Berkeley in the News

Berkeley in the News is a daily selection of articles and commentaries in the news media that mention UC Berkeley. The views and opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect the official policies or positions of the campus.

Friday, 24 February 2017

1. Op-Ed: Top universities must enroll more low-income students
San Francisco Chronicle (*requires registration)

"The United States today ranks near the very bottom among industrialized nations in both income equality and social mobility," writes Chancellor Nicholas Dirks in a call for other leading universities to join Berkeley in committing to the American Talent Initiative, aimed at collectively educating 50,000 more low- to moderate-income students by 2025. Members of the partnership, led by Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Aspen Institute, met for the first time last week. Chancellor Dirks concludes: "While UC Berkeley already prioritizes affordability and enrolls more low-income students 9,000, or 34 percent of our student body than any other university of our stature, we consider it essential to our public mission to give California's underprivileged a stronger foothold in society. ... The expansion of access to quality higher education has been advanced throughout history largely in a series of sweeping governmental acts.... But in the current political climate, we can expect decreased federal support for higher education. And so the responsibility must shift to state legislatures, donors, nonprofits and, of course, the institutions themselves. ... We must commit to opening the doors wider to America's finest centers of knowledge. A failure to do so risks exacerbating trends in globalization, technological change and governmental policy that already favor the few over the many."
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2. UC regents unanimously approve Georgia Tech dean as new chancellor for UC Davis
Los Angeles Times (*requires registration)

The UC regents unanimously approved Georgia Tech Engineering Dean Gary May, a Berkeley alum, as the new chancellor of UC Davis. He will be the only African American chancellor in the UC system, although he's not the first. After the vote, he said he was particularly excited by the campus's focus on sustainability, diversity, upward mobility and social good. "These are all concepts and attributes that really spoke to my own spirit," he said. May earned his master's and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering and computer science from Berkeley in 1988 and 1991, respectively. President Obama awarded him the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring in 2015. Another story on this topic appeared in the Sacramento Bee.
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3. UC Berkeley filmmaker earns Oscar nod for refugee crisis documentary
Mercury News (*requires registration)

"I never ever dreamed something like this could happen," says alum Daphne Matziaraki about being a finalist at the Oscars ceremony this weekend. "This is my first film a student film. I wasn't confident that it would go anywhere. This is a huge, huge surprise." The documentary short she made as her thesis project for the documentary program at Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism, is 4.1 Miles, and it follows a Greek Coast Guard captain rescuing refugees from drowning in the Mediterranean. She says she was inspired by news accounts of the refugee crisis. "It made me think about the way we react to news of tragedies that happen elsewhere. ... We feel empathy for a little while, but we quickly go on with our lives and remain in our comfort zones. There's a disconnect. I wanted to make a film that bridged that gap." Matziaraki's film was also discussed on NPR's All Things Considered--link to audio.
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4. UC Berkeley Video Game Team Takes Overwatch Title

Cal's video-gaming team captured the national championship at the Tespa Collegiate Series competition this past weekend. They won the title playing Overwatch, a fast-paced fantasy shooter game. "If you're new to the game and you see all the hectic chaos, the fights, it can be very confusing," says team member Jeremy Chow. "That's how it was for all of us when we first started playing." The tournament lasted five months, and the team will split the $42,000 prize. Link to video.
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5. Your privacy: Verizon's takeover of Yahoo is all about user data
Los Angeles Times (*requires registration)

Verizon's bid to take over Yahoo is "part of a larger trend of merging to create mega data brokers to compete with Google," says law professor Chris Hoofnagle, a specialist in privacy issues. The edge Verizon is trying to bring to the equation is helping marketers find people no matter where they lurk, he says.
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6. Trilobites: In an Ancient Burial Place, 3 Centuries of One Woman's Descendants
New York Times (*requires registration)

Researchers have discovered that a crypt at the Pueblo Bonito site in Chaco Canyon held the remains of 14 people buried over 330 years, and all of them were related to the same female ancestor. Since they were buried with abundant treasures, it's assumed they were important, and although power was clearly passed through matrilineal descent, it appears leaders were also male. This raises questions about the power structure of Chacoan society. Weighing in on the study, archaeology professor Rosemary Joyce says that equal leadership is not uncommon among indigenous people of the Americas, and that Chacoans may not have placed the two biological sexes in two distinct gender roles. "They may have recognized a spectrum of gendered ways of being that we force into two sexes," she says.
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