Reason Roundup

Berkeley Dorms Guarded by Cops Who Only Let Students Out To Eat, Use the Bathroom, or Get a COVID-19 Test

Plus: New Mexico moves to legalize homemade food, the illogic of civil commitments for sex offenders, and more...


Students at the University of California, Berkeley are paying for the privilege of living in police-enforced lockdown. The university, which is dealing with a surge of COVID-19 cases, has decided to use draconian means to make sure virus spread stays limited. "The self-sequester mandate for UC Berkeley students living in the dormitories, originally intended to end Monday, has been extended for another week, with stricter security measures in place to enforce quarantining," noted SFGate yesterday.

The new security measures include campus cops roaming dormitory halls looking for students leaving their rooms for unapproved reasons. The only permissible reasons to leave your dorm room at Berkeley are for meals, bathroom breaks, or getting a COVID-19 test.

Those reasons no longer include individual outdoor exercise as of this week. "We are working with the city of Berkeley to determine whether outdoor exercise may be permitted, and we will provide more information on this in the near future," the university told students.

Students found in violation of these rules face the threat of suspension and being thrown out of student housing. The mandate extends until February 15.

Aside from being bad for student morale and mental health, the scheme seems much more likely to lead to dicey encounters between campus security and students than to have any effect on public health.


Jacob Sullum on the illogic of civil commitments for sex offenders who have served their sentences:

The state punishes people who commit sex crimes based on the assumption that they could and should have controlled themselves. But when it is time for them to be released after completing the punishment prescribed by law, the state says that was not actually true; now they must be locked up precisely because they can't control themselves.



• Notes on the first day of former President Donald Trump's second impeachment trial.

• American women's labor force participation is at a 33-year low, according to new unemployment data analyzed by the National Women's Law Center. "This brings the total number of women who have left the labor force since February 2020 to more than 2.3 million," and puts women's labor force participation rate "at 57%, the lowest it's been since 1988," reports CNBC.

• Regulating tech companies like common carriers is a terrible idea:

• A projection from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour would result in 1.4 million lost jobs.

• A new research paper from researchers at New York University and Columbia Business School finds "the COVID-19 pandemic brought house price and rent declines in city centers, and price and rent increases away from the center, thereby flattening the bid-rent curve in most U.S. metropolitan areas."

• A Beverly Hills police officer turned on some Sublime music along with his body camera in what's being described as an attempt to prevent the footage from being shared on social media by triggering copyrighted music filters and instant takedown.

• Elle magazine excerpts a new collection of essays from sex workers titled We Too.

• Is America too bound by red tape to support successful space innovation anymore?

• Chicago public schools will reopen.