Media Coverage 4/16/17

The UC system settled lawsuits with Sujit Choudhry, former dean of UC Berkeley’s law school, and Tyann Sorrell, a former assistant to Choudhry who accused him of sexual harassment. The deals were reached in March but not announced until Friday. As part of the settlements, Choudhry, who resigned as dean in 2016 amidst the scandal, will pay $50,000 to Sorrell’s lawyers and an additional $50,000 to a charity Sorrell will choose. Choudhry will be on an unpaid sabbatical through May 2018, retaining travel and research benefits. After that point, he will resign from the university. According to the Associated Press, “(UC) also will withdraw all disciplinary complaints against him, and will not be able to say he acted with sexual intent or posed a risk to faculty, students or staff.” In a comment to the AP, Sorrell’s attorney said, “This is just one more example of UC refusing to take sexual harassment seriously and once again offering a soft landing even after a finding of harassment.” The settlement ends a series of lawsuits and investigations that began after Choudhry began allegedly harassing Sorrell in 2014. After Sorrell complained that Choudhry kissed and hugged her, the university reportedly substantiated the claims and issued a temporary 10 percent pay cut to Choudhry. Sorrell subsequently sued the university, arguing that the punishment was too light. Choudhry also sued the university, in part claiming the school had discriminated against him.

In related news, the university has narrowed its search for Choudhry’s successor to three candidates: Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of UC Irvine’s law school; Laura Gómez, a law professor and interim dean of UCLA’s College Division of Social Sciences; and Kimberly Yuracko, a law professor at Northwestern University. Elsewhere, UC has appealed a U.S. patent ruling concerning CRISPR. If the ruling stands, UC would likely share licensing rights to the gene-editing technology with the Broad Institute.

4/15 – Harassment accuser condemns UC Berkeley deal (AP): The article quotes Sorrell stating, “This deal insults all who suffer harassment at the hands of those with power and privilege.”

4/12 – Search committee for new Berkeley Law dean narrows in on 3 candidates (DailyCal): In contrast to UC Berkeley’s recently completed search for its next chancellor, the three law dean finalists were invited to public events.
4/13 – University of California files appeal over CRISPR patents (Reuters): The wire service report offers an overview of the CRISPR legal saga.
4/13 – Why the University of California Is Appealing the CRISPR Patent Decision (Atlantic): The Atlantic highlights the high financial stakes of the appeal.
Also see UC Berkeley’s statement

Media Coverage 3/10/17

UC has proposed capping out-of-state undergraduate enrollment at 20 percent. The details to the proposal are key, as the cap would apply to the system-wide proportion, meaning some campuses would be able to exceed the 20 percent threshold (at Berkeley, nonresidents make up about 24.5 percent), so long as the inflated nonresident enrollment is balanced out elsewhere (at UC Merced, the rate is below one percent). However, the three campuses currently above 20 percent — Berkeley, UCLA and UC San Diego — would not be allowed to grow their share of out-of-state ranks any further. Last year, lawmakers in Sacramento said UC would not receive an additional $18.5 million unless it established a cap on such enrollment, a demand tied to a controversial state audit which criticized the system for admitting too many students from outside California. Currently, nonresident students make up 16.5 percent of the system’s 210,000 undergraduates. UC contends out-of-state enrollment increases diversity and funds the education of additional Californians, as nonresidents brought in $550 million in tuition in 2016-17. The average percent of nonresident enrollment within the 62-member AAU is 27.9 percent. In other news, a large group of former students of Nezar AlSayyad — a Berkeley architecture professor accused in media reports of sexual misconduct — decried the academic’s ‘trial by the press’ and questioned the validity of any investigation into his conduct.

3/6 – UC proposes its first enrollment cap — 20% — on out-of-state students (LATimes): The article notes a lukewarm response to the proposal, including from Assemblymen Kevin McCarty and faculty representatives:

“It’s a mixed bag,” McCarty said of the UC proposal. “Finally, after all of these years, UC is on the verge of setting a firm nonresident policy that will help us prioritize California kids. But we were hoping the cap would be at today’s numbers. It’s close, but it falls a little short.”

…Faculty members are not enthusiastic, said UC Academic Senate Chairman James Chalfant. They oppose an “arbitrary quota,” he said, that could force UC to turn away the best and the brightest and forgo additional needed dollars. The group has presented an alternative that would impose enrollment limits only on campuses at which the expansion of nonresident students hurts Californians and only after UC is given enough funding to maintain its quality.

3/6 – Op-Ed: Berkeley professor accused of misconduct being railroaded (EBT): Thirty-six former students of Berkeley Professor Professor Nezar AlSayyad question the treatment of their former mentor who has been accused in media accounts of sexual misconduct. The authors claim support for AlSayyad and question the investigation into his actions.

3/8 – Sexual harassment: records show how University of California faculty target students (Guardian): More coverage of last week’s records release concerning over 100 cases of sexual misconduct. This article highlights how faculty members have targeted students.

3/10 – UC Berkeley cops release photos of 31 suspects in campus riot (SFGate): UC Berkeley police have asked the public for help in identifying 31 suspects in the riot that prevented Milo Yiannopoulos from speaking on campus.

 

 

 

 

Media Coverage (3/3/17)

An investigation by the Bay Area News Group has exposed the extent of sexual misconduct on UC campuses, turning up 124 incidents following a records request, which the UC system took 16 months to respond to (a number of other outlets made a similar request, receiving the records at the same time). A number of upsetting stories emerged from UCSF, the campus with the greatest number of incidents. The documents also reveal a tendency to go easy on senior faculty compared to low-ranking staff employees. Elsewhere, a records request by the Sacramento Bee revealed that instead of relying on its own communications team, Berkeley hired an outside PR firm to the tune of $400,000 to manage fallout from a series of cuts announced last year. The lengthy article is worth a full read, as the Bee makes a good case that Berkeley’s early termination of the contract was motivated by the paper’s records request  (which took eight months for the campus to fulfill).

Also see Daily Bruin | KQED | DailyCal

2/28 – University of California: Sexual misconduct widespread across 10 campuses (SJMN): Between January 2013 and April 2016, over 100 UC employees were disciplined for sexual misconduct. About one quarter of the total are faculty members. A majority of the cases were the result of staff complaints, while 35 percent stem from student complaints. As the article notes:

UC San Francisco had 26 cases, the most of any UC campus, ranging from a cook offering a co-worker money for sex to a top fertility doctor inappropriately touching nurses and calling them “bitches.” UCLA had 25 cases, including a French professor who wrote over 300 poems professing his love to his graduate assistant, and a cancer researcher who sent sexually explicit jokes to colleagues and had been accused of sexual harassment twice before. UC Davis had 13 cases and UC Irvine had 11 and UC San Diego had 9. UC Berkeley had released records of 19 cases last year.

3/2 – Records reveal discipline inconsistencies in UC sex harassment (SFChronicle): The article argues that high-ranking faculty members have received more tempered punishment for their behavior compared to staff.

3/1 – Editorial: UC’s systemic problem — sexual harassment (SFChronicle): Given the scope of the problem, the paper calls for transparency moving forward when new incidents arise.

3/3 – Layoffs, budget cuts prompted UC Berkeley to pay out $306,000 for PR contract (SacBee): UC Berkeley signed a $419,400 contract for an outside firm to handle news of cuts last year instead of working with the campus’s full time communications team, a move UC President Janet Napolitano was aware of. The revelation is the fruit of a public records request by the Sacramento Bee which the campus took eight months to fulfill. Only about $300,000 was paid out as Berkeley cancelled the contract. The article notes that this move happened at the same time as UC Davis received scrutiny for a similar deal, also broken by the Bee. The article notes Berkeley began the process to cancel their contract the same day that the Bee made its records request to Berkeley. Berkeley denies a connection between the request and the cancellation.

3/2 – U. of California Leader Advises Patience as the Trump Era Dawns (Chronicle): UC President Janet Napolitano affirmed the university’s commitment to students covered by DACA. She also stressed that the system did all it could to allow Milo Yiannopoulos to speak at UC Berkeley before the event was cancelled due to violent protesters. The system’s leader also touched on Title IX, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and President Trump’s singling out of UC Berkeley on Twitter.

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

Media Coverage 12/02/16

UC received national attention for announcing it intends to oppose any action the Trump administration may take to deport Dreamers or register Muslim citizens. Elsewhere, sexual misconduct by senior members of the UC community continued to be an issue with previously disgraced Regent Pattiz facing fallout over leaked audio. Elsewhere, Nancy Pelosi has weighed in on UCSF’s outsourcing scheme.

12/1 -UC won’t assist federal agents in immigration actions against students (LATimes): UC has announced it will not cooperate–sans a court order–with efforts to deport undocumented students or to create a registry of citizens based on religion or race. About 3,700 students have in-state tuition under a state law that allows undocumented students to be treated as California residents.

11/30 – Op-Ed: The Truth About Young Immigrants and DACA (NYT): UC President Janet Napolitano argues that DACA reflects a lawful use of prosecutorial discretion and should be left unchanged by the Trump administration. I’m honestly a bit puzzles by how little this op-ed says.

12/2 – The Fight for a Field (DailyCal): After being displaced from their field to accommodate a new football facility, Cal’s field hockey team has languished without a proper home field. Both federal and campus Title IX investigations are ongoing, while the relocation costs have topped $7.2 million and handle litigation.

12/2 – How top U.S. colleges hooked up with controversial Chinese companies (Reuters): UC Berkeley is among a number of elite schools that has had admissions counselors flown to China to meet with students who have paid for the help of an education consultant.

11/27 – Leaked audio reveals additional lewd comments from UC Regent Norman Pattiz (DailyCal): Leaked audio reveals Regent Norman Pattiz made additional lewd comments at his place of work.

11/30 – Editorial: UC Regent Norman Pattiz needs to resign from position (DailyBruin): The editorial is fairly straightforward:

If you want a porn connoisseur making decisions about our school’s academic, administrative and yes, sexual harassment policies, then by all means, Pattiz should remain a regent. But if he has any remaining respect for himself and the institution he works for, he must resign.

11/29 – Search begins for permanent lead on UC Berkeley sexual misconduct cases (DailyCal): Amid a number of sexual harassment scandals, UC is moving to hire its first (non-interim) lead on campus sexual violence and sexual harassment cases.

11/21 – Call for Due Process for Accused Berkeley Professor (IHE): A group of current and former students are asking the university to withhold judgment on Nezar AlSayyad, who has been accused of sexually harassing a student, until an investigation is complete. The names of the students involved in the petition are not being publicly released.

11/23 – Pelosi says UC IT workers are in ‘untenable position’ (ComputerWorld): House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has waded into a debate over UCSF’s plan to offshore some IT services asking the university to reverse course.

Media Coverage 11/18/16

Another renowned member of UC Berkeley’s faculty has been found to have sexually harassed a student. Elsewhere, UC Regents are considering a tuition hike, though the political climate stemming from last summer’s audit may make it hard to pass.

Nezar AlSayyad

11/13 – Investigation: UC Berkeley professor sexually harassed student (SFChronicle): In this case, best to let the reporting speak for itself:

A renowned Middle East scholar and architecture professor at UC Berkeley spent months ingratiating himself with a graduate student before placing his hand on her upper thigh, proposing they become “close friends” and suggesting they go to Las Vegas, a campus investigation has found. / Nezar AlSayyad, an internationally recognized scholar and a frequent public voice on global issues, is the latest prominent faculty member at UC Berkeley found to have sexually harassed a student or colleague in violation of University of California rules, The Chronicle has learned. / A five-month investigation completed in October upheld nearly all of the student’s allegations. The 52-page report obtained by The Chronicle found that AlSayyad’s behavior became increasingly personal from 2012 to 2014, with frequent social invitations and hugs, as he sought to position himself as the student’s protector and make her beholden to him

11/15 – UC Berkeley students demand professor’s suspension (SFGate): Students have petitioned for AlSayyad’s firing.

See commentary 11/17 – Whom Does Secrecy Protect? (IHE)

Tuition

11/18 – UC tuition increase? Not after this year’s damning audit (SDUT): UC is making the case for its first tuition increase — on the scale of 2.5 to 3.1 percent — in six years, while CSU eyes a 5 percent hike. However, the articles questions whether the state’s audit of UC over the summer will make make it unlikely for the hike to be carried out.

11/18 – UC students disrupt regents’ meeting with protests against possible tuition hike (LATimes): As UC Regents met to discuss tuition hikes, about 80 student protestors demonstrated, momentarily derailing the meeting until police cleared the room.

Also see SJMN

Elsewhere in harassment news

11/17 – UC Regent’s Offensive Comments Lead To New Harassment Policy (AP): The UC Regents created new rules governing sexual harassment in response to comments Regent Norman Pattiz made to a woman at his place of work. Pattiz remains on the board. Under the new rules, all regents are required to take UC’s sexual harassment training.

Also see 11/9 – “UC regent’s breast comments prompt proposal for tighter rules on sexual harassment” (LATimes)

11/17 – Ex-UC dean accused of harassment drops suit against university (SFGate): Former UC Berkeley Law Dean Sujit Choudhry has dropped his lawsuit claiming racial bias against the university. The academic senate is set to hold a hearing to consider his job status.

Labor

11/16 – University of California workers strike for higher wages (KQED): Skilled trade workers at UC San Diego and UCLA were set to strike for higher wages.

11/16 – UCSF workers claim discrimination in IT outsourcing (SJMN): Ten UCSF employees fired as part of an outsourcing move are alleging they were fired due to their age and nationality (American).

Less Controversial

11/18 – UCD presents its housing plans to UC regents (DavisEnt): UC Davis aims to increase the portion of students living on campus from 35 to 40 percent as town-gown relationships begin to strain.