Category Archives: UC Berkeley

UC Berkeley Chancellor: Bill Maher must speak

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Hours after a student group uninvited Bill Maher to speak at UC Berkeley’s December commencement, Chancellor Nicholas B. Dirks invited him back, citing his constitutionally protected right to free speech.

“The UC Berkeley administration cannot and will not accept this decision, which appears to have been based solely on Mr. Maher’s opinions and beliefs, which he conveyed through constitutionally protected speech,” the university said in a prepared statement. Continue reading »

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More than 2,500 protest Bill Maher’s speech at Cal

More than 2,500 people have singed a petition protesting Bill Maher's appearance at Cal's December commencement. Photo: Bill Maher
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The selection of TV host Bill Maher to deliver a December commencement address at UC Berkeley has come under fire from people who believe his views on Islam are racist.

More than 2,500 people have signed a petition on Change.org asking that the university withdraw its offer. The petition also suggests people boycott the address, now scheduled for Dec. 20 at 3 p.m. in Haas Pavilion. … Continue reading »

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Emma Goldman: Still too hot to handle? UC Berkeley set to pull plug on anarchist’s archive

Emma Goldman in a mug shot taken in 1901. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
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By Rebecca Spence / J Weekly

As UC Berkeley celebrates the 50th anniversary of the free speech movement this month, a long-simmering feud over funding for the Emma Goldman Papers — an archival project dedicated to the life and work of the iconic Jewish radical and free speech advocate — is coming to a head.

After 34 years of UC Berkeley affiliation, and more than $1.2 million of funding spread across the decades, the project could be reaching the end of the line. … Continue reading »

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Police search for 2 after dorm room robbery in Berkeley

Clark Kerr Campus. Photo: UC Berkeley
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Police are looking for two young men they say convinced a UC Berkeley student in his dorm room to make a call for them, then stole his phone while threatening to have a gun.

According to police, the robbery took place early Sunday, just before 12:20 a.m.

Police said the student was in his room at the Clark Kerr Campus of UC Berkeley, at 2601 Warring St., when he heard loud knocking on the door of his suite.

He opened the door and found two young strangers outside, the University of California Police Department wrote in a prepared statement. They asked the student to make a call for them on his phone. … Continue reading »

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Video: 36 hours in Berkeley, California

Screen shot 2014-10-10 at 11.47.24 AM
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This week, the New York Times turned its attention to Berkeley for its regular “36 Hours in…” series. It’s not the first time the city has been viewed through this lens. It was also featured in 2003.

This time, however, they also created a video to give readers a sense of life in the city (scroll down to watch it).

Many favorite local businesses and organizations are featured it the video and the accompanying article, including the Tilden Steam Train, the Lawrence Hall of Science, UC Berkeley’s Hearst swimming pool, Alchemy Collective, La Botella Republic, Cheese Board Collective, Chez Panisse, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Comal, Ici, Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse, Ippuku, Elmwood Café, Mrs. Dalloway’s Bookstore, and the Berkeley Path Wanderers Association. (Prizefighter cocktail bar also sneaked in, although it is actually in Emeryville.) … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Standing up for student mental health

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KQED recently reported that students in the University of California system are struggling to get critical mental health services. Even at UC Berkeley, demand is at an all-time high and health directors are raising a red flag, asking for more staffing and funding.

Over the last six years, the number of students seeking help increased 37% – and they’re waiting longer to get appointments – four weeks or even longer. Often by the time they see a professional, their … Continue reading »

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Berkeley police make frat house arrest in rape case

Delta Upsilon at UC Berkeley. Image: Google maps
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Update, Oct. 17: The case against Eugene Quillin has been dismissed, and he has been exonerated and found factually innocent.

Original story, Oct. 3: Police have arrested a 20-year-old UC Berkeley student in connection with a sexual assault reported last weekend.

Berkeley police arrested Eugene Quillin on Thursday at UC Berkeley’s Delta Upsilon fraternity house at 2425 Warring St. after serving a search warrant there, authorities said. As of Friday afternoon, Quillin had been released on bail, according to the Alameda County sheriff’s department.

Thursday, the University of California Police Department sent out an email notice to report two instances of sexual assault at fraternities Saturday. Both had been reported to the Berkeley Police Department.

Berkeley police also received a report of a third sexual assault Saturday that “may have occurred in a fraternity,” according to UCPD. No further information on those incidents has been released.  … Continue reading »

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Photos: Rally on UC Berkeley campus marks 50th anniversary of the birth of the Free Speech Movement

The Free Speech Movement rally held at UC Berkeley on Oct. 1, 2014. Photo: Ted Friedman
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Oct. 1 marked the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement, a protest that lasted for three months but set the stage for the turbulent 1960s.

On that day, thousands of UC Berkeley students protested on the Cal campus, surrounding a police car parked near Sproul Plaza. Jack Weinberg was inside the car and stayed inside it for 32 hours, having been arrested for distributing political material on university grounds despite rules that forbade it.

A graduate student, Mario Savio, climbed on top of the police car at one point and demanded Weinberg’s release. He also spoke out against the university’s restrictions against handing out political material. That impromptu speech catapulted him into the leadership of what would come to be known as the Free Speech Movement.

Read more, and enjoy these photos taken by Ted Friedman at the rally held 50 years later at the same spot at UC Berkeley when FSM veterans — including Weinberg and Savio’s wife, Lynne Hollander Savio — joined current students to mark the movement’s golden anniversary. … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: UC profits from the fossil fuel industry

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It doesn’t make sense for the University of California to hold millions of dollars of stock in the fossil fuel industry and at the same time espouse a goal of carbon neutrality by 2025. Students at UC Berkeley and throughout the UC system have demanded that the Regents vote to divest from their stock in fossil fuel companies. On Sept.17, 2014, the Regents ignored their wishes.

In a hasty process involving only four one-hour meetings over the summer, a task force … Continue reading »

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Events mark 50th anniversary of Free Speech Movement

An iconic image from the Free Speech Movement, which erupted on the Berkeley campus 50 years ago. Photo: UC Berkeley Libraries
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Oct. 1 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement, a protest that only lasted for three months but set the stage for the turbulent 1960s.

On that day, thousands of UC Berkeley students surrounded a police car parked near Sproul Plaza. A young man named Jack Weinberg was inside. He had been arrested for distributing political material on university grounds despite rules that forbade it.

Many of the students who spontaneously surrounded the police car had been involved – or had been watching – the Civil Rights movement emerge. They were outraged by the injustices of the Jim Crow south. They had protested when the House Un-American Activities Committee held hearings in San Francisco. They had been furious when Clark Kerr, the president of the UC system, had declared that it was illegal to hand out political pamphlets on university grounds. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s colony of spotted hyenas closes after 30 years

The colony has donated seven hyenas to the Oakland Zoo, where the animals live in a wooded ravine and enjoy splashing in water. Photo: Oakland Zoo
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Tucked away in the Berkeley Hills is a swath of land where females are in charge and always get first dibs on dinner.

It’s no feminist utopia — just UC Berkeley’s captive colony of spotted hyenas. The noisy animals, whose whoops are audible from the fire trails, have been fixtures at the Field Station for the Study of Behavior, Ecology, and Reproduction for decades. But when the researchers who study them lost their funding, the animals had to start finding new homes. In a couple weeks the colony will shutter for good.

The 30-year project was one of a kind. In 1985, UC Berkeley biologist/psychologist Stephen Glickman, and animal behaviorist Laurence Frank, brought 20 newborn spotted hyenas from the Maasai Mara region of Kenya to Berkeley. What followed was unprecedented research on hormones, reproduction, and social behavior. … Continue reading »

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Cal prof Joshua Bloom makes earthquake alert kit for $110

Joshua Bloom's homemade earthquake early warning alarm, in a Gregoire box. Photo: Joshua Bloom
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When the Napa earthquake struck on Aug. 24, Joshua Bloom had a 5-second warning.

That’s because the UC Berkeley astronomy professor likes to tinker.

It was when Bloom was a beta tester in the prototype ShakeAlert system being developed by a consortium of seismological researchers (including UC Berkeley), that he came up with an idea.

“I thought it was silly that every time I closed my laptop, I couldn’t get a warning,” he said.

So Bloom cobbled together his own earthquake alarm for just over $100, using a Raspberry Pi single-board computer ($36.39), a wired speaker ($14.99), a mini-WiFi adapter ($6.71), and SD card.

To house it, he uses a box from Grégoire, the local restaurant group known for its crispy potato puffs. And he keeps the device in the living room of his North Berkeley home, next to the fireplace.

ShakeAlert triggered a 10-second early warning alert for the Magnitude 6 Napa quake last month. Bloom’s device provided a five-second warning. (Bloom details how it worked on his blog.)

Meet Joshua Bloom at Uncharted on Oct. 24-25. Get your early-bird tickets now!

For Bloom, this is tinkering with a definite purpose. He sees his demonstration project as validation that Californians could have an earthquake alarm in every home for about the same price as smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms. And he hopes it adds pressure to the legislature to fund the $80 million it will take to roll out the ShakeAlert network beyond its few privileged early testers. … Continue reading »

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4 arrested Saturday in 2 robberies near UC Berkeley

Image: Google maps
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Four men were arrested Saturday after two robberies near the UC Berkeley campus in the early morning hours, police said.

The University of California Police Department put out statements Tuesday about the incidents and arrests, which took place within the city of Berkeley’s jurisdiction.

Just after 1:30 a.m. Saturday, police said a 19-year-old woman was walking with friends near Bowditch Street and Bancroft Way when three young men approached.

They started “verbally harassing her and her friends,” police said in a prepared statement. “The group surrounded the victim, called her names, spit on and kicked her.” … Continue reading »

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