UC Berkeley professor accepts post as vice chancellor for equity and inclusion


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Na’ilah Nasir has been appointed UC Berkeley’s vice chancellor for equity and inclusion after the conclusion of a national search, campus officials announced Thursday.

A UC Berkeley professor and third-generation alumna, Nasir hopes to begin her tenure with a thorough examination of priorities and continue her predecessor’s data-driven approach to increasing equity and inclusion on campus.

“It’s a daunting responsibility, but I think it’s really important work,” Nasir said.

Nasir is a professor in the campus’s Graduate School of Education and the department of African American studies, which she has chaired since 2012. Her research focuses on the interaction of culture and race in the educational paths of underrepresented minority students.

The position of vice chancellor for equity and inclusion was created by former chancellor Robert Birgeneau in 2006 and has been filled by Gibor Basri, a UC Berkeley astronomy professor, since 2007.

During his term, Basri helped create the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, guided the division through the financial crisis and helped launch a survey on campus climate in which underrepresented minority students reported feeling less comfortable than other students on campus.

Beginning with Nasir’s appointment, the division will report directly to the executive vice chancellor and provost and will have a secondary reporting line to the chancellor, according to a campuswide email.

Nasir was a member of the campus’s Residential Faculty Program and, as part of the program, lived with her family in Unit 1.

“She’s really loved on this campus,” said Mahasin Mujahid, an assistant professor in the UC Berkeley School of Public Health who lived in Unit 1 with Nasir. Mujahid added that one of Nasir’s strengths is “making sure that everyone feels empowered to use their voice” when solving problems.

Jabari Mahiri, Nasir’s colleague and a professor in the Graduate School of Education, said Nasir’s international network will help her draw insights from top scholars to help her develop policies that will increase equity in areas such as race, gender and disabilities.

“Her unique skill set is such that she will increase the ways that students and staff will feel they are included in various levels of the university,” Mahiri said. “(She is) one of the most amazing diplomats I’ve seen, in terms of work in negotiations with faculty and students.”

According to the campuswide email, Nasir will begin her term Nov. 1. Basri, who will hold the position until then, plans to return to the astronomy department to serve as acting chair.

Contact Mira Chaplin at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @mirachaplin.

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  • Freddy Raymond

    If there is proper equality without any discrimination, then figure of slave over enslavement period will reduce. Discrimination is not among the rights of the people which are owed by being the citizens. Laws and right of equality should be clear among all.

  • Why do you assume that we are white? Regardless of our skin color, we all just want the same ideals of fairness, equality, and merit without judgement on our race, creed, ethnicity or beliefs. They are simple and just expectations in a free society.

    You would have us denied those basic rights.

    • hernan cortez

      Because you are white. Only whites speak like that, I’d know, being white and all.

      Now we do not all want the same fairness, equality and merit without judgement on our race. When a white person applies and checks the alumni box, gets their daddy to pull strings for them, uses their wealth obtained from racism to get an advantage over the competition, they are not competing in the sense of fairness. Iff they were they’d give black the 66 trillion they owe, and the indians the hundreds of millions of acres they stole.

      Some of us want to enjoy stolen goods from blacks and indians while denying that this stolen wealth gives an advantage, it is utter non-sense. You steal 98% of the resources and say ok lets compete fairly.

      • You are making serious racial assumptions about me. I am not white. I am a person of color.

        • hernan cortez

          Your mind is white

  • Your Division of Equity and Inclusion is a 150 person boondoggle that
    wastes student and public money. Keep your high horse but give back our

    UC Berkeley ought to base its admissions and hiring decisions solely on merit, not the color of one’s skin.

    • Dan Spitzer

      Agreed. What an outrageous waste of the public and students’ funds. This is absurd kowtowing to cries of discrimination when there is no evidence on campus that any semblance of such policies exist…

      • hernan cortez

        The loss of money from a series of successful discrimination lawsuits is likely to outnumber any amount spend on the office. If people had good home training and had the basic decency to not treat people differently due to their race and ethnicity and orientation then such an office wouldn’t even exist.

        The office exist to deal with the amount of lawsuits that would otherwise overwhelm the school due to the rampant discrimination at school. But of course you don’t experience it as a white privilege male.

        • Dan Spitzer

          If we didn’t experience it as “privileged white males,” its because the public of the state of CA wisely voted against the discriminating facets of affirmative action.

          And it is doubtful that the university will lose money from discrimination lawsuits as they by and large tend to be thrown out of court because they are usually deemed to be groundless….

          • hernan cortez

            So what is your gripe, the government murdered the indians and gave you whites hundreds of millions of acres of free land. What more do you want, whites own 97% of the entire economy, they took all the land from the indian, used black slave labour to build every city. Then banned non-whites from immigrating or from entering the things they built. What more do whites like you want…. we have everything already. I don’t see a whole lot of whites trading that in for being black or indian.

            Dan only 1% of cases make it to trial in the US. That includes of all type. Typically a settlement is reached. But if you have thousands of people filling law suits, you have the cost of litigation to consider, plus settlement payments. And you will still lose cases of overt racism, like when there is graffitti on student boards and racial name calling etc. So you may face bigger cost.

          • Dan Spitzer

            Re: discrimination: The UC has been hit with very few law suits in the past and is unlikely to suffer many in the future as there has been little evidence of discrimination on campus, unless it is the targeting of the world’s sole Jewish State for BDS by the student government toadies of SJP and MSA.

            Your basis for “thousands of people filing law suits” in the future vs UC? It takes money to file lawsuits and those who do so for specious reasons can be themselves penalized for what are rightfully called “nuisance suits.”

            Indeed, it was the Spaniards and subsequently the Mexicans who percentage-wise murdered more Indians than did settlers and soldiers from other parts of Europe. As for the horror of slavery, the great black historian at Harvard, Henry Gates, has provided scholarly proof of the disturbing reality that some 80% of the African slaves who were brought in chains to the New World were originally captured by other Africans, such as the savage Ashanti slavers. Of course, Arabs also participated in selling slaves, but don’t tell this to the Black Muslims or MSA.

            BTW, in taking on the screen name of Hernan Cortez, do you realize that you have donned the moniker of the Spanish barbarian who along with his fellow conquistadores brutally conquered all of Mexico, leading to a horrific depopulation of the original Indian inhabitants? Aren’t you a bit embarrassed to be using the name of that monster?

          • hernan cortez

            You have no proof any suit would be a nuisance suit. There is enough discrimination and racism, that goes on at that campus for there to be real suits where the school would indeed lose and pay out hundreds of millions.

            What percent of slave traders in America were white? What percent of slave owners in America were white? What percent of slaves murdered in America were murdered by whites? What percent of slaves were raped by white men?

          • Dan Spitzer

            As much as I enjoy puncturing the posturings of such ignorance, Mr. Conquistadore, your “arguments” are getting so silly that I’ve grown bored detonating your ignorance. So this will be my last rejoinder to you.
            BTW, are you enrolled in an ethnic studies course or department? So many students waste their time in these bastions of ignorance that it is sad, as many students in these departments are minorities who are wasting their opportunities to get a good eduction. Speaking of worthless departments, the newly appointed Ms. Nasir is from the African American Studies Department–aka Victimology 101.
            Back to your swill, Mr. Conquistadore, UC Berkeley has been hit with few discrimination suits and is, for reasons I have already discussed, unlikely to be brought into court on many, if any, in the future.
            Finally, the vast majority of whites in the US had ancestors come to this country long after the horrors of slavery were ended. IOW, they had nothing to do with it…

          • hernan cortez

            So what is all those european studies? Again you are ignoring it just takes one successful lawsuit to cost the school millions of dollars.
            Yes and the vast majority of whites benefit from the institution of slavery and came here during the jim crow period and benefitted from jim crow and the homestead act and white affirmative action. Are you going to give back your house to the indians?

          • care to cite any legal precedents?

            oh wait I have one.

            Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, 438 U.S. 265 (1978)

            Racial quotas are discriminatory and illegal.

          • hernan cortez

            No one is arguing for quotas.

        • We are owed only equality under the law without discrimination or prejudice. Affirmative discrimination is not among the rights that we are owed as citizens.

          • hernan cortez

            So you ready to give back hundreds of millions of acres back to native indians and pay blacks 66 trillion for stolen labour? And the discrimianted citizens are certainly owed corrective action to make up for the past racism.

          • lspanker

            So you ready to give back hundreds of millions of acres back to native indians and pay blacks 66 trillion for stolen labour?

            Where do you come up with $66 trillion? Lemme guess, you’re one of Calypso Louie’s ignorant, uneducated, hysterical drones. Am I right?

          • hernan cortez

            That is what the figure of slave labour over the enslavement period is calculated at a minimum wage rate. That is how much would have been paid out in wages.

          • Dan Spitzer

            Methinks Cortez, who says he is a white guy, may be the male counterpart of Rachel Dolezal, a loony white woman who believes herself to be a black radical…

    • hernan cortez

      O and what is your plan to deal with the issues of discrimination and to increase equity and inclusion on campus? UC doesn’t use affirmative action, its been abolished since 1996.

      • The right path for the University and for society at large is to base admissions and hiring decisions on the basis of merit. Merit is and ought to be completely race blind.

        We shouldn’t have some shadow department within the university trying to secretly finagle and conspire to discriminate against those who are meritorious under the guise of “considering ethnicity as a factor among many” so that they can create a de facto form of affirmative action.

        • hernan cortez

          The school has never been about merit. Still isn’t. And how would you define merit anyways? What is merit based about a kid with high grades when his parents literally bought them for him?

          Ethnicity definitely should be part of it. Whites stole up all the land from the indians, then discriminated against the blacks in hiring and stole up all the labour. When you can buy your test scores and buy your grades, ethnicity needs to be a factor. Whties control 98% of the wealth due to land theft. There is no way to compete against that. It would be like telling someone to compete on a monopoly board when one player already owns 98% of the squares. You cannot, it is impossible in the aggregate. Sure some players might sli[ through and land only on the 2% squares but most won’t.

          • And you would prefer a society where we discriminate against people by the color of their skin, their beliefs, and their appearances.

          • hernan cortez

            I prefer a society where there is fair opportunities for all. There is no fairness when one guy owns 98% and the other own 2% and they are judged on the same standard.

          • Fair opportunity means no discrimination. Certainly not of the type of discrimination on the basis of skin color that you would propose.

          • hernan cortez

            No, fair opportunity means no racism, and you cannot fix racism without recognizing the patent disadvantages created by structural racism. The real discrimination on color is so called neutral policies which claim to not see color, well if you cannot see race then everyone is white and everyone is not white, only whites get white privilege and own 98% of the economy. There can be no fairness which says the person owning 98% of trillions is judged on the same platform as the former slaves.

          • lspanker

            I prefer a society where there is fair opportunities for all.

            Start by getting rid of race-based policies.

          • hernan cortez

            Sure, lets take back the homesteaders descendants farms and give it back to the indians, lets take back wall street which was built on the profits of black slaves and give the money back to blacks along with all the plantations down south. Lets get rid of those race based policies and rescind the degrees of all whites who entered university before 1980 because it was all due to white affirmative action.

          • lspanker

            The school has never been about merit. Still isn’t. And how would you
            define merit anyways? What is merit based about a kid with high grades
            when his parents literally bought them for him?

            You have proof that parents “buy” high grades for kids? Apparently the concept that kids earn their grades through their own work and studying has never crossed your mind.

            Whties control 98% of the wealth due to land theft.

            Proof positive that you’re not interested in an intelligent discussion, only in making outrageous racist statements you can’t back up.

          • hernan cortez

            Go look up prep courses and tutors. That is all it is. And again define merit.

            It is alot easier to earn high grades when you come from a rich middle class white background with tutors and prep courses and extra funding from the government and from past white affirmative action like the gi bill and the homestead act.

            Whites own 98% of the economy, in some cases more.