Jury awards $2.5 million to former UC Riverside counsel fired after alleging sex discrimination by campus officials (LATimes): A jury has awarded a former UC Riverside attorney $2.5 million, finding that UCR officials fired her in retaliation for reporting allegations of gender discrimination. As the article notes:

Michele Coyle, who served as chief campus counsel from 2006 to 2012, alleged that she and other women were subjected to “rampant gender discrimination” by Dallas M. Rabenstein, who became UC Riverside executive vice chancellor in 2010. / In a civil complaint filed in March 2015, Coyle alleged that Rabenstein favored men for promotions and salary increases, intentionally misreported data on gender-based salary differences for a federal audit, refused to accommodate women with young children, called some women “biddies” and labeled others who asked for raises as “overly aggressive.”

See the complaint here. More from IHE.

2/7 – After landmark settlement, questions remain in UC Santa Cruz rape case (SJMN): Following a $1.15 million settlement concerning the alleged rape of a student by a professor at UC Santa Cruz, UC will soon issue a report describing its Title IX investigation of the matter.

2/7 – UC Berkeley Chancellor: Trump’s Threat to Cut Federal Funding ‘Ill Informed’ (KQED): Chancellor Dirks notes UC did what it could to allow Milo Yiannopoulos to speak on campus, and that President Trump’s threats to withhold funding are ill-informed. Dirks stressed that he believes the violent protestors were not students.

2/6 – UC Berkeley probes staffer after post-protest Web campaign (SFGate): A Berkeley staff member  has been accused by far right online circles of some crime relating to the protest of Milo Yiannopoulos. Campus police and the FBI are investigating.

2/6 – 2016 East Bay Person of the Year: Janet Napolitano (Oakland Magazine): In a lengthy article, the magazine praises Napolitano for her commitment to undocumented students and her ability to juggle addressing multiple chancellor scandals.

Holiday Season Media Coverage

Athletics

12/23 – Chancellor Nicholas Dirks gives Task Force on Intercollegiate Athletics more time to determine Cal’s athletic future (BearTerritory): A task force looking into the financial stability of Cal’s sports teams will not meet its intended deadline for proposing reforms.

Read Dirks’ full letter here.

12/16 – Commentary: Cutting Cal rugby remains wrong answer (EBT): Rugby could be a casualty of the athletic task force.

12/23 – Former UC Berkeley athletic director says she was overruled on field hockey space decision (DailyCal): There are disputed accounts of who supported turning Cal’s field hockey venue into a multi-purpose field, a transformation that has led to a Title IX investigation.

Housing

12/12 – UC Berkeley overcrowding: Students studying in San Francisco, living at Mills College (SJMN):

12/11 – Homework, but no home: How Bay Area housing costs affect some UC Berkeley students (SacBee): A new Homeless Students Union at Berkeley is confronting a growing issue on campus, but the school lacks official data on the scope of the problem.
Katehi
11/22 – UC Davis drops big plan for Sacramento with Katehi’s departure (SacBee): A plan to build a campus for the World Food Center in Sacramento has died with the departure of Katehi.
12/14 – Hundreds vie for UC Davis top job (SacBee): UC Davis has reviewed 525 applicants hoping to lead the campus after the tumultuous tenure of Linda Katehi ended in controversy.
Labor
Elsewhere
12/13 – Field of Dreams: Public Higher Education in the United States (LARB): A review of The Great Mistake: How we wrecked public universities and how we can fix them.

12/24 – Editorial: Montgomery, On UCSC’s outrageous mass destruction of books (SJMN): At UCSC, around 80,000 volumes were destroyed or moved to storage facilities, a move undertaken with no faculty input.

12/23 – UC Berkeley braces for Breitbart provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos (SJMN): The noted conservative “troll” was invited to campus by College Republicans, but the school is asking the student group to help foot the security bill, which could run $10,000.

12/21 – UC Regents Win Cancer Drug Licensing Ruling (IHE): The ruling should net the system $32 million.

12/22 – Which means what, exactly? (UCLA faculty blog): Facebook announces a new research collaboration with a number of schools, including Berkeley and UCSF, intended to generate “new revenue streams” in virtual reality and AI. Not much more information is out there…

12/19 – California freshman applications to UC continue record-breaking climb (UCOP): In-state applications to the UC system climbed, while out-of-state and international applications declined.

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.