Error-Ridden Cal-FACTS Stir Demand For VP Recall





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ASUC senators found major errors in Cal-FACTS last week, causing Academic Affairs Vice President Jen Chang to issue a correction.

The errors come to light as Chang, a Student Action party member, fell under fire from senators who accused her of failing to fulfill her duties. Party officials said this weekend they would be ready to initiate a special election to recall Chang.

At least 23 complete sets of data appear to be duplicated in the publication, in many cases exact replicas of the classes immediately adjacent to them. For example, Development Studies 100, with an enrollment of 91 students, shares identical data with Dramatic Arts 10, with an enrollment of 18. Other instances of repeated graphs include Astronomy 10 and 12, and Dutch 170 and Eastern European Studies 1B.

Senators and party officials said they were outraged by the errors and cited Cal-FACTS's $10,000 cost.

"I find it disturbing that an expensive publication that so many students will rely on goes to press without error checking," said Squelch! Senator Richard Schulman. "It appears that a significant percentage of Cal-FACTS is unusable and possibly harmful if used by the students. I don't feel comfortable spending money to misinform students."

Chang said the errors were unintentional and that she and her staff thoroughly reviewed the publication after the senate pointed them out.

"There were some graphs that were repeated and errors were made," Chang said. "We would never purposely print wrong information, and all we want to do is serve the students and have this publication help students choose their classes."

Chang emphasized only about 4 percent of the listed classes had incorrect data. The incorrect graphs will be reprinted in an addendum expected to be distributed today.

The errors stemmed from computer problems, Chang said, noting her staff had to print out the graphs and individually paste them in.

"We're only human," she said.

Incorrect enrollment figures were also used, noticeably shown in Egyptian 101B. The class is listed as having only two students, although data was broken down so that at least five students would have had to respond. Chang said the error stemmed from outdated enrollment figures.

When asked if she wanted to express regret or apologize for the errors, Chang only said she wanted to help serve the students with the publication.

Chang initially refused to halt distribution of Cal-FACTS until a corrections addendum was created, but relented after senators from all parties supported the idea.

The errors hurt the ASUC's credibility, said Chris Wendt, the APPLE Party chair.

"This does not just damage Cal-FACTS, it damages the entire ASUC," Wendt said. "I think corners were cut to put out the product. I think (Chang) has to consider the damage she's done to the ASUC."

Wendt, a former senator, said this latest development could only contribute to the ongoing effort to recall Chang, which stemmed from her failure to report to senate meetings. Negotiations to resolve the conflict without a recall fell apart last week.

"When it was a matter of missed meetings and poor communication, we were willing to take a progress report, but (Chang) has taken this to a new level," Wendt said. "We'll be fully willing and able to turn in signatures (to petition for her recall) on Wednesday."

While senators had requested to review incorrect data with her office, Cal-SERVE Senator Tel Cary-Sadler said Chang did not offer an invitation to review the errors jointly. Chang said the senators did not come to her to help.

"This is just more evidence that there's not much going on in her office, and if that means that we need to recall her for that to be an effective office, that might be an option," Cary-Sadler said. "I'm willing to take an investigative, wait-and-see approach, but obviously we can't wait much longer."

But some Student Action officials said the vast majority of Cal-FACTS remains a high-quality product.

"It shocks me that people would examine (Cal-FACTS) and not offer congratulations to the academic affairs office for doing a great job," said External Affairs Vice President Nick Papas after senators disclosed the errors.

But some UC Berkeley professors said they have had problems with Cal-FACTS's reliability.

Statistics professor Ani Adhikari said Cal-FACTS directors asked her to review evaluations for her Statistics 2 course last spring, although she had never used Cal-FACTS evaluations. Adhikari then received an e-mail from Cal-FACTS directors apologizing for the error, which asked her if she would like a correction to be printed.

Adhikari said she later received an e-mail saying Cal-FACTS had used numbers from another section - but neither she nor the other Statistics 2 professor had used the forms.

"I had no faith in their accuracy," Adhikari said. "Needless to say, I didn't use their forms in the spring."

Chang said this was an unfortunate instance, but it was unrelated to her tenure since it occurred last year. However, Chang used last year's data to put together this edition of Cal-FACTS.

Other apparent duplications include Business Administration 159 and 160, Economics 1 and 100A, Electrical Engineering 145B and 145M, History 9A and 9C, History 106B and 116C, and History 125B and 138.

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