Students block Sather Gate on Cal Day in protest of treatment of undocumented UC students

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Adrienne Shih/Senior Staff

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A group of roughly 30 student demonstrators gathered in front of Sather Gate on Saturday afternoon, protesting UC President Janet Napolitano’s treatment of undocumented students within the UC system.

The protest was held on Cal Day, a day when the campus opened its grounds for prospective students accepted to the class of 2020.

Protesters, formed in tandem with campus organizations in support of undocumented students’ rights, chanted for both Napolitano and campus Chancellor Nicholas Dirks’ resignation, interspersing their calls with the Spanish words for “we are fighting.”

The UC Office of the President currently allocates $5 million of emergency grant funding for undocumented students across the UC system — used for such purposes as funding food, textbooks and housing. The grants, however, are set to expire in June, and Napolitano has yet to renew the fund.

According to Juan Prieto, protest organizer and former Daily Californian layout designer, by eliminating this source of funding, services vital for campus undocumented students would be at risk, such as legal advisers and psychological counselors.

“They’re cutting our funding,” said Angelica Vargas, a campus junior. “Cutting that funding would make my existence at Cal impossible.”

Prieto said, in light of former Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Claude Steele’s resignation Friday, his successor would need to “understand the disparity” undocumented students face and would need to be transparent during future conversations with the community.

ASUC Senator Boomer Vicente, who was present at the demonstration and stood in support of undocumented students, said he was “shocked” by some negative responses and comments the protesters received.

Vicente expressed appreciation for several campus administrators, including Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean of Students Joseph Greenwell, who assisted in negotiating with those who were attempting to push through the line of demonstrators.

Our intention wasn’t to cause people to be angry, but to showcase a message,” Vicente said. “A one hour delay on Sproul does not even equate to the oppression undocumented students face on campus.”

Yet for some prospective students, though the message of the protest was both visually and ideologically powerful, it was seen as an inconvenience rather than a practical form of demonstration.

“I don’t really see what it gets done. It seems like it’s just blocking people who want to visit the campus for Cal Day,” said Kyle Schweizer, a prospective campus student. “People walk through here, and it kind of hurts (the campus’s) image.”

For others, seeing the protest on a day when the campus opens its doors to prospective students paid homage to UC Berkeley’s history of activism.

“I think it’s very powerful to hear these stories because undocumented students are already very unheard,” said Karla Vazquez, a prospective campus student. “It’s very important on a day like this. I love that students here stand up for what they want.”

Senior staff writers Andrea Platten and Suhauna Hussain contributed to this report.

Adrienne Shih is the city news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @adrienneshih.

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  • Timesfull

    These protests are so stupid! It’s sad that these aliens feel so entitled to everything that they forget what country they’re actually in. They take our jobs from natural born citizens who have the right to live here, our papers are filled and documented. I have no sympathy for them since they had the choice to come here illegally. I don’t and I never will have such a liberal mindset since it’s such a disease nowadays, liberalism. In reality, if California or the United States cuts off government programs, these aliens, undocumented scum will have no desire to come here and be complainers and leeches

  • Nina Smirnov

    RISE did NOT IN FACT get 5 million dollars from Napolitano. Y’all keep on talking about this like you know. Do research, talk to an undocumented person, get some real experience before sitting behind a screen and criticizing students who are working hard to ensure a better future for themselves.

    • TNT

      Ensure a better future for yourself in a country where you are documented.

      • Nina Smirnov

        I will ensure a future wherever I go. And everyone deserves to do the same, How I got here and why I’m here have so much to do with why I’m not in my home country, Documents or lack thereof shouldn’t determine a person’s quality of life,

        • TNT

          It is settled then, you will ensure your future in your country of origin.

          • Nina Smirnov

            Or wherever I deem right.

          • TNT

            That isn’t how it works. You see, you can deem right to reside illegally in any country, but just don’t get all emotional when you are treated like a criminal for doing so.

          • Nina Smirnov

            Look, we obviously don’t agree. I don’t think it’s a criminal offense REGARDLESS of what the government thinks. You love the law and wanna follow it. Great. Settled. Goodbye,

          • Gene Nelson

            My god you are stupid. Laws only exist if YOU think they do? I’ll visit you in prison, Ruskie. Bahahahahahah.

    • Mariana J.

      I don’t know about RISE’s funding, and I never said I did. What I DO know is that I was at Cal Day, and I saw a small group of undocumented students blockading Sather Gate, and forcibly interfering with the rights of others — including physically handicapped people who had no other safe way to get through. The people they were heckling and harassing include incoming students and their parents who will be paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to UC over the course of four years, money that will help subsidize the tuition of low-income students, including undocumented students. My main point is that the blockaders do not realize how entitled and arrogant and oblivious they appear to those of us who are actually spending our hard-earned wages to subsidize their educations, willingly or not.

    • Mariana J.

      Just to clarify: I am not a Republican, a right winger, a racist, or even anti-immigrant. But since you don’t seem to understand the outrage, here a simple analogy:

      Let’s say I have trouble paying my rent, so my next-door neighbors step up and offer to pay my rent for me. Instead of saying thanks, I gather up some friends and barricade my neighbors’ doorway, chanting and heckling because they are not also paying my electricity and water bills. Makes no sense, right?!

      I am paying lots of money to UC, and that helps to subsidize people who can’t pay. They don’t know anything about me. So they don’t need to be harassing me, and complaining about their invisibility. Who is truly invisible here?

      • Pantheomatic

        That is exactly the correct analogy. Thank you.

    • Juan A. Prieto

      UPDATE: We got the money, and then some! HA!

  • Mariana J.

    Well said. The protesters seemed oblivious to the struggles or perspectives of anyone other than themselves. And unless you can put yourself in others’ shoes, you can’t get your message across effectively because you can’t make yourself sympathetic. Even out of their own self interest, they should listen to how people are reacting to their display of entitlement.

  • TNT

    These undocumented people belong in the country of their origin and not in an American university.

    • Nina Smirnov

      You don’t get to say where people belong.

      • TNT

        Given that I am simply voicing basic American law then your point is moot. I am not whimsically opining that undocumented people can reside in a country without authorized permission to do so, but simply pointing out that a) said students are not documented yet enrolled in am American educational institution and b) undocumented people get deported because they are unlawfully residing in the country, hence c) said undocumented students belong in their country of origin (assuming they are lawfully allowed to do so by that country’s legal structure) instead of unlawfully residing in the US and attending an American university.

      • countries have something called national sovereignty

      • Annon

        lol yes we do. Stop whining.

  • Dan Spitzer

    These protesters are unbelievably dumb in their tactics. Like their lefty brethren the SJP idiots, their blocking behavior will simply alienate the vast majority of those they need to convince if they wish to achieve their objectives. But again using the SJP analogy, they’d rather call attention to themselves even if it means discrediting their “cause.”

    • lspanker

      These protesters are unbelievably dumb in their tactics.

      Look at the source – they are taught by the same people who convinced that Muslim student who got kicked off a Southwest flight that the best way to fight stereotypes and unfair treatments of Muslims is to get in an argument with a flight attendant before taxiing away from the gate while the crew is trying to make an on-time departure.

      • Dan Spitzer

        Speaking of freedom of speech and the hypocrisy of it, Ispanker, have a look at today’s DC Letters to the Editor…

  • lspanker

    I just can’t believe the racism that goes on in this discussion board and in this country overall.

    This has nothing to do with racism. Black and hispanic legal citizens of the US have the right to benefit from a taxpayer-funded college education if they meet the academic requirements, blonde-haired, blue-eyed chilangos from D.F. do not.

    I’m proud that the undocumented students at UC Berkeley are fighting to be treated as equal California citizens, regardless of status.

    You apparently have NO idea of what the word “citizen” means. Perhaps that money intended for college educations for illegals should instead be spent on remedial high school civics for people like you…

    • Paul

      Here, here. I fully agree with your last paragraph.

      The $5 million annual payout would be better invested in American citizens.

      Can anyone name any other countries which provide free college educations to illegal immigrants at their best Unis?
      I am going to urge my grand-children to relocate there while they pursue their degrees.

  • Pantheomatic

    Free tuition is not enough of a give-away? They expect free room and board too? If a kid of Idaho wants to go to Cal they’ll pay $50,000 a year plus room and board. Why are the children of the undocumented so privileged as to expect not just in-state tuition, not just free tuition but now free tuition room board and expenses? Stop the insanity.

    • Dan Spitzer

      Moreover, most students at Cal have had their parents paying the taxes which help support higher education in CA far longer than the parents of young people from “undocumented” households. The protesters scream their desires for equality, yet believe privileges should accrue to those who have provided less. That’s what one might call equality stood on its head…

  • taxpayer22

    An Undocumented house guest = a thief stealing your stuff.

    • Bob Bird

      Unless you’re Native American, you can be the first one to pack your bags.

      • lspanker

        I don’t recall European immigrants demanding that the Native Americans fund their college education, do you?

        • Jon

          Right, they sold slaves to do that.

          • Dan Spitzer

            Now that’s a comment straight out of the Left’s Temple of Ignorance…

          • Jon

            It would be, except you’re the one ignorant about the history of Brown University, Columbia, Princeton, Yale, Penn and other colleges who got their initial funding through slavery.

          • lspanker

            Thanks for proving you had nothing intelligent to contribute to the discussion.

          • Jon

            Aw… I’d hate break up the lspanker + spitzer circle jerk again, but the Europeans came over and used the slave trade to fund and build the colleges that we consider elite institutions today.

            You and spitzer can resume intellectually scissoring now.

  • lspanker

    “They’re cutting our funding,” said Angelica Vargas, a campus junior. “Cutting that funding would make my existence at Cal impossible.”

    Poor baby. What about American citizens (or legal resident immigrants) who can’t go to Cal because there’s no funding for them, because we’re wasting it on whiny ingrates like Angelica who don’t belong here in the first place?

    • Nina Smirnov

      How is it undocumented students’ faults that we work hard to get into a UC and citizens don’t?

      • the university is subsidized by taxpayer dollars and chartered by the state governement. Its not a charity for illegals.

        • Nina Smirnov

          That’s so untrue, So much of the UC runs on private funding,

      • TNT

        Why should the American tax payer fund the education of undocumented people? I’m sure you “worked hard” to get admitted through some backdoor policy while taking up space that belongs to citizens and residents who earned a place (through actual intellectual merit) in the institution.

        • Nina Smirnov

          YOU DONT FUND MY EDUCATION. jesus h christ, yall read a book.

          • TNT

            Are you an undocumented person attending an American university? If so are you receiving any form of financial support that ultimately derives from American tax payer’s dollars?

          • Nina Smirnov

            My scholarships were privately funded.

          • TNT

            As an undocumented person you took up space that could have been given to a much more qualified individual who respects this nation’s laws. Deport yourself.

          • Nina Smirnov

            This whole taking up space argument is so weak. If people aren’t getting into Cal, it’s not because there’s not enough space. It’s because their applications aren’t strong enough. That’s not my fault. Study harder.

          • TNT

            Actually, we agree. The strawman that you just described is very weak. Up to this point, I have discussed applicants with impressive credentials who were not admitted because someone with a soapbox (who may have subpar credentials) was! Ring a bell?

          • Nina Smirnov

            doesn’t ring a bell. it’s not my fault i excelled more than other students,

  • swaggman

    Goodnight

    • andee760001

      You should all educate yourself before making dumbass comments. Not all undocumented students are from Mexico or other parts of latin america. US is the land of immigrants where everyone comes to find a better way of life and considering US trade agreements, the drug wars, and the US coup of many latin american countries with the most recent the coup of Honduras, which has caused mass influx of refugees to this countries especially children, the US government has a huge responsibility to at least give them an education and help them suceed the American dream.

      • Pantheomatic

        If they’re Mexican – then Mexico can give them a a shot at the Mexican dream. If they’re Peruvian – the Peruvian dream, China – the Chinese dream ..

      • lspanker

        Yeah, right, whatever, it’s always America’s fault. If we’re such a terrible country, why would they want to come here again?

        • Nina Smirnov

          Not every undocumented person’s story is the same, Stop looking at this through such a close minded lens. We’ve exchanged comments before, over the past few years. I still don’t understand what you get out of abusing students over DailyCal comments.

          • TNT

            It doesn’t matter what your stories are. Why don’t you respect American law and return to your country of origin. Try entering the country through the proper legal channels like millions of other law abiding people across the globe.

          • Nina Smirnov

            I’m sure you’ve broken laws without knowing it,

          • TNT

            You claim to be an undocumented student at CAL, yet you also claim ignorance to immigration law? Why don’t you display some character and deport yourself.

          • Nina Smirnov

            I don’t need to display character by your definitions. I’m not ignorant to the law- I know it really well as it’s been controlling my life for almost 20 years. You don’t deserve to know why I’m here or what I’ve gone through. Just know that you can keep hating but we’ll just keep learning and growing as a community. We’ll continue to fight for our rights in this country. We’re here, what’s left is how we handle that in a humane and just way. Detention centers, deportations, those cost tax payers way more than allowing us to work and live without fear in this country. Take this issue up with your governments, not us,

          • TNT

            First you make the following statement that implies that you unknowingly break American laws

            I’m sure you’ve broken laws without knowing it

            but then turn around to make the following claim

            I’m not ignorant to the law

            I really could careless about your soapbox. The only fact if importance is that you are

            UNDOCUMENTED

            which means that you are breaking immigration law. Aside from basic human rights that my country affords all people undocumented people do not enjoy the rights that we or others (who have followed proper legal channels to visit or reside in this country) do!

            When ICE comes knocking then you will be sure that this issue has been taken up with the US government.

          • Nina Smirnov

            Even if i were to get deported, there are more undocumented immigrants. If ALL undocumented immigrants were deported, this country would cease to function. You are so brainwashed by the US, you really believe that it’s this haven of justice. Please. I’m not afraid of ICE. I’m not afraid of you.

          • TNT

            So this nation would cease to function if illegals were deported? How so?

            If you aren’t afraid of ICE then call them up yourself and return to your native country.

          • Pantheomatic

            That’s great that you’re “sin miedo”. Blocking Cal Day traffic was self-centered and wrong and just made undocumented students look like ungrateful little whiners. If you’re getting by because liberal society forces the authorities to look the other way – you should feel grateful. Demanding another five million because – uh – America had slavery, because you get to live wherever you think it’s ok? No.

  • swaggman

    Im going to go play games on my phone

  • swaggman

    xD dumb immigrants

    • lspanker

      They aren’t “immigrants”, which implies someone who came here legally. There are ILLEGAL ALIENS.

      • Nina Smirnov

        I’m not an alien. I am a person.

        • you’re definitely an alien. A person too, but not one that taxpaying citizens are responsible for supporting

          • Nina Smirnov

            you dont support me. ive supported myself. besides, IM NOT AN ALIEN, you can call me whatever you like but it doesnt make it true

          • TNT

            You can say you have a “right to live” in the US but that doesn’t make it true either. Tell me ILLEGAL ALIEN, when will you demonstrate some character by returning to your country of origin?

          • Nina Smirnov

            lol tnt, keep calling me alien as long as it makes you feel better. I know who i am. i love myself.

          • TNT

            Thank you illegal alien. Continue loving yourself after ICE deports you to your country of origin.

          • Nina Smirnov

            will do even though its not going to happen.

          • you’re definitely an alien. you broke our laws, trample on our borders and insult our sovereignty.

  • Annon

    The f***? Why are they in our schools but not deported?

    • Nina Smirnov

      Because we work super hard and do our best to abide by the laws of a country that tries to erase us,

      • you violated our laws and sovereignty when you crossed the border. this country and its people owe you nothing

        • Nina Smirnov

          Can I remind you that once slavery was legal? Legal doesnt equate right,

          • Pantheomatic

            Fascinating: Slavery, therefore I get to live wherever I want. I recommend you take some courses in logic.

          • Annon

            lmao all you can bring up is slavery? That’s your excuse? You have no grounds to be here.

      • TNT

        If you abided by the country’s law then you would return to your country of origin.

      • Annon

        You already break the law by being here. No one cares about you. Self-deport yourself.

        • Nina Smirnov

          I care about myself. I don’t need you to care about me,

  • CA taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to pay for illegal welfare

    • Nina Smirnov

      undocumented people pay tons in taxes. this country would cease to run the way it does without them,

      • TNT

        You are basically arguing that an undocumented population serves the nation’s economic well-fare, therefor we should maintain a few million undocumented people for taxes. This is quite different than other people who argue that undocumented people should be granted residency or citizenship. LOL

        • Nina Smirnov

          I argue that anyone has the right to live where they do. It sucks that we have to cater to the small minded way Americans think in dollars to get y’all to even TRY to understand what we go through. You can message me on Facebook if you want to have a real discussion on this, feel free.

          • TNT

            You basically have no argument. Most, if not all, countries have laws in place to determine who enters the country and the amount of time they are granted for their stay. You are UNDOCUMENTED, which means that you did not follow American immigration law. YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO LIVE IN THE US!

          • Nina Smirnov

            I have the basic human right to live. Governments can try to bind that with laws, but at the end of the day the reality is already upon us. Move the conversation forward. Immigrants are here and they will continue to come. I’m sure if you trace your lineage, you’ll find immigrants in there somewhere–even if they were originally from Britain, they migrated here too.

          • TNT

            There is no “right to live.” Even if there was our country has immigration laws that dictate who can live within and for what period of time. Given that you are undocumented then that means that you have no more right to live in the US then I do in any other country.

            Also, you are no “immigrant.” You are undocumented. As such I expect to find that sometime soon ICE will send you packing back to your country. You can enjoy your “right to live” over there.

          • Nina Smirnov

            I am an immigrant. You know nothing about me.

          • TNT

            You are “undocumented”? If so then you are not like millions of law abiding immigrants who filed the proper paperwork, waited patiently, and entered into this country legally.

          • Jim O’Hearn

            There is an inherent right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life,_Liberty_and_the_pursuit_of_Happiness

      • they receive far more in social services and tax refunds than they ever pay in taxes or contribute to this country. They have trample upon the sovereignty of our nation and threaten our security. Hopefully this election season will prove decisive for those who hold the republic dear and those who would have it wasted away in the multicultural experiment.

        • Nina Smirnov

          This nation is founded on blood, slavery, and it is only great because of the labor behind it. Our governments don’t care about us, and you want to talk about how your sovereignty is threatened by a few students who want to learn? What are we impeding you from exactly?

          • lspanker

            This nation is founded on blood, slavery, and it is only great because of the labor behind it.

            Sounds like the founding of YOUR country, comrade…

  • 1776

    What did Dirks do?

    • ShadrachSmith

      The administration creates and empowers all anti-American protests. Perhaps you’ve noticed? The students are tools, it is the administration empowering the Social Justice memes.

    • Nina Smirnov

      NOTHING. Lied to us, claimed to support us, and then left students no choice but to protest.

      • why does any law abiding citizen owe YOU anything?

        • Nina Smirnov

          a chancellor owes their students the promise that theyll do their all to create a good life on campus. I dont need anything from you.

          • the chancellor’s responsibilities lie with the state and its taxpayers. not leeches

  • Gene Nelson

    Did they say thank you last year when they got the five million?

    • lspanker

      Heck no – the left still wants to saddle the same taxpayers with a guilt trip for not doing more.

  • Mariana J.

    These undocumented protesters do not realize how entitled and arrogant they come across, when they interfere with a free, public event like Cal Day. They are demanding money and other perks that people who have lived in California for generations do not receive, as if it is their natural right. What other state, let alone country, does as much to open their arms to people who sneak into their country illegally? Undocumented students already get special funding under the Dream Act. Plus, they are harassing the UC Berkeley community, when their beef isn’t even with Cal; it’s with the UC system, which in turn is at the mercy of the California state government’s fiscal decisions. From listening to the grumbling of the people they were inconveniencing today, especially handicapped people who were forced to detour blocks out of their way, this protest did more harm than good for public attitudes toward undocumented students.

    • Brian Carter

      I agree 100%

    • lspanker

      The ironic thing about this whole flap is that the country that many of these illegal aliens come from (Mexico) has far stricter restrictions and punishments for people who enter their country illegally, yet there’s not a peep out of the illegal alien activists…

    • Bob Bird

      I just can’t believe the racism that goes on in this discussion board and in this country overall. Such a shame that the racist white people in America (i..e descendants of unwelcomed European immigrants) have regressed to 1900’s mentalities. Such a damn shame to have to share this country with them. I’m so sorry about these dimwits.

      I’m proud that the undocumented students at UC Berkeley are fighting to be treated as equal California citizens, regardless of status.

      People are just afraid to see educated people of color; mind you, this once was land that rightfully belonged to Mexico, and was thus replete with Mexican people. Furthermore, it seems incredibly shortsighted to disregard the lifetime of economic and social contributions that these students will bring to this country. THEY ARE STUDENTS IN THE BEST PUBLIC UNIVERSITY IN THE WORLD, for Christ’s sake!

    • Nina Smirnov

      wrong side of history.

      • Nina Smirnov

        you’re on it.

      • you’re on the wrong side of the border

        • Nina Smirnov

          I’m right where I need to be.

          • the law disagrees

          • Annon

            We don’t want you scum. No one wants or needs you here.

      • RichardMahony

        I’m a leftwing ratbag (what the Yanks erroneously call a ‘liberal’ because most Americans are so clueless about political history that they don’t know the difference between liberals and lefties) who is utterly and implacably opposed to any person entering a nationstate illegally and remaining there illegally.

        All nationstates have the right to control their own borders, and to decide who will be allowed to stay and and who will not, which aliens will be allowed to work and who will not, attend schools, get sickness care etc.

        If you are a political refugee from, say, North Korea who at great personal risk has fled to, say, the UK with classified information about the North Korean nuclear program, then you can apply for a visa as a political refugee and you will likely succeed.

        On the other hand, if you or your parents are merely economic migrants, who enter a country to work illegally in order to improve your way of life, then don’t be surprised when the authorities take a dim view and deport you and your family as illegal aliens (ie foreigners) who have entered the country illegally and who are living, working or studying in the country illegally.

        Standing up for the rights of Native Americans and African Americans, roundly criticising the dispossession of the former and the enslavement of the latter, as I do ferociously, criticising the right, opposing racists, does not require one to support illegal aliens remaining, working, studying etc in a country that they, their parents, grandparents or other family members have entered illegally.