Office of Inclusive Excellence

A Panel Discussion with Berkeley Underground Scholars

February 21, 2023

In Spring 2022, ADEC’s Love, Healing, and Abolition Speaker Series featured an event titled “A Panel Discussion with Berkeley Underground Scholars.” Berkeley Underground Scholars (BUS) creates a pathway for incarcerated, formerly incarcerated, and system-impacted individuals into higher education. We are building a prison-to-school pipeline through recruitment, retention, and advocacy. BUS is an academic support program housed within the Division of Equity and Inclusion at UC Berkeley.

The panel discussion touched on the need for more support for system-impacted students because institutions of higher education “were not built for us.” These needed resources include mental health support; addressing stigma through training faculty, staff, and administrators; basic needs; a hub or central place for folks to access these resources; scholarships and job opportunities; and getting to know our communities by coming together and breaking bread. The discussion also grappled with the contradictions of abolition work, the university as an institution, and how to avoid co-optation. Overall, participants enjoyed how good it feels to share space and be in conversation with folks doing the work!

We invite you to view a recording of the conversation here.