Protest outside of Blum Center Complex ends 5 p.m. Friday

Arya Aliabadi/Staff

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After more than 24 hours of occupation and demonstrations, protesters vacated the area surrounding the Blum Center for Developing Economies about 5 p.m. Friday.

Around 2:40 p.m. Thursday, nine members of the Students of Color Solidarity Coalition entered the Blum Center and chained the doors, locking themselves inside, while 40 students stationed themselves outside. The demonstration began at 1 p.m. on Upper Sproul Plaza earlier that afternoon to express disapproval of UC President Janet Napolitano, who visited campus Thursday.

At the height of the protest, about 200 to 250 students marched to the center, waving signs and chanting. Though the protesters inside the building had said they would not leave until their demands — primarily that Napolitano resign or be removed — were met, Claire Holmes, associate vice chancellor of communications and public affairs, said the group left about 5 p.m. Friday.

The campus does not intend to take any disciplinary action against the protesters, Holmes said. She added that the campus had been in communication with the protesters since Thursday night and throughout Friday. While there were a few UCPD officers stationed in proximity throughout the demonstration, protesters asked police to leave while they were vacating the premises.

Among other points, the coalition said it objects to Napolitano’s nonacademic background, her history of deportations during her tenure as secretary of Homeland Security and what protesters claim was the undemocratic process by which she was selected, according to SCSC organizer Fernanda Sanchez.

“Public education is becoming more privatized and militarized, and we see her as a furthering of that problem,” said Vreni Michelini Castillo, an SCSC organizer.

Holmes said she was pleased to see the events peacefully resolved and that students were willing to have a dialogue with the administration.

“Many of their requests are the things completely out of our control,” Holmes said. “If they continue to pursue these issues, they will need to take them elsewhere. They were cooperative with the administration and we are very pleased to resolve it.”

Sophie Ho is a news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @sophanho.