Media Coverage 9/2/16

There was a bit of a dustup among members of the Berkeley faculty that played out on the editorial pages of the student newspaper. Renowned (and quite famous) scholar Judith Butler accused a small, secretive group of faculty of conspiring to oust Dirks, though Butler did attempt to withdraw an editorial she wrote advancing such claims. Unfortunately, it was published anyway. The chairs of Political Science and Sociology responded, noting such theories are not based in reality. Also, the paper took a shot at Dirks’ failed global campus in Richmond. Below, there is a section of news on the NRLB decision allowing grad students to unionize at private schools.

Editorials on Dirks

8/30 – Editorial: A fond farewell to the Berkeley Global Campus (DailyCal): A well-aimed swipe at Dirks and his administration’s focus on a doomed project while so many problems were apparent on Berkeley’s existing campus.

8/30 – Op-Ed: Next chancellor must rebuild trust (DailyCal): A piece written by current and former chairs of the Berkeley Faculty Association argue the next chancellor must not accept the current status of state funding and the methods used to stay afloat in such an environment, such as increasing tuition and a reliance on corporate money. The writers propose a new statewide tax to return funding to 2000 levels.

8/30 -Op-Ed: Chancellor Nicholas Dirks’ resignation no great mystery (DailyCal): Mara Loveman and Eric Schickler, chairs of sociology and political science, respectively, respond to claims advanced by Judith Butler that Dirks’ resignation was pushed by a small secret group of faculty members. The pair note 47 faculty members called for a meeting of the senate to discuss a no-confidence vote, a number well above the 25 required.

UC News

8/31 – UC President Janet Napolitano on Leadership Changes, State of UC System (KQED): A long interview with the UC president on what challenges await the UC system.

8/30 – New California Community Colleges Chancellor Wants College to be Accessible for All (KQED): A long interview with the the recently appointed Chancellor of the state’s community college system.

8/30 – Search for new UC Davis chancellor is on (DavisEnt): The hunt for a replacement for Linda Katehi has begun. The article notes Regents hope to approve the next leader by early 2017.

9/1 – Sen. Barbara Boxer is donating congressional papers to UC Berkeley (LATimes): The retiring senator will have a lecture series named after her, intended to highlight women in leadership roles.

9/1 – Former GSA president to leave UCLA, finish law school at NYU (DailyBruin): Former UCLA GSA president transfers after he says he was harassed for his opposition to the BDS movement. The right-wing press has picked up on the story.

8/30 – Cal State students could get help graduating on time under bill sent to governor (LATimes): A bill is before the governor that would give extra help at CS campuses to low-income and first-gen students, plus community college graduates and students from communities with low college attendance rates.

8/30 – UC Davis Medical Center to house first-ever state gun violence research center (SacBee): UC Davis will host a gun violence research center, a project that the legislature created this session.

NLRB Ruling

8/26 – Op-Ed: Academic Work Is Labor, Not Romance (Chronicle): In light of the NRLB’s decision to allow grad students at private universities to unionize, the author reflects on how academic labor is often misperceived as something other than work. The author also notes this ruling helps elucidate how universities are built on the backs of the perilously employed, namely graduate student teachers and adjuncts.

8/28 – Graduate Students Are Workers: The Decades-Long Fight for Graduate Unions, and the Path Forward (TruthOut): An overview of the history from the NRLB’s ruling against Brown students in 2004 to its recent reversal.

8/30 – CORPORATE UNIVERSITIES ARE SHOCKED TO LEARN THEY HAVE GRADUATE STUDENT EMPLOYEES (RemakingtheU): Parsing the NRLB’s decision and the response form private universities, who have warned grad students organizing may change the nature of the student-advisor relationship.


More on Dirks + Media Coverage 8/26/16

Reactions to Dirks’ eventual resignation continue to swirl, but not much has actually changed. The plan is still for the chancellor to remain in place until a successor is found toward the end of the school year. In other news, Dirks has officially called for an indefinite suspension of the Global Campus in Richmond.


Dirks Fallout

8/24 – What Berkeley’s Problem Is Not (RemakingtheUniversity): A look at Berkeley’s budget issues with a focus on the process of “rebenching,” by which the UC system created a more equitable system of funding distribution among campuses. The post notes rebenching did not harm Berkeley. The post suggests one major cost is the price of trying to compete with other top, often private universities, for recruiting donors and research money. Of course, reduced state funding is the main driver, the post emphasizes.

8/20 – Many on UC Berkeley faculty don’t want leader to linger (SFC): Some Berkeley faculty push for an interim leader to take over the campus, noting continued bad press is likely and that it would be inappropriate for Dirks to fill a number of high-level posts with his appointees. However, other faculty members aren’t so sure, and it appears unlikely Napolitano will change her mind about keeping Dirks on through the year.

8/21 – UC chief moving on finding replacement for Cal chancellor (SFC): Napolitano says she hopes the Regents approve a new campus leader at their March meeting.

8/21 – UC Board of Regents, campus groups begin search process for UC Berkeley’s next chancellor (DailyCal): UC hopes to select a final candidate by the March 15 UC Regents meeting.

8/17 – Campus expresses reactions, hopes regarding Dirks’ resignation (DailyCal): Article suggests the campus at-large was not surprised by Dirks resignation, quoting Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Harry LeGrande as saying: “If I was in his position, I would be questioning myself on whether I could lead this anymore.”

8/17 – Dirks’ resignation is just the tip of the iceberg (TheTab): Student piece offers a critical perspective on Dirks’ tenure.

8/18 – Chancellor Nicholas Dirks resigns: What it means for Cal athletics (SJMN): Piece notes Dirks didn’t block a number of good changes for Cal, including ditching Nike and playing football games in Australia. The article doesn’t question the value of outside partnerships with private entities, calling them mutually beneficial.

8/17 – Editorial: Departure of compromised chancellor means fresh start at UC Berkeley (SFC): Editorial suggests Dirks’ resignation is an opportunity to improve on Berkeley’s campus culture.

Global Campus

8/26 – UC Berkeley Global Campus suspended due to lack of funds (SJMN): Dirks told a group of Richmond leaders the plans were called off due to the school’s budget woes, but that the school will still evaluate plans for the location, hinting that housing could be part of the picture.

8/25 – Dirks announces indefinite suspension of Berkeley Global Campus plans (DailyCal): Berkeley stressed to community leaders that some plan for Richmond is still in the works.

UC & Other Higher Ed News

8/25 – How the University of California and other public schools use reserve funds to keep pace (WaPo): As state funding (mostly) ebbs and (rarely) flows, public universities have begun amassing reserves in a strategy to withstand the uncertainty. In Virginia, state lawmakers are critical of the university for amassing and not using billions of dollars. Universities say such reserves, and the investment revenue they generate, are essential in today’s world.

8/26 – How Cuts to Public Universities Have Driven Students Out of State (NYT): A total of 17,000 students left California for other states’ public universities in 2014, part of a trend across the nation where underfunded university systems are forced to seek out-of-state students who pay more, which in turn pushes out in-state students.

8/23 – University Will Sue Its Own Student Newspaper For Reporting On Sexual Assault Case (BuzzFeed): The University of Kentucky signaled it may take legal action to block its student newspaper for reporting on sexual harassment claims against an associate professor of entomology. The faculty member was allowed to resign without cause. The headline is a bit of an overstatement.

8/25 – University of Chicago: ‘We Do Not Support So-Called Trigger Warnings’ (Time): The university claims they discourage the free exchange of ideas. The university also doesn’t seem to understand what a trigger warning is.