The Daily Californian has obtained almost 140 emails sent between UC Berkeley administrators detailing how they reacted to the Nov. 9 Occupy Cal protest.
The emails, received by the Daily Cal from the campus’ Public Records Office at noon Wednesday, paint in broad strokes how campus officials responded to the Nov. 9 protest. While nitty gritty discussions of the handling of the protest were not played out over email — the campus crisis management team held conferences calls at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Nov. 9, according to the emails — the development of the campus’ public relations response to the protest can be seen in the emails sent throughout the day.
The emails were obtained through a Public Records Act request made by the Daily Cal shortly after the Nov. 9 protest.
- A previous release of emails showed Chancellor Robert Birgeneau did not initially object to the use of batons against protesters. This batch of documents highlights Birgeneau’s insistence that he be kept informed of the events on campus — he was in Asia on the day of the protest — giving added gravity to the previously released responses.
- The documents show campus officials deriding state Senator Loni Hancock, D-Oakland, and state Assemblymember Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, who had voiced support for the Occupy movement at a campus rally before the protest. In one email, Birgeneau wrote that “as usual Skinner and Hancock only know how to do damage.”
- The emails demonstrate the difficulty of coordinating a response to the campus-wide protest: several threads center on mundane problems such as a broken conference call code number. They also show a sizable reliance by campus officials on external newsgroups — dozens of emails reference reporting by the Daily Cal or other media groups as the basis for campus public relations publications.
- The correspondence also provides colorful insight into campus officials’ treatment of the protest beyond the bland statements often released by the campus. In one email to Birgeneau and Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost George Breslauer, Associate Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs Claire Holmes describes a meeting with long-time protester Dumpster Muffin — who Holmes gave a sticker — while in another message campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof states his desire to send the protesters “on a slow boat to Sacramento.”
The emails can be viewed through DocumentCloud, an internet-based file hosting site. The title of each document contains the names of campus employees included in the email thread (oftentimes there are several emails contained in each document). The documents can be searched by those names using the interface below.
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A previous version of this article may have implied that campus officials created the nickname “dumpster muffin” to refer to a protester. In fact, Dumpster Muffin is a self-given name by the individual.