Chancellor Briefs Press on Campus Projects

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Friday August 24, 2007

After outlining diversity and energy initiatives at his back-to-school press briefing Thursday, UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau fended off top UC Regent Richard Blum’s criticism that the UC ten-campus system suffered from a “dysfunctional set of organizational structures, processes and policies.” 

Blum, in his analysis, called for a major overhaul of the UC system which would streamline fundraising and add to a diverse student body. 

Birgeneau, in a session with reporters, said that the analysis had referred to the UC system as a whole and not to any particular UC campus.  

He pointed out that UC Berkeley had already made significant improvements that had especially benefited students from economically challenged backgrounds. 

On Monday, the first day of fall semester at the university, more than 34,000 students will come across new facilities and new faces in top positions of leadership. 

“I’m excited about the start of another school year. We are moving forward on important areas of research and expanding opportunities for our students,” Birgeneau said. 

Enrollment is up since 2006 and 34,525 students are expected to register for the 2007-08 academic year. 

Asians at 36.4 percent dominate the new freshman and transfer students, with Caucasians (31.6 percent) and Latinos (12.4 percent) coming in at second and third places respectively. Ninety percent of the incoming students are from California. 

The total 2007-8 fees for a California undergraduate, including health insurance, stands at $8,384, an increase of $600 over the previous year. 

Gibor Basri, A UC Berkeley astrophysics professor, was named the new vice chancellor for equity and inclusion, a position created by Birgeneau to promote diversity within faculty, students and staff. 

Improved facilities on campus include state-of-the-art scientific and technological innovations and more parking spaces. 

The campus is scheduled to open Stanley Hall, which will house the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences, and a bio-nano center for the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society in September. 

The chancellor also updated the press on the construction of the C.V. Starr East Asian Library/Chang-Lin Tien Center for East Asian Studies which will house the campus’ extensive East Asian collections. 

He added that the seismically unsafe Warren Hall, the former home of the School of Public Health, will be demolished in early 2008.  

The Li Ka Shing Center for Biomedical and Health Sciences, a new five-story structure that will house teaching and research on stem cell research, will be constructed in its place. 

Speaking about UC Berkeley’s environmental responsibilities, Birgeneau said that the model program Cal Climate Action Partnership will launch pilot initiatives to reduce energy use on campus this fall. 

Projects include replacing incandescent bulbs with energy efficient fluorescent lighting and determining the eligibility of solar-panel installations.