UC Berkeley student arrested at protest will not face charges

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Update 11/30/2014: This article has been updated to reflect additional information from Open UC members and ASUC Senator Haley Broder.

Jeff Noven, a 21-year-old UC Berkeley student detained at a protest at the November regents meeting, will no longer face charges, which protesters demanded after a weeklong occupation of a campus building.

Noven was arrested at the UC Board of Regents meeting Nov. 19 in San Francisco on suspicion of vandalism and inciting a riot. Later that night, Noven was released from jail after he posted bail.

Outside the regents meeting, protesters attempted to open a glass door after police had held it shut. A spokesperson for UCSF, where the regents meeting was held, said the group of protesters went past a barricade at the security line and rushed the police. Students at the scene said the door’s handles were pulled by both the police and protesters.

After the door shattered, police apprehended Noven.

Once he was released from jail, Noven started an online crowdfunding campaign to fund the cost of his bail. As of Tuesday, the campaign had garnered $2,661 in donations — $161 more than the goal amount.

He was originally set to be arraigned Tuesday, but the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office did not charge him.

“I’m very glad that the charges were dropped,” said Haley Broder, an ASUC senator who is an acquaintance of Noven’s. “It’s a lot deeper than the demand being met because (his situation) shows that many students could be arrested.”

Protesters occupied Wheeler Hall beginning Nov. 19 after a regents committee voted to approve a tuition increase policy that will take effect next school year if the state doesn’t provide additional funding beyond what Gov. Jerry Brown laid out.

The group of students who occupied Wheeler Hall, who call themselves the Open UC movement, voted to disband occupation of the building over Thanksgiving break but are set to continue the occupation Monday.

“It’s empowering to see everyone rally around Jeff. … If something similar happened to one of us, we’d rally around that person as well,” said Woody Little, a UC Berkeley junior and member of Open UC.

The group called for three demands, which included abolishing the tuition increase, establishing complete transparency of the UC budget under AB 94 and dropping all potential charges against Noven.

Broder said that because one demand of the protesters was met, she hopes it will lead to the remaining two being addressed as well.

The tuition plan, officially passed Nov. 20 by the regents, clashes with Brown’s plan for higher education funding, calling for 5 percent increases in tuition each year for the next five years if the state only increases its funding to the UC system by Brown’s promised 4 percent.

Hundreds of students, UC Berkeley faculty and community members rallied Nov. 24 to protest the increase, marching from Sproul Hall to Downtown Berkeley and ending the walkout at California Hall.

A representative from the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office could not be reached for comment to explain why Noven was not charged.

Contact Adrienne Shih at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @adrienneshih.