The university today launched the UC Berkeley Initiative for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, backed by a $16 million grant from the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund. The initiative includes research projects, five faculty research chairs, student scholarships, campus programs and “several dozen” new courses in American Cultures.

“We are in one of the most diverse states in the nation from every aspect — socioeconomic status, race and ethnicity, religion, abilities and disabilities, sexual orientation. Our campus reflects that diversity, making it the perfect place to examine these issues,” said Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau. “This generous gift will allow us to remain a beacon of access and excellence for students of all backgrounds and to become a national model in this growing area of research that is of such importance to society.”

According to Gibor Basri, the vice chancellor for equity and diversity and professor of astronomy, the initiative is the most ambitious yet at a public university.

Among the five faculty chairs in diversity-related research will be one on disability and one focusing on equity rights for the LGBT community.

Lance Knobel

Lance Knobel (co-founder) has been a journalist for nearly 40 years. Much of his career was in business journalism. He was editor-in-chief of both Management Today, the leading business magazine in Britain,...

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  1. UCB Chancellor Birgeneau Loss of Credibility, Trust
    The UCB budget gap has grown to $150 million, and still the Chancellor is spending money that isn’t there on expensive outside consultants. His reasons range from the need for impartiality to requiring the “innovative thinking, expertise, and new knowledge” the consultants would bring.

    Does this mean that the faculty and management of a world-class research and teaching institution lack the knowledge, impartiality, innovation, and professionalism to come up with solutions? Have they been fudging their research for years? The consultants will glean their recommendations from interviewing faculty and the UCB management that hired them; yet solutions could be found internally if the Chancellor were doing the job HE was hired to do. Consultant fees would be far better spent on meeting the needs of students.

    There can be only one conclusion as to why creative solutions have not been forthcoming from the professionals within UCB: Chancellor Birgeneau has lost credibility and the trust of the faculty as well as of the Academic Senate leadership that represents them. Even if the faculty agrees with the consultants’ recommendations – disagreeing might put their jobs in jeopardy – the underlying problem of lost credibility and trust will remain.