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November 18, 2016
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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
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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
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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.



September 8, 2016
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Comments Off on Faculty Associations’ Letter to the President of Long Island University

Faculty Associations’ Letter to the President of Long Island University

As you may already know, three days ago, President of Long Island University Kimberly R. Cline and the Board of Trustees locked out the faculty of the LIU Brooklyn Campus. After contract negotiations on a new contract dragged to the start of a new academic term, the administration simply ended negotiations. Such a lockout has never happened before in higher education in the United States. The administration not only locked out the faculty, but they also cut off their pay, their benefits, their health care, and even their university email. (For more up to date information see http://academeblog.org/2016/09/08/lockout-of-faculty-at-liu-looking-down-into-the-abyss/).

Convinced that this gross violation of labor relations and shared governance practices must be met with swift and resolute denunciation, CUCFA has sent a letter to President Cline http://cucfa.org/2016/09/letter-to-the-president-of-liu/ inviting her to desist from her chosen course of action and return to the negotiating table. We invite all UC Berkeley faculty to pay attention to the unfolding of events and participate in the discussions that are likely to follow regarding how to deal with this dangerous precedent were LIU’s administrators to persist with the look out.

You can also sign an online petition hosted by the AFT.




Dear Dr. Cline:

The Council of University of California Faculty Associations is extremely alarmed by the “lock out” action taken by your administration against the faculty of LIU-Brooklyn.

The action has no precedent in higher education in this country and constitutes a grave assault on unions, labor negotiations, and faculty themselves.

We urge you to reconsider this tactic and return to the negotiating table to bargain in good faith.

To do otherwise is to antagonize hardworking and dedicated faculty for years to come, devastate the educational aspirations and expectations of your students, many of whom have overcome tremendous obstacles to arrive at your college gates, and produce pariah status for LIU-Brooklyn in American higher education.

This path has no future for your institution and we urge you to reconsider.


The Board of the Council of UC Faculty Associations


July 4, 2016
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Comments Off on Response to Chancellor Dirk’s Letter concerning Intercollegiate Athletics

Response to Chancellor Dirk’s Letter concerning Intercollegiate Athletics

Below is the BFA response to Chancellor Dirk’s Letter.  You can sign the petition to withdraw the contract of Coach Harrington, pending further investigation and post comments here. Further documents can be found below the following letter.

Dear Chancellor Dirks,

Thank you for your response to our letter. While we are gratified that you are taking seriously the “win at any cost” culture of football coaching at Berkeley, we are disappointed that the new investigation you propose is confined “to assess[ing] the current state of the program and the efficacy of the many changes we have made in recent years,” thereby bypassing the question of coach Harrington’s culpability in Ted Agu’s death. If you claim that Harrington did nothing wrong, then why did the university pay out $4.75 million after admitting negligence in the civil suit brought by Agu’s parents? 

In the second (earlier) case, a UCPD investigation may have found insufficient evidence of criminal wrongdoing in the locker-room assault of Fabiano Hale, but we find no record of coach Harrington having been investigated for violations of his employment contract, which requires that “Coach’s conduct shall at all times be in a manner consistent with Coach’s position as an instructor of students.”

The question remains whether this bellicose coach, who appears to deploy homophobic and racist innuendo and to train people to death, should continue to be an employee of our university. We are not optimistic about your authorization of another investigation if you continue to regard the Tanji report as a reasonable model.  Not only did the two investigators appointed to the review have significant personal and professional ties to the staff of Intercollegiate Athletics; their report did not find any deficiencies in a training program that led to the death of one athlete and the serious injury of another.  All of the changes made to the training program, including greater medical review, were made only to settle the lawsuit filed by Ted Agu’s parents. 

What is required in these cases is serious independent review of faculty,  administrators, and staff who may have violated campus codes of conduct.   These violations should not have to await exposure through lawsuits by injured parties.

Thank you again for expressing an interest in hearing faculty concerns.  We believe we have adequately expressed the concerns of the BFA, but will encourage other faculty who wish to meet with you privately to take up your invitation.

Yours Sincerely, Michael Burawoy and Celeste Langan, Co-chairs of the Berkeley Faculty Association.  

Further documents:

Chancellor Dirks to Professors Burawoy and Langan (Reproduced in Full here)


June 30, 2016
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Comments Off on Enough is Enough: Petition to Suspend Contract Renewal of Football Coach, Damon Harrington

Enough is Enough: Petition to Suspend Contract Renewal of Football Coach, Damon Harrington

Dear faculty colleagues,

The BFA has written the letter below calling on Chancellor Dirks to suspend the renewal of Coach Harrington’s contract, pending further investigation by a truly independent inquiry. One player died, another was knocked out unconscious. This is not how a university should treat its students. The San Francisco Chronicle and the San Jose Mercury News have made detailed reports on these incidents.



In the article that appears in the San Francisco Chronicle, Brian Barsky and Michael O’Hare are reported as critics of the university administration as are Mike Smith (former legal counsel for university) and John Cummins (chief of staff under four Berkeley Chancellors). The Chancellor is quoted as being satisfied that the football coaching staff is now in compliance with regulations and best practices, but says nothing about the behavior of Harrington, who has already cost the university $4.75 million in a civil suit filed by the parents of Ted Agu. Like the sexual harassment cases, this is another instance of exonerating reckless and abusive behavior of those whom the university considers important to its mission, in this case making money from football.


Dear Chancellor Dirks:

The Berkeley Faculty Association requests the suspension of the renewal of the contract of football coach, Damon Harrington, pending further independent investigation. Harrington has allegedly been involved in two incidents: first, the over-exertion of football player, Ted Agu, leading to his death (for which the university had to pay $4.75 million in a civil suit in which the university admitted negligence); and second, provocation of team players to physically punish another player, leading to Fabiano Hale being knocked out unconscious. According to an extensive and detailed report in the San Francisco Chronicle (June 29), the investigation commissioned by the university exonerated Harrington without serious investigation of these incidents of abusive training.  If there is any truth to the allegations in the San Francisco Chronicle, condoning such behavior of its employees is out of keeping with any university that is accountable to its students and concerned to protect their safety and welfare. We, therefore, call for further independent investigation before renewing Harrington’s contract.

Yours Sincerely, Michael Burawoy and Celeste Langan for the Berkeley Faculty Association


Thanks very much to all those who signed the petition and made comments.