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 graduate student alleges Searle grouped her and told her they would become “lovers” after promising to support her career while she was employed at the Searle Center for Social Ontology. The lawsuit alleges that the victim told university employees who took no formal action. Jennifer Hudin, the center’s director, allegedly told the student she would protect her and that Searle has before had sexual relationships with students in exchange for academic benefits and money. Hudin later told the student she would not take action out of loyalty to Searle. The victim claims her salary was cut and she was fired by Searle after refusing his 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.
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.
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.