Tag 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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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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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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UC Berkeley students build new bridge in John Hinkel Park

Blackberry Creek  bridge. Photo: Rene Davids
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By René Davids

This spring, as the result of a collaboration with the City of Berkeley, students enrolled in a multidisciplinary seminar at UC Berkeley’s Department of Architecture designed and built a pedestrian bridge for the upper portion of Blackberry Creek, one of the most attractive natural features in John Hinkel Park.

Located on a steep hillside in North Berkeley planted with oaks and other native species, the 4.9-acre park, which was donated in 1919 to the city by businessman John Hinkel, also includes a clubhouse, a large native-stone fireplace, a network of paths and a playground. The small bridge is intended to improve the safety of park visitors who were previously forced to either jump over the creek, or tread carefully across a slippery stone during periods of increased water flow.
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UC Berkeley

Man takes plea after beating 2 with bat at Berkeley frat

Police police cars outside the fraternity where a 20-year-old was found dead Nov. 9. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Two years after being charged with attempted murder in connection with the beating with a metal bat of a pair of UC Berkeley students, an Oakland man has entered dual “no contest” pleas for assault with a deadly weapon.

Frank Paul Watson, 25, was arrested after the attack on April 27, 2014, which left two members of the Zeta Psi fraternity with significant injuries. Both were struck once in the head with the metal bat. One of the young men, Thayer White, suffered a traumatic brain injury. The other ended up needing reconstructive surgery to repair injuries to his face and jaw.

According to court papers, witnesses testified during the preliminary hearing — in December 2014 — that there had been a party that night at Zeta Psi, 2728 Bancroft Way. The party started Saturday night, April 26, and carried on into the early morning of Sunday. Three fraternity brothers, including the one who needed reconstructive surgery, testified about their memories of that night.  … Continue reading »

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UC Berkeley student arrested after fraternity rape report

The Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house on Piedmont Avenue
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Update, 4 p.m. The district attorney’s office declined to file charges in the case. According to office spokeswoman Teresa Drenick, “Based upon a review of the evidence presented by the Berkeley Police Department, we have declined to file criminal charges.” Berkeleyside removed the student’s name, and several identifying details, in light of this new information.

Original story, 7 a.m. Authorities have arrested a 20-year-old UC Berkeley student on suspicion of rape in connection with a case from earlier this year reported to have taken place at a fraternity party near campus.

The Berkeley Police Department arrested the young man at 7 a.m. Thursday after serving a search warrant at his fraternity house at 2395 Piedmont Ave., at Channing Way, authorities said.

UCPD identifies that location as Phi Gamma Delta, a fraternity that is not officially recognized by the CalGreeks organization.

Sgt. Andrew Frankel, BPD spokesman, said the arrest was in connection with “an on-going sexual assault investigation.”

According to a statement released by UCPD on Feb. 22, the victim had attended a party at a fraternity house in the 2300 block of Piedmont three days earlier, on Friday, Feb. 19. The sexual assault took place between midnight and 12:45 a.m. Saturday in a room at the fraternity, which was not named.

According to the UCPD statement, “a report was made to a Campus Security Authority who is required under the Federal Clery Act to report it to the campus Clery Compliance Officer. UCPD is in turn required to alert our community of the crime.” … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: stop UC from eliminating award-winning medical program that creates life-changing physicians

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Proposed budget cuts are threatening UC Berkeley’s award-winning medical program, which partners with UCSF to create life-changing physicians. In a fight to keep the program alive, students, staff and alumni are taking action.

Since 1971, the UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program (JMP) has been producing innovative physician leaders. Students spend the first part of the program, the pre-clerkship years, studying at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health before heading to UCSF for the final sprint. It has now trained over 450 highly accomplished physicians, with 70% of all those graduates continuing to practice in California.

Now, because of budget cuts, this critical program may be closed. Funding for it is needed in order to get more highly trained physicians into the industry, physicians who are changing lives and furthering scientific research. 80% of the research projects conducted by JMP Masters candidates directly benefit Californians’ health and wellness.

As a program alumni, Colette Auerswald, MD, MS says, “I would not have embarked on a 20-year career caring and advocating for marginalized children and youth in California had it not been for the JMP. Period.” Continue reading »

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