cal philanthropy day

Their flyers dot the lawns on Sproul and those lining the corridor between North and Sather Gates, Berkeley’s very own Mike Shepherd-esque repetition-is-comprehension, scare-tactic campaign: They read alternately, “This past year, philanthropic donations surpassed state funding” and “What if your semester ended today?”

That is the eerie message the Student Alumni Relations Council (SARC) wants to instill in you on this week’s Cal Philanthropy Day, to remind you to be grateful that you now attend classes thanks to alumni’s generosity. The day’s festivities included a booth on Upper Sproul, a speech from ASUC President Noah Stern at lunch and a seminar about “How Your Cal Education Is Funded” at night.

Well, we say thank you. Thank you to the alumni. Thank you for the philanthropic donations. And thank you, SARC, for the cheery reminder that our public education is still just hanging by a shoestring.

Image source: Sophie Lee


Last week, some members of the board of UC Regents raised the maddeningly insane question: is the relocation of an art museum a justifiable investment for the university at a time when it can’t afford things more directly pertinent to its basic mission? Fortunately, the foam around their mouths was eventually wiped by sleeve and their deranged criticism dismissed. New BAM gets $5.6 mil, and you can read on for the justification: read more »

The Oakland Tribune tells us that humanities don’t bring in the moolah. But this time, it’s not for graduates when they go onto random careers such as teaching ski lessons or noble causes such as Teach for America, but for UC Berkeley as a university.

One professor claims that funding is the problem:

bq. “We’re in dire need of more funding,” said Dorothy Hale, an English professor. “The sciences are burgeoning on campus, and we love to see it, but the humanities are like the poor stepsister.”

The top humanities departments are in a perilous position. They are strong now, but reducing or not increasing funding could seriously jeopardize their status.

The article states one interesting reason for the difference in funding difficulties between humanities and sciences:

bq. Among the most serious challenges for humanities departments is how to pay for graduate students. Science and engineering departments can use federal funds to pay those students, who also teach courses and help professors. No such funds are available for the humanities.

Former Chancellor Robert Berdahl, who is now the president of the Association of American Universities, is portrayed as trying to light a fire under Berkeley administrators’ collective ass saying they “need to make a stronger case for the humanities.”

Humanities at Cal: High-ranking but low on funding [Oakland Tribune]