Dear Graduate Student Community,

Lisa García Bedolla

Spring is a time of renewal and anticipation as we look forward to longer, warmer days and a well-deserved spring break before we launch into the semester’s home stretch. Yet, seeing flowers blooming around campus may feel incongruous as we also see the horrific events in Ukraine, the worsening humanitarian crisis, and the global response which has, on the one hand, been inspiring in its solidarity in defense of independence, and at the same time has created an economic crisis that will be even more acutely felt by the most vulnerable in our communities.

I encourage all of you, especially our Ukrainian and Russian students most challenged by the current crisis, to seek out the support you need. The Dean of Students compiled a list of resources for those who have been traumatized by the war. You can contact CAPS for counseling and psychological support and UC Berkeley’s International Office has informational resources specifically for international students. For students experiencing economic hardship, the Basic Needs Center can help with essential services. And I continue to encourage graduate students to reach out to our Graduate Peer Support Providers who are here to listen and guide you through the many support services at Berkeley. 

My most sincere message to you all is that Graduate Division is here to smooth out the bumps in your graduate education journey and ensure your well-being and academic success. To that end, we will be hosting a Town Hall on April 12th. Save the date — more information will be coming soon!

This month is also the heart of admissions season. Acceptance letters to applicants are being sent out and soon we will welcome the next cohort of outstanding students who have chosen UC Berkeley for their graduate studies. And just this week California lawmakers voted unanimously to pass legislation that overturns the earlier court-ordered enrollment freeze, allowing UC Berkeley to proceed with our original enrollment plans for fall 2022. I know this news is an incredible relief for so many students who are hoping to make UC Berkeley their new home.

While we are pleased that we no longer will be forced to limit graduate enrollment this year,  providing adequate graduate student housing becomes an even greater priority. We were thrilled this month to celebrate the opening of a much-needed housing option for graduate students, the Intersection Apartments. Intersection is available only for graduate students, providing a unique opportunity for some of the best scholars from around the world to build community and inspire each other in their ground-breaking work. Intersection will additionally benefit graduate students beyond just its residents since any additional revenue generated from this property will directly fund graduate student fellowships.

I also want to acknowledge the incredible women — students, staff, faculty, and leadership — whose contributions have shaped our campus into one of the premier universities in the world. It is especially notable that this year’s celebration of Women’s History & Empowerment Month also coincides with the 50th anniversary of Berkeley’s Gender Equity Resource Center (GenEq). That said, we still have a long way to go in many areas. Our work will never stop as we continue our efforts to strengthen diversity and equity across campus.

Lastly, I encourage you to take time during spring break to rest and rejuvenate. While the pandemic appears to be waning and some semblance of pre-COVID normalcy is returning, I also urge you to continue to do what you can to stay healthy and safe.

Fiat lux!

Lisa García Bedolla
Vice Provost for Graduate Studies and Dean of the Graduate Division