Monday Memo: news & views about working at UC

For the Week of September 15, 2014

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A UC task force recommended against divesting the university's $10 billion in fossil fuel holdings, reports Reuters, but instead recommends investing "more than $1 billion over a five-year period into climate change solutions," such as expanding the university's "use of solar energy in an effort to make the university system carbon-neutral by 2025." UC students expressed disappointment in the process, according to the Daily Californian, and will "continue advocating divestment at the regents’ ... board meeting Sept. 17 to 18."

In related news, on September 8 UC announced "one of the largest ever solar-energy purchases by a university system in the United States," as reported in ABC News. The 25-year deal with a San Mateo-based company "will provide enough solar power to offset 60 percent of the electricity use at five of the state's 10 campuses, as well as some university medical centers."

A statement by Berkeley chancellor Nicholas Dirks asking "faculty and students ... to honor the 50th anniversary of the free speech movement on campus with a focus on civility" has set off a national firestorm, with some critics calling it "Orwellian" and "wrongheaded" and a "challenge to intellectual freedom on college and university campuses," reports Inside Higher Ed.

UC president Janet Napolitano got a mention in the San Francisco Chronicle as a possible Senate candidate for the seat of Democrat Barbara Boxer, who is still making up her mind about running for a fifth term.

Alternet is reporting on Tennessee’s new law providing 2 years of free community college education for state residents, as well as Oregon’s attempt to do the same.

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