Overview, Decision-Making Authority & Approval Process

In order to facilitate a building-by-building approach, UC Berkeley is adopting a pragmatic and decentralized approach that provides deans, department chairs and research unit directors with central roles in the approval process for research activities under their purview. For each building, Building Oversight Committees are being formed and they will be reaching out to, and soliciting from faculty and researchers specific ramp-up proposals, which will be carefully reviewed in order to effectively manage personnel density in each lab and building. Building Oversight Committees will provide researchers with templates that will enable them to provide required information regarding how their plans will support and comply with campus-wide guidelines and the building specific personnel density targets.  Proposals will be reviewed by cognizant chairs and deans. The Vice Chancellor for Research will oversee the overall process and provide final approval for all building plans in order to ensure transparency and equity as well as consistent application of guidelines as the process unfolds across the campus. As buildings are considered for Phase 2 research resumption, they will be posted here along with relevant contacts for each facility.

Roles and responsibilities, the appeal process as well as monitoring and enforcement are described here:

Building Oversight Committees

For each campus building the cognizant dean(s)(or the VCR on behalf of its ORUs) is/are responsible for establishing a Building Oversight Committee. 

The Building Oversight Committee will be responsible for coordinating the development of an overall building occupancy plan, to prepare the building for opening, including:

  • an overall plan for the building occupant flow, signage and use of common spaces, based on guidance from Facilities Services; and 
  • an overall research/office space density management plan, assigning ‘density budgets’ for all applicable research spaces, consistent with campus guidelines for different types of research and research spaces, e.g. laboratory research, office space, research involving animals, or human subjects, to ensure overall low density of the building, both by individual lab/office and collectively by floor/building. Committees will receive specific guidelines for setting density budgets.

Each committee will solicit and review research ramp-up plans (“density management proposals”) from faculty members, facility managers or research unit/center staff who direct independent research programs within the building. Proposals will summarize faculty plans to manage their research operations within their assigned density budget. To complete the proposals, faculty and facility/unit directors must work with their research teams (as applicable) to develop detailed standard operating procedures that ensure social distancing, disinfection protocols etc. The plans also require detailed work schedules to ensure that the number of people in each research space does not exceed the assigned density budget for that space at any given time. 

Building Oversight Committees will review faculty/unit proposals for alignment with guidelines and assigned density budgets. Deans, or their representatives, will work with the Building Oversight Committees and building managers to review the faculty/unit proposals and validate assumptions of spatial distancing and density. Final proposals will be approved by the Dean – and reviewed by the Vice Chancellor for Research to ensure an equitable approach across buildings and campus.


Appeal Process

The Vice Chancellor for Research will hear appeals for requests rejected at the decanal level; Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Alivisatos and Chancellor Christ will decide on appeals for requests denied by the Vice Chancellor for Research.


Monitoring & Enforcement

Faculty and staff who have submitted research ramp-up plans are responsible for ensuring that all personnel included in their plan are following the scheduling, distancing and hygiene commitments in the approved ramp-up plan. The cognizant campus leadership (deans, chairs, building managers, EH&S) may conduct periodic spot checks, and monitor building access data, to ensure that appropriate density, distancing and protective measures are being followed, as well as all required EH&S safety policies and principles. 

Faculty/PIs with research groups, ORU Directors and Core Facility/Fabrication Facility Directors are expected to conduct periodic checks of their spaces to ensure that all personnel are following density management, social distancing, disinfecting and other safety protocols established for their group/spaces. Non-compliance with policies may result in the revocation of building access privileges for individuals, up to and including the shut down of on-campus research in the non-compliant research group. 

Lab/research group members are encouraged to report recurring noncompliant practices to the lead faculty/PI of the noncompliant group or to their own faculty lead/PI or department chair. Neighboring faculty/groups should make every effort to resolve the problem locally if possible. If safety deficiencies are not resolved locally in a timely fashion, the issue should be escalated to the appropriate department chair, dean, or building oversight committee for swift correction. Any lab member may also submit a confidential concern to the VC Research at vcr@berkeley.edu. Other options for initiating an evaluation of unresolved safety concerns are through anonymous reporting on the EH&S website or through a campus Improper Governmental Activity (“Whistleblower”) Report.