Occupy Cal to hold demonstration in Anthropology Library

Signs around campus promote the first Occupy Cal event after winter break.
Mary Zheng/Staff
Signs around campus promote the first Occupy Cal event after winter break.

Occupy Cal protesters plan to hold a “study-in” encampment in the UC Berkeley anthropology library Thursday to protest recent cuts to library hours and unfilled staff positions.

The protesters plan to use the George and Mary Foster Anthropology Library in Kroeber Hall as a study-in space for two hours in the afternoon before beginning an encampment at 5 p.m., when the library is scheduled to close for the day.

Protesters wrote in an announcement that they hope to “keep the library open as a shared public space,” despite prior clashes between campus administration and Occupy Cal protesters over encampments.

The planned action will follow a noon “Spring into Action” rally on Sproul Plaza. The rally stands in solidarity with protesters converging on UC Riverside for the second day of the UC Board of Regents meeting.

The demonstration also comes as a reaction against cuts to library hours, which have been reduced from nine hours per day during the week to five hours per day due to budget cuts.

Additionally, protesters have taken issue with the financial challenges that have prevented the library from hiring a staff member to fill an open position.

After the recent resignation of a library employee, the library has struggled to fill the position with someone of the same caliber, according to Terrence Deacon, anthropology department chair and professor of biological anthropology and neuroscience.

Although “the past employee resigned of his own accord, the library hasn’t had the funds to replace him with someone with the same knowledge and capability,” Deacon said.

The library does not have a full-time staff due to tight funds, he added.

Around 40 protesters voted unanimously in favor of the study-in and encampment proposal at a general assembly meeting Tuesday.

Although the demonstration will take place indoors, the protesters said they plan to set up tents after library hours as a symbolic gesture.

The group’s planned encampment, however, stands in violation of the campus policy against “camping or lodging on university property other than in authorized facilities,” according to the campus student code of conduct.

Afsana Afzal covers academics and administration.