A New York Times article interviewed and named two Berkeley students who identify as members of Antifa and participated in last school year’s clashes. The article does not address an issue important to UC’s PR efforts, namely the degree to which Antifa’s composition is made up of students and non-students. After a violent protest last school year, then Chancellor Dirks in a statement characterized the violent Antifa protestors as distinct from students. The article featured a transgender student and Muslim student who both say they feel threatened on campus. The article’s author notes one intention of the piece is to to complicate the image of Antifa as a white male movement focused on making trouble. The article also quotes Nathan Damigo, a white nationalist activist from Cal State Stanislaus who was recorded punching a woman at a protest in Berkeley. Asked about plans to return to Berkeley, Damigo said, “We have some plans.”
In other news, UC Irvine continued to receive criticism for rescinding 500 admissions offers based on slumping senior year grades and missed deadlines, including from San Francisco Assemblyman Phil Ting, who asked the UC president to intervene. The move by Irvine was interpreted as a way to lesson the strain of higher than anticipated enrollment. On Wednesday, Irvine’s chancellor announced all students would be admitted, except those whose offers were revoked for academic reasons. However, those students will be offered an “expedited process” to review any extenuating circumstances. An op-ed in the New York Times praised the reversal and the chancellor’s mea culpa.
In other news, as the Trump administrations eyes changes to how the Justice Department views campus affirmative action, the history of Proposition 209’s impact on UC has received renewed attention. In a statement, UC President Napolitano stressed the importance of maintaining a diverse student body. Meanwhile, a decision to reduce the number of managed funds in the UC’s investment portfolio has helped to increase investment returns, with the endowment gaining 14 percent in 11 months.
8/4 – Behind Berkeley’s Semester of Hate (NYT): The article also notes that Milo Yiannopoulos plans to host a week-long “tent city” on Sproul this fall.
8/2 – Press Release: Message from UCI Chancellor about current admission issues (UCI): Chancellor Howard Gillman wrote, “The stories of our students whose college dreams were crushed by our decision to withdraw admissions to hundreds of students are heartbreaking. And unacceptable.”
8/3 – Op-Ed: A College Admits a Big Mistake. Imagine That. (NYT):
7/31 – Ting rips UC for withdrawing admission to hundreds at Irvine (SFGate): In a statement, Ting said, “Instead of taking the initiative to effectively communicate with students making life changing decisions, Irvine played a high stakes gotcha game with students.”
8/4 – The impact of affirmative action at the University of California in one graphic (Guardian): The article notes that the share of black and hispanic students has declined.
8/1 – For many UC Berkeley students, affordable housing is elusive (Berkeleyside): The median rent for a two-bedroom in Berkeley is $2,800.
8/2 – Statement of UC President Janet Napolitano on public university admissions (UCOP): Napolitano: The full statement: “Over the years public universities have been the one tried and true tactic for addressing issues of inequality in our country. Thus, UC has been increasing its outreach efforts to historically underrepresented groups like Latinos and African Americans, while still bound to the strictures of Proposition 209, which bars consideration of race or ethnicity in granting admission. It would be tragic, to say the least, if these efforts somehow ran afoul of this reported misguided Justice Department initiative. “
8/1 – Money-Manager Purge Boosts University of California’s Return (Bloomberg): The value of UC’s assets are just above $110 billion.