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Occupy Cal representatives meet with UC Berkeley administration

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NOVEMBER 19, 2011

Two representatives from the Occupy Cal general assembly, along with campus Graduate Assembly President Bahar Navab, met with a senior campus administrator Friday afternoon to discuss the demands and decisions of the movement.

Initiated by Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion Gibor Basri through Navab, the meeting was met with criticism by members of the general assembly who felt that they should not be required to select representatives to speak on behalf of the movement because they said it is inherently leaderless.

“If the administration wants to speak to us, they should come to our general assembly,” said Navid Shaghaghi, a UC Berkeley senior.

According to Emiliano Huet-Vaughn, a UC Berkeley graduate student and one of the assembly’s two representatives, Basri expressed interest in attending a general assembly to address the issue of encampments on campus.

“He seemed sympathetic to our demands,” Huet-Vaughn said at the general assembly on Friday.

Basri was able to get a better understanding of the movement’s demands, according to UC Berkeley spokesperson Janet Gilmore.

“The protesters have an interest in seeing more from the administration to address the decline in state funding,” Gilmore said. “That, and stopping fee increases.”

Yet both Huet-Vaughn and Amanda Armstrong, a UC Berkeley head steward for United Auto Workers Local 2865 and the assembly’s other representative, said they attended the meeting with Basri as the assembly’s messengers to simply discuss demands, not as individuals to negotiate how demands should be dealt with.

Huet-Vaughn declined to comment on the success of the meeting, saying it would be wrong to speak on behalf of the entire assembly.“I don’t want to anger anyone,” he said.

Amruta Trivedi covers academics and administration.

NOVEMBER 19, 2011