Majority of UC Berkeley STEM professors will conduct class during ‘Free Speech Week,’ despite faculty boycott

stem_anissanishioka_file-copy
Anissa Nishioka/File

Related Posts

Of the 132 faculty members who signed a letter advocating a boycott of classes and campus activities during the upcoming “Free Speech Week” at UC Berkeley, only five professors are from STEM departments on campus.

Free Speech Week will take place from Sept. 24-27, during which speakers including Milo Yiannopoulos, Ann Coulter and Steve Bannon plan to visit campus. In response to the controversial speakers and the protests associated with them, the letter, co-written by seven faculty members, calls for professors to cancel classes to ensure student safety.

“As faculty we cannot ask students and staff to choose between risking their physical and mental safety in order to attend class or come to work in an environment of harassment, intimidation, violence, and militarized policing,” the letter states.

While these members of the faculty pledged to cancel their classes, several STEM courses, including Bio 1B and MCB C62, will continue through the week and administer midterms.

African American studies professor Michael Cohen, one of the co-authors of the letter, said the lack of STEM faculty on the letter is not a result of any ideological discrepancy between STEM and humanities faculty members — rather, he attributed it to the short timeline regarding preparation of the letter and the specific relevance of Free Speech Week to humanities buildings and courses.

Given that the letter was only released last week, Cohen said there is still time remaining for other STEM professors to join the effort.

He added that the humanities buildings are on the south side of campus, near Sproul Plaza, where the protests usually take place. Because humanities classes are adjacent to the riot barricades, police dogs and expected violence, it is difficult for students and faculty to ignore the activity.

“Lastly, Milo and his people have attacked our disciplines and harassed … faculty and students directly,” Cohen said. “This is especially true for my departments, which are heavily populated by underrepresented minorities and immigrant students. The threats are all too real to myself and my students.”

On the other hand, chemistry professor Kristie Boering said her class, Chem 1A, will continue as planned.

“I have a job to do,” Boering said.

She also stated that if students feel unsafe, they will not be penalized for their absence. Boering said students can instead participate online but that she will still physically conduct her class, unless otherwise directed by campus administration.

In order to increase the participation of STEM faculty in the boycott, Cohen said he is eager to meet with STEM faculty members and discuss whether they will cancel classes.

“I believe that any such divide can be overcome,” Cohen said. “This campus can unite against racism, sexism and the kind of anti-intellectual provocation represented by this so-called ‘Free Speech Week.’ ”

Contact Rishabh Nijhawan at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @realRishNij.

Please keep our community civil. Comments should remain on topic and be respectful.
Read our full comment policy
  • Soham Bhatia

    Different people got different priorities. Do you

  • Koevoet

    African American studies, LOL. Now there’s a great way to spend your parents’ hard earned $$$.

  • Addison

    Hah! What’s that phrase? “Separates the men from the boys”? (Yes – can you believe I said THAT?!) Well – that’s usually what happens when you pit the touchy-feely humanities folks against the school-of-hard-knocks STEM people. Good – I’m glad to hear that STEM professors will continue to dispense knowledge in the light of campus unrest. That’s as it should be. If the students feel differently, well then don’t go to class FOR WHICH YOU’VE ALREADY PAID THE TUITON – and don’t complain when you get a “C” or even “F” for putting extracurricular activities above your schoolwork.

  • Cybille Larry

    I feel really bad for people in this economy, I like everyone have been struggling. But I tell you what I’ve done I’ve taken life into my own hands being responsible for myself. I knew trading was the answer for me and I’ve purchased different courses at different places and the best course I’ve found by far is at the website Emini S&P Trading Secret, just Google them and find them and do like I did they get started trading for yourself and take life into your own hands.

  • anon

    I had to take out loans to come here. I am paying to be here. I am paying to learn. In what way is it acceptable to cancel classes without reimbursing me for a week of tuition? Good for the STEM departments for ignoring this nonsense, and shame on every lazy, privileged professor who shirks the duty that they have to their students. This is not what tenure is for.

  • Transparent Shade

    Stay the course and stay strong, STEM! You do have a job to do! Leave the navel gazing and antifa agitating to the “humanities.”

  • Ameen Younis

    STEM professors aren’t cancelling classes because their job is to TEACH, not to coddle their students and treat them like they’re still in pre-school.

    • zzz

      They also have to be afraid of some zero going on one of the rate my professor pages and whining about having to go to class on Milo day.

  • hoapres

    Let’s see.

    I can go out and get a STEM degree and be lucky to find a job making maybe around $80K to $100K a year with 4 years of college and $100K of student loan debt.

    OR

    Start out at $30 per hour as an electrician or plumbers apprentice and in 5 years making ove $60 an hour (and don’t underestimate this one being paid for EVERY hour I work) and having NO student loan debt. Nor do I have to compete with foreigners on work visas for a job.

    Sounds like a no brainer.

    • Scott Jenner

      agree but most trades are being flooded by cheap illegal labor from Mexico and Central America the same plague infecting the STEM field for American blue collar workers. Look at construction sites it is 90% MEXICANS!

      • hoapres

        But at least the labor is illegal unlike STEM with the foreigners being legal with h1bs, OPT, L1, B1, etc. work visas.

        • Scott Jenner

          correct and at least you have some protection as part of the union and can always threaten ICE on the job site.

  • hoapres

    It’s time to start cutting down government funding to universities.

    • Scott Jenner

      agree retrain laid off Americans in trades and send the illegals home and send the H1b invaders home

      • hoapres

        That won’t happen but I sure like the idea.

        • Scott Jenner

          oh well I can always be a DREAMer right?

        • Scott Jenner

          sad but true and I am working on my exit strategy heck a teacher working 9 months out of the year making 80k in California is better off then STEM workers with zero job security!

          • hoapres

            If you can get a teaching credential then you might just want to leave the state all together.

          • Scott Jenner

            true get credential then work toward admin VP level job and make better than any STEM job plus security and pension.

  • FreedomFan

    If your degree ends in “-Studies” then you will be LESS employable than when you started paying thousands and going in debt to pad the fat salaries and obese pensions of your crazy marxist professors. You will be toxic except to teach their bigoted twaddle to other minds full of mush.

    • hoapres

      STEM isn’t much better but it is somewhat better. Financially, about the worst investment you can make is college.

      • Scott Jenner

        agree and at least when I went to college long ago it was a lot cheaper than now which is a major ripoff

  • hoapres

    Come on guys.

    Get a REAL job.

    I need a job like this. Get paid for not showing up to work.

  • ShadrachSmith

    Will the American Studies professors give bonus credit for antifa participation in lieu of academic work? I’m guessing yes. I’m guessing the American Studies professor is the guy with the bull horn, taking roll at the riots.

    • Scott Jenner

      next thing you know is that they will be offering graduate degrees MA/PhD in Antifa!

  • roccolore

    Liberals = fascist cowards

    • louie

      dumb

      • roccolore

        Dumb liberals will riot and loot to prevent someone from speaking.

        • louie

          Dumb republicans have no clue they are being played. None of this is organic. The outrage is planned. This is a manufactured show brought to you by Mercer and friends. Its just sad to see you people manipulated so badly that you cry “freedom of speech”.

          • roccolore

            Dumb Democrats want to blame everyone but themselves for their rioting and looting. Democrats like you hate free speech.

          • louie

            try reading. ? all the information is available. I hate imbeciles that defend hideous people manipulating free speech.. The republican party is flushing down the toilette with these turds. Better learn to swim

          • lspanker

            I hate imbeciles that defend hideous people manipulating free speech.

            How would fools like you know that they are “hideous” given that you won’t even listen to them to know what they are saying? You’re no better than the fundamentalist religious retards who insist you will go to H*ll if you dare even read somebody else’s interpretation of your holy scriptures. You’re clearly of the same moral and intellectual character as the type of people who burn books and blow up ancient monuments in Afghanistan…

          • roccolore

            You Democrats are the turds who tried to prevent a Jewish man from speaking.

          • louie

            That is a vague description of Milo. Yiannopoulos harassed and singled out a transgender student by name at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He is not the free speech martyr you make him out to be.

          • roccolore

            I was talking about Ben Shapiro. Besides, fascist Democrats like you will riot and loot to prevent people from speaking. Fascist Democrats like you have no problem inviting Jew-haters, black supremacists, and Islamists to campus.

          • louie

            Ben Shapiro is a great example. He has had no trouble speaking for years. Its only after Milo “the self proclaimed provocateur” has purposely created the backlash that now includes Shapiro. This is not organic. All of this has been orchestrated to attain these exact results. Sad thing is that now reputable people on the right are being lumped in with the likes of MIlo.

          • CSears

            Yes, it’s been orchestrated for optics on Fox News playing in the flyover states.
            In a month it’ll be forgotten as the sideshow it is.

          • lspanker

            Yiannopoulos harassed and singled out a transgender student by name at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

            And exactly why is that a crime again?

          • louie

            Colleges have codes of conduct that prohibit students from harassing others. This should be no different.

          • lspanker

            Colleges have codes of conduct that prohibit students from harassing others.

            Once again, what exactly did Milo do that was a crime here?

          • louie

            Violated the code of conduct by targeting and harassing a student by name. Its really not that hard.

          • lspanker

            How is naming a student “harassment”?

          • louie

            you are working really hard to remain ignorant. I give up explaining

          • lspanker

            Seriously, how is naming a student who openly espouses a political position “harassment”? Seems you have no real argument to make, snowflake.

          • louie

            “In critiquing leftist criticism of the phrase “man up,” Yiannopoulos said around the 49:52 mark, “I’ll tell you one UW-Milwaukee student that does not need to man up.” He then showed the student’s photo. “Have any of you come into contact with this person?” he asked. “This quote unquote nonbinary trans woman forced his way into the women’s locker rooms this year.” He went on:” You happy F-tard.

          • lspanker

            So you have a problem with calling out some dude to tried to use the woman’s locker room?

          • CSears

            “Due to the revelation of an offensive video in the past 24 hours condoning pedophilia, the American Conservative Union has decided to rescind the invitation”

            https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2017/02/20/cpac-sticks-with-yiannopoulos-as-critics-highlight-his-comments-about-underage-sex/

            That’s your Milo and that’s your CPAC defending free speech rights.

          • lspanker

            You’re the ones being played. Conservative media outlets are having a field day showing the rest of the country how the self-described, “tolerant”, “enlightened” progressives are scared to death of opposing points of view. Silly and hysterical Berkeley progressives have handed them a moral victory on a silver platter.

          • louie

            Who is winning a moral victory? Holding up Milo as a conservative martyr is only whittling away the religious moral facade of the right.

          • CSears

            Exactly. Spanker, tell us again why CPAC cancelled Milo?

  • As a STEM student, I would appreciate it if my professors did not cancel classes. Berkeley’s reputation for craziness is going to make it harder for me to find a job already. I would prefer if the STEM profs took a stand for sanity to preserve the reputation of their departments. It’s fine if they want to make it optional to attend class though; I can understand that.

    • CSears

      Yo Pepper, study hard and do well. This nonsense will soon blow over and that Berkeley degree will carry you far.

      • hoapres

        Maybe Not as far as you might think. With that said, A stem degree is better than one that isn’t.

        • lspanker

          Combine a STEM degree with some practical skills (coding or trades/technical) and you will be fine. I’m a ChemE with a PC programming background who can also program PLCs and HMIs, read and design electrical schematics, bend conduit and wire electrical panels. I have never had an employer tell me I don’t have any useful skills.

          • hoapres

            Afraid Not. Especially when you are over 40. Your skills aren’t really worth very much in Silicon Valley.

          • SecludedCompoundTTYS

            This is so wrong and just a silly blanket statement acting like 40 is old meaning this person is 19.

          • hoapres

            Sorry

            It’s accurate.

            Age discrimination is rampant in STEM particularly in the software engineering areas given the level of h1b infestation.

            The truth hurts.

            P.S. I am not 19.

          • SecludedCompoundTTYS

            Oh I guess I read into your comment, I def agree there is age discrimination in the Silicon Valley for sure and in most tech fields.

          • lspanker

            I’m over 40 and have been working in Silicon Valley, so what is it you’re trying to tell me again?

          • Scott Jenner

            true you need to also be a skilled journeyman level electrician to do well

          • lspanker

            I’m not a journeyman level electrician, but I know how to calculate current draw, size wire, and do things to code for my particular work. Any of you ever met any field service engineers, people that combine college educations with technical skills?

          • hoapres

            Ok

            Are you making $150K+ a year on your job ?

            If you are then your skills are useful in SV. Otherwise they aren’t.

            With useful being defined here as supporting a middle class standard of living.

      • hoapres

        Actually it isn’t going to blow over with regards to STEM.

        You have two choices.

        1. You take the job (being STEM) to a cheaper location.

        OR

        2. You bring cheap labor to the US.

        With the auto industry, the jobs left and we didn’t trash the Midwest.

        With high tech, we brought in foreign people and trashed Silicon Valley.

        If that sounds simplistic then well it is because it is that simple.

        I know I am going to take flak for saying trashing Silicon Valley but that is exactly what is happening when you build future slums being 6+ story high apartment buildings with 3rd world living conditions.

        Don’t get me wrong, I much prefer the non existent option 3. being American companies hiring Americans but that isn’t going to be happening in high tech for a long time.

        But if I have to choose between Option 1 or Option 2 above, then Option 1 wins every time.

        • CSears

          Pray tell, Bright Eyes, why is it that Silicon Valley absolutely crushes Venture Capital with about 40% of the total VC backed startups in the US?

          https://www.citylab.com/life/2016/02/the-spiky-geography-of-venture-capital-in-the-us/470208/

          More fake news? Why did Mark Zuckerberg drop out of Harvard, pick up stakes from Boston (#4 on the list) and move to Palo Alto? Why did Solomon Hykes move Docker from Germany to SF? Oops, sorry to mention one of those jobs stealing fereners. Elon Musk, nuther one of them. It wasn’t limited government + ‘states rights’. It was opportunity.

          Whine somewhere else. That’s pretty much what conservatives do. Whine.

          • hoapres

            If you don’t like what I write then you don’t have to respond to it.

            Ironically, you didn’t refute anything that I wrote. Realistically, it isn’t likely to last that much longer because it is getting too expensive to do business here and at some point the labor costs will eat you up.

            Yea, Yea, Yea. I heard it before being that We are the only place that can get the stuff done. I heard that in the auto industry in the 70s in the Midwest and we all saw how that played out.

          • CSears

            You have offered no evidence for your strange opinions. Again to quote Hitchens, “That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.”

            It is not my burden to disprove your opinion to your acceptance and at least I have offered some evidence for dismissing them.

          • hoapres

            Life isn’t a popularity contest.

            I am not running for public office (thank god!) so with that said I don’t worry too much about what you (or anybody else) think of me.

            With that said and this is standard advice I give to everybody, Don’t take the advice of any one person/source/etc. especially by an anonymous poster as definitive with regards to the best course of action for your particular circumstances. It’s YOUR job to figure out what is best for YOU.

            You haven’t figured it out. If I was writing a court brief for something like a motion for summary judgment then I am going to be going out and scrounging up all the evidence needed to establish the facts to (hopefully!) win the motion.

            If you expect me to run around and gather up all the evidence for you then well you have another thing coming. :-)

          • CSears

            > Ironically, you didn’t refute anything that I wrote.

            > If you expect me to run around and gather up all the evidence for you then well you have another thing coming.

            Evidence.

          • hoapres

            And the point is ???

    • hoapres

      You have a problem due to h1b infestation in getting a STEM job as an American.

      • CSears

        Eh, nope.

        • hoapres

          Afraid So.

          STEM doesn’t pay that well and Americans are prerejected from STEM jobs.

          The truth hurts.

          • CSears

            Eh, nope. Y’all must be living in some cave in Arkansas and listening to maybe a little too much Rush. This bad boy does quite well in Silicon Valley.

            Maybe you just don’t want to compete. Maybe y’all want your entitlement with some BBQ sauce.

          • hoapres

            Uh No

            Sorry, Guy. I know the Silicon Valley job market a lot better than you do.

            With that said, A UC Berkeley or Stanford degree is better than most.

            I doubt that you really do that good in Silicon Valley. Few engineers are. My definition of good is over $1 Million in assets and/or $150K+ in annual income.

          • CSears

            And.

          • hoapres

            The point being that you likely aren’t doing as well as you think. Non college graduates in Silicon Valley are making over $100K a year. The relevant number is (STEM salary) / (non STEM salary). That ratio has been decreasing for decades.

          • CSears

            I’m not? Do say more. And when you do, kindly cite some stats from reliable sources.

          • hoapres

            Well. Only you know how well you are doing financially. My point is that unless you have the finances stated above then you aren’t doing well in Silicon Valley.

            Engineering salaries are rapidly becoming lower level type salaries.

          • CSears
          • hoapres

            Fake News.

            That’s the problem today. You go out and quote a source which quotes another source both of which are thoroughly discredited. One being the San Jose Mercury News and then the other being Dice.

            With Dice being busted a LONG TIME AGO with their fake job count. You go to Dice and you see 80K+ job ads and you find out that 90% don’t even exist. Then you call out Dice on their now defunct discussion boards and get banned.

            And then you go out and warn everybody that Dice was going to shut down their discussion boards because of being caught with their hands in the cookie jar so to speak.

          • CSears

            Ok, you’re a nut.

            First, I requested proof from you (“kindly cite some stats from reliable sources”) and then when you were too lazy to provide that I did a simple Google search for you. From that you concluded that the (Pulitzer Prize winning) Mercury News is Fake News.

            Second, in this comment section you have complained about ageism (over 40), immigrants (H1B infestation) and SV salaries are going down (with no proof).

            Dude, I’m going to assume without proof that you voted for Cheeto Jesus on account of that huge chip on your shoulder.

          • hoapres

            Ok

            I am a nut.

            Surprisingly enough I might actually agree with you, depending on what your definition of a nut is.

            If you have to rely on Google search to get your information then you got bigger problems than I can solve.

            With that said, age discrimination is rampant in tech and believe me I know since I am actually involved in hiring decisions. Unless you can me a real good reason, I am not going to be hiring someone over 40 when I can easily get someone being 25.

          • Scott Jenner

            exactly! Teachers make better long term jobs as well and working 9 months out of the year plus retirement is 100x better than STEM jobs. I may become a teacher instead.

          • hoapres

            Like I said before. You have to look at RELATIVE salary and not ABSOLUTES. One of the MAJOR DISADVANTAGES to a tech career is that you can’t just simply pack it up and move (easily) to a low cost area of the country.

          • Scott Jenner

            correct a journeyman plumber, electrician or teacher in a low cost area is 100x better off than a temp to fire STEM job in a major city.

          • hoapres

            You might be the last to hear because the ones telling the truth gets censored.

          • Scott Jenner

            true I made good coin for about 4 years in Silicon Valley then it imploded due to H1b infestation so I left.

          • Scott Jenner

            200-300k a year in Silicon Valley is good salary not 100k! What you say is correct and true.

          • hoapres

            Even 200K might not go very far in SV anymore.

          • Scott Jenner

            correct

          • hoapres

            As a provider of a service being my labor then obviously I don’t want to compete. In fact when you are a provider of a service then you don’t want competition at all.

            That what makes tech a bad choice as you have to compete against the entire planet being 9 billion plus people for a job in your own country versus almost everything else where you are competing against 340 million people for a job.

            Of course that sounds simplistic but sometimes life is that simple.

          • Scott Jenner

            heck even being a teacher is better at least there is more secure work, 2 months vacation, retirement pension and better working conditions!

          • Daniel Steiner

            #MAGA

          • Scott Jenner

            true and I have sent over 500 resumes and of those maybe 5 phone calls back for jobs I am qualified to do plus I get 100 pre-rejection emails so that tells me right there is a surplus and no shortage and job market SUCKS right now for STEM jobs due to H1b infestation and outsourcing/offshoring to China and India!

      • “infestation”? Oh please. I am happy to compete on a level playing field with any other legal resident of the US, and I’m confident in my ability to do so. I just don’t want employers to pass on my resume because it has the word “Berkeley” on it.

        • hoapres

          You won’t be as I can get anybody from the world on a STEM work visa.

          I don’t mess with this stuff by the way as I have the absolute BEST immigration attorney in SV on speed dial. He ain’t cheap but he gets the job done. (He ought to as he bills out enough)

          Your problem is that I can make ANYBODY a “legal resident of the United States” with regards to a STEM job with a phone call and I don’t even have to pay him $60K a year.

          In fact, If he is a fresher being a US STEM graduate from almost any American college then I can get him for 29 months on an OPT. If I can associate the OPT with a university then I don’t even have to pay him minimum wage.

          Like I said before, STEM wages having been dropping not only in inflation adjusted but in absolute dollar values for the past couple of decades along with the relative salaries compared to other non STEM jobs at an even more rapid rate.

          The reason should be OBVIOUS being that for a STEM job that I as a prospective employer can get anybody on the planet versus for a regular job then (at least in theory) I can only hire a current legal US resident.

  • jim hoch

    STEM people actually have to study. Unlike some departments.

    • lspanker

      George Orwell was a piker compared to Berkeley progressives when it comes to double-speak…

      • CSears

        Eric Blair would turn over in his grave if he read the tripe you write.

        • lspanker

          Yet it’s “tripe” you can’t seem to refute, wonder why…

          • CSears

            Again, to quote Hitchens, “What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.” You haven’t said anything above the tripe level and so you should consider it a complement to be dismissed at the tripe level.

          • lspanker

            So it’s tripe, yet even the liberals here upvote my comments on a regular basis, so I must post stuff of substance. OTOH, the only ones who seem to agree with you are the devil and other kooks…

    • Scott Jenner

      that is right STEM is the most painful ball busting thing on the planet to study you have to live in the library 24×7 study from non-English non-native speakers who lack teaching skills in hardcore stuff compared to the frat boys who skate in business and communication classes.

  • BerkeleyMews

    Is the purpose of the boycott is to allow as much free time as possible for making shields and collecting bricks?

    • hoapres

      Yes.

  • CSears

    I have no idea why professors should pay any heed to this sideshow.
    Please hold class and teach your students.

    • lspanker

      For once I agree with you…

    • SecludedCompoundTTYS

      There we go!!!!! Common sense