30th Annual Benjamin Ide Wheeler Society Lecture and Luncheon


(swelling tone) – Good morning. That’s the first time I’ve
said that in 12 years. (light laughter) I’m glad you all saw the schedule
change and could make it. We’re trying to respond to your needs, and we’re having this in the morning and a luncheon for the first time ever. Welcome, as you can
see, to the 30th annual, it says luncheon, but
we’re taking license there. The 30th annual event of the
Benjamin R. Wheeler Society. I’m Kevin Crilly, Executive
Director of Gift Planning. I wanted to introduce my colleagues, who some of you have just spoken with or dealt with by email,
but they’re in the house. I just wanted them to raise their hands. Randi Silverman, over here, and Rebecca De Kalb. Melanie Keilholtz,
who’s over on this side. It’s a little dark. Samantha Merrit. Where are you, Samantha? I even can’t even see
with these lights on. And she’s up in the back. And Kimberly Vawter,
who’s also up in the back, and Damon Paiz, who are up in the back. Those are the fundraisers
who you have dealt with. Couple of things. If there’s space in the middle
and you can move in a little, so folks who are late
arriving can get on the ends. That would be really helpful if any of you could move in a little bit. If you’ve got questions
for the chancellor, just write ’em out and pass
them to the end of the aisles. Melanie and Rebecca
will be collecting them. As you can see, we have a
slightly different set up this year than usual years. What we’re gonna do is the chancellor’s gonna
have a brief address, and then after that, she really wanted to answer your questions. I’m really delighted to introduce
Chancellor Carol Christ. She, 14 days ago, assumed her role as the 11th chancellor of UC Berkeley. I’ve dealt with her on some interactions when she was Interim Executive
Vice Chancellor and Provost, and I found her to be clear-thinking, analytical, and very decisive. You will also notice that there’s something completely
different about this chancellor compared to the other
chancellors I introduced. And, we’ve already heard
from lots of donors how excited they are
that, for the first time, UC Berkeley has a woman chancellor, but she will tell you… (audience applauding) Without further ado, I give you the 11th Chancellor of UC
Berkeley, Carol Christ. (audience applauding) – Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. It’s so wonderful to see you here. I’m so delighted to see
so many familiar faces and also unfamiliar faces. I look forward to getting to know you. This is day 14 as Kevin said. Not too much time to get in trouble yet. I want to welcome you this
morning, and thank you. Thank you for your support of the campus, for your loyalty to the campus, for your love of the campus. It’s a love I share. It’s why I decided to
come out of retirement to take on this responsibility. In the past several weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot about journeys. I remember vividly the first
journey I made to California to take up my faculty position here as a professor of English. I was a young, freshly-minted Ph.D. I had just turned in my
dissertation the week before. I drove across the country with a friend. It was the first time I’d
been west of the Mississippi. Indeed, it was the first time
I’d been west of Philadelphia, (audience laughing) and those first few
months of teaching here, and my first classes, I
still remember them so well, were Freshman Composition
and the last quarter of our required survey
of British literature. Like many of you, I fell
in love with Berkeley. First, I loved the students. So different from the
relatively privileged students that I taught at Yale as a TA. Everyone had a different story
of how they came to Berkeley. They were diverse in their life
experiences and aspirations. They were smart. They were quirky. And they were filled with
wonder and curiosity. I fell in love with the
intellectual excitement of Berkeley. No matter what the subject, there is some faculty member at Berkeley who not only knows about it, but is expanding our understanding of it. I love the fact that
Berkeley felt like a place where history was happening. Political history, scientific
history, intellectual history. Berkeley is a place that matters. Some says it matters more than
any university in the world. Of course there are
many kinds of journeys. There are physical journeys like that first drive across
the country that I took, but there are journeys
through time, as well. The distance from my house
in Berkeley to the campus is less than a mile. The distance from the Provost’s office where I worked for the last year and the chancellor’s office
is less than 50 feet. But the experiential journey,
the internal journey, to becoming chancellor feels much more substantial than that. Berkeley has made me who I am. It has shaped me intellectually, and it has enabled me to
become the leader that I am. My very first administrative position was as the campus’ Title
IX Compliance Officer and Faculty Assistant
For The Status of Women. That’s a very long title. Wouldn’t fit very well on a card. I learned many things
from my work in that job, but perhaps most
consequential for the future was that I learned I
enjoyed administration, that I found deeply
gratifying working with others to achieve important
institutional goals and changes. I then held a series of
leadership positions. I was chair of my department,
Dean of Humanities, Dean and Provost of the
College of Letters and Science, then Executive Vice
Chancellor and Provost, and I’ve worked with four of Berkeley’s five last chancellors: Mike Heyman, whom I’m
sure many of you remember; Chang-Lin Tien, I know many
of you remember Chang-Lin; Bob Berdahl and Nick Dirks. And I’ve learned from each of them. I’ve been thinking a
lot about each of them in the last several weeks and months. I have a lot of history here. But I’ve also learned
being away from Berkeley. As many of you know, I was
President of Smith College in Northampton,
Massachusetts for 11 years. The two institutions, in some sense, could not be more different; West coast, East coast; public, private; urban, rural; research
university, liberal arts college; coed, all women. I learned an enormous
amount in my time at Smith: how to create and sustain
cohesive community, best practices in undergraduate education, sustainable financial models
in private institutions, fundraising, how boards
of trustees operate; but perhaps most important, my experience at Smith
enabled me to see Berkeley with a broader perspective
that has deepened in my year as the Interim Executive
Vice Chancellor and Provost. I’d like now to share my
vision for the campus. I said before that Berkeley
is arguably the most significant institution,
university, in the world. Let me explain. We have two loadstars; our guiding principles:
excellence and access. Berkeley is as much about
the transfer student from Fremont, or Hayward, or Arcada; whose parents have never been to college, as it is about its Nobel Prize winners. Indeed, it’s that
combination that defines us. We have more students on
Pell Grants at Berkeley, than all the Ivy League
universities combined. (audience applauds) We scored number one, some faculty of ours just recently did this study, among all the American universities in the percentage of our graduates whose families had incomes
in the bottom fifth of the US income distribution, and to reach the top 1% in their careers. We are an engine of social mobility. Berkeley’s about to celebrate
its 150th anniversary next year in 2018. Berkeley, or the University of California, as it was first called,
was the first university to face West toward the
Pacific, toward Asia. Indeed one of the philanthropic
gifts to the campus was a chair in Oriental
languages and literature. And it’s always had the pioneering spirit of those who pushed to the
country’s Western edge. Berkeley’s founders imagined a university that combined the best of the traditions and aspirations of Eastern
and European universities with the mission of
the land-grant college; and here I’m going to quote
from the Morrill Acts, the land-grant college act: To teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture
and the mechanic arts, in such manner as the
legislatures of the states may respectively prescribe
in order to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes
in the several pursuits and professions of life. I think those are extraordinary words, ’cause you see right there the combination of the more traditionally
academic disciplines with the more practical ones; the agricultural and mechanical arts and the mission of access. I wish I had a crystal
ball that would show me what the next 150 years would bring, but let me tell you as I embark on my term as chancellor,
what I hope to achieve. I have five goals: the first is building community; the past several years have been difficult ones for the campus, we faced, and did we face,
financial challenges, a leadership crisis, highly
public sexual harassment cases, violence around the adjure free speech. They’ve taken their toll on the community in a lack of trust and flagging morale. We need to rebuild our sense of community, a challenge in a place as urban, as large, and as diffuse as Berkeley. In part, this is a matter
of tone and shoe leather, and part is creating
public events and occasions in which we can feel together,
this is our Berkeley. I will spend more time
with the city of Berkeley, and the government in Sacramento. They are our most important partners. And in building community, we have to make sure it’s inclusive, that every group feels
welcomed and valued. My second goal is enhancing
the undergraduate experience. Too often, Berkeley seems like a place that students survive. (audience chuckles) We want every student to thrive, to have the best opportunity
for the education to which he or she aspires. We offer many of the high-impact
educational experiences on this campus that
are the stock and trade of teaching-focused
colleges and universities. Experiences like education abroad, independent research with
faculty members, internships. But too often they’re
unsystematic and uncoordinated and left to the enterprising
student to discover. We want each student
here to get the benefit of attending a leading
research university, not just through the prestige
of his or her diploma that he or she hangs on the wall, but participating in discovery experiences like the ones you saw in the video, that are the very nature of the research that we do here. I want more of our
students to study abroad, more to do internships. Critical to our enhancing
the undergraduate experience is expanding student housing. We house the lowest percentage of undergraduate students by far, than any other undergraduate UC campus. We house only 22% of our undergraduates and only 9% of our graduate students. In a housing market as expensive and impacted as the Bay area, this creates a challenge for students that diminishes the quality
of their experience. Too often, they’re living in housing that is too crowded, too
many students to a room, too expensive, too far away; it makes them distracted
from their studies by basic needs. We must change this situation. Because the campus did not
own much unoccupied land, and because some potential
development sites are politically fraught; just think People’s Park.
(audience laughs) We need to find creative partnerships with the private sector to
increase our housing capacity. My third goal; and this is very much the subject of the video you saw; is enabling faculty to
do the most important, the most critical research
for the public good. We have such an extraordinary faculty and I’ve learned in all my years of higher education leadership, that what you have to do is just get the obstacles out of their way
and let them do their work. We have faculty working on every problem fundamental to humankind
and to the planet; advances in medical technology, understanding how the human mind works, our energy infrastructure,
wealth inequality, designing new kinds of
cities, climate change; the list goes on and on. This research is one of the most profound and significant public benefits that the University of California offers. We need to create the conditions that enable faculty to do their best work, and make the collective investments in areas with the
greatest societal impact. My fourth goal is making
major progress on diversity. In each of our campus populations: undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, and staff; we can and should be, more diverse. And demographics are only one
dimension of the challenge, they will matter less if we cannot build a greater understanding of diversity, and a more inclusive climate. My final goal is developing a new financial model for the campus. This is much more than
eliminating our deficit. Although I’d like to assure you that we’re making really
good progress on that front. We ended fiscal year 2016, that was a year ago this past June, with a deficit of $150 million. We will end 2018 with a
deficit of $56 million. (audience applauds) Yeah, I’m really proud of that work. My goal all along has been to address our financial challenges
through increasing and diversifying revenue sources. There is a line from a speech that I heard about a year ago that I
often quote to audiences, “You can’t cut your way to heaven, “but you can spend your way to hell.” (laughs) I’m really interested in reducing the amount that we have to cut by building our revenues. And I’m proud to say that
over half of the goal of our fiscal year ’18 reductions, we’ve met through revenue enhancements. This is what I mean by
developing a new financial model. We used to be generously
funded by the state. We now need to increase
and diversify our revenue, while never losing the
centrality of our public mission. Finally, there will be two issues that I will be addressing this year, that I haven’t chosen, but
are very much in front of us: the deficit in intercollegiate athletics and the controversy over free speech. Many of you know that athletics has had a significant deficit, actually it’s been for decades when I was working for Chang-Lin, athletics had a significant deficit. I think think it’s corrosive
for any department to operate for a long period of years
with a significant deficit. It doesn’t build a culture
of fiscal responsibility. We’ll be making some difficult choices as we develop a sustainable
financial model for athletics. And now free speech. Berkeley, as you know, is the home of the free speech movement. A movement I’ve recently been
thinking about a great deal, in way that brings me back
to ideas of community. When I first went to Smith,
I was surprised to discover how many private spaces
there were on the campus, for engaged conversation about
issues of current moment. Smith has a house
system, the students live in groups of about 100
in family-style houses, and kind of central to house
community are meals together, lots of activities together
in the living rooms. But the thing that
disappointed me about Smith is it had no public space for debate. It had no Sproul Plaza. Berkeley’s just the opposite. The megaphone of Sproul Plaza
is the icon of free speech. But private space for those engaged, sometimes difficult conversations, is sometimes hard to find. This is of course, not
just a Berkeley issue. In many forms, we’ve lost the ability to have a robust conversation between people with
sharply divergent views. I’ll be making next
year a free speech year, in which we’ll begin by
thinking about our history, in regard to free speech, and the laws and policies
that govern its protections. And I’m going to create
lots of opportunities for small groups in the community to come together to
talk about these issues. We will seek them to model debate between people with very different views on matters of public importance. Events, of course, are not
entirely under our control. We labor under the misfortune
that outside groups see Berkeley as the ideal
stage for their issues. But we’ll do our best to
take back the narrative and provide events in which the
community can come together. Thank you for listening to me today, and thank you even more for
your engagement and support. I wanna hear from you, not just in the questions
that I’m about to answer, but send me an email, grab me when you see me at a function. I’m really interested in hearing from the people who love Berkeley and have ideas about
how to make it thrive. I tried to tell you a little bit about my journey to and through Cal. I’m eager to hear about your journeys. We share one of the greatest and most significant
universities in the world. The California idea, as
one writer recently put it, of higher education. We owe it our best intelligence, our best foresight, our best loyalty. That I pledge to you,
as it’s 11th chancellor. Thank you.
(audience applauds) Thank you. Thank you. – So, some of you have
already submitted questions. I promise, not in modern media style, to ask you if you prefer
kale or Belgian endive. (laughing) Being this audience, they’ve got some heavy-hitting questions here.
– Great. – So we thought we’d just dive right in. You’ve already demonstrated a refreshing and effective communication style. Will you consider expanding that effort by occasionally attending
undergraduate classes, student events, and ASUC senate meetings? – Absolutely, I’ve already begun attending ASUC senate meetings in my time as the Executive Vice
Chancellor and Provost. I’ve decided I’m going to
have open hours every week in a noisy talky part of the library. I will definitely go to
lots of student events. I really have taken a page from the book of Chang-Lin Tien when he was chancellor. I think that the campus right now needs a chancellor who’s going
to use a lot of shoe leather. (audience applauds) And just be out and about
in lots of different places where people come together. But Berkeley, unlike Smith,
it’s many communities, and if you wanna build community, you have to go to the many neighborhoods in which people find community. – [Kevin] How can we tap the institutional memory of Berkeley? The talent and love of Berkeley, of our retired faculty and staff for the betterment of Berkeley. – Well, I guess I’m a
living example, aren’t I? (laughs) I have a good friend who’s
told me I flunked retirement. (everyone laughs) I call on retired faculty
actually pretty constantly and retired staff, and
we have a great, great retirement emeriti association that is so eager to be of help. I think your question
is really interesting, ’cause we want not just
the help of our retirees on the challenges we’re facing now, but I believe history is one of any institutions profoundest resources. I think it’s terrible for any institution to lose knowledge of its history, and to get knowledge of history you have to talk to people and get that history. So that’s part of what I want to know, are your stories, what was it like when you were at Berkeley as a student, and what do you think about the trajectory of the institution. – [Kevin] And again,
if you have questions, write them down, pass them down to the end of the aisle
we’ll collect them. And ask more questions. Can Berkeley retain its public character without restoring state
funding significantly? Granting the new reality
of mixed revenues, isn’t state funding still essential, and how can we do that? – Well I should make
sure that you understand that state funding is our most significant revenue source if you strip away the contracts and grants. It has a, I’ve always
thought a somewhat distorting effect on university budget. So people will often
quote the figure to you that only 11% of Berkeley’s budget now comes from the state, but if you strip away
the contracts and grants, it’s significantly more than that. And it still is, that
together with tuition, is still the most significant funding of the faculty, of the
classes and programs that we offer for undergraduates
and graduate students, but the question is a
really important one. One that I and many leaders
in public higher education are asking themselves. I believe the two most important things in relationship, well
there’re three things, that in relationship to the state, one is the state not
continue to reduce that amount of support, secondly is that we have
a modest, but predictable increase in tuition for our students, so we don’t go through as we have recently six years with no tuition increase and then we have a spike. So I think it’s better
to have a predictable and moderate increase over years. And then finally, we
need the policy freedoms to develop streams of revenue that can help us subsidize our state programs. – [Kevin] How do you intend to balance admission needs of state students versus other US students
and foreign students? – The regents have
recently passed a policy that really governs that, so we cannot exceed our current percentage of out-of-state and
international students, which is a little bit under 25%. That’s the figure that we’d be held to. I, myself, believe though this is a somewhat controversial point of view, well this is not a
controversial point of view what I’m about to say, is I believe that the greatest
public policy challenge that the University of California faces over the next several decades
is enrollment capacity. We are, of all the states
in the United States, number 50 in the relationship
of the percentage of places, public and private,
in four year institutions in relationship to the
size of the population. That clearly reflects
the enormous investment and confidence that
the state of California has put in it’s community college system. But at a point when it’s
increasingly believed that a four year degree is essential for economic security and a good career, we’re going to face a shortage as the state’s population
continues to grow and as graduation rates
continue to increase for under-represented minorities. We’re gonna face a shortage of places in the University of California. And people care most about those places at Berkeley and UCLA. When I left for
Northampton, Massachusetts, Berkeley was about 27-28,000 students. Now it’s 40,000 students, and I expect the pressure is going to continue for us to increase the size of the Berkeley campus. And we have to be
thinking about that issue really, really carefully. I believe first and foremost, we need to serve the people
of the state of California, that’s our mission. (audience applauds)
But, we also out-of-state and international students contribute importantly to the campus. The tuition that they pay, which is equivalent to the tuition in private colleges and universities helps subsidize our in-state students. – [Kevin] Can you address, I think this specifically deals with athletics budget deficit, but it says the current state of the budget deficit and the strategies you might implement to
avoid cutting smaller sports like field hockey and crew. We’re getting into details of athletics. 14 days, she’s only been in court 14 days. – I knew this was waiting for me when I took on this job. There are a number of decisions that I will make this
summer about athletics. Let me explain the sequence of the decisions that I’m gonna make. First of all, one of the, the budget I should say in athletics is about $22 million
annual budget deficit. That’s big and it’s currently about a 1/5 of the campus’ budget deficit. That’s a mixture of reasons for this, this is not uniquely true of athletics, but the campus, because it had relatively healthy financials until recently, has not adjusted budgets that were in some ways inadequate. So it just kept letting
units run deficits, or supplementing them at
the end of the fiscal year. Finding a financially
sustainable plan for athletics is going to be a combination
of expenditure reduction together with budget adjustment. And what that mixture
is, is the big question that I have to answer. Most immediately the stadium
debt is $18 million a year, which is a lot. The debt service, I’m sorry, not the debt. And the stadium project,
I think most of you know, was a really quite ambitious project. A portion of it was driven by the need to seismically strengthen
Memorial Stadium. I believe a good argument exists for taking the seismic
portion of that debt onto the campus’ books, which in itself would be an adjustment to
athletics budget deficit. (audience applauds) There also is, I’m sorry this is getting
really down into the weeds and maybe more into the
weeds than you want, there’s also a really important decision the campus has to make about the prong through which we will meet
the requirements of Title IX. There are three prongs by which you can meet those requirements, prong one, prong two, and prong three. Prong two is not available to Berkeley so I won’t explain what prong two is. Prong three is the prong
that we currently are in. And that prong stipulates
that you have to add a women’s sport whenever it meets a set of criteria for sufficient interest. The trouble with prong three, in my view, is that it commits you to adding sports on a fairly frequent basis with all the attendant capital expenses. The criterion for meeting prong one, is that you have to have
the number of spaces, the proportion of spaces in men’s teams and athlete at women’s teams that’s proportional to
the number of places, the proportion of men and women in the student body as a whole. That’s about I think 52:48
women to men currently. If we chose to elect prong one, it would mean cutting the
rosters of men’s teams, we have very large rosters
currently in our men’s teams, so that would be both a way of economizing and a way of shielding
us from future expense. I’m going on a listening
tour over the summer. I’m meeting with a lot
of groups and athletics, groups of athletically interested donors to get advice on this issue of the prongs. So much depends upon, in your
budget plan for athletics, what prong you elect,
that that’s a decision that I will hope to make this summer. Then we have determined
that we’re going to hire a consultant to come in and tell us whether there are any ways
that we could be saving money that we haven’t thought
of already in athletics. And I’ll be appointing a
review committee for athletics, of the sort we use with
our schools and colleges, with some of our other
units where we’ve had substantial deficits, in
student services for example. We had about a $20 million deficit at the end of last year fiscal close, so up there along with athletics. We had a review committee come in and we’ve resolved that deficit. They now have a balanced budget. It required some hard choices, but it was, I think a really successful exercise and we’re gonna do the same
kind of thing with athletics. So those are some of the things
that I’m planning on doing. (audience applauds) – [Kevin] I’ve got one or two more. And then we’re gonna make our way over to the Pauley Ballroom. When will your inauguration as the first female chancellor be? It’s historic and needs to
be celebrated appropriately, and numerous alumni are looking forward to marching with their class banners in traditional–
– Oh, that’s great! That is really great. Well I was given a
choice, Colleen Rovetti, whom many of you know, gave
me a choice of three dates. So I’m gonna tell you
what the three dates are, and see if you think
I chose the right one. (everyone laughing) One was Homecoming, a second was when the students
graduating in December have their graduation in Haas Pavilion, and the third was to do a big celebration in March of 2018 of the
150th anniversary of Cal. I chose the second, doing it
with the December graduation, because I thought it’d be great to have a lot of students there
and be celebrating them. So probably in the beginning of December. – Great. So you said in the
beginning of our questions that you’ve flunked retirement. – Uh-huh (laughs). – So you’re starting this job when most of this
audience has well retired, so I just wanted to ask you what will you do to keep your energy up, and what do you do to keep the day-to-day grind, keep it in perspective? – That’s a great question. I walk every morning,
I get up really early and I walk around the track
that’s close to my home. And I’m a serious amateur musician and I try to practice the
viola and the piano every day. I love to read and every day
I look for a moment of zen. – [Kevin] Great, thank you. (audience applauds)
– Thank you. – [Kevin] I think you can
tell that Chancellor Christ is well qualified and well ready to take on this responsibility. I said to someone earlier, she’s been on campus long enough that she knows where all the
skeletons in the closets are. (laughing) I want to thank you for your address.
– Thank you. – And for answering these questions. She’s going to join us for lunch, we have more of a program over at lunch, and she’s gonna make some time to make some rounds around the table. So thank you, and we’ll see
you over in Pauley Ballroom. (audience applauds)
– Thank you, thank you.

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