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Hopefully by now you’ve had a chance to scope out the Daily Cal Senior Editorial Board’s interview with UC Berkeley’s ever-chipper chancellor, Robert Birgeneau.

If not, the editorial and full transcript of the 90-minute chat are available online. If you’re searching for substantive discussion of the issues raised, this is probably not the place to find it, but we’ve compiled some of the most notable, most interesting and most head-scratch-inducing moments of the interview.

- Birgeneau drinks Diet Coke and, on this particular occasion, was wearing a custard-yellow tie and a blue shirt.
- “There will always be waitlists. Think of it on an airplane when they have chicken or pasta and they get to the last row.”
- “We’re not saying you necessarily would agree with everything that we do, but at least if you’re going to disagree, it should be disagreeing with the facts, not facts that are imperfectly communicated.”
- Birgeneau loves football, but is utterly lacking as a mic man.
- Only the government tries to influence the results of research. Or something.
- The furloughs are over.
- Birgeneau’s brother-in-law was the captain of the University of Toronto football team.
- Students aren’t paying more for less. Except that they are paying more, and some services have been cut. Whatever.

Image Source: Allyse Bacharach, Daily Cal
Interview With Chancellor Robert Birgeneau, Part 1 [Daily Cal]
Interview With Chancellor Robert Birgeneau, Part 2 [Daily Cal]

Transparency said:
Sep 14, 2010 at 10:45 am

Let there be light UC Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau. Cal Chancellor Birgeneau says nothing about his $3,000,000 consultants that are doing the work of the Chancellor’s office. A legacy of waste in UC Berkeley Chancellor’s Office: easily grasped by the public, lost on University of California’s President Yudof.
The UC Berkley budget gap has grown to $150 million, & still the Chancellor is spending money that isn’t there on $3,000,000 consultants. His reasons range from the need for impartiality to requiring the consultants “thinking, expertise, & new knowledge”.
Does this mean that the faculty & management of UC Berkeley – flagship campus of the greatest public system of higher education in the world – lack the knowledge, integrity, impartiality, innovation, skills to come up with solutions? Have they been fudging their research for years?
The consultants will glean their recommendations from faculty interviews & the senior management that hired them; yet $ 150 million of inefficiencies and solutions could be found internally if the Chancellor & Provost Breslauer were doing the work of their jobs (This simple point is lost on UC’s leadership).
The victims of this folly are Faculty and Students. $ 3 million consultant fees would be far better spent on students & faculty.
There can be only one conclusion as to why inefficiencies & solutions have not been forthcoming from faculty & staff: Chancellor Birgeneau has lost credibility & the trust of the faculty & Academic Senate leadership (C. Kutz, F. Doyle). Even if the faculty agrees with the consultants’ recommendations – disagreeing might put their jobs in jeopardy – the underlying problem of lost credibility & trust will remain. (Context: greatest recession in modern times)
Contact your representatives in Sacramento: tell them of the hefty self-serving $’s being spent by UC Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau & Provost Breslauer.
Let there be light!

Matthew Waid said:
Sep 17, 2010 at 3:49 am

In response to your comment, “Transparency,” I’m wondering what you believe the Chancellor’s job (and his office’s job) is…
The Chancellor is mostly raising money, so he doesn’t have the bandwidth to analyze all of campus.
On that note, the faculty were hired to do research and teach, not to analyze the inner working of procurement or student services (to name a few).
And if the faculty disagreed with what the JOINT group of campus and Bain recommends, so what? Jobs aren’t lost over difference of opinion, and last I checked, restructuring of faculty was not a priority of the OE initiative.

Transparency said:
Sep 17, 2010 at 3:16 pm

Other universities, Yale, is doing the work that Chancellor’s $3,000,000 consultants are doing internally (at no cost to students, faculty,classes alumni). Chancellor Birgeneau and his bloated staff (vice chancellors) sit back while spending $3,000,000 that can be used for students, faculty, classes. Roll up your sleves Chancellor Birgeneau, duck the photo ops, and do the WORK of leading UC Berkeley.
The Chancellor’s Operational Excellence (OE) program will have fired 900 by the end of this year. But no analysis on UC Berkeley’s senior management costs and team.
Chancellor finds it easy to point the finger of inefficiencies at others at UC Berkeley. “We have met the inefficiencies and it is Chancellor Birgeneau and his senior management team”

Transparency said:
Dec 15, 2010 at 10:52 pm

(The signs of UC Berkeley’s relative decline are clear. In 2004, for example, the London-based Times Higher Education ranked UC Berkeley the second leading research university in the world, just behind Harvard; in 2009 that ranking had tumbled to 39th place.)

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