Media Coverage 8/7/17

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.

Protests

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.

UC Irvine

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.”

Other News

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.

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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 1/27/17

UC Regents approved a tuition increase, campus leaders responded to conservative political figures at home and in DC and the health of UC President Napolitano became an issue.

UC News

1/26 – UC regents approve first tuition increase after six-year freeze; some students ‘infuriated’ (LATimes): Regents approved the first tuition hike since the system’s freeze agreement with Gov. Brown Expired. The paper characterizes the hike as:

Under the new budget, tuition will rise to $11,502 for the 2017-18 school year — a $282 increase. The student services fee will increase by $54 to $1,128.

Nonresident undergraduates will see a total increase of $1,688. They will pay the same higher base tuition and student fees as well as 5% more in supplemental tuition, which will rise $1,332, from $26,682 to $28,014 next year.

Financial aid will cover the increases for two-thirds of the university system’s roughly 175,500 California resident undergraduates.

1/24 – Cal football aide under fire since player death is let go (SFChron): The assistant football coach who designed a workout that led to the death of a student and a subsequent $4.75 million settlement is no longer with Cal.

1/25 – Want to know what the UC probe of Katehi cost? So do we. (SacBee): UC has withheld a number of public records requests made by the Bee, which investigated allegations of corruption by former UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi.

1/20 – It’s official: Cal athletics bleeding cash at astounding rate (SJMN): Cal’s atheltic department lost $21.7 million in FY 2016. The deficit is a result of interest payments on construction debt.

1/22 – Column: Napolitano’s cancer treatment took UC regents by surprise (SFChron): Matier & Ross note news of UC President Napolitano’s recent cancer treatment came as a surprise to regents. Napolitano is a breast cancer survivor, receiving treatment for the disease in 2000.

1/24 – California’s public universities need more stable financing, report declares (EdSource): The SF-based College Futures Foundation wrote an apparently unoriginal report noting UC and CSU need more reliable funding from the state.

1/29 – UC statement on President Trump’s executive order (UCOP): UCOP issued a statement criticizing President Trump’s executive action on immigration.

1/27 – Campus task force issues report on new student housing (UCB): In what could be characterized as “stating the obvious,” A Berkeley task force concluded more student housing is needed for both undergrads and grad students in a “draft” report

1/26 – People’s Park among targeted sites for UC Berkeley student housing (DailyCal): Article notes that the draft housing report identifies People’s Park as one possible site for housing. The park is famous as a site of student protest, including one in 1969 in which police shot and killed a student named James Rector.

1/26 – UC Berkeley chancellor affirms Milo Yiannopoulos’ right to speak on campus (DailyCal): Chancellor Dirks affirmed the universities decision to allow the conservative provocateur to speak on campus, stressing the university’s commitment to free speech.

1/27 – Op-Ed: The counterargument to Milo Yiannopoulos at UC Berkeley (DailyCal): Sociology graduate students Luis Tenorio and Miranda Smith argue that Chancellor Dirks mis-categorized Yiannopoulos’ speech as not hate speech.

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.