Protesters hold sit-in at the UC Berkeley registrar’s office in Sproul Hall

Derek Remsburg/Staff
Members of BAMN and the Defend Affirmative Action Party occupy the Office of the Registrar in Sproul Hall.

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What began as a demonstration in favor of affirmative action Friday afternoon became an occupation of UC Berkeley’s Office of the Registrar.At noon, demonstrators from the activist group BAMN and the Defend Affirmative Action Party gave speeches on the steps of Sproul Plaza, demanding that campus minority enrollment double and that charges against Nov. 9 Occupy Cal protesters be dropped.

About 20 protesters then marched into Sproul Hall and began their sit-in at the registrar’s office, which lasted until about 4:35 p.m.

“I’m in classes like O-chem and biology, and I don’t see students who look like me,” said junior Alisha Johnson, a black candidate for external affairs vice president with the Defend Affirmative Action Party in this year’s ASUC elections. “It frustrates the heck out of me.”

Although a Thursday BAMN press release stated that minority high school students who were not admitted to the campus would join East Bay high school and college students at the protest, the protesters were mainly comprised of DAAP and BAMN activists with a smattering of high school students.

The demonstration comes four days after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a challenge to Proposition 209, keeping in place the state’s voter based-ban on the consideration of race as a factor in admissions to the UC. The lawsuit challenging the proposition was brought forth by BAMN.

Some onlookers of the Friday demonstrations expressed concerns about the implications of the protester’s message.

“By their logic, they will kick out over-represented groups on campus,” said sophomore Max Jason.

After occupying the office for nearly an hour, representatives from the administration — including Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion Gibor Basri — came to speak with protesters and receive their petitions that demand that the campus double minority enrollment and that the criminal charges against Nov. 9 Occupy Cal protesters be dropped.

Basri explained that the university is bound by Proposition 209 to admit students without consideration of race.

“This problem is more complicated than you’re presenting it,” Basri said.

UCPD closed Sproul Hall around 4 p.m. but never received further instruction from the administration as to the fate of the sit-in, according to UCPD Lt. Marc DeCoulode.

A dozen remaining protesters voluntarily decided to end their sit-in about half an hour later. After exiting Sproul Hall, the protesters held a final rally as some students passed by and then headed to the ASUC Candidates Forum.