Wednesday marks another day of action at UC Berkeley. Among the plans are teach-outs beginning at 8 a.m. and a noon rally on Sproul Plaza. Also a possibility is the establishment of an encampment under the moniker “Occupy Cal” — but the campus administration has forcefully stated that such an encampment will not be tolerated, and UCPD has said that it will take “appropriate actions” to enforce campus policy. Still, organizers have said they will go forward with the encampment, which will be finalized at a 1:30 p.m. general assembly.
Jamie Applegate, Alisha Azevedo, Adelyn Baxter, Travis Bickham, Geena Cova, Weiru Fang, Sara Grossman, Sara Khan, Jasmine Mausner, Curan Mehra, Damian Ortellado, Annie Sciacca, Christopher Yee and Oksana Yurovsky of The Daily Californian reporting from the field.
As the number of protesters in Sproul Plaza dwindles, so does the number of police. A bus has come to pick up the contingent from the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.
Occupy Cal participants have voted to strike — theoretically in solidarity with demonstrators across the UC system — on Tuesday. The vote passed by a count of 569 yeses, 31 noes and 29 abstentions. General assembly meetings are to occur every day in Sproul Plaza at 6 p.m. to plan for the strike.
Update: The arrested protesters were actually taken to Glenn E. Dyer Detention Facility in Oakland, according to UCPD Lt. Alex Yao.
Thirty-nine protesters have been arrested so far, according to UCPD Lt. Alex Yao. Seven were arrested earlier in the day while 32 were arrested during the second round of clashes between police and protesters. All of the arrested demonstrators have been sent to Santa Rita County Jail for processing. All of those arrested were arrested on two charges: resisting and delaying a police officer in the performance of their duties and failure to disperse when given a dispersal order. Over the course of the day officers from the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, the Oakland Police Department and UCPD responded to the protest. Yao could not confirm which forces are still at the protest and would not disclose the number of police officers dispatched during the protest.
According to ASUC President Vishalli Loomba and ASUC External Affairs Vice President Joey Freeman, police will move in and arrest protesters if they don’t leave. The student leaders said the police would issue a warning before arresting demonstrators.
The Occupy Cal general assembly has said that they will reconvene tomorrow at 6 p.m. and has put out calls for food and blankets. Organizers plan to also gather 10 a.m. to urge student participation and recruit more students for the movement.
As the Occupy Cal protest gains global recognition — the protest’s hashtag #occupycal recently trended worldwide on Twitter — participants put out a call for donations of food and blankets to get through the night.
Occupy Oakland and Occupy SF protesters have showed up in Sproul Plaza as well, numbering in the hundreds. Speakers continue to talk via the human microphone.
The police have cleared the encampment and set up a skirmish line at the base of Sproul Hall.
Meanwhile, the general assembly has started up again. A speaker has proposed meeting a 10 a.m. Thursday morning and to begin recruiting other students to support Occupy Cal.
Police and protesters are clashing on the grass as officers use batons to advance against protesters, who have linked arms around the tent. Police have pushed their way through the line and are taking down the tent.
Approximately 50 police, having made a line at the northwest corner of Sproul Hall, are now pushing protesters back with force.
About 150 protesters are linking arms on the grass next to the Sproul steps in order to surround the tent and are calling for more people to join them.
Approximately 200 people are still standing on the steps of Sproul, but there is not much discussion of the encampment. Rather, protesters are playing board games and blowing bubbles as they await the arrival of Occupy Oakland demonstrators, who are expected to arrive on campus around 10 p.m. A band is also expected to come to provide live music for the Occupy Cal protesters.
The fire alarm has been pulled in Dwinelle Hall.
Police are walking a perimeter around the Occupy Cal encampment.
The Occupy Cal assembly has voted overwhelmingly to maintain the encampment despite the administration’s demands. After the vote, successive speakers have discussed plans with the assembly. Police are now nearby the assembly.
ASUC President Vishalli Loomba is now addressing the Occupy Cal assembly:
“This afternoon went very well. There was a lot of constructive dialogue. It is difficult to see now with these negotiations; it’s very tense. I’m worried and unsure about what’s going to happen. I’m trying to facilitate for the students. My concern, first and foremost, is their safety.”
Le Grande is now speaking to the general assembly:
“You may gather 24/7 over the next week on Upper Sproul, but our policy says no tents, no sleeping bags, no fires or cooking and no sleeping. We hope that you will work with one another and us to maintain these guidelines. If not abided by, we will give you a 10-minute warning before the police come.”
Protesters responded with chants of “bullshit.”
Campus administrators have begun to speak to the general assembly. Le Grande has entered the assembly’s circle to speak to the protesters. ASUC President Vishalli Loomba, Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion Gibor Basri and UCPD Chief Mitch Celaya are also there.
According to CalSERVE Senator Andrew Albright, the protesters will be allowed to stay in the plaza 24/7 but will not be allowed to have an encampment. They will be allowed to keep canopies but will not be allowed to keep tents, according to Albright.
Protesters are concerned about Sproul Hall lawn sprinklers going off this evening and are trying to get them shut off. Approximately 40 students from Sociology 124 — the sociology of poverty — have joined the occupiers.
Berkeley City Councilmember Kriss Worthington is at the protest in support of the students and called the police actions “illegal.”
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Harry Le Grande and other administrators will come to the Sproul steps to speak with protesters in about 15 minutes, according to UC Berkeley spokesperson Janet Gilmore.
According to Freeman, he — along with other ASUC Senators, Loomba and Navab — met with Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion Gibor Basri, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Harry Le Grande and UCPD Chief Mitch Celaya to discuss concerns about encampment. The administration will get back to Loomba and Freeman at 5:30 with a compromise on the encampment, which the ASUC representatives will then bring to the Occupy Cal general assembly.
At the assembly, organizers are passing out water and collecting donations to get dinner while they wait for the administration response.
The general assembly is underway, with ASUC President Vishalli Loomba and ASUC External Affairs Vice President Joey Freeman in attendance. Freeman, CalSERVE Senator Andrew Albright and Graduate Assembly President Bahar Navab, among others, recently met with senior campus administrators to discuss the encampment and how to handle it.
Police are moving in towards protesters again after giving another announcement to disperse.
UC Berkeley student Erick Uribe said he was jabbed continuously with a police baton when attacked in the bushes next to Sproul Hall.
Police are returning to where the protesters are standing. The protesters are chanting, “Protect the tents.”
The protesters are trying to organize another general assembly, which will take place on the grass next to the Sproul steps where the tents are currently set up.
UC Berkeley spokesperson Janet Gilmore confirms six protesters arrested. Five were arrested during the clash near the Sproul steps, and one was arrested earlier in the day.
Police have retreated from the protesters, disregarding the tents still standing as protesters cheer.
Ashley Pinkerton, a UC Berkeley senior, reported getting hit with a baton by police.
“We were linked arms, peacefully, when they were stabbing and beating people as hard as they could, it hurt really bad when they got me in the stomach,” she said, visibly sweating.
Police are taking down several tents, but some are still set up. Police are skirmishing with protesters, and at least one protester has been detained.
Protesters have linked arms and are resisting police attempts to break into their group towards the tents. Police are using their batons to attempt to break through the protesters’ line. Police are being pushed back by the protesters and are almost surrounded by protesters.
Police have announced in their dispersal order that camping is unlawful while protesters chant, “We’re just standing,” “The whole word is watching” and “What law are we breaking?”
Police have issued a second dispersal notice to the protesters. If the protesters do not disperse, they risk arrest.
Approximately 150 to 200 people are at the Sproul steps right now. Police officers are standing on the grass and on the north side of Sproul Hall.
Police officers at the encampment have riot helmets, batons and zip tie handcuffs. UCPD has just issued a dispersal order to the protesters.
Protesters are making a line to guard the grass next to the Sproul steps where the tents have been put, singing, “We shall not be moved.”
UCPD officers are trying to prevent the setting up of the encampment. Occupy Cal protesters are joining hands around the tents in an attempt to get police from getting to the tents.
The vote overwhelmingly approved of establishing the Occupy Cal encampment, with 456 votes in favor, 12 abstaining votes and 1 vote against. The camp will be established on the steps of Sproul Plaza and the surrounding area.
Protesters have voted to occupy. Organizers are taking a formal count of the votes, but it looks close to unanimous, according to reporters in Sproul Plaza.
According to UCPD Lt. Alex Yao, there hasn’t been any violence so far today, but there are extra officers on campus from the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office and other UC campus’ police departments to bolster the UCPD force.
Read a copy of the draft proposal here. Some people have expressed concern with putting the phrase, “We will have fun,” in the statement.
The general assembly will meet every day at 6 p.m. According to organizers, the assembly will need 80 percent approval for decisions and will remain peaceful and nonviolent. The assembly is now breaking into groups of 5 to 10 people to discuss the proposal to establish the encampment.
The UC Berkeley general assembly presented a proposal to be voted on to establish an encampment on campus. Student organizer Marco Amaral is reading a statement to the assembly:
“We the UC Berkeley general assembly hereby establish an encampment on the UC Berkeley campus in order to … help the university become what it always should have been: open and free to all … We disagree with the idea that this university and this land are the property of the UC Regents, the vast majority of whom hail from the 1 percent.”
The assembly participants are discussing how to structure the Occupy Cal encampment. After discussion, they will vote on a statement and then set up the encampment. However, setting up an encampment goes directly against campus policy, according to UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau, who said in an email to the campus community Monday night that setting up tents on campus would not be tolerated.
As demonstrators discuss the historical significance of past free speech movements, the assembly — which one speaker termed a “form of direct democracy” — is using the human megaphone method, where the crowd repeats everything to ensure that all participants can hear.
Protesters, having returned from their march to Bank of America, are now circling for a general assembly in Sproul Plaza.
The demonstrators are now heading back to Sproul Plaza for the general assembly.
The protesters, having now taped around the bank, are standing in the intersection of Telegraph and Durant Avenues. They have also put up signs on the bank’s ATMs.
Protesters are stringing caution tape over the entrance to the Bank of America. They are trying to put tape around the entire bank, moving from Telegraph Avenue onto the Durant Avenue side of the bank.
Nancy Reiko Kato, assistant registrar at the UC Berkeley School of Law and a member UPTE-CWA 9119, said the crowd reflected the diversity of the Occupy movement.
“Numerically it’s a great crowd, but more importantly, it’s a diverse crowd,” she says. “We all recognize we’re the 99 percent.”
Protesters are now starting to march towards Telegraph Avenue and the Bank of America, chanting, “We won’t let you privatize, shut it down, occupy.” Police on motorcycles have stopped traffic so the protesters — who are also chanting, “We got sold out, banks got bailed out” — can march.
Organizers are now saying that the protest will march down Telegraph Avenue to Bank of America and then return to Sproul Plaza for the general assembly.
ASUC SQUELCH! Senator Noah Ickowitz says this is the largest protest UC Berkeley has seen since 2009.
“It has molded the two movements — Occupy Oakland and the anti-fee increase,” he says.
The protesters in Sproul Plaza are drawing on each other for confidence.
“It makes me feel good to see that I’m not alone,” said UC Berkeley senior Kacey Carter. “A lot of people feel this way.”
ASUC External Affairs Vice President Joey Freeman is now speaking on the Sproul steps.
“I am here in solidarity with you,” he says. “It’s time to wake up and realize that the California dream is really a nightmare.”
Freeman adds that the state’s problems lie with revenue collection.
“First and foremost, everyone needs to pay their share,” he says. “We need to support a progressive tax measure to make wealthier Californians pay more for our education.”
“Last week student debt surpassed $1 trillion,” Raiford says. “We owe more in loans than we do in credit card debt. Much of that debt is held by the big banks.”
Approximately 1,000 demonstrators and observers are in Sproul Plaza now for the rally.
Leigh Raiford, associate professor of African American studies, starts the speeches.
“As California goes, so goes the country,” she says to a packed Sproul Plaza.
As the rally is set to start, about 300 people are in Sproul Plaza. Students with megaphones are standing on the Sproul steps as about 40 other protesters march through the plaza carrying signs and chanting, “No cuts, no fees, education must be free.” News helicopters are now circling overhead.
A Rhetoric R1B class of about 27 students has just arrived at Sproul Plaza.
“We think that it’s important that we continue to pay attention to the ways in which the public university is being treated,” said Matt Bonal, a co-teacher of the class.
Intro to Sociology graduate student instructor Sarah Anne Minkin said the teach-out was a perfect opportunity for students to learn about the class’ subject matter in the real world — social inequality.
“I would have taught out in any class, I think fighting for public education is very important as our right,” she said. “It’s very important to be a part of this movement, for me, as a human being it’s also important, and it’s also important as a teacher for the students to be a part of it as well.”
There are now approximately 120 students participating in teach-outs in Sproul Plaza.
Organizers are preparing for the noon rally in Sproul Plaza. Tables are being set up and megaphones brought out as organizers rip pieces of red fabric to distribute to demonstrators.
Sara Charanne, an Occupy Oakland protester, came to campus to stand side-by-side with Occupy Cal protesters and expects thousands of people at the noon rally.
“I love seeing all the movements working together in solidarity, because it really is the same issues everywhere,” she said.
Approximately 100 students and graduate student instructors are now on Sproul Plaza.
The general assembly to determine when and where to begin the Occupy Cal encampment will likely be held on Sproul Plaza after the post-rally march, according to Tanya Smith, a member of the Union of Professional and Technical Employees. However, the assembly’s exact location has not yet been given because organizers have noticed a police presence, Smith said.
There are now nine separate teach-outs being held on Sproul.
Student organizer and UC Berkeley junior Marco Amaral said he expects more people at this rally because of the increase in publicity generated by the Occupy Oakland movement.
“Because of the political climate surrounding the Occupy Oakland movement, I think people will make the connection with privatization of the UC,” he said. “The movements are in support of each other, and I think Occupy Oakland people will head over to Occupy Cal … The Regents are part of the 1 percent and the problem.”
Javiera Barandiaran, a graduate student instructor in the department of environmental science, policy and management, said she decided to teach her bioethics class outside to highlight the importance of public education.
“I have about 50 students and they feel the publicness of Berkeley was an important reason they came here,” she said. “They are disappointed. This financial burden (of tuition and fee hikes) conditions people and shapes peoples’ career choices. This university belongs to the people of California, not the super rich.”
Meanwhile, a group of about 10 protesters is at the edge of Sproul Plaza on Bancroft Street and Telegraph Avenue chanting “No cuts, no fees, education must be free,” and “The people, united, will never be divided,” while holding signs bearing slogans such as “Defend public education now.”
Teach-outs are also happening around the Valley Life Sciences Building, where two groups of about 15 students each are wrapping up.
The number of teach-outs has grown. There are now three happening outside Dwinelle Hall and six more on Sproul Plaza.
Junior Danielle Nahal said the purpose of the day of action goes beyond just teaching a class in Sproul Plaza.
“People need to realize it’s not just about the humanities — it’s about students, it’s about tuition,” she said after her art history section adjourned on the plaza. “If we let this keep happening, it’s going to get worse.”
One student’s teach-out session has convinced him to participate further in the day of action.
“During class we were kind of feeling the events surrounding today,” said Ryan Petigura of his experience at his sociology section on Sproul Plaza. “I wasn’t sure before, but now I’m pretty sure I’m going to partake in at least two of today’s events.”
The first teach-out sessions of the day are breaking up in Sproul Plaza.
On graduate student instructor, Shishir Agrawal, decided to take his Math 1A section to the plaza in support of the day of action.
“It seemed like a good cause and (my students) were enthusiastic about it,” he said. Agrawal had given his students an online survey to determine if they wanted to have class on Sproul, and students voted nearly unanimously “yes.”
He plans to take his other Math 1A section to Sproul Plaza later in the day.
Approximately 50 students are participating in four distinct teach-outs on Sproul Plaza.