Category Archives: UC Berkeley

Former UC Berkeley staffer sentenced for stealing $400K

Lawrence Hall of Science. Photo Wikimedia Commons
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A former UC Berkeley staffer has been sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered to repay the nearly $400,000 embezzled from the educational program she worked for, federal prosecutors and the FBI said.

DeSondra Michell Ward admitted in February to stealing $389,948.57 while working at the university’s Lawrence Hall of Science, and was sentenced Tuesday in Oakland by district magistrate Jeffrey White.

As part of the plea deal, Ward admitted to gaming the university’s travel system (an Expedia- or Priceline-like online travel booking website) to buy airplane tickets for friends, family, and herself — for personal purposes — as well as selling the tickets for a profit to others, according to a statement from federal prosecutor Brian Stretch and FBI special agent John Bennett.Continue reading »

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UC Berkeley acts after concrete falls at Edwards Stadium

Edwards Stadium. Photo: Hank Chapot
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After chunks of concrete fell from under the bleachers of Edwards Stadium causing safety concerns, UC Berkeley has closed part of the building and initiated plans to install a temporary fix for the aging facility, according to a university official. Cal employees with offices under the bleachers have been ordered to vacate by today, Thursday.

Starting Monday July 25, construction will begin on nets designed to catch any further falling concrete — the chunks being the result of years of water damage, real-estate division spokeswoman Christine Shaff told Berkeleyside.

“The netting installation should start next week, and in preparation for the installation we’re moving equipment and staff out of the tunnel,” she said.

Rated “poor” by the university’s Seismic Action Plan for Facilities (SAFER) — meaning expected to sustain “significant” damage that will have deadly consequences in case of a severe earthquake — the stadium is on the university’s list of structures to receive seismic retrofitting. But the university does not currently have the funding necessary to complete the fix.

Falling blocks of concrete and the water damage that has caused them are a distinct, unrelated problem from the potentially life-threatening susceptibility to earthquakes, Shaff said. … Continue reading »

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At vigil, UC Berkeley student Nick Leslie is remembered as good friend, full of life

People hold hands at the conclusion of a vigil for UC Berkeley student Nicolas Leslie at Sproul Plaza, in Berkeley, on Monday, July 18, 2016. Leslie, 20, was one of 84 people killed in a terrorist attack in Nice, France on Thursday. Photo: David Yee ©2016
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Hundreds of students, friends and UC Berkeley faculty — even some who had never met him — gathered Monday afternoon on the Cal campus to remember Nicolas Leslie, 20, who was killed in the terror attack in Nice, France on July 14 which took the lives of 84 and injured over 200 more.

“If I had 20 years to live, I would live them like Nick,” said Natasha Nicholson, reading words written by one of Leslie’s childhood friends, who couldn’t make the vigil, which was led by ASUC President William Morrow.

Leslie was studying in UC Berkeley’s College of Natural Resources, and had been accepted to the Haas School of Business. He was one of 85 students on a 15-day study abroad program called Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Europe, part of the European Innovation Academy. Three other UC Berkeley students attending the program were also injured in the Nice attack. … Continue reading »

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Police: Possible BB gun used in Berkeley students’ assault

I-House. Photo- UC Berkeley
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UC Berkeley Police reported that a man began shooting at a group of UC Berkeley students early Monday morning. The weapon may have been a pellet or BB gun, police said. Nobody was seriously hurt, but one victim sustained a minor injury and was treated at a local emergency room.

According to UCPD, the assault happened at about 12:22 a.m. at International House, at the intersection of Piedmont Avenue and Bancroft Way. Eight Cal students were standing and sitting on the steps outside International House, also known as I-House, when they noticed a man standing across the street holding what appeared to be a gun. It was later determined to be possibly a pellet or BB gun.

The suspect started shooting the gun towards I-House and the students ran inside.

Witnesses who spoke to the police reported that there may have been a second male suspect who was letting off fireworks.

One victim was taken to the hospital to be treated for a minor injury. … Continue reading »

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UC Berkeley

UC Berkeley student confirmed dead in Nice terror attack

UC Berkeley student Nicholas Leslie, who was killed in the Bastille Day attack in Nice. Photo: Facebook
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Nicolas Leslie, a 20-year-old UC Berkeley student who had been in Nice in a study abroad program, has been identified as among the 84 people killed in Thursday’s Bastille Day attack. His death was reported to campus officials by the FBI, which was notified by French officials earlier today.

“This is tragic, devastating news,” said UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks in a UC Berkeley news release. “All of us in the UC Berkeley family — both here on campus, and around the world — are heartbroken to learn that another promising young student has been lost to senseless violence. I join Nick’s parents, friends and the entire campus community in condemning this horrific attack, and in mourning the loss of one of our own.”

Leslie’s death comes less than two weeks after the death of 18-year-old Berkeley student Tarishi Jain in a terrorist attack in Bangladesh.

Three other Berkeley students were injured in the Nice attack. 23-year-old Vladyslav Kostiuk and 20-year-old Diane Huang have been released after medical treatment. 21-year-old Daryus Medora, whose leg was broken, remains in the hospital.

Leslie was reported missing on Friday, following the attack by a man who drove a truck through crowds who had gathered to watch Bastille Day fireworks.  … Continue reading »

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Cal student missing after Nice attack; other students injured

Nick Leslie, a Cal student who reportedly is missing after Nice attack. Photo: Facebook
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Nick Leslie, a UC Berkeley student studying abroad, is missing after the Nice truck attack, according to news reports.

Leslie, who grew up in Del Mar but who was originally from Italy, was along the promenade when a French-Tunisian citizen drove a truck through crowds of people who had gathered to watch fireworks, killing 84.

“His uncle Fabio Bottini is checking hospitals in Nice to try to locate him and is in contact with his mother back in California,” Continue reading »

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Man kisses 2 UC Berkeley students without consent; police seek other victims

Memorial Glade is a popular spot on the UC Berkeley campus (file photo). Photo: Daniel Parks
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Police are looking for a man who kissed at least two UC Berkeley summer school students without consent and may have groped one of them over her clothing.

The University of California Police Department put out a safety alert Wednesday afternoon about the sexual battery case, which took place in Memorial Glade on Tuesday, July 5.

According to the notice, police have identified a person of interest. He is described as a white man, about 50 years old “who may seem younger in appearance.” He looked to be 5 feet 9 inches tall and 135 pounds, with brown hair and brown or hazel eyes.

“Some might have observed his prominent cheekbones and/or noticeably dark beard stubble on his face. He was possibly dressed in a casual manner and carrying a camera, skateboard and/or backpack,” UCPD reported.

Police are trying to find out if there may have been other victims.

UCPD asks anyone with more information “or who experienced a similar incident on or near the UC Berkeley campus (whether on July 5, 2016 or another day)” to call or visit the UC Berkeley Police Department. … Continue reading »

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UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks under investigation

University of California Chancellor Nicholas Dirks speaks to attendees at a vigil for student Tarishi Jain, in Berkeley, on Tuesday, July 5, 2016. Jain, 18, was among 22 people killed during a suspected-ISIS terror attack at a cafe in Bangladesh. Photo: David Yee ©2016
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UC is investigating allegations that UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks misused public funds by working out in the campus gym without paying membership dues, used a personal trainer for free, and sent that trainer on a family trip with money that was not his own.

Rachael Nava, the UC system’s chief operating officer, sent Dirks a letter April 11 informing him that a whistleblower complaint had prompted her to launch an investigation. The news was first reported in the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle.
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UC Berkeley’s Suitcase Clinic: Services for the homeless, life lessons for the volunteers

Chris Ki, an undergraduate at UC Berkeley, cuts the hair of Michael Georgeius, a client of The Suitcase Clinic. Photo: Brittany Hosea-Small/UC Berkeley
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By Cathy Cockrell, UC Berkeley News

A foot washing. A haircut. Empathy. Legal advice. Eyeglasses or dental work. Medical attention for a wound, a case of scabies or even diabetes.

All these needs bring people living on the margins to the Suitcase Clinic — a free service that UC Berkeley students have provided near campus for more than a quarter century.

See Berkeleyside’s Berkeley Homeless Project coverage. Read more about homelessness in Berkeley.

On a recent Tuesday evening, several dozen people turned up at the First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley, on Dana Street, for the first “general clinic” of the summer (the Suitcase Clinic also holds specialized clinics for women, youth, and LGBTQI people). … Continue reading »

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Low-flying plane to take photos of UC Berkeley this weekend

Creative Commons/Rennett Stowe
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If you see or hear a plane flying low over the UC Berkeley campus this weekend, don’t be alarmed.

The UC Berkeley Real Estate Mapping and Drawing unit has hired a company to make a highly-detailed topographic map of the campus. The plane is taking aerial pictures of the campus, the hills east of the campus, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

To get detailed photos, the small plane will have to fly repeatedly over the campus at about a 3,000-foot elevation. … Continue reading »

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Hundreds hold vigil for Cal student slain in Bangladesh

A group of Tarishi Jain's dorm floormates share remembrances of her at a vigil at the University of California, in Berkeley, on Tuesday, July 5, 2016. Jain, 18, was among 22 people killed during a suspected-ISIS terror attack at a cafe in Bangladesh. Photo: David Yee ©2016
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Hundreds of people gathered at Sproul Plaza at noon Tuesday to pay their respects to Tarishi Jain, a UC Berkeley student murdered by Bangladesh terrorists last week, and others killed in the attack.

Under gray and foggy skies, Jain’s friends from her dorm, classes, and campus groups described a young woman who was sweet, generous, altruistic, and intelligent. They urged the crowd to remember the 18-year-old for all her accomplishments and friendships, not for her brutal death.

“She was one of the sweetest and most sincere people I had ever met,” said Jain’s friend Mackenzie Monroe. … Continue reading »

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UC Berkeley student among those killed in Bangladesh terrorist attack

Tarishi Jain. Photo: UC Berkeley
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Update July 5: Cal will hold a vigil from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday on Sproul Plaza to remember Tarishi Jain.

Original story, July 2, 8:14 a.m. An 18-year-old UC Berkeley economics student was killed sometime Friday or Saturday by ISIS gunmen who stormed a cafe in Bangladesh and hacked about 20 people to death.

Tarishi Jain of India was among those slain, according to the New York Times. Her death was confirmed by Sushma Swaraj, India’s minister of external affairs.

Scroll down for a statement from UC Berkeley.

“I am extremely pained to share that the terrorists have killed Tarushi [sic], an Indian girl who was taken hostage in the terror attack in Dhaka,” Swaraj posted on Twitter.

She was a sophomore at UC Berkeley, according to a statement released Saturday morning by the university. (Scroll down to read it.)

Jain had gone to the restaurant, Holey Artisan Bakery, in Dhaka’ s diplomatic quarter to have dinner with friends, one of her relatives told the Indian Express. Around 9:20 p.m. gunmen stormed the restaurant and took about 20 people hostage, most of them foreigners, according to news reports. They held police at bay for 11 hours. Police eventually stormed the restaurant around 7:40 a.m. Saturday and killed six gunmen, according to new reports. Thirteen hostages were rescued. … Continue reading »

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How Quirky is Berkeley? Kingman Hall’s quirky murals

Kingman Hall, 1730 La Loma Avenue. Photo: John Storey
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I went to Kingman Co-Op at 1730 La Loma Ave. on graduation weekend to photograph the front door for a post-in-progress about painted doors. On the way to the door, I found this wonderful toad mural on the garage door.

Read more from Tom Dalzell on Berkeleyside.

The door I wanted to photograph, though, was blocked by a chalkboard with the history of Kingman Hall on it.

Daniella Thompson has written a detailed history of Kingman Hall,  The brief history is: built in 1914 for Theta Xi fraternity, fraternity disbands in 1964, functions as “Toad Hall” rooming house 1964-1969, rooming house with new owner 1969-1973, Ken Keyes Jr. and his Berkeley Living Love Center 1973-1977, and since 1977, the Berkeley Student Cooperative.  It’s all on the chalkboard. … Continue reading »

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