Occupy SFSU camp shut down after overnight dispersal warning

Photo by Hang Cheng
SF State student Orlando Schuler studies on his laptop at the Occupy SFSU encampment in Malcom X Plaza, Dec. 5, 2011. The camp was shut down by University authorities and police early this morning.Photo by Hang Cheng.

The Occupy SFSU encampment has been cleared from Malcolm X Plaza after an immediate dispersal order was given by the university early this morning.

The order came from the University at 12:15 a.m. stating that the students were to leave the plaza immediately. If students did not leave they would be subject to a “Dispersal Order and Enforcement Action in accordance with section 42353 of the Title 5 California Code of Regulations.”

According to University spokeswoman Ellen Griffin, the dispersal order was made because of public health and safety concerns. The decision was made by the University administration, primarily President Robert A. Corrigan and Vice President Robert J. Nava.

“The university is approaching a week-long closure, increasing difficulty to provide safety,” said Griffin. “This needed to be resolved before break.”

At 5 a.m. about 50 police in riot gear showed up at the plaza as students were taking down the last of the encampment, according to Terence Yancey, a SF State junior majoring in philosophy, who has been camping out at Occupy SFSU. The size of the camp had already shrunk significantly because many students were planning on going home for the holidays.

“At that point there were about 10 of us left there,” said Yancey.

Griffin also explained that the administration had received reports of physical altercations and one non-student with a weapon at the encampment.

“I have heard the concerns,” Yancey said referring to the claims of physical altercations. He explained that a meeting had taken place regarding the issue, but he personally hasn’t seen anything like that.

Students first pitched tents in the plaza Dec. 1 as a response to the ongoing budget cuts and continuing tuition increases.

A statement was issued by Occupy SFSU on their website today explaining that the camp has been cleared.

“The administration wasn’t willing to allow students to wait until daylight to break down their tents. Most of the communal and personal property (books, tents, sleeping bags, etc.) has been safely moved to an offsite area for storage,” according to their website.

Occupy SFSU plans to hold a general meeting next week to determine what their next plan will be.

“The students acted peacefully and responsibly,” Griffin said. She also noted that the students never had permission to camp in the plaza and “university policy and procedures remain intact.”

No one was detained or arrested last night.