UC Berkeley Faculty Association

Join the BFA

February 16, 2017
by Deborah
Comments Off on Video of the “Future of the University” Chris Newfield’s presentation on 2/1/2017

Video of the “Future of the University” Chris Newfield’s presentation on 2/1/2017

The UC Berkeley Faculty Association Presents: Professor Christopher Newfield, UC Santa Barbara, speaking on The future of the public University. His February 1, 2017, talk is based on his recent book “The Great Mistake: How We Wrecked Public Universities and How We Can Fix Them.”

Video courtesy of Prof. Jeffrey Skoller, Dept Film & Media, UC Berkeley. Feb 1,  2017

January 24, 2017
by Deborah
Comments Off on The $48 fix: Reclaiming California’s MASTER PLAN for Higher Education

The $48 fix: Reclaiming California’s MASTER PLAN for Higher Education

On Thursday, January 26, 2017, the UC Regents will consider and likely approve their budget for the University of California for 2017-2018. Like the Governor’s budget, to which it is closely tied, the budget perpetuates decades of failed privatization and persistent underfunding–of the University of California and of public higher education more generally. At UC and as compared to both 1990-1991 and 2000-2001, total per-student expenditures for instruction and the State general fund contribution to per-student instruction are sharply down, while inflation-adjusted contributions from students through tuition and fees are 70% higher than they were in 2000-2001 and 135% higher than they were in 1990-1991. Students and their families are paying more and getting less.
It has become conventional “wisdom” that this continuing decline is inevitable and that viable alternatives do not exist.

The report The $48 fix: Reclaiming California’s MASTER PLAN for Higher Education demonstrates that there is an affordable alternative that restores public higher education in California.

Some highlights:
“It turns out that keeping the full promise of the Master Plan-returning the state’s investment per CSU and UC student to 2000 levels (inflation- adjusted); eliminating tuition and fees for all in-state UC, CSU and CCC students; and funding seats for qualified California high-school graduates now refused access to the system-is affordable.”

“California’s two-decade experiment in privatizing higher education has failed, as it has failed in the rest of the country. Top-quality, accessible and appropriate higher education that affords opportunity to all California students has been replaced with a system that restricts access, costs students more and compromises educational quality. Exploding student debt constricts students’ futures and harms the economy as a whole. It is entirely feasible to reinstate California’s proven success in public higher education. Several reasonable funding options can be mixed and matched to make the costs remarkably low for almost all California families. Our state has the means and the opportunity. Will we recover our political will and vision?”

This report was produced by the Reclaim California Higher Education
coalition, which includes the Council of University of California Faculty Associations and other organizations dedicated to affordable, accessible, and excellent public higher education in California.


January 17, 2017
by admin
Comments Off on BFA Feb. 1 Event: The Future of the Public University – Christopher Newfield / Carol Christ

BFA Feb. 1 Event: The Future of the Public University – Christopher Newfield / Carol Christ

Christopher Newfield, in Conversation with Carol Christ
Sibley Auditorium, 2-4 pm, February 1, 2017.
Open to all.
The public university is facing unprecedented challenges: mounting budgetary pressures and a more hostile political climate. Two distinguished commentators will discuss the path the public university has taken so far, and possible roads ahead.
Video of the “Future of the University” Chris Newfield’s presentation on 2/1/2017 is available here.
Christopher Newfield is Professor of Literature and American Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.  Much of his research is in Critical University Studies; his publications include Ivy and Industry: Business and the Making of the American University, 1880-1980 (2003) and Unmaking the Public University: The Forty-Year Assault on the Middle Class (2008). His most recent book, The Great Mistake: How We Wrecked Public Universities and How We Can Fix Them, focuses on the post-2008 struggles of public universities to rebuild their social mission.
Carol Christ is the Interim Executive Vice-Chancellor and Provost of the University of California, Berkeley. After an earlier period as EVCP (1994-1999), she was the 10th President of Smith College (2002-2013) and, on returning to Berkeley, she became the head of Berkeley’s Center for Studies in Higher Education. A Professor of English specializing in Victorian literature, she is Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.


On the same day BERKELEY SOCIOLOGY FORUM and THE BERKELEY FACULTY ASSOCIATION will co-sponsor an author-meets-critics panel. Chris Newfield will present his new book, The Great Mistake: How We Wrecked Public Universities and How We Can Fix Them with responses from Professors Kim Voss (Department of Sociology), Henry Brady (Goldman School of Public Policy and Department of Political Science) and Prudence Carter (Graduate School of Education). February 1, 2017, Barrows 402, 5-7:30 pm.

November 18, 2016
by admin
Comments Off on Berkeley Campus Petition to endorse Principles of a Public University and to support Robert Reich as Candidate for the next Chancellor

Berkeley Campus Petition to endorse Principles of a Public University and to support Robert Reich as Candidate for the next Chancellor

Given the new political situation, now, more than ever, it is imperative that the Berkeley campus partake in choosing a chancellor who will lead in an inclusive way, defending all its members, especially the more vulnerable, against threats from outside. Yet, as a community of faculty, lecturers, students and staff, we have a very limited say in the selection process. There is an Advisory Committee to President Napolitano, but it operates in secret and does not disclose which candidates, even the finalists, it is considering – candidates whom, in any case, the President may consider only on an advisory basis. Now is the time to mount a campaign based on principles of an inclusive public university and a candidate who will support those principles. That candidate is Robert Reich who has said neither yes nor no, as he has not been asked officially. Please endorse the “10 Reasons to Support Robert Reich for Chancellor” by signing this petition.


  • Berkeley Faculty Association
  • Berkeley Unit of the Graduate Student Union, UAW 2865
  • Berkeley chapter of the University Professional and Technical Employees, UPTE-CWA 9119
  • Berkeley Unit of the American Federation of Teachers, UC-AFT 1474.


The process for selecting the next Chancellor is being conducted in secret with the candidates unknown. We propose to open the selection process by promoting our own candidate, Robert Reich, Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy, for the following reasons:

  1. Robert Reich has a long history of supporting the university as a public good, recognizing it as an investment that benefits society as a whole.
  2. Robert Reich knows that debt-free and equal access to the public university will only be realized when higher education is funded publicly instead of relying on growing costs borne by students or contributions from private corporations.
  3. Robert Reich has addressed inequalities in the funding of higher education, exposing the lavish tax write-offs for donors that give private universities greater government support than public institutions.
  4. Robert Reich has vast experience as an administrator having served under Presidents Ford and Carter and then as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration.
  5. Robert Reich has a wealth of connections that will enable him to promote the interests of Berkeley at the federal and state levels.
  6. Robert Reich is a prominent scholar, a graduate of Yale Law School, and the author of widely-read books on US society and economy, such as The Work of Nations, Reason, Supercapitalism, Aftershock, and most recently, Saving Capitalism. He was the inspiration behind and played a central role in the film Inequality for All.
  7. Robert Reich was a dedicated and effective teacher at Harvard and Brandeis before coming to Berkeley where, for the last decade, his classes have been overflowing with students, who come away not only better informed but also inspired.
  8. Robert Reich has said that the survival of the public university as a place of excellence will depend not only on public investment but also on greater equity and efficiency within the university, including better pay and employment security for lecturers, tackling administrative bloat and ending outsourced labor.
  9. Robert Reich has demonstrated his commitment to social justice with his support for the Occupy Movement, campaigns for decent working conditions for low paid workers, and resolute opposition to all forms of bigotry.
  10. Robert Reich has always demonstrated unquestioned integrity as a public figure, political camp

October 4, 2016
by admin
Comments Off on Statement of Principles: Choosing a New Chancellor for the University of California, Berkeley

Statement of Principles: Choosing a New Chancellor for the University of California, Berkeley

A version of this op-ed was first published in the Daily Californian on October 4th, 2016
Robert Reich would be superb leader for this campus

The tide is turning: there is growing consensus, across political lines, about the imperative of reinvesting in public infrastructure and public education. In no other way is it possible to improve the quality of our public education system and recover its promise of equal opportunity for students and research in the public interest.

The people of California clearly want a public university that works for them. They have called for an end to tuition hikes, unequal access, skyrocketing student debt, misplaced spending priorities, bloated executive compensation, and extensive reliance on donor projects and corporate partnerships that deform the university’s public mission.

Within the university, faculty, staff, and students have suffered severe erosions of local control and local workforces; in their place have emerged expensive and inept experts, inefficient services, temporary managers and outsourcing.   Never have university management and provision of services been more expensive; never in recent decades has the university been run more poorly, featured more unequal access and compensation, or suffered a worse public reputation.

It is time for change.

We propose that the new Berkeley chancellor demonstrate a commitment to the public university in the following ways:

  1. By making high-quality teaching and research in the public interest the highest priority of UC campuses, a priority that should guide budgets, fund-raising, reward and compensation practices, mission statements and other representations of campus purpose.
  2. By reducing the number of out-of-state students and ensuring the total cost of attendance does not limit opportunities for Californians.
  3. By increasing the diversity of the student body and faculty so that they better reflect the population of California we hope to serve.
  4. By reducing the number of senior managers. (Berkeley’s senior management has grown by a factor of five over the last 20 years while the number of faculty has remained stagnant and the number of students increased by 20%.)
  5. By implementing a salary cap on all senior administrators so as to restore the ethos of public service, earn back the trust of California’s tax payers, and demonstrate respect for the financial circumstances of students, faculty, staff as well as the institution itself.
  6. By committing to budgetary transparency and prioritizing the task of restoring public funding rather than private fundraising and commercial contracts.
  7. By honoring the value of academic freedom, chiefly by respecting the tradition of shared governance with faculty.  Faculty consultation is vital to insulate the university from external influences, both political and financial.
  8. By placing a moratorium on non-academic capital projects that often saddle the university with high levels of debt, such as the Memorial Stadium renovation or the redevelopment of Lower Sproul.
  9. By supporting the ongoing legislative audit of the University of California’s Office of the President, and redirecting state subsidies for grants in aid to offset higher tuition to lower tuition fees for all.
  10. By developing new community outreach programs, bringing our teaching and research to the people of California.

Accordingly, the process of choosing the Chancellor should be open to the university community:

  • The short list of candidates selected by the Search Committee and forwarded to the President should be publicly discussed and not the subject of secret deliberation.
  • The candidates should be invited to campus for public presentations and questions from the university community – faculty, staff, and students.
  • The final choice should be made by the President and Regents after consultation with the Academic Senate to ensure a candidate supported by the campus community.

We propose Robert Reich as an excellent candidate for chancellor. Reich is the Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy in the Goldman School at Berkeley, former Secretary of Labor in the Clinton Administration, distinguished public intellectual and commentator, author of best-selling books on the economy, politics and education, inspiration for the film, Inequality for All, and a firm believer in public education and the public interest.

Berkeley Faculty Association


September 18, 2016
by admin
Comments Off on UC Berkeley Faculty Petition Concerning the Suspension of a DeCal Course

UC Berkeley Faculty Petition Concerning the Suspension of a DeCal Course

We, the undersigned faculty of the University of California, Berkeley, object to the decision taken by Chancellor Dirks and Dean Hesse to suspend a Decal class that was sponsored by a faculty member in Ethnic Studies and approved by its Acting Department Chair as well as the Academic Senate’s Committee on Courses of Instruction (COCI).  However that decision is justified, the sudden suspension of the class, prior to consulting the Academic Senate, is a clear violation of the two principles of shared governance and academic freedom that are hallmarks of our campus.  As it is the responsibility of faculty to determine the curriculum, we demand the immediate reinstatement of the course.

Thanks very much to all those who signed the petition.