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Timeline: UC Berkeley fee increase protests

on March 3, 2010

September 24, 2009 — One day student strike

About 5,000 people gathered in Sproul Plaza at UC Berkeley to protest state budget cuts that led to layoffs and furloughs for staff and faculty, according to SF Gate. The cuts were expected to result in fee hikes at the UC and state college systems.

October 9 and 10, 2009 — Anthropology library study-in

More than 100 UC Berkeley students participated in a study-in to protest the administration’s decision to shut down small campus libraries on Saturdays, according to SF Gate.

October 16, 2009 — Education and psychology library study-in

Students organize a second library study-in at the education and psychology library in Tolman Hall. On the Wednesday before the demonstration was scheduled to begin, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Harry Le Grand sent a school-wide email to students announcing that the university planned to restore library hours to its spring 2009 schedule. On Friday, the same day the demonstration was scheduled to begin, the school announced that the first library to have its hours restored would be the one students targeted that week.

October 24, 2009 — Statewide Mobilizing Conference for K-12 and Higher Education

According to organizers, more than 600 people attended a conference at UC Berkeley to plan further protests to respond to the budget crisis and other concerns over public education. Conference attendees agreed to establish March 4 as a “state-wide day of action,” or a day focused on protesting public education budget cuts.

November 18 – 20, 2009 — Three-day Strike

A coalition of students staff and faculty organize a three-day strike and walkout. The events are timed to coincide with a UC Regents meeting to consider increasing student fees. The turnout at the rallies in November dwarfed the September demonstration. Thousands of students gathered outside Wheeler Hall on November 20 after students occupied the building in response to the regents voting to raise fees. After more than twelve hours inside Wheeler Hall, the students were eventually cited for trespassing and released. The district attorney didn’t file any charges against the students, but the participants are still facing student misconduct charges for their involvement in the occupation.

December 5 – 11, 2009 — Live Week and march to chancellor’s house

A contingent of students working under the name Reclaim UC organize a second occupation of Wheeler Hall and brand it “Live Week,” a play on the “dead week” each semester where there is no new instruction. Unlike the previous occupation, students do not barricade themselves in the building and the demonstration gets the tacit approval of the administration after the UC police department decides not to force students out of the building on the first night. But on early Friday morning, the police come in while nearly everyone is sleeping and arrest 66 people who were inside at the time.

That night, a concert that had been planned for inside Wheeler Hall is moved to an off-campus co-op. At the end of the concert, about 50-70 people wearing black bandanas march to Chancellor Robert Birgeneau’s house. A few individuals shatter lampposts, planters and two of the houses windows.

Eight people are arrested and charged with multiple felonies, but the Alameda County District Attorney doesn’t file charges against the people arrested. Four of the students who were arrested are UC students and two of them are still facing student conduct charges at this time.

February 26, 2010 — Dance Party turns violent

A night-time dance party at Sproul Plaza, which had been promoted on Facebook and through handing out flyers on campus, transforms into an occupation of Durant Hall, a building under construction on campus. Around 2 a.m. the students leave the occupation and continue dancing down Telegraph Avenue. The party quickly dissolves into a confrontation with police in which dumpsters are set on fire, bottles are lobbed at police, and dozens of protestors are struck by batons. Police make two arrests during the night.

Josh Wolf is embedded with the student protest movement; for more information on his involvement please click here.

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Photo by Basil D Soufi
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