The black student union at Berkeley would like Barrows Hall to be renamed “Shakur Hall.”
“We want the renaming for someone—Assata Shakur—who we feel … represents us as black students,” Cori McGowens, spokesman for the school’s black student union, said. “We’re at a crisis on campus.” McGowens says that black students at Berkeley are isolated and marginalized.
Other requests by the union include additional funds to create positions and the hiring of black personnel who can help them get the resources and support they need to succeed. The students would like three African-American admissions officers to be hired to oversee African-American recruitment and retention, two black psychologists who can offer guidance on how to navigate Berkeley’s “racially hostile campus,” they said, and two black advisers to look after black athletes. They would also like a program specifically created to guide black students along the path toward graduate school.
“I came to Berkeley and I thought that it was a progressive liberal environment, but the n-word was written on the dorm wall, and my white professors were openly using the n-word,” Blake Simons, a senior at Berkeley, said. “So that’s part of my experience here … feeling marginalized.”