University of California administrators have been moving on several different fronts this week to end the occupation of the Gill Tract, a 15-acre experimental farm not far from the UC Berkeley campus.
Activists have been occupying the farm since April 22. As one occupation organizer puts it,
The University of California’s public mission as a Land Grant institution is to promote community involvement and initiatives in agriculture. Nonetheless, institutional attempts to ensure the university fulfills this promise have not been successful. It is only with the recent land occupation that the University has proposed to hold a series of workshops to explore the possibilities for “metropolitan agricultural initiatives” on the Gill Tract.
But the university has refused to move forward with those initiatives until the occupiers leave the land, and over the last few days they’ve been ratcheting up the pressure. On Wednesday the UC Board of Regents filed suit against the group, looking for a restraining order and injunction against the occupation. They also put up concrete barricades to block vehicular traffic from the site.
Yesterday the university went further, closing and locking both of the farm’s gates. So far, police have not attempted to prevent occupiers from climbing over fences to get in and out of the site. Organizers feared that a police raid was imminent last night, but so far none has materialized.