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Video: Berkeley Students Want to Rename Campus Building for Convicted Cop Killer, Black Panther

March 27, 2015  | 

VIDEO: Students Want to Rename Building for Cop Killer, Black Panther

The issue of race has the University of California, Berkeley campus buzzing, after a student group requested a building be named after a member of the Black Panthers who was once convicted of killing a New Jersey state trooper, reports KPIX.

Only 3 percent of Berkeley students are African-American and a 2013 survey revealed just over half of those students feel respected on campus. Last month, Spencer Pritchard and other members of the Black Student Union sent a letter to Chancellor Nicholas Dirks, demanding changes.

Perhaps the most dramatic request is to change the name of the campus ethnic studies building, from Barrows Hall to Assata Shakur Hall.

"Her story is emblematic of the black freedom struggle in the nation," Pritchard told KPIX 5.

To say Assata Shakur, born Joanne Deborah Chesimard, is a polarizing figure is an understatement. By some, she is considered an icon of the Black Panther movement. But she was convicted of killing a state trooper in 1977. Chesimard escaped to Cuba, where she's believed to still be hiding, and became the first woman on the FBI's most wanted terrorists list.

Related:

Cuba Says It Will Never Extradite Fugitive Cop Killer to U.S.

Christie Tells Obama to Demand Return of New Jersey Cop Killer Before Restoring Relations with Cuba

Reward Doubled to $2M for N.J. Trooper's Killer

N.J. Court Rules for Cop Killer's Parole


Comments (15)

Displaying 1 - 15 of 15

Jim Fackiner @ 3/28/2015 8:32 AM

We have a lot of problems with common sense. IN THE U.S.A

Leonad Mather @ 3/28/2015 9:32 AM

The Berkley Students topic in this article will provide in vivo examples of oxymoron for Logic lectures when the topic is common sense, hard evidence and the juvenescent urge to demonstrate oppositional and/or obstreperous behavior. It is a known-known that the brain does not fully develop its neurological connections until circa age 35. In their case, along with recreational drugs, it may take longer.

Johnny Law Dog @ 3/28/2015 9:36 AM

More brilliance from Berkeley. What a fine "icon" - a convicted murderer.

Ima Leprechaun @ 3/28/2015 10:02 AM

I don't see this as much different from the school buildings in the south named after Confederate hero's.

CB @ 3/28/2015 10:39 AM

Ima Leprechaun - you probably also think that the Civil War was about slavery, too, don't you? Secession was permitted under the Constitution, and so the Confederate States were a legal entity which established a legal military force. And therein lies the exact reason why the Black Panthers were not in any way like the Confederate army, nor are criminals and urban terrorists any more like Confederate soldiers than they are like the soldiers of any other legally established military force.

Glen A. Haas @ 3/28/2015 11:11 AM

I don't see what's so newsworthy about this. On the heels of the UC Irvine student group that wanted to ban the US flag (and others) in their student union, this seems pretty consistent. But, I don't think they should be content to celebrate just one murderer. Think of those who would feel left out; they should consider:

- Theodore Bundy Hall (female only dorms)
- Jeffrey Dahmer Cafeteria
- Albert Fish Food Court
- Juan Corona Agriculture Studies Building
- Charles Manson Center for Family Development Studies
- Idi Amin Dispute Resolution Training Facility
- Osama bin Laden Flight Training Center

Just one more reason to retire out of California, or out of the country.

bob retired leo NY/FL @ 3/28/2015 11:43 AM

The confederates fought in a war, not against the cops. .....they didn't kill law officers. The Black Panthers were a racist violent hate group with one murderer still living in Cuba today. Cuba refuses extradition to the USA. She killed a cop in NY and then was aided and escaped from prison. Other BP members were sent to prison for armored car robberies, shootouts with police and various other felonious violent crimes. Some are just getting out of prison in NY. I know because I was there. Naming a building after those scum is a slap in the face to every law abiding citizen and cop in this country...

ssc1911 @ 3/28/2015 2:48 PM

Joanne Chesimard, aka Assata Shaukr killed a New jersey State trooper IN 1973.
After she had been charged, convicted, she was sentenced to a prison term, which she escaped from with help from associates. Why name a building after her, she is a killer and a fugitive from justice.

starrman69 @ 3/29/2015 5:40 AM

Buildings are usually named after dead persons. Unfortunately that murdering POS, Joanne Deborah Chesimard A/K/A Assata Shakur is still alive. There are many deserving Black Americans that have contributed their time and effort to the Black Community that may be selected for the honor of having a building named after them.

AZBIGDOG @ 3/29/2015 7:50 AM

Okay, having read other stories on this, they appear to be wanting for the school to kowtow to them because they are black. Why, the university does not kowtow to any other race. And comparing the convicted killer of a police officer to any Confederate hero who fought for a belief in a Civil War is ludicrous. It was a war, not a rob a bank or terrorize persons because of something that happened in the 1860's. If they want to name it for her, she should be required to come to the dedication if they are stupid enough to name it after her. And by the way when that happens any and all federal funding should be removed from all programs at the university. No funds for terrorists and none for convicted killers.

Morning Eagle @ 3/29/2015 10:51 PM

I was still a State Trooper in another state when this witch was convicted and remember the frustration when she escaped to Cuba. It is a safe guess that most or all of the people advocating this atrocious proposal weren't even born back when the BP's were raising hell all over the country and have no historical knowledge of what they were really like. But ignorance is no excuse for stupidity and just trying to stir up trouble. On the other hand, this is no real surprise coming out of Berkeley. Remember Angela Davis? And any equation of this to naming buildings or memorials for Civil War heroes truly is ludicrous.

tom @ 3/30/2015 5:24 AM

First of all, I think Starrman69 is right. This is just a way for the Black Student Union to stir up emotions (What does the White Student Union think/). Too many great black Americans, both living and dead, to make an easy choice. If you open Pandora's box, are you prepared for the consequences. To allow a building name so far on the left fringe, would also make in easy for someone to request a building name from the far right-i.e David Duke Hall or the Adolf Hitler building for Religious studies. The political gates do swing both ways, be careful what you wish or ask for.

Chuck W @ 3/30/2015 6:10 PM

I want all my tax payer money that is being used to fund, partially fund, and pay the salaries of any of the faculty back. I want all my taxpayer money used for student aid and research given back, how are those for demands. Easy for a bunch of spoiled brats that are most likely being subsidized by the tax paying citizenry. You want to have cop killers, murderers, traitors to the country as heroes, let them pay for your education and your ignorance.

As for you leprechaun, really, really, you don't see the difference; you need to buy some glasses.

plato's playdough @ 4/1/2015 4:33 AM

Since they brought it up, it should be renamed the Darren Wilson Won building, or DWW for short.

Jon Retired LEO @ 4/1/2015 3:53 PM

Just when you think you have seen and heard everything, BINGO these things pop up.

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