Category Archives: UC Berkeley

The Campanile at 100: The woman of the tower

Tthe Campanile and the Golden Gate Bridge across the bay, seen from the hills east of campus. Photo: UC Berkeley
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By Gretchen Kell

The Campanile is the most distinctive building of the Berkeley skyline. It turns 100 this year and in honor of its anniversary, UC Berkeley has been holding special events. Gretchen Kell, who writes for UC’s NewsService, interviewed the woman at the top of the tower.

If you’ve ever taken an elevator ride in the Jane K. Sather Campanile, you’ve probably met Lilyanne Clark. “I spend four hours in the elevator a day,” she says, matter-of-factly, “and on busy days, I can make 10 to 15 round trips an hour.” That’s up to 60 round trips daily. It’s a question she thinks she’s answered nearly as many times.

There are other questions Clark prefers to answer. Having worked at the Campanile since 1993, she enjoys sharing her colorful experiences as the tower’s keeper and as a Visitor Services staffer who helps show the public this iconic Bay Area treasure. Last year, more than 100,000 people took a tour, and the crowds grow annually. … Continue reading »

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Hills group sues FEMA over plan to cut down trees

Thousands of the Berkeley hills eucalyptus trees may be removed with funding from FEMA. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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A neighborhood group has sued the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) following its decision to fund fire mitigation efforts in the East Bay hills.

Earlier this month, FEMA announced its decision to grant $5.67 million to the California Office of Emergency Services, which will distribute the funds to UC Berkeley, the city of Oakland, and the East Bay Regional Parks District (EBRPD) to remove tens of thousands of eucalyptus trees in the fire-prone hills. Immediately after, the Hills Conservation Network (HCN) filed a lawsuit against FEMA in federal court.

The HCN, a small group whose members live in Claremont Canyon, one of the areas covered by the grants, objects to the plan to “clearcut” the hills’ eucalyptus trees. … Continue reading »

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UC Berkeley to cut down trees in People’s Park for safety

The People's Park.
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UC Berkeley plans to remove an estimated 29 trees in People’s Park and prune and stabilize others next week, during the university’s spring break, as part of what it describes as necessary safety and maintenance work.

The decision was taken after consultation with an arborist who identified a significant number of trees as being potentially hazardous, according to Christine Shaff, director of communications in UC Berkeley’s Real Estate office. Some trees in the park, which is Cal property, have been identified as in poor health or potentially hazardous and need to be removed, the university said, while others will be preserved with thinning or with support systems.

The issue came to light at Tuesday night’s Berkeley City Council meeting when one member of the public suggested UC Berkeley was going to remove all the trees in the park, as well as its permanent stage. The speaker, who did not identify himself, said he had been alerted to the proposed work by the Berkeley campus student government group, the ASUC, and he called for people to resist the move. He declared next week to be “People’s Park Defense Week”: “It is going to be a hardcore Occupy. It is going to be the battle for People’s Park,” he said. “It’s going to be like December all over again.” … Continue reading »

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The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

Niyar stars as Lakshmi in the movie "Sold"
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WATCH THE MOVIE ‘SOLD’ The movie Sold, directed by Jeffrey D. Brown, has been lauded at film festivals around the globe as a searing look into the widespread practice of sexual slavery of young girls. Based on Patricia McCormick’s 2006 novel, “Sold,” the film traces the story of Lakshmi, a 13-year-old girl from Nepal. After a monsoon devastates her house, she decides she will help her family by going to work as a maid for a wealthy woman in the city. Lakshmi instead finds herself sold to a brothel, named the“Happiness House. The Berkeley Anti-Trafficking Coalition and the Institute for South Asian Studies at UC Berkeley will be showing the film Friday at 6 p.m. in Room 2040 of the Valley Life Sciences building. It stars Niyar, Gillian Anderson, and David Arquette. Brown, who plans to launch a Kickstarter campaign to distribute the film in theaters, will do a Q&A session after the screening. Suggested donation is $5. … Continue reading »

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Semi-pro Ultimate frisbee team moves to Berkeley

The San Francisco Dogfish, a Major League Ultimate frisbee team, is moving to Berkeley for its 2015 home games.
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For being the lone teenager in a group of adult professionals in last Sunday’s practice, Colby Chuck showed his San Francisco Dogfish teammates he was no greenhorn in Ultimate frisbee.

Perhaps home advantage came in play for the Berkeley High junior. After two years bouncing around in San Francisco, the Dogfish, one of eight teams in the semi-professional Major League Ultimate, is moving to Berkeley and will call Yellowjacket Stadium in Berkeley High its new home starting next month.

Chuck can’t play for the Dogfish due to his status as a high-school student, but he is gaining valuable experience by practicing every week with the team.

“The players mentor me to get better for college and beyond,” Chuck said. “It’s just great that they can correct my game and make me get better.” … Continue reading »

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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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