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Saturday February 17, 2001

New UC Berkeley project dwarfs all the others  


By Jim Sharp 


With Memorial Stadium lights back on the drawing board and the ink barely dry on their Final EIRs for the Underhill Area Projects, the Oxford Tract SRB1 “surge” building, and the Goldman School of Public Policy Expansion, UC Berkeley’s Capital Projects team is launching a colossal encore – the Northeast Quadrant Science and Safety Projects.  

They will officially unveil this initiative in a “public scoping session” slated for Monday, February 26th, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.. The venue is Sibley Auditorium in the Bechtel Engineering Center in the northeast quadrant of the central campus (the third building due south of the Hearst & LeRoy intersection or, alternatively, the first building due north of “computer punchcard” Evans Hall).  

In all probability, the public will receive just one more opportunity – at a future Draft EIR hearing – to speak directly to UCB planners about the NEQSS Projects. 

Judging from the Initial Study, NEQSS will dwarf last year's spate of planned construction projects. If you live anywhere around the campus perimeter – especially near Hearst Avenue or Gayley Road – it's safe to say that you will be affected by this bundle of projects. Construction, which UCB hopes to begin in 2002, is expected to take three years.  

Specifically, the Initial Study tells us that...  

• The size of Stanley Hall (just across Gayley from the Greek Theater) will more than quadruple to 285,000 gross square feet (in the form of seven above-ground stories plus a two-story penthouse), 

• Old Davis Hall (just across Hearst from Soda Hall) will increase nearly 400 percent to 145,000 square feet. 

• Academic uses will be intensified at Cory and Soda Halls. Soda will be joined by a 33,000 square-foot Soda II expansion to the north (presumably replacing the existing sand volleyball court along Ridge Road at LeRoy).  

• The capacity of the Lower Hearst Parking Structure (Hearst between Euclid and Scenic) may be increased by 180 vehicles, necessitating removal of the tennis courts and skateboard facility atop the structure. 

• The historic Naval Architecture Building may be moved temporarily to accommodate construction at adjacent Davis Hall.  

To make way for the addition of 327,000 gross square feet of developed area on campus, UCB will be asking the Regents to amend its 1990 Long Range Development Plan. (By contrast, the block-wide, 48-foot-high SRB1 “surge” structure planned for the Oxford Tract will contain only 79,000 gross square feet.)  

Unfortunately, according to page iii of the Initial Study, this LRDP Amendment will not address planned enrollment increases per se, but only enrollment “at only a potential cumulative level”. Enrollment growth is being examined separately, we are informed, in a pending LRDP Update and LRDP Update EIR. 

Regardless of how UCB now enriches your life (or vice versa) – as donor, alum, employee, neighbor, student, sports fan, or whatever – the NEQSS Projects are likely to impact you in the years to come.  

So please consider attending and speaking at the scoping session if you can, or write something, or both – and please spread the word to others who'd be interested.  

Copies are available at UCB's Physical and Environmental Planning Office, 1936 University Avenue, Suite 300, or from Avi Rosenzweig at 643-0313,  


Jim Sharp is a Berkeley resident and University watchdog 


Media promotes bad information on race 


By Wray Buntine 


Modern Medicine started with Greek science, phonetic writing was invented by the Semites, and Egyptians were light skinned. All are misconceptions actively promoted by our modern media. 

The ancient Egyptians were primarily African for the earlier part of their history, as artifacts show. Yet Dreamworks’ “Prince of Egypt”, a typical child’s introduction to Egypt, portrays Egyptians as light skinned. 

The Egyptians used a phonetic alphabet called Hieratic for business, administration, science, and popular stories that is a clear ancestor of the Phoenician and in turn our Latin alphabet. Yet the New York Times Nov. 13 1999, discussing new archaeological finds, praises the enumerable benefits of the early Semitic “discovery” of a phonetic alphabet. They could have said the same about the African Egyptian’s discovery of a full thousand years earlier which the Semites themselves apparently borrowed. 

Moreover, these Egyptians wrote the first medical texts (at least in the Western Hemisphere) in their Hieratic script. 

Medical historians have reported that the Greeks set up their medical schools on Egyptian technology in Egypt, and that early Indo-European courts like the Persians boasted an Egyptian physician. Yet if you believe our children’s’ history books the Greeks are the sole founders of modern medicine. 

European scholars earlier this century first reported the African versions I discuss above, and it was only subsequently that people got to work to “cleanse” history of African influence, producing the three misconceptions I opened with. Your recent opinion piece last week on Black History Month is to be commended. History ghettos haven’t succeeded in repairing our society’s racist view of early western civilization and our media still promotes this racism. 


Wray Buntine is a Berkeley resident.