UC Berkeley has planned to set up a perimeter around Zellerbach Hall and surrounding buildings in anticipation of a speech from conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, forcing the buildings contained within the perimeter to close early.
In a campuswide email sent Thursday, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Paul Alivisatos announced that at 4 p.m. on Sept. 14, UCPD will be establishing a closed perimeter around six buildings, shutting down the César E. Chávez Student Center, Alumni House, MLK Jr. Student Union, Sproul Hall and Eshleman Hall. Shapiro is scheduled to speak from 7-9 p.m.
The perimeter will consist of both officers and concrete blockades, according to campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof. Mogulof also said the campus will be implementing new strategies and tactics based on recent campus events.
Several protests have occurred on campus in recent months, including those that erupted after President Donald Trump’s election in November 2016 and a violent protest against Milo Yiannopoulos’ scheduled speech in February.
“We … and our police department (have) gone through and reviewed a wide range of scenarios, so we can be prepared for a wide range of possibilities,” Mogulof said.
Among the buildings closing early is Eshleman, which is home to the ASUC administrative office. In an email sent Monday to the ASUC, ASUC general manager Isabel Chen said the administrative office will close Thursday at 3 p.m.
“Any room reservations that have been made for Sept 14, we will contact you directly, but unfortunately, they will have to be canceled or moved to a different date,” Chen wrote.
Khuyen Nguyen, the associate director of the Student Learning Center, or SLC, described the SLC shutting down as “quite disruptive.”
Nguyen said the SLC, located in the César E. Chávez Student Center, is expected to close by 4 p.m. on Sept. 14, similarly to other programs in impacted buildings. The SLC normally stays open until 10 p.m. every Thursday.
According to Nguyen, this is an especially busy time for the SLC because of the approaching midterm season. Among the services offered by the SLC are classrooms, drop-in tutoring, study groups and study spaces.
“We are exploring options and trying to be resourceful,” Nguyen said. “We want to be there for students. We are being supportive and just hanging in there.”
Alivisatos said the campus plans to offer alternative spaces and services to students and faculty in affected buildings. According to his email, a system is being set up to relocate those affected with available spaces.
In an email, Nguyen said all SLC tutoring services will be relocated to the former Education and Psychology Library in Tolman Hall, with hours from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nguyen added that the SLC plans to have 80-90 percent of all the SLC’s programs continue as normal.