From the Nominator
In this entry, UC Berkeley Office of Communications and Public Affairs writer Ivan Natividad reflects on his experiences as a Filipino American man growing up in America, and how his family’s Philippine history, language, and culture was often denigrated. He delves into the history of white supremacy and colonialism in the Philippines, and how it has gone unacknowledged—leading to and reflected in the racial hierarchies that continue to persist at America’s institutions and universities— including in the names of their buildings.
But Natividad felt a sense of belonging and inclusion as a Berkeley staffer after UC Berkeley decided to unname Barrows Hall, a classroom building on campus that was originally named after David Prescott Barrows. The former University of California president held white supremacist views, particularly those that contributed to the colonization of education in the Philippines during the Philippine-American War. The decision by Chancellor Carol Christ and her Building Name Review Committee fostered a sense of inclusion at Berkeley for those who have felt marginalized by the building’s namesake.
However, Natividad argues that unnaming Barrows Hall should be just the beginning of rectifying the historical injustices that David Prescott Barrows represents, and that transformative changes should be made once the building is renamed.
From the Judges
This essay was powerful and effective. Exceptionally well done. We appreciate how the author connected his personal story to the university in a compelling and thought-provoking way.