Remember when Rudy Giuliani showed the world what gut was. When a Saudi Prince offered NYC 10Million dollars and then told everyone that 9/11 was Israel’s fault, Rudi told the prince to shove his 10 Million, one dollar at a time.Like the city in which it resides, UC Berkeley is better known for bluster and idiocy than guts. It looks like the bigots in Saudi Arabia want to pay for a Graduate School of Engineering in Saudi Arabia run by Berkeley. But the school may have to be Male Faculty ONLY. Oh and Berkeley’s two Israeli engineering professors they wont be allowed either. And female student’s— well….lets just say it won’t be the normal routine for the bastion of liberalism.
UC Berkeley, Saudi school working on secret deal By Matt Krupnick BERKELEY — UC Berkeley is negotiating a secretive deal with a developing graduate university in Saudi Arabia, where Berkeley faculty will collaborate on research and help the school hire professors. But the collaboration has raised significant questions among Berkeley instructors about whether the Saudi school will discriminate against women and others, as is the case at most of the country’s institutions. Berkeley administrators have declined to disclose most information about the developing agreement, denying several requests from the Times for public records. University attorneys said disclosing the records could derail the contract with the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, which the two schools expect to finalize as early as Tuesday. A campus faculty leader said some professors in Berkeley’s mechanical engineering department — which would provide consultation to the Saudi school — had “huge” concerns about the agreement, particularly about academic freedom and gender and religious discrimination. An Academic Senate committee decided those concerns were unwarranted, said Bill Drummond, the body’s chairman. “They felt that the value of going forward outweighed the reservations that had been expressed so far,” said Drummond, a journalism professor. Drummond declined to provide a copy of the Academic Senate report, as did the university. The report is believed to address the human-rights concerns raised by faculty members and details about the proposal. In a letter to the university, Times’ attorney Karl Olson said the school’s reticence violates state law. Withholding the document “seems to confuse the interests of various University officials in avoiding potential embarrassment or scrutiny with the interests of the public, which funds the university, in scrutinizing proposed agreements,” Olson wrote. Faculty concerns have slowed similar proposals between other U.S. and Saudi schools. At Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, engineering professors are opposing an agreement to develop a men-only engineering school at Saudi Arabia’s Jubail University College. Berkeley administrators are making sure the King Abdullah proposal would not lead to discrimination, said Al Pisano, chairman of the UC Berkeley mechanical engineering department. “We’re in the middle of vetting all of this,” said Pisano, who declined to say how much money the Saudi school would pay UC Berkeley. “If this agreement goes forward as planned, I think you’re going to find that there will be no discrimination on any basis.” Unlike other Saudi universities, the new school — known as KAUST — will not be subject to gender or religious restrictions, said John Burgess, a former U.S. diplomat who runs the Crossroads Arabia blog. King Abdullah intends to allow KAUST complete freedom so it can become one of the world’s top graduate schools, Burgess said. “KAUST is unique,” he said. “There will be no government pressure on curriculum or the way anything runs. This is being carved out of Saudi Arabia.” But it remains to be seen whether women and others will indeed be allowed to be equal partners in the new venture. The New York Times reported in October that Israelis would not be allowed to collaborate with KAUST. The Berkeley department has at least two professors who were educated in Israel, although it was not clear whether they are Israelis or how their involvement would be affected by the rule. Representatives of the Saudi school did not respond to repeated interview requests over the course of a month. The university’s Web site says the yet-to-open school has forged collaborations with prominent research institutions around the world, and the site includes an October speech by KAUST’s interim president in which he said the university expects to partner with UC Berkeley. The site also notes that KAUST is seeking five-year contracts with partner universities and that KAUST professors will start out as visiting scholars at the linked schools. Human-rights groups have criticized Saudi Arabia for prohibiting women, homosexuals and other marginalized groups from participating in many parts of public life. Violators are sometimes beaten. A representative of the Berkeley campus chapter of Amnesty International, which has called for Saudi Arabian reforms, declined to comment on the university deal. Several UC Berkeley engineering professors also declined to comment on the partnership. “No thanks,” said one, Sara McMains, without explanation. The contract would be just the latest example of UC Berkeley’s attempts to extend its reach overseas. Chancellor Robert Birgeneau recently traveled to India to seek additional partnerships, and campus leaders also have sought alliances with universities in China, South Korea and other countries. “This is just part of a much larger phenomenon,” said John Douglass, a researcher at UC Berkeley’s Center for Studies in Higher Education. “Generally, I think these types of agreements are beneficial.”