Barrows Hall was built in 1964 at a cost of approximately $3.77 million. It is named after General David Prescott Barrows, who served as University of California President from 1919-1923, and was a professor of political science at the University from 1910 to 1942. Barrows holds the Near Eastern Studies department as well as the Political Science department.

The Black Student Union has demanded that the building be renamed for Assata Shakur, a controversial figure who was a member of the Black Panthers and the Black Liberation Army, and was convicted of murdering a police officer in New Jersey, and later escaped from prison and is now in exile in Cuba.

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