UCB administration responds to the 3/3 Wheeler occupiers

The Wheeler ledge occupation, or as one anonymous blogger joked,

led to the first concrete concessions (however minor) from the UC Berkeley administration since the occupation of the anthro library on October 9, 2009.  In addition to what amounts to effective conduct immunity for the March 3 occupiers and the 17 arrestees on March 2, a so-called “town hall” was promised in which Chancellor Birgeneau would discuss Operational Excellence with a group of students and workers.  Whether this “town hall” will be open to the public remains to be seen; what doesn’t is whether we will mobilize forces outside of it — that much is certain.  If Birgeneau comes with empty rhetoric and merely smiles and nods as usual, Wheeler Version 4.0 or its equivalent will be in the works.

In any case, the administration is apparently following up on the “town hall.”  In a series of email exchanges with Campus Rights Project founding member Daniela Urban, Associate Dean of Students and OSC czar Christina Gonzales and UCPD head honcho Mitch Celaya make a number of mildly revealing statements.  We are posting them here for your information and/or enjoyment.

First, our CRP comrade Daniela doesn’t play:

—–Original Message—–
From: Daniela Urban
Sent: Friday, March 04, 2011 5:08 PM
To: poullard@berkeley.edu; Christina Gonzales; mjc@berkeley.edu;
vcsa@berkeley.edu

Subject: Follow Up on March 3 Wheeler Ledge Sit-In

Dear Vice Chancellor Le Grande, Dean Poullard, Assistant Dean Gonzalez, and
Chief Celaya,

I am writing to follow up on the conversations we had last night, March 3,
2011, in Wheeler Hall.  I was acting in my capacity as the selected
negotiator for the UC Berkeley students participating in the ledge sit-in on
Wheeler Hall.

The final agreement at the end of the night included the following:

1.      A meeting will be held with Chancellor Birgeneau, the chair of Operational Excellence, students and workers regarding the budget cuts and the progress of Operational Excellence.

2.      Students arrested in Wheeler Hall on March 2, 2011 will receive only a letter of notification for their involvement in that incident from the Center for Student Conduct and Community Standards.

3.      Students participating in the ledge sit-in on Wheeler Hall on March 3, 2011 will receive only a letter of notification for their involvement in that incident from the Center for Student Conduct and Community Standards.

4.      Students still facing charges for their involvement in the Wheeler occupation on November 20, 2009 will receive an administrative disposition consisting of only a sanction of probation, terminating on May 13, 2011, from the Center for Student Conduct and Community Standards and would have until 5:00pm on Tuesday, March 8, 2011 to decide whether or not to accept. The students participating in the ledge sit-in on Wheeler Hall on March 3, 2011 who also had outstanding student conduct charges for the November 20, 2009 Wheeler occupation agreed to accept this administrative disposition before leaving the building.

5.      The students participating in the ledge sit-in on Wheeler Hall on March 3, 2011 agreed to comply with all instructions by the Berkeley Fire Department and University of California Police Department in exiting the ledge, including providing proper identification.

6.      University of California Police Department would issue a citation on
March 3, 2011 and recommend to the District Attorney that the incident be
treated as an infraction, rather than misdemeanor, trespassing.

At this point I would like to confirm that the students participating in the
ledge sit-in on Wheeler Hall on March 3, 2011, the Center for Student
Conduct and Community Standards, and University of California Police
Department have acted in full accordance with the agreement as to parts 4
and 5 above.

The students participating in the ledge sit-in on Wheeler Hall on March 3,
2011 would like to schedule the meeting with the Chancellor and the chair of
Operational Excellence described in part 1 above, as soon as possible.  No
date for this meeting was agreed to last night and the specific terms of the
number of students and workers that would be allowed to be present was not
specified.  From this point forward, [REDACTED], one of the students
participating in the ledge sit-in last night will be the point person in
establishing the details and circumstances of this meeting.  Her email
address is [REDACTED].

In regard to part 2 above, we had originally discussed having the
notifications issued last night. However, given the speed at which we wanted
the students to come off the ledge, we agreed that the notifications did not
have to be issued on March 3, 2011, but would be sent by the Center for
Student Conduct and Community Standards as soon as the police provided the
names of the individuals.  Because we know that the finalization of a police
report can take time, I am providing here the list of students that were
arrested in Wheeler Hall on March 2, 2011 in hopes that the Center for
Student Conduct and Community Standards will be able to expedite the process
of issuing the notification letters.  The students were:  [REDACTED]

Similarly, in regards to point 3 above, the notification letters were not
provided to the students participating in the ledge sit-in last night,
although the promise was made that they would be issued upon receipt of the
student’s names to the Center for Student Conduct and Community Standards
from University Police. In order to expedite the process, the names of the
students are: [REDACTED]

Chief Celaya, please confirm when you have communicated with the District
Attorney regarding the citations for the students as described in part 6
above.

Thank you for your cooperation last night.  I appreciated your willingness
to respect the students’ decision to communicate through me in the
negotiation process and I am glad that we were able to reach a mutually
agreeable resolution. Should you have any questions regarding the content of
this letter, please do no hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

Daniela Urban

Then Celaya’s response, which should be read with this in mind:

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Mitchell Celaya <mjc@berkeley.edu>
Date: Mon, Mar 7, 2011 at 11:37 AM
Subject: RE: Follow Up on March 3 Wheeler Ledge Sit-In
To: Daniela Urban, poullard@berkeley.edu, Christina Gonzales <cgonzales@berkeley.edu>, vcsa@berkeley.edu

Daniela,

I made the recommendation to the charging DA, because we field cited out the
9 students on Thursday I don’t expect to get a reply from the DA until the
end of the week at the earliest. I will advise you of the DA’s response as
soon as I get it.  Mitch

And finally Gonzales’ response:

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Christina Gonzales <cgonzales@berkeley.edu>
Date: Mon, Mar 7, 2011 at 11:47 AM
Subject: RE: Follow Up on March 3 Wheeler Ledge Sit-In
To: Daniela Urban
Cc: Jonathan Poullard <poullard@berkeley.edu>, Mitchell Celaya <mjc@berkeley.edu>, vcsa@berkeley.edu

Dear Daniela

The Center for Student Conduct has sent out a new administrative disposition (they went out on Thursday night) to students facing conduct charges from November 20, 2009.  We received the signed copies of the new disposition by the participants of the ledge sit-in.

The notifications that were agreed upon for March 2 & 3, 2011 will go to students by the end of this week, I sent the names you shared with the Center for Student Conduct so that the letters could be drafted and sent out.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Thank you

Christina

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