University Updates

by Dan Krauss


In a landmark decision that has set the stage for a national debate on affirmative action, the UC Board of Regents voted 14-10 to end race-based admissions practices at the University by January 1, 1997. The Regents also voted 15-10 to end affirmative action programs in hiring policies by January 1, 1996. California Governor Pete Wilson, an ardent supporter of Regent Ward Connerly's proposal to end the programs, hailed the outcome. Meanwhile, all nine UC Chancellors and UC President Jack Peltason have denounced the July 20 decision.

"Obviously, we will comply with the resolutions approved by the Board. It is important to make clear at the outset, however, that they have to do with means, not with goals" Peltason said, reaffirming the University's commitment to diversity.

 A preliminary study presented to the Regents on May 17 projected that minority enrollment would drop significantly if affirmative action policies were eliminated from the University's admissions process.


In May, the U.S. Library of Congress appointed Berkeley English Professor Robert Haas the nation's next poet laureate. The honor, given each year since 1936, has never before been bestowed on a writer from the western United States. When Haas assumes his duties as poet laureate in the fall, he will be responsible for calling attention to the nation's literary arts and planning readings and other events at the Library of Congress' Poetry and Literacy Center in Washington D.C.


In a move to put Berkeley at the forefront of the emerging field of electronic information systems, the University has replaced the UC Berkeley School of Library and Information Studies with a new School of Information Management and Systems. The new school will focus on how best to use new information technologies while considering their social consequences. The first students may be admitted as early as fall 1996.


For nearly an entire century, the Haas School of Business' reputation rested primarily on its students and faculty, not on its facilities. That all changed on May 6, when a new $55-million complex officially became the first independent home for the school. The structure, composed of three connected wings flanking a central courtyard, was designed by distinguished American architect Charles Moore. The facility houses a new lecture hall, classrooms, offices, a business and economics library, and a modern computer center. The construction costs for the facility were funded entirely by private donations.


The U.C. Board of Regents chose a 2,000 acre site at Lake Yosemite in Merced County over another site at Table Mountain in Madera County as the location of the University's tenth campus. The May 18 decision marked the end of a 6-year search for a site. The Virginia Smith Trust, which owns the site and 3,000 acres around it, donated the land to the University. As part of its agreement with the University, the trust will give 10 percent of the profit it makes from developing the adjacent land to a scholarship fund. UC President Jack Peltason said that there are no immediate plans to build the new campus until the dismal state funding situation improves.


Several national and foreign public policy figures paid visits to the Berkeley campus in recent months. Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala was the keynote speaker at Cal's Charter Day ceremony on April 28. Also present at the event was Sung-Joo Han, who until recently was foreign minister of South Korea. Han, an alumnus of Cal's Political Science doctoral program, received the Elise and Walter A. Haas International Award. Less than two weeks later, U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich came to campus to deliver the keynote address at the May 9 Commencement Convocation.

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