Monday, February 28, 2011

Conduct Hearing Continues [Updated: Defendant Found Not Guilty on All Counts!]

From thosewhouseit:
If you recall, we reported a little over a week ago that our comrade Julian Martinez’s student conduct hearing for the 11/20/09 Wheeler occupation ended before it even began. It was scheduled for Friday, February 18th, but the hearing panel spent most of the evening deliberating over several procedural matters, and neither side even had the opportunity to present their respective opening statements. After graduate student panelist David Fannon recused himself, Martinez’s hearing was rescheduled for February 28th. Martinez is not the only Wheeler student currently in the hearing stage of the student conduct process, but his hearing is the only one currently open to the public. Please come out and show your support!

We’ll have info on subsequent public hearings shortly. It sounds like one of our closest comrades will have his hearing for the Wheeler occupation a week from tomorrow. We’ll post details once it’s confirmed. In the meantime, please, please, please come out to Julian’s hearing and show him some solidarity.

The hearing will begin at 5:30 pm, Monday, February 28 in Building 14 on the Clark Kerr Campus.
[Update Monday, 12:45pm]: If you want to follow the hearing, it looks like @callie_hoo will be doing some live-tweeting.

[Update Tuesday, 7:58am]: Julian found "not responsible" (i.e. not guilty) for ANY of the charges against him! This is the one of the first times a protester from November 2009 has been cleared -- and, notably, it is the only time where the defendant's "adviser" (i.e. lawyer or lawyer-like helper) has been allowed to speak. Congratulations to Julian and to his adviser Thomas Frampton! Here's the summary from thosewhouseit:
For the first time, the Berkeley Office of Student Conduct (OSC) lost its case against a student protester who occupied Wheeler Hall on 11/20/09. Julian Martinez was found not guilty on all counts. The verdict was read around 1:30 am last night at his hearing on the Clark Kerr Campus. We highly recommend reading over the de facto summary on our comrade’s live-tweet. Thomas Frampton from the Campus Rights Project (CRP) ripped it. Highlights include Thomas telling the panel he is offended as a Berkeley student that this is the standard of justice on campus; pointing out that OSC threw a charge intended for rapists at most of the Wheeler occupiers; and telling the arresting officer that he is an embarrassment to UCPD. Congrats to Julian, Thomas, and CRP, and ironic kisses to the career functionaries at OSC.
We can draw several immediate conclusions from this decision. First, of course, it demonstrates the utter incompetence of OSC, which was unable to prove (even given the absurdly low standard of proof) that one of the protesters who was arrested in Wheeler Hall during the occupation was "responsible" (i.e. guilty) for even a single charge. At times like this, such incompetence ends up working out in the favor of student protesters; most of the time, however, it works against us. The reason is that the student conduct procedure is specifically designed to hold certain kinds of people (namely, students) accountable, while consistently letting administrators and institutions at large off the hook. Thus, we should not take this as a sign that "the system works" or let down our guard in any way -- rather, we should recognize that what just happened is a flaw in the system. We should also expect that flaw to be "resolved" quickly -- much like the comment made by undergraduate member of the hearing panel on her AOL Lifestream page four days after Julian's prehearing ("Never pass up an opportunity to castrate a man") has since been removed. Don't worry -- we saved a screenshot of it. [Editor's note: As of 6/23/2020 we have edited this post to remove the identifying information of the undergraduate member of the hearing panel.]

Second, this decision demonstrates the significance of affording students their full due process rights instead of the abridged version on which the student conduct procedure is based. Julian's case is the first time a protester from the 2009 occupations has been able to have his adviser speak for him; significantly, it is also the first time all the charges have been overturned. What this demonstrates -- and this is fairly obvious, but it still needs to be said -- is that someone who is trained in dealing with such pseudo-legal matters is obviously better at it than someone who isn't. By forcing students to defend themselves, OSC and the UC administration are blatantly attempting to skew the playing field.

Third, this decision calls into question all previous and future decisions regarding protesters from the 2009 occupations. What Frampton referred to as the "three P's" during the hearing -- procedure, politics, and proof -- are more or less the same in very case, and the university has failed in each of them. All previous decisions against student protesters have therefore been reached wrongly and should be retroactively dismissed; simultaneously, all future decisions must be seen through the lens of what happened here. This will be especially true if an adviser is not allowed to speak for his or her client.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee Sick Out

From Burnt Bookmobile:
We’ve heard, from numerous sources and from talking to TAs at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, that a large and indefinite “sick out” is taking place among the teaching assistants. Exact numbers are unknown, but appears to be many. As state employees and students they are doubly effected by the new austerity measures proposed in the looming legislation at the Capitol. People who aren’t TAs or involved with teaching on campus are mostly hearing about this through rumors. Apparently there’s of a constant stream of emails in the email lists shared by the TAs, saying things like “It looks like I’m coming down with something. I’m not going to be able to teach my class. Can someone cover it?” To which others reply with “oh no, it looks as if I’m also coming down with something as well.” And this goes on and on. We can only hope that it continues, strengthening the resolve of others who are on the verge of their own collective sick outs, strikes or occupations.

Hanging by a Thread

Fuck the regents. More information here.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Berkeley Campus Monitor, Issue 2

The February/March 2011 issue of the Berkeley Campus Monitor, a broadside serving up "subterranean student news," has been released and is circulating around campus. This issue features an article by Slavoj Zizek on the revolution in Egypt, as well as articles taken from the blogs. Keep your eyes out for a hard copy, or check it out here.

Really Free School

Home from home: Guy Ritchie’s unwelcome guests hang banners from the windows (Picture: Getty)
We're a little late to the draw on this one, but it seems that on February 13 a mansion valued at £6 million and owned by film director Guy Ritchie was occupied and converted into a free school by a collective appropriately called the Really Free School. The corporate media reported:
At least 12 people have occupied the large Grade I listed property in Fitzrovia and claim they now plan to convert the building into a free school.

The collective known as the Really Free School entered Mr Ritchie's property over the weekend.

The police were called but the squatters refused to leave.

They have now placed large banners in the front windows that say "strike", "resist" and "occupy".
Occupied, or reclaimed -- "It is believed Mr Ritchie wants to convert the former language school into two homes and sources claim the cost of the refurbishment could run into millions." In any case, unfortunately the squatters were evicted on Friday, but not before throwing a party and publishing a "Call to Celebration", which is below the fold:

Friday, February 18, 2011

Shock Doctrine and Budget Crisis in California and Wisconsin

Only a crisis produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around.
--Milton Friedman

Naomi Klein's book The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism lays out an important argument for understanding how neoliberal reforms -- which are often incredibly unpopular -- are implemented. Because these policies generate so much resistance, Klein argues, governments are generally unable to pass them through democratic means. What they do instead is take advantage of moments of crisis -- financial collapse, military coups, even so-called natural disasters -- to push through legislation that fundamentally restructures economies in ways that benefit the rich at the expense of the poor. This is what Milton Friedman is getting at in the infamous quote above.

It's always important to remember, however, that these crises are not natural but actively produced. This is especially the case with economic crises. There is a tendency to talk about the financial crisis, for example, as if it were out of our hands. Even when the banks' illegal, manipulative, and exploitative practices are noticed and criticized, politicians across the political spectrum continue to talk about appropriate responses in terms of inevitability. There is no other choice. Our hands our tied. They love the phrase "difficult choices." In his State of the State address, California Governor Jerry Brown used the expression, and went on: "Do I like the choices we face?" he asked rhetorically. "No. I don't. But after serious study of the options left us by a $25 billion deficit, the budget I have proposed is the best I can devise." In the wake of his recent budget proposal, President Obama did the same and added a little something extra about "sacrifice." These are extremely common references, tropes of our current political discourse.

Obviously this is also the case with the "state of fiscal emergency" declared by UC President Mark Yudof and the UC regents in 2009. It was this crisis that UC officials used to justify the 32 percent tuition increase the forced through in November 2009. Far from natural or unavoidable, however, both the crisis and the tuition hike were planned and produced. Not only did those responsible for the UC's investments lose $23 billion in 2008-2009, but as Bob Meister has demonstrated convincingly the UC committed itself to raising student fees long before the so-called financial crisis hit:
To people in the financial world, it’s already obvious that UC committed itself to raise tuition and cut budgets when it decided in 2004 to secure its bonds. Most of my UC colleagues -- faculty, students and staff -- nevertheless find it unthinkable that UC would actually raise tuition and cut instruction in order to fund construction. People understand that UC wants to build. What’s unthinkable is that UC would still want to build rather than protect its programs and people when other great universities, including Harvard, indefinitely postponed new construction when their endowment income fell.
In fact, it turns out that the UC actually benefits from reductions in state funding, at least as far as its bonds and capital projects agenda are concerned. State funding cannot be used as bond collateral, but student tuition can.
Not only are current reductions in state funding a drop in the bucket of UC’s total endowment -- and nothing compared to the growing revenue of the university’s profit-generating wings -- it is also the case that UC administration has powerful motives to both collaborate with the continuing divestment of state funding and to divert its own resources from spending on instruction. . . . "I’m here today to tell you," said [UC Berkeley graduate student Annie] McClanahan, "that when students and their parents have to borrow at 8 or 10 or 14% interest so that the UC can maintain its credit rating and its ability to borrow at a .2% lower rate of interest, we the students are not only collateral, we are collateral damage."

Something similar is happening right now in Wisconsin at the state level, where the new governor has used the specter of massive deficits to attempt to destroy the state's unions. While his proposal includes some budget cuts,  what is most striking -- and most damaging -- is the attempt to eliminate or at least severely curtail the ability of public employees unions to engage in collective bargaining. Educators are obviously a huge target, and in response teachers and students across the state have staged massive walkouts and work stoppages. Once again, as Brian Beutler has shown, not only the budget crisis story but the budget crisis itself -- the entire basis of the political intervention -- is completely manufactured:
Wisconsin's new Republican governor has framed his assault on public worker's collective bargaining rights as a needed measure of fiscal austerity during tough times.

The reality is radically different. Unlike true austerity measures -- service rollbacks, furloughs, and other temporary measures that cause pain but save money -- rolling back worker's bargaining rights by itself saves almost nothing on its own. But Walker's doing it anyhow, to knock down a barrier and allow him to cut state employee benefits immediately.

Furthermore, this broadside comes less than a month after the state's fiscal bureau -- the Wisconsin equivalent of the Congressional Budget Office -- concluded that Wisconsin isn't even in need of austerity measures, and could conclude the fiscal year with a surplus. In fact, they say that the current budget shortfall is a direct result of tax cut policies Walker enacted in his first days in office.
The point, then, is not that there's no crisis, that there's nothing wrong. Rather, what's important to remember is simply that disaster capitalism and economic austerity are not a inevitable response to disaster, "natural" or otherwise. Indeed, they are not a response at all: the production of crisis is not exterior to, but a necessary component of, economic shock. The shock doctrine actively generates crisis in order to create the appearance of the accident, the natural, the unavoidable.


More info on the Wisconsin protests is at The Burnt Bookmobile (we found our way there via occupyca). Among other things they've posted the text of a communiqué that was circulating at the takeover of the capitol building the other day:
Crisis isn’t simply what happens to us. We aren’t victims with no agency who desire a return to a capitalism that works. We understand that capitalism is working. This is what it does. But what do we do? How do we escape the order of established politics and protest and enter into resistance? How do we render the world which alienates us inoperative and become a force capable of being the contradiction that tears it apart? How shall we become the crisis?

We propose: Choose to be partisans in this war which has already started. Block the economy, strike, occupy, and sabotage.

We respond to Scott Walker, his policies, and what he represents, but we must become a force that makes all positions of power obsolete. It will then no longer matter what politicians think or do. It will only matter what we do.
[Update Sunday, 5:19pm]: I missed this yesterday. In this video, Naomi Klein discusses the shock doctrine in the context of what's happening in Wisconsin. Take a look at the video and note the underlying assumption of Klein's formulation here: "Lo and behold you have a budget crisis, you exaggerate the extent of the crisis, and you say, 'We don't have any alternative but to push through these very unpopular measures.'" What she is suggesting, in other words, is that crisis is external to these political games. Crisis just is -- what the politicians do is exaggerate it. But, as the case of Wisconsin demonstrates, crisis is made, at times in carefully calculated ways.

[Update #2, Friday 2/25]: Even Paul Krugman's on board now.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Berkeley Campus Monitor

Issue 1, January 2011, contains both original pieces and some stuff taken off the blogs. The next issue, which should be coming out in the next couple days, will include Operational Excellence, political issues in the greater Bay Area, and more -- keep your eyes out for it.

Preliminary Hearing for UC Merced Student Facing Felony Charges

UC Merced student Peter Howell, who was arraigned on December 28 after being subjected to a full-fledged manhunt by UCSF police, continues to face criminal charges stemming from the protest at the UC Regents' meeting at UCSF Mission Bay last November. The most serious of these charges is a felony, for allegedly taking the baton of and attacking UC Irvine police officer Jared Kemper, who pulled his gun on and threatened unarmed protesters. As thosewhouseit has convincingly documented (here and here), the charges are completely absurd -- KTVU's video of the incident clearly shows Kemper violently pushing his way through a group of students and in the process dropping his baton on the ground. Nevertheless, at his arraignment the judge refused to consider reducing the felony charge to a misdemeanor.

We have just received word that Peter's preliminary hearing will take place on Tuesday, Feb 22 at 9am in room 10 at 850 Bryant in San Francisco. Come out to support him!

Occupy Wisconsin

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Getting Ready for March 2

Planning meeting tonight at UC Berkeley in 370 Dwinelle, 6pm. More details at thosewhouseit.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

El Tren de la Solidaridad

Against the militarization of the Universidad de Puerto Rico. (via @javierest)

Along these lines, it's also worth mentioning that José Ramón de la Torre, the president of the UPR, has officially resigned.

Two Updates from the Campus Rights Project

The Campus Rights Project (CRP) at UC Berkeley has asked us to publicize the following two events that will be taking place this week on Berkeley campus:
1) The Live Week 12/11/2009 Meeting

The Campus Rights Project is working with Oakland Civil Rights Attorney Dan Siegel on issues regarding the December 11, 2009 arrests in Wheeler Hall. Dan is interested in meeting with people that were arrested to explore the possibility that the arrests violated civil rights law. At this preliminary stage, it is important for as many people as possible to meet with Dan. If he is able to proceed with a claim against the University or other officials involved with the arrests, he will need complete information and an opportunity to meet all of those who he is representing. Please attend this meeting. If you have any questions, contact CRP at

What: Information Meeting about Legal Claims from 12/11/2009 Arrests
Where: Boalt Hall Room 110
When: Tuesday February 15, 7PM
Who: Everyone who was arrested at Wheeler Hall on the Morning of 12/11/2009

2) Public Hearing for Julian Martinez

Thomas Frampton, who two weeks ago argued (and won) Boalt Law School's Honors Moot Court Competition in front of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, will be able to speak and advocate for his client. This will be the first time that the Office of Student Conduct (OSC) fulfills one (though by no means all) of its due process obligations and actually allows an adviser to speak for the defendant in the conduct hearings of the students who were charged with violating the code in November 2009. Should be quite a show.

Friday, February 18, 2011 at 1:30pm in Room 102 of Krutch Theater (building 14) on the Clark Kerr campus.
[Update Friday, 7:30 pm]: We were tweeting during the hearing, during which the hearing panel had to leave the room to confer privately twice (once for an hour, another for two), one member of the panel officially recused himself, and the hearing was adjourned at about 6:30 pm. The only issues covered were procedural -- no evidence was presented.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Open Letter to Student Conduct

The following letter was written by a UC Berkeley graduate student facing conduct charges for participating in the action at the A&E building on November 18, 2009. Having seen first-hand the arbitrary nature of the student conduct procedure in general and the conduct hearings in particular, the student opted at the last minute to agree to an "administrative disposition" -- a plea bargain of sorts. In accepting the disposition, however, the student also sent this letter to the Office of Student Conduct (OSC):
Center for Student Conduct and Community Standards
2536 Channing Way, Building E
Berkeley, California 94720-2432

February 9, 2011

To Whom It May Concern:

I have decided to sign the attached Administrative Disposition. However, with a nod to the so-called “educational process” that this document represents, as well as the very real (albeit unacknowledged) set of legal constraints to which this “process” is required to attend, I would like to outline the sequence of events that has led to my decision.

In the fall of 2009, I was one of many dedicated students who were joined by workers and faculty in a series of uprisings against what we saw to be a fundamental change in the university. Sparked by the unfathomable 32-percent fee hike for undergraduates, these protests and actions fought against the financialization and privatization of public services more generally, as well as the foreclosure of public space and the effective exclusion of the “public” from public education. These actions were widely supported in California and beyond, and they were undertaken in concert with similar student uprisings across the globe.

I would like to say on the record that I wholeheartedly support occupations such as the occupation of Wheeler Hall, other occupations undertaken by workers and students across California and the globe, and currently, the occupation of Tahrir Square in Cairo. I would like to say that on the record because so many students and dedicated activists have been precluded from saying just that, because in the show trials that pass for an “educational process” at this university, it has become clear that you at the Center for Student Conduct are interesting in prosecuting not their actions, but their state of mind.

I regret nothing about my involvement in political activism since I came to UC Berkeley. If I were to regret something, perhaps it would be that I have not participated in a building occupation. Because to say that the mess of a sit-in that occurred on November 18 was an occupation is not only an absurd legal or academic charge; it also does injustice to the extraordinary strength, determination, and (one may imagine) planning demonstrated by the occupiers of Wheeler Hall and other spaces worldwide.

What I did on November 18, 2009, was no more illegal or unethical than it was brave or risky. I walked into a building that was open to the public, and when the police told me leave, I left voluntarily. This is corroborated by the official police report.

However, the university administration has treated this event in a manner that has betrayed a dedication to its own self-preservation at the expense of the educational and public mission of the university, and further, at the expense of free speech. Employees of the Center for Student Conduct have demonstrated brazen, unprofessional, and personally vindictive behavior, at every step of the way violating both the law as well as terms of the Code of Student Conduct they claim to enforce.

For over one year, I have waited for my hearing, and during that time, I and others like me who also face charges, have been told at every stage that it was not yet the moment to discuss our concerns over a lack of due process, a denial of our right to representation, and so on. We have been told that the juridical proceedings of the university are not subject to state or federal laws, that they are an “educational process” and as such, we as students are not rightsholders, even if the result is that we are denied our continued student status—and our degrees.

In my personal experience, I have watched as my hearing gets pushed further and further back for well over a year. I have consistently asked questions of the employees of the Center for Student Conduct, which never get answered. Although the Code of Student Conduct has changed since the date in question, I still do not know to which version of the code I’m being held accountable. When I asked for an explanation of my charges, I was told that they should be self-evident, despite their inflammatory nature. When I asked to see my personal file that was prepared specifically for me, the employee who had it in her possession, Laura Bennett, told me that I could not have it. When I asked why, she told me, “No reason.”

That was on the first date I was supposed to have a pre-hearing conference, September 16. On that date, I missed class in order to attend my appointment, seeing as it was the vital moment at which I could finally get questions answered, as well as the time to set final details for my hearing, which was scheduled for September 16. I waited in the hall for my conference to begin for over five and hours—into the evening and nearly missing a family engagement—before Associate Dean Gonzales indicated that I should leave.

When my pre-hearing conference was finally rescheduled for November 18 (exactly one year after the spontaneous sit-in), it again clashed with the same class. As opposed to the September date, I did not have a hearing scheduled at this time, and so I questioned the appropriateness of missing class so close to finals in order to have what appeared to be a superfluous pre-hearing conference. Additionally, one is allowed to miss class only a limited number of times without a grade penalty. Since I had already missed class for the previous appointment that never happened, I informed Susan Trageser that I would be unable to attend this appointment, and requested that we exchange evidence packets at a later date. Ms. Trageser sent me the following short response: “Thank you for your email. If there are questions you have for the faculty chair conducting your pre-hearing conference, please let me know and I will be glad to share them with the faculty chair. Your hearing packet will be available in the Center for you to pick up following the pre-hearing conference.” She and my hearing chair, Prof. [Lynn] Huntsinger, went on to have my pre-hearing conference without me, making decisions regarding the nature of the hearing and discussing my case in my absence.

The current circumstances preclude the possibility of a fair hearing. I have spent hours and days over the last year attempting to navigate this “educational process,” to the detriment of my actual education. Although I have become well-versed with the intricacies of the Code of Student Conduct, it matters little when those who claim to enforce it treat it merely as a set of guidelines and an effective tool for stifling student activism, which they may wield as they choose. I have come to believe that despite the code’s imperative that the student speaks, I will not be heard. And based on my experiences and what I have witnessed of other students’ hearings, I believe that to move on to hearing would only punish me further for my exercise of the freedom of speech.

For that reason, I have decided to sign the attached informal resolution of my charges.



Thursday, February 10, 2011

Large Mobilizations Continue at UPR


From OccupyCA:
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Student demonstrations are continuing to shake the University of Puerto Rico, in spite of the successful institution of a $800 fee increase. The first semester of the 2010-11 school year ended only just recently in late January. It was during the end of the first semester that hundreds of students held a sit-in and were all arrested. The second semester began on Monday this week with fresh new protests against the tuition increase and against the severe police repression students have been facing at demonstrations.

On Monday, Judge Rebecca de León Ríos, ruled that the suspension of a student leader and the university’s ban on mass demonstrations were illegal. Protests yesterday were reinforced by trade unionists and were met by riot police reportedly armed with lethal weapons. Yet, the police were overwhelmed by the number of people and retreated from the protestors. However, despite these victories several students were arrested Tuesday during further protests.

More photos here. Updates (in Spanish) are being posted throughout the day at Primera Hora and El Nuevo Día.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Lawsuit vs. Student Conduct

From the Daily Cal:
The fate of a small claims lawsuit filed against a UC Berkeley professor for his involvement in the student conduct proceedings of a campus graduate student facing misconduct charges may be determined Wednesday, when a petition by the professor to dismiss the case will be heard in court.

The hearing scheduled for Wednesday at 9 a.m. at the Alameda County Superior Court will address the suit filed by UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism Josh Wolf against Robert DiMartino, a campus clinical optometry professor. DiMartino is petitioning the court to dismiss the suit, which seeks damages for DiMartino's actions while presiding over Wolf's student conduct hearing addressing Wolf's coverage of the November 2009 occupation of Wheeler Hall.

According to the claim Wolf filed in November, DiMartino was contractually obligated to hold Wolf's student conduct proceedings in accordance with outlined student conduct procedures, but did not, resulting in a breach of contract. In October, at Wolf's student conduct prehearing conference, DiMartino did not allow Wolf's advisor Thomas Frampton -- a student at UC Berkeley School of Law and member of the Campus Rights Project -- to speak on Wolf's behalf, Wolf said.

Because the procedures were not followed, Wolf stated in a claim that he has suffered "emotional distress," violation of constitutional privacy rights and interference with his "property interest in ... education" -- the money he has invested in his public education, according to Wolf.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Solidarity with the Egyptian Rebels!

Poster by Tim Simons. UC Berkeley solidarity here. Solidarity rally in San Francisco on Saturday, February 5, starting at 1 pm.

Musical Interlude Update [Thursday 7:35pm]:

Jasiri X and M1 from Dead Prez, "We All Shall Be Free"

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

March 2011 Month of Action


March 2011 - National Month of Actions to Defend Public Education
Kicked off March 1st, March 2nd actions in California, March 3rd actions in defense of ethnic studies
March 2011 -- National Month of Actions to Defend Public Education. Kicked off March 1st, March 2nd actions in Cali, March 3rd actions in defense of ethnic studies.

(via millions of fragments)

UC Facing Audit

At the request of State Sen. Leland Yee, the UC system will face investigation by California's Bureau of State Audits. The California Aggie reports:
"In light of all the fee increases to students, the continual executive compensation scandals and the seeming disregard for the lowest paid workers at the university, this audit clearly needed to take place," said Adam Keigwin, chief of staff for Yee.

One of the main reasons for the audit request was to challenge the luxury and privileges awarded to UC executives. The system lacks transparency and accountability, and the top executives continue to receive raises while student fees are increasing, Keigwin said. If student fees are increasing, then executives should not be receiving wage increases.

"[The executives] treat [the university] as if they can do whatever, however they please with no accountability and no transparency," Keigwin said. "It seems that the university has a complete disregard for the students and for the public -- the taxpayers. They don't like to do things with transparency and then they keep enriching themselves virtually... You don't expect that at a public university that is made to serve our students of California."


It will be unclear whether there is fraud or not until the audit results come in, but there is evidence of conflicts of interest, Keigwin said. For example, UC has an investment advisory committee made up of individuals who were handing over contracts to their friends and family. Additionally, there are regents that own investment companies that have been giving contracts to UC.

"The conflicts of interests are real, whether it goes beyond that in terms of fraudulent behavior, we don't know because the system is just so closed and we don't get to see their book," Keigwin said.

Another large issue presented by Yee was the wages of the lowest paid workers in the university. The university says that it does not have enough money to provide livable wages for its lowest paid workers, but it always has money to pay its top executives, Keigwin said. Currently, many of the workers with these wages rely on public assistance programs.

Additionally, Yee's office is concerned with the increase in auxiliary organizations in the system, Keigwin said.

"We know there's an increase in foundations and auxiliary organizations popping up on campus, which are not subject to a California Public Records Act," he said. "So we don't even know how much money are in these foundations and where that money is going, and if the executives are getting money out of there as well."

Keigwin said that any public institution must have transparency and accountability measures set in place.

"Unfortunately, it's kind of been a black hole when it comes to what's happening within the university," he said. "The university constantly just says 'trust us, we're taking care of things,' but that's not how things work in a public institution. You don't just trust: you verify, you review, you hold people accountable. Without the transparency, it's impossible to hold anyone accountable. That's what this audit will do."
The results of the audit will most likely be made public in April.