Last night, rioters besieged the campus of the taxpayer-supported University of California, Berkeley, causing damage to property and assaulting campus police. Video captured on the scene that one man was beaten and left, apparently unconscious, on the street.
 
At least one person was arrested after rioters threw Molotov cocktails, fireworks, and stones at police. The campus shut down a scheduled speech by noted speaker and writer Milo Yiannopoulos, prompting President Trump to tweet that if the university cannot guarantee free speech, he may cut off federal funds.
 
“If U.C Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view – NO FEDERAL FUNDS?,” Trump wrote.
In 2016, UC Berkeley received $370 million in funding from the federal government, showing how dependent the institution is on the taxpayers. This is equivalent to 55% of the university’s funding.
 
Rioters and students smashed ATMs and windows of businesses, looted a Starbucks coffee shop, beat and pepper-sprayed Trump supporters and innocent people. Fires were set on the street and buildings, while some rioters smeared “Kill Trump” on the walls of buildings. Riots were seen wielding sticks, baseball bats, and flag poles. Many were dressed head-to-toe in black and were masked.
Some members of the media appeared to approve of the mayhem. Coverage of the rioting was widespread.
 
UC Berkeley receives each year over one half of a billion dollars in funding from external sources, according to its website. The website states, “The federal government provided 55 percent of these funds, and California state agencies and other government sources, industry, and the nonprofit sector supplied the rest.”
Other public universities are equally dependent on taxpayers. For example, the University of Michigan receives 62% of its funding for research from the federal government. The prestigious institution is regularly among those receiving the most federally funded research grants each year. In 2013, for instance, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, NASA, the Federal Highway Administration and the Air Force increased their research funding to the University of Michigan, even while funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) dropped.
 
NIH is the greatest single source of funding for research at the University of Michigan. In fiscal 2013, NIH funding at the institution was $509.7 million, which was more than 38 percent of the university's research spending. NIH funding fell by 1.8 percent: $9.6 million.
 
Other universities in California, the state that receives the most federal aid for education, are equally dependent on federal funding. In fiscal year 2017, California is slated to receive at least $17.8 billion in federal funding. New York and Texas are next, at $11.7 billion and $11.4 billion, respectively, according to the Department of Education.
Total federal obligations to public universities, according to the National Science Foundation, ran into about $30.8 billion. In fiscal year 2013, 37% of the revenue for public higher education came from federal and state aid, according to the Pew Research Center. The top three academic institutions receiving federal funds are: Johns Hopkins University, the University of Michigan, and the University of Washington, according to NSF.


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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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