Updated 9/18 9:03 a.m.: Edmond Heatley, the embattled applicant for Berkeley schools superintendent, has withdrawn his candidacy for the job. Heatley had come under intense fire from Berkeley activists, in part, for his role in the passage of a pro-Prop 8 measure in the Chino school district when he was the superintendent there.
Heately's announcement further confirmed that the Berkeley school board had failed to fully vet the leading candidate for superintendent of Berkeley Unified. Berkeleyside was first to report the connections that Heatley, who had been the sole finalist for the superintendent’s position, had with the pro-Prop 8 resolution in Chino.
Much like the mortgage market, the market for private student loans has gone through a big boom and a messy bust. Some banks and lenders played fast and loose with student loans, aggressively marketing them to borrowers who couldn't afford that amount of debt, according to a recent government report. "Borrowers who took out loans at the height of the boom are still suffering from those excesses," said Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray in remarks to reporters recently. The report, released jointly by the U.S. Department of Education and the CFPB, is the government's first major study of the murky private student loan market, for which there has long been little regulation or reliable data.
For the past decade Ben Chavis and his so-called American Indian Public Charter schools in Oakland have gotten away with egregious conduct that would be considered grossly unacceptable for any other school — because they have had high test scores. First, there was the revelation that Chavis routinely abused his students verbally, humiliating them in front of their classmates, to force them score higher on tests or quit the school altogether. Then came the news that Chavis had hurled racist and sexist comments at others in front of students, and that his schools had stopped serving American Indian children.
Higher education watchdogs were all a-Twitter today about UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau's surprising announcement that he plans to abscond his post at the end of the calendar year and return to academia. Apparently, he'd wanted to do so all along, and had only sustained an 8 year tenure as chancellor to help mend the university's financial struggles. A vehement critic of cuts to education funding and fervent advocate for accessibility, Birgeneau became a target of recent protest movements at the university, owing to his symbolic association with the police crackdown at Occupy Cal. Students called for the chancellor's resignation when he appeared at an Associated Students of the University of California meeting in December.
A 22-foot-long carved wood panel by African-American sculptor Sargent Johnson, valued at an estimated $1 million, was mistakenly sold by UC Berkeley for a paltry $150 (plus tax), reports The New York Times. According to the article, the redwood relief was initially designed to cover organ pipes at the old California School for the Deaf and Blind. When the school closed in 1980, it was transferred to a university storage place, but when it reopened three years later, it never made it back to the building (another panel, however, was returned). Then, in 2009, the university cleared out its storage and transferred the artwork to its surplus store, where it was sold to an individual for $150 plus tax. Eventually, it made its way to the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, in San Marino, Calif., where it will now be displayed. Although the work was commissioned by the Works Progress Administration and thus under federal jurisdiction, there was apparently a loophole: the federal government does not retain ownership of WPA-commissioned art affixed to non-federal buildings.
Harvey Smith, president of the National New Deal Preservation Association, described UC Berkeley's handling of the situation as “amazing incompetence.”
In an effort to gird itself against public humiliation, UC Berkeley just went on a preemptive XXX buying spree, purchasing six trademarked web domains — ucberkeley.xxx, universityofcaliforniaberkeley.xxx, uc-berkeley.xxx, universityofcalifornia-berkeley.xxx, goldenbears.xxx and cal.xxx — at $200 apiece, The Daily Cal reports. And apparently, it's not the first school to do so. As soon as the ICM registry put adult web addresses on the market in December, universities rushed to block them. Some, like the University of Kansas, began purchasing domains as early as October. (ICM gave trademark holders the ability to buy early, lest these domains go to a cyber mercenary and be held for "high-dollar ransom," wrote USA Today reporter Mike Snider.) Thus, schools across the country found themselves in a rather awkward and improbable line of business. Adult domains don't come cheap — UC Berkeley has already paid a total of $1,300, and the name gay.xxx sold to film production studio Corbin Fisher for a hefty $500,000, Snider wrote — but an unsullied reputation is evidently worth the price.
Stories you shouldn’t miss:
1. College students across the nation are becoming increasingly more liberal, as conservative students are now embracing progressive views, the CoCo Times reports, citing a new major study from UCLA. A record 71.3 percent of freshmen students said they approve of same-sex marriage, and opinions on marijuana legalization, affirmative action, abortion, and immigration have steadily moved toward the left in the past few years.