Campus Conversations: Chancellor Carol Christ


– Good afternoon, I’m Dan
Mogulof in the campus office of communications and public affairs, and I’m super thrilled and honored to have our chancellor,
Carol Christ, with us for this semester-ending
campus conversation. So glad you could join us. Again, just to reiterate,
there are index cards on your chairs if you have a question now that you know you’d
wanna ask the chancellor. Great time to fill out the
card, hold it up, be collected. But also, totally fine
to do that in the course of the conversation. And so, without further ado, Carol, perhaps a few
words about where we are and where we’re headed. – Delighted! So, first of all, I wanted to
start with a big thank you! I think that Cal has the
most talented, imaginative, dedicated staff in the
world and I am conscious every single day of all the work you do, so I wanna thank all of
you for the work you do. I was down at facilities this morning, thanking them particularly for their work in the power outage but just, generally, for all of the often unseen work that keeps this campus going. And so I wanna thank all of you. I’ll begin with news. The first is a little bit old news but I don’t think it can
bear too much repeating, which is that the budget is balanced. We actually have a modest,
very modest, surplus of about $60 million. I should say… It doesn’t sound modest to all of you but in the context of our whole budget, it really is modest. But I should say to all of you, the budget is precariously balanced, that it depends… Our future financial
health depends so much on what the regents and what the state do. So, first of all, we need a
consensus among the regents and then with the legislature
about what would be a reasonable set, a reasonable philosophy
of tuition increases. If our major revenue
source never increases, that means from year-to-year, we have to make major cuts. And so, that is perhaps
my highest priority, as a political issue, is to make the case for modest, predictable,
regular tuition increases. The regents are going to consider,
at their January meeting, a plan for cohort tuition, that means only new students coming in get a tuition increase, and the tuition holds
the same for that cohort all through their years
at any of the UC campuses. The other thing that matters, of course, is the state’s increasing
its investment and apportion of our budget that comes from the state. We got to a balanced budget
about halfway through cuts and through financial discipline, and about halfway through
growing revenue sources. Our increased diversification
and multiplication of sources of revenue is becoming very robust and that’s really exciting
and very good for the campus. So other news, I wish
I could be as cheerful about the capital side
of our budget as I am about the operating side. Rosemarie Rae, the CFO, has said often, “I’m absolutely confident
I can solve Berkeley’s “operating budget problem. “I cannot solve it’s
capital budget problem.” And just to lay out the
different aspects of it, we have a two billion dollar
deferred maintenance backlog. I’m sure you all know what that means. And then we have, recently,
reassessed the seismic condition of all the buildings on campus. They’re rated one through seven,
with seven being the worst and one being the best. The only good news is we have no sevens. But we have seven sixes,
which is very poor, and we have over 60 fives. So that’s a huge challenge for the campus with no clear revenue stream
to do that seismic work. We also have gotten to
a point where many of our laboratory buildings for STEM – science, technology,
engineering, mathematics – are not in the shape that they
need to be for our research and, frankly, to compete for
faculty with our private peers. So we have a real problem
in the modernization of our laboratory. And then, of course, there’s
the huge issue of housing, and how few of our students we house and how much a burden
this is for our students who have to live in places
that are too expensive, too crowded, on the very
impacted Berkeley, Oakland, El Cerrito markets for rentals, so that’s really a challenge. Let me tell you a little
bit about what we’re doing on the capital side. First of all, our housing
projects are moving forward. We have a wonderful, wonderful
donor-developed project. It’s name is now Anchor House and it indeed will be an
anchor for our campus. It’ll be right at the
entrance to the campus on the corner of University and Oxford. It will be for transfer students, it’s such an exciting gift. We have another gift that is
going to be made to the campus where someone is building
us an apartment building for graduate students at Emeryville. And so, that’s also an incredibly, incredibly exciting development. In January, at the regents’ meeting, we’re taking People’s Park to the regents. That is moving ahead in the planning and I think you all know it’s
going to be about a quarter of the site, we’ll use for
permanent supportive housing for the homeless, a quarter of it for a commemorative park, our own Walter Hood, who just recently won a MacArthur Genius award,
is going to be doing the park design and about half of that for housing. And then there are other
things in the hopper too. So we’re moving as fast
as we can for housing. The one project that stalled
is the Upper Hearst Project, the one that’s on the parking lot that’s at the top of Hearst there, because the city is suing us about the supplemental environmental
impact report that we had to do for that project. We cannot start construction
on that project. So that’s the housing piece of it. The campus piece of it is
much, much more complicated and I think of it as
like a giant chess game or a kind of Rubik’s Cube. We have to figure out
how we can strengthen our buildings seismically. In other words, do the seismic retrofits. Build whatever new facilities,
modernize whatever buildings we need to build and minimize the number of
moves that individual units need to make. So the building that
we’ve set our sights on as the number one seismic
remediation project is Evans Hall. That’s one of our sixes. I don’t think many tears
will be shed for Evans. But what we have to do… The reason we chose Evans is it’s a six and it is the, in terms of occupancy, the biggest of our
buildings that are sixes, and so we have to figure out
a place to put all the people and functions that are in Evans. So the first building we
will build will be a building on what we’re calling the Tullman site but it obviously will
have another meaning. That’ll be a data science building. And then we will build, at the same time, a building that’ll have
classrooms, academic, LNS-advising, mathematics and economics, and we haven’t figured out where. We’re contemplating what the
best site for that would be. And then when we do those two things, then we can take down Evans. We’re not gonna build a
new Evans in its place. We’ll probably build
two smaller buildings, but that’s kind of where
we’re going in the most immediate future. We have some… The seismic ratings for
the six buildings are… They mean all kinds of different things. For example, Moffat Library is a six. All that means is it has one
pillar that needs reinforcement and that’s about a $10 million project, not very expensive in
the way those things go. Durant is another six. Means the stonework on the
front isn’t well enough attached to the building. So the seismic ratings mean
a whole range of things from buildings that really
have to be demolished, like Evans, and replaced, to ones where the retrofit
is pretty straightforward and relatively, I say
relatively, inexpensive. There is going to be a bond
issue on the state ballot for the primary election. That’s extremely important
for our capital planning. It’s a $15 million bond issue. It’s nine million for
K-12 and two million each for the community–
– [Dan] Two billion. – Oh billion, billion, sorry. You get used to doing
away with the zeroes. Makes it all seem more manageable. Billion, 15 billion and two billion each for the community colleges, CSU and UC, and that money will be
distributed among the UCs. All of our projects, or
many of our projects, will have complex funding arrangements. We will have a philanthropic element to many of our buildings, a long term debt element now
that our budget is balanced. We can take out modest
amounts of debt once again and a state funding component as well as a deferred maintenance component. So that’s the kind of
capital piece, in short. Really, really exciting
news is that we are about to launch a campaign, the
public phase of campaign, in which we’ve been
counting for now six years. The kickoff is going to
be on February 29th, 2020. I love it that it’s a day that
comes once every four years. And our goal is gonna be very
ambitious for this campaign, probably six billion dollars, and we will expect to be halfway there by the time of the public kickoff. And you can just keep your ears open, we’re gonna have a lot
of exciting announcements about gifts. And then, finally, before
we turn to Dan’s questions and your questions, I wanna talk a bit about diversity. This, to me, is one of the most
important priorities I have. It is enormously complex
to make progress on. First, there’s a demographic
element, obviously. I think all of our campus populations, undergraduate student body,
graduate student body, faculty and staff, must become more diverse and we’re developing a strategy
for each of those groups. So there’s the demographic element. But then there’s the
experience that students have when they get here and that is going to take
the community to solve. I’m sure Dan will ask
me questions about the really offensive video that
was posted by a student and the way in which it has deeply pained and grieved elements of our community. I think, in large part,
because its rubs salt in the wound of the prejudice that some of our communities live with as
part of their daily experience. So I’m going to be having
a set of conversations over the spring semester about our responsibilities
to our community and for our community. I think that particularly, and I said this in my campus message, in this world of easy,
cheap online communication, something offensive that
somebody could say in a room, which somebody in the room
can say something back and they can argue, becomes, with the kind of
digital universe we live in, something that’s broadcast
to millions of people and becomes viral very quickly. That’s so much harder a problem to solve and the consequences are
so much less immediate to the individual who does it because they don’t have to confront whoever isn’t in the room with them who may not agree with them or find what they’ve said
deeply hurtful or offensive. But let me stop there and I’m sure we’ll talk more about this. – Just for those of you in the back, there are number of seats in the front– – [Carol] Yes don’t be afraid!
– If you wanna come forward. – [Carol] Don’t be afraid
to sit in the front row! – All righty. So I do wanna follow up a
little bit about the video. Almost since the very
beginning of your tenure, you’ve talked about the
importance you place on the sense of community and a sense of belonging. Those, from my time when I was in college, I don’t remember that being a priority and I don’t remember that being a value that anybody, I think,
paid a lot of attention to. Why is it so important for
you and how does it connect and support the academic… Connect to and support
the academic vision? – That’s such an
interesting question, Dan, and I think, in part,
Berkeley is a lot bigger now than it used to be. 30% bigger since 2008. And that means it’s an
even more jostly place than it used to be. In addition, it’s a much
more diverse campus, I think all to the good, than the campus that I joined in 1970 and that means that people come here with very different experiences,
different identities, different beliefs about the world, and these can clash both in classrooms, in social kinds of contexts or online. And then, Berkeley has become
something of a target as well. Berkeley is one of the few
campuses in the United States where you can make the claim
that history is happening here and that makes it a
really attractive stage for people to come to and make whatever claim they wanna make where they think they
can get the headline, because it’s at Berkeley. So one of the things that
we say we’re teaching our students, and I think this goes for any college and university, you’re teaching students
how to be in a community and that… Probably most of you know,
I was at Smith College. Very different place, rural environment, about 2900 students. It’s a very different
thing, building community at a small place than a big place, that’s like a city where there
are a lot of neighborhoods, and so trying to figure
out how to do that, how to make each of our communities, each person in our community feel valued, feel as if they belong here, seems to me so important and it’s also extraordinarily difficult. I can talk, I can put on programs, but finally, I’m not capable
of creating a community for the 50 or 60 000 people who make Berkeley their workplace or the place that they study. So it’s something that’s on all of us to try to figure out how
we can make our community a place everyone really values being in and feels valued being in. – I’m wondering if it feels to you, a little bit at the
moment, a little Sisyphean, the whole sort of quest, given what’s going in
the world beyond campus. The era of polarization and anger. We’re moving into a
national election period. We just had a conservative
speaker on campus. Many of those who wanted
to attend were subject to extraordinary verbal abuse
and physical harassment. What are your concerns
and thoughts as we move in to what might even be a
period of even more sort of heightened tension and friction? – I think we’re in a state, and this is hardly an original thought, but we’re in a moment
right now nationally, politically, it’s probably worldwide, in which people are really testing norms. So kinds of things you wouldn’t think that you would be able to say, people are now saying. Trying to say. And the fact that the online
space is so unaccountable, is held so unaccountable, makes it easier. And we are this moment of
both intense polarization, the fact that we’re a stage and the fact that this
is a time of testing. It’s gonna be a trying time,
I think, for our campus and people’s feelings, many
of them are extremely raw and hurt. I didn’t wanna talk very
much about the video itself because I think that the… It really was just an
occasion for something that’s way deeper than some very
misconceived, hurtful individual student’s act. But the student talked
specifically about blacks, about gay people and about women, and I had many conversations with members of the black community saying
how much this pained them, how much it hurt them, how much it made them feel
they didn’t belong here. And I’ve also had conversations, which I really regret I didn’t… I didn’t say anything about this, in the message from gay people who felt, “This is obliterating my existence. “It is not recognizing me.” It also took out after women and I’ve been thinking a lot,
why I just thought this is some silly, incredibly misconceived young man’s drunken rant, why didn’t it affect me? And I, because I’m older and I’m secure and I’m powerful and I’m white, I’m free to say, “Doesn’t
matter to me,” and it doesn’t but that’s not true of people
who feel that they exist in a marginalized position and somebody is saying, “You
don’t matter, you don’t count, “you don’t deserve to
exist in this community.” – I just have one more
question on this front, we’ll move on to other
subjects and then the questions that have come in from the audience. One of the things you and I talked about when we were preparing for
our conversation today, you talk about this perceived
gap between our stated values and our actions. Can you unpack that a little bit and maybe share some thoughts
about how to close that gap? Is it through conversation
or are there other things you’re thinking about? – Yeah, that’s a wonderful
question ’cause I think all the time about how we’re so… I talk all the time about
how diversity is one of our central values. We’re proud of our diversity at Berkeley. But that whole, that aspiration, immediately seems hollow
when we have any of a number of incidents, not just this one, that happen on the campus and people live, particularly people who are members of underrepresented groups, live with a sense of
contradiction that we’re not what our words are
asserting we aspire to be, and that’s a huge
challenge for the campus. In part, this is numbers. The black students are only three percent of our undergraduate population. When I came to Berkeley as
a faculty member in 1970, women were three percent of the faculty and I know what it feels
like to be three percent. You feel like there are not
very many people like you and so the numbers are really a problem. But it’s also how we all create community that’s an issue.
– Understood. We’re gonna move into your questions now and, again, if things occur
to you, things you wanna ask in the course of the conversation, the cards remain on your chair. Fill them out, hold ’em up. So the first question, what are we gonna do with $60 million? (audience laughter) – I’m afraid it’s probably already spent. I mean, there are so many
priorities that we have. We’re enormously
understaffed and (mumbles), and I should say this isn’t
60 million continuing dollars. It’s 60 million one-time dollars. We have law, the legal
expenses all the time. We have emergencies that
happen, like the power outages. It really is, even though
it sounds like a lot to any human being, maybe except for Bill Gates or somebody, it’s just a drop in the bucket
in terms of our expenses. – Which reminds me, we’re sort of, I don’t know exactly how
many months we’re into a new regime in Sacramento. What’s your sense about
where we are in terms of the possibility of
additional state funding? What’s the university’s relationship like with this governor right now? – This governor, like
the previous governor, doesn’t badmouth the university and we’re very grateful for that. He also is really
ambitious for many things, and I’m not sure the university is as high as some other things are
on his list of priorities, but we have been really
working the legislature. There was a quite wonderful
meeting that John Perez, who is the new chair of the
board of regents, put together. It was a day and a half in San Diego which he invited some
leaders from the legislature, three chancellors, and I was
one of three that was invited, as well as a few regents, and we really had a meeting of the minds. And so I think that it’s
not just the governor, it’s really the legislature too and changing the conversation
with the legislature. – Neat. Next question, is there
any long range plan to build more classrooms,
especially large classrooms? – Absolutely! – [Dan] There goes the 60 million! – The building that we will
build half of the replacement for Evans will have many classrooms in it, so will the replacement to (murmurs). I was just talking with the dean of the College of Natural
Resources this morning. Wellman is one of the number
sixes on our seismic list and he was talking about
his plans for renovation of Wellman and putting… Restoring what used to a be a 200-seat amphitheater
lecture room to that building, so we’re very, very aware. There’s another really
interesting plan to try to create another performance space
for Cal performances that would be a classroom
when it’s not being used for performances, so we’re
very, very focused on, in all our building projects, indeed we’ve identified it as a principle. There’s no building project
that will move forward that we won’t put classrooms in. – So it was a few weeks ago, you created a little stir
when you opined on the SAT. Blew up twitter there for the afternoon. Casting some doubt about
whether that should be part of the process and now (murmurs) unpack that a little bit too, but the question here
from the audience is, can you speak to how you
came to your recommendation to do away with the SAT in
the application process? – Yeah, I certainly can. I was the provost here
in the 90s when first the regents passed SP1 and SP2, which prohibited, among other things, any use of gender, race or
ethnicity in admissions, and then that later became
enshrined in Proposition 209 on the state level. And I saw, at that point, how
the SAT really exaggerated the kind of… Real drop in diversity that the University of California
experienced at that point. Some of you maybe remember
that Richard Atkinson, who was the president at that point, did a lot of study of the SAT. Pat Hayashi, who used
to work on this campus, was one of his really important
partners in that study. And what the studies show, which
have continued to this day, there’s someone who works
in our Center for Studies in Higher Education called Saul Geiser, who’s continued to do these studies and the most… The most important correlative
with SAT scores is wealth. And even when you strip out
all the other correlatives, there’s kind of a racial correlative that you can’t strip away. You all know, I’m sure, about
all the SAT prep resources that are available to parents who can pay. And so I believe that
the SAT does not create a level playing field for our students in their applications to the university. When I was president of Smith, I did away with the SAT as a
requirement for application and we subsequently
experienced a much larger, more diverse applicant pool and a much more diverse student body, and our admissions office
didn’t feel themselves in any way hampered in
making judgments about the academic qualifications
of the applicants to Smith. So I experienced what it means to make, to go SAT-optional and I
think it’s a good thing to do. – And so what’s going on with the UC? Is there some of study group? Where are we?
– Yeah, there’s a study. You probably know that
admissions are in the hands of the faculty, so there is a group that is
studying the issue right now in the system-wide academic senate. It’s going to make a
recommendation fairly early in the new year, February or March, and then the regents will
act on that recommendation. – So staying with the admissions subject, this question, also from the audience. The University of Texas system recruits a diverse student body by giving admission to all Texas public high
school students in the top 10% to the UT system. Those in the top seven
percent are granted admission to the flagship UT Austin campus. Is this a model the UC system
or Berkeley could follow? What concrete steps is
Berkeley taking to make the student body look more
like the diverse population of California?
– That’s a great question. In fact, we’ve done a
lot of studying of this and it doesn’t have
the diversifying effect on our population that it had
on the University of Texas, in part because we’re not as– – [Dan] When you say “it,”
what are you referring to? – The top 10%, the top seven percent. In part, because we’re not as racially and ethnically segregated as Texas is. I just actually met with
the director of admissions yesterday, asking that very question, what are we doing? And we’re looking really, really carefully at very diverse high schools that are, particularly in our immediate
neighborhood like Oakland, Richmond, Berkeley, and looking at those
applicants really carefully. We are redoubling our outreach efforts and will redouble our yield
efforts to those schools. I’m really delighted to
say that there’s been a very substantial increase in the diversity of our transfer pool of
applicants this year. Though the freshman applicants
are pretty much the same, in terms of diversity, as last year, but I think this is going to
be a multiple-year project in which we have to work not
only on our outreach and yield, but also on the culture
that students experience when they come here. – I know you’re gonna be
also sending out a talk… Staying with admissions for a second. There’s gonna be a campus
message soon about some changes in how applications are read. If you could talk about that a little bit and what do you say to
counter those who fear the university is looking to
(mumbles) Proposition 209? Talk a little bit about those two things. – Okay well, first of all… Apologize for this being
kind of down in the weeds. It used to be when the readers
would read applications, the first thing they
would see the SAT score. We’re now putting that at
the bottom of the application and doing the profile stuff at the top. We used to ask readers
to say yes, no, maybe, now we’re saying recommend,
do not recommend, partially recommend. So we’re trying to change
things about the reading process that will make the readers
or encourage the readers to take a more holistic view. – [Dan] So what challenges
a student may have faced– – Yes, exactly. Characteristics of the high school rather than right upfront, the numbers, which is the way the reading
process used to work. And we’ve changed the
training of the readers but we do not take into account
race or ethnicity or gender. We can’t, it’s against the law. – Understood. Staying with another complicated
subject, this one is, can you comment on implications
for Berkeley regarding the Trump administration’s declaration regarding antisemitism, that federal funds will
be withheld from schools that don’t provide, that
don’t confront antisemitism. This was done under
what’s called Title Six. Title Six offers protections
for people based on race, ethnicity and nationality,
and there was concern in the Jewish community. On one hand, parts of the
Jewish community seem pleased the administration is taking
a stand against antisemitism. Others concerned that
it facilitates othering by suggesting that Jews
are a nation apart. So what was your reaction
to it and do you think it’s gonna have an impact here on campus? – I don’t think it’s gonna have much of an impact here on campus. There’s been a lot of debate in the press about the contradiction
between this presidential order and the presidential order
to colleges and universities a little while ago, again,
threatening federal funding… Taking away federal funding and
supporting academic freedom. These are in contradiction
with each other, that if you say… I mean this, again, gets
way down in the weeds but if you take the definition that the presidential order
has of antisemitism, it would mean that anti-Israel
statements are part of what is seen as antisemitic, yet you’re certainly
allowed to be critical of Israeli politics or support a Palestinian
state or Palestine liberation and for free speech indeed. One of the things that
I say often to students and upsets them is you can say a lot of really abhorrent things
and they’re protected by the First Amendment. So it’s not… As with many things
the president is doing, it seems to be more motivated
by a political goal than one that is actually good for
colleges and universities. But I actually don’t
think it’s going to be, have much of an impact here. – Okay, moving into a different area. I’m always blown away by
the full range of issues that you need to weigh in on. So now we’re gonna come back
down to the ground level. The question is, is the
housing problem severe enough that the campus is willing to engage in public conversations
regarding student affairs, and here they’re referring to the division of student affairs, student affairs’ reliance
on housing revenue to support its programs
rather than maintain existing infrastructure
or build new buildings? – Yeah, I think that’s a
really important question and indeed, it’s a conversation that we’ve been having privately. And one of the things that
is absolutely wonderful about these donor gifts
we’re getting for housing is that they will subsidize
the cost of housing and enable us to make
housing more affordable. We’re also pursuing
other philanthropic gifts in regard to housing. – Another one, next. Thanks for being here. I understand you recently
shared the Berkeley staff report on staff baby-bonding leave with the UC Council of Chancellors. How did they respond and
what are the next steps? Any sense of when we
might see a policy change? – All the other chancellors,
I’m glad to say, were completely supportive,
as was the president. She said, “Get this done!” to the person who was the head
of HR, who was in the room. And so I know it went
to the vice-chancellors for administration at their last meeting, which I think was either
yesterday or the day before yesterday. And we’re moving through that. There are number of
different ways to do this, what would be most preferable, there’s currently, as
many people may know, a state law that stipulates
that all state agencies as well as private
organizations have to give a family leave and baby bonding leave, but because the University
of California is constitutionally
independent, it doesn’t apply to the University of California, so we’re gonna need some kind
of amendment to that state law to include the University of California. That’s, as I understand it now, that’s the route that the office of the president wants to take, and I just don’t know how
long that’s all gonna take. – Got it. We’re gonna stay in the HR
world here and the question is, some of us are forced to use vacation days during curtailment in summer. Why not give us all the days off? (audience applauding) – I actually think that’s a great idea. Speaking as someone who has
to use her vacation days. – [Dan] Powerful, but not that powerful. – I was certainly willing
to take that issue up but I think the complexity
of it is that some people really do have to work over… That art campus. Let’s backtrack a little bit. When I was at Smith, Smith
really closed over vacation. It’s completely closed. You couldn’t do anything. Berkeley never really closes and so I guess that there
would be an equity issue you’d have to sort out. Maybe you just add to vacation days. I actually think its a good idea but I haven’t had this
conversation with anybody so I’ve… I’m told often that when I
think something is a good idea, that it is. – Sticking with the sort
of same general subject. The question is, as our
student population grows, how do you plan to
prioritize staff growth, especially in the student services side where students of concern, conflicts among student populations demand more time to resolve. – I think staff growth in
student-facing staff has to be prioritized. We’re under-invested, I
believe, in advising stuff. Clearly, there’s an increasing
demand for more councilors at the Tang Center, and just student-facing staff. I mean it’s not reasonable to think. One of the things that
I’m very concerned with, sorry, restarting, is that we have grown our
student body as I said before by 30%, we have not grown our faculty. So too many students can get classes, can’t get required classes. We really need to grow the faculty and we have to grow the
student-facing staff. – What are the plans
on growing the faculty? Is the part of the campaign, where are we with that?
– That’s part of the campaign. In fact, I should’ve
said my opening remarks, what the goals with campaign are, not just the new money
goal but the project goals. We wanna add at least a 100 faculty. Graduate student support
is a very important goal for the campaign because we’re
now no longer competitive with our private peers for our graduate student support packages and undergraduate scholarships, and the kinds of programs
that will enable students both to navigate this
very complex place better, but also make sure that students who are on financial aid don’t miss out on the kinds of
life-transforming experiences like doing research with a faculty member or having internships that really lead to future opportunities. So those are some of
the campaign priorities. – Got it. Staying with money here. Is any additional funding
or support being provided to retention centers on campus? And I cannot read the last word. They gave an example
of a retention center. I’m not even sure what
a retention center is, if you could perhaps explain y– – Well, they’re, all of them, they’re many programs,
they’re not a single program but all of the programs,
like EOP for example, that provide resources or
through Student Learning Center that provide resources and
counseling for students that helped them thrive at Berkeley. We just got a wonderful, wonderful grant from the Haas Jr.
Foundation of $10 million. A lot of that is going
to retention efforts. We got another grant from
the (mumbles) Foundation, some of that is going to be used for retention-connected efforts. – I’m just curious, you were
talking about fundraising at different points
throughout the conversation, what’s the main narrative
when you meet with somebody who’s potentially a
very significant donor, and they’re interested and they wanna, “What’s going on with Berkeley? “What are the high points
of what you convey, what you want them to understand? – What I talk about is very much where I’ve talked about here. I talk about my
aspirations for the campus. I try to get them to
understand the lack of equity of experience of our students. I talk about our great
needs for facilities in science and engineering. Many people think that
fundraising is like going on with a shopping list or going to an ATM. And that’s really not the case. It’s a conversation. And people who have enormous capacity and inclination to give, think of the gifts that
they give as their lagacy in the world. And they have to be
deeply meaningful to them. So it’s not as if I go in and ask, “I want funding for the LNS advising.” It’s really a conversation
in which I try to understand what’s important to you about Berkeley. What do you wanna say for this university that you valued so much? And then we try to find
a meeting of the minds of things that meet
the donor’s aspirations and things that the university indeed… Fit with the university’s aspirations. – Got it. Let’s see, so here’s first
the thank you for Unix unlimited courses in 2020. And this is what staff can–
– Yes, yeah, yeah. That’s great. And I wanna say how that arose, which is I had been
having a set of lunches at the chancellor’s house for the elected union representatives
and we, of course, can’t talk about collective
bargaining issues, but we were talking about
their experience of working on the campus and things
they’d like to see, and this suggestion came from a lunch when we were talking about Unix courses and I remember a woman
talking so eloquently, saying, “Now we’re only
allowed to take courses “that relate to our work and
can increase our expertise” of whatever her job is. She said, “I’m a janitor. “There aren’t any courses
about being a janitor. “And I would love to take
courses that would increase “my capacities that I have
that would enable me to do “a different kind of job.” We really took this seriously. ‘Nother suggestion that came out of that lunch was ESL classes for employees who are… Where English is a second language. So we got some really good suggestions so I wanna give credit to the employees who thought of this idea. – And then the same person
had a follow up asking if tuition reimbursement
will be offered for staff if the classes or master
programs are taken outside UC Berkeley. – I don’t think that’s gonna happen. That was, when I was at Smith, I think the most valued benefit
we offered our employees. You got half tuition
for your kids no matter where they went. But I don’t think that’s
gonna happen here. What I hope, I have a meeting actually
later this week about this, I really hope that we’re going to create a system-wide program
whereby employees who have not finished their
bachelor’s degrees can finish their bachelor’s degrees while they work. – Back to money and infrastructure. Are the seismic costs we
need to address part of the two billion dollars
in deferred maintenance or is that in addition?
– No, it’s in addition. The number that Rose keeps quoting as our capital need is $13 billion. – [Dan] Yikes, that’s a big number. We can agree.
– That is a big number! That is a big number. Two billion is too. – And speaking about budget
reminds me of something else. For many years, and for
people who’ve been on campus for a while, there have been issues with the athletics budget and
I know that was a priority for you and the athletic director. Where are we that? Is there an agreement? Do you feel the program is now been set on a financially sustainable course? Can you update us?
– Yes! The athletics budget is balanced, in addition to the campus’ budget, though I want to explain what that means because for years, for decades, athletics has been running a deficit. A deficit in excess of $10
million, extending to $20 million in more recent years. And every year, the campus
would pay that deficit. So it wasn’t as if it was a deficit like if you run a deficit, it
cumulates and you ultimately, like on your credit card,
you ultimately have to pay it plus interest. This deficit was one that the
campus paid for every year. So one of the things
that I realized was that we were actually budgeting
athletics at a much larger figure than was the putative campus contribution, which was five million dollars. And I realized that the campus had not been being honest with itself, that if it wanted an
athletic program of the size, scope and ambition of our
current athletic program, it simply cost more in terms
of a campus contribution to run that program than we were admitting to ourselves it cost, even though we were in fact
budgeting it at that level ’cause we were paying for
the deficit year-by-year. So Jim and I had lots and lots of meetings and we have agreed on an athletics budget with an increasing set… A set of increasing both revenue
and philanthropic targets. Ultimately, in about four or five years, we’re coming down to a campus contribution of $13.3 million a year which,
to give you a kind of sense of scale in the athletics budget, that’s about the size of the
financial aid for our athletes. That’s the (mumbles) budget. So you can think of us,
the campus is paying the equivalent of the financial aid that we offer our athletes. – And just to ask the obvious, it feels like these are
costs that you believe to be commensurate with
the benefits that accrue to the campus and this community. – I do! I’ve been thinking a lot. I was not a big athletics fan
before I became chancellor and the… But I’ve been so moved by… There aren’t a lot of
opportunities in our lives to feel part of a group
with which you identify and games are one of
those places where you od, and I think it really has an important community building virtue. The most important
thing about athletics is the opportunities it gives
our students to compete at an extraordinarily
high level of excellence across a broad range of sports, and I’ve become convinced that
it really is a front porch for many of our donors who don’t give, certainly, exclusively or
even sometimes principally to athletics, but athletics is the way they
come together with the campus so it’s very important
to our philanthropy. Not philanthropy to just athletics, philanthropy to the campus more generally. – So before we started, you
suggested I might ask you about the big game but I didn’t notice what color turtleneck you’re wearing. – This is one of the few days in the year when you’re allowed to wear red. I’m so sad, I love red. I have lots of red clothes in my wardrobe, I studiously avoid them most of the year. But I tell you, there are three
times where you can wear red just to give you all permission. You can wear it at around Christmas time, you can wear at Chinese New
Years and on Valentine’s Day. Those are the red exceptions. – Okay, I won’t ask you
about the big game then. – No, but the ax is on campus. – There you go. – I won’t say where though! – We have time for just a few more, we’ll try to get to them. So this one is, the world seems, quote, “STEM crazy” these days, what is Berkeley doing
to help the liberal arts and the humanities survive and thrive. – I wanna say that one of
Berkeley’s great distinctions is its strength across the board
and its academic programs. There is not a s… Problem that’s important
to the future of the state, the country and the world, in which the humanities
and the social sciences are not important partners in solving. Take CRISPR. Obviously, very intensive STEM
technology set of discoveries but the policies that apply to its use, the ethics of its use, those are questions for
humanists, for philosophers. Climate change, obviously
STEM-intensive area but how you get people
to change their behavior. How do you get governments
to change their behavior? What are good public policies? Those are really social
science kinds of topics and humanist topics. So I think Berkeley has a competitive edge because of the strength
of its social sciences and humanities. The data science initiative, which is so important for the campus, is as important to the social sciences as it is to the STEM disciplines. It’s also important to the humanities but probably not as central
as it is to social sciences because the humanities don’t
work as fully with data. I have to tell a funny story. So there was a wonderful
faculty member in English when I first arrived here,
named Josephine Miles. And her research was all
about word frequency, and she had armies of
students who would page through books counting words. And now that kind of research
is actually important kind of research in the
humanities, word frequency, but they don’t have students turning pages and counting words anymore. – So I’m gonna bundle the
last couple of questions. You may not know it, I think
you have a family member in the audience ’cause this card says, “Why are you so amazing?” And “Do you sleep?” was the second part.
– I do, I do. I read a book that changed my life and I wanna tell all of you
to read it over the holidays. It’s ‘Why We Sleep’ by Matthew Walker and it talks about how important sleep is. I tell students this all the time. Sleep eight hours a night and you should all do too, and I try to. – All right, so I’m gonna
bundle these together but in that, I think you’ll
get the general thrust here and just, if you could sort
of riff on the general idea. Three separate questions
but they really all touch on the same thing. What has been the most
difficult decision you’ve made in 2019? What outcome were you
most proud of in 2019? And then the separate question said, you’ve been in leadership
roles for a long time, what new lessons have you learned about successful leadership
in your role as chancellor? I think these are all sort
of asking just to weigh in, to step back for a second. It’s a hell of a hard, complex job and what have your learned and
what are the things you feel most proud about having tackled or maybe most weary about in the future? – Oh gosh, that’s such a huge question.
– [Dan] It is. – One of the things that
I’ve learned is that you have to gather really good team around you and make them responsible and
accountable for the things you care about. These jobs are huge and no
one person can do it al. I’ve also learned the
importance of decisiveness. That often the perfect
is the enemy of the good and making a decision
with reasonable promptness and efficiency, even if its
not the perfect diversion, enables you to move forward. I think the things that
I’m proudest of in… This is such a complicated question. I, really, so thrilled with
some of the philanthropic gifts that we’ve gotten. I don’t think of those
as decisions really, but they certainly had been relationships that have come to just
extraordinary actions and those are really wonderful. Some of the toughest actions I
make are ones I can’t discuss on this forum because they have
to do with personnel issues or… So those are… And there was third question and I’m forgetting it.
– [Dan] I forget to but is it fun being chancellor? I mean, do you wake up and
say I can’t wait to go to work or it’s like, another day
drinking from the fire hose? – Every day when I get in my car, I say to myself what my father used to say when he left for work. Another day, another dollar. There are things that are enormously… There are things that are
enormous fun in being chancellor, more important to me, there are things that
enormously gratifying to me. When you are talking to
someone who is gonna give an extraordinary gift of the campus, and is so thrilled about this gift and what it’s gonna accomplish, that is an incredible thrill. Or when you see something moving forward, that you care deeply about, that’s an enormous thrill. I mean, there are certain
weekdays when I come home and I think, “Ah, why did I
(mumbles) to do this job?” – Yeah, I know those days. So before we wrap up, I have
one more card I actually wanted to read. The next campus conversation is January 21 and we’ll be joined here by our men’s and women’s basketball coaches, both of whom aren’t new campus and really, really interesting people. I’m gonna read the last card, which isn’t an question, but I’m gonna go out on a
limb ’cause I it may capture what a lot of us think and feel. It says thank you for this series of talks and question and answer. I feel like I’m more a part of the campus and enjoy getting to
know some of the people, helping to steer this big ship. Thanks to everyone and I also wanna say, particularly thanks to Don Duval who helps put these together and takes care of all of it. (audience applauding) And I also just wanna thank
you, Chancellor Christ, once again, for your
time and generosity here. Thank you.
– [Carol] Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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