January: Anthropology Library Occupation
After a group of demonstrators occupied the campus anthropology library, the campus administration agreed to restore its previously curtailed hours.
February 18: Death of Peter Cukor
February: Occupy Emails
Administrators’ correspondence showed that Chancellor Birgeneau did not object to the use of batons against protesters on Nov.9, 2011.
March: Day of action & 99 mile march
On March 5, protesters who embarked on a “99 Mile March for Education and Social Justice” joined others at a protest at the state Capitol building.
March 13: Chancellor Robert Birgeneau Resigns
In March, UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau announced that he would step down at the end of the year after more than eight years on the job.
Birgeneau, who became chancellor in September 2004, presided over the campus during years in which state funding to the university plummeted and tuition increased dramatically. He worked to mitigate decreased funding by calling upon the federal government and private donors to pitch in as well as launching an initiative to streamline administrative costs. The campus also began admitting more nonresident undergraduate students, setting a target to eventually make the population of nonresident students about 20 percent of the total undergraduate student body. In an effort to make the university’s increasing tuition more affordable, Birgeneau announced the creation of a financial aid plan for middle-income students in December 2011.
Nicholas Dirks, formerly the executive vice president and dean of the faculty for Arts and Sciences at Columbia University, was approved Nov. 27 to succeed Birgeneau. He will begin in June.
March: Occupy Charges
A dozen people, including one UC Berkeley faculty member, were presented with criminal charges after protests in Nov. 2011, prompting outcry.
April 22: Occupy the Farm
On Earth Day, members of the local community and Occupy movement broke into UC-owned research land in Albany known as the Gill Tract with the goal of establishing a community farm on the land and preventing proposed development at the site.
Protesters cleared and tilled the ground and planted hundreds of vegetable starters and set up tents on the land before UCPD raided the encampment on May 19, arresting several protesters.Despite the threat of arrest and legal action, protesters continued to return to the tract periodically throughout the summer and fall to harvest their remaining crops. They insisted that the university consider the option of creating an urban farm on the land rather than developing it.
Proposed plans for the project, which was set to include the construction of a Whole Foods Market, a senior housing complex and mixed retail center on a portion of land belonging to UC Berkeley’s University Village housing complex near the land. Although Whole Foods pulled out of the project, Albany City Council voted in November to remove one of the final obstacles in the project, allowing the university to move forward with the senior housing complex right away while it searches for a replacement grocery store.
April: V.O.I.C.E. and Class Pass
Students voted on two controversial fee initiatives in the spring 2012 ASUC general election, but only the fee to support The Daily Californian was implemented.
The Class Pass referendum asked students to support extending the campus bus pass agreement with AC Transit for an additional seven years and increase its cost to $86 beginning in fall 2013. The V.O.I.C.E. initiative proposed a $2 per semester student fee to support the Daily Cal for five years.
The Class Pass referendum faced criticism from students who felt the deal arranged with AC Transit could be better negotiated. The ASUC Judicial Council also found campaign violations and disqualified the referendum on grounds that the violations “substantially affected the outcome of the election.”
The V.O.I.C.E. initiative was first invalidated when then-ASUC president Vishalli Loomba issued an executive order saying there were concerns about the legality of the fee because no memorandum of understanding had been drafted to allow the Daily Cal, an independent organization, to receive funds from a student fee initiative. Ultimately, the Judicial Council overruled the order, and the initiative was announced to have passed.
April: ASUC Election
The Student Action party once again swept all four partisan ASUC executive positions.
Sept.15: UCSA HR. 35 Resolution
The UC Student Association was criticized for excluding the Jewish community after its board passed a resolution condemning a state Assembly resolution that sought to protect students from anti-Semitism.
November: Proposition 30
The passage of Proposition 30 in November’s election staved off an estimated $250 million in cuts to the University of California. Crafted by Gov. Jerry Brown, Prop. 30 will increase the tax rate on the wealthiest Californians and raise the state sales tax by a quarter-percent over the next four years.
Had the proposition failed, the state budget dictated that the UC system be dealt a $250 million cut, an estimated $50 million of which would have come from UC Berkeley. Administrators estimated that the cut would have meant a 20.3 percent midyear tuition hike to go into effect in January.
Despite strong indicators in the month leading up to the election that the proposition would succeed, multiple polls released the week just before Election Day showed support for Prop. 30 had fallen below 50 percent. But in the end, the measure passed by a wide margin, with 54 percent voting in favor and 46 percent against.
Exit polling showed the youth vote played a critical role in the proposition’s passage. Among 18- to 29-year-olds, who represented 28 percent of votes on Prop. 30, two-thirds cast their ballots in favor of Prop. 30, according to polls conducted for The Associated Press.
Nov.6: Local Election Results
Berkeley residents voted on several divisive measures this year that would have lasting effects on the city socially and economically. Measure S, which would have prohibited sitting on sidewalks in commercial districts during certain hours, was hotly contested by both sides but ultimately did not pass by a small margin of less than 5 percent of the votes. By even less of margin, of about 1 percent, Measure T — which aimed to amend the West Berkeley Plan and Zoning Ordinance to allow development flexibility — did not pass. Measure R — which will amend the existing city charter to eliminate the 1986 boundary lines and adjust the district boundaries — passed after receiving 65.92 percent of the votes. The election for the first time using ranked-choice voting in a mayoral race, which some mayoral candidates hoped would work to their advantage in unseating the long-tenured Mayor Tom Bates. Because Bates accrued more than 50 percent of the first-ranked votes necessary to win, however, there was no need have an instant run-off race.
Nov. 8: Dirks Announcement
Nicholas Dirks, a Columbia University administrator, will become chancellor in June.
Nov. 20: Tedford Fired
Following the end of his worst football season at Cal, head football coach Jeff Tedford was fired Nov. 20 after 11 years.
Known as the winningest coach in Cal football history, Tedford’s shining glory was his campaign to renovate Memorial Stadium, a $321 million project that included the addition of a newly built athletic center. The refurbished stadium opened for the first time this fall after nearly a year and a half of construction for the Bears’ season opener against Nevada. The Bears lost that game 31-24 and ended the regular 2012 season at 3-9. Tedford left Cal with a career record of 82-57 and 7-4 in the Big Game.
Tedford will be succeeded by Louisiana Tech coach Sonny Dykes, who was hired Dec. 5 and is reportedly known for his high-octane spread offenses. During Dykes’ three-year tenure at Louisiana Tech, the Bulldogs went 22-15 and won their first league title in 10 years in 2011.
Nov. 27: Eshleman Hall Occupation
Demonstrators occupied Eshleman Hall in support of multiculturalism.