This academic year has been a slow one for campus building occupations in the US so far, but it looks like something’s going down at Berkeley this evening. Reports from multiple sources on Twitter suggest that a smallish group of students have occupied Eshleman Hall.
Still getting up to speed on this story. Will update as I gather data, and livetweet at @studentactivism.
Eshleman Hall was previously the home of a number of student organizations. It’s been slated for demolition as part of a renovation project in Berkeley’s Lower Sproul area, and has been vacant since the start of the fall semester. Student groups previously housed in Eshleman include the student government and student newspaper.
The website Occupy California reports that there are about six occupiers on the sixth floor of Eshleman, and that the occupiers’ demands are
amnesty to demonstrators, the restoration of the Multicultural Student Development (MSD) to its former structure, increase the MSD budget, increase funding for recruitment and retention services.
It’s been reported on Twitter that Berkeley’s dean of students and provost entered Eshleman Hall in an attempt to negotiate with occupiers, but that the negotiations produced no positive results.
At least some of the Eshleman occupiers have reportedly chained themselves by their necks to inside doors in Eshleman, risking serious injury if the police force the doors open.
6:30 pm Pacific Time update | Berkeley student newspaper The Daily Cal has a story up on the occupation. They say there are a hundred students outside the building, and “at least two” chained by the neck inside. They say the administration “has secured the building,” but have no immediate plans to retake it. Also, “The protesters inside are purportedly from Raza Recruitment and Retention Center, a campus group that aims to increase Hispanic enrollment in higher education, and REACH!, which aims to serve Asians and Pacific Islanders on campus.”
6:40 pm | There’s a livestream of a stairwell in Eshleman Hall going on here.
6:45 pm | Hallway livestream seems to have concluded. The reclaimuc website has the occupation’s demands:
We Demand that the Multicultural Student Development Offices be restored to their former structure by Vice Chancellor Gibor Basri. Countless students and the ASUC as an entity have voiced this opinion and received no changes.
We demand that the budget allocation of the multicultural student development offices be increased to meet the needs of their work.
We demand that none of the peaceful protesters in this occupation receive any punishment or repercussions for this activity.
We demand an increase in funding for the Recruitment and Retention Center to assist in their mission of increasing the enrollment of underrepresented minorities on campus.
6:55 pm | Reports from the scene that first round of negotiations over, reps of occupiers caucusing on admin offer.
7:20 pm | There are reportedly about a hundred students outside Eshleman Hall right now, and perhaps half a dozen inside. Some reports say that two students have chained themselves to stairwell doors on the sixth floor of the building, blocking access from the outside and risking injury to do so.
Wednesday | The occupiers left voluntarily at about 9:40 on Tuesday night after receiving assurances that they would not be brought up on criminal or disciplinary charges. Administrators further agreed to establish a “transitional review team” to address the future of the multicultural student center.