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2020 Fall

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The UC System Has Officially Gone Test Optional. What Now?

Inside the University of California’s bold move to reinvent admissions amid a pandemic IN DECEMBER, KAWIKA SMITH, a 17-year-old high school student from Los Angeles, along with fellow students and advocates, sued the UC system. The goal? Completely reinvent the admissions process by jettisoning standardized testing forever. After a whirlwind year of protests, a pandemic, […]

Image source: Associated Press

A Historic Vote May Restore Affirmative Action in California

Earlier this year, the UC Regents backed the repeal of Prop 209. In mid-June, the UC Board of Regents held a historic vote, unanimously endorsing a state proposal to repeal Proposition 209, California’s controversial ballot initiative which banned the consideration of race, sex, or ethnicity in public education, employment, and contracting throughout the state.  In […]

Image source: Pat Joseph

Shutdowns Hurt. They Also Save Lives.

Despite the economic and job losses, shelter-in-place orders prevented millions of coronavirus cases. What would have happened if large-scale policies like shelter-in-place orders, travel restrictions, and business closures were not implemented early in the COVID-19 pandemic? According to a study from a Berkeley research team published in the journal Nature in June, shutdowns and other […]

Image source: Juno Films // Illustration by Leah Worthington

Editors’ Picks: What to Read, Watch, and Listen to This Fall

Some of our favorite books, films, and podcasts, for your entertainment Our editors have curated a list of entertainment to indulge in this autumn. Here are their top picks of web series, podcasts, films, and more, all produced by UC Berkeley faculty and alumni. What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael  by Rob Garver Gone […]

Image source: Grace Lavery

Transitioning with Grace: Coming Out in Academia

English Professor Grace Lavery talks Pride, social justice, and trans studies.

Image source: Patrick Welsh

From Both Sides of the Aisle, These Women Make Their Ideas Heard

From Jennifer Rubin to Michelle Goldberg, meet some of Berkeley’s most opinionated writers. 1. Trish Hall Mostly, arguing doesn’t work. “That’s one of many tips shared by Trish Hall ’77, former New York Times op-ed editor, in her 2019 book Writing to Persuade: How to Bring People Over to Your Side. More than just a […]

Image source: Kathryn Ratke

As A Young Scientist, Angela Little Battled Sexism at Every Turn

At 100, one of Berkeley’s oldest alums remembers a difficult road to academia.

Image source: Brian Shiroyama

A War Veteran Held a Silent Vigil Among the Redwoods

Brian Shiroyama didn’t let the pandemic stop him from honoring his Japanese American veterans. On May 16, 1992, Armed Forces Day, veterans of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the segregated Japanese American World War II unit that was the most decorated in American history, planted a redwood sapling in Oakland’s Roberts Regional Recreation Area to […]

Image source: Esteem Brumfield // Edited by Leah Worthington

He Grew Up Illiterate. Now His Sights Are Set On the Supreme Court.

For Esteem Brumfield, a lack of formal education was only one of many obstacles on his path to Berkeley. One of the casualties of the pandemic was UC Berkeley grad Esteem Brumfield’s Fulbright Fellowship in South Africa, where he was researching the country’s prison system. It was canceled. But don’t worry about him; he’s already falling […]

Image source: John Swartzberg // Illustration by Leah Worthington

He Was a Leader in Infectious Disease Research Long Before COVID

John Swartzberg is training the next generation of infectious disease specialists. Regarding the pandemic, here’s more bad news: One of the lowest-paying specialties in medicine is infectious diseases. “It just shows you what society’s priorities are,” says Dr. John Swartzberg, and he knows what he’s talking about. As chair of the Infectious Diseases Committee at […]

Image source: 2016 UC Regents

Chancellor’s Letter: Navigating A Triple Crisis

“We may all be in the same storm, but we are not in the same boat.” I have always said that I like hard problems, but the current set of crises we are facing is challenging even my taste for the difficult. As a nation, we are facing three complexly inter-related series of events—the pandemic, […]

Image source: The Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley

Editor’s Note: Rewriting History

This issue puts the “her” back into Cal’s history. History has been written by the victors—and also by the men, it seems. It’s a phenomenon I’ve noticed firsthand in the annals of this very magazine, which started in 1897 as the University of California Magazine and operated for many decades as the California Monthly before […]