Media Coverage 04/24/17

Ann Coulter’s insistence on speaking in the Berkeley area on Thursday, April 27 has raised fears of another violent political clash on UC Berkeley’s campus. The conservative commentator was invited to speak on campus by a student Republican group, which failed to inform the administration of their invitation. After campus leaders got wind of the invite, they insisted the organization and Coulter agree to a number of conditions aimed at preventing a repeat of the riot which stopped Milo Yiannopoulos from speaking on campus. Eventually, the administration cancelled the April 27 event, offering to host the speaker at a later date.

The cancellation was criticized by the student group and across right wing media outlets, which repeatedly questioned the campus’s commitment to free speech. Prof. Robert Reich, who has a following on the left, also waded into the fray, saying Coulter should be allowed to speak. The university insisted Coulter was being allowed to speak, but that moving the date would allow her to do so safely. Coulter rejected the later date, saying it would not work for her schedule and she had committed to April 27. Since the Yiannopoulos event, the city of Berkeley has been the scene of violent clashes between supporters of President Donald Trump and those opposed to the administration, many of whom identify as Antifa, or anti-fascists. Some media reports have noted there is an effort to find a nearby off-campus venue for Coulter to use on April 27. The student Republican group has stated it may sue the university over the incident. On the lighter side, the controversy was lampooned by the satirical website The Onion, which ran the headline, “Berkeley Campus On Lockdown After Loose Pages From ‘Wall Street Journal’ Found On Park Bench.”

In other news, an audit by the state questioned the management of the California State University system. The report found that between fiscal years 2007-08 and 2015-16, the number of managers grew by 15 percent while the number of faculty rose by only 7 percent. It also raises questions about how managers are evaluated and compensated. UC’s finances are also in the news, as a digital overhaul of UC’s payroll and personnel system entitled UCPath has seen four years of delays and costs triple.

News Articles

4/21 – How Berkeley has become the far left’s and far right’s battleground (WaPo): The article notes how UC Berkeley and the City of Berkeley have become sites for frequent clashes between activists on both ends of the political spectrum, though its discussion of the far left conflates distinct movements. It notes targeting campuses is often a successful strategy for the right:

The showdowns are, for many on the far right, part of a successful strategy: schedule a controversial event on campus or in town, wait for the liberal outrage and threats of violence to grow, and when the event is canceled, point out the hypocrisy and oppression against free speech.

4/21 – Berkeley Is Being Tested on 2 Fronts: Free Speech and Safety (NYT): The article frames the campus’s weighing of free speech, violence and its reputation.

4/20 – How Berkeley became a hotbed of violence in the Trump era (Politico): Politico takes a deep look at the recent eruptions in Berkeley and what’s motivating protestors.

4/20 – Satire: Berkeley Campus On Lockdown After Loose Pages From ‘Wall Street Journal’ Found On Park Bench (TheOnion): The satirical website wrote:

Advising students to remain in their dormitories and classrooms until the situation was resolved, the University of California, Berkeley declared a campuswide lockdown Thursday after several loose pages from The Wall Street Journal were found on a park bench outside a school building. “At 11:15 this morning, several pages from two separate sections of today’s Wall Street Journal were discovered spread across a bench outside of Eshleman Hall in Lower Sproul Plaza,” read the urgent alert sent to all students and faculty, emphasizing that while campus security and local police had safely disposed of the pages, there was no way of knowing if others were strewn elsewhere on university grounds. “As of now, the perpetrator remains at large, so it is vital that you stay where you are until the all-clear is given. In the meantime, notify police immediately if you have any additional information at all regarding this incident.” At press time, a black-clad group of 50 students were throwing bottles at the bench while chanting, “No Nazis, No KKK, No Fascist U.S.A!”

4/20 – Cal State hires too many managers, needs better budget oversight, state audit finds (LATimes): The article notes Cal Poly was singled out as a particularly bad apple. According to the article, the campus “increased pay for at least 70 management personnel in 2016 who either had outdated performance evaluations or no evaluations on file.”

You can read the audit here.

4/17 – Cost triples, delays mount for UC computer system upgrade (SacBee): A total of $327 million has been spent on the project so far, which is only operational at UC’s system headquarters.

 

Media Coverage 2/10/17

We now have a likely candidate for UC Berkeley’s top post, Paul Alivisatos, while UC’s run of large settlements following sexual misconduct continues at UC Riverside.

UC News

2/6 – Ex-Lawrence Berkeley chief is front-runner for Cal chancellor (SFChron): UC Berkeley Vice-Chancellor for Research Paul Alivisatos is considered the frontrunner in the search for Berkeley’s next campus leader. Alivisatos, who formerly ran the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, is apparently prized for his familiarity with the campus and his hard sciences background, which the article suggests is seen as key for fundraising. Robert Reich has not applied for the chancellor job, according to the article.

2/9 – Jury awards $2.5 million to former UC Riverside counsel fired after alleging sex discrimination by campus officials (LATimes): A jury has awarded a former UC Riverside attorney $2.5 million, finding that UCR officials fired her in retaliation for reporting allegations of gender discrimination. As the article notes:

Michele Coyle, who served as chief campus counsel from 2006 to 2012, alleged that she and other women were subjected to “rampant gender discrimination” by Dallas M. Rabenstein, who became UC Riverside executive vice chancellor in 2010. / In a civil complaint filed in March 2015, Coyle alleged that Rabenstein favored men for promotions and salary increases, intentionally misreported data on gender-based salary differences for a federal audit, refused to accommodate women with young children, called some women “biddies” and labeled others who asked for raises as “overly aggressive.”

See the complaint here. More from IHE.

2/7 – After landmark settlement, questions remain in UC Santa Cruz rape case (SJMN): Following a $1.15 million settlement concerning the alleged rape of a student by a professor at UC Santa Cruz, UC will soon issue a report describing its Title IX investigation of the matter.

2/7 – UC Berkeley Chancellor: Trump’s Threat to Cut Federal Funding ‘Ill Informed’ (KQED): Chancellor Dirks notes UC did what it could to allow Milo Yiannopoulos to speak on campus, and that President Trump’s threats to withhold funding are ill-informed. Dirks stressed that he believes the violent protestors were not students.

2/6 – UC Berkeley probes staffer after post-protest Web campaign (SFGate): A Berkeley staff member  has been accused by far right online circles of some crime relating to the protest of Milo Yiannopoulos. Campus police and the FBI are investigating.

2/6 – 2016 East Bay Person of the Year: Janet Napolitano (Oakland Magazine): In a lengthy article, the magazine praises Napolitano for her commitment to undocumented students and her ability to juggle addressing multiple chancellor scandals.

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