Throw women under the bus for some Saudi cash? How long do you think the enlightened lefties of Berkeley will hesitate? As long as five or ten minutes? I don’t give them that long.
“UC Berkeley, Saudi school working on secret deal,” by Matt Krupnick for the Contra Costa Times (thanks to Kemaste):
BERKELEY — UC Berkeley is negotiating a secretive deal with a developing graduate university in Saudi Arabia, where Berkeley faculty will collaborate on research and help the school hire professors.
But the collaboration has raised significant questions among Berkeley instructors about whether the Saudi school will discriminate against women and others, as is the case at most of the country’s institutions.
Berkeley administrators have declined to disclose most information about the developing agreement, denying several requests from the Times for public records. University attorneys said disclosing the records could derail the contract with the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, which the two schools expect to finalize as early as Tuesday.
A campus faculty leader said some professors in Berkeley’s mechanical engineering department — which would provide consultation to the Saudi school — had “huge” concerns about the agreement, particularly about academic freedom and gender and religious discrimination.
An Academic Senate committee decided those concerns were unwarranted, said Bill Drummond, the body’s chairman.
“They felt that the value of going forward outweighed the reservations that had been expressed so far,” said Drummond, a journalism professor.
Drummond declined to provide a copy of the Academic Senate report, as did the university. The report is believed to address the human-rights concerns raised by faculty members and details about the proposal.
In a letter to the university, Times’ attorney Karl Olson said the school’s reticence violates state law.
Withholding the document “seems to confuse the interests of various University officials in avoiding potential embarrassment or scrutiny with the interests of the public, which funds the university, in scrutinizing proposed agreements,” Olson wrote.
Faculty concerns have slowed similar proposals between other U.S. and Saudi schools. At Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, engineering professors are opposing an agreement to develop a men-only engineering school at Saudi Arabia’s Jubail University College.
Berkeley administrators are making sure the King Abdullah proposal would not lead to discrimination, said Al Pisano, chairman of the UC Berkeley mechanical engineering department.
“We’re in the middle of vetting all of this,” said Pisano, who declined to say how much money the Saudi school would pay UC Berkeley. “If this agreement goes forward as planned, I think you’re going to find that there will be no discrimination on any basis.”
Well, I doubt that. I hope I’m proven wrong.