Live Blog: Oct. 7 Day of Action
October 7th Walk-Out, Part 1The October 7th state-wide and national walk-out against fee increases and budgets cuts begins.
October 7th Walk-Out, Part 2Raw footage of the October 7th walk-out against fee increases and budget cuts.
October 7th Walk-Out, Part 3We hear what one GSI has to say about the October 7th state-wide and national walk-out against fee increases and budgets cuts begins.
October 7th Walk-Out, Part 4The October 7th state-wide and national walk-out against fee increases and budgets cuts continues as the list of demands is handed in.
October 7th Walk-Out, Part 5Raw footage of protesters occupying Doe Library during the October 7th state-wide and national walk-out against fee increases and budgets cuts.
October 7th Walk-Out, Part 6Raw footage of the march, speakers, and Doe Library occupation as the October 7th state-wide and national walk-out against fee increases and budgets cuts continues.
October 7th Walk-Out, Part 7Protesters occupy Doe Library in an attempt to get the attention of the administration and interrupt students preparing for their midterms.
Read the Protesters' Demands Delivered to Chancellor Robert Birgeneau Here »
Protesters' Demands to Chancellor Robert Birgeneau
Date Added Thursday, October 7, 2010 | 11:52 am
Last Updated Wednesday, March 2, 2011 | 1:05 pm
Category: News > University
Aaida Samad, Alisha Azevedo, Katie Nelson, James Zhao, Mary Susman, Hannah Mouthrop, Sarah Mohamed, Rachel Banning-Lover, Javier Panzar and Noor Al-Samarrai of The Daily Californian reporting from the field.
For real-time updates, check twitter.com/dailycal.
Students, faculty and staff across the nation are gathering on Oct. 7 in defense of public education. After California faced a $24 billion budget gap last year and cut $637 million in funding to the UC system, the university took steps to fill its own funding hole, implementing a furlough program and a 32 percent fee increase for students.
Campuses across the system made their own cuts, the impacts of which are still being felt this year. And with the announcement that UC Berkeley will cut some 200 positions in January, a freeze in faculty hiring, a proposal to develop online courses at the UC, a rise in out-of-state student enrollment and the elimination of four intercollegiate athletic teams this year, protesters say they still have much to rally about in regards to the changing nature of the university and public education as a whole.
The sit-in has now ended and the protesters who remained have either dispersed or are lingering around the library.
"All's well that ends well," said Tom Leonard, the university librarian.
The protesters, after moving downstairs from the reading room, are now working on drafting their own response to the administration's letter by rewording it to reflect their own perspectives.
The protesters just voted to remain in the building indefinitely.
Within Doe library's North Reading Room, about 100 protesters remain to vote on whether they should stay and occupy the building or continue discussions elsewhere.
Police said they would continue to work with campus officials and with the protesters.
"Demonstrations are often fluid, requiring UCPD to remain flexible in our approach to address ever-changing developments," said UCPD Lt. Alex Yao in an e-mail. "UCPD will continue to work with the campus administration and the demonstrating groups to ensure that the demonstrators have the freedom to express their concerns and points of view, and that their activities do not interfere with the University operation, teaching, and the safety and rights of others."
The protesters in Doe library have received a response letter from Chancellor Robert Birgeneau, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost George Breslauer and Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Harry Le Grande, but many are laughing and booing at the response. The entire letter reads:
"To those protesting today for public higher education, we want to acknowledge the concerns that you have expressed to preserve public education in California and make the opportunity of education fairly available to every qualified student. As you know, this goal is shared by the entire UC Berkeley community. We take great pride in the fact that this year we have the largest number of low income undergraduate students in UC Berkeley's history with the lowest net cost in recent history. Although we cannot respond to all of the demands for which you are fighting, we do support the cause of continuing to raise your voices to inform the California public of the need to continue to invest in public higher education. The ability to provide excellent education that is accessible and affordable is in the interest of all of the people in the State of California and is fundamental to the mission of the University of California, Berkeley."
As the minutes tick down until the protesters' 5 p.m. deadline for Chancellor Robert Birgeneau to respond, the General Assembly meeting is just starting up with discussions of what other protest efforts have taken place throughout the day across the country and the next steps they will take.
"I'm optimistic about the chancellor's response," said freshman Alana Freifeld. "Last year he didn't meet our demands, but the fact that we're coming back this year shows that we're serious and he might meet us with some actions."
According to UCPD Lt. Alex Yao, the library is set to close at 9 p.m., but police have not made plans to remove the protesters.
"Currently the officers are just there to make sure that the rights of all people are being observed and they're also there to ensure that the room doesn't exceed capacity," Yao said. "We're working very closely with groups that are at the sit-in, and we're working closely with the campus administration and the library to monitor the situation."
As protesters voted to remain upstairs in the reading room and to hold a meeting of the General Assembly there at 4 p.m., others hung a large banner saying "October 7 Day of Action Walkout" out of one of the reading room's windows. Signs are draped over bookshelves which say things like "Boalt Hall Walkout," "Public Ed for All" and "Fair Contracts Now for GSIs, Readers, Tutors."
At the back of the reading room, some are holding teach-ins before the meeting begins.
Students from Laney College in Oakland have arrived and are joining in on the sit-in, standing on desks in the reading room. The demonstrators are periodically singing songs, chanting together and chatting, waiting for some kind of response from Birgeneau and formulating what their next steps should be.
According to the head librarian, the room is over capacity so police must monitor who is going in and out of the front door, but are not monitoring the side doors.
"Right now, we're just monitoring the flow of people in and out," said UCPD Lt. Eric Tejada.
Meanwhile, fire alarms have been pulled in Wheeler, Dwinelle and the Valley Life Sciences Building. About 400 students taking a geography midterm in the Valley Life Sciences Building were interrupted by the fire alarm. Some stayed to try to finish the test.
Police are now allowing people to enter the library, but officers said they are trying to figure out whether the reading room is at capacity. Few remain in the library's lobby. Those from the outside brought in food, water and coffee for those who had been inside. Six officers are outside of the reading room.
Protesters are now negotiating with police to allow more people to come inside the library and to get water for those already inside.
UCPD has blocked off the North Reading Room of Doe and are not allowing additional people to enter.
Now, about 600 protesters are partaking in the sit-in at Doe, some slamming on desks and others chanting "Whose university, our university."
"This is how we take our university back," said student organizer Eric Garcia.
Protesters said they plan to sit-in until 5 p.m. by which time they hope Chancellor Robert Birgeneau will respond to their demands.
Meanwhile, police are standing outside the entrances to the North Reading Room and about 70 demonstrators have gathered outside as well, some performing a traditional Filipino dance.
"We've come out today because our community has experienced decreased enrollment," said Alex Tan, Filipino-endorsed ASUC senator. "These cuts are in the context of 100 years of history of having our voices and bodies devalued in institutional spaces. We are here in support of access to education and are in solidarity with our brothers and sisters who experienced any form of institutional racism, homophobia and patriarchy. We're doing a traditional Filipine dance - we will have different traps to catch birds and these poles as they nip at our heels are representing the university cuts that are affecting our community and the trappings of a privatized university."
Officers are now allowing people to enter the building, but police are still trying to figure out whether the room is at capacity.
The protest has now become a sit-in in Doe library. About 400 are currently in the library, some standing on top of tables, with hundreds more pouring in while students are studying in other rooms. Those studying in the main library room left. Seven police officers have also entered the building.
A group of about 100 to 200 protesters have entered Doe library and are in the North Reading Room, together shouting "Whose University? Our University."
After circling California Hall, still chanting, the hundreds of protesters, marched around Memorial Glade and are heading to the East Asian library.
With the final words of the rally's last speaker, French graduate student Blanca Misse, the crowd of about 700 began to march with signs in hand towards California Hall, chanting "No cuts, no fees, education must be free" and accompanied by about five UCPD officers.
As the rally on Upper Sproul Plaza continues, various speakers are taking turns addressing the crowd. A member of the Filipino community is reading a list of demands on behalf of his community, ranging from the 2012 admission policy to the recent announcement that 200 staff positions will be eliminated in January.
"If this university isn't available to the citizens of California, what will our state look like?" he said to the crowd. "It is time to throw our hearts and minds against the gears of this university and make them move once again."
As the protesters delivered their speeches, four Alameda County Sheriff's Office deputies walked out of UCPD's basement office and onto the plaza.
Student organizer Ricardo Gomez is now addressing the crowd of about 1,000 people. In his midst are signs declaring "DREAM Act Now! Build the Movement to fight the New Jim Crow!" as well as effigies of gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman.
"The governor wanted to restore millions of dollars to the universities and his chief of staff said the protests were the deciding factor," Gomez told the crowd. "But you guys shouldn't be too happy because they're getting that money by cutting k-12 education."
Fire alarms have been pulled in the Valley Life Sciences Building as well as in LeConte Hall. Some of the buildings in which alarms were pulled were evacuated, including LeConte. About 75 protesters are now at Pimentel Hall. Sirens can be heard.
The group of protesters that had gone into Dwinelle to knock on doors and rally support for the walkout have now ventured to Wheeler where they are walking down hallways.
Some 100 protesters are marching into Dwinelle Hall, shouting "Walk Out Now" while other protesters have been moving back and forth between California Hall and Upper Sproul Plaza, baring large banners before them. About 10 officers from Alameda County Sheriff's Office are monitoring Upper Sproul along with members of Berkeley Police Department.
About eight graduate students representing their division of the United Auto Workers union are rallying near the entrance to North Gate Hall, carrying picket signs and handing out flyers. They say they have been protesting since 7:30 a.m and are going to continue. The union has had ongoing disputes with the university over contracts and has alleged that the UC has engaged in unfair labor practices.
"We should be able to live and and study here," said sociology graduate student Shad Small. "The cost of living expenses in the Bay Area are high. What the university has offered the union is below inflation, which is not enough to support GSIs."
The graduate students said they will head towards California Hall at 11:30 a.m.
Meanwhile, a group of about 15 protesters marched from Upper Sproul Plaza towards California Hall with a sign saying "Oct. 7, Public Ed for All."
Three officers from the Alameda County Sheriff's Office have been sighted with three UCPD officers, Southwest of Wheeler Hall. Campus police said before that they had been aware of and prepared for the day's protest.
About 10 private security guards, currently stationed in front of Wheeler as well, were hired from ABC Security Services Inc. to work between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. during the protest.
Protesters Andrea Barrera, Marco Amaral, Suzy Babb, Juan Garcia and Natatlia Chousou-Polydouri read about a dozen demands in front of California Hall while teach-outs nearby are still ongoing. A woman from within the hall came out of the building, listened to the demands and accepted them. Protesters are now saying they would simply like to have Birgeneau deliver some kind of response and set up a later time to hold a discussion with them.
"It's easy to take a piece of paper," said Chousou-Polydouri. "Now we want to see if he responds by 5p.m. It was surprising someone actually came out and listened to us. Hopefully that's a good sign."
As the day continues, various professors and graduate students are holding "teach-outs" outside California Hall, the campus' administrative building, with speakers like Graduate Assembly President Philippe Marchand. From 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. lectures entitled "Follow your fees" and "Political preferences in the UC system" will be held, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. the lecture will focus on online education in the UC system and from 11 a.m. to noon the lecture will focus on Operational Excellence.
At the other end of campus, a few protesters have gathered near North Gate Hall.
Professor Ignacio Chapela is holding his Environmental Science and Policy Management class outdoors at the reflecting pool near the Northwest corner of Moffit Library with about 30 students in attendance.
"We build up this mythology of promise," Chapela told his class. "We never show you the thousands of people who don't get the job."
Other teach-outs are springing up around campus - an Italian language class is being held in front of Dwinelle Hall, another class has gathered in front of Sproul Hall.
Meanwhile, protesters at Telegraph and Bancroft are rallying more support, displaying a sign to cars driving by reading "Honk for the Walkout." Member of the United Auto Workers union are holding signs reading "UC Works because we do."
As about 25 protesters continue on, shouting "We are the students, the mighty mighty students," cars driving past the intersection are honking their horns in support. Teach-outs have been spotted around campus as well, something professors mentioned they would do through out the day to discuss the cause.
Students eating at the Golden Bear Cafe observe as protesters walk past with signs and banners. Students Varun Roy and Young Jae Kim said as they at the cafe that they do not plan on participating in the protest because they do not feel "roused to the cause." Roy said his classes have not been canceled for the day and that it seems professors are not emphasizing the issue as much as they did last year.
The number of protesters has dwindled with seven now present at Bancroft Way and Telegraph Avenue. UC Berkeley senior Suzy Babb said the demonstrators' demands are on their way to Chancellor Robert Birgeneau. She said a group of students will walk to California Hall at about 9 a.m. They want him to respond to the demands by 5 p.m. and hope to engage in a discussion with him at point during the day.
"I know the chancellor only has what's best for us in mind, so I'm sure he will be more than happy to meet with us," Babb said.
The number of protesters is slowly growing, with about 15 now present. Students walking to class who pass the demonstrators are being offered red armbands, a symbol that has been a part of the campus protests on public education since last year.
Protesters began to arrive at Bancroft and Telegraph Avenue shortly after 7 a.m. and now about 10 protesters have gathered with signs reading "October 7th Walk Out" and "No more UC delays." Some are eating breakfast and chatting as they start off the day of demonstration while others are shouting "Lay off Yudof."
"Honestly it's on the police to respect people's rights to protest," said student organizer Ricardo Gomez. "Police should have a hands-on approach, which I've heard they'll be doing this year, but it's also on the protesters to be respectful. We're expecting everything to go smoothly and we've learned some things from last year."
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