Nine arrested at Occupy protest near UC Berkeley
UC Berkeley officers arrested nine protesters for unlawful assembly and for remaining on UC-owned farmland after dispersal orders were given. The protesters had begun their occupation of the land after it was discovered that the property would be turned into a Whole Foods grocery store and senior living center. Protesters argued that the land should remain as a place where faculty and students could cultivate food.
Prior to the arrests, approximately 40 UC Police Department officers removed numerous protesters from the land. However, those that refused to leave were arrested after failing to follow police orders. UC Berkeley Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost George Breslauer and Vice Chancellor of Administration and Finance John Wilton have insisted that the administration attempted to work with the protesters and avoid arrests. “At every step of the way our efforts were either rejected or ignored, and sadly we have now run out of time,” stated the administrators in a press release.
Anya Kamenskaya, a spokesperson of the “Occupy the Farm” noted that protesters would continue to meet with the administration in attempts to save the land from industrial development. “It’s not over,” stated Kamenskaya in an article by the Daily Cal.
CSU hunger strike ends
More than a week after initiating a hunger strike, students from numerous California State University campuses have ceased their peaceful demonstration. The protesters, whose demands included the freezing of current tuition levels and pay rollbacks for top CSU administrators, had consumed only vegetable juice for the entirety of the protest.
While none of the protesters’ demands were met, the student group has voiced their opinion that the protest was a success in terms of bringing heightened scrutiny to CSU system. In particular, the students have pointed to a recent investigation by CBS News which found over $750,000 in questionable charges from CSU Chancellor Charles Reed’s office, reports the Press-Enterprise.
Administrators from the CSU such as spokesperson Mike Uhlenkamp stated that the demands of the students were unrealistic in light of the state’s financial conditions. However, the group has been able to meet with both CSU trustees and administrators in order to discuss their demands in person. “We knew this was something that was going to be impactful,” stated CSU San Bernardino student Natalie Dorado in an article by the Press-Enterprise. Dorado, who participated in the hunger strike alongside approximately 12 other CSU students, indicated that she had lost 12 pounds during the ordeal.
“Davis Dozen” plead not guilty
UC Davis protesters known as the “Davis Dozen” have pleaded not guilty to criminal charges of instigating the withdrawal of a U.S. Bank branch on campus. The protesters face 11 years in prison and $1 million in fines due to public obstruction in a public space and conspiracy to commit a misdemeanor, reports UC Davis’ California Aggie newspaper. The sit-ins that occurred at the branch were prompted by students’ concerns that the bank was worsening student debt and posed a conflict of interest with the university; one concern involved an arrangement between the university and bank which allowed UC Davis students’ ID cards to act as U.S. Bank debit cards.
The students have prompted a massive criticism of the UC Davis administration for failing to address the issue within the campus and instead relying on criminal charges. The issue was brought forth during the UC regents meeting on May 16 when several audience members urged the regents to support the Davis Dozen. The UC Davis Faculty Association and a local union representing UC Davis undergraduate students have passed resolution to stand in solidarity with the Davis Dozen. “We are disturbed that the Administration is not only regulating student dissent through policy and force, but also criminalizing protesters in ways that are contrary to what you call part of the “learning process,” stated a press release co-signed by faculty from UC Davis’ Asian American Studies Department.