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UC Berkeley Chancellor Builds $9k Escape Hatch To Get Away From Protesting Students

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Millennials: Can’t live with ‘em, can’t build a $9,000 escape hatch to get away from ‘em! Unless you’re University of California Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks, who was recently revealed to have done just that.

According to student newspaper The Daily Californian, Dirks used $9,000 from a university safety fund to build an “emergency exit” leading from the short hallway between his office and his conference room (so, basically still his office) to the outside world. Campus spokesperson Claire Holmes confirmed to the paper that it was designed to “provide egress to leave the building.”

He did this in response to an April 2015 protest during which students occupied the hallway outside his office to demand the University stop using subcontractors as a way around paying a living wage and benefits to employees like janitors and security guards. Typical millennial entitlement.

dirks

University of California Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks

“There has to be other ways to handle student concerns and protests than simply building ways to avoid them,” ASUC Senator-elect Chris Yamas told the Daily Californian. “The chancellor seems elitist and out of touch and inaccessible to the students.” “Seems” being a nice word to leave in there when the chancellor has a private escape tunnel and a $700,000 fence around his residence.

Some of Dirks’ own colleagues seem to agree.

Via The Guardian:

“The chancellor should welcome student protests not fear them,” said Michael Burawoy, co-chair of the Berkeley Faculty Association. “The installation of an escape hatch from his office reflects a fortress mentality, in line with the $700,000 fence he had built around his campus residence, also supposedly to ward off protesters.”

For its part, the University claims to the Guardian that it built the exit “for security concerns” and objects to the term “escape hatch” as “the concoction of a 19-year-old headline writer.” (It prefers “avoidance avenue,” “dissent detour” and “highfallutin hallway.”) They also insist Chancellor Dirks had nothing to do with it, as he’s got more important things to do than weigh in on a construction project that will make his life substantially easier:

“I can’t say more categorically that he had nothing to do with this decision,” Mogulof said. “He neither approved nor disapproved. He’s got more important things to do than approve or disapprove the installation of a door.”

Dirks could not be reached for comment, probably because he was busy drawing up plans for a moat.

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