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Remember this man? It was just two weeks ago we were joking about Chancellor-Elect Nicholas Dirks’ beastly brow. We predicted that once he took office he would be called “The Brow.” Just look at him, posing effortlessly in this soft-featured scenery. Doesn’t his face just say, “If I don’t get you, my unibrow will?” In a mere moment, these hopes were shattered, cause … read more »


It’s been eight years since Chancellor Berdahl relinquished his reign over the university. Now, Chancellor Birgeneau is stepping Looks Can Kill (1)down at the end of the semester – check that, at the end of the school year… the old man just can’t seem to make up his mind. Now, we could focus on how he’s inherently likable as a Canadian, originally from one of the schools that tied us in world rankings, or one of the most cited physicists across the globe, but that’s all validating and boring.

Instead, let’s focus on his just-announced replacement. In choosing Nicholas B. Dirks as the 10th Chancellor, the university’s advisory committee has proven that first impressions are important, and of course, that looks can kill.

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No, there was no Doug Benson or Paul F. Tompkins on hand when Chancellor Robert Birgeneau gave his end-of-the-school-year speech to the Berkeley Staff Assembly, but it still felt like a reflective time. Birgeneau described this year as “the single most difficult year I personally have experienced” in his academic career. To which we at the Clog would like to add a polite but insistent “DUH.”

He also admitted that he is “sometimes accused of being excessively optimistic” and tried to remedy this to fit with the times. He acknowledged that the draining of money read more »


townhallThe Clog is here in Pauley Ballroom at the Q&A Townhall with the Chancellor. We’ll be liveblogging the events so stay tuned. (Note: the picture is of a pretty town hall in Vienna. It has actually nothing to do with the post. Except that it’s pretty, and I don’t have my camera with me. If you have a better picture, hook us up).

Moving right along… read more »


Ideas are flying left and right for how to get our UC system out of its current financial rut. Our chancellor has a couple of his own up his sleeve: raise and lower student fees according to the financial need of each respective campus.

The University of California Board of Regents traditionally imposes equal tuition for undergrads across all nine UC campuses (currently $6,571 per year). If Chancellor Birgeneau’s idea were to be set into motion, each campus would be allowed to raise or lower said asking price by 25 percent.

He writes in his proposal (titled “Access and Excellence”) several upshots to his propositions. Among these: provide incentive for students to attend UC campuses aren’t exactly first in preference for students (as these campuses would lower their student tuition) and provide sufficient funding for the schools to which students flock like madmen (i.e., UC Berkeley. Represent!). Additionally, Chancellor Birgeneau predicts that any gap between top tier UC campuses and leading private schools will be made smaller once our campuses are better funded.

Well, duh. read more »


So apparently we celebrate Constitution Day here at UC Berkeley. Perhaps you’re aware because Chancellor Birgeneau sent an e-mail about it. It began:

On September 17th, Cal will celebrate Constitution Day-the anniversary of the signing of our country’s founding document. Federal law requires all schools who receive federal funding to hold an educational program annually on this day.

We sort of wished the e-mail continued like this:

Well, it took a few wine coolers, but screw it. I suppose I’ll be candid with you guys. Hell, it doesn’t matter. You all instantly delete my e-mails anyway. What I meant to say in the first paragraph is that the government gave us cash, so we’re bound to feign Constitution love. Now, if you’re paying attention, which I know you aren’t (and by the way, aren’t marshmallows the softest thing a man can eat?), you might ask me a few questions about this.

You might say, “Hey, didn’t John ‘torture memo’ Yoo speak at our first C-Day celebration back in 2005? Isn’t that kind of weird since the 8th amendment forbids cruel and unusual punishment? Also doesn’t that guy, who still works here by the way, also advocate a system where the checks and balances cease to matter in a time of war?”

Look, enough with your hypothetical questions. Which you, again, won’t ask since you aren’t reading this (and by the way, isn’t the Campanile just a tad phallic?). It is a bit weird that the guy still works here. After his friend (we would have asked Al Gonzales to speak at our 2007 C-day, but he’s tied up in some sort of legal trouble) got ousted from the government, we kind of expected the Yoo to hit the fan. He’s been “controversial” for quite some time. I mean, just look at this old interview exchange:

bq. Doug Cassel: If the President deems that he’s got to torture somebody, including by crushing the testicles of the person’s child, there is no law that can stop him?

bq. John Yoo: No treaty.

bq. DC: Also no law by Congress. That is what you wrote in the August 2002 memo.

bq. JY: I think it depends on why the President thinks he needs to do that.

(Shaking my head in disbelief.)

One has to wonder if there is a tipping point with this fellow. The truth is this, kids: John Yoo is our canary in the mine. If you’re seriously clamoring for his ouster, we’ll know that you might start asking for textbooks that are actually affordable and exercise facilities that aren’t crazily overcrowded. Anyway, that’s when I decide to buy a house out in Napa and take an extended sabbatical.

Fortunately, your lack of entitlement and abundance of apathy has spared me such annoyances. I’ve even had time to get really, really good at Madden 2008 on Xbox 360. I can flip a Cheeto into my mouth while simultaneously throwing a screen pass. In short, I totally rule at life. But yeah, even though you obviously don’t care about your democracy, you’re welcome to enjoy our C-day events. In the meantime, feel free to wiki your favorite Boalt prof.

Love,

Rob

Image Source: Michael Smith, Daily Cal