The final tab from last year’s so-called Free Speech Week is $3.9 million.
UC Berkeley spent the money on security over the month-long period spanning August 27 to September 27, during which time the campus paid to house and feed outside police officers as well as maintain a series of barricades on campus. The expenditure was prompted by a student group’s decision to invite a slew of controversial conservative speakers, many of whom were no-shows, prompting fears of violent clashes between activists on the far right and left.
In other news, architecture graduate students submitted a petition calling for the removal of Prof. Nezar AlSayyad, whose status has been in limbo following a finding by the Academic Senate that his behavior violated the university’s faculty code of conduct.
While AlSayyad has been removed from teaching, he has been allowed to continue serving on committees and advising students. The violation stems from an accusation by a graduate student that AlSayyad placed his hand on her thigh and proposed becoming “close friends” and taking a trip together to Las Vegas. AlSayyad denies the allegations.
A confidential hearing was held in November concerning whether to remove his tenure, but no action or timeline has since been announced.
On a more positive note, the Cal undergrad recently detained by ICE used excess money raised to pay for his bond to help free other detainees. On a related theme, Fox News picked up a story from the Daily Cal, reporting that the campus will spend $800,000 to support undocumented students. Meanwhile, a California ballot initiative promoting tuition-free college received national attention, while SFGate highlighted the financial plight of college instructors in the costly Bay Area.
2/5 – UC Berkeley spent $4 million for free speech event security (AP): Chancellor Carol Christ said in statement, “We would have certainly preferred to expend these precious resources on our academic mission. We do not, however, regret having taken the steps that were clearly necessary to support our paired commitment to free speech and the safety of our campus community.”
2/6 – UC Berkeley architecture students demand removal of professor (SFChronicle): The article notes AlSayyad continues to draw his $211,000 annual salary.
2/10 – UC Berkeley student bails out ICE detainees (KRON4): The student’s attorney said, “he felt really, really bad that other were locked up whom he felt deserved to be in this country more than him.”
2/9 – UC Berkeley plans to allocate $800G for needs of undocumented students (FoxNews): The article’s tone is neutral, but the headlines seems to emphasize the expense.
2/6 – A Serious Push for Free College in California (TheNation): The “College for All Act” would fund tuition through an estate tax on millionaires and billionaires.
2/5 – Secret lives of Bay Area part-time profs: Here’s why they work at Safeway, live out of cars (SFGate): The article features a slew of depressing anecdotes about making-do in the Bay Area on less than $30,000 a year.