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2013: A year in review

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(Credit from top left: Tony Zhou/File, Kelly Fang/File, Carlos Caceres/File, Sureya Melkonian/File, J. Hannah Lee/File, Jan Flatley-Feldman/File)


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DECEMBER 16, 2013

Feb. 12: Berkeley resident Kayla Moore dies in police custody

Kimberly Veklerov/File

Berkeley resident Kayla Moore died in police custody the night of Feb. 12 after officers responded to a disturbance call in the area of her apartment. Moore’s death elicited significant community response surrounding allegations of police misconduct and a lack of transparency about the ensuing investigation. Police were also criticized for originally identifying Moore, a transgender individual, exclusively as Xavier Christopher Moore, although she self-identified as Kayla.

April 18: CalSERVE wins 3 of 4 partisan executive positions in 2013 ASUC election

Tony Zhou/File

CalSERVE won three of four partisan executive positions in this year’s ASUC election, which drew a record number of voters and introduced SQUELCH!, previously a satirical party, as a serious third-party contender.

April 18: ASUC Divestment

Jan Flatley-Feldman/File

After an evening of heated debate and extensive public comment that extended into the early morning, the ASUC Senate passed a bill, 9-11, urging the divestment of ASUC and UC funds from companies affiliated with Israel’s military. The bill, SB 160, authored by Student Action Senator George Kadifa and sponsored by Independent Senator Sadia Saifuddin, called the UC system a “complicit third party” in Israel’s alleged “human rights abuses” against Palestinians.

ASUC Senate Bill 158, authored by SQUELCH! Senator Jason Bellet and Student Action Senator Rafi Lurie, was proposed as an alternative to the divestment bill and encouraged seeking out investments that would “strengthen Israeli-Palestinian cooperation.” It was tabled indefinitely at the same meeting.

On the afternoon after SB 160’s passage, Chancellor Robert Birgeneau issued a statement expressing his disapproval of the bill. Some student groups also organized a silent protest.

The next week, former SQUELCH! senator and former Daily Californian columnist Noah Ickowitz and former external affairs vice president Joey Freeman jointly filed charges with the Judicial Council alleging that the ASUC Senate violated key ASUC Constitution bylaws in passing SB 160. Ickowitz and Freeman argued that the bill was not passed with the requisite two-thirds majority to alter ASUC funding practices or approved by the appropriate ASUC committees. The Judicial Council later ruled in favor of Ickowitz and Freeman.

The parties reached a settlement in May that removed major clauses relating to the actual divestment of ASUC funds; the ensuing bill was purely symbolic legislation requesting divestment by the UC Board of Regents.

— Sophie Ho

May 2: UC Berkeley drops UC SHIP

Michael Drummond/File

UC Berkeley announced it would withdraw from the systemwide UC Student Health Insurance Plan and reinstate its own health insurance plan beginning in fall 2013 after a January report projected the plan would face a $46.5 million deficit.

May 21: UC medical strikes

Jacob Brown/File

Thousands of health care workers employed by the University of California participated in a two-day strike regarding pension reform at UC medical centers and student health centers across the state. In September, the UC system announced it would implement its last offer on wages and a revised pension plan to more than 8,000 service workers employed by the university.

June 1: Nicholas Dirks becomes UC Berkeley’s 10th chancellor

J. Hannah Lee/File

On June 1, Robert Birgeneau stepped down to allow Nicholas Dirks to become UC Berkeley’s 10th chancellor. Birgeneau saw the campus though massive state budget cuts, launched a large-scale fundraising campaign and expanded financial aid for the middle class. Dirks came to the campus from Columbia University, where he served as executive vice president and dean for the school’s faculty of arts and sciences. During his first six months in office, Dirks has become known as a student-oriented chancellor, meeting with student leaders and groups on a regular basis. Dirks was formally inaugurated in a campus ceremony Nov. 8 that included symposiums and other events. His inauguration also played host to a campus protest that interrupted the inauguration ceremony, at which UC President Janet Napolitano spoke. Protesters opposed Napolitano’s involvement in the deportation of undocumented immigrants during her tenure as U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, claiming it made her unfit to lead the university. — Megan Messerly

July 5: Eshleman comes down

Andrew Kuo/File

Eshleman Hall, a campus building that housed a variety of UC Berkeley student groups, came down after a month of slow demolition. The building was torn down as part of the Lower Sproul Redevelopment Project, which aims to make Lower Sproul Plaza a hub for student life.

July 17: Saifuddin nominated as student regent

Sureya Melkonian/File

Sadia Saifuddin, previously an ASUC senator, was appointed the next student regent of the University of California on July 17. After serving one term as regent-designate, she will become the student regent — a voting member of the UC Board of Regents — for the 2014-15 academic year.

Aug. 21: Sexual assault audit

Libby Rainey/File

State legislators unanimously approved an audit of UC Berkeley that will review the campus’s handling of sexual violence and cases of sexual assault.

Aug. 27: Appeal to stop Berkeley post office sale dismissed

Nathaniel Solley/File

The United States Postal Service’s plan to relocate the Downtown Berkeley Post Office and sell the historic building drew heavy opposition from local residents and Berkeley City Council, but an appeal to stop the sale was later dismissed by the Postal Service. Discussion about the sale is ongoing.

Sept. 30: Janet Napolitano begins as UC president; takes over for Mark Yudof

Carlos Caceres/File

In July, the university announced that Janet Napolitano, then the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, would succeed Mark Yudof as the UC system’s next president. After being confirmed by the UC Board of Regents on July 18, she assumed the presidency Sept. 30.

Napolitano’s appointment provoked outcry from many students within the 10-campus university system who take issue with her immigration record, specifically with regard to Homeland Security’s role in deporting undocumented immigrants. Apparently in response to these concerns, at the end of October, Napolitano announced a $5 million initiative to aid undocumented UC students, in addition to other allocations for postdoctoral fellows and graduate students.

Then, at her first regents’ meeting in November, Napolitano proposed a tuition freeze for the 2014-15 school year that, if enacted, would be the third consecutive year without a tuition hike for UC students. Despite these moves, however, vocal critics remain. And on Dec. 2, the ASUC Judicial Council ruled in an advisory opinion that the ASUC Senate’s September vote of no confidence in Napolitano — which was contingent upon whether she met a list of demands in her first few weeks on the job — stands.

— J.D. Morris

Sept. 30: Explosion

Kelly Fang/File

After a campuswide power outage, an explosion near California Hall prompted an evacuation of UC Berkeley on Sept. 30. Officials initially believed the explosion may have been linked to copper wire theft but have since determined that was not the case.

Nov. 4: BART and unions agree to a contract

Rashad Sisemore/File

BART shut down for four-and-a-half days in July and four days in October after tense labor negotiations with BART unions. BART and unions agreed to a final contract in November. Parties disagreed about pay increases and policy changes to improve worker safety, among other issues.

Nov. 20: UC service workers and graduate students go on strike

Sureya Melkonian/File

The UC’s largest union, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299, called a 24-hour system wide strike on Nov. 20 in response to the alleged use of intimidation tactics by the UC to prevent workers from participating in a May strike. The UC student-worker union United Auto Workers Local 2865 struck the same day in solidarity.

Nov. 21: Athletics task force announced

Brian Ly/File

In late October, NCAA statistics revealed that both the Cal football and men’s basketball teams graduated fewer than half of their players who enrolled between 2003 and 2007. For the Cal football team, the 44 percent graduation rate was the lowest among 72 programs in six major college football programs. In the football program’s first year under head coach Sonny Dykes, whose team finished 1-11, the low graduation rates put pressure on the Intercollegiate Athletics department and its director, Sandy Barbour.

On Nov. 21, Barbour announced the formation of a special task force to examine the academic shortcomings and propose future policies to improve the rates. In his holiday message, Chancellor Nicholas Dirks spoke of plans to work closely with the task force.

According to Cal Athletics, the football team’s academic performance has shown encouraging improvements. New numbers from the NCAA show that six-year graduation rates for football players who enrolled at Cal in 2007 rose to an estimated 65 percent. The Academic Progress Rate, used to measure the real-time academic performance of players, is estimated to rise by more than 50 points to 969 out of 1000 for the 2012-13 year.

— Seung Y. Lee


Dec. 3: First reading of student district map approved

Ariel Hayat/File

After the approval of Measure R in November 2012, which eliminates the city’s 1986 district lines and allows for a redrawing of district boundaries, the ASUC submitted a map to the city of Berkeley in March that would create a new student supermajority district — the Berkeley Student District Campaign map. A student supermajority district could lead to the election of a student to Berkeley City Council, something that has happened only once before in the history of Berkeley. But after concerns were raised about the exclusion of Northside residence halls and co-ops from the map, another group of students introduced the United Student District Amendment, a proposal that would include the Northside residences.

After much campaigning and controversy on both sides, on Dec. 3, the City Council approved the first reading of the Berkeley Student District Campaign map, which will encompass the entire UC Berkeley campus, fraternities and sororities and a large portion of residences on Southside. The map excludes the Northside co-ops and residence halls. The second reading is set to occur Tuesday.

— Alison Fu

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DECEMBER 16, 2013