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Cal Student Activists are Threatened and Detained in UCB Administration Building
by SOJA (derdevin [at] berkeley.edu)
Friday Mar 17th, 2006 3:56 PM
Students with the Sweat-Free Campaign were threatened and detained by UC police after entering a UC Berkeley Administration building (California Hall) to deliver a letter to Chancellor Birgeneau. This event is the latest in an escelating series of actions by Students Organizing for Justice in the Americas to pressure the UC into ending the sourcing of collegiate apparel from sweatshops.
At 1pm on March 17, 2006, twenty UC Berkeley students involved with Students Organizing for Justice in the Americas (SOJA) entered Chancellor Birgeneau’s office in California Hall. Their purpose was to deliver a letter asking the Chancellor to write UC President Dynes in support of the Designated Suppliers Program (DSP). A part of the Sweat-Free Campus Campaign, the DSP would require UC collegiate apparel to be sourced from factories that pay workers a living wage and have a legitimate associate workers body.

SOJA has led a long-standing campaign to get the UC’s to stop sourcing apparel from sweatshops. While establishing a Code of Conduct Committee to make recommendations on the issue, the UC has not implemented any concrete measures to stop the sourcing of apparel from sweatshops. In the last year, SOJA students have submitted letters in support of the DSP, met multiple times with Birgeneau, and staged many public protests to bring attention to the issue. Due to the Administration’s negligible response, the campaign escalated to actions such as the March 1st naked protest and the March 10th “mock sit-in” at President Dynes' office in Oakland.

SOJA students delivered the letter to Nathan Brostrom, Vice Chancellor of Administration, carrying balloons, drums, pots, and wore signs in support of the Sweat-Free campaign. Office staff appeared confused in how to respond to the intrusion by enthusiastic students into California Hall, listening to the student’s requests while locking the office doors behind them.

After the momentary delivery of the letter, students left the office and began descending the stairs to exit California Hall. At the bottom of the stairs, a UCPD officer threatened students with his nightstick, ordering them to sit down. Students immediately complied with the order. The students stated they would leave peacefully, and were instead detained. They were not allowed to exit the building until over half a dozen UC Berkeley and Berkeley City Police arrived and demanded identification, filming the entire process.

Most students felt the police detention was an unnecessary act of intimidation. After exiting the building and reconvening to debrief they were followed by two officers, validating the students feelings of harassment.
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There's UCB's cops for ya...ucsc studentSaturday Mar 18th, 2006 3:23 AM
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