UC Berkeley News
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News Briefs

03 October 2007

Judge rules Memorial Stadium oak grove protest illegal

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Richard Keller on Monday issued a preliminary injunction, ruling that the protesters living in the oak trees west of Memorial Stadium, on the site of the proposed Student-Athlete High Performance Center, must come down.

Since the trees were occupied in December by individuals opposed to the project, the campus police department has recorded more than 150 violations of campus, city, and state laws and regulations. Included in the list of incidents, in addition to the refusal of the protesters to come out of the trees, are several assaults on police officers and the confiscation of a number of weapons.

Said Vice Chancellor for Administration Nathan Brostrom, "We have no problem whatsoever with people expressing their opposition to the university's plan and policies. We do have a problem with what has become a significant encampment precariously perched on tree branches that are as much as 80 feet above the ground."

For the time being, the judge's order to cease and desist applies to the one tree-sitter, David Galloway, who had been served with legal notice. The university is now exploring options for serving notice to the remainder of those in the trees.

Dan Mogulof, executive director of the campus Office of Public Affairs, said the judge's decision supported the university's primary contention: that those in the trees are engaged in "an illegal, dangerous protest."

"We are hoping that the protesters will listen to the court and come down from the trees," Mogulof added. "If they so desire, they can continue their protest in a fashion that is consistent with the law and campus policy, and respectful of the rights of the campus community. We are going to leave no stone unturned in an effort to find a peaceful solution to this situation."

UC, UAW reach tentative agreement

UC's Office of the President announced on Oct. 1 that it had reached a tentative agreement with UAW Local 2865 on a two-year labor contract affecting approximately 12,000 academic student employees. UAW Local 2865 represents academic student employees at the nine teaching campuses.

The agreement was reached just hours after the midnight expiration of the preceding agreement, following several hour-by-hour time extensions. Contract highlights include significant improvements in wages, child care, parental leave, workload protections, and health care.

The agreement, the fourth between the two parties, caps nearly six months of contract talks between UC and the union. Both sides agreed that working together to improve the competitiveness and educational excellence of the university is a shared goal.

Voting on the agreement by UAW members will occur throughout the UC system in coming days. Details about the contract will be available following the union vote.

George Blumenthal named chancellor of UC Santa Cruz

George R. Blumenthal, a UC Santa Cruz professor of astronomy and astrophysics and former chair of the UC systemwide Academic Senate, was appointed the 10th chancellor of that campus by the UC regents on Sept. 19. Blumenthal, 61, has been serving as acting chancellor for the past 14 months, following the death in June 2006 of Chancellor Denice Denton.

As acting chancellor, Blumenthal presided over the development of a new campus academic plan, reached out to locals concerned about UC Santa Cruz's projected growth, strengthened ties to Silicon Valley, and broadened external support for the campus.

Blumenthal has broad experience as an academic leader both at Santa Cruz and within the UC system. He served as chair of the UC Academic Senate for the 2004-05 year and was the faculty representative to the regents from 2003 to 2005. He also chaired the Santa Cruz Division of the Academic Senate from 2001 to 2003 and twice previously chaired the campus's well-regarded Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics.

In addition to serving as chancellor, Blumenthal will continue to hold his faculty appointment at UC Santa Cruz.

Annual payroll information available

The University of California has released its annual report on systemwide employee compensation for fiscal year 2006-07. The report is available online at www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/compensation/payroll2006-07.

The payroll database on which the 2006-07 report is based is publicly available upon request through the UC Office of the President in Oakland and at the primary library on each UC campus. (The Doe Library reference desk has not yet received the CD-R with 2006-07 data, but does have 2005-06 data available.)

Academic Council issues statement on UC Retirement Plan

Over the summer, the systemwide Academic Council adopted and issued a statement about the management and investment performance of the University of California Retirement Plan (UCRP). The statement asserts that "criticism in the press, and by employee groups, of the management of University of California Retirement Plan assets . . . is unfounded." While acknowledging that the Academic Senate believes that "some change in the role of the UCRP Advisory Board would be advisable," the statement also comes out against joint governance of the pension plan, saying that it "might carry significant dangers," depending on how it is implemented. (The state Senate recently approved a resolution calling for shared governance of UCRP.)

The statement is online at www.universityofcalifornia.edu/senate/committees/council/ac.ucrp.0707.pdf.

Memorial set for civil engineering's Alex Scordelis on Oct. 10

A campus memorial gathering will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 10, in honor of Alex Scordelis, professor emeritus of civil and environmental engineering, who died on Aug. 27 at the age of 83. The event will be held in the Great Hall of the Faculty Club at 4 p.m., with a reception following.

A noted teacher and a faculty member for 41 years, Scordelis was an authority on the structural design and analysis of bridges and other long-span structures. He played a significant role in the seismic retrofit and instrumentation of the Golden Gate Bridge, and was on the advisory panel for the design of the new eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. An obituary appeared in the Berkeleyan on Sept. 5 and is online at newscenter.berkeley.edu/goto/scordelis. For details on the memorial event, contact ksh@berkeley.edu.

For the record . . .

A caption in last week's Calendar misstated the date of an appearance at the Graduate School of Journalism by photographer Jason Eskenazi. The correct date was Sept. 28.

In the same issue, we misspelled the surname of Assistant Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Jeannine Raymond and misstated the number of years that Pro-fessor Marni Wood served as chair of the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies. She was chair for several years in the 1980s, not until 2004, as we stated.

The Berkeleyan regrets the errors.