Showing posts with label Janet Napolitano. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Janet Napolitano. Show all posts

Saturday, November 25, 2017

UC Berkeley students on food stamps: Are college students really suffering from "food insecurity"?

According to the media, more and more college students are going hungry.  Many universities are organizing food pantries to feed students suffering from "food insecurity."

The San Francisco Chronicle reported recently that more than 500 UC Berkeley students have applied for food stamps so far this year--up from only 111 during all of 2016. Thousands of UC Berkeley students rely on the university's food pantry; 1,549 students obtained donated food there during the month of September alone.

What's going on? Today, the typical college graduate is burdened with $37,000 in student loans. How can students borrow so much money to finance their studies and yet go hungry?

Here are my reflections on food insecurity at American colleges.

First, college students have struggled to feed themselves for more than a hundred years. Dorothy Day, for example, the founder of the Catholic social justice movement, wrote of going hungry during her college days at the University of Illinois back in 1914-1916. "At night," she wrote, "I could study in the university library. When I went back to my room I had to go to bed immediately, and when I was cold and hungry it was hard to get up in the morning."

I don't think Dorothy Day's college experience was atypical for her time. Even when I was in college more than 40 years ago, students heated Campbell's soup in their dorm-room popcorn poppers or made grilled cheese sandwiches by wrapping them in tinfoil and heating them with an electric iron.  And ramen noodles were a staple of many college students' diets.

As a college freshman, I recall eating at Griff's Drive-In with my dormmates on Sunday evenings, when Griff's sold hamburgers for ten cents each. We would pool our resources to buy 30 puny burgers (each garnished with exactly one pickle chip), and we would all eat about four.

Today, however, we have a new term--food insecurity--to describe students who live on limited budgets. Being food insecure doesn't mean students are starving; it just means they have too little to eat from time to time and are often forced to purchase substandard food (like Griff's hamburgers).

For example, the Chronicle featured one food insecure student who eats a typical lunch of "oatmeal, raspberries, chia seeds, flaxseeds, chocolate chips and coconut shavings, plus a spinach salad."  As Joseph Conrad might have put it, "The horror! The horror!"

And of course, college leaders would like the media to focus on their students' so-called "food insecurity" rather than the long-term suffering their graduates will experience when they try to pay off their student loans.  Maybe that's why Janet Napolitano, president of UC, pledged $302,000 to expand food pantries at UC campuses and help students sign up for food stamps.

Janet herself is not missing any meals. Her UC compensation was $3.7 million in 2014-2015, which makes UC's $302,000 contribution for food assistance seem puny in comparison.

 And the UC chancellors are doing OK as well. According to a 2016 newspaper report, nine UC chancellors received a total of $1.5 million in outside income for serving on various corporate boards during 2012-2014--that's in addition to their munificent salaries.

UC professors aren't worried about their next meal either. They draw handsome salaries, have top-notch health insurance, and expect to retire with generous pensions.

The reality is this. College students are not suffering unduly from food insecurity, even though some may be forced to eat spinach salads for lunch. Their suffering is in the future, when they graduate with massive student loan debt they can't pay back and can't discharge in bankruptcy. In fact, many college graduates will be eating ramen noodles for a long, long time.

References

Nanette Asimov. Many college students going hungry, need donated food groceries and food stamps. San Francisco Chronicle, November 23, 217.

Diana Lambert and Alexei Koseff. UC Davis chancellor apologizes, will donate textbook stock to student scholarships. Sacramento Bee, March 4, 2016. Accessible at http://www.sacbee.com/news/investigations/the-public-eye/article64041327.htm

Patrick McGreevy. University of California administration is paying excessive salaries and mishandling funds, state audit saysLos Angeles Times, April 25, 2017.

Monday, March 7, 2016

UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi accepted compensation from a textbook publisher: She should be fired

Both hands in the cookie jar . . .

Linda Katehi, Chancellor of UC Davis, received $70,000 for serving on the corporate Board of DeVry Education Group, the owner of a for-profit college being scrutinized by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. In addition, her DeVry position entitled to her to $100,000 in stock, according to the Sacramento Bee.  Not bad for part-time work.

Since then, the public has learned that Katehi received $420,000 in income and stock for serving on the board of John Wiley & Sons, a textbook publisher.  All of this is in addition to her Chancellor's salary of more than $400,000 a year.

What an outrage! And what is Chancellor Katehi's response to the uproar? She resigned from both her DeVry position and her Wiley position, and she promises to donate her Wiley stock to a student scholarship fund.

Katehi: "sincerely regret . . ."

And then of course Katehi released the standard mea culpa press release in which she said this:
I take my responsibilities as Chancellor of UC Davis, and the entire University of California, very seriously and sincerely regret having accepted service on boards that create appearances of conflict with my deep commitment to serve UC Davis and its students.
Note that she admits to accepting service on corporate boards--not that she accepted money.  And she expresses regret, which is far different from apologizing. And she acknowledges the appearance of a conflict--not an actual one. Yeah, I'd say a university president who takes four hundred grand from a textbook publisher has an appearance of conflict.

This lady needs to be fired. In fact, she should have been fired after the UC Davis pepper spray incident of 2011, when university police officers pepper sprayed a group of seated and nonthreatening student protesters. Katehi said she didn't know police were going to use pepper spray on the students, which is something of an excuse, I suppose.

But UC Davis police officers were sued  for firing pepperballs at student bystanders at an outdoor drinking bash that took place in 2004. One victim lost the use of an eye. The Ninth Circuit ultimately ruled that the police had used an unconstitutional level of force against the students.

So if there is anything this overcompensated clown should have gotten right while serving as UC Davis's chancellor it was control of the campus police. Yet an independent report found that UC Davis police were not authorized to use the specific type of pepper spray that they inflicted on students in the 2011 incident and were not trained to use it correctly.

Blah, blah, blah from UC President Napolitano

Incredibly, Katehi's venality is not exceptional. According to a fine article  written by Diana Lambert and Alexei Koseff for the Sacramento Bee, nine UC chancellors accepted $1.5 million in cash compensation from outside corporations during the  years 2012-2014--and that doesn't include stock options or deferred  compensation!

What does UC President Janet Napolitano have to say about Katehi's behavior? "I deeply value Linda's strong record in helping to make UC Davis a world-class center of scholarship and research, and continue to believe in  the value of her contributions to the University."  Blah, blah, blah.

What Napolitano is really saying is this: The University of California protects its insiders.

It is a pity that UC chancellors are not treated like UC students. If there were any justice in the world, all nine moonlighting UC chancellors would be put before a hand-picked squad of untrained UC Davis police officers and assaulted with pepper spray.

Image result for uc davis pepper spray image

References

Diana Lambert and Alexei Koseff. UC Davis chancellor apologizes, will donate textbook stock to student scholarships. Sacramento Bee, March 4, 2016. Accessible at http://www.sacbee.com/news/investigations/the-public-eye/article64041327.html

Nelson v. City of Davis, 685 F.3d 867 (9th Cir. 2012).  Accessible at http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2012/07/11/10-16256.pdf

Teresa Watanabe. UC Davis chancellor apologizes for controversial moonlighting activities. Los Angeles Tims, March 5, 2016. Accessible at http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-uc-davis-chancellor-20160304-story.html

Christopher Edley & C. F. Robinson 2012). Response to Protests on UC Campuses. University of California. http://campusprotestreport.universityofcalifornia.edu/documents/protest-report-091312.pdf
 Richard Fossey. Nelson v. City of Davis: Campus Police Officers Who Injure Nonthreatening Student with Pepper Spray May be Committing a Constitutional Offense. Teachers College Record Online, October 5, 2012. Accessible at: http://www.tcrecord.org/content.asp?contentid=16894

Gordon, L. (2012, September 13).
UC to pay settlement in Davis pepper spray case. Los Angeles Times (online edition). http://articles.latimes.com/2012/sep/13/local/la-me-uc-pepper-spray-20120914

Steve Gorman. University of California cop who pepper sprayed student protesters awarded $38,000. Reuters, October 23. Accessible at: http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/10/23/21105239-university-of-california-cop-who-pepper-sprayed-student-protesters-awarded-38000
Judy Lin. Linda Katehi, UC Davis Chancellor, Apologizes for Pepper Spray Incident. Huffington Post, November 22,2013.  Accessible at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/22/linda-katehi-uc-davis-cha_n_1107303.html

Jennifer Medina. Campus Task Forces Criticizes Pepper Srpaying of Protesters. New York Times, April 11, 2012. Accessible at http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/12/us/task-force-criticizes-pepper-spraying-of-protesters-at-uc-davis.html?_r=0

Cruz Reynoso. UC Davis Taskforce Report, March 12, 2012.  Accessible athttp://ahed.assembly.ca.gov/sites/ahed.assembly.ca.gov/files/hearings/1.%20Reynoso%20Task%20Force%20Report.pdf

Smith, D. (2012, September 20). Yolo DA won’t file charges in UCD pepper-spraying. Sacramento Bee (online edition).  http://www.sacbee.com/2012/09/20/4836866/yolo-da-wont-file-charges-in-ucd.html#mi_rss=Our%20Region


Stripling, J. (2012, April 11). Scathing report on UC-Davis pepper-spray incident faults chancellor and police.Chronicle of Higher Education (online edition). http://chronicle.com/article/UC-Davis-Pepper-Spray-Report/131496/

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Janet Napolitano, President of University of California, writes a hollow review of a book about the Tsarnaev brothers


Janet Napolitano, President of the University of California and former Secretary of Homeland Security, recently reviewed Masha Gessen's book about the Tsarnaev brothers for the Times Book Review section. Napolitano's review is remarkably shallow and self-serving, but we should reflect upon it nevertheless because Napolitano's vapid analysis of the Boston Marathon bombing is an apt example of the intellectual hollowness of America's governmental and educational leadership.


Janet Napolitano was Secretary of Homeland Security when the Boston Marathon bombing occurred, and she begins her review by slyly patting herself on the back for doing such a great job in catching the bumbling Tsarnaev brothers after their terrorist attack. Let's read what Napolitano said:
As secretary of homeland security, I immediately mobilized the department to assist Boston emergency responders and to work with the F.B.I. to identify the perpetrators. Because the Boston Marathon is an iconic American event, we suspected terrorism, but no group stepped forward to claim credit. Massive law enforcement resources--local, state and federal--had to be organized and deployed so that, within just a few days, we had narrowed the inquiry from the thousands of spectators who had come to cheer on the runners to just two, who had come to plant bombs.
She acknowledges that the Russians tipped off the F.B.I about Tamerlan, the older Tsarnaev brother, before the attack occurred; but, hey, the Russians are so unreliable. After all, Napolitano writes, "Russia routines presumes all young urban Muslim men to be radical."

Napolitano then goes on to debunk Gessen's theory that Tamerlan Tsarnaev may have been an F.B.I . informant and that the Bureau delayed telling local law enforcement authorities about his identity because they wanted to get to him first and kill him.  Such a theory, Napolitano maintains, is "laughable."

Finally, Napolitano points out that Gessen's book failed to answer some basic questions such as "How
and why did the two brothers shift from living somewhat aimless young lives to bombing the marathon?" But Napolitano herself offers no answer to that question, in spite of the fact that she was Secretary of Homeland Security when the attack occurred and should have some insight about the Tsarnaev's bizarre turn toward murder.

Napolitano ends her puff piece with a rhetorical salute to the people of Boston for turning out as spectators for the annual Boston Marathons that followed the 2013 bombing. "People there call it 'Boston Strong,'" she concludes with a flourish, "[but] I call it resilience, that enduring strand of the American fabric that, in the end, will outlast the most dastardly plot against it." Blah, blah, blah.

Janet Napolitano: blah, blah, blah
Personally, I found Napolitano's comments about the Boston Marathon bombing to be about as substantive as a rice cake. It is disturbing to me that the president of the University of California has nothing interesting to say about a major act of terrorism that occurred on her watch as Secretary of Homeland Security.

And now I will share my own theory about the Boston Marathon bombing. Personally, I don't believe the Tsarnaev brothers were radicalized in Chechnya or Dagestan or seduced by the Internet as some commentators theorize. I think the brothers were turned toward murder by the culture of Boston and Cambridge. Cambridge in particular, where Dzhokhar went to high school, is the epicenter of postmodern nihilism--the studied belief that there are no ultimate truths and that life is to be lived purely for the pursuit of power, recognition, and self-gratification.

For affluent young people like the ones who attend Boston's many elite colleges, nihilism can have a cheerful, even jaunty, aspect. Indeed, cheeky cynicism is expected of the young, and Boston's intelligentsia cultivate feigned world-weariness as a substitute for thought.

But nihilism has an ugly aspect when it is embraced by outcasts, by people who know they will never be insiders, will never have the opportunities that beckon to all the affluent young people who casually attend classes in Boston's many elitist colleges and universities.

Who can doubt that these two brothers, seeing nothing around them but affluent arrogance and easy self-regard, turned bitter; and turning bitter, they plotted their revenge.

It is a shocking thing to say, but I believe that the terrorism that the Tsarnaev brothers embraced was nurtured and metastasized in the culture that many Americans mistakenly think is the very acme of liberalism and tolerance--the culture of Boston and Cambridge.


Radicalized in Cambridge


References

Janet Napolitano. Blood Ties. New York Times Book Review, April 12, 2015, p. 1.