Media Coverage 9/23/16

After caving to outside pressure from Jewish groups and banning (on officially technical grounds) a student-led DeCal course covering Palestine , UC Berkeley was again swayed by outside pressure to reinstate the class. However, the press hasn’t been able to get the inside story of decision-making that led to the reversal, it seems…

Officially, a university dean met with the class facilitator after she determined the course hadn’t been properly reviewed. After the meeting and a few tweaks to the syllabus, the course has been reinstated. Obviously, this is not the full story, but it is the one the university will admit to.

Elsewhere, a university is suing its student newspaper (an incredible story) and beer sales are now seen as a funding savior. But first, more students on UC campuses:

UC Enrollment

9/22 – UC campuses scramble to make room for thousands more new California students (LAT): The fallout from UCOP’s ‘more in-state students for more money’ deal with Gov. Brown is being felt in  ever tighter dorm rooms. This quote sums up the impact on Berkeley nicely: “Overall, Berkeley expects to hire more than 130 new instructors and teaching assistants. The nearly $3.8 million in state funds the campus received for the new students wasn’t enough to cover the extra classes, instruction, housing, tutoring, mental health services, technology, classrooms and housing. Berkeley had to redirect $2.2 million more to pay for them, even though it faces a critical budget deficit.”

Palestine: A Settler Colonial History

Dean of Social Sciences Carla Hesse’s letter about her decision to reinstate the class can be found here.

9/19 – UC Berkeley reinstates class on Palestine following outcry over its suspension (Guardian): A nice overview of reactions from various sides following the reinstatement.

9/20 – Op-Ed: DeCal’s cancellation transpired through unfair shortcuts (DailyCal): Associate Prof. Samera Esmeir argues the universities swift move to cancel the course throws into doubt “the survival of spaces for students to study and debate difficult and politically complex issues facing our world today.”

9/19 – UC Berkeley reinstates controversial course on history of Palestine (LAT): Article questions whether the syllabus was meaningfully changed.

CSU

9/22 – Governor signs bills to boost graduation rates at California universities (LAT): Law intended to boost the CSU system’s low graduation rate was signed.

Elsewhere in Higher Ed

9/22 – U. Kentucky is suing its student newspaper, trying to block sexual assault reporting (WaPo): In a truly incredible story, UK went ahead and sued its student newspaper, trying to prevent it from releasing public documents (which the state AG ordered the school to hand over to the newspaper). The newspaper believes the university is seeking to protect itself, as the documents in question concern a professor accused of sexual misconduct.

9/19 – Get Yer Beer Here (IHE): Despite fears of drunk undergrads, public universities are turning to alcohol sales at football games to boost revenue and attendance.

9/21 – CC not free for some Oregon students with heavy course loads (AP): A much-hyped free-tuition plan in Oregon comes with a bit of fine print, to the surprise of some students who will see (admittedly) small bills.

Media Coverage 9/16/16

This week, UC Berkeley cancelled a student-led course on Palestine after pressure from various groups affiliated with Israel, UC President Janet Napolitano openly campaigned for Hillary Clinton and the often-criticized but nonetheless influential USNWR rankings affirmed that despite its financial struggles, the UC system’s campuses are still considered the finest public universities in the nation (for a more meaningful story about USNWR, look to the Fresno State link). Oh, and and the UC’s debt is $17,200,000,000.

Palestine Course

9/15 – Suspension of controversial Palestine class at UC Berkeley sparks debate (Guardian): The class, entitled “Palestine: A Settler Colonial Analysis” has been accused of being “anti-Israel and antisemitic” and “intended to indoctrinate students to hate the Jewish state.” Hatem Bazian, a lecturer, was the faculty sponsor of the course. In the article, he notes the class went through the required approval processes.

9/15 – Berkeley Bans a Palestine Class (AcademeBlog): The AAUP’s blog presents a thorough timeline of the controversy.

More coverage – Inside Higher Ed | SF Chronicle

Rankings

9/13 – California schools score high in U.S. News & World Report’s 2017 college rankings (SFGate): Berkeley is the nation’s best public university, according to the newest iteration of the USNWR ranking, a scheme more often criticized than praised. Nonetheless, this is the 15th year in a row in which Berkeley tops the list.

9/13 – Fresno State’s graduation rate puts school No. 1 in U.S. News and World Report ranking (SacBee): More meaningfully than the above, Fresno State was found to lead the nation on a metric that compares an institutions graduation rate with its expected rate, based on demographic profiles of students.

Debt

9/15 – University of California debt soars to $17 billion; regents consider new borrowing policy (SJMN):  As the UC system approaches its limit of debt borrowing, the regents may consider creating a new policy to allow for more borrowing.

Napolitano

9/11 – Column: UC President Janet Napolitano leaves no doubt she’s with Clinton (SFChron):  The UC president is hosting a fundraiser for Clinton, which the Chron suggests is the first instance of a UC president actively campaigning for a presidential candidate. According to the article:

Legal guidelines issued by UC’s office of general counsel say the university “may not endorse or contribute to candidates for elective office.” It also says UC officials “should use care to avoid confusion between private and public roles.