Hungry for Direction

Campus Issues: The commitment of the hunger strikers is admirable, but doubts abound about their tactics and demands.

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As most Berkeley students feverishly pour over notes and pound away at keyboards, catching up with work they've put off all semester, one group of students spent its dead week in a decidedly different fashion. Joined by a few alumni and staff, they've been on a hunger strike in front of California Hall since last Monday, surviving only on sugar water.

The hunger strikers insist that they will maintain their fast until their demands are met. These demands are for university officials to denounce Arizona Senate Bill 1070, declare UC Berkeley a sanctuary campus for undocumented students, drop all conduct charges against activists, suspend the code until it is reworked, stop cuts to low-wage workers, rehire those who have been laid off and commit to changing crowd control tactics.

We admire the tremendous dedication and courage of those who are willing to put their health in jeopardy for something they so strongly believe in. However, the strength of their cause is diluted by the long list of demands they have made.

Moreover, some of those demands are not very reasonable; declaring UC Berkeley a sanctuary campus and suspending the student code of conduct are especially questionable proposals.

While the administration was unable to accede to the less reasonable demands of the protesters, it has worked to address the concerns of the strikers in a substantive manner.

In particular, we praise Chancellor Robert Birgeneau for agreeing to condemn SB 1070. While a boycott against Arizona, as some have called for, could have the unintended effect of hurting the Hispanic people it seeks to protect, Birgeneau is right to put his institutional and moral weight against this unjust law. We hope Mark Yudof follows Birgeneau's lead in this regard.

Despite our desire that the protest movement works to refine its tactics, it is uplifting to know just how much some members of the campus community care about the vital issues of the day. We hope to see a peaceful and safe resolution to the protest.






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