Thursday, February 01, 2007

Newsflash: Main Campus Royally Fucks Us

E-mail from Chancellor Birgeneau:
Colleagues, students, and friends:

I am proud and excited to tell you that a partnership led by UC Berkeley has been selected to receive an unprecedented $500 million from global energy firm BP to lead the way in research to develop new, clean, renewable sources of energy. With this remarkable support, the work Berkeley will undertake will be transformative for our nation and, indeed, our planet.
This is the worst news possible for the law school. The bid requires the use of Calvin Lab, that building that stands at the site of the proposed new building between Haas and Boalt. Well, kiss that plan goodbye for at least half a generation. Although nothing is finalized, our Plan B is to have a glorified bomb shelter in the courtyard. Basically it'll be 2 stories underground and a few stories above ground. Sigh. How much to buyout the I-House?

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29 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aside from the fact that this sounds like a BP greenwashing ploy, I think this is amazing news. Like CBirg says: transformative for our nation and our planet. $500 million to research alternate energy? What could be *better* for the law school, or for any school, for that matter? It's only a matter of time before all of the major corps (as many have begun doing) wake up to the fact that their bottom line is, in fact, dependent on resource sustainability and market stability. Weather disasters, climate-change-induced freezes and droughts, and displacement of communities around the world do not bode well for either of those factors. Once big business wakes up, they are going to want lawyers who've woken up too. So I, for one, will gladly trade a shiny new building for an infusion of global warming research on campus -- hopefully they'll send some of that money to the law school, and we can start thinking seriously about issues like renewable energy policy and disaster law. And, who knows, maybe the bomb shelter will come in handy in the event of a climate-change-induced catastrophe.

2/01/2007 12:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to propose a rewording of the headline:
"Main Campus, BP, and Al Gore Team Up to Royally Fuck the Law School for the Good of People Everywhere"

2/01/2007 3:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fuck Global Warming. We need more room to attract better 1Ls to debate the Rule Against Perpetuities. We can all agree US News is the priority.

But on a more important note, how does this impact the stadium and athletic center?

I just want to see a Rose Bowl.

2/01/2007 5:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can someone explain why this bid "requires the use of Calvin Lab"?

2/01/2007 6:26 PM  
Blogger Armen said...

It's part of the bid that Berkeley submitted. They need Calvin until a new lab is built up at Lawrence Berkeley.

And to all the tofu eating, oak tree hugging, prius driving freaks...this isn't a zero sum game. It's not a new law school building vs. the planet. A) Other institutions would and could have done the research and B) I'd still take the law school building if it was a zero sum game.

2/01/2007 6:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

mmmm...zero sum game...sounds like game theory, which in law school land triggers nothing more than off-base cries of "prisoner's dilemma," regardless of the gaming or summing thereof.

2/01/2007 8:21 PM  
Blogger Isaac said...

Any doubt that this is a pretty significant slap in the face for Edley?

2/01/2007 8:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isaac,
Are you freaking serious?! A slap in the face to Edley?! BP donated HALF A BILLION DOLLARS!!! What law dean can compete with that kind of cheddar? Edley is still the best law dean in America. Let's just hope he can find a new site for the new building...

2/01/2007 10:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's kind of strange that the university would issue what amounts to conflicting press releases. A few years ago, they announced plans to build the Haas/Boalt building where Calvin is. Now, they say they're going to keep Calvin where it is. The university should clarify what the hell they're doing. I mean, if they're changing their mind, that's fine. But I think they just forgot about the Boalt building.

Yeah, you heard me. UC Berkeley forgot about the law school building.

2/01/2007 10:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder how much advanced notice Dean Edley received regarding the plan to ditch the new location for our building.

It would be nice if Dean Edley chimed in with a message about this. You know, something like, "Don't worry, Boalties. We've got an alternative site in mind."

2/01/2007 10:51 PM  
Blogger Armen said...

I'm certainly not speaking for DE, but I'm passing along his words as of 3 days ago. The alternative is the courtyard bomb shelter that I previously described. I for one like the sound of "Adzhemyan Basement Vault #1."

2/02/2007 3:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would also be sweet if main campus would refund the law school the millions of dollars that we have already spent planning the building that will never exist.

as for the alternative building, I personally think we should just keep building Simon towards the sky. It could be known as the Tower of Justice, a BU Law of the West if you will. Or maybe we buy out the SAE tard factory across the street and build an Archway of Justice over Bancroft connecting the buildings.

If not a slap in the face to Edley, maybe a little slap on the butt? "Go along a play, Chris. Don't worry your little head about your little social justice law building. Santa Claus will take care of you"

2/02/2007 9:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"SAE tard factory"

180

2/02/2007 10:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "SAE tard factory" comment was brilliant. I'd actually give it a 720.

2/02/2007 3:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, Armen, please clarify. You write the following: "I'm certainly not speaking for DE, but I'm passing along [DE's] words as of 3 days ago." What exactly were DE's words? "Main campus royally fucks us?" No where in the comment or your subsequent posts in the thread do you point to a direct quote DE. I'm not trying to challenge you or anything; I just am curious what DE has said on this matter. I want to gauge if his reaction is as negative as ours. 'cause if he's cool with it, maybe we should be cool with it too. If he's not cool with it, then cry havoc, let rip the dogs of ... well, you get the point.

2/02/2007 3:30 PM  
Blogger Armen said...

Read that comment in its entirety. I was referring to the alternative when I said I was passing along his word. As far as his personal reaction goes, again I'm not making any claims, but his arm was twisted by Birgeneau to agree to the bid, he's been flying across the country the past 3 years raising money for this new building, and now it's on hiatus. Would you donate to have a room named after you under the stink trees?

2/02/2007 4:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What alternative? You mean Birgeneau?

2/02/2007 5:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Armen - You mean to say that Dean Edley's arm _must_have_been_ twisted (metaphorically speaking). You're not claiming that you know for a fact that this was done against Edley's will with no compromise or fair trade. After all, it's possible that the Chancellor agreed to give Edley an even better location in exchange for Edley's nod. Though unlikely, this might have occured with Edley's consent.

I hope Edley issues some kind of statement (in the BBB perhaps) about the new development.

2/02/2007 5:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another angle to all this:

Edley raises lots of money from alumni, showing them a model of the new law school building where Calvin Hall is. Then, after raising this money and Birgenau says no-go, Edley has to tell these alumni, "Thanks for the money, but it looks like we're not going to construct the building where we thought. We can still keep it, right?"

Making those phone calls has got to suck.

2/02/2007 5:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe the alternative fuel research project only needs Calvin labs for a temporary period, until Boalt begins construction. Then the project can find another home. That's an optimistic reading of the situation.

2/02/2007 5:28 PM  
Blogger Armen said...

I really want to apologize for not making myself clear, but during the "Tea with the Dean" session this is the impression I got.

1. DE's arm WAS twisted by Birgeneau.

2. The bid calls for the use of Calvin Hall until a replacement lab is build at Lawrence Berkeley. The current plans call for the replacement to built in 4 or 5 years.

3. Because the school's need for space is immediate, the Building Committee's tentative alternative is to build in the Courtyard. As I said, it calls for 2 floors below ground to store current library stacks, and then 3 floors above ground.

4. In the long term, according to DE, we need both. He wants to at least see one building completed as dean, and then pass the other one along to the next dean.

I hope that clears up some of the confusion.

2/02/2007 6:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Plus: No more Ginko trees
Minus: Last visually attractive part of Boalt exterior demolished.

Seems strange though, as the court yard doesn't seem to have that much space. Is it going to be connected all the way to Boalt (i.e. no exterior opening, Boalt hall essentially extended to edge of Bancroft)?

Also, is Edley already planning his exit strategy?

2/02/2007 10:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Obama wins, Edley will be appointed Secretary of Education. You heard it here first.

2/03/2007 2:32 PM  
Blogger McWho said...

Not that I have any reason to, but I wonder if anyone has tried to criticize Edley at Boalt? My guess is they would be would be drive-by egged in the Zeb line.

2/03/2007 3:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm, I could try. (Note: I generally like DE a lot. But he is not, in fact, Jesus Christ Incarnate.) Here's a couple of objections:

1. His response to issues of diversity and affirmative action have been the vague platitudes gnerally associated with, well, the New York Times education section. He could have used his position to articulate a radical new approach to these issues (say, a class-based affirmative actionthat would change the entire paradigm), but has instead decided to play it safe and give a few more dollars to the Earl Warren Institute.

2. Where are the classes? Despite a two-year hiring binge, there continues to be a shortage of classes. The con law offerings this year were atrocious, business law is under-staffed, and many basic courses end up with 60-person wait lists. Why not have some of these new teachers actually, um, teach?

3. Where are the improvements to student life? While I appreciate DE's openness, his response to every student concern seems some variation of, "We need to do this to raise Boalt's profile. You'll thank us in 10 years when Boalt jumps from #9 to #6." Whether it is campus space, the new building, career services, public interest funding, we seem to take a back seat to fundraising for fundraising's sake. (The LRAP extension and generous provision of electricity to all classrooms excepted.)

4. The abomination that is clerkship assistance. When I talk to friends at our competitor schools (Stanford, Harvard, Michigan, NYU, etc.) I hear about 300-page clerkship guides, requirements that every professor make phone calls on behalf of students, clerkship mentoring resources that begin in 2L year, personal appeals by the Dean, networking and contacts with alumni clerks. Here, we have a CDO guide to label-making and an evening with Goodwin Liu. (Not that it isn't appreciated.) It seems to me that if the goal is "raising Boalt's profile" helping students land the federal clerkships that lead to positions in academia, at the OLC/DOJ, at the White House, at the Supreme Court, etc., should be a reasonable component of that. Yet our clerkship aid--and, consequently, our placement numbers in courts from district to SCOTUS--are embarassing for a school of this caliber.

5. Kicking student groups off campus. Enough said.

Mind you, these are mostly ancillary criticisms (I generally think DE is wonderful) -- and I admit that each of them needs further qualification -- but let's not crown him Prom King just yet. He's more like a nominee with a really slick tux.

2/03/2007 4:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh my god, this has to be the most self-centered post ever written on here. $500M vs. law school building plans. Uhhh...what is the question?

2/04/2007 4:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't hear what Edley had to say at the tea party, but my understanding is that we haven't raised anything remotely near the amount of money needed for the LBC, and construction would have been postponed anyway by the controversy over the environmental impact review of the stadium/athlete center redesign. So until we have all our ducks in a row to build this thing, I say let them use a perfectly functional lab to do important research.

2/04/2007 10:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the plus side, the architectural drawings for the law school were definitely in the vein of "still ugly, but made of glass now." (At least, the ones that went to alumni.) It would have been the perfect addition to the architectural hodgepodge that is Boalt.

On the down side, bomb shelters are pretty depressing places. And the courtyard may stink, but at least it's a nice place for beer (and smokes, of course.)

There have got to be a couple more places they can build, though. Build out a little, up a little, and voila! More hodgepodge. They can even add glass, if they want.

2/05/2007 10:31 PM  
Blogger trentblase said...

It costs about $6 million to rent I-house for the academic year. This includes 8625 meals per week, which is about 2 daily meals per Boaltie. I'd be down.

2/06/2007 12:19 PM  

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