Message from the chancellor about Japan’s earthquake and tsunami

To Berkeley faculty, staff, students and alumni,

We are shocked and saddened today following news that hundreds have been killed in Japan following a magnitude 8.9 offshore quake, which unleashed a ferocious tsunami on the country’s eastern coast. Horrific images in the news show widespread fires, rivers of debris and high waves carrying off homes, cars and large fishing boats. Scores of people have been injured, displaced and are missing in what is now being called the largest quake in modern Japanese history.

Our campus is a global community that includes students, faculty, staff, scholars, alumni, donors and friends with ties to Japan, and our concern and sympathy are with all those experiencing fear, sadness and loss. We are working hard to learn the effects of this disaster on our own campus community, yet it will take time to know the full extent. Together, we will do all we can to help those in need.

Over the years, we have welcomed many students and scholars to UC Berkeley from Tohoku University in Sendai, a large university town with several fine Japanese universities that was the land epicenter of the quake. I have strong personal and research ties to that university, and join others in being very concerned for our many friends and collaborators there.

We especially are monitoring the status of students and faculty from UC Berkeley who are in Japan. Gratefully, we have no negative news to report at this time.

Currently, there are 17 UC Berkeley students studying in Japan through the Education Abroad Program and nine Japanese students studying here through that program. On campus, 130 undergraduate students, 112 graduate students and 12 University Extension students are from Japan.

Please take a moment to extend your concern to fellow colleagues and students with family and friends in Japan. Students in need of counseling should contact Counseling and Psychological Services at the Tang Center at 642-9494. Faculty and staff should call CARE Services at 643-7754.

We will keep in touch with you with updates about the disaster as it affects our campus community. As in other disasters, we will rally to help those who need our support both here and overseas.

Yours sincerely,
Robert Birgeneau