Students occupy campus building during 50th anniversary of Free Speech Movement

Michael Drummond/Senior Staff

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Update: By 7 p.m., some of the occupiers’ demands were met, including the release of Gill Tract documents and a meeting with Chancellor Nicholas Dirks.

Read more about the day’s events here

About 10 to 15 individuals occupied the Architects and Engineers building Wednesday afternoon to protest against a number of campus capital projects, with approximately 25 to 30 students and community members gathered outside. No arrests were made as of 6 p.m.

The occupation followed a rally that began at 12 p.m. on Sproul Plaza that celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement. The day’s events were organized in part by the Cal Progressive Coalition, which includes individuals from Fossil Free UC, the ASUC and Students for Engaged and Active Learning.

About 3:15 p.m., Associate Dean of Students David Surratt and Christine Shaff, director of communications at the campus real estate division, were planning on speaking with the protesters.

In particular, the individuals occupying the building demanded the halt of commercial development at the Gill Tract, the release of all documents relating to the tract be released and a meeting with Chancellor Nicholas Dirks, according to Maggie Downey, a UC Berkeley graduate student and spokesperson for the Cal Progressive Coalition.

In addition, protesters are demanding that the development of the Lawrence Berkeley Lab National Laboratory’s Richmond Bay campus include more student and community voices and that the work currently done there become unionized and meet fair labor standards, Downey said.

She said the individuals would occupy the building until their demands are met. Police could not confirm the number of individuals inside the building or at what time the occupation began, only that individuals were inside.

Development is slated for land that was historically part of the Gill Tract, a university-owned piece of land in Albany.

“We believe that this university is a land-grant institution that needs to prioritize the voices of students over anything,” said ASUC Senator Haley Broder at the protest.

The last time a campus building was occupied by protesters was the occupation of the Blum Center for Developing Economies in February.

Students left the building at approximately 7 p.m.

Staff writer Suhauna Hussain contributed to this report.

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