More than 200 UC Berkeley instructors and faculty members are calling for a shutdown of classes and activities when right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos and other conservative speakers visit campus this month.
In a letter sent to the campus community this week, the faculty members said that a boycott of Yiannopoulos’ “Free Speech Week” would protect their students from potentially deadly violence. The letter cited shootings, stabbings and beatings during confrontations between the right and left in Seattle; Portland, Ore.; Charlottesville, Va.; Maryland and Virginia.
Charter school advocates in Los Angeles had been having a great year. With millions of dollars at their disposal, they had won their first majority on the school board and installed a pro-charter board president, Ref Rodriguez.
They had ambitious plans for the future and they had the leadership of Rodriguez, a figure in the national education reform movement.
Then, on Wednesday, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office charged Rodriguez with three felonies in a 14-page criminal complaint.
The Los Angeles Unified School District will pour $151 million into a group of 50 schools to settle a lawsuit over how the school system spends money intended for some of its neediest students.
The funds, to be distributed over three years, will go to schools in low-income neighborhoods, mostly in South and East Los Angeles, and will pay for such efforts as increased tutoring, mental health support, counseling, parent participation and restorative justice.
The extra help is supposed to benefit three groups of students: those from low-income families, English learners and those in the foster-care system.
To see what free speech looks like in 2017 at the birthplace of the famed movement, consider the elaborate preparations underway for a talk Thursday by a conservative writer.
Ben Shapiro isn’t nearly as controversial as some right-wing speakers who have roiled the campus over the last year.
Nonetheless, UC Berkeley has told students that counseling is available to those stressed by all the commotion. A large swath of the campus will be closed off, including the plaza where the free speech movement began in the 1960s. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent on security, and police can now use pepper spray on protesters after a 20-year-old ban was lifted by the City Council this week. Shapiro’s appearance is a key test for Berkeley.
UC Berkeley, home of the free speech movement, has become the nation’s most prominent stage for violent confrontations between the left and the right. This month, conservative speakers Ben Shapiro, Milo Yiannopoulos, Ann Coulter and Steve Bannon all are expected to visit Berkeley, and the campus is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in security costs to prevent violence.
Chancellor Carol T. Christ, who has more than three decades of teaching and administrative experience at Berkeley and also served as president of Smith College, said a “combustible mix” of changing youth sensibilities, political polarization and the choice of university campuses as battlegrounds has made protecting free speech more fraught than ever. She spoke with The Times on Wednesday in San Diego, during a break in the UC regents meeting.
UC Irvine Chancellor Howard Gillman apologized Wednesday for the “unacceptable distress” caused to students after the campus abruptly rescinded nearly 500 admission offers this summer, and pledged the mistakes would not recur.
Gillman, speaking at the University of California regents meeting, said he could not fully explain what went wrong or craft a corrective plan until an internal audit is completed in the next month. The campus has readmitted all but about 50 students, he said.
California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White, who flew to Washington, D.C., this week to speak out against President Trump's decision to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, said he was "cautiously optimistic" that Congress will find a way to preserve the program that protects nearly 800,000 young immigrants.
In back-to-back meetings with Republicans and Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) and U.S. Department of Education undersecretary James Manning, the chancellor made his case for the more than 8,000 students without legal status at Cal State, the nation’s largest public university system.
“Folks were empathetic and impressed with how many of our students are involved in the DACA program, how important it is, and how the uncertainty around the possibility of the program going away is debilitating to our students,” White said in an interview Wednesday. “I think there's a will to get something done. There are some who think it might get done in the next handful of weeks and others who think it might take another calendar year. Politics is politics, but I'm cautiously optimistic that there's a permanent, workable legislative solution that's in the mix now."
Los Angeles Unified School Board President Ref Rodriguez was charged Wednesday with three felony counts of conspiracy, perjury and procuring and offering a false or forged instrument, among other charges, the result of a months-long investigation by local authorities into donations to his successful first-time run for office in 2015.
The charges against Rodriguez, 46, who represents District 5, which stretches from Los Feliz to South Gate, were detailed in a news release from the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.
Some local high school students are challenging Burbank Unified’s dress code, saying it is sexist against girls, and they are planning to survey parents, teachers and students on how to amend the policy.
Eight students from Burroughs and Burbank high schools shared their personal experiences dealing with the dress code during the public-comment period of a Burbank school board meeting last week.