Media Advisory: Major back-to-school news conference Thursday

ATTENTION: Reporters covering higher education, local news

WHAT: A news conference on the state of the University of California, Berkeley, as the 2012-13 school year begins.

UC Berkeley’s entire financial model has been upended in California’s budget crisis. Its funding from the state has dropped a quarter billion dollars over the last 10 years and now accounts for about 11 percent of the campus’s operating budget. Tuition has sharply increased, as have predictions about UC Berkeley’s ability to maintain its quality and character.

What does the future hold for the University of California’s flagship campus? In a departure from previous back-to-school briefings, a panel of campus senior leaders and subject area experts will offer a frank assessment of UC Berkeley’s current situation.

WHEN: 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 23

WHERE: The Club Room, Haas Pavilion, UC Berkeley. The building is off Speiker Plaza, near the corner of Bancroft Way and Dana Street. See campus map. Reporters should enter the main doors of the pavilion, make a left, and where the corridor dead ends, make a right. About ¾ of the way down the hall, the Club Room is on the right.

A limited number of parking spaces has been reserved on Frank Schlessinger Way for TV trucks on a first-come, first-served basis. A Public Affairs staffer will be curbside with permits.

WHO: Speakers will be:

  • Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau
  • George Breslauer, executive vice chancellor and provost
  • John Wilton, vice chancellor for administration and finance
  • Anne De Luca, associate vice chancellor for admissions and enrollment
  • Graham Fleming, vice chancellor for research
  • Edward Denton, vice chancellor for facilities services
  • David Blinder, associate vice chancellor for university relations

QUESTIONS TO BE ADDRESSED:

  • Is increased tuition affecting applications, admissions and the socioeconomic composition of the undergraduate population?
  • How successful are efforts to recruit and retain top faculty?
  • Is UC Berkeley’s ability to attract the best graduate students slipping?
  • Can the campus  still address seismic safety and other infrastructure needs?
  • Is the national economy hurting private philanthropy?
  • Is UC Berkeley still competitive in terms of research funding?

DETAILS: Short presentations by each speaker will be followed by time for questions from reporters. No press release will be issued, but a press packet with supplementary materials will be available.