Chancellor Robert Birgeneau derided state legislators in emails

In emails sent between administrators surrounding the Nov. 9 Occupy Cal protest, Chancellor Robert Birgeneau criticized Assemblymember Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, and State Senator Loni Hancock, D-Oakland.

Emails recently received by the Daily Cal from the UC Berkeley Public Records office include a Nov. 8 email from Birgeneau to Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost George Breslauer which states, “tomorrow will definitely be a challenge. As usual Skinner and Hancock only know how to do damage.”

Hancock spokesperson Nathan Rapp said the senator had no comment about the content of the emails at this time. A comment from Skinner could not be obtained as of publication time.


The previous day, Hancock and Skinner had addressed a group of about 35 students during an ASUC-sponsored forum where they affirmed their support for the student movement and had addressed the state budget and a lack of state funding for higher education.

An email sent Nov. 8 to campus spokesperson Claire Holmes and other administrators from State Government Relations Director Kieran John Flaherty summarized the forum and called Hancock’s discussion of the 2009 Wheeler Hall occupation unfortunate.

“Unfortunately, Hancock noted that without the Wheeler Hall takeover, the issue of funding higher ed would not have been on the front page of the newspaper and even Schwarzenegger admitted it impacted his budget for higher ed,” Flaherty said in the email.


An additional email from Flaherty in the same set indicated that he had spoken to Hancock after the forum and that she had asked him to convey to administrators her opinion that police overreaction to protesters would “only feed into the media circus that the papers and TV stations are hoping for.”


Jamie Applegate covers higher education.