Walkout draws moderate crowd of protesters to Upper Sproul, Wheeler Hall

Sophia Elia/Staff

Sophia Elia/Staff

Leya Andrews/Staff

Kayla Shapiro/Staff

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As the chalk advertising Thursday’s walkout slowly washed away in the pouring rain, about 200 UC Berkeley students, faculty members and clerical workers gathered on Upper Sproul Plaza around noon to protest recent tuition increases and the management of UC funds.

Representatives from the student workers union UAW Local 2865 and the group Students for a Democratic University  led the protest, emphasizing the need to prevent further cuts and build a broader movement to protect public education.

“We’ve seen that protest does have some effect with the deferred tuition hikes, but Prop. 30 does not guarantee (the state) won’t reduce funding (in the future),” said associate professor of English Geoffrey O’Brien, a speaker at the protest. “We need to go on the offensive rather than just react to bad news.”

Proposition 30, a ballot measure that will temporarily increase the income tax on the wealthiest Californians and state sales tax by a quarter of a percentage point, passed at the polls Tuesday. Its passage spared the university from a $250 million midyear budget cut.

Speakers also advocated for affirmative action and criticized the campus’s cost-cutting Operational Excellence initiative and the California prison system.

Juan Garcia, a member of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, heavily criticized Operational Excellence, calling it “Operation Elimination,” because the of the staff layoffs that have resulted from the program’s implementation. He also criticized the campus for hiring a private firm to manage its Early Childhood Education Program.

After the number of protesters diminished as the rain intensified, about 100 protesters, with a brass band in tow, marched to the lobby of Wheeler Hall, where they began discussing a list of demands to present at a protest planned for the UC Board of Regents meeting next week.

At an ad hoc general assembly, students divided into smaller groups to discuss the demands and ongoing strategies for further demonstrations. After discussion, representatives presented their suggestions and thoughts to the entire assembly.

As the assembly broke up, attendees and members of UAW 2865 continued to work on large hand-painted signs with slogans like “No hikes, no cuts, no privatization” intended for use at next week’s demonstrations.

SDU spokesperson Maggie Hardy said the intent of much of the conversation among demonstrators was to plan a student response to the regents meeting. She emphasized SDU’s goals of developing an undergraduate student union as well as the necessity of student oversight of the funds gathered from Prop. 30.

“Our goal is to build a more sustained student movement over the next few weeks,” Hardy said. “We didn’t want to make this into an occupation — that would make students feel scared or threatened.”

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  • Le Grad Student

    Look at how many protestors there were, then consider there are roughly 36,000 students at Berkeley.

    Only a very, very small fraction are still making noise. The problem is, they’re so loud and this school has such a reputation for protest that it’s all getting blown out of proportion. The vast majority of us have gotten back to our work, in order to show taxpayers that we’re worth the tax increase of Proposition 30. First and foremost, this is a place for learning and working and that’s why we came here.

  • McCoy

    fucking liberals , stop making america bad you NF GDI Hippie losers
    Go America
    Fuck off GDI losers

  • I_h8_disqus

    “We’ve seen that protest does have some effect with the deferred tuition hikes.” True, but not as much effect as other efforts. It is time to move the focus from protest and to lobbying efforts. We just collected about $3 billion from wealthy donors. These are people with real influence. We should work with these donors to lobby the legislature and governor to fund the UC. And keep the message focused. Don’t dilute the message with affirmative action and union messages, because that will just lessen the chance to get the funding message across. The people with real influence are the ones in suits with money who can directly talk with the legislators. It is time for us to send these people into the fight.

  • Calipenguin

    “…the necessity of student oversight of the funds gathered from Prop. 30.”

    I just had to laugh at the delusions of the SDU members. There is NO MONEY coming to U.C. Berkeley from Prop. 30, so what good will a student oversight committee be? I mean, sure, the committee can watch the money siphoned off to teacher’s pensions and prison guard unions, but none of that money was slated to pass through UC hands anyways. And it’s not as if SDU or the UAW local 2865 would ever utter a peep if it discovers money going to other union pensions instead of student services.

  • Current Student

    walkout draws moderate crowd of drama queens, who don’t know **** about the state budge but enjoy feeling important. film at 11.

    • Tony M

      You pretty much nailed it.

    • libsrclowns

      Money is fungible. Watch the 30 money go to unfunded state pensions. Then watch your tuition go up suckers.

      Moonbeam lied, Ed funding died.

      • boo

        lib — why don’t you whine about Romney losing some more. Face it, baby — you lost and we are in charge. Give us your money so we can give it to welfare queens.

        • Guest

          Haha republicans only like democracy when they win.

          • Nunya Beeswax

            And when they lose, they start muttering darkly about “second amendment remedies,” secession, and revolution. Some of them even talk about how much they hate America.

          • Current Student

            If they don’t like it, then they can just leave.

            Oh wait, that’s what they did in the Civil War and they got their asses kicked. LOL.

          • Tony M

            Nah, we don’t need to secede. We just stop hiring sniveling little ingrates who think their mere existence on the planet warrants a government subsidy. Let’ see how smug you are when you get out of school and try to find a job, and find out that the people who would have hired you have decided that growing their business isn’t worth the hassle thanks to the increased taxes and regulations. Hiring at best will be to maintain the absolute necessary level of staffing, and when the choice comes between a mature, experienced member of the workforce with strong conservative values and some self-centered college graduate who resent those who are successful through their own efforts, guess who’s going to get the job, and who’s going to be camped out with their parents for a few more years due to the sucky job market?

            Gloat all you want over Obama’s re-election while you’re still in college and removed from the real world. I guarantee most of you aren’t going to be quite as smug and overconfident when it’s time to step up to the plate and become a productive member of society.

          • Guest

            “decided that growing their business isn’t worth the hassle”

            Who’s lazy now? I’m willing to bust my butt working for them, and they can’t even have the decency to keep the company going because they are sniveling over their measly $10 million salaries? If they don’t want to, then I’ll run the company with all the other workers.

            “Hiring at best will be to maintain the absolute necessary level of staffing”

            You obviously don’t understand the meaning of “profit motive” if you think that companies are not already doing this.

            “Gloat all you want over Obama’s re-election while you’re still in
            college and removed from the real world. I guarantee most of you aren’t
            going to be quite as smug and overconfident when it’s time to step up to
            the plate and become a productive member of society.”

            The votes from the “real world” is what won Obama…again. So obviously the real world has made up its mind. Maybe if you want your “values” to be taken seriously, you should stop saying things about 1) rape, 2) god, 3) family, 4) drugs, 5) anything.

            By the way, I didn’t even vote for Obama, and it’s still awesome to rub it into your red (works on two levels) faces.

          • Stan De San Diego

            “Who’s lazy now? I’m willing to bust my butt working for them, and they
            can’t even have the decency to keep the company going because they are
            sniveling over their measly $10 million salaries? If they don’t want to,
            then I’ll run the company with all the other workers.”

            People earn what they are worth in the private sector. You’re always welcome to start your own business if you think you’re getting a raw deal. As someone who has started my own business, you get to enjoy such privileges as working for months of even years before you even get to the breaking even point, working 60-70 hours per week, and foregoing a lot of personal comforts for the sake of keeping your company afloat. But crybabies like you will never start your own business, because you value your own personal short-term comfort and security over the type of discipline needed to reach any level of success.

          • Tony M

            [I'm willing to bust my butt working for them, and they can't even have
            the decency to keep the company going because they are sniveling over
            their measly $10 million salaries? If they don't want to, then I'll run
            the company with all the other workers.]

            Fine. Put up the money and buy them out. Otherwise, stop your whining…

          • Guest Again

            > “You obviously don’t understand the

            > meaning of “profit motive” if you think

            > that companies are not already doing this.”

            You clearly don’t understand the difference between growing a business and maintaining the status quo, do you? In case you haven’t noticed, the real unemployment rate in California is above 10%, and those with little or no previous job experience (which includes students and minorities) are disproportionately affected. Sure, businesses will continue to exist and make money, but their hiring will be restricted to replacing only those absolutely essential workers when they retire or quit. They certainly won’t be planning any type of expansion or taking risks such as hiring young people fresh out of college with no previous track record, which is the only thing that will bring this state out of the current recession.

            Here’s some advice for you (although I doubt you are wise or mature enough to take it): those rich people you hate so much will keep getting by even when the shortsighted rabble attempt to stick it to them. The ones who WILL suffer will be all those recent college graduates who are going to have to lower their expectations and instead take the same type of menial low-paying jobs they (presumably) went to college to escape in the first place. Keep that in mind next time you whine and cry about how you’re so abused by those bad old rich people, OK?

          • Nunya Beeswax

            I’m pretty sure I graduated from college before you did, Tony, but thanks for the lecture.

      • UCBAlum

        Back to the Daily Cal after a year’s absence and what is the first thing I see? It’s Lib, spreading his special brand of joy and cheer. Same time next year, lib? Great…catch you later.