Capitol Alert

UC Berkeley builds fence around chancellor’s residence

A broken light at the entrance to the University of California, Berkeley chancellor’s residence on Dec. 12, 2009, after protestors stormed the property.
A broken light at the entrance to the University of California, Berkeley chancellor’s residence on Dec. 12, 2009, after protestors stormed the property. The Associated Press

The University of California, Berkeley, is constructing a fence around the chancellor’s residence in the middle of campus after he raised security concerns about intruders and student protesters.

Chancellor Nicholas B. Dirks asked campus police to complete a “security survey” of his home earlier this year, according to Lt. Marc DeCoulode, a spokesman for the UC Berkeley Police Department.

The request followed two “occasions where uninvited folks have made it inside the door while events were going on,” DeCoulode said, and “instances of protest activity late at night,” including where students were found banging on his front door.

“The totality of the circumstances over the year showed the facility needed a better perimeter around it,” he said.

The department’s recommendation was for the new fence, which began construction in the past few weeks and will keep the public about 30 or 40 feet from the 104-year-old stone mansion, DeCoulode said. Funded by insurance and the UC Office of the President, it will cost approximately $400,000. DeCoulode added that it will also allow the police to reduce their staffing of the residence.

UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof said Dirks “fairly quickly acceded” to the fence.

“Obviously, there were a couple of incidents that were disturbing, and...he does have a family,” Mogulof said. “There’s no other (UC) chancellor who lives smack-dab in the middle of the campus.”

The Berkeley chancellor’s residence has been a regular target over the years. In 2009, protestors stormed the property, smashing windows and throwing burning torches at the building. In 1992, a local activist was killed after she broke in with a machete.

Editor’s note: This post was updated on Aug. 20 at 1:58 p.m. with the cost of the project.

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff

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