UC Berkeley

UC Berkeley Chancellor declares it a “difficult year”

Chancellor Robert Birgeneau

UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau is telling his staff that this has been ‘the single most difficult year I personally have experienced.”

Birgeneau, who has served as chancellor since 2004, had to deal with severe fiscal constraints, staff furloughs, large-scale protests, vandalism and violence on and near the campus, hunger strikes, and lots of criticism.

The most difficult time may have been in December, when a group of students and local residents carrying torches stormed his house while he and his wife slept inside. Some of the protestors smashed lights and overturned planters.

“It’s been difficult,” Birgeneau told members of the Berkeley Staff Assembly right before the Memorial Day holiday, according to a story on the university’s web site. “And, I would have to say — and I’m really sorry about this — that probably the staff took the brunt of the difficulties.”

Birgeneau noted some good news as well: the system-wide furloughs will end in August, private donations are up, and a record 50,000 students applied for admission to next year’s freshman class.

Read the complete story in UC Berkeley News.

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  • Transparency

    UCB Chancellor Birgeneau Loss of Credibility, Trust
    The UCB budget gap has grown to $150 million, and still the Chancellor is spending money that isn’t there on expensive outside consultants. His reasons range from the need for impartiality to requiring the “innovative thinking, expertise, and new knowledge” the consultants would bring.

    Does this mean that the faculty and management of a world-class research and teaching institution lack the knowledge, impartiality, innovation, and professionalism to come up with solutions? Have they been fudging their research for years? The consultants will glean their recommendations from interviewing faculty and the UCB management that hired them; yet solutions could be found internally if the Chancellor were doing the job HE was hired to do. Consultant fees would be far better spent on meeting the needs of students.

    There can be only one conclusion as to why creative solutions have not been forthcoming from the professionals within UCB: Chancellor Birgeneau has lost credibility and the trust of the faculty as well as of the Academic Senate leadership that represents them. Even if the faculty agrees with the consultants’ recommendations – disagreeing might put their jobs in jeopardy – the underlying problem of lost credibility and trust will remain.

  • Transparency

    How could it be a difficult year when Chancellor Birgeneau can hire $3,000,000 consultants to do the work of his job and of his vice chancellors. Unfortunately the students, faculty and academic senate are the victims of Chancellor Birgeneau’s self-serving leadership.