UC Berkeley chancellor installs office "escape door" as security measure against protesters


UC Berkeley, birthplace of the Free Speech Movement, installed an emergency exit door between Chancellor Nicholas Dirks’ office and his conference room so he can escape if protestors violently storm his suite. From the Daily Californian:

Construction of the door was requested about a year ago in response to a protest in April 2015 when protesters stormed the chancellor’s suite (photo above).

During the protest, students staged a sit-in outside Dirks’ office where they banged on desks and chanted loudly. They were eventually escorted out of the building, some in handcuffs, by UCPD officers.

Later that day, protesters marched from Sproul Hall to the area in front of University House, the chancellor’s residence.

ASUC Senator-elect Chris Yamas said there have been many protests on campus throughout the tenure of several different chancellors, but no instances when a chancellor was physically harmed.

“There has to be other ways to handle student concerns and protests than simply building ways to avoid them,” Yamas said. “The chancellor seems elitist and out of touch and inaccessible to the students.”

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UC Berkeley issues first-ever university transparency report


April writes, "The University of California-Berkeley has become the first university in the United States to publish a set of transparency reports that detail government requests for student, faculty, and staff data." Read the rest

Camp H: Maker camp for girls in Berkeley

They do a variety of year-round programs for girls aged 9-12, and teach subjects from welding, masonry, carpentry, architecture, service and leadership; the winter workshop is on game-design: Read the rest

Occupy Cal: School-wide student strike at UC Berkeley

Turnstyle News photog Denise Tejada has a set of photos from today's mass protest at UC Berkeley, in California's Bay Area. At the time of this blog post, the crowd gathered is somewhere north of 1,500 people. (thanks, Alejandro de la Cruz) Read the rest

The Grass Is Closed: an Occupy Cal protester, on police and power

Snip from a terrific long-read by Aaron Bady, aka zunguzungu, on his experience at the OWS-inspired "Occupy Cal" protests at UC Berkeley, after campus police violently attacked peaceful fellow student demonstrators (see video above).

At about 11:30 a.m. yesterday, a police officer told me and about eight other students that, and I quote, “the grass is closed.” We were going to sit under a tree and discuss things, and two police officers were watching us vigilantly to make sure we didn’t suddenly do something violent like try to put up tents. As we moved towards the tree, the first police officer stepped up and informed us that we could not walk from the broad concrete steps of Sproul Hall, where about a hundred people were sitting and talking, and sit on the grassy area just to the north of it. “The grass is closed,” she said.

If you meditate on these words until they become a mantra, you will learn some profound things about how police authority works. What could it possibly mean to declare that “the grass is closed”? Who could have the authority to say so? I had always considered that stretch of grass to be public; I’ve often been among the hundreds of students who eat their lunch there, every day, and 11:30 a.m. is a time of day when it is common to eat lunch. I have had conversations with other students sitting on that very grass, many times. Why was it that I could not do so now?

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