Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Cause and Effect at Berkeley

But sometimes, the ostensible cause did not produce the effect
Chancellor Dirks of Berkeley is in trouble as you can see from the headline in the LA Times. But when you read the article, the story is fuzzy and nothing terrible seems to have happened:

UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks is under university investigation for the alleged misuse of public funds for travel and the personal use of a campus athletic trainer without payment, the Los Angeles Times has learned.

A whistleblower complaint alleged that Dirks had failed to pay for use of the campus Recreational Sports Facility and its professional services, and that he used public funds to pay for travel with a recreational sports employee on non-university business, according to an April 11 letter to Dirks from Rachael Nava, the University of California’s chief operating officer.

The allegations, if proven, would constitute ‘improper governmental activities,” Nava said in the letter, which was obtained by The Times.

Dirks said through a spokesman that he would withhold comment until the investigation was concluded...

Full story at

What we seem to have here is a second chancellor - Katehi of Davis being the first - who created headaches for the folks at UC headquarters in Oakland, especially UC prez Napolitano. Dirks' campus got itself into budget problems - the $150 million "deficit" keeps coming up. And there are the sexual harassment cases that were handled in a way that led to bad PR. So if you are looking for the cause of Dirks' problem, headaches for UCOP seems to be a top candidate.

One suspects further that Dirks knew he was in trouble - certainly over the deficit - and sought to convey a positive impression before the Regents. There was an odd episode at the March 2015 Regents meeting in which Dirks insisted on giving a learned lecture on the history of undergraduate education. You can hear it at the link below. Usually, the Regents don't spend their official meeting time hearing scholarly lectures.

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