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After gun violence, find comfort in Berkeley’s fight for good

In the darkness of Sunday’s news, we share the motto that has illuminated UC Berkeley for more than 150 years: Fiat Lux – Let there be light

the sun shining through the fiat lux logo on sather gate
Berkeley's fourth comprehensive capital campaign, Light the Way: The Campaign for Berkeley, is one of the largest launched by any U.S. university, public or private. (UC Berkeley photo by Keegan Houser)
the sun shining through the fiat lux logo on sather gate

“In the darkness of Sunday’s news, we share the motto that has illuminated UC Berkeley for more than 150 years: Fiat Lux – Let there be light. Let us find it in the creation of new knowledge toward a better world for all,” leaders write. (UC Berkeley photo by Keegan Houser)

UC Berkeley’s Police Chief Yogananda Pittman, Vice Provost for the Faculty Victoria Plaut, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Stephen Sutton and Associate Vice Chancellor for People & Culture Eugene Whitlock sent the following message on Wednesday: 

We awoke yesterday to the aftermath of yet another mass shooting in America, this one on the campus of a large public university much like our own. The images and reports are haunting and remind us of our own vulnerability. We grieve for those young lives lost, and send healing thoughts to those who were injured and traumatized.

Where there is comfort to be found, it is in the UC Berkeley community of scholar-activists – all of you — working, studying and committing every day to make the world a better place, a place where we can feel safe going to the grocery store, the night club, the movie theater and to our classrooms and campus gathering spaces.

The minds behind the technology that gave us the ability to make guns in 3D printers surely can devise solutions to protect us in a society in which there is an average of two guns for every American citizen.

Let us view gun violence as the public health emergency that it is and marshal our expertise for solutions, just as we did in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Our historians, legal scholars and political scientists recognize the antiquated notion of a well-regulated militia that is enshrined in the second amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Let us use this knowledge to advocate for sensible gun laws.

Our social scientists work to understand the root causes of crime, violence and the sense of helplessness that lead individuals to find comfort in weaponry. Let us translate this capacity to build a system of justice for all.

Let us use art and language to make sense of the societal madness that is gun violence and help us to imagine and build a world in which beauty and the recognition of our common humanity are at our core.

We are an exceptional community of scholar-activists singular among higher education institutions. Let us bring our knowledge, expertise and passion for justice to bear on this most troubling issue of our time and restore a sense of safety and liberty.

Finally, we urge you to take time to care for yourselves and others. Campus health professionals are standing by to listen and care for you. Contact information is listed below. Please reach out to them if you are feeling vulnerable or afraid. We have also listed resources from our UCPD about ways you can prepare and protect yourself in the event of an emergency like the one at Michigan State.

In the darkness of Monday’s news, we share the motto that has illuminated UC Berkeley for more than 150 years: Fiat Lux – Let there be light. Let us find it in the creation of new knowledge toward a better world for all.

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