Progress in Privatization at UC Berkeley
by Charles Schwartz, UC Berkeley
When Robert J. Birgeneau first appeared as the new Chancellor before the Berkeley Academic Senate, in October 2004, he started out with a clear principled statement against privatization. Here is the official campus report on that event:
He has already heard, he said, from a number of people, including donors, who believe that the only strategy for the future “is one that takes us in the direction of privatizing the university. I want to state unambiguously and unequivocally that if Berkeley wants a chancellor who will lead in the privatization direction, it should find someone else and I’ll go back to the lab,” he said to much applause.
[Source: the Berkeleyan 10/28/04]
Obviously, things have changed a lot since then; and Chancellor Birgeneau has defined himself as a leading figure in the national move to privatize our greatest public universities. Here is his latest report to the campus (11/5/2012).
To all members of the UC Berkeley campus community:
Five years ago, I announced to you that UC Berkeley had received a historic gift of $113 million from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to establish 100 new endowed chairs on our campus. This gift was set up as a challenge grant to inspire others to give by matching their support dollar-for-dollar until we raised the 100 chairs.
Today I am delighted to announce that the campus has successfully completed the Hewlett Challenge. We have exceeded our own expectations and reached our goal more than two years ahead of schedule.
This milestone recognizes the critical role that our world-class faculty and graduate students play in ensuring UC Berkeley’s global academic leadership. The support of so many donors in this five-year period is an extraordinary vote of confidence in the contributions that UC Berkeley makes to society as one of the world’s preeminent teaching and research universities.
The success of the Hewlett Challenge makes me very confident about the future of our great University. On behalf of the many faculty and students who will benefit from the extraordinary generosity of the Hewlett Foundation and the outpouring of support from our alumni and friends who stepped up to the challenge, I express my deepest and most sincere gratitude.
I encourage you to read more about this exciting news on the campus NewsCenter, http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/
Robert J. Birgeneau
Chancellor, UC Berkeley
This leads us to pose the question: What is it that distinguishes a great public university from a great private university? In other words, “Who’s afraid of privatization?”
You are invited to comment.