Category Archives: UC Berkeley

UC Berkeley’s Campanile celebrates its 100th birthday

Campanile by D.H. Parks
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By Gretchen Kell

It may look like the strong, silent type, but the Jane K. Sather Campanile will be the lively center of attention in 2015 at UC Berkeley. The more than 300-foot-tall bell tower, a famous landmark with a colorful history, is 100 years old.

A Campanile 100th website, carillon concerts, an essay contest, classroom projects, a University Archives/Bancroft Library exhibit, special banners flying throughout campus and Campanile-shaped lapel pins for 2015 graduates all are part of the yearlong celebration. … Continue reading »

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Black Cal students repaint The Big C to reflect African flag

The students from Black Student Union who painted Cal’s “C” the colors of the Pan African flag. Back row: Isis Dillard, Eniola Abioye, Blake Simons.
Front row: Alana Banks, Gabrielle Shuman, Lauren Butler. Photo: Mara Van Ells
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Six UC Berkeley students woke up before dawn to climb into the Berkeley Hills to paint a school symbol red, black and green.

The students, members of the Black Student Union, lugged cans of paint and other supplies up the hill in darkness to paint the formerly golden giant letter C the colors of the Pan African Flag.

The Big C is a large concrete block that was built into a hill overlooking campus in 1908. Since then, it’s become tradition for opposing teams, such as Stanford University, to paint the Cal symbol their own school colors and for Berkeley students to repaint the structure gold. … Continue reading »

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For black students at UC Berkeley, protests are about Ferguson — and their own lives

Spencer Pritchard, Gabrielle Shuman and Blake Simons stand in front of the Afro House, an African-American-themed residence owned and operated by the Berkeley Student Cooperative, which is a nonprofit student-run cooperative housing organization. Most of the co-op's members attend UC Berkeley. Photo: Mara Van Ells
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Over the last month, the Black Student Union at UC Berkeley has organized three separate events to protest police killings of unarmed black men.

Students have marched on the streets, through local businesses, and sat in at cafés. The demonstrations have allowed students to grieve, heal, and show solidarity with protesters in Ferguson and Staten Island. But they have also been a way to express concerns about race relations at Cal.

Cal senior Blake Simons feels “extremely blessed and grateful” to be a student at UC Berkeley. But he is also unhappy with the racist experiences he’s had while attending school.

“I’m not going to be the last black student at Cal, so it’s time now we start trying to make change,” he said. … Continue reading »

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Storytelling forum tells of Berkeley’s legacy for the blind

Over 50 blind and sighted people attended the storytelling event Saturday night at the East Bay Center for the Blind.  Photo: Seung Y. Lee
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For Judy Wilkinson, her story as a UC Berkeley student in the 1960s was the story of T22.

T22 was a campus building for blind students near Cal’s Doe Library. As a student, Wilkinson spent many nights in T22, long past her co-op’s curfew, listening to books on its recorders. She would wake up in the classroom and grab breakfast in the building next door.

Torn down decades ago, T22 was once the epicenter of blind student activity on campus. Wilkinson forged lifelong friendships, and paved her career as an editor for a publication of the California Council of the Blind, in the hallways of T22.

“I am who I am largely because of the politics I learned and the friends I made there,” Wilkinson said. “It was our little world. Nobody knew we were there.”

Dozens of blind residents from Berkeley and nearby, including Wilkinson, gathered to share and listen to life stories Saturday night at the East Bay Center for the Blind, at 2928 Adeline St. in South Berkeley. … Continue reading »

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Locals worry new Cal high-rise will reduce parking

Berkeley Way West as seen from Shattuck Avenue. Photo: WRNS Studio/UC Berkeley
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Some Berkeley residents and Cal employees are worried a new UC Berkeley high-rise set to be built downtown might create parking issues.

The concerns were voiced at an open-house meeting to view and discuss the project, held Thursday in Cal’s Energy Biosciences Building at 2150 Berkeley Way.

Read more about tall building projects in Berkeley.

The Berkeley Way West academic building, set to reach 112 feet tall in some sections, will be built on top of an existing parking lot, exacerbating the tight parking situation for UC employees. UC Berkeley already demolished one main parking structure, the Oxford Way and Addison Street parking lot, in 2013 to make room for the new Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, and plans to build a new aquatics center on top of the Tang Center parking lot on Bancroft Way. … Continue reading »

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UC Berkeley holds open house about downtown high-rise

This parking lot, between Hearst Avenue and Berkeley Way, is slated to become a high-rise to replace Tolman Hall. Image: Google maps
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The University of California at Berkeley says it is moving forward with plans to build a high-rise in downtown Berkeley — for its education, psychology and public health areas of study — and will hold an open house about the project this week.

The Berkeley Way West academic building is set to reach 112 feet at Berkeley Way and Shattuck Avenue, and span 320,000 gross square feet in a lot along Shattuck from Berkeley Way north to Hearst Avenue. The area is now used as surface parking for UC Berkeley affiliates.

According to the few details that have been released thus far by the university, the building will reach up to 112 feet at its southwest corner, but will be “stepped lower” at the northern edge of the site at Hearst.

The city of Berkeley’s Downtown Area Plan, which was adopted in 2012 after Berkeley voters endorsed its concepts in 2010, allows for the construction of three 180-foot-tall buildings, including a hotel, in Berkeley’s downtown core and outer core, and two 120-foot-high buildings. UC Berkeley has the right to build two additional 120-foot-tall structures. … Continue reading »

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Mark Bittman: Why I’m coming to UC Berkeley

bittmancolorphoto. photo- sally stein
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By Ann Brody Guy

Headed to the UC Berkeley campus for a semester-long residency at the Berkeley Food Institute, best-selling cooking writer and New York Times food columnist Mark Bittman recently took a moment on a short visit to campus to talk about what lies ahead —  from the holidays to his upcoming college experience — with Ann Brody Guy, communications director at the College of Natural Resources.

You started out as a cooking writer. What catalyzed the shift from recipe guy to food systems commentator?

It wasn’t exactly a shift, it was an addition, because I do still do recipes; in fact, my new book, How to Cook Everything Fast, is a monster, and just came out a couple of months ago.

Why did I start writing about food as opposed to eating? There was an opportunity. I cared, and I saw an opportunity, and I took it. But it’s hard to give things up that you care about, and I do care about writing recipes. So, I work harder than I used to.

I talked my way onto the New York Times opinion page. I’d been writing about food policy and food systems for a couple of years, and I thought, “There’s every reason to do this as often as I can.” So, I proposed a weekly column, and I believe I was the first person to write a weekly food opinion-page column for a major paper. … Continue reading »

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UC Berkeley student ID’d as Southside fatality, died from head trauma

Apoorve Agarwal. Photo: Apoorve Agarwal/Facebook
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The young man who died Saturday in Berkeley’s Southside neighborhood was a 20-year-old junior from San Ramon who was pursuing a double major in applied mathematics and economics at UC Berkeley, according to biographical information posted online.

The Berkeley Police Department said officers found the young man’s body just after 4 a.m. Saturday in the 2500 block of Piedmont Avenue, between Dwight Way and Parker Street.

The Alameda County coroner’s office identified the man Monday as Apoorve Agarwal.

“At this time, it does not appear foul play was involved and alcohol may have been a factor,” police said in a prepared statement Saturday.

According to scanner audio recordings reviewed by Berkeleyside, first responders were called to the scene for a report of an unresponsive man who had fallen down the stairs. Prior to their arrival, the man was not breathing, but CPR was performed by someone nearby. … Continue reading »

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20-year-old man found dead in Southside Berkeley

The young dead man was found in the 2500 block of Piedmont Avenue south of the UC Berkeley campus. Image: Google Maps
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Update, Dec. 22, 2 p.m. The Berkeley Police Department is not releasing the name of the deceased man at this time, and does not know whether he was a UC Berkeley student. Said Officer Byron White, a Berkeley Police spokesman, “At this point, the circumstances surrounding the death are consistent with death by accidental causes.”

Original post, Dec. 20, 3:10 p.m. A 20-year-old man was found dead on the street in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Berkeley Police said they responded to a report of an unresponsive male in the 2500 block of Piedmont Avenue in Southside Berkeley at approximately 3:59 a.m. on Dec. 20. 

Berkeley Police and Fire personnel arrived within minutes and discovered a 20-year-old male, deceased, just outside his residence.

BPD said it is investigating the case as a suspicious death, although it does not appear that foul play was involved. Alcohol may have been a factor, the police reported in a release issued at around 2:30 p.m. Saturday. … Continue reading »

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Anonymous artist collective claims responsibility for lynching effigies erected at UC Berkeley

Pastor Michael McBride tweeted this photo of a cut out of Laura Nelson out on Twitter.
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An anonymous artists’ collective posted notices at UC Berkeley on Sunday announcing it had placed three effigies in nooses at Cal — and a number of others around Oakland.

The group created the life-size cardboard cutouts of people who had been lynched to draw parallels between the past and modern day society, according to a statement.

See Berkeleyside coverage of the Berkeley protests.

“These images connect past events to present ones – referencing endemic faultlines of hatred and persecution that are and should be deeply unsettling to the American consciousness,” they wrote. “We choose to remain anonymous because this is not about us as artists, but about the growing movement to address these pervasive wrongs.” … Continue reading »

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UC Berkeley’s Black Student Union leads peaceful protest march from campus to Oakland

12.13 protest photo laurie kahn
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Despite being shaken by the appearance of effigies hanging from nooses on campus Saturday morning, UC Berkeley Black Student Union (BSU) leaders said they didn’t want that incident to affect their planned march against police killings of black people. Approximately 300 protesters met at Sproul Plaza at noon and, over the course of nearly three hours, marched to downtown Oakland to join forces with the larger “Millions March” demonstration that had gathered there.

Read more of Berkeleyside’s Berkeley protest coverage.

The march was calm, with the crowd following orders and cues from the BSU organizers in the front. Led by a car, the protesters walked up Bancroft Way to College Avenue, headed south, paused for about 20 minutes to occupy the intersection of College and Ashby avenues, and eventually continued onto Broadway. Police instructed the car to turn off College before entering Oakland. … Continue reading »

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Community responds to noose effigies found at Cal

This effigy was one of three authorities say was hung at the UC Berkeley campus Saturday morning. Photo: Cal Black Student Union
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By Frances Dinkelspiel and Emilie Raguso

Sunday, Dec. 14, 5 p.m. An anonymous artists’ collective has taken responsibility for the effigies strung up in nooses at UC Berkeley on Saturday.

The statement from the collective:

“We are a collective of queer and POC artists responsible for the images of historical lynchings posted to several locations in Berkeley and Oakland,” reads a notice the group distributed. “These images connect past events to present ones – referencing endemic faultlines of hatred and persecution that are and should be deeply unsettling to the American consciousness. We choose to remain anonymous because this is not about us as artists, but about the growing movement to address these pervasive wrongs.”

See past Berkeleyside coverage of the Berkeley protests.

“For those who think these images are no longer relevant to the social framework in which black Americans exist everyday – we respectfully disagree. Garner, Brown, and others are victims of systemic racism. For those who think these images depict crimes and attitudes too distasteful to be seen .. we respectfully disagree. Our society must never forget. For those under the mistaken assumption that the images themselves were intended as an act of racism – we vehemently disagree and intended only the confrontation of historical context.” … Continue reading »

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Black Lives Matter protest by hundreds of Berkeley High students ‘shows how it’s done’

Berkeley High students stage a 'die-in" observing a 4.5 minute silence at the Campanile on the UC Berkeley campus on Dec. 10, 2014. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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Until yesterday, UC Berkeley junior Franchesca Cavagnaro had never been to a protest. While walking on the Cal campus Wednesday afternoon, she came across a crowd, many hundreds-strong, of demonstrators gathered on the steps of Sproul Hall. She liked what she saw and knew she wanted to be part of it. She joined the group as they marched to the Campanile.

Despite the location, the protesters were not Cal students. They were all Berkeley High students who, as part of an event, carefully organized by the school’s Black Student Union, had walked off their downtown campus at 2:30 p.m., skipping the last class of the day, in order to make their voices heard in the uproar over the recent police-related deaths of young black men. … Continue reading »

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