In light of the April 2015 “sit-in” protest outside of his office in the administration building, Nicholas Dirks, the chancellor at University of California Berkeley, has installed a $9,000 escape hatch in the hall outside of his office. According to the school newspaper, The Daily Californian, the newly-installed door functions to “provide egress to leave the building,” in case another protest were to occur.
According to RTNews, the installation of the escape door was ordered more than a year ago, but the project was finally completed just last month. Reportedly, it was funded by specific monies allotted toward “risk prevention” by the university.
University spokesman Dan Mogulof denied the term “escape hatch,” in an interview reported on RT News, saying that the wording was the “concoction of a 19-year-old headline writer…It’s a door.”
Mogulof did confirm that the door was installed for security reasons, but many students are saying that it is simply unnecessary, especially after the erection of a $700,000 fence around the administration buildings.
“There has to be other ways to handle student concerns and protest than simply building ways to avoid them,” said student union senator-elect at UC Berkeley, Chris Yamas, to the campus paper, according to FOX News. “The chancellor seems elitist and out of touch, and inaccessible to the students.”
Yamas added that in all the years of protests at the university, a chancellor has never been physically harmed.
Unfortunately, students may have to do some more digging to find out who is really behind all of this controversy.
“I can’t say more categorically that [Chancellor Dirks] had nothing to do with this decision,” Mogulof stated. “He’s got more important things to do than approve or disapprove the installation of a door.”