Category Archives: Global Corporate U.

Prominent Berkeley name in Panama Leaks files

Li Ka-Shing, one of the richest men in Asia, poses for a photo op with then UC Berkeley Chancellor Roberet "Grinnin' Bobby" Birgeanu on the occasion of the dedication of the Li Ka-Shing Center for Biomedical and Health Sciences and the bestowal on the first-time visitor of the Berkeley Medal, the campus's highest honor, given to those "whose work or contributions to society illustrate the ideals of the university."

Li Ka-Shing, one of the richest men in Asia, poses for a photo op with then UC Berkeley Chancellor Roberet “Grinnin’ Bobby” Birgeanu on the occasion of the dedication of the Li Ka-Shing Center for Biomedical and Health Sciences and the bestowal on the first-time visitor of the Berkeley Medal, the campus’s highest honor, given to those “whose work or contributions to society illustrate the ideals of the university.”

UPDATED: To correct value of donation [H/T to reader Judi Sierra!]

Back when we reported for the late print edition of the Berkeley Daily Planet, we wrote about the decision of the university to rename the building housing the University of California, Berkeley’s School of Public Health.

When the school tore down Earl Warren Hall, the building that rose in its place was named the The Li Ka-Shing Center for Biomedical and Health Sciences.

Warren was one of the university’s most famous graduates, and as chief justice of the United States Supreme Court, he presided over decisions Republicans are now trying to destroy, starting with Brown vs. Board of Education, and a wide range of rulings extending civil rights and ensuring that criminal defendants were fairly treated by law enforcement and local courts.

The building was named in Warren’s honor because as Governor of California he pushed through legislation mandating the creation of the first public health school West of the Mississippi and ensured its funding.

Only after we mentioned the irony of the name change did Berkeley shift gears, first naming a small part of an existing building after the late chief justice, then finally giving his name to an IT building, though in truncated form as Warren Hall, which abandoned the specificity of the earlier name.

Li Ka-Shing, repeatedly named one of the richest men in Asia, had never visited Berkeley before he parted with $40 million to get his name on a building at the university attended by so many of his compatriots.

He did, however, show up for the groundbreaking.

So how does he accumulate all that extra cash?

Well, the Panama Papers reveal that he was one of the many clients using the services of Mossack Fonseca, the Panamanian law firm specializing in helping rich people hide their money and/or the actual ownership of their businesses.

Li’s dealings with the law firm are among the disclosures of this report from Four Corners, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s premiere investigative journalism program.

Via Journeyman Pictures:

The Panama Papers: Secrets Of The Super Rich

Program notes:

It’s the shadowy world of secret international finance and tax avoidance.

“What we’re looking at here is really a parallel universe.”

This Four Corners investigation will reveal how the rich and powerful exploit the system.

“What this really says is a lot about the system itself and how broke the system is and how crazy the whole thing is.”

Our reporter Marian Wilkinson follows the money trail and it’s worth trillions of dollars.

“I was on their immigration stop list. But we’ve gotten in.” Marian Wilkinson, Reporter

College sexual assaults linked to narcissism

That narcissism is a causal factor in sex abuse on America’s college campuses should come as no surprise.

We’ve seen that here in Berkeley, where three men in positions of power have left their posts after revelations of improper actions towards women, and allegations of rapes at fraternities and botched investigations of rape complaints by students have plagued the university.

But what is sobering is one American college man in five has been a perpetrator of sexual misconduct, and one out of 25 college men is a rapist.

From the University of Georgia:

Almost 20 percent of college men have committed some kind of sexual assault, and 4 percent have committed rape, according to a study published by University of Georgia researchers who were examining the link between different kinds of narcissism and the perpetration of sexual assaults.

The study found a strong connection between pathological narcissism and sexual assault perpetration through a survey of 234 male university students, mostly in their first and second years of college. Its findings related to perpetration rates were mostly consistent with previous studies, said the study’s lead author Emily Mouilso, a clinical assistant professor in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences’ psychology department.

People who demonstrate characteristics of pathological narcissism have difficulties when it comes to relating to others, Mouilso explained.

Non-pathological narcissism, on the other hand, can be somewhat beneficial because it manifests in high self-esteem and makes it easier for people to shake off failures, study co-author Karen Calhoun said, explaining that it’s what some researchers call the “healthy” form of narcissism.

“As we predicted, the aspects of narcissism that we thought would be related were (related)—the lack of empathy, the entitlement aspects of narcissism,” Mouilso said.

What surprised them was the link between vulnerable narcissism and rape perpetration.

Vulnerable narcissists express high levels of self-esteem but are actually very insecure, Mouilso said.

The study found that men with vulnerable narcissistic traits were more likely to use alcohol or other date-rape drugs to incapacitate their victims, a finding that is especially concerning on a college campus, Mouilso said.

“I think people don’t realize how prevalent drinking is” in colleges, said Calhoun, a professor emerita in the psychology department. “It’s not so much how much they drink total for women that makes them vulnerable; it’s how much they drink at a time, the binge drinking, the getting drunk and just not being alert and aware of their surroundings or the risks involved. That really puts women at risk.”

Mouilso and Calhoun explained their results in the context of the theory that there are two general pathways that frequently lead to perpetration.

There’s more, after the jump. . . Continue reading

Charts of the day: Costs & benefits in the UC

Three charts from The University of California: Its Admissions and Financial Decisions Have Disadvantaged California Resident Students [PDF], a report from the California State Auditor looking at how the University of California has been seeking high tuition out-of-state and foreign students to augment its austerity depleted budgets.

First, a look at how declining state funds have offloaded the cost burdens onto the backs of students, a move that drives them to the indetured servitude of student loans:

Second, a look at the university’s campuses and how they have benefited from the policy — and note that UC Berkeley and UCLA are the biggest beneficiaries:

Finally, a look at the ethnicities of those California students denied admission to the campuses of their choice, with those already underrepresented in campus enrollments suffering the most:

Headline of the day: Serving the global elites

The University of California, hit by austerity, goes for the gold at the expense of the students it was created to serve.

From the Los Angeles Times:

UC schools harm local students by admitting so many from out of state, audit finds

The audit found that resident enrollment increased by only 10% over the last 10 years while out-of-state students rose by 432%. Nonresidents benefited from lowered admission standards, while California students increasingly were turned away from their campus of choice, the audit found.

Headline of the day: Predators in academic robes

From the New York Times:

Sexual Harassment Cases Tarnish Berkeley’s Image as a Center of Social Activism

At a time of heightened awareness of the dangers of sexual violence on campuses across the country, Berkeley students and alumni are accusing the administration of failing to make the university safe from sexual harassment and violence — and then doing too little when it occurs.

Headline of the day: Pentagon, just like Berkeley?

From the Washington Post, and while no one has been charged criminally in Berkeley, people near the top of both institutions seem to think sexual abuse of subordinates is just a perk of the job:

Military’s top ranks face growing number of sex-crime cases

Historically, it has been extremely rare for senior officers to face courts-martial but leaders are no longer off-limits as more allegations of cringe-worthy behavior come to light in courtrooms and records.

Put up your Dirks: A sad Berkeley apology

In an attempt to add a kinder, gentler persona, UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas B. Dirks becomes “Nick Dirks” in the university’s headline to this YouTubed mea culpa to the victims of the sexual predators inhabiting the higher reaches of Groves of Academe on the shores of San Francisco Bay.

Dirks, whose carefully posed image invariably features eyeglasses at half staff, posed at half mast between eybrows and lip fuzz, managed to look rather sheepish in acknowledging that his administration had engaged in what amounts to a coverup.

From the UC Berkeley Events:

UC Berkeley Chancellor Nick Dirks’ statement to campus on recent news of sexual harassment violation

In addition to the video apology, an email landed in the inboxes of faculty, staff, and students:

Dear Campus Community,

Several high profile sexual harassment cases here at UC Berkeley have raised deep and understandable concerns about how the campus and its leadership manages these cases and demonstrates our commitment to ensuring a safe community for all of our students, staff and faculty. In particular, we acknowledge that some recent decisions in cases of sexual misconduct have exacerbated these concerns, and we profoundly regret any and all errors of judgment on our part. We are now taking decisive steps to implement more appropriate and effective ways to rid our campus of sexual harassment.

The recent events at UC Berkeley and elsewhere have pointed to the need for serious reform, both on the Berkeley campus and across the system. Thus we support last week’s actions by President Janet Napolitano to pursue this reform on all 10 UC campuses. The president is immediately instituting a system-wide peer review of all sanctions imposed on senior university leaders who violate the university’s sexual assault and sexual harassment policy. This panel will set sanctions for sexual assault and sexual harassment cases, up to and including removal from an administrative position and recommendation that a case be referred to the appropriate Academic Senate committee for proceedings to terminate a faculty appointment. We regard this as a welcome step. It will ensure that remedies and penalties are applied firmly and consistently.

We are in the process of developing a similar peer review system on our own campus that will provide advice to administrators whenever they exercise discretion in disciplinary processes for faculty and staff who violate our sexual harassment policy. In disciplinary processes under the Faculty Code of Conduct, the administration would seek the advice of a review panel before deciding upon what disciplinary measures to recommend to the Committee on Privilege and Tenure. In the days ahead we will be formulating this peer review system in concert with campus leaders in this area, with Academic Senate leadership, and with President Napolitano. We will implement it as soon as possible.

Working with other campus leaders and colleagues we will invite experts in this area from around the country to help us develop immediate and actionable improvements both in our climate — the sense of safety and inclusion on campus — and in our practices. We have a responsibility to protect the integrity of our learning and working environment. We have made a personal commitment to work with all of you to see that critical and urgent reforms are put in place that will change our culture as well as our behavior, and thus genuinely ensure the safety of our environment. We will be sharing more information in the days ahead.


Chancellor Nicholas B. Dirks
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Claude Steele