Campus 101: Study assails UC Davis pact with Chevron Share


UC Davis is one of 10 campuses nationwide that have relationships with oil companies that are being criticized in a new report.

“Big Oil Goes to College,” published Thursday by the liberal Center for American Progress, analyzes research contracts between oil giants and universities, including those between UC Davis and Chevron, UC Berkeley and BP, and Stanford and Exxon.

Under the contracts, the oil companies have paid the universities sums ranging from $2.5 million to $500 million to conduct research on the development of alternative fuels, such as ethanol and biofuels.

Read more: http://www.sacbee.com/2010/10/15/3105821/hed-here.html#ixzz12pF6pE6T

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One response to “Campus 101: Study assails UC Davis pact with Chevron Share

  1. Someone has to help pay for the $500,000 public employee salary of UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert J Birgeneau. UC Berkeley’s recent elimination of popular sports programs highlighted endemic problems in the university’s management. Chancellor Robert Birgeneau’s eight-year fiscal track record is dismal indeed. He would like to blame the politicians in Sacramento, since they stopped giving him every dollar he has asked for, and the state legislators do share some responsibility for the financial crisis. But not in the sense he means.
    A competent chancellor would have been on top of identifying inefficiencies in the system and then crafting a plan to fix them. Competent oversight by the Board of Regents and the legislature would have required him to provide data on problems and on what steps he was taking to solve them. Instead, every year Birgeneau would request a budget increase, the regents would agree to it, and the legislature would provide. The hard questions were avoided by all concerned, and the problems just piled up to $150 million….until there was no money left.
    It’s not that Birgeneau was unaware that there were, in fact, waste and inefficiencies in the system. Faculty and staff have raised issues with senior management, but when they failed to see relevant action taken, they stopped. Finally, Birgeneau engaged some expensive ($3 million) consultants, Bain & Company, to tell him what he should have been able to find out from the bright, engaged people in his own organization.
    From time to time, a whistleblower would bring some glaring problem to light, but the chancellor’s response was to dig in and defend rather than listen and act. Since UC has been exempted from most whistleblower lawsuits, there are ultimately no negative consequences for maintaining inefficiencies.
    In short, there is plenty of blame to go around. But you never want a serious crisis to go to waste. An opportunity now exists for the UC president, Board of Regents, and California legislators to jolt UC Berkeley back to life, applying some simple check-and-balance management principles. Increasing the budget is not enough; transforming senior management is necessary. The faculty, students, staff, academic senate, Cal. alumni, and taxpayers await the transformation.

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