Banners celebrating UC Berkeley’s 150th Charter Day anniversary were recently altered to display messages highlighting controversial acts in the campus’s history.
The altered banners displayed messages including, “Campus buildings are named after colonizer D.P. Barrows and slaveholder J. LeConte” and “UC Berkeley has only returned 313 of 10,000 Native American remains held by the campus.”
Campus spokesperson Roqua Montez said in an email that five banners in total were altered and the banners have since been returned to their original conditions. Montez added that the banners were held up with masking tape on top of the original banners and that an instance like this had never occurred before.
“Since the banners were restored without any apparent damage, we consider the matter closed,” Montez said in an email.
One banner included a message about the UC workers’ union — American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME, Local 3299 — that read, “According to AFSCME, starting wages for UC service jobs are 23% lower for black women than for white men.” But AFSCME spokesperson John de los Angeles said the union was not responsible for posting these banners.
No information regarding the party responsible for creating and posting these banners had been released as of press time.
Students voiced support for the messages on the altered banners, but campus sophomore Lesly Ardon was critical of the use of banners to display these messages.
“I feel like the idea of calling out the UC institution is good, but I don’t think people pay attention to (the banners) — I know I don’t,” Ardon said. “I think the way that they go about presenting information like the ones on the banners needs to be fixed.”