About a month after the UCB student library study-in protest and two months after the UC-wide walkout, Friday is another day of actions and striking at UC Berkeley and at other UC campuses in reaction to the 32% fee hike that was approved by the UC regents yesterday. This morning students occupied Wheeler Hall and as of 4pm were are still barricaded inside the building. You can follow the events and post-coverege via Twitter at #ucstrike and #ucbprotest.
At about 11 am fire alarms were pulled almost simultaneously in a number of campus buildings and libraries, my two home bases (Doe and Moffitt) included. I spent an hour with a colleague’s borrowed iPhone walking around, talking to students, faculty, and staff, and taking pictures of the demonstrations as people waited to hear if we would be readmitted to our buildings. Doe and Moffitt remained closed for the day, as have other buildings that received the alarm treatment. As alarms were pulled crowds would flood out of buildings, and the center of campus was covered with people waiting, wandering, and participating in demonstrations in at times heavy rainfall. I saw a few bizarre campus tours happening in the middle of all of this, with bewildered/ stoked/ agog potential students taking in all the drama. I heard “welcome to Cal!” hollered at these groups good-naturedly on more than one occasion.
You can see my pics via a public Facebook album:
Students I spoke to were unilaterally extremely upset by the fee increases, whether they supported the occupation tactics or not. I have read only one injury report thus far on Twitter but have started to see protest footage pop up on YouTube 1 | 2 of students rumbling with campus police around Wheeler Hall. The DailyCal student newspaper website is at the time of this post somewhat overwhelmed with traffic and slow to load, but is providing fast of the events including more footage on YouTube.
Last (unconfirmed) news via Twitter is that the Dean of Students, Chief of UCPD, Senator Cynthia Nava, and others have entered Wheeler to negotiate with student occupiers.