Protesters gather in Sproul Plaza, march to Tolman Hall

Randy Adam Romero/Staff
Protesters stand outside of Tolman Hall.

About 250 protesters gathered in Sproul Plaza at noon on Wednesday to protest budget cuts and potential tuition raises, among other things.

A smaller group of demonstrators, numbering approximately 100, then moved to UC Berkeley’s Tolman Hall, where they entered classrooms and opened discussions on issues ranging from the budget cuts and tuition increases to access to the UC for undocumented students.

The noontime rally heard nine speakers on a range of topics.

Jason Schultz, a campus librarian and member of the UC-American Federation of Teachers, said that budget cuts have prevented staff from adequately supporting students.

“The libraries have had all these cuts and we’re not equipped to do our jobs,” he said.

UC Berkeley professor of geography and Berkeley Faculty Association member Richard Walker gave alternatives to fee increases in order to increase funding for the university.

“The first solution is to raise taxes,” he said. “The second is to stop playing the market game. It is not the market that sets our priorities. If administrators and faculty don’t believe in serving the public and being at the greatest university in the world, we should let them go. We don’t need them.”

After about an hour of speeches, protesters marched past Sather Gate and eventually to Tolman Hall, chanting slogans including “No cuts, no fees, education must be free,” and “The people united will never be divided.”

The march reached Tolman Hall around 1:20 p.m. After an altercation with UCPD officers, approximately 70 protesters entered the building.

The protesters chanted protest slogans in the lobby and then spread to a few classrooms in the building where they held discussions.

“I think the budget cuts are the worst thing ever,” said freshman Sam Heinz. “It’s terrible to think politicians would undercut students before taking other measures.”

UCPD Lt. Marc DeCoulode described the demonstrators’ actions in the building as a “classroom meeting” rather than an “occupation.”

“(UCPD) is just monitoring (the situation) right now,” he said.