Get involved in the External Affairs Office this Fall!

The EAVP office will be a hotbed of political and social justice organizing on campus next year! Many people have expressed interest in joining the office. In order to keep track of people who are interested in getting involved, I created two nifty applications: one for staff and one for interns! Applications for staff positions were due May 25th, but if you are specifically interested in being appointed to a commission to oversee university deals with corporations or in being on the Cal Housing Commission, or you just really want to be a staff member and willing to volunteer a lot of time, you can still turn one in.

Internship Application
Staff Application

For people interested in interning, your applications aren’t due until September so don’t even worry about it.

Staff and internship positions are not the only ways of getting involved, advisorships and skill shares (if you have valuable knowledge) are also welcome, so please specify on the form how you would like to get involved.

I will be contacting everyone who applies by the Fall either for interviews for staff positions, or to talk about other ways that you can help out.

Staff positions I’m looking for (there are more, but this is priority):
-A Person to Oversee Direct Action
-A Person to Oversee Direct Advocacy
-A Cal Lobby Corps Director
-A Cal Housing Director
-University corporation partnership oversight committee member
-If you are passionate about a certain issue area, I may create a position for you

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Blog Moved to mobilizeberkeley.com

Hi all. This blog is now dead and my new project is at mobilizeberkeley.com. It’s even cooler because it encompasses more than just the EAVP office.

Mark Yudof’s “Thriller”

I don’t even need to explain this gem:

Lyrics:

Start of the quarter, and something evil’s lurking in the dark
Inside your inbox, your billing statement almost stops your heart
You try to scream, but you’re not loud enough to reach the Board of Regents
You start to freeze, McDonald’s isn’t hiring right now
You’re marginalized

‘Cause this is Yudof! Mark Yudof
He’ll stand up for his students, as long as it pays off
You know it’s Yudof! Mark Yudof
You’re fighting for your rights while your fees go up, go up, go UP!

You hear the protests and realize that he simply doesn’t care
600,000 a year just isn’t quite enough to share
You close your eyes and hope that this is just imagination
But all the while he’s laying out by the pool on your dime
It’s bamboozling time

‘Cause this is Yudof! Mark Yudof
Goes to all the Regent meetings, and he stays awake for some
You know it’s Yudof! Mark Yudof
He’s not fighting for your rights as your fees go up, go up, go UP!

UC Budget Update

UC President Mark Yudof painted a rosy picture for the UC’s budget outlook, just two weeks ago, but things might not be so rosy after all.

From UC To the Rescue:

Judging from our mail, faculty and staff are less optimistic than are Regent Gould and other senior managers. The following is a particularly vivid reminder of the gap between the experience of Regents’ meetings and the experiences occurring on the campuses.

Hi Chris,

The (fairly obvious) scenario I fear is the following:

1) Schwarzenegger’s $300 M for UC in his revised budget will disappear in Sacramento negotiations, presented as it was as directly at the expense of California’s poor and dependent populations

2) Moreover, as you have suggested, the legislators will take UC CFO Peter Taylor’s proposal seriously concerning UC’s ability to save $500 M through efficiency measures and will therefore see even less of a need to restore the 20% cut to the 2009-10 budget.

3) the Gould Commission proposals, replaced in large part by UCOP’s supplemental proposals, will go to the Regents in July. Under the influence of ongoing budgetary confusion, the Regents will proceed to ignore the better proposals and to decide very brutal cuts across the board with no reconsideration of implementing a revised furlough program to soften the cuts.

4) By late summer, each campus will face 15% cuts (or higher) to academic core operating budgets and within each campus, many depts. will face the prospect of a drop in quality in grad and undergrad programs from which it will take many years to recover. One possible outcome: these dire circumstances will force campuses to raid “rainy day funds” and “profit centers” to make in through the year 2010-11, resulting in smaller (5%? 7.5%?) cuts.

5) Meanwhile, civil war will break out between campuses over ICR, UCOP “taxes,” etc. radicalizing the push by UCB, UCLA, and UCSD to go it alone and to try to adopt the flawed Michigan model.

Another Scandal from the UC Regents

Via Berkeley Daily Planet

The UC Regents have been exposed for increasing their investments in two for-profit universities–colloquially known as “diploma mills”– after former Chair of the Regents Richard Blum increased his investments in those ventures. Not only is this a severe and potentially illegal conflict of interest, but it means that decisions like increasing UC tuition and cutting enrollment would actually enrich Regent Blum and the UC investment fund. With reduced opportunities to go to affordable public higher education institutions, students opt to go to for-profit diploma mills. Think about that the next time the raise fees.

AZ SUMMER OF HUMAN RIGHTS

Social justice organizers in Arizona are organizing a Summer of Human Rights, and inviting young people around the nation to take part in creating a new Arizona. From Alto Arizona’s website:

We need organizers, artists, lawyers, communicators, trainers along with many other skills to help build the resistance this summer and beyond. This effort will run throughout the summer, kicking off on July 1st.

Alto Arizona seeks to build a program similar to Freedom Summer, a program that was instrumental in advancing the Civil Rights struggle in the 1960s.

From the Freedom Summer wiki:

It helped break down the decades of isolation and repression that were the foundation of the Jim Crow system. Before Freedom Summer, the national news media had paid little attention to the persecution of black voters in the Deep South and the dangers endured by black civil rights workers, but when the lives of affluent northern white students were threatened the full attention of the media spotlight was turned on the state. This evident disparity between the value that the media placed on the lives of whites and blacks embittered many black activists.[3] Perhaps the most significant effect of Freedom Summer was on the volunteers themselves, almost all of whom — black and white — still consider it one of the defining moments of their lives.[11]

If you have the time and drive please go to Arizona and take part, this is sure to be something that will live with you forever. Sign up here:
Alto Arizona Summer of Human Rights

Revisiting the UC Berkeley-British Petroleum Deal

The 2007 UC Berkeley-British Petroleum research deal is becoming quite an embarrassment for the university. As commenters continue to bring up the deal, it is important to revisit the (now obvious) arguments that were made against the deal in 2007.

In 2007, hundreds of UC Berkeley faculty, students, and community activists opposed the $500 research agreement between British Petroleum and UC Berkeley. Despite the concerns over the oil giant’s environmental irresponsibility, academic integrity, the death of public (not for-profit) research, and the impact of genetically modified organisms on the ecosystem, UC Berkeley signed the agreement anyway.

In this video, Professor Ignacio Chapela eloquently makes the case against BP and the privatization of university research before the academic senate. He is promptly pushed off stage.

With the devastating aftermath of BP’s irresponsibility in the Gulf Coast on front pages across the nation, it is time to reflect on the BP-Berkeley research agreement. Should UC Berkeley be engaged in for-profit research for one of the most irresponsible and evil corporations on earth, responsible for the largest environmental disaster in the history of the US?

The BP-Berkeley deal explicitly states that the research agreement can be terminated if association with BP is counter to UC Berkeley’s values. If BP’s actions are not counter to UC Berkeley’s values, then what on earth is?

From the video:

Signing the contract with British Petroleum would yoke the university to a flawed and potentially very dangerous route at least for the next decade. Because of the investments and commitments made and because of the roads not taken, most probably much longer. The evidence keeps coming in about the inadequacy and dangerous nature of the proposal, but we cannot afford to even see or acknowledge it, even before signing the contract, for fear of scaring the money away.

He even ties the Berkeley-BP deal to rising student fees and the increasing privatization of all sectors of the campus:

This agreement, which many fear as an unacceptable private-public partnership, is very much a private-private partnership(…) In this proposal, Berkeley is nothing but a business partner with these corporations, professors entrepreneurs and students simply cheap labor, paying high fees for the privilege of giving their work to the right corporation.

Berkeley seeks revenues from medical marijuana

Via Berkeleyside

Seeking to bring in revenue from the city’s flourishing medical marijuana businesses – and setting the stage for the possible legalization of pot by voters in November – Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates is proposing a new tax on cannabis businesses.

Although I support taxing the crap out of certain things (yachts, private jets, junk food, SUVs, other things that are generally bad for humanity), taxing wacky weed at this point is not the right thing to do.

1) Right now everyone who is smoking it legally is doing it for medicinal purposes. Hey, stop laughing, it’s true. You wouldn’t put a tax on AIDS medication would you? It’s just downright wrong. Hey, here’s an idea, let’s tax the bajeezus out of asthma inhalers!

2) Instead of allowing Sacramento to levy a tax and redistribute that among cities and counties, this preempts state marijuana taxes, putting an unfair burden on pot smokers to shoulder Berkeley’s as well as the state’s financial troubles. The passage of this bill here might encourage other cities to pass similar measures.

A saner plan of action would be to wait it out until after the election, see what the state government is going to do in terms of taxes if the proposition does pass, and then pass a city tax after that is worked out.