Protesters occupy Eshleman Hall, press for multiculturalism

Occupation ends after extensive negotiations with student leaders

Michael Tao/Staff

Derek Remsburg/Staff

Derek Remsburg/File

Derek Remsburg /File

Derek Remsburg/Staff

Michael Tao/Staff

Kore Chan/Staff

Kore Chan/Staff

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UPDATE: As of around 9:40 p.m. Tuesday, the protesters in Eshleman Hall had come down after being promised amnesty from the campus administration for the day’s activities.

An estimated six students began occupying Eshleman Hall Tuesday afternoon as part of an awareness campaign regarding the campus’s multicultural retention center and minority enrollment.

Over 100 students, including Occupy Cal protesters and BAMN affiliates, stood outside the building chanting in support of the campaign.

“Some students have attached themselves to the door by actually drilling to the door,” said UCPD Lt. Eric Tejada.

Protesters in the crowd said there were at least two students inside who had chained themselves to the building by the neck.

On Tuesday evening, campus spokesperson Claire Holmes said the administration does not currently have any plans to remove the protesters. She added that the the campus administration has stayed in contact with ASUC President Connor Landgraf and ASUC External Affairs Vice President Shahryar Abbasi and that the two will be a part of the decision process.

The campus police department has secured the building but has no plans for future actions without direction from the campus administration, Tejada said.

“We’re evaluating the situation,” he said.

At around 5:35 p.m., protesters outside the building read Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion Gibor Basri a list of demands including that none of the peaceful protesters receive repercussions for the day’s activities, that the multicultural center be restored to its former structure and that funding be allocated for recruitment and retention centers to assist in increasing minority representation.

The protesters inside were purportedly from Raza Recruitment and Retention Center, a campus group that aims to increase Hispanic enrollment in higher education, and REACH!, which aims to serve Asians and Pacific Islanders on campus.

 ASUC senator Klein Lieu said that students inside were acting of their own volition as individuals of the Cal community, and not as a member of any campus organization.

By around 8 p.m. Tuesday night negotiations to end the occupation of Eshleman Hall had neared a conclusion. Protesters exited the building at around 9:40 p.m.

Administrators agreed to amnesty for the individuals inside the building and to create a transitional review team in which students could discuss the multicultural center’s future with Basri, said Salih Muhammad, a student liaison in the negotiations.

Muhammad said the negotiations had been frustrating because “this could have been finished three years ago.”

Earlier in the evening protesters presented the following demands to administrators:

  • We Demand that the Multicultural Student Development Offices be restored to their former structure by Vice Chancellor Gibor Basri.
  • We demand that the budget allocation of the multicultural student development offices be increased to meet the needs of their work.
  • We demand that none of the protesters in this occupation receive any punishment or repercussions for this activity.
  • We demand an increase in funding for the Recruitment and Retention Center to assist in their mission of increasing the enrollment of underrepresented minorities on campus.

Contact Chloe, Megan and Alex at [email protected].