UC Berkeley protesters arrested during Day of Action

SF State grad student Michael V. is arrested by police officers during a protest at Wheeler Hall on the UC Berkeley campus, Mar. 2. Police arrested Michael and other protesters for trespassing. Eric Soracco / staff photographer

Approximately 12 UC Berkeley students were arrested Tuesday night after occupying Benjamin Ide Wheeler Hall in protest of proposed budget cuts to higher education.

The crowd separated into three groups at 9:30 p.m. to discuss the possible consequences of intentionally trespassing onto the lobby.

More and more police officers began to arrive as the students gathered and started to play live music and pressure began to build.

Some students held signs in opposition to the budget cuts, while others handed out yellow Copwatch pocket guides to explain the process of being detained and what rights one has when placed in such intimidating situations.

Michael, a SF State comparative literature graduate student who did not want to disclose his last name, believes that trespassing is a far less deceitful offense than crimes being committed against students.

“I think it is really important that we are here,” he said. “The fact that they can charge for education is a crime in it self. We are the poor. If the poor can’t get education, then no one deserves education.”

Police refused to give comment and began making arrests at roughly 10 p.m. once Wheeler Hall was officially closed to the public.

Those that did not want to get arrested left the hall, but stood outside the doors screaming in unison, “Pigs get out” and “No justice, no peace. Peace in the Middle East” in support of the 12 protesters who remained inside the building.

At one point, several female protesters were pushed by police officers and struggled with them to keep the doors open. However, the police quickly took control and stood in front of every entrance of the hall, helmets on and nightsticks in hand.

At the same time, the 12 protesters remaining inside lied down in a closed circle and locked their arms and legs in solidarity until police started dragged each of them, one by one, into custody.

Latest comments
  • Of course he’s a Comparative Lit. grad–all the folks earning real degrees don’t have time for crap like this.

    • Looks like you need guys like Michael to fight for your “real” degree since you’re incapable of helping yourself. Maybe be more appreciative that he’s willing to do this “crap” for people like you?

      • Agreed Erika. Even science and technology departments are feeling the crutch. They run off of special corporate/governmental grants, but as money becomes thin so do these.

        Defending the usefulness of a degree must always start with the availability of work. I have had relatively little trouble finding use for my skills in the job market, primarily because they are versatile. It should be noted that engineers (since that is our big example) are being laid off by the thousands every year.

      • He’s fighting for attention and self-fulfillment, not my degree. The protests were larger last year, and accomplished exactly nada. Scarfy McBeret getting arrested isn’t going to save a dime.

    • Hey Brutus,

      We don’t see your ass up there fighting to stop the budget cuts. How about you say something worth while and meaningful or not say anything at all.

      Thanks.

      • You’re right, I don’t waste my energy in pointless protests that do absolutely nothing to resolve the massive budget crisis.

        • “Pointless protests” is starting to tread fascist territory, Brutus. Democracy lives in protest and the utterances of an oppressed class (that is, the manifold poor) can never be considered pointless in that light.

          Don’t make excluding yourself from from your fellow your protest. That’s just lame.

          • Protest is important. These student protests have been fairly useless, though, partly because so many of the protesters are out there simply to avoid class or to feel like activists.

            By the numbers, many SFSU students are not in fact part of the “manifold poor.” Some are, and the others do enjoy participating in the perception that they are poor, but the student body of SFSU is by no means impoverished as a whole.

  • Hello,

    I am the student who was quoted in this article. I would like to clarify my statements (they were hastily transcribed in the police-driven chaos of the night). I said that we, students and workers, are the poor majority of the country and if we are not able to get affordable, quality education, that means that no one in this country is receiving justice in education.

    I was held for 24 hours in an Oakland jail on suspicion of obstructing a peace officer. My arraignment is in 2 weeks.

    Change doesn’t come until people stand up for their voices and for their resources. Education is the foundation of an effective democracy and must be defended at all costs.

  • Brutus: Nice to hear that you are so much superior to those who are putting in the work to receive a higher education at a time when it is nearly financially impossible, especially for recent college graduates with no substantial income. I’m sure you must be one of the tiny minority of people who are educated up to or beyond the master’s level. This country would be so much better off if we were all business and engineering majors, right?

    But really, congratulations on buying into everything “the man” wants you to. You are supposed to be worked to the bone just to provide for your basic needs- that way you “don’t have time” for pesky things like political activism and critical thinking. Bravo.

    • Critical thinking doesn’t take much time at all, unless you’re a clueless dope. As for using the term “The Man”…are you serious? What is this, a Blaxploitation flick?

      • The Man = patriarchal capitalism.

        • Ohhh you’re one of those people, that is ADORABLE

  • Protesting isn’t dumb. Protesting something that is essential for our state’s survival is dumb. Do the budget cuts suck? Yes. But our state is in the hole. Has been for some time. We;re bankrupt! I Just graduated last Spring and finding a job is shitty right now (especially if you have a meaningless degree like myself and mister Michael V. do).

    Go to class. Graduate. Try to find a job. Activism doesn’t have to be something “radical” (I use that term loosely) like camping out in a building after hours. It can be as simple as finding a job and contributing to the economy and voting. And if you really feel like camping out in a university building, just leave when the police tell you to. This isn’t the sit-ins and you are not in Alabama in the ’60s. If you want to throw a slumber party, invite your friends over to your apartment and stay up all night watching horror movies or something. Anything but this.

    • Hear, hear!

  • We need protesters because they start discussions and attract media, i.e. this story.

    Just like we need a military, you may not like it, but we need it, at least for now.