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 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.

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 2/24/17

Gary May will be the next leader of UC Davis. The electrical engineer and computer scientist, who earned his doctorate at Berkeley, will fill the void left by Linda Katehi, who resigned in August after having been found to violate a number of university policies. His salary will be $495,000, including $75,000 coming from a private endowment. Elsewhere, UC President Janet Napolitano’s role advocating for undocumented students was highlighted by multiple publications, one of which contrasted her current position with the 2.5 million people she deported as Secretary of Homeland Security. In an op-ed, Chancellor Nicholas Dirks committed UC Berkeley to education more low-income students.

2/23 – Gary May confirmed as UC Davis chancellor, permanent replacement for Linda Katehi (SacBee): Gary May, 51, was confirmed by the UC Regents as UC Davis’ new chancellor. May, who will become the school’s first African American leader, is currently dean of the College of Engineering at Georgia Tech. He assumes his post Aug. 1. The Bee notes:

May will receive an annual salary of $495,000, which includes $75,000 in faculty chairman funds from a private endowment. His combined salary will be almost 17 percent higher than former Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi’s $424,360. But UC made a point of saying in a statement that his base salary of $420,000 is less than Katehi’s base was.

Read more: LA Times | KCRA | Chronicle
2/23 – Why Immigrant Students Are Changing Their Minds About Janet Napolitano (Atlantic): The article notes that UC President Janet Napolitano has become a leading defender of students protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, despite overseeing the deportation of 2.5 million people while Secretary of Homeland Security.
2/22 – UC President Janet Napolitano blasts Trump immigration crackdown as a backward step (LATimes): Napolitano characterized Trump’s crackdown as too broad to be effective and likely to stir up fear and distrust, which will make communities less safe as people will be unlikely to cooperate with law enforcement.
2/23 – Dirks Op-Ed: Top universities must enroll more low-income students (SFChronicle): The out-going Berkeley chancellor affirms the campus’ commitment to educating more low-income students, via partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Aspen Institute, while characterizing the state of higher-education funding as perilous. A highlight:

Consider: An average of only 22 percent of students receive Pell Grants (an indicator of low-income status) at America’s top 270 colleges and universities — a list that includes the University of California campuses, Stanford, the California Institute of Technology, the Claremont colleges, and many others. By contrast, 38 percent of students enrolled at all other four-year institutions receive such grants.

In short, the wealthier among us have access to the best schools, while those from low-income families, who would benefit most from education at an excellent college, are excluded. This produces impediments to social mobility and contradicts our self-understanding as a meritocracy. The public has every right to demand more.

This is why UC Berkeley has joined a coalition of the country’s top colleges and universities in the American Talent Initiative, a Bloomberg Philanthropies and Aspen Institute-led effort that met for the first time last week. Our collective goal is to educate 50,000 more low- to moderate-income students by 2025. While UC Berkeley already prioritizes affordability and enrolls more low-income students — 9,000, or 34 percent of our student body — than any other university of our stature, we consider it essential to our public mission to give California’s underprivileged a stronger foothold in society.

2/17 – California assemblywoman introduces bill to freeze Cal State tuition until 2020 (LATimes): Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton) has authored a bill to cap CSU and CCC tuition and mandatory fees. It is backed by the California Faculty Association, which represents the faculty in the CSU system.
2/22 – State Sen. Glazer introduces $2 billion higher education bond bill (DailyCal): Voters will consider the bond in 2018. The last such bond centered on higher education was issued in 2006. Campus leaders stressed the importance of funding structural maintenance at the Berkeley campus.

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.

Media Coverage 1/5/17

UC’s proposed tuition hikes dominated news. UCOP has emphasized that the hikes will only impact wealthier families, while critics have questioned the system’s swollen rank of administrators.

Tuition

1/4 – UC seeks 1st tuition hike since 2011; protests expected (SFC): UC Regents will vote on raising tuition for the first time since 2011, though in-state families making less than $150,000 would not see an increase, under the current plan. The income cutoff means about one-third of students would face a 2.5 percent hike. Out of state students can expect a hike of 5 percent.

1/5 – UC’s tuition increase: A case of funny math (SFGate): Asimov calls out UC for trying to fiddle with the optics of the proposed tuition hike by changing how it calculates tuition. Previously, fees were included in the tuition figure most often cited; recently, UC has separated the two.

1/6 – Editorial: UC tuition hikes? First justify your administrative bloat (SDUT): The editorial board calls out UC for its bloated administrative ranks, noting that administrators outnumber faculty and that CSU, by comparison, is running a much more svelte operation.

1/4 – Napolitano: UC quality not sustainable without tuition hike (SacBee): UC President Janet Napolitano told the SacBee: “We’re now hitting the point where we’re going to miss that sweet spot on quality – on really high graduation rates, on the kind of academic reputation that UC has. There’s only so many years you can go without a rate increase or a small tuition increase that doesn’t sacrifice a lot by way of quality. As much I’d like to say we can sustain this forever, we cannot.”

1/4 – UC proposes first tuition increase in six years for more faculty, courses and financial aid (LATimes): The increased tuition would fund financial aid and smaller classes, though student groups have protested the proposal.

Also see: Daily Bruin | Daily Cal | UCOP Statement

This & That

1/4 – UC president Napolitano says she wants UC Davis to expand into Sacramento (SacBee):  UC President Janet Napolitano says UC Davis’ planned expansion into Sacramento, which earlier was reported to have died with the resignation of Linda Katehi, is still on the table.

1/5 – Editorial: UC Davis, Sacramento make a promising team (SacBee): The Bee is happy the university still intends to expand into Sacramento–an example of old school newspaper boosterism at its purest.

1/1 – UC Davis dumped barrels of wine each year. Now it might sell for $80 a bottle (SacBee): A new law will allow UC Davis to sell student-produced wine.

1/4 – UCSD may build campus fire station (SDUT): Emergency response times are an issue in San Diego, especially on the UCSD campus.

 

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 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.

8/12/16 Media Coverage

The big news this week, detailed in an earlier blog post, is the resignation of UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi. Elsewhere, lawmakers in Sacramento approved an audit of UCOP. UC Davis is also in the news for delayed financial aid payments to students and a tricky legal maneuver involving its medical school and claims of sexual harassment.

UC News

8/11 – Lawmakers approve audits of UC spending (SFChron): Legislators approved an audit of UCOP. “We must be assured the maximum resources are directed to classrooms and student services,” wrote Assemblyman Phil Ting, who requested the study, in a statement. The Chronicle begins its article with a noteworthy lede:

Spending at the University of California’s Oakland headquarters has nearly doubled in recent years, and official staff counts vary by nearly 500 people, depending on who’s doing the counting. / So on Wednesday, state lawmakers authorized an audit of UC’s Office of the President to determine whether its $686 million annual budget — more than twice that of the Legislature — is money well spent.

The article notes the lede is a bit misleading, as only half of the UCOP budget is actually spent on UCOP operations. The rest funds student services, research, study abroad trips, etc. Also see: LATimes

8/6 – San Jose State’s Spartan Stadium now named after credit union (SJMN): Not UC, but of note: The school gets $8 million for the name change.

8/10 – Top 100 (Capitol Weekly): Capitol Weekly’s list of the top 100 political players in the state includes Janet Napolitano at #24, calling her a an “aggressive advocate” for the UC system. Ironically, #25 is Elaine Howle, the state auditor who produced a report deeply critical of UC this year. The list also includes Steve Juarez, UCOP’s Sacramento lobbyist, as #89. Here’s what it says about Juarez:

UC is a mighty institution that gets things done, and one of the reasons is Steve Juarez, who lobbies on behalf of UC’s Office of the President. People in both houses who know higher education lobbying – and some outsiders, too – say Juarez is one of the reasons. He’s smart, prompt and detail-savvy – characteristics that count for much in the Capitol. UC offers up relatively few bills each session, so Juarez’ load may not seem all that heavy. But he also serves as a communications channel between the Legislature and the university – a critical role, given the image problems that have confronted the school this year and last.

8/10 – UC Davis’ Katehi gets $424,360 ‘parachute’ common for university presidents (SacBee): Katehi will retain her president-level pay for one year as she transitions to a full-time faculty member. The article notes:

The practice of paying a college president an additional year after leaving office is common across the country, said James Finkelstein, a George Mason University professor and expert on university executives. “What she is getting is very typical of the type of parachutes that other presidents have had,” he said.

Finkelstein said the policies began after lawyers started representing university presidents in contract negotiations. “It has begun to slip over from the private sector into the university sector – what I call the CEO-ization of the university presidency,” he said.

8/6 – Court spurns UC Davis harassment suit defense that cites First Amendment rights (SacBee): UC Davis is attempting to kill a lawsuit by a medical resident who says she was sexually harassed and unfairly criticized. The legal move raises questions about how easy it is to sue a large organization in California.

8/7 – UC Davis may issue emergency loans due to financial aid backlog (SacBee): UC Davis is behind by two months on giving out loans and financial aid. Students may need to take out short-term loans to get by.

Elsewhere

8/12 – Messy Breakups Make More Noise (IHE): Katehi isn’t the only campus leader to step down amid controversy. Some think this could signal a new trend in the relationship between campus executives and boards, who can hire and fire campus leaders. Others see a shift in the expectations places on campus presidents.

8/11 – Employees Sue Four More Universities Over Retirement Plan Fees (NYT):  A number of elite private schools have been sued for failing to secure better terms on retirement plan fees.

8/9 – AAU Memo to Clinton & Trump (AAU): The nation’s top research universities have asked the major party presidential nominees to back “policies that foster innovation, enhance college affordability, attract and retain top international talent, and make the federal investments in research and higher education more efficient.”

8/5 – How Much Does Living Off-Campus Cost? Who Knows? (NYT): A study by the Wisconsin HOPE lab, which was founded by sociologist Sara Goldrick-Rab and works to make colleges more affordable, found that schools frequently over- or underestimate the cost of living off campus. This matters, not only for a student determining where to enroll, but for how federal loan limits are calculated.

8/4 – The Mess at Oberlin (Academe): Steve Lubet, a professor of law at Northwestern, argues for keeping separate one’s academic career (and any discipline one may invite) and personal statements in light of a controversy surrounding an Oberlin professor’s conspiratorial social media posts maligning Jews and Israel.

8/11 – The Quality Crisis at 4-year Public Colleges (ThirdWay): A report on higher education in California finds much to criticize — including low graduation rates — but much to praise at various UC campuses, too, including above-average enrollment of Pell students paired with above-average graduation rates.