Occupy Cal protesters move to Doe Library steps

Members of Occupy Cal have moved their tents to the steps of Doe Library.
Benny Grush/Staff
Members of Occupy Cal have moved their tents to the steps of Doe Library.

Occupy Cal protesters moved their tents from the steps outside of Sproul Hall to the steps of Doe Memorial Library Tuesday morning, continuing an encampment that began Thursday.

Protesters decided shortly before midnight Monday to temporarily move to the steps in front of UC Berkeley’s largest library in an effort to draw students’ attention toward library cuts, according to Katy Ryan, a UC Berkeley senior and member of Occupy Cal’s encampment committee.

Ryan said that while there “was no necessary shift” in intent of the Occupy Cal movement — which focuses on protesting against tuition increases and state funding cuts — protesters believe that restricted library hours have significantly affected students.

The centerpiece of the encampment is a round-the-clock silent study space because “there is no 24-hour study space on campus, except during finals,” she said.

However, University Librarian Tom Leonard said in an email that library staff have been working to provide access for students to study space for a number of years.

“In fact, the main campus library has been open more late night hours this year than ever before in our entire history,” he said in the email. “As the protest on the steps of the Doe Library was underway, our library was open until 2 a.m.”

The move away from Sproul comes as national support for the Occupy movement has decreased, and the Occupy Cal encampment faces pressure from the campus administration and police. The tents still violate campus policy in the new location, Associate Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs Claire Holmes said in an email.

The campus administration is currently trying communicate with the protesters “to make sure they are fully aware that they are in violation of the no encampment rule,” Holmes said in the email.“We continue to monitor and assess the situation and will continue to reach out to the group to encourage them to leave on their own accord.”

UCPD spokesperson Lt. Eric Tejada said in an email that the new encampment is not sanctioned by the campus police.

The campus police plan to “monitor the situation, and stay in contact with the group so they will continue to be aware that they are in violation of campus policy and state law,” he said in the email.

Still, the encampment stands for now, decked out with guitars, impromptu art pieces and a mushroom sculpture.