Berkeley City Council to vote on bill in support of UC Day of Action

Berkeley City Council will vote on a bill Tuesday night to support Wednesday’s UC-wide Day of Action — during which demonstrators had planned to protest outside the UC Board of Regents meeting at the UC San Francisco Mission Bay campus.

Though the board announced Monday morning that it decided to postpone this week’s Nov.16-17 meeting, the bill — authored by Councilmember Kriss Worthington — seeks to lend the backing of the council to student activists on the Day of Action.

“I think it’s important to tell the students that people in the broader community support them,” said Worthington, whose district encompasses the UC Berkeley campus.

According to a statement released by the Board of Regents leadership, the board meeting has been postponed due to concerns regarding violence.

“From various sources they had received information indicating that rogue elements intent on violence and confrontation with UC public safety officers were planning to attach themselves to peaceful demonstrations expected to occur at the meeting,” the statement reads.

In addition to authoring the bill, Worthington, who said he was critical of UCPD’s violent response to the Occupy Cal protest last week, penned an open letter Saturday condemning police handling of the situation as “unprovoked, unexpected, unjustified and unreasonable.” He added that he was also critical of the responses of Chancellor Robert Birgeneau.

“You can’t just blame the politicians — certain parts of the UC administration don’t bring enough focus to the issue,” Worthington said. “This gives us a beautiful opportunity to unite the students and faculty to bring pressure to the system.”

He added that lack of access to education affects the entire state directly or indirectly, while expressing concern for businesses if the state’s educated workforce diminishes in size due to the rising cost of education.

Councilmember Gordon Wozniak said the fault lies with legislators in Sacramento rather than with the regents. He added that he would vote for the bill even though he found it to be largely ineffective.

“High tuitions are a really serious issue — I think the main problem lies in Sacramento,” Wozniak said. “I’m not sure how big of an impact this bill will have — it’s very brief.”