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Just when we thought we were done with all the strife of a public education in these dread economic times, the fee increase subject comes up again, and we start into our classic downward spiral of fear — the university will never recover, no one will afford it, you know the drill.

But there’s a silver lining to every cloud. Last year two Berkeley professors (Jennifer Johnson-Hanks and William Hanks, known collectively as “the Hanks”) were poached by UT Austin. That’s not the good news, though. The good news is that this year, we got them back.

Texas was clever, looking at employees who might be facing pay cuts or budget cuts like those in our beloved UC system. Then they swooped in and before you knew it, the Hanks were gone. Credit social sciences dean Carla Hesse with bringing them back. According to the article “she refused to let them go without a fight. ‘ … I don’t treat the case as closed until it’s closed,’ she said. ‘I called them up and asked what went wrong.’

She eventually managed to woo them back over here (their family ties were also a factor, of course) and here they are, unpacking and settling back in to Berkeley life. Hesse is pretty badass, actually — she kept 24 professors who had outside offers from competing universities.

Take that, Texas.

Image source: ffg under Creative Commons
Berkeley’s allure tugs faculty couple back from Texas [Contra Costa Times]



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