Dear Campus Community,
We hope the first week of classes has treated you well. The beginning of a new year is a time of possibility. Over the break, we have been thinking about how we as a university, and a campus community can deepen our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging and justice (DEIBJ) and what concrete steps we can take to bring about needed change.
We are committed to transforming the Berkeley experience. We are committed to creating a learning and living environment where everyone belongs, where each person feels they can be their full, authentic selves as they sit in class, make their way across campus, and find community. We are committed to ensuring everyone — students, staff, and faculty — can feel safe, supported, and engaged.
The work of DEIBJ is not the responsibility of one division. It is the responsibility of every division, school, college, department, unit and office and it requires commitment and action from every student, faculty and staff member.
Over the past few years, we have launched campus initiatives to spur and support the change we want to see through efforts including the African American Initiative (AAI), the Undergraduate Student Diversity Project, the Graduate Diversity Task Force, the Anti-Racist Campus Steering Committee, and, most recently, the Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) Initiative.
These new initiatives join groups like committees of students, staff and faculty that advise the chancellor on issues including Jewish student life, Muslim and Palestinian student life and physical accessibility to campus spaces for persons with disabilities. The chancellor has also recently launched a Native American Advisory Council to advise her on critical issues impacting this community.
Staff DEIBJ efforts include the Leadership and Career Enhancement Program for Staff of Color (LCEP) the Berkeley Equity Training Series and active staff groups like LavenderCal and other identity-based staff organizations.
On the faculty front, six interdisciplinary faculty “cluster hires” are changing how Berkeley hires faculty and strengthening research partnerships across campus. The clusters include Climate Equity and Environmental Justice, Native American and Indigenous Peoples, Anti-Black Racism and Social Inclusion, Latinx and Democracy, Artificial Intelligence, and Inequality and Understanding (Non) Citizenship.
Another campus priority is creating spaces that build community. Almost four years ago, the Fannie Lou Hamer Black Resource Center opened in Hearst Field Annex. The space, managed by the African American Student Development office, offers a place where Black students can come together, share ideas, access resources, support one another, and socialize.
We are excited to announce the launch of five new centers at Berkeley:
- Located in Anthony Hall, the Native Community Center (NCC) opened in August. The NCC is a space for Native and Indigenous people on and off campus to feel welcomed and be in community, with the hope that it will become a hub for Native and Indigenous events on campus. The center is managed by Native American Student Development (NASD) and Assistant Director Antonio Bastida, (‘18) was hired in September and will be helping to oversee it. The Anthony Hall location is a unique five-year collaboration between the Graduate Assembly and NASD to meet the immediate needs for space and a sense of belonging for the Native community. A series of grand opening events featuring key campus leaders and community partners, tribal leaders, and others are being planned for February - March of 2022.
- Rooted in the student community, bridges, which has a new location in Hearst Field Annex D, aims to ensure all students have every opportunity for a university experience that is deep, full and responsive to their individual needs. Current students run the coalition that is made up of eight recruitment and retention centers: bridges Multicultural Resource Center, Black Recruitment and Retention Center; Indigenous and Native Coalition Recruitment and Retention Center; Middle Eastern and North African Recruitment and Retention Center; Mixed @ Berkeley Recruitment and Retention Center; Pilipinx Academic Student Services; Raíces Recruitment and Retention Center; and Asian Pacific Islander Recruitment and Retention Center (REACH!).
- The Queer Alliance and Resource Center (QARC) is a student-run organization in charge of providing social, educational, and safe sex programming for the queer and trans community on campus, and also acts as an umbrella organization for all active queer/trans communities on campus. In mid-January, QARC will open the doors of its new home in the Hearst Field Annex, Building A. The space will host two lounges, with one intentionally curated for BIPOC students. This new home will serve as a hub for programming, community building, resource distribution, and QT RSO strategizing and advising.
- The Disability Cultural Community (DCC) Center is scheduled to soft launch this month in the Hearst Field Annex. The DCC serves as a safe and accessible space for the disability community and a platform to advocate, educate, and collaborate among students, faculty, and staff living with a disability to advance and empower both the community on campus and beyond so persons with disabilities can fully learn, work and live in our campus community. Coordinator Ann Wai Yee Kwong is building networks and working with the disability community on the structure and future plans. DCC will be hosting an opening celebration and fundraising event in March.
- The Latinx Student Resource Center (LSRC) will open mid-semester in Hearst Gym - Suite #2. The first phase of the LSRC will be a space for students where they can find familia/comunidad, programming, resources, mentorship and research/professional opportunities. It will also be a place where Chicanx and Latinx diversity is recognized, celebrated and uplifted. The Chicanx Latinx Student Development (CLSD) office has oversight of the Latinx Student Resource Center space and will partner with relevant campus resources to ensure that students are connected and engaged. CLSD’s newly hired assistant director, Gladys A. Perez, will manage the center.
While we knew it before, the pandemic has made it even more clear: community and connection are key to our well-being. We encourage you to visit and take part in events at the new centers, nominate yourself or someone else to be a member of the Latinx-thriving Steering Committee and join us at upcoming town hall meetings.
Together we will transform UC Berkeley into a place where everyone belongs.
Carol Christ (she/her)
Catherine P. Koshland (she/her)
Interim Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost
Dania Matos (she/her/ella)
Vice Chancellor for Equity & Inclusion
Stephen C. Sutton (he/his)
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
This message was sent to all UC Berkeley students, staff and faculty.