Robert Birgeneau will step down as chancellor of UC Berkeley in December
The San Francisco Chronicle
March 14, 2012
Robert Birgeneau will step down as chancellor of UC Berkeley in December after eight years navigating the public university through massive budget cuts and raucous student protests, even as he maintained its status as one of the world's great research institutions.
As if to symbolize Birgeneau's tenure in microcosm, two things happened Tuesday, the day the lanky, silver-haired chancellor, 69, announced his departure: Hundreds of faculty members demanded that he ask the Alameda County district attorney to drop charges against campus protesters, and the latest World University Rankings listed UC Berkeley among the top 10 best schools on the planet.
"If you're not comfortable dealing with protest, you shouldn't be chancellor here at Berkeley," Birgeneau said Tuesday.
Birgeneau, a physicist, is perhaps more comfortable manipulating quantum magnets and superconductors. He plans to return to a faculty position after retiring.