The Berkeley Student Advocate’s office released their report on the Wheeler Hall occupation yesterday, two days after a draft version of the report leaked on the internet. The official version of the report drops some of the draft’s most tweet-worthy adjectives, but its substance is pretty much unchanged, and its portrait of the university administration is no more flattering.

UC Berkeley’s initial press release on the Wheeler Hall arrests conceded that the occupation of the building had been “largely non-disruptive,” and that the occupiers had initially taken steps “to ensure that their activities would not conflict with classroom review sessions.” It claimed, however, that as the week wore on the nature of the occupation shifted. “Things began to change the last couple of nights,” said university spokesman Dan Mogulof. Students began “breaking into locked classrooms and things like that,” and started to plan a hip-hop concert and dance party for Friday night. “Once the group refused to reconsider plans to hold an unauthorized all-night concert in an academic building,” said Mogulof, “we had to take steps to ensure that finals could go forward.”

But Mogulof conceded that there had been no property damage in Wheeler Hall, and provided no details regarding the nature or adverse consequences of the supposed classroom break-ins. On the subject of the concert, one member of the occupation told the Berkeley Daily Planet that the students had been ready to “guarantee that Wheeler would be clean and functional by 6 am, well before final exams on Saturday morning.” But Mogulof denied that any promises to that effect had been made, saying — in the Daily Planet‘s paraphrase — that “had there been such a guarantee, things might have had a different outcome.”

According to the SAO, however, the outcome was predetermined.

Representatives of the SAO met with Berkeley Dean of Students Jonathan Poullard after the arrests, and his account of the university’s actions was, they say, at odds with the administration’s public statements. The university had begun to make preparations to arrest the occupiers on Monday, he told them, and would have conducted mass arrests that night if it had been logistically feasible to do so. Friday’s pre-dawn arrests were carried out not because of any change in the character of the Wheeler Hall occupation, he indicated — they had been discussed throughout the week, and were delayed until Friday only to prevent students from moving their “Live Week” occupation to a new building after the bust.

The university allowed the occupation of Wheeler Hall to go on for three days and four nights. Throughout that time, students, faculty, administrators, and campus police came and went freely. Nightly warnings that the occupation was illegal were, the SAO says, unaccompanied by “any measures to enforce those warnings,” giving “many students the false impression that their actions were an acceptable form of protest that was tolerated by the administration.” The final such warning, no more urgent than the others, was delivered more than six hours before the arrests were made.

(In an essay published yesterday at the Huffington Post, a UC Davis professor gives another example of the administration’s tacit approval and even encouragement of the Wheeler Hall occupation. One evening, he says, “police entered the building and told a group of students that they in the wrong room and ordered them to move to one of several other rooms they indicated were designated for the protest.”)

On Monday night approximately two dozen students slept in Wheeler Hall. By Thursday night there were sixty-five. That growth took place because the university gave its tacit blessing to the occupation, the SAO charges, leading “many students to participate in the events who would have avoided Wheeler Hall had they anticipated the risk of severe punishment.” As the SAO notes, the arrests put those students in criminal and administrative jeopardy, while placing “any AB540 or international students on site … at risk of deportation.”

In the last week students and others have asked why the university gave students no indication that arrests were likely. They have asked why there was no dispersal order, why students weren’t cited and released on site, and why they were taken thirty miles away for booking and held for more than eight hours.

The university’s stated justification for retaking Wheeler Hall — its need to to pre-empt a potentially disruptive concert that night and to ensure the building’s accessibility for finals twenty-eight hours later — explains none of the above decisions. But the reason the SAO offers — a desire to prevent students from mobilizing in the aftermath of the Wheeler Hall shutdown — explains them all. Indeed, the SAO’s charges lend new weight to a concern expressed by the ACLU of Northern California on the day of the arrests — that the mass arrests, and the decision to transport the arrestees to jail, may have been intended “to chill or prevent constitutionally protected expressive activities or to retaliate against demonstrators for their speech.”

This was an open occupation, an attempt to indicate, in the quiet week between the end of classes and the beginning of finals, what a democratic university might look like. For three days the Berkeley administration left the students in Wheeler Hall alone and the students flung Wheeler’s doors open. They held study sessions, knitting groups, sing-alongs. They hosted academic presentations by professors and workshops led by activists. There was free food and good music and the peculiar thrill of sleeping in the aisles of an auditorium.

The students occupying Wheeler Hall thought that they and the administration had reached an understanding. They would keep order, ensure access to the building, and clean up after themselves, and in return the administration would let them stay through the end of Friday. On Saturday morning Wheeler Hall would revert to the control of the institution.

But that’s not what happened, and the SAO believe they know why.