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If, in the fall of 1987, you found yourself at the University of California, Berkeley, and you made your way through the sloping, verdant campus to Moffitt Library, you could walk through the doors and take two flights of stairs down to the basement.
Turn right and you would find a door tucked in the corner — room 224, though the placard isn’t written in braille. After unlocking the door using a key with a ridged top, you’d walk through a small lobby with tables, chairs, and a “sofa” made of seats pulled from a van. The smell of lived-in-ness, a mix of takeout and coffee and books, permeates the cramped space and makes the tip of your nose perk up.
This is how Joshua Miele and other blind students found their way to this underground hideaway. Its university-sanctioned name was the blind students study center. But pretty much everyone called it The Cave. “It’s where the bats hung out,” Miele explained.