The Editor's Back Fence

UCB Disses Alumnae and Alumni Once More

Sunday May 03, 2020 - 03:31:00 PM

As an alumna of the University of California at Berkeley (’61) I got an email this week from Chancellor Carol Christ which said in part:
“The COVID-19 crisis is challenging for the campus in many ways, not least so to our students.

“Across the income spectrum, students are facing enormous economic pressure brought on by the pandemic to pay for housing, food, and access to basic necessities. Almost overnight, part-time jobs many students relied on to fund their education have ended, and lay-offs and pay reductions began weakening the capacity of families to provide support.

“How are we responding as a campus community?

Please join me on Tuesday, May 5 for a live, online chat on how Berkeley is addressing the changing landscape of student need. Mark your calendars for 12:30 to 1 p.m. (Pacific) for this important conversation.

“You will learn about how you can take part in the response, including supporting the Student Emergency Fund. I’ll be joined by a panel that includes campus leaders, a philanthropic partner and trustee, and a student-parent supported by the fund.

You will also be able to submit questions for the chat in advance.

One significant question I have for Chancellor Christ is why she’s trying to rush her plans to build a sixteen-story building on People’s Park and to increase, massively, the number of admitted students through the environmental review process when affected parties, particularly local residents, are not able to attend the meeting in person. The City of Berkeley has already protested the schedule, which is blamed on COVID-19 but looks pretty sneaky to many of us alumnae.

Online chats are not an adequate substitute for open public forums. They probably don’t qualify under CEQA, engendering inevitable law suits and demonstrations.

This is no way to ensure public support for the school and its students.

Click here if you'd like to tell the Chancellor what you think of this process.