Activists at UC Campuses Stage Demonstrations, Teach-Ins Among 76 Protest Actions Nationwide

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Correction Appended

Student and faculty activists nationwide participated in various demonstrations on Oct. 7, protesting budget cuts and a lack of transparency in administrative decisions, though such demonstrations did not compare in volume to those at UC Berkeley.

Rallies at UC Davis, UC Santa Cruz, UC San Diego, UC Irvine, UC Riverside and UCLA were among 76 actions nationwide. The Davis, Irvine, Riverside and UCLA protests each involved around 50 to 60 people marching through central areas on campus, conducting teach-ins to voice their concerns and expressing intent to carry out future actions.

The UC Irvine protests addressed a variety of subjects, ranging from budget cuts to military spending in Afghanistan, as people shouted chants such as "We want money for jobs and education, not for war and occupation," according to the live blog by "The New University," UC Irvine's student newspaper.

"There are a lot of different student groups that are affected in different ways, but the issues are interrelated," said John Bruning, a UC Irvine graduate student involved in the protest.

One way the issues are interrelated, according to Bruning, is the lack of administrative accountability in decisions that affect the student body.

"There is a culture where administration makes decisions and we're forced to live with them," he said, citing as an example his campus's refusal to hire janitors directly, which would have made them eligible to unionize and gain better pay and benefits.

According to UCLA spokesperson Phil Hampton, the protest on their campus was also small, especially when contrasted with demonstrations on March 4, in which 200 to 300 people conducted a series of events throughout the day. Students on that day occupied an administration building until warned of arrest. Thursday's protest included 50 to 60 people over a course of about three hours, with no reported confrontations.

The UC Davis protest lasted about three hours and involved about 60 participants, who conducted a teach-in at Mrak Hall, an administrative building, said campus spokesperson Julia Ann Easley. About 200 students gathered in Quarry Plaza at UC Santa Cruz for an hour-long protest, said UC Santa Cruz spokesperson Jim Burns.

Some activists made their voices heard via a virtual sit-in, a form of electronic civil disobedience attempting to temporarily shut down the website for the UC Office of the President.

"It is a controversial, modern and artistic manner of protesting," said Holly Eskew, a UC San Diego senior and virtual sit-in participant. "Rather than having our real bodies outside an office or something, each individual targets a website to potentially clog it."

Bruning said UC Irvine will devise specific follow-up plans closer to November, when more information about the state budget is available.

"We really wanted to wake up the campus and build up from today," he said.


Correction: Tuesday, October 12, 2010
A previous version of this article misspelled Mrak Hall.

The Daily Californian regrets the error.

Contact Jeffrey Butterfield and Samantha Strimling at [email protected]

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