The Daily Californian Online

Questions Surround Elimination of Administrative Position

By Katie Nelson
Contributing Writer
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Category: News > University > Academics and Administration

Barbara Davis

Budget cuts will lead to the elimination of administrative positions in the UC Berkeley Division of Equity & Inclusion, which some students say will impact efforts at ensuring diversity on campus.

Vice Chancellor of Equity and Inclusion Gibor Basri announced Thursday that Barbara Davis, assistant vice chancellor of the division, will vacate her post June 29. The position will be eliminated two days later.

In an e-mail to the campus community, Basri said the move would save the division-needed funding while maintaining services for students.

"The current budget crisis requires me to make a tough choice between preserving strength in upper level management or funneling resources toward direct student services and new capabilities," he said in the e-mail.

Davis declined to comment at this time regarding the elimination of her position and her future plans to stay involved on campus.

Basri said in an e-mail that he and Davis will cooperate on transferring her responsibilities to his office.

"The position will not be replaced; I am taking on some tasks that AVC Davis was executing, and devolving some of them to her directors," Basri said in the e-mail. "Specific programmatic changes await our ongoing budget discussions."

Basri declined to state whether or not further cuts may be in store within the division.

Davis-who has been a campus employee since 1976-currently chairs a committee overseeing Lower Sproul Plaza redevelopment as well as a committee geared toward creating a new multicultural center.

Campus reactions to the eliminated position have been "muted", Basri said. However, students involved in the campus multicultural center and the redevelopment of Lower Sproul said the elimination of Davis's position was disheartening.

"It kind of puts things in perspective as to how important diversity and inclusion on the campus is to the administration," said junior Samantha Doyle, a political economy major. "It's slightly insensitive, and very improper timing given the recent events that have occurred at other UC campuses. With the budget cuts to the university, this seems kind of counter-productive to maintaining a strong sense of diversity and equity at Cal."

Dior Sweeney, the director for multicultural center development who sits on the Lower Sproul committee, said in an e-mail Davis's potential departure as committee chair would not affect the project nor a referendum slated for the upcoming ASUC elections.

"Irregardless of her stepping down from her position as Chair, the Lower Sproul Student Council will continue to press forward with our publicizing and promotion of the B.E.A.R.S. Initiative (Bringing Energy and Revitalization to Sproul)," Sweeney said in the e-mail. "Our goal is to ultimately to pass this referendum and bring much needed revitalization to Lower Sproul as soon as we possibly can."

Doyle said that she feels that her peers have lost someone who really supports minorities at the administrative level.

"This will definitely cause a lower sense of morale amongst the students of color," she said.

Basri said in an e-mail he will focus on two projects aimed at promoting equity and inclusion on campus.

"I am working on the formulation of a campus initiative called the UC Berkeley Strategic Plan for Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity and the garnering of new resources, such as the Haas gift, which so far have been successful," he said in the e-mail.

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