UC Santa Cruz, UC San Diego protests include traffic blockages, occupations

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While the March 1 Day of Action at UC Berkeley garnered less participation than expected, demonstrations at UC Santa Cruz and UC San Diego were characterized by disruptions of the campuses’ normal activities.

Protesters at UC Santa Cruz started the day early, effectively shutting down campus operations such as traffic in and out of the campus from 4:30 a.m. until around 5:30 p.m. And rallies at UC San Diego took an unexpected turn when a group of protesters occupied a conference room in the campus administrative complex in the afternoon.

But the day’s protests extended beyond the scope of the state. According to The Wall Street Journal, hundreds of Occupy Education demonstrators marched across the Brooklyn Bridge, while other protests occurred at the University of Pennsylvania and Ohio State University, among other locations.

“I have a 5-year-old son, and I’m hoping that he can go to college,” said UC Santa Cruz graduate student Joshua Brahinsky. “I think a lot of what we do is for him.”

Brahinsky, who helped organize the protests, said about 1,400 demonstrators participated in the day’s events, which brought cafeterias, classes, libraries and even traffic to a standstill.

Dozens of protesters stood at two of the main entrances to campus throughout the day, blocking all vehicles except emergency vehicles. Brahinsky said the blockades incited some instances of road rage, including a motorist who allegedly hit several protesters and caused them minor injuries.

He said he nonetheless considered the day’s events successful, as protesters were able to set up a temporary “tent university” and brainstormed solutions to declining state funding.

“Today’s action was kind of incredible in that we had even the people who were pissed (about the traffic disturbances) saying, ‘I understand completely what you’re doing,’” he said.

But UC Santa Cruz freshman Jason Marrott said the protests were somewhat hypocritical. Although he supports the cause, he was frustrated that most of the libraries were closed because of the protests, as well as most of the campus cafeterias.

“If we’re protesting the cuts to education, why would we skip school?” he said. “I don’t really see the point of it.”

In an email to students, UC Santa Cruz Chancellor George Blumenthal shared similar concerns.

“We wholeheartedly support advocacy in support of education,” he said in the email. “However, we take issue with a protest that simultaneously denies students access to those classes for which they have paid.”

UC San Diego also began the day with rallies, but at around 3 p.m. a group of between 30 and 60 students entered and occupied a conference room in the campus’s administrative complex. Campus student government Vice President for External Affairs Samer Naji said the protesters handed administrative officials in the room a list of demands and planned to stay there overnight.

But later in the day, a man dressed in plain clothes standing within the group raised suspicions among protesters, Naji said. After some probing, the man admitted to being a campus police officer but would not show his badge, according to Naji.

“They’ve been really hesitant to use UCPD to break up protests,” he said.

Campus spokesperson Jeff Gattas said the presence of police officers in plain clothes at protests was not unusual.

“We always have plainclothes officers at all gatherings,” he said. “It’s our protocol.”

Damian Ortellado is the lead higher education reporter.

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  • Stan De San Diego

    “The tax proposals are getting over 60% support in recent polls. Middle
    class people are not stupid and realize now that something is wrong when
    billionaires have a lower tax rate than their middle-class staff.”

    Except that billionaires do NOT have a lower tax rate on their earnings, another distortion pumped out by the left.

  • I’m with the Public Education Coalition of UCSD. We have *reclaimed* the Chancellor’s Complex and will be staying there indefinitely until our demands are met.
    Please stay updated at reclaimucsd.wordpress.com

    • Stan De San Diego

      Hope the cops protect the taxpayer’s interests and throw your asses off campus permanently.

    • libsrclowns

      What rights do you have to re claim this property?


      • what rights do the Board of Regents have to give each other bonuses until their salaries are twice that of the President of the United States?


  • Guest

    Kudos to UCSC students for coming out.  They’ve certainly read Prof Meister’s “They Pledge Your Tuition” (http://cucfa.org/news/2009_oct19.php).  Meanwhile, administrators continue to hand themselves raises and Regents get neck-deep in conflicts of interest.  You can stay home and carp or get out there and improve your situation.

  • libsrclowns

    Wacko Libs in the house again….yawn

    • Ckm

       oh yes, so easy to be clever from the sidelines.  Maybe a slot on the Limbaugh show?

  • Guest

    “If we’re protesting the cuts to education, why would we skip school?” he said. “I don’t really see the point of it.”

    So by that token, people shouldn’t strike for higher wages at work because they will miss work?

    •  So what makes you think their protests are going to change anything? Will they somehow magically make money appear from nowhere?

      • Ckm

         They already have duh. Regent’s meeting protests have stopped yet another tuition increase. Libraries have been prevented from closing or cutting their hours. Where have YOU been?

        • Stan De San Diego

          And what wasteful programs have been curtailed to accomplish that?

          The budget is still not balanced, which is the main problem.

        • Calipenguin

           The protests did not cause California to get more money.  Cuts were made to other services so that tuition won’t go up.  And the libraries stayed open only because the protesters volunteered their own time and labor.  If the protesters were to volunteer more instead of protesting then perhaps fewer cuts would be necessary.

      • Sam N

        Look up Speaker Perez’s proposal, look up the Millionaires Tax, look up Governor Brown’s tax proposals. ALL of those are a result of student demonstrations and lobbying. 

        • Stan De San Diego

           And you really think any of those plans are going to solve California’s fiscal problems? Please elaborate.

          • libsrclowns

            These proposals will never be enacted. Clueless Libs only know taxes and spending. FAILURE TARDS

          • Guest

            The tax proposals are getting over 60% support in recent polls. Middle class people are not stupid and realize now that something is wrong when billionaires have a lower tax rate than their middle-class staff.

    • Guest

       There’s a difference between 1) protesters choosing to skip school or work so they can protest and 2) protesters forcing other people to miss school and work.  Nobody is saying you can’t or shouldn’t protest.  Just don’t drag me into it and cause me to miss class or work meetings.  Until you understand that, you will continue to alienate the rest of the community who is tired of your inconsiderate antics.