The November protests planned in response to potential increases in tuition have been renamed Occupy Cal in reference to the wave of Occupy movements that have swiftly swept the nation.
The goal of the protests, scheduled for Nov. 9 and 10, is to raise awareness of the possibility of tuition increases, which the UC Board of Regents may discuss at its November meeting, according to Ricardo Gomez, a UC Berkeley senior and member of the Public Education Coalition, one of the groups sponsoring the event.
“We are not getting anything for free here at Cal,” Gomez said. “We pay thousands of dollars in tuition … yet we have almost no say on how it runs.”
With the recent trend of violence at other Occupy movements, Gomez said the potential for violence is a concern. Tuesday morning, police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters at the Occupy Oakland protest, according to major media outlets.
In mid-October, the Council of UC Faculty Associations — an umbrella organization for the faculty associations at UC campuses — wrote a petition supporting the Occupy Wall Street protest. However, Berkeley faculty have not yet taken a position on the Occupy Cal protests, according to Wendy Brown, campus political science professor and co-chair of the Berkeley Faculty Association.
Gomez said the Occupy Cal movement is embracing the ideology protesters promoted during the Wheeler Hall occupation in 2009. According to Gomez, the Occupy Cal protests support the ideology of reclaiming space participants already own.
“There would not be a university without us,” he said. “We are what make this place so special.”