A black student organization at the University of California at Berkeley is demanding the university rename a building on campus after Assata Shakur, a former Black Panther, convicted cop killer and the first woman named to the FBI’s Most-Wanted Terrorist List.
A jury convicted Shakur of killing a New Jersey State Trooper in 1979. She escaped prison and fled to Cuba. The FBI calls her a domestic terrorist. In 2013, the agency added her to the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist List, alongside several members of Al Qaeda, airline hijackers and bombers.
But to the Black Student Union at Berkeley, Shakur is an “icon of resistance within oppressed communities (who) represents black resilience in the face of state-sanctioned violence.” They demanded the university rename Barrows Hall, named after former Chancellor David Barrows, “Shakur Hall.” In 2013, Shakur declared her innocence and called her trial in 1979 a legal lynching by an all-white jury. Shakur, formerly known as Joann Chesimard, belonged to the Black Liberation Army at the time of the shooting.
“We want the renaming for someone — Assata Shakur — who we feel like represents us as black students,” said Black Student Union spokesman Cori McGowens. “Black students on campus have a feeling of isolation, marginalization. We’re at a crisis on campus.”
The renaming of Barrows Hall is just one of 10 demands the Black Student Union delivered to Berkeley Chancellor Nick Dirks last month.
They’re also demanding a meeting place solely for black students, $300,371 for two black admissions staff focused on black recruiting, $113,932 for another staffer to handle black retention, two black psychologists who understand the “racially hostile campus,” two black advisers to mentor black athletes and a fully-funded ‘Get into Graduate School’ mentoring program.
“I came to Berkeley and I thought that it was a progressive liberal environment, but the N-word was written on the dorm wall and my white professors were openly using the N-word,” said senior Blake Simons. “So that’s part of my experience here is feeling marginalized.”
Read more: Fox News