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.
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