Monday Memo: news & views about working at UC
For the Week of April 11, 2016
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The sexual harassment scandal at UC Berkeley has continued to receive media attention with the release last week of documents “that were previously not made public,” revealing that “19 UC Berkeley employees were found to have violated university sexual misconduct policy since 2011,” according to the Daily Californian. “In all four cases that resulted in termination, the fired employee was a campus staff member,” the paper notes.

The San Jose Mercury News reports the 800 pages of newly released records “expose rampant violations” – and reveal that none “of the employees fired as a result of sexual harassment violations ... were tenured faculty.” The violations include “foul language, explicit emails, unwanted sexual advances and sexual assault.” The San Francisco Chroniclerevealed more detail on the cases.

Sexual assault awareness
UCB's poster for Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Two UCB graduate student also say they’ll file California Department of Fair Employment and Housing complaints against a faculty member, reports the Guardian. Perhaps ironically, the news is breaking in April, which is marked as Sexual Assault Awareness Month, for which the Berkeley campus has planned many events.

After “records revealed a slew of new cases that have led to discipline against employees,” reports the San Francisco Chronicle, Tyann Sorrell, the former law school assistant whose lawsuit against Dean Sujit Choudhry blew the university’s covers, expressed dismay and shock “at what appears to have been a deliberate suppression of years of sexual abuse and harassment information on the part of executive level at UC Berkeley,” and said “victims need to be heard.”

Sorrell’s meeting with the press at her attorney’s office also was covered by the San Jose Mercury News, which focused on how difficult it was for her to come forward and take a stand for victims of sexual harassment. She said she had been “stunned by her options” after reporting the harassment, and challenged “the notion that only the most severe physical treatment is to be taken seriously and stopped.” The report adds, she now “feels both empowered and anxious, brave and fearful about what she has done and what lies ahead as she pushes for change.”

At an emergency meeting of the Academic Senate at UC Berkeley, reports the Daily Californian, many faculty expressed dismay “that sexual harassment had permeated the campus for so long,” and passed a motion granting “Tyann Sorell an award for outstanding service to the university by a staff member, in recognition of how her allegations against Choudhry brought sexual harassment prevention and response to the forefront of administrative priorities.”

In recognition of how serious this issue is, UC President Janet Napolitano met with the editorial board of the San Francisco Chronicle for an hour on April 7 to discuss “the way UC Berkeley has handled some of its recent cases of sexual harassment.” She told the editors “We’re going to address it, fix it, and be ... transparent about it.... It’s 2016. Enough is enough.”

In a surprise announcement on Thursday, UC Berkeley assistant basketball coach Yann Hufnagel resigned “days after vowing to fight the university's efforts to fire him,” reports the San Jose Mercury News. His attorney cited “the toxic environment at UC Berkeley” and "stark” differences in punishment. The story is also covered in theDaily Californian.

The threat of an unprecedented five-day statewide strike by Cal State University faculty has produced a favorable settlement. The California Faculty Association’s chief issue was salary increases to begin to make up for years of stagnant pay. CFA had demanded 5 percent; CSU offered no more than 2 percent. A neutral fact-finder sided with the union. With a strike looming, CSU agreed to a 10.5 percent increase over three years.

Are you a UC administrative professional? If so, you might want to sign UPTE’s fair pay petition to tell the university that merit-based increases are fine, but they are not a substitute for across-the-board increases, and that you are tired of getting 26 percent less in raises than other UPTE-represented colleagues.

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