Category Archives: UC Berkeley

53 trees come down on UC Berkeley land as grocery store, senior living project kicks off

Activists said they planned to meet in Albany on Thursday night to discuss next steps, after UC Berkeley cut down trees at University Village to prepare for a development project. Photo: Ed Fields
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UC Berkeley has begun the process of removing dozens of trees from its University Village property in Albany as work begins on a vacant lot slated for development that has been the site of numerous protests in recent years.

University spokeswoman Christine Shaff said Thursday afternoon by email that 53 trees will be removed from the property, on San Pablo Avenue near Monroe Street. Those trees will be replaced on a 2.5-to-1 basis, she added.

The project, which received formal approval last year from the Albany City Council “will bring senior housing and retail, including a grocery store, to serve nearby student-family housing as well as the Albany and west Berkeley communities,” Shaff said. … Continue reading »

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UC Berkeley student charged after alleged sexual assault on fraternity brother

Alpha Epsilon Pi at UC Berkeley. Image: Google maps
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A UC Berkeley student has been charged with two felony counts after police say he sexually assaulted a fraternity brother at their  home Friday.

Berkeley Police Officer Kenneth Tu wrote in court papers that 21-year-old Jordan Schaer reached into the pants of a sleeping fraternity brother and groped his penis, according to the alleged victim. Tu wrote that the student claimed Schaer also tried to put his finger into the young man’s anus.

Schaer’s attorney, Kellin Cooper, said Wednesday that he expects his client to be fully exonerated of the charges against him.

“Sexual assault allegations are often times made simply by a verbal statement without any corroboration,” Cooper said by email. “Unfortunately, all too often the allegations are quickly adopted by law enforcement and they become close minded to the truth and only view facts skewed toward the allegation rather than evaluate facts objectively. This is what happened here. I expect that after Mr. Schaer has his day in court the truth will come out and he will be exonerated of all charges.”

The incident is alleged to have taken place at 2430 Piedmont Ave., at the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity house where both young men lived. … Continue reading »

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Exposing a tumultuous era: Photographer Ken Light

©Ken Light-60's Whats Going On16
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Drawn to documenting the burgeoning protest movement in the late 1960s, Ken Light came to photojournalism as an extension of his anti-war activism. He started by shooting marches and demonstrations, but it wasn’t until the Nixon administration’s secret bombing of Cambodia came to light in late April 1970, and campuses exploded, that he truly found his calling. Hitchhiking from Ohio State in Athens to the flagship Ohio State campus in Columbus, he captured clashes between students and the National Guard shortly before four students were killed at Kent State in similar demonstrations. Arrested despite his press credentials, Light retrieved his undeveloped film when he got out of jail, and “those photos were published in newspapers and magazines all over the world,” he says. “I was struck, you can really have a voice. I could look around at my generation and tell stories about what’s happening.”

On faculty at UC Berkeley since 1983, Light is a longtime professor at the Graduate School of Journalism and curator of the J-School’s Center for Photography (where there’s now a fantastic exhibition of work by the legendary chronicler of rock, jazz and blues musicians Jim Marshall). Over the years, he’s earned numerous awards and published books examining the lives of farm workers–With These Hands (Pilgrim Press) and To The Promised Land (Aperture); impoverished African-Americans in the deep South — Delta Time (Smithsonian Institution Press); and Appalachia — Coal Hollow (University of California Press). … Continue reading »

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UC Berkeley close to deal for long-empty Telegraph lot

Ken Sarachan, who owns multiple properties on Telegraph Avenue, bought 2501 Haste St. in 1994. The Berkeley Inn was located there until a fire destroyed it. The mural was recently removed. Photo: Ted Friedman
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UC Berkeley and property owner Ken Sarachan are close to a joint-venture development deal for the long-empty lot at the north-east corner of Haste and Telegraph, which means that new student housing might be in place there by August 2017.

“We are in negotiations, deep negotiations,” said Robert Lalanne, UC’s Vice-Chancellor for Real Estate. Lalanne said he would like to think they are getting very close to a deal.

The university would take over Sarachan’s entitlement of the proposed development for the site: a six-story Moorish, palace-like structure inspired by Italian hill towns, Tibetan forts and the rock-cut architecture of Petra in Jordan. The university would then turn over the project  to a developer, who would build the structure. Lalanne declined to name the developer as a contract had not been signed. … Continue reading »

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Mayor paints general picture of progress for Berkeley

Mayor Tom Bates. Photo- Frances Dinkelspiel
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Mayor Tom Bates last night delivered a picaresque tour of developments in Berkeley in his State of the City address at the Shotgun Theatre’s Ashby Stage.

Bates lauded projects and improvements in each of the city’s main areas, singled out efforts to address street repairs with revenues from Measures M and BB, talked about the need for affordable housing, the police department and the December protests, and touched briefly on challenges the city faces with unfunded pension liabilities and an aging infrastructure.

“That’s a general rosy picture of how we’re doing,” Bates said at the conclusion of his main tour of what’s happening in the city.  … Continue reading »

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Berkeley students march to push for police reforms

A lit up "Black Lives Matter" sign was set up on the steps of Old City Hall on Tuesday night. Photo: Ted Friedman
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About 150 students from UC Berkeley, Berkeley City College and Berkeley High, along with a few community members, marched from the university to the city council meeting Tuesday night to insist that “Black Lives Matter.”

Read complete Berkeley protests coverage on Berkeleyside.

The march was timed to put pressure on the city council to consider a series of actions in response to the Berkeley Police Department use of tear gas during a Dec. 6 protest. (The council voted to require the police department to refrain from using tear gas during peaceful protests until after the Police Review Commission completes its investigation into the matter. We will have a complete report later today.) … Continue reading »

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Cal Human Rights Center gets $1 million MacArthur Award

The Human Rights Center’s Kim Thuy Seelinger discusses findings from sexual violence research with colleagues in Kenya. (Photo by Stephen Smith Cody)
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By Andrea Lampros

The MacArthur Foundation has recognized the Human Rights Center at the UC Berkeley School of Law for its investigations and research on war crimes and human rights abuses with a 2015 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions.

The UC Berkeley Human Rights Center is one of nine nonprofit organizations worldwide receiving the award, announced on Feb. 5. The award comes with $1 million, which the center will use to establish an endowment and to expand its sexual violence program.

The MacArthur Foundation, known for its “genius awards” to exceptional individuals, also honors extraordinary organizations that tackle some of the world’s most challenging problems. In honoring the Human Rights Center, the foundation cited decades of work on war crimes and abuses in more than a dozen countries, spotlighting recent research on wartime sexual violence. … Continue reading »

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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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