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Underground Scholars Initiative

At UC Berkeley, the Underground Scholars Initiative was founded in 2013 when two students realized that they both had been incarcerated in their past. They decided to create a support system and a safe space for other students (both current and potential) who share their background. In addition to helping formerly incarcerated students transition into the university culture, they also work on dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline by uniting academia with the lived experiences of the group. An example of the program's support was a special graduation ceremony, held by UC Berkeley, for graduates who were formerly incarcerated. This special graduation ceremony and celebration was attended by the mayor and a state senator.