Category Archives: Global Corporate U.

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

Quote of the day II: Sex crimes at UC Berkeley

From UC Berkeley Professor of Medical Anthropology and prolific author Nancy Scheper-Hughes, writing at the university’s Berkeley Blog:

Like the Vatican covers ups, there is a long history of cover-ups at the University of California, Berkeley. In the fall of 1986, I replaced then Professor Ken Jowitt as dean of Freshman-Sophomore Studies (now called Undergraduate Studies). I was given a house at the Clark Kerr campus and a mission to increase faculty-student contact and to develop intellectual projects (the campus’s freshman-sophomore seminars grew out of this).

I was also in charge of several graduate-student residents at the Clark Kerr campus, who were also residential academic advisors to the students living there. One night I was awakened by two grad student advisors. They reported that a young freshman student had been gang raped by four football athletes during an after- game party at the Clark Kerr complex.

I immediately contacted campus police and reported to my administrator at the College of Letters and Science, who reassured me that the student was being well cared for at the campus’s student health center, and that the case was in the hands of competent lawyers. In fact, however, the “incident” was swept under the rug and the young men — who acknowledged the rape but blamed the euphoria of the game, women fans, and alcohol as mitigating factors — avoided prosecutions in exchange for “letters of apology.” Their sentence was a few weeks of “community service.” The four star athletes continued to play, the fans continued to roar, and the young woman dropped out of sight and out of UC Berkeley.

We didn’t have a rape policy at the time and the then-Chancellor referred to the incident as “date rape.”

We now have a rape policy and we have a great many sexual harassment education and prevention programs. But think back to the 1980s when the HIV/AIDS epidemic was taking the lives of so many gay men, many of them our students at Cal. What if our university healthcare program offered only education and prevention to the student body? Luckily the director of the campus medical system then was Dr. Jim Brown, who insisted on both prevention/education and giving those who tested positive the best medical care available at that time, rapid and evidence based.

Sexual assault is another kind of epidemic. It kills the spirit and the trust necessary to survival.

Universities are not only ivory towers of learning but also over-protected fortresses. When it comes to allegations and incidents of sexual assault, the first impulse of many administrators is to protect the institutions from “scandals.”

For decades the Vatican treated allegations of child sexual abuse as a private sin requiring penance and pastoral counsel for the priests (who were seen as wayward “children”), rather than acknowledging the verified sexual assaults as crimes requiring immediate but careful interventions with outside help. Similarly, the University of California should change its language and modify its responses, to acknowledge sexual harassment and sexual abuse as serious crimes.

Headline of the day II: More Cal sex scandals

From the Guardian:

UC Berkeley investigates 26 more cases of sexual misconduct amid scandal

A wave of dismissals prompted complaints of a ‘cover-up’ from faculty who are criticizing administrators for failing to take swift, meaningful disciplinary action

Quote of the day: Berkeley bares Bears truth


From Bay Area News Group reporter Katy Murphy, covering the latest on the latest of the predatory sexual harassment scandals at UC Berkeley:

In a report released Tuesday, fired UC Berkeley basketball coach Yann Hufnagel admits bringing a reporter into the parking garage of his apartment building and, with the garage door closed, asking her more than once to have sex with him in his apartment.

“With all candor, I was trying to trick her into going upstairs,” he told the investigator.

The UC Berkeley investigation, which did not name the reporter subjected to the abuse or her employer, concluded that Hufnagel’s conduct over a six-month period, which included sexually charged text messages, “was objectively intimidating, hostile, or offensive–repeatedly propositioning Complainant for sex and, in some cases, suggesting that her participation in sex with [Hufnagel] would grant her greater access to parts of the sports world in [Hufnagel’s] control.”

Hufnagel repeatedly asked the reporter to have a “three-way” with him and a friend of his; in March 2015, when she texted the assistant coach to see if he could help her get into a championship game, he replied with a photo of himself and the friend looking into the camera.

A free joke for any comedian in need. . .

Inspired by a previous post or two.

Q: What comes with a high level post at Cal?

A: Droit du seigneur. . .or if you prefer the Latin, Jus primae noctis.

While the historical consensus seems to be that the male noble’s alleged right to take the virginity of his vassals, was honored only in the breach [not in his britches], a source his given us a secretly taken image of how Berkeley brass interview certain prospective hires and student assistants:

Pravo gospodina [literally “Le droit du Seigneur”), Vasiliy Polenov, 1874, oil on canvas, Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow. Via Wikipedia.

Pravo gospodina [literally “Le droit du Seigneur”), Vasiliy Polenov, 1874, oil on canvas, Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow. Via Wikipedia.