Media Coverage 2/17/17

With the state budget slowly taking shape and two campuses (likely) nearing official announcements concerning their next leaders, it was a slow news week for UC. The big headline concerned a patent fight between Berkeley and MIT/Harvard. Despite an upbeat press release from Berkeley, most media outlets are portraying the decision as a win for the east coast universities. The most likely outcome moving forward is that Berkeley’s claim to CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology will be shared with the two private institutions. Also, the LAO offered its analysis of higher education funding to the Legislature, suggesting that “UC’s Academic Excellence initiative lacks clear objectives and detail. If UC is unable to provide sufficient justification for this initiative, we recommend redirecting the associated funding to higher priorities.”

2/15 – UC Berkeley Suffers Big Loss in Patent Fight (LATimes): Despite a sunny press release from UC Berkeley, the university faced a setback in a patent battle over CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology. A Berkeley scientist and collaborator first used the technology, successfully editing the genes of prokaryotic cells. However, shortly after, a scientist at the MIT and Harvard-affiliated Broad Institute successfully used the technology on eukaryotic cells, namely the cells found in animals and plants. Because the Broad patent application was relatively more narrow, applying only to the technology’s application to eukaryotic cells, it was approved before the Berkeley application, which, if approved, will apply to the CRISPR-Cas9 technology more broadly. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board this week decided to allow both patents to coexist, despite objections from Berkeley. The decision could be appealed, or future applications of the technology could be required from both parties.

Read the UC Berkeley press release here.

More coverage: Daily Cal | NYT | Nature

2/16 – LAO: Higher Education Analysis (LAO): The LAO offered its analysis of budget requests from the state’s higher education systems. Note the below about UC:

Second, UC’s Academic Excellence initiative lacks clear objectives and detail. If UC is unable to provide sufficient justification for this initiative, we recommend redirecting the associated funding to higher priorities. Finally, the Legislature faces two other significant UC decisions in the coming year: (1) whether to use Proposition 56 funding to replace or augment existing funding for graduate medical education, and (2) whether to allow UC to increase nonresident enrollment in 2017‑18.

2/14 – Livermore: UC admission at risk for charter students (EastBayTimes): UC Berkeley informed Livermore Valley Charter Prep that its seniors may not qualify for admission because of the high school’s accreditation woes.

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Media Coverage 2/3/17

The violent protest at Berkeley and President Trump’s threat to withdraw federal funding dominated the media discourse around UC, but other stories broke, including a $1.15 million settlement UC paid to a rape victim.

Non-Milo UC News

2/3 – Creating a Safe Space for California Dreamers (NYT): An in-depth look at UC Merced’s efforts to help undocumented and first-generation students

2/1 – Campus admin, UC professor discuss future of public university system (DailyCal): Coverage of Christopher Newfield’s talk with Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Carol Christ. Unfortunately, the article misidentifies Newfield’s home institution…
2/1 – Panel: UC Berkeley must change how it sanctions faculty accused of sexual harassment (SJMN): Panel recommends dropping the three-year rule which set a limit on sanctions against professors and giving victims a greater say in setting the punishment
Read the full report here
2/1 – Here’s what would it take to give California students a debt-free college education (LATimes): LAO finds the cost of debt-free education in California would be $3.3 billion annually, which covers not only tuition but living expenses
2/1 – UC settles sex assault case for $1.15 million (SFGate): The former UCSC student who was raped by a professor claims the campus knew of past bad behavior
Milo News
2/3 – Op-Ed: Berkeley Republicans VP: University ‘worked tirelessly’ to protect our rights (WaPo): Student notes the campus did what it could to allow the event
2/3 – Berkeley Mayor, UC Police Union Criticize Campus Over Plans for Milo Yiannopoulos Protest (KQED): The city’s mayor and the union which represents UC’s police force were critical of the lack of planning
2/3 – Editorial: The No Free Speech Movement at Berkeley (LATimes): Editorial notes that Berkeley did the right thing in allowing the speech to be scheduled, but bemoans its eventual fate, despite painting the speaker in a very bad light
2/2 – California’s members of Congress deride Trump idea to cut UC-Berkeley funding after violent protest (LATimes):  A number of the state’s Congressional delegation attacked Trump’s threat, including one Republican, Fullerton Rep. Ed Royce
2/3 – UC would lose $9 billion for research, healthcare, education if Trump cut federal funds (LATimes): “Legal experts” say that Trump has no authority to cut off funding to UC. A number of UC voices point out that federal funding supports a number of very beneficial projects, including cancer research and energy innovation
2/3 – Could Trump really cut funding to UC Berkeley? It would be very difficult (LATimes): Articles emphasizes the lack of a legal framework within which Trump could strip Berkeley of funding
More: NBC | USA Today | WaPo | SFGate | KQED