Chancellor Robert Birgeneau

UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau is telling his staff that this has been ‘the single most difficult year I personally have experienced.”

Birgeneau, who has served as chancellor since 2004, had to deal with severe fiscal constraints, staff furloughs, large-scale protests, vandalism and violence on and near the campus, hunger strikes, and lots of criticism.

The most difficult time may have been in December, when a group of students and local residents carrying torches stormed his house while he and his wife slept inside. Some of the protestors smashed lights and overturned planters.

“It’s been difficult,” Birgeneau told members of the Berkeley Staff Assembly right before the Memorial Day holiday, according to a story on the university’s web site. “And, I would have to say — and I’m really sorry about this — that probably the staff took the brunt of the difficulties.”

Birgeneau noted some good news as well: the system-wide furloughs will end in August, private donations are up, and a record 50,000 students applied for admission to next year’s freshman class.

Read the complete story in UC Berkeley News.

Frances Dinkelspiel, Berkeleyside and CItyside co-founder, is a journalist and author. Her first book, Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman...