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What the next U.S. leadership must do on four key issues

Roxanne Makasdjian, Broadcast director | October 22, 2020

On November 3, Americans will vote in perhaps the most consequential presidential election in modern U.S. history. The United States is at a crossroads on several major fronts. We talked to four UC Berkeley faculty members about the key election issues that intersect with their areas of expertise: Racial justice, the coronavirus pandemic, climate change, … Continue reading »

Four strategies to combat disinformation before the election

Brandie Nonnecke, Founding Director, CITRIS Policy Lab | October 21, 2020

Earlier in October, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released its “Homeland Threat Assessment.” The report cautions that Russian and Chinese online influencers continue to employ coordinated campaigns to spread mis- and disinformation to amplify socio-political division and increase voter suppression. With the 2020 US presidential election in just two weeks, these tactics are likely to ramp up.

Don’t be scared. We can make America’s 2020 election results trustworthy

Philip Stark, professor of statistics | October 19, 2020

Regardless of what the polls suggest, Americans understand that our elections and democracy are under attack. And a power grab is still unfolding, marked by legal games, voter suppression, a crippled postal system and a politicized Supreme Court, which may decide a disputed election. Meanwhile, all electronic voting machines, whether directly connected to the internet or not, remain vulnerable to hacking and fraud. Despite these serious challenges, there is a way to make America’s 2020 election results trustworthy.

Why Trump’s diversity training ban is unconstitutional

Stephen Menendian, assistant director, Othering & Belonging Institute at UC Berkeley | October 16, 2020

Trump’s executive order grossly misrepresents the nature of UC Berkeley’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion training … Most of my training materials include data, facts, figures, laws and policies, and recommendations for reform or policy change. In fact, saying that a person is inherently superior because of their race or sex is not only antithetical to the concept of equity, it is one of the definitions of racism.

Early voting is an all-American tradition

Terri Bimes, political science lecturer | October 14, 2020

With voting in key states having begun more than six weeks before Election Day, early voting has emerged as a contentious issue. Observing that the country now has more of an election season than an election day, Attorney General Bill Barr lamented that “we’re losing the whole idea of what an election is.” I’m a scholar of the presidency. And as many in this field know, early voting periods are not new to the 2020 election.

The six most revealing moments from the presidential debate

Robert Reich, professor of public policy | October 1, 2020

The first presidential debate was as horrific as we feared it would be. We were barely able to hear a word from Joe Biden or moderator Chris Wallace, thanks to Trump’s incessant interruptions and nonstop insults. Here are the six most revealing moments:

Hispanic Heritage Month must recognize our struggles, not just our culture

G. Cristina Mora, Associate professor of sociology | September 29, 2020

Too often our celebrations focus on how Latinos have broken into the mainstream or amount to routine communications with “fast facts” on different Latin American countries. But this is not the type of heritage celebration we need right now, not at a moment when Latinos are suffering disproportionately from COVID-19, police brutality, unjust sterilization practices at the border, pandemic-related unemployment and nearly every other major social ill facing the nation.

Ginsburg was supremely principled. McConnell will not honor her dying wish

Robert Reich, professor of public policy | September 22, 2020

People in public life tend to fall into one of two broad categories – those who are motivated by principle, and those motivated by power. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday night at the age of 87, exemplified the first. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell exemplifies the second category of people in public life. He couldn’t care less about principle. He is motivated entirely by the pursuit of power.

Stop burdening families with juvenile court fees and fines during COVID-19

Jeffrey Selbin, clinical professor of law | September 7, 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic explodes into a full-blown public health and economic crisis, states around the country are beginning to recognize that now is not the time to assess and collect fees and fines in the criminal legal system. These emergency reforms are win-win: Families keep the money they need for daily survival, and criminal courts free up their time and attention to concentrate on more pressing issues.

For most parents, returning to work requires affordable child care

Bruce Fuller, professor of education and public policy | July 21, 2020

Parents can’t return to jobs without fresh child care financing — and unlikely political bedfellows are enthused over child care vouchers. Conservatives celebrate the choice-empowering fungibility of these portable chits. Anti-poverty advocates view them as efficient cash transfers to parents, bringing additional income to close kin and caring neighbors.

Donald Trump has unified Americans — against him

Robert Reich, professor of public policy | July 20, 2020

Donald Trump is on the verge of accomplishing what no American president has ever achieved — a truly multi-racial, multi-class, bipartisan political coalition. Unfortunately for the president, the coalition opposes him.

UC diversity would increase with automatic application for all California high school seniors

Prasad Krishnamurthy, Professor of Law | July 6, 2020

The California Assembly took a historic step by introducing Assembly Constitutional Amendment 5, which would repeal Proposition 209 and permit public universities to consider race in admissions. Since the enactment of Proposition 209, the University of California has undertaken extensive efforts to increase student diversity through race-neutral means. These efforts should be expanded, even if Proposition 209 … Continue reading »

Why we need to defund, not defend, the police

Nikki Jones, professor of African American Studies | July 1, 2020

Calls to defund the police ask us to imagine safety from the perspective of those who are the frequent targets of policing and understand that it is the world that is built from that perspective that will be a better world for us all.

The Indian Path to Universal Bank Access in America

Prasad Krishnamurthy, Professor of Law |

At a time when access to financial resources could not be more essential, millions of unbanked Americans are unable to receive a COVID-19 stimulus check or to make the non-cash payments demanded by many stores. The unbanked already pay a substantial fraction of their income for financial services that are free to the middle class, and they participate in a cash … Continue reading »

No Black Utopias

Charles Henry, professor emeritus, African American studies | June 28, 2020

In the mid-seventies I co-authored an article entitled, “Imagining a Future in America: A Racial Perspective.” It was prompted by the publication of Ernest Callenbach’s popular 1975 novel “Ecotopia”. In Callenbach’s work the West Coast of the United States has seceded from the rest of the country to form a utopian society based on harmony … Continue reading »

UC versus the SAT, and what it means

John Aubrey Douglass, Senior Research Fellow - Public Policy and Higher Education, Center for Studies in Higher Education | June 24, 2020

The UC regents’ vote to suspend consideration of the SAT and ACT for freshman applicants is the seeming culmination of a 19-year debate over the role of standardized test scores for determining eligibility to apply to the multi-campus UC system.

Fox’s formula: Deny, attack, blame others, change the subject

Robert Reich, professor of public policy | June 12, 2020

As the coronavirus crisis rages on, Fox News is contributing almost as much to the deaths and disease as is Trump’s White House. Trump spouts a shocking amount of misinformation during his daily press briefings, but it’s Fox News’ equally misleading coverage of the crisis that closes the lethal circuit of lies. It’s easy to … Continue reading »

Reparations are gaining mainstream support, and are a solution

Charles Henry, professor emeritus, African American studies | June 11, 2020

NASCAR is removing confederate flags from its racetracks. Democratic leaders are demanding the removal of Confederate statues in the Capitol and Confederate names on our military bases. The NFL says it now joins Kaepernick in taking a knee, Bristol, England has torn down the statute of a slave trader. The Belgians are doing the same with King Leopold, and the list goes on. Maybe now we can conceive that it’s time to have some truth and reconciliation.