Media Coverage 3/17/17

Carol Christ has been appointed Berkeley’s next chancellor, the first female to hold the position. An expert on Victorian literature, Christ served as executive vice chancellor and provost for six years in the 1990s. In 2002, she left Berkeley, where she had worked since becoming an assistant professor in 1970, to become president of Smith College, a role she held from 2002 to 2013. Christ returned to UC in 2015 to lead the campus’s Center for Studies in Higher Education and became interim executive vice chancellor and provost in May, replacing Claude Steele who resigned due to a perception that he and other campus leaders were tolerant of sexual misconduct. Christ has again been called on to fill a post vacated by a controversial resignation, as current Chancellor Nicholas Dirks agreed to step down following mounting criticism around his handling of sexual misconduct and an investigation into misuse of funds. The move was met with a high-level of praise from various bodies representing campus communities, including the Faculty Senate, the BFA and the Daily Cal’s editorial board. Christ’s salary will be$532,000, the same as what Dirks currently earns. Regents approved her appointment on Thursday and she will officially take over July 1.

In other news, Assembly Democrats announced a plan to reduce student debt. The plan has four components: (1) to make community colleges tuition free for one-year; (2) to expand the Success Grants program for low-income community college students; (3) reject Gov. Brown’s proposed elimination of the Middle Class Scholarship, which covers about 40 percent of tuition for 55,000 students; (4) and to create a new Degrees Not Debt Scholarship to help with non-tuition related costs of attending a UC or CSU campus. The governor’s office has expressed skepticism about the state’s ability to fund the $1.6 billion program. Elsewhere, the UC Regents delayed a vote on the non-resident enrollment cap until May. While it hasn’t received media attention, Assemblymembers Kevin Kiley (R-Roseville) and Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) have proposed a bill that would “urge” higher education campuses in California to adopt a free speech statement similar to the one produced by the University of Chicago (which you can read here).

3/13 – Carol Christ is named UC Berkeley’s chancellor (SFChronicle): Note the following reactions quoted by the paper:

“It’s fantastic news for the campus. Carol already commands a great deal of respect from the faculty,” said Robert Powell, a political science professor who chairs the Faculty Senate on campus.

“Carol Christ’s integrity, commitment to transparency and genuine love for UC Berkeley make her a worthy choice,” said the group’s co-chair, Celeste Langan, an associate professor of English, though “we don’t expect always to agree with (her) on every issue.”

For example, Langan said, her group believes the solution to the campus deficit “is to restore full public funding of tuition, not to turn the university into a revenue-generating business enterprise.” But she said Christ, who has not advocated eliminating tuition, has “demonstrated her willingness to engage in respectful, collegial dialogue.”

Michael O’Hare, a professor at the campus’ Goldman School of Public Policy, was so enthused by her selection that he emailed lyrics from Gilbert & Sullivan’s “Mikado,” which include the sentiment: “With joyous shout and ringing cheer, inaugurate our new career!”

O’Hare said he thinks Christ might be the first chancellor willing to slash money-losing intercollegiate athletics.

“I think she’ll have the courage to put them on a short financial leash, even if that means we have to leave Division 1, which I think would be great,” he said.

Kathryn Lybarger, a UC Berkeley gardener and president of the statewide labor union, congratulated Christ in a statement while inviting her to “join our efforts to address skyrocketing executive compensation (and) prevent outsourcing of career jobs to poverty wage contractors.”

3/17 – Editorial: Appointment of Carol Christ good for campus (DailyCal): Student editorial praises Christ for her knowledge of the campus and notes some of the challenges she may face, such a decision over whether to build a dorm on People’s Park.

3/14 – Editorial: Assembly Democrats over-promise free college (SacBee): Given uncertainty around Federal funding for social programs, now may not be the best time for a large new expenditure, the paper writes.

Also see: Official Statement

3/13 – Debt-free college? Assembly Democrats want to make it possible for California students (SacBee): The plan would cost the state about $1.6 billion, a figure the governor is citing in statements reflecting his office’s skepticism toward the state’s ability to pay for plan.

3/16 – UC regents debate enrollment limits on students from other states and countries, approve Berkeley chancellor (LATimes): The Regents delayed until May a vote on a proposal to limit out-of-state enrollment system-wide to 20 percent. A number of issues are in the air, including how to treat campuses which already exceed the limit and will be allowed to maintain their current levels under the plan and whether the cap is set at the right level. There is pressure both to lower the cap and to eliminate it.

3/16 -Four-year degree costs drop at California systems (IHE): According to a report, the institutional costs per degree dropped by 6 percent at UC from 1987 to 2013. In 2013, the cost was $109,000.

3/15 – University of California Fund to Double Private-Equity Holdings (Bloomberg): UC will double its investment in private equity (such as startups) and reduce what is held in traditional stocks, a move the fund’s manager said is made with long-term stability in mind.

Media Coverage 7/15/16

A busy week for UC news, as Berkeley’s chancellor is under investigation by the university system for improperly accepting free athletic training from a university employee and misusing public funds for a trip to India. The investigation comes on the heels of a number of accusations that the chancellor has mishandled sexual harassment incidents and an investigation into a football coach suspected of inciting violence. Speaking of football, it’s possible a current coach at UCLA was privy to the serial sexual child abuse by Jerry Sandusky while the UCLA coach worked at Penn State. Additionally, a report found widespread hunger among UC Students and the national media paid attention to California’s fight over out-of-state enrollment. On a brighter note, UC earned more US patents in 2015 than any other university.

Dirks

7/12 – UC Berkeley chancellor under investigation for alleged misuse of public funds, personal use of campus athletic trainer (LATimes): Chancellor Dirks is being investigated for “misuse of public funds for travel and the personal use of a campus athletic trainer without payment.” Dirks says he will comment when the investigation is over.

7/13 – Chancellor Nicholas Dirks under investigation for alleged misuse of funds, athletic services (DailyCal):  Faculty claim this incident adds to a general sense of distrust toward Dirks.

& more from SFGate, including the detail that the whistler-blower, a former colleague of the trainer being investigated alongside Dirks, was fired for embezzlement.  The San Jose Mercury News puts the investigation into the context of recent campus controversies. Also, read the letter from UC COO Rachael Nava to Dirks.

Hunger

7/12 – 1 in 5 University of California students struggles with hunger, study finds (SJMN): A total of 42 percent of students are food insecure, based on a survey of 9,000 students.

& more coverage from the LA Times.

Football

7/11 – UC Berkeley renews controversial coach’s contract (SFGate): Damon Harrington’s $150,000 contract was renewed. While faculty ask for a new investigation into his role in an athlete’s beating and another athlete’s death, Cal football players have rallied behind the coach.

7/12 – Unsealed testimony claims Tom Bradley knew of Penn State abuse (DailyBruin): UCLA football defensive coordinator Tom Bradley knew of Jerry Sandusky’s serial sexual child abuse while working at Penn State, according to testimony recently unsealed by a Pennsylvania court. Bradley denies knowing about any abuse.

& a nice student op-ed on what is sacrificed by the desire to win on the field.

Out-of-State

7/8 – Editorial: University of California in denial over damage it did (SDUT): Short editorial questions UCOP’s dismissal of the state’s audit.

7/7 – Public Colleges Chase Out-of-State Students, and Tuition (NYT): While the political fight over UC’s out-of-state student population has drawn much attention, this article notes public universities across the country have turned en masse to out-of-state students for the money they bring. As schools let in more students from out-of-state capable of paying higher tuition, the enrollment of black, Hispanic and low-income students declines.

7/12 – After Outcry, University of California Increases In-State Admission Offers (NYT): A recap of the UC system’s increased in-state admission offers in light of political pressure.

7/11 – Flagships Must Create New Models to Preserve the Public Good (Chronicle): Dirks recounts the history of declining state support for higher education, noting the current course is unsustainable if schools like Berkeley wish to remain great. Take note:

For Berkeley, as for other public institutions, this will mean becoming ever more aggressive in developing new funding models, including innovative master’s programs and more executive education. It also means using our assets in more commercial ways. While we need to shore up and sustain traditional sources of support from state and federal governments, we must also turn to methods that have been successfully used by private universities, including modest though regular increases in tuition while raising the discount level for financial aid, and endowing need-based student aid through fund raising.

This & That

7/8 – CSU cries foul on research grants in San Onofre deal (SDUT): CSU claims UC was unfairly privileged in getting access to $25 million for greenhouse gas research tied to a settlement over the failure of a nuclear plant. A plan to distribute the money to five UC campuses was struck down by the Public Utilities Commission, which may reopen the entire settlement.

& the UCLA Faculty Association with a few comments.

7/13 – Report: UC system secures more US patents in 2015 than any other university (NAI): UC had 489, followed by MIT with 278.

 

 

Media Coverage 7/8/16

The UC system followed through on a deal with the state to admit more in-state students and, at the same time, increased its enrollment of students of color. At Berkeley, the chancellor agreed to hold a follow-up investigation on the football team, though it’s unclear how much of a focus there will be on a coach who was linked to a student’s death and the beating of a player.

Enrollment

7/6 – UCLA, UC Berkeley boost admissions of Californians, including blacks and Latinos (LATimes): Both UC flagship schools admitted 1,000 more Californians each, including a significant boost in the number of black and Latino students. System-wide, the number of Californians admitted increased by 15 percent, which the article speculates may help ease the concerns of legislators critical of the university following a state audit that alleged the system exercised preferential admission practices for out-of-state students.

7/6 – UC campuses admit more Californians after years of falling rates (SJMercury): Assemblyman McCarty, who has led the criticism of UC’s out-of-state admissions policies, called the news “a good start.”

Football

7/2 – UC Berkeley chancellor orders new probe of football program (SFGate): UC Berkeley chancellor orders a new investigation into the school’s football program following a student death and team-led beating. Faculty protested after a Chronicle investigation revealed a probe into a coach linked to both incidents was biased. The new investigation will not focus on the coach, but instead the overall program.

This & That

7/2 – Cal student among victims in Bangladesh attack (SFChronicle): Tarishi Jain, a native of India, was 18.

7/1 – UC Davis chancellor withholds $200,000 scholarship donation as inquiry continues (SacBee): Embattled UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi has withheld donating $200,000 to the university as she is investigated by UCOP. The money comes from her service on the board of an academic publisher, a position she has been criticized for taking.

7/3 – Katehi investigation proceeds, compromises made (DavisEnterprise): UC agrees with Katehi’s team regarding a third party handling the chancellor’s university-owned electronic devices.

6/30 – UCLA Professor Accused Of Sexually Harassing Grad Students Is Returning (HuffPo): Gabriel Piterberg was suspended without pay for the Spring 2015 term, at which point the history professor left for a European fellowship.

Media Coverage 6/16/16

The legislature passed a $171 billion statewide budget that increases funding for UC, though the specter of AB 1711 — which would cap out-of-state enrollment at 10 percent and increase overall enrollment by quite a bit — still looms. Beyond UC, the budget is more conservative than legislative Democrats had hoped, as Brown was able to secure $2 billion to shore up the state’s rainy day fund. While the state’s economy has been growing, Brown senses a future recession is near. In total, UC gets $3.3 billion, an increase of $125.4 million over last year, though $18.5 million is tied to the Regents adopting a cap on out-of-state enrollment. The nature of that cap is unspecified by the budget bill. UC already has such policies in place on the three campuses with the highest rate of out-of-state enrollment — Berkeley, LA and San Diego.

Budget & out-of-state cap

6/15 – State budget heads to Gov. Brown: How education fared (EdSource): In addition to UC ‘s increased funding, CSU also saw a raise of $161 million. In the K-12 world, there was a big focus on early childhood education.

6/17 – Budget pushes UC to limit non-resident enrollment, CSU to boost graduation rates (EdSource):  The Regents are likely to discuss how to cap out-of-state enrollment in July or September.

6/16 – California lawmakers create a University of California research center on gun violence (LATimes): Included in the budget is $5 million to establish a center on gun research. The federal government has long had a ban on funding such research. The funding will cover the first five years of operations. Where the center will be located is still up in the air.

6/10 – California budget deal seeks nonresident enrollment cap at UC (SacBee): Written before the budget passed, this article notes an Assembly plan to give $1.1 million to the state auditor to annually look into UC was left out of the final budget deal.

More coverage: California Legislature approves $171 billion state budget (LATimes); California budget by the numbers (AP); California lawmakers approve budget bill – on deadline (SacBee); More State Funds, on One Condition (IHE)

UC Merced expansion

6/16 – UC Merced moves forward with major campus expansion (LATimes): UC Merced will take a public-private partnership approach to a $1.14 billion expansion that will create room for 4,000 new students.

6/15 – UC Merced to expand through unusual partnership (AP): The campus expansion will be funded by the university, the UC system and developers, who will share in the operating revenue from new dorms, a dining hall and other facilities. According to Napolitano: “UC Merced, the youngest campus in our system, is poised to become a model for our other campuses as we look for the most efficient ways to construct, operate and maintain facilities that enable us to pursue our teaching, research and public service missions.”

Katehi

6/15 – UC Davis chancellor sent aides to Switzerland to learn image-boosting tactics (SacBee): About $17,000 was spent on sending staff to study PR pros abroad and across the country in an effort to revamp the university’s own image.

6/10 – UC delays release of public records in UC Davis, Katehi probe (SacBee): UC says it is delaying the release of records requested by the Bee so as to not interfere with witness interviews pertaining to the Katehi investigation. The documents, requested in late March, include “contracts issued to consultants, emails, travel expenses for Katehi and other UC Davis officials and the complete text of a 2012 marketing study.” Also, it’s noted Napolitano claims she never asked Katehi to give up her faculty post.

This & That

6/12 – Students mark 32nd annual Latino graduation at UC Davis (SacBee): Less than 40 percent of latina/o and chicana/o students are enrolled by their junior year. UC Davis hosts a special graduation ceremony to celebrate those who do make it through.

6/13 – Report: California public colleges not producing enough STEM degrees (EdSource): California compares poorly to other states in terms of producing STEM grads, which this nonprofit thinks is a huge deal. The group, the Campaign for College Opportunity, seems to put more blame on CSU than UC, noting both systems produce about the same number of STEM grads despite CSU having twice the enrollment of UC.

Elsewhere in the great American West…

6/15 – University of Wyoming president to evaluate program cuts (AP): A downturn in the nation’s least populous state is forcing budget tightening at Wyoming’s only public four-year university. The school needs to trim $40 million. For perspective, the entire state budget is about $1.5 billion a year. Some of the savings will be made by reducing the amount of research faculty conduct and increasing the amount of teaching, as positions are left vacant.