Chancellor Nicholas Dirks sent this message today to the UC Berkeley campus community:
Dear Campus Community,
It is with the heaviest of hearts that I write to update you regarding members of the Berkeley campus community who were lost in the tragic Oakland fire, and to provide you with information about our plans to honor and celebrate their memories.
Among the 36 confirmed fatalities are two Berkeley undergraduates, Jenny Morris and Vanessa Plotkin; recently graduated alumni, David Cline and Griffin Madden, who also served on the staff of Cal Performances; and Chelsea Dolan, a volunteer at our campus radio station, KALX. I invite you to learn more about who they were and what we have lost, here on the web page where we are posting updated information as it is received:
We send our prayers, condolences and support to the families and loved ones of these cherished individuals — our friends and colleagues. We also know that many of our campus community members had strong ties of family or friendship to other victims. We stand together in sympathy with them and all others, both on and beyond our campus, who have been touched by this terrible tragedy.
The campus is making every effort to aid, as needed and requested, the parents, siblings, friends, and colleagues of the deceased. We also want to remind those on campus that if they feel a need in the days and weeks ahead, counseling services are available at University Health Services. Visit https://uhs.berkeley.edu/
We are also aware that many of you wish to reach out to the families of those we have lost. The Dean of Students’ Office has agreed to collect all cards and letters for the families, and will ensure that they find their way to the appropriate recipients: http://deanofstudents.
Now is a time when we all need support as we collectively and individually seek to begin the process of healing and recovery. This is a time to lean on and hold up each other, and for that reason I invite all in the Berkeley campus community to gather together tomorrow to honor the memory of all who have been lost, from our community and many others. The vigil will take place tomorrow, Thursday, from noon-1 p.m. at Zellerbach Hall.
Then, in a wonderful gesture of understanding and compassion, Cal Performances is offering to members of the campus community complimentary tickets for the Saturday, December 10, 8 p.m. performance of Handel’s Messiah at Zellerbach Hall. (Please reserve tickets in advance at http://calperformances.org/
This communal event, and the beauty of this music, will offer a special opportunity for solace, support and reflection in these saddest of times.
Chancellor Nicholas B. Dirks