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UCSD Student Suspended For Hanging Noose

The UC San Diego student who hung a noose inside a campus library has been suspended from the university. Chancellor Mary Anne Fox says it's one example of how the university is taking actions to quell racial tensions.

Police say the female student hung a noose from a bookcase inside the Geisel Library. Campus police are not classifying it as a hate crime, but there are saying the noose was left with the intent to terrorize.

It's another racially-charged incident since a group of students took part in the so-called Compton Cookout party. Fox told students at a campus demonstration that her highest priority is their safety.

“We need to come together and stand together strongly. I pledge to you that we will create a campus climate that students will know that this university that respects them and their communities,” Fox said.

Minority students took over Fox's office on Friday to demand change. Fox says she is taking actions based on a list of student demands from UCSD's Black Student Union. One of her actions is the creation of a task force to help bolster outreach and recruitment strategies for minority students. Other actions include:

  • Charging a permanent taskforce to review and enhance outreach programs and identify recruitment strategies to attract minority faculty. Associate Vice Chancellor of Faculty Equity and the Faculty Equity Advisors will serve as the core of this committee.
  • Creation of a Campus Climate Commission modeled after UCLA’s recent efforts to address declines in African-American enrollments
  • Continue to fund the Faculty-Student Mentor Programs; fund the vacant Program Coordinator position in the African American Studies Minor; continue to provide funding within the Chancellor’s Diversity Office
  • Currently identifying a space for an African-American Resource Center on campus
  • Currently identifying appropriate, central locations for cultural art
  • Chancellor and campus leaders to meet with the chair and vice chair of the Black Student Union at least once every academic quarter.

Comments

Avatar for user 'LC'

LC | February 26, 2010 at 9:14 p.m. ― 4 years, 9 months ago

The rumor now circulating is that the student involved in hanging the noose was non-white, and the administration is keeping mum about her identity to avoid more trouble. It is possible that the student was sympathetic to the protesters' cause.

The fact that the BSU quietly decamped from the Chancellor's office lends some credibility to this claim, as does the fact that the unnamed student is not being charged with a hate crime, and is not being permanently ejected from campus.

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Avatar for user 'expat'

expat | February 26, 2010 at 9:38 p.m. ― 4 years, 9 months ago

Dude, you seriously have to stop guessing. We communicate just fine, but quit putting theories out there, things are bad enough as it is. BSU announced that they would leave at 5pm and they did. End of story. The identity of a suspect shouldn't be released in such an emotionally charged case, common sense.
Just because something is possible, just because rumors are circulating, and just because demonstrators are capable to disband without chaos breaking out doesn't mean anything, so just chill. We'll know much more tomorrow.

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Avatar for user 'ALove'

ALove | February 26, 2010 at 9:39 p.m. ― 4 years, 9 months ago

As a member of the BSU I can tell you that we "quietly decamped from the Chancellor's office" because we had gotten the information that we wanted and for that reason alone.

The ethnicity of the person has not been released.

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Avatar for user 'LC'

LC | February 26, 2010 at 9:53 p.m. ― 4 years, 9 months ago

Fair enough, expat. But I'm cynical. If the noose-incident really was an act of hate speech directed at African Americans and the student involved isn't getting prosecuted, much less expelled, then there is a big, big problem - nooses, swastikas, and the like have absolutely no place on a college campus. And, if the act was a tactical provocation, I still think an expulsion and prosecution is called for.

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Avatar for user 'oranjeboom'

oranjeboom | February 26, 2010 at 9:59 p.m. ― 4 years, 9 months ago

"Dude, you seriously have to stop guessing. "

If the police would simply release the ethnic/racial identity (not the total identity) of the perp then guessing would be unnecessary. When I heard it was a female, my subjective odds of it being a black person. I could see a white smartass guy doing something like this, but it would be pretty rare for a white female. I'm going with 50-50 now it was a black girl.

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Avatar for user 'jb03'

jb03 | February 26, 2010 at 10:06 p.m. ― 4 years, 9 months ago

I agree the police or the administration need to release the race of the perp. I am with oranjeboom, white guy i can see but female, I think of a black woman who found the need to push the cause. If it was a white woman need to enforce harsher punishment. I feel, if we are going to get past this, we need honesty.

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Avatar for user 'jb03'

jb03 | February 26, 2010 at 10:08 p.m. ― 4 years, 9 months ago

I agree the police or the administration need to release the race of the perp. I am with oranjeboom, white guy i can see but female, I think of a black woman who found the need to push the cause. If it was a white woman, they need to enforce a harsher punishment. I feel, if we are going to get past this, we need honesty.

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Avatar for user 'jude1963'

jude1963 | February 27, 2010 at 1:12 a.m. ― 4 years, 9 months ago

This is quite comman in the US military.For a minority ,for whatever reason,to hang a noose,paint a symbol like KKK,or such,then get caught and its swept under the carpet.When a minority does this to inflame racial hatred against whites it should be considered a Hate Crime and punished as such!
wayne
Christianwhitenation.name

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Avatar for user 'LC'

LC | February 27, 2010 at 2:13 a.m. ― 4 years, 9 months ago

The story is coming out. The student is a non-black minority (and visual arts major), who apparently did this absent any real intent at all, without, it seems, understanding or knowing the history of the gesture. She's made an announcement to the Guardian.

This, apparently, was neither a hoax, nor provocation, nor was it a racist threat. It was a very unfortunate series of events.

Perhaps this is an indictment of the way that US history is taught. (Unless, of course, the student didn't attend US schools before attending UCSD, which is a real possibility.) Sometimes I need to remind myself that everyone involved - frat boys, BSU members, almost all the undergrads - are barely out of childhood, and often deeply clueless. I was at that age - which is why I've become so cynical about campus-based movements.

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Avatar for user 'jude1963'

jude1963 | February 27, 2010 at 8:42 a.m. ― 4 years, 9 months ago

Good!!!!! then a race war is avoided for the time being !lol

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Avatar for user 'ear2theground'

ear2theground | February 27, 2010 at 9:08 a.m. ― 4 years, 9 months ago

I would argue that -- in the midst of the current turmoil at UCSD -- a person hanging a noose in the library was WELL AWARE of its timing and consequences. Hate crime or not, this action served to pour flames on the fire. That person should be PERMANENTLY suspended from UCSD. What a loser. (It seems they selfishly may have wanted something exciting for their visual arts project, if this person is indeed a Visual Arts major as posted here.)

Why did UCSD insert itself to get involved without knowing the facts or context of the precipitating event of this campus crisis? The YouTube videos of this 'Jiggaboo Jones' (ugh) provocateur put the context of this silly party in perspective. It was off-campus, wasn't it? What's the nexus to UCSD, exactly? It appears the administration has fallen all over itself prematurely to maintain political correctness.

UCSD and KPBS would do the entire community (by the way, this story is now in the New York Times now) a service if they included this context in any continuing story. They should also provide a breakdown of the ethnic composition of UCSD's student body AND workforce. 'Institutional racism'? Look in the White House, folks. And next time, BSU, if you're gonna use a quote or paraphrase Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the local evening news, please cite the source of your quote!

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Avatar for user 'expat'

expat | February 27, 2010 at 1:40 p.m. ― 4 years, 9 months ago

Ignorance is no defense in this case, otherwise anybody could get away with any hate crime by claiming to have merely imitated. Reproduction is perpetuation is support.

Ear2: The school has been part of the problem for a long time. BSU handed chancellor Fox a similar list years ago, nothing has changed. The UC officially pretended to address this problem about ten years ago, not a thing has changed. J2J is an opportunistic, failed comedian who will profit financially from this tragedy. ugh is right! UCSD has the documents you want, it's a public school, but you'll have to do the work for it yourself. I agree that it would be useful if the media outlets provided more info. However, if you check out the composition of faculty that is even more disheartening, and they know what is going on.
http://www.ucop.edu/acadadv/datamgmt/napp8402r.pdf

fyi: AP picked it up, so now the Washington Post is on it, too.

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Avatar for user 'SDjon92101'

SDjon92101 | February 27, 2010 at 2:38 p.m. ― 4 years, 9 months ago

So can we have a WSU at UCSD?
We could call it CSU if we wanted to be more PC.

Also, can we get an area of campus sectioned off to us to display our cultural arts?
A caucasian-american resource center?

Creating any "resource center" based on an ethnicity FURTHERS racial discrimination. It is only when there is NO SEGREGATION based on race - whether with good intent or ill - that racism can truly be abolished.
Art from all cultures should be displayed evenly across the entire campus. There shouldn't be an "african culture display area" just as much as there shouldn't be an "asian culture display area". Instead create an INTERNATIONAL display area emphasizing the beautiful diversity across the world. Segregating art and resources segregates people just as effectively as two water fountains with a "whites" sign over one and a "blacks" sign over the other.

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Avatar for user 'expat'

expat | February 27, 2010 at 7:11 p.m. ― 4 years, 9 months ago

The entire campus is a caucasian area, that is exactly the problem.

Post-racial America may be a nice thought, but that is precisely why the black students are rightly infuriated: while much of the caucasian student body claims that they are all post-racial they have racist parties with heavy undertones of minstrelsy. THAT is not post-racial, and it is only fair that a weak minority insists on the rights they have been promised for years now by chancellor Fox until THAT disappears.

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Avatar for user 'LC'

LC | February 27, 2010 at 8:09 p.m. ― 4 years, 9 months ago

expat, I would back up an "ignorance is no excuse" line if the accused had either been an actual racist making a threat or a sympathizer to the protesters trying to start trouble. this is, it is turning out, someone who simply didn't recognize the activity as having these kinds of semiotics. this kind of "ignorance" is, indeed, an excuse. in a country full of people who can't locate america on a map, who think that france is a city in the us, who don't know who fought who in world war two, i don't find this at all remarkable. the public school system in california in particular is a failure, and the admissions guidelines for the uc system - by which the top 4% of any graduating high school class is eligible for admission - has led to a lot of not-really-well-educated students being admitted into the system.

"the entire campus is a caucasian area?" has 'caucasian' simply become a free-floating signifier representing any kind of abstract hegemonic domination? because that's kind of, you know, b.s.

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Avatar for user 'ear2theground'

ear2theground | February 27, 2010 at 8:24 p.m. ― 4 years, 9 months ago

"The entire campus is a caucasian area, that is exactly the problem."

expat, I know this is a response th SDJon9201, but, excuse me? You obviously do NOT spend any time on campus! From the sound of it, I'd say you're an outsider.

[Actually, the NY Times did break down the ethic composition at UCSD: 40% Asian American, 30% White, 20% Latino, African-American the pathetic 2% (don't get me wrong: it iIS too low, as a percentage of the general population, but it's hardly a "white, or caucasian, area."]

Again, I urge you to check the White House for its current occupant (who I supported, and continue to support), and can you name the colleges that comprise the UCSD campus? Because you should know that African-Americans' contributions to American society don't exactly mean nuthin' at UCSD - on the contrary. Go ahead: Name 'em. Here.

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Avatar for user 'expat'

expat | February 27, 2010 at 10:33 p.m. ― 4 years, 9 months ago

my friend, respect others and don't jump to conclusions. I spend most of my week on campus, have no worries. I know its history, do you? Here's a hint: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3lbT0n... , esp. 24:30 and on. In a 2007 video the need for safe spaces is confirmed. Between Revelle, and Muir, Marshall, Warren, and Roosevelt, and even Sixth, I reserve the right to speak as a member of the UCSD community, but thanks anyway.

Again, the problem, as LC knows very well, is the whitening of campus, in which the myth of model minorities is applied to further stereotypes against other groups. (in case that doesn't mean anything to you, fyi: http://www.raceandhistory.com/selfnews/viewnews.cgi?newsid1033693147,52881,.shtml)

Ignorance means exactly what the word says: the lack of awareness of the own ignorance, distinguishing it from malice. The lack of awareness as that girl and her friends were winding the rope into a noose is the tragedy. Would you excuse kids for just drawing swastikas? I choose not to accept this kind of behavior.

The "caucasian area" is indeed a response to SDJon9201, and perhaps overly short for: UCSD was founded and built by white people, is run by a homogenous administration and faculty, shows displays of its founding that excludes peoples of color, and that refuses to return the sacred remains on which it is built to the Natives from whom this land was taken. The art is caucasian, the political leadership is caucasian, so how exactly, is my question, should Caucasians be able to create a caucasian space???

Ear: I know who sits in the White House and I am grateful for it every day. But he was elected despite his ethnicity, not because of it or because nobody cared. This is not post-racial America, and it will not be until kids stop having delusional ideas about race, which is exactly the proof that race is still very much alive and kicking--in the U.S. and certainly at UCSD.

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Avatar for user 'LC'

LC | February 27, 2010 at 10:55 p.m. ― 4 years, 9 months ago

expat, the raceandhistory link didn't work. But that site seems to be a pro-Mugabe site. That, I'm afraid, generates serious doubts on its credibility: it characterizes in many of its articles any criticism of Mugabe's deeply troubled, economically disastrous, and corrupt regime as racist. I don't engage with people I consider fools, which is why I probably seem to be arguing with you more than with people who are making crude, reactionary apologetics for the party-goers: I consider them beneath direct engagement. But if you really are an apologist for the Mugabe regime, then, I have to start to question things.

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Avatar for user 'oranjeboom'

oranjeboom | February 28, 2010 at 2:46 a.m. ― 4 years, 9 months ago

: UCSD was founded and built by white people, i

That's exactly right ... why we let it be taken over by Asians, I'll never know.

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Avatar for user 'oldybutgoody'

oldybutgoody | February 28, 2010 at 5:19 a.m. ― 4 years, 9 months ago

I work at a company in San Diego which is presently contaminated by this UCSD racist infestation. It doesn't stop at blacks. It is extended into the 'free thinkers who want to rid the world of all whites' agitated by selfish spoiled brats who need to eat out of garbage cans for a while. After being the brunt end one of these UCSD supposed graduates who can't find their way out of a paper bag and take responsibility for just poor work, I condemn UCSD. This wasn't a black or white either, it was an asian. Oh yes...sins of the father thing......maybe dating back to World War I.

I see where UCSD has some misconception about education and their programs have produced a bunch of left over copycats from the 60's who flunked a course on being a civilized society and responsible citizens. I graduated from National University with a Master's, not a degree specializing in taking my problems out on other people. But I see that is what UCSD is about. Oh yes , 'free thinkers club', I'm sorry.

This message is for all you UCSD special people.... As a result of this from your little haven of racist discriminatory opportunity in San Diego, maybe you can 'free think' this....hiring freeze on all UCSD students and graduates as well as immediate termination of any 'free thinking' outbursts or whatever to hell you want to call it... maybe you can find your way to St. Vincent de Paul's when you are hungry enough. But then again, National didn't have any spoiled brats, just grown-ups.

Oh by the way......brought to you by National University....and I'm a pretty famous writer too.

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Avatar for user 'expat'

expat | February 28, 2010 at 8:38 a.m. ― 4 years, 9 months ago

Oh dear, really, LC? I didn't notice that. I apologize of course, and I of course am in no way close to a Mugabe supporter. (shudder) On a side note, I'd be interested in your sources on that, I couldn't find anything. The site is from Trinidad&Tobago, and it is widely linked on Trini sites. http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/raceandhistory.com/taino .

Be that as it may, the most relevant passages by author Tim Wise--I hope that clears up the source question (timwise.org)--run:

"And finally, to argue-as supporters of the model minority myth do-that Asians "have made it, so why can't blacks," is to misunderstand the issue of moral and ethical responsibility to correct the harm of wrongful actions.

Even if we accept the notion that groups victimized by racism can "make it" without assistance, affirmative action, or reparations, that would not deny (or indeed speak to in any way) the fact that society has an obligation to compensate the victims of injustice. After all, if my leg is blown off in an industrial accident, it hardly matters that many people with only one leg go on to succeed. The issue of compensatory justice remains, irrespective of what gains one can make without compensation.

[...]

Those who trumpet "Asian values and culture" (based on stereotypical understandings of both, not unlike the white guys who covet mail-order Asian brides for their anticipated "docility"), do Asians no favors. If anything, they set them up in a way that not only harms the groups against which they are contrasted, but in a way that harms Asians as well.

To be considered a group filled with math and science geniuses and passive, sensual, and willing female companions, not only objectifies Asian Pacific Americans, but results in a special stigma for those in the various Asian groups who aren't good in school, don't know how to fix your computer nor care to do so, or who don't fit the sexist stereotypes that are so comforting to Western male tastes.

The model minority myth, in other words, is a setup: a carrot offered to certain groups so long as they don't get out of line, assert their rights, strike for better wages, or try to determine their own sexuality. And as with all carrots, there is an even bigger stick, ready to throttle those who don't go along with the game.

Ultimately, justice and equity will remain elusive so long as whites feel no compunction about using one group of color against another group of color, in an attempt to make fools of both." http://raceandhistory.com/selfnews/printnews.cgi?newsid1033693147,52881,.shtml

But I don't even need that source. Any quick web search finds tons of facts for those who care to know that to bring APA into the discussion is to try and change the subject, often with wrong arguments.
http://www.wcl.american.edu/journal/lawrev/45/wu.html (Washington College of Law)
Crystal, D. (1989). Asian Americans and the myth of the model minority. Social Casework,
70 (7), 405-413.

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Avatar for user 'expat'

expat | February 28, 2010 at 8:39 a.m. ― 4 years, 9 months ago

Hey oldy...no fair, what about all the protesters? They'll have UCSD degrees, no?

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Avatar for user 'expat'

expat | February 28, 2010 at 4:09 p.m. ― 4 years, 9 months ago


Statement of UC President Mark G. Yudof, the Chancellors of the ten UC campuses, and the Chair and Vice Chair of the Universitywide Academic Senate
February 26, 2010

As leaders of the University of California, we are deeply disturbed by recent events at a few of our campuses. We condemn all acts of racism, intolerance and incivility. Regardless of how such offenses are rationalized, or what free speech rights they purport to express, the acts we have witnessed are unacceptable. The actions of these individuals reflect neither our principles nor our values, nor the sentiments of the University of California community. We will not allow the actions of a few to speak for this University. We denounce them.

Each of our campuses is committed to promoting and defending a learning environment that values and supports each student, faculty and staff member in an atmosphere that is open, civil, fair, caring and respectful. These values are enshrined in the "Principles of Community" each campus adheres to and that clearly outline our expectations for behavior on our campuses. We expect that all members of our university community, including our visitors, will be respectful of differing views, opinions, experiences, and background.

When violations occur, it is incumbent on us, as leaders and as stewards of free speech on our campuses, to push back. We have a responsibility to speak out against activities that promote intolerance or undermine civil dialogue. As always, the remedy for bad speech is good speech. For that reason, we call on all members of the UC community – students, faculty and staff – to affirm and defend the values of the University of California. We are speaking out and ask that you do the same whenever, wherever and however you confront behavior that violates the principles and values of this University.

Mark G. Yudof
President
University of California Henry Powell
Chair
UC Academic Senate Daniel Simmons
Vice Chair
UC Academic Senate

Robert J. Birgeneau
Chancellor
UC Berkeley Linda P.B. Katehi
Chancellor
UC Davis Michael V. Drake, M.D.
Chancellor
UC Irvine

Gene Block
Chancellor
UC Los Angeles Steve Kang
Chancellor
UC Merced Timothy P. White
Chancellor
UC Riverside

Marye Anne Fox
Chancellor
UC San Diego Susan Desmond-Hellmann
Chancellor
UC San Francisco Henry T. Yang
Chancellor
UC Santa Barbara

George Blumenthal
Chancellor
UC Santa Cruz

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Avatar for user 'gerold'

gerold | March 1, 2010 at 3:09 p.m. ― 4 years, 8 months ago

Kind of sad to see all these old whiners posting here, complaining either about uppity young freethinkers ("oldybutgoody") or mean old oppressive white people ("expat").

It's too bad we don't hear anything much from the students themselves, but from my conversations with actual students, the grunting and sniveling from the people posting here is quite unrepresentative of what's happening among normal students.

My impression: the vast majority of students at UCSD reject racism completely, and are looking forward to a post-racial future, not at the injustices of the past. Most are too busy, and are working too hard, to take much interest in the antics of frat boys, the complaints of the hyper-sensitive, or the frantic CYA-scramble of the administration.

note to "oldybutgoody": my company hired a new grad from UCSD a couple years ago, an excellent mechanical engineer; very smart, and his education prepared him to be productive immediately. And while this is hardly relevant, he's also Hispanic. Based on what I've seen here, he's a much better American than the angry white men ranting and whinging on this board.

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Avatar for user 'ear2theground'

ear2theground | March 1, 2010 at 3:53 p.m. ― 4 years, 8 months ago

Gerold: 'Chillax.' From LATimes.com:

Student apologizes for UC San Diego noose incident, claims no racist intent
March 1, 2010 | 3:12 pm

The UC San Diego student reportedly responsible for last week’s controversial noose episode issued a public, but anonymous, apology Monday and said she'd had no racist intent when she hung the rope from a bookcase in the campus' main library. The discovery of the noose set off angry protests at a school already tense from racially charged episodes and triggered a round of condemnations from UC leaders and even the governor.

In a letter published Monday on the front page of the campus' student newspaper, the Guardian, the student wrote that "this was not an act of racism" and contended that it was a "stupid mistake." She said it was the result of fooling around and had nothing to do with seeking to intimidate black students with a symbol of lynching.

"I know what I did was offensive -- regardless of my intentions -- I am just trying to say I’m sorry. As a minority student who sympathizes with the students that have been affected by the recent issues on campus, I am distraught to know that I have unintentionally added to their pain," wrote the student, who was suspended Friday and remains under investigation by campus police for a possible hate crime.

The letter is signed "by Anonymous UCSD Student" and offers no clues to her identity or ethnicity. A note at the end of the letter states that the newspaper had verified the author’s authenticity. Sari Thayer, the Guardian’s Web editor, said in a telephone interview that the woman had approached the paper and asked to publish the letter and that "a reliable source" had confirmed it.

In the letter, the woman said she and friends had been playing with a rope, jumping with it, making a lasso and then a noose early last week. She then carried it to the library, where she was studying, and strung it over a desk there Tuesday and forgot about it. Its discovery Thursday night caused a firestorm on campus, where racial tensions were high after a Jan. 15 off-campus party mocked Black History Month and a derogatory term for blacks was used on a student television show.

When she realized the controversial noose was her responsibility, "I felt so ashamed and embarrassed, and the first thing I did was call the campus police and confess," she wrote. She said her motivation in publishing the letter was "to hopefully put a little bit of faith back into the UCSD campus by clarifying that it was not an act of racism."

A campus spokesperson said campus police are continuing to investigate the incident and are consulting about it with the San Diego County district attorney's office and the U.S. attorney's office. The student remains suspended while the investigation continues, the spokesperson said.

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Avatar for user 'jenab6'

jenab6 | March 1, 2010 at 4:06 p.m. ― 4 years, 8 months ago

Does anyone know the race of the perpetrator of the noose-hanging incident? I can't find that information anywhere. The police said the intent was to terrorize, but they also said it wasn't a "hate crime." The student was suspended, but she was not expelled. The race of the perpetrator should never be omitted from news accounts of this kind, since whether the incident resulted from hate or as a hoax is important for the public to know. I believe that many, perhaps most, incidents of this kind are hoaxes. Not real. I think the media presumes too much when they start yapping about racism.

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Avatar for user 'expat'

expat | March 2, 2010 at 7:49 a.m. ― 4 years, 8 months ago

gerold,
thank you again for an elegant and insightful contribution. I especially feel complimented as a UCSD student. Thanks.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | March 2, 2010 at 5 p.m. ― 4 years, 8 months ago

The noose perpetrator has been officially identified as a (drum roll)..........

Minority Student.

Any response from the Black Student Union?

Didn't think so.

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Avatar for user 'expat'

expat | March 2, 2010 at 7:39 p.m. ― 4 years, 8 months ago

And...drum roll...yet another tasteless comment on the situation defacing Geisel Library.
http://stopracismucsd.wordpress.com/

By the way. Read her letter? Are you kidding me? She admired her friend's skill in tying a noose, took it to the library to study and forgot it there???

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Avatar for user 'Transparency'

Transparency | December 15, 2010 at 5:34 p.m. ― 3 years, 11 months ago

Californians focus more closely on the leadership of UC Chancellors. The signs of University of California Berkeley’s relative decline are clear. In 2004, for example, the London-based Times Higher Education ranked UC Berkeley the second leading research university in the world, just behind Harvard; in 2009 that ranking had tumbled to 39th place. Incompetence reigns under Chancellor Birgeneau, Provost Breslauer, Vice-Chancellor Yeary
University of California Chancellor Robert Birgeneau’s eight-year fiscal track record is dismal indeed. He would like to blame the politicians, since they stopped giving him every dollar he has asked for, and the state legislators do share some responsibility for the financial crisis. But not in the sense he means.
A competent chancellor would have been on top of identifying inefficiencies in the system and then crafting a plan to fix them. Competent oversight by the Board of Regents and the legislature would have required him to provide data on problems and on what steps he was taking to solve them. Instead, every year Birgeneau would request a budget increase, the regents would agree to it, and the legislature would provide. The hard questions were avoided by all concerned, and the problems just piled up to $150 million of inefficiencies….until there was no money left.
It’s not that Birgeneau was unaware that there were, in fact, waste and inefficiencies in the system. Faculty and staff have raised issues with senior management, but when they failed to see relevant action taken, they stopped. Finally, Birgeneau engaged some expensive ($3 million) consultants, Bain & Company, to tell him what he should have been able to find out from the bright, engaged people in his own organization.
In short, there is plenty of blame to go around. But you never want a serious crisis to go to waste. An opportunity now exists for the UC president, Board of Regents, and California legislators to jolt UC Berkeley back to life, applying some simple check-and-balance management principles. Increasing the budget is not enough; transforming senior management is necessary. The faculty, Academic Senate, Cal. Alumni, financial donors, benefactors await the transformation. The senior management operates author, who has 35 years’ consulting experience, has taught at University of California Berkeley, where he was able to observe the culture and the way senior management work.

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