February 21, 2012
The recently opened Wasserstein Hall at Harvard Law School has a lot of little plaques around to recognize the donors that made such a behemoth new building project possible. However, only one of those donors has won my heart and mind and that is William A. Falik, who (in collaboration with then HLS Dean Elena Kagan) perpetrated this gem:
Yes, you read that right and yes, the donor knew what he was doing. Here’s an explanatory excerpt from Elie Mystal’s slightly surreal phone conversation with Professor Falik (he’s on the faculty at the Boalt Hall School of Law at UC Berkeley) in which he explains his actions:
Although I have developed several new communities in California, with a name like “Falik,” there are limited naming opportunities. (Somehow “Falik Blvd” or “Falik Ave” does not cut it). [As the] piece in the SF Chronicle suggests, I thought the best use of my name would be to name a Gentleman’s Lounge (aka Men’s Room), when I made a large donation to the Berkeley Repertory Theater. Dean Kagan, who has a great sense of humor, liked the idea, but for reasons that I cannot articulate, the Falik Gentleman’s Lounge moniker did not get through the chain of command at HLS, so alas, it is now the Falik Men’s Room.
So basically, this guy has successfully trolled future generations of students and theatre-goers at HLS and Berkeley Rep.
Best. Donations. Ever.
(H/T to my fellow residents of the Geek Cave at the Berkman Center – and especially Dan Jones for forwarding the story to me)
December 13, 2011
Wow! Berkeley is going to provide all students with “free” copies of Microsoft software for the next couple of years.
Berkeley Vice Chancellor for IT and CIO Shelton Waggoner emailed all Berkeley students late on Tuesday night to announce that the project for Operational Excellence (OE or Bain & Company consulting, for short) would be distributing Windows and Office to us all as part of the “OE Productivity Suite” (or OEPS – pronounced “whoops”).
Here’s the email (fresh from my inbox less than 30 minutes ago):
We are pleased to announce that the campus has signed a license agreement to provide Microsoft Office and Operating System software to all students at no cost this year and next. Students will be able to download one copy of the following products and may keep the software perpetually upon graduation.
Office Professional Plus or Office for Mac Home & Business (one or the other, not both)
Microsoft Windows Desktop Operating System (OS) upgrades including Windows 7 Enterprise
The software will be available for download beginning Monday, January 9, 2012. Check the Student Technology Council`s (STC) website, http://stc.berkeley.edu, in January for download information.
This agreement is part of the Operational Excellence-sponsored Productivity Suite (PS) project. The goal of this project is to reduce complexity and costs and, at the same time, distribute licenses for the most commonly used software and tools so that everyone can work with the most current version. The Adobe agreement reached at the start of the fall semester is also part of this project.
Have not downloaded Adobe yet? Go to the STC`s “Downloads“ page, http://stc.berkeley.edu/downloads.htm. Links to help with troubleshooting are on the same page. Watch for information about spring semester Adobe training and a T-shirt design contest using Adobe products.
During this academic year, ASUC President Vishalli Loomba and Graduate Assembly President Bahar Navab are partnering with the STC on assessing and advising the PS project; first, to support the adoption and use of these popular software products, and second, to gauge interest and usage for such a program over the longer term. Depending upon student feedback and students` continued level of interest, alternatives for cost recovery for student downloads will be explored. More information about these efforts can be found on the STC`s “Downloads“ page, http://stc.berkeley.edu/downloads.htm.
If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact Vishalli, Bahar, or the STC (email@example.com).
President, Graduate Assembly
Associate Vice Chancellor-IT and CIO
Administration & Finance
I’ll have more to say about this soon…but for now, venom.
August 1, 2008
Isaac Miller’s a former student of mine who also happens to be a badass spoken word artist. Here’s a video recording of his most recent performance at the Youth Speaks “Brave New Voices 2008” at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
The video’s a little blurry, but the audio comes through pretty well – along with Isaac’s provocative analysis of the pathologies of power that have shaped hip-hop culture, the global climate crisis, and environmental racism.
Andrea Foster filed a story with The Chronicle of Higher Education that should send a chill down students’ spines everywhere.
As if the recent spike in bogus copyright infringement lawsuits gushing out of the RIAA and MPAA wasn’t enough, it looks like these organizations are taking their fight to state legislators. Here’s the story’s lede:
Higher-education officials say that the entertainment industry is pushing for state laws that would force colleges to police their networks for illegal trading of music and video files and to buy software to stem the problem.
Lawmakers in Tennessee and Illinois recently considered such legislation, and a similar bill may be brewing in California, according to officials who spoke at a technology-policy conference here on Thursday.
To be honest, I’m kind of surprised they haven’t tried something like this in California already – after all, the RIAA and MPAA practically own L.A….
There is no legislation in California to deter file sharing on college campuses. But Kent Wada, director of information-technology strategic policy at the University of California at Los Angeles, told the technology officials at the conference Thursday that there was an “informational hearing” in the State Capitol in March to discuss the issue. Among those speaking at the meeting was Mitch Glazier, senior vice president of government relations and industry relations for the RIAA
My favorite quote comes from an earlier story in The Chronicle for Higher Ed., in which Foster interviews Cary Sherman, president of the RIAA, about the recent jump in aggressive lawsuits filed by his organization against alleged copyright infringers. Check out this gem:
“There’s just no connection to anything that’s happening in Congress, in the courts, or anything else,” Mr. Sherman said. He added that the increase in notifications did not mean that there had been a sudden rise in campus piracy. “We’re constantly asking our vendor to improve performance,” of its software that scans for copyright violations online, Mr. Sherman said. “They just completed work on an upgrade and, poof, it just happened.”
Did he actually say that with a straight face? Does anyone believe this joker?
If anybody else out there has a stake in a California educational institution, this might be a good time to contact your local administrators, legislators, etc. California has better things to do with its time and (empty) state coffers than play toy cop for the culture industry.
In the case of UC Berkeley, the University’s Chief Information Officer is Shel Waggener. Shel is quite a brilliant guy who is almost certainly already aware of this issue and probably already working on it. I think I might send him a quick email, though, just to be sure…
March 19, 2008
UC Berkeley just announced that it will host yet another public-private research venture. This time, the “partners” are Intel and Microsoft, who have agreed to fund a $20 million parallel computing lab at UCB. This is small potatoes compared to the $500 million deal with BP that Berkeley landed in the fall, but the same problems and questions apply. The UC regents and the individual campus units continue the trend of depending on the private sector for a larger and larger portion of their annual operating expenses without engaging in a serious public debate about the issues this raises.
The biggest concerns that the website and all the happy press releases don’t say anything about are (1) the governance arrangement of the center, and (2) the status of the intellectual property the new center will create. It’s all fine and good that the University gets to say it has a new building and does cutting-edge stuff, but the concrete impact of these centers on the campus depends more on how they fit (or don’t) within the campus’ existing governing structure. Will the lab get to hire and fire new faculty? Who will make decisions about their tenure? How much teaching will they do? Who will pay their salaries? The IP-related questions only make matters more complicated. The revenue from any patents and products that emerge from the lab are likely to exceed the value of the lab itself several times over. Who gets to keep that? Also, irrespective of the answer to that question, should a supposedly public university contribute to the enclosure of scientific knowledge?