Day of Action rally, protests, teach-ins underway at UC Berkeley

At UC Berkeley today, a Day of Action for Public Education is being marked by teach-outs, a planned encampment, and protests against state budget cuts to public universities. Throughout the day, watch this space for updates about the events on campus.

7:54 p.m. Officials, protesters fail to agree on terms

At about 6:30, with some 300 people gathered on the Sproul steps, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Harry Le Grande conveyed the administration’s willingness to allow the group to have a constant, 24/7 presence on the plaza for the next week, but restated campus policies that prohibit activities associated with the planned encampment such as erecting tents, cooking and fires.

“We hope that you will work with one another and us to maintain these guidelines,” Le Grande told the crowd, adding that if protesters failed to comply they would receive a 10-minute warning prior to any enforcement action by police.

The remaining protesters voted to reject the offer and continue their efforts to establish an encampment on campus property. The UCPD is currently evaluating the situation.

Meanwhile, police said seven protesters — six Berkeley students and one faculty member — were arrested today on charges of resisting and delaying a peace office in the performance of their duties and/or failure to disperse upon being given a dispersal order. One student was additionally charged with battery against a police officer.

5:43 p.m.

Campus officials on way to meet with protesters

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Harry Le Grande and other administrators are on their way to the Sproul steps. They hope to meet with protesters to discuss ideas that would allow for a peaceful resolution of the current standoff.

4:30 p.m. Arrests begin, campus officials approach protest site

After confrontations with protesters, which led to at least six arrests, police officers and deputies from UCPD, UCSF and the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, have pulled back, leaving a few tents in place.

Meanwhile, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost George Breslauer, Vice Chancellor Harry LeGrande and Associate Chancellor Linda Williams, walked to the protest site from California Hall to speak with protesters, remind them that encampments and occupation of buildings are not allowed and seek a peaceful resolution to the conflict. The crowd has dwindled to 200 protesters, according to UCPD estimates.

Earlier in the afternoon, dozens of UCPD officers were engaged in a standoff with protestors. Police had repeated “camping is illegal” through bullhorns, while protesters were chanting, “Whose university? Our university.”

Throughout the day, the group of protesters has been diverse, and included students, faculty, staff and members of the community.

3:05 p.m. General assembly votes to establish encampment

General assembly of protestersUC police are attempting to take down a half-dozen pop-up tents that were set up on the grass next to the steps of Sproul Hall. This action follows the 456-1 vote by the “general assembly” of protesters, which began meeting at 1:45 p.m., in favor of establishing an encampment at UC Berkeley. There were 12 abstentions in the vote.

Protesters formed a human shield around the tents and sang, “We shall not be moved.” 

The full text of the proposals that the general assembly voted on is available online.

1:40 p.m. Protesters march along Telegraph

An estimated 800 protesters, some chanting and drumming, left the rally at Sproul Plaza and moved toward Telegraph Avenue. They wrapped yellow caution tape around the Bank of America building on the corner of Telegraph and Durant avenues, then headed back to campus, where organizers plan to hold a “general assembly” on Sproul Plaza to map out next steps.

1:10 p.m. Large crowds gather at Sproul for noontime rally

At least 3,000 protesters gathered for a midday rally at Sproul Plaza. The crowd included students, faculty and staff, as well as members from groups such as Occupy Oakland.

“I’m here standing in solidarity with all of you to send a powerful message that this disinvestment in public higher education needs to end,” said Joey Freeman, ASUC external affairs vice president, addressing the crowd.
 
Crowd gathers at Sproul Plaza Nov. 9Earlier today, dozens of students participated in the teach-outs at sites throughout campus, including Sproul Plaza and outside Dwinelle Hall and the Valley Life Sciences Building. Taking cues from the Occupy movement, organizers have stated plans to establish an encampment on campus. 

On Monday, Chancellor Birgeneau sent a letter to the campus community supporting those choosing to participate in today’s events, while emphasizing the need to comply with campus policies. “Our students are the future of this country,” the chancellor wrote, “and it will be your voices and your actions that have the potential to transform this nation to fulfill its highest aspirations…We encourage our entire community to act responsibly and show the world what we are known for — a place where the best and brightest youth, staff and faculty from all socioeconomic backgrounds work collectively to solve world problems.”
 
A letter from the ASUC to the Cal community said student leaders have “unwavering support for our campus’ principles of community and encourage all students to engage in conduct appropriate to and respectful of our overarching mission of equity and inclusion…We are all members of the same campus community and should treat one another accordingly.”
 
“We support students to participate in peaceful demonstrations, namely the planned walk-out, noon rally on Sproul Plaza, and various teach-ins, and ask all students to be mindful of their own rights and to be respectful of our peers,” said Vishalli Loomba, president of the ASUC.