Media Coverage 9/11/17

The University of California has sued the Department of Homeland Security, challenging President Trump’s decision to rescind DACA following a six month delay. According to a statement from UC President Janet Napolitano, UC’s legal case rests on three points:

  1. The DHS decision to rescind DACA is not supported by reasoned decision-making as required by federal law. It did not consider the impact of the decision on Dreamers — for example, their expectation that they could study, work, and live in the only country they call home — or the costs of the rescission on the universities and communities in which they live, study, and work. And, most fundamentally, the legal rationale DHS provided was wrong. No court has held DACA unlawful and, in fact, the office at the Department of Justice responsible for reviewing the constitutionality of executive branch actions determined that DACA was lawful.
  2. In ending the program, the administration also failed to comply with mandatory procedures that federal law requires for a decision of this type and magnitude. These procedures, among other things, require the agency to allow and consider public comment on a proposed action from affected parties, such as from the DACA recipients themselves and institutions like UC that are deeply impacted by the decision.
  3. Finally, this action tramples on the due process rights of the University and its students and employees. DHS cannot take away those rights by executive fiat without any process whatsoever.

As a number of media outlets have pointed out, Napolitano helped author the 2012 program while she was Secretary of Homeland Security in the Obama administration. Since then, the order has shielded 800,000 Dreamers from deportation. Despite her strong support for DACA, Napolitano has been criticized by immigrant rights activists for overseeing 2.5 million deportations while with the DHS, as the Sacramento Bee notes in its coverage. Nonetheless, Napolitano has also received praise for her support of undocumented UC students, most notably through the creation of a legal services center. UC’s case is being handled pro bono by Covington & Burling, which employs former US Attorney General Eric Holder.

In other news, the Sacramento Bee covered the disparate proposals for some form of a statewide “free college” program in California. Among the proposals mentioned is the $48 Fix, a plan endorsed by 17 California faculty associations, including the BFA, unions and other organizations. The name of the program comes from the average level of an income-adjusted tax that would generate $9.4 billion annually. That amount of revenue could be used to eliminate tuition costs at all three of the state’s higher ed systems and return per pupil funding to levels last seen in 2000. As the article notes, “The California Democratic Party passed a resolution supporting the plan last week.” Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a leading candidate for governor, has endorsed a plan that would instead offer two free years of community college.

Dreamers

9/8 – UC sues Trump administration over DACA decision (SacBee): Napolitano says of Dreamers, “They really represent the spirit of the American dream, and by its action, the administration has bashed those dreams.”

9/8 – Obama Official Who Created DACA Sues Trump To Protect It (HuffPo): The article notes around 4,000 undocumented students attend a UC campus.

9/8 – UC sues Trump administration over repeal of DACA (DailyCal): The article reports a rise in the number of students seeking mental health services since the decision was announced.

Press releases: UC Berkeley | UCOP Community Letter | UCOP Lawsuit

Other News

9/5 – ‘Free college’ is a new rallying cry in California (SacBee): The article notes that the state’s existing scholarship program is, by some measures, the most generous in the nation.

9/10 – Berkeley protests expensive for East Bay police departments (SFChronicle): UC spent $700,000 on police work associated with a cancelled appearance by Ann Coulter in April.

9/8 – Why Berkeley’s Battle Against White Supremacy Is Not About Free Speech (TheNation): The article, which conflates the city of Berkeley with UC Berkeley, argues that media coverage has dwelled upon Antifa violence without reporting the threats and harassments students face from various right wing activists.

9/7 – DeVos says Obama-era approach to campus sexual assault ‘failed’ (SJMN): DeVos has said the current approach “isn’t working,” and emphasized the plight of the wrongly accused, but details of how she hopes to change the policy are scant. UC President Janet Napolitano is quoted as saying:

“Changes to the Title IX policy announced today signal that the Trump administration aims to undo six years’ worth of federal enforcement designed to strengthen sexual violence protections on college campuses. This is extremely troubling. Even in the midst of unwelcome change and uncertainty, the university’s commitment to a learning environment free of sexual violence and sexual harassment will not waver. UC will continue its work to foster a culture of safety and security on all its campuses.”

9/6 – Dirks: Berkeley needs ‘serious debate’ on public-private future (THE): Berkeley’s ousted former chancellor argues the campus needs to consider becoming a private institution in order to survive its financial struggles.

9/6 – UCLA beats UC Berkeley as No. 1 public university in US, ranking reports (DailyCal): A UC spokesperson chalked up the change to natural fluctuations in research funding, which influence the ranking:

“(T)he primary reason for this year’s change in Berkeley’s position in this particular ranking was a decrease in the level of federal research funding that flowed into campus,” (UC Berkeley spokesperson Dan) Mogulof said in an email. “That funding fluctuates on an annual basis, and is determined by many factors beyond the University’s control or influence.”

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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.