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Construction on fence around chancellor's campus residence underway

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AUGUST 18, 2015

At the request of UCPD, campus administration is constructing a fence around the chancellor’s campus home, known officially as the University House, in order to reduce the number of officers posted at the residence.

UCPD advised campus administration that a fence would be the most effective way to secure the house, which is adjacent to Haviland Hall on University House Way. Implementing the fence would allow UCPD to reduce its current number of around-the-clock security personnel, said campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof.

The residence — completed in 1911 for former UC president Benjamin Ide Wheeler and designed by late San Francisco architect Albert Pissis — is listed in the federal National Register of Historic Places, a compilation of nationally recognized preserved historic sites. Because of the building’s historic significance, certain limits are placed on any intended structural modifications.

Construction on the black chain-link fence, which began last week, will not interfere with the building’s exterior or its structural integrity, Mogulof said. The fence will extend along the perimeter of the building as well as part of University House Way.

The chancellor’s residence currently has an around-the-clock security detail that monitors the house and grounds, according to UCPD spokesperson Lt. Marc DeCoulode.

“There have been instances of unauthorized access (to the building),” DeCoulode said. “During events, some people have either attempted to or succeeded in gaining entry and disrupted the chancellor and his family during time that is not appropriate.”

Additionally, a series of late-night incidents in which individuals attempted to gain access to the home have increased the need for security, according to Mogulof.

DeCoulode said the number of posted officers would be “substantially reduced” after construction of the fence is completed, but until then, UCPD will not know exactly how much security detail will be reduced.

Interactions between the chancellor and community members have been interceded by police in the past. In August 2013, members of the University Professional and Technical Employees, a union of UC communications workers, were surprised when they invited Chancellor Nicholas Dirks to an event and were instead met by three police officers, according to Tanya Smith, former president of UPTE’s Berkeley chapter.

“We were taken aback when the police officers arrived,” Smith said. “It’s very distressing to be a longtime employee and invite a chancellor and have police officers sent instead.”

Smith said that several attempts were made by campus unions to speak with Dirks but that they were met with a “closed door.”

“I think Dirks has been building fences around himself since he’s gotten (to UC Berkeley),” Smith said. “Building this fence is just a physical manifestation of that.”

DeCoulode said that the building is, above all, a private residence and that building the fence would ensure the safety of the chancellor and his family.

Construction on the fence should be completed before the end of the month, according to Mogulof.

Staff writer Sonja Hutson contributed to this report.

Adrienne Shih is an assistant news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @adrienneshih.

AUGUST 19, 2015

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