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Plans to honor legacy of UC Berkeley student Seth Smith 'remain elusive'

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Details to commemorate the death of UC Berkeley student Seth Smith 'remain elusive.'


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NOVEMBER 09, 2022

Nearly two and a half years after UC Berkeley third-year Seth Smith was fatally shot just a mile from his Berkeley apartment, any plans from campus to honor his legacy remain elusive, alleged Ken Hinh, a friend of Smith’s.

Smith was a history and economics double major from Clarksburg, California who entered as a sophomore and was on track to graduate at the end of the school year, according to an article previously published by The Daily Californian. Smith died when 60-year-old Berkeley resident Tony Lorenzo Walker, a stranger to Smith, fatally shot him on June 15, 2020, as Smith was out for a nighttime stroll, according to another article previously published by The Daily Californian.

“He didn’t feel unsafe in Berkeley,” said Smith’s mother, Michelle Rode-Smith. “He was very, very intelligent and his head was constantly spinning with ideas so walking and relaxing was sort of his way of calming down.”

Rode-Smith said that her family was informed by campus of a vigil occurring on Zoom that would honor Smith.

However, according to Rode-Smith, the vigil itself commemorated all UC Berkeley students that had died that year, only giving Smith’s name a mention.

“We felt like he was just lumped in with everyone,” Rode-Smith said.

To date, there has been no official vigil held by campus in Smith’s name, according to Rode-Smith.

Mikey Infante, a close friend of Smith’s, said he would like to see a bench or mural installed on campus to commemorate Smith’s legacy.

“He was very conscious and he was a very loving person and he was very ambitious with his goals, and anybody that walks past this bench, painting, statue or whatever, they will know they have a piece of Seth with them,” Infante said.

Hinh said he is trying to organize other efforts to honor Smith’s legacy, including awarding Smith a posthumous degree in economics and a fellowship or scholarship in Smith’s name from the campus department of economics.

However, according to Hinh, the economics department has yet to respond to his proposal for the fellowship.

Hinh said he was advised by campus to contact other departments for the posthumous degree, as Smith’s units need to be evaluated and permission from the family is required for the posthumous degree process to begin.

Hinh said he was granted permission by the family, but has not yet received updates from these departments.

According to campus spokesperson Adam Ratliff, campus recommended Smith’s family directly contact the Dean of Students office to discuss next steps for the posthumous degree.

In response to their current plans to honor Smith’s legacy, Ratliff said campus “remains saddened” by Smith’s death, noting a message that was sent at the time of his death that offered support and resources.

“Also be aware that we work directly with surviving family and community members to offer support,” Ratliff said in an email.

Contact Natasha Kaye at 


NOVEMBER 09, 2022