As the UC Regents’ meeting kicked off today at UCSF, students and workers at Berkeley, Santa Cruz, and Davis showed their respective administrations how they felt about the willingness of these parasitic bureaucrats to collaborate with the Regents in the wholesale privatization of public education. At Santa Cruz, over 200 gathered at the Porter College Quad before beginning a roving occupation of several campus buildings. At Davis, students, workers, and faculty held a teach-out nicely accented by a banner drop complete with a list of demands.
And at Berkeley students gathered around 6 am and made their way to the knoll in front of California Hall with armloads of banners. Upon arriving however, they discovered that UCPD had already cordoned off the west entrance in an effort to keep the building open. It proved to be a smart move on their part, as students showed up with reinforced banners ostensibly intended to barricade all main entrances and shut the building down for the day. Shut down the university in order to transform it! Bureaucratic parasites off our campus!
Moments later students successfully blocked off the east door, the main entrance to the main administrative building at UCB. Note the banner in solidarity with our counterparts in England, who must be congratulated for executing a successful 170-person occupation at the University of Sussex yesterday.
Then slowly but surely they blocked off the west door, despite the presence of pigs and police tape. This was immediately followed by banner-laden blockades of the north and south doors.
For whatever reason, both the Santa Cruz and Berkeley actions seemed to peter out after short-lived bouts of enthusiasm. We’ll leave it up to those who were present at the SC action to present an analysis of the disintegration of the 200 person march. Part of the problem with the Berkeley action was uncertainty in the face of initial low turnout, but it was probably also a mistake to spread ourselves thin by moving away from the east door. While this would have reduced the action from direct to symbolic in a sense, it may have also sustained a critical mass, without which of course there is no action at all.
At 12:30 the crowd moved toward the so-called “Wall of Faces,” which had coincidentally been defaced the night before with graffito reading “YOUR APATHY = YOUR FEES!” While obviously the administration would replace the image, it was bizarre to behold them paying someone to powerwash the thing to remove a relatively harmless message. Why even bother?
At 12:30 students and workers gathered in front of the wall and draped it in banners. After a short-lived rally everyone dispersed, aside from a few desperate TV camera crews scrambling for interviews and hackneyed footage of students walking across campus. It should also be mentioned that upon attaching the banners to the wall, the cops showed up and started pushing two students, ripping one of the banners from the wall. We hope these pigs are proud of themselves; the undergraduate woman who was slammed into the wall for no apparent reason must feel significantly safer.
While we know that a number of students and workers came away from today’s action a bit disillusioned and demoralized, we need to keep in mind that while we did not meet our objective, we also attempted to implement a fairly lofty plan given our numbers. We’ve heard that the UCSA is sending close to 400 students tomorrow, and we’ve also received confirmation that buses are coming from nearly every UC campus. This means that tomorrow numbers will not be a problem.
All out to the Regents’ meeting first thing in the morning!
Buses will be departing from Allston & Oxford near UC Berkeley at 6, 7, 7:30, and possibly 8:15. Assuming we have the numbers, let’s shut this charade down!
Abolish the Regents!
No fee hikes! Rescind the 32 % fee hike!
Cut administration, not jobs and pensions!
Hands out of our damn pockets! When we say public we mean it!