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Press Release: End of Kerr Hall occupation
by Occupy California
Sunday Nov 22nd, 2009 5:07 PM
Earlier this morning, UCSC administrators called riot police to the campus to forcibly end the students’ peaceful occupation of Kerr Hall, the central administration building on campus. The students had been occupying the building to express their anger over the UC Regents’ recent vote to raise tuition by an unprecedented 32%. The escalation and resort to police intervention was a surprise to many, including some faculty members who had attended an Academic Senate meeting on Thursday with Chancellor Blumenthal and Provost Kliger.

University of California, Santa Cruz
11:00 a.m., November 22, 2009

UCSC student occupiers of Kerr Hall successfully escape arrest during confrontation with police

Earlier this morning, UCSC administrators called riot police to the campus to forcibly end the students’ peaceful occupation of Kerr Hall, the central administration building on campus. The students had been occupying the building to express their anger over the UC Regents’ recent vote to raise tuition by an unprecedented 32%. The escalation and resort to police intervention was a surprise to many, including some faculty members who had attended an Academic Senate meeting on Thursday with Chancellor Blumenthal and Provost Kliger.

Student negotiators appealed for nearly eight hours on Saturday to Blumenthal and Kliger to concede to a single demand of the occupiers, to no avail—the campus leaders refused to take seriously the concerns of students who face incredible financial stress as the cost of their public education will make it impossible for some to continue their studies and graduate. It was after discussions ended on Saturday evening that administrators decided to resort to the blunt use of violence to clear the occupiers from Kerr Hall. In what can only be interpreted as an attempt to secure the element of surprise, the administration created an atmosphere of terror inside Kerr Hall and amongst concerned students, faculty, and workers gathered outside all night long by informing the students that the police could arrive at any moment.

Early Sunday morning, Chancellor Blumenthal and Provost Kliger turned the campus into an effective police state by stationing riot police at all entrances to refuse entry to everyone. In a blatant attempt to create a media blackout as they prepared for the police attack, even a Santa Cruz Sentinel photographer was refused access to the campus for some time. (They had already cut cruznet service, the campus wifi system, in the Kerr Hall area.)

At one point during the confrontation, students and neutral faculty observers were cornered by riot police on an outdoor balcony. As the police advanced towards the students and faculty, one faculty member fell from the balcony, injuring his back. He was taken to the hospital by ambulance. The student occupiers are very concerned about the well-being of the faculty member and denounce the administration’s use of force that caused his injury.

The police cleared the entry leading to Kerr Hall by pushing through the outdoor crowd, at times striking students in the chest with their clubs. Upon entering the lobby of Kerr Hall, they issued an ultimatum to students that they could leave peacefully and be arrested one-by-one outside. The students refused this outright. The police backed-off and offered to let the students leave without arrest through a rear entry to Kerr Hall; this offer was accepted immediately by the occupiers, who cleared out of the building at this moment.

Over 75 students have already volunteered to help clean the space in Kerr Hall that was occupied; there are concerns, however, that the University will refuse this offer in order to exaggerate costs associated with the occupation.

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by a
Sunday Nov 22nd, 2009 6:57 PM
you were really surprised by the riot police?

thats kind of ridiculous
by dreamer
Sunday Nov 22nd, 2009 9:06 PM
I am so glad to hear that students are finally rising up against the administration of the UC. Fees have gone up 300% in the past decade, and now another 32% in the next year. This is a clear attempt by the wealthy elite to keep education unaffordable to all but the few. I think that the regents should resign and that administrative costs should be brought back down to a reasonable level. The regents have forgotten: the UC is for the people of California, not the wealthy corporate heads who would like to further concentrate their wealth.
by frustrated student
Sunday Nov 22nd, 2009 11:43 PM

If the people are really poor enough that it matters, the UC is already covering them. If they are ineligible it is because they are from out of state (and therefore irrelevant, they never paid into the UC system through their taxes anyways), make more money than that (and need to quit complaining), or foreign of some sort (illegal or not, they still didn't pay into the UC system via state income tax). Grant aid is out there, if these students weren't too lazy to look for it. I sought it out, applied for loads, was awarded little but enough. I guess it's easier to take the reactionary/complaint approach. Where were all the protesters when the regents were begging the state not to cut their funding?

Seriously people... where the hell do you think the money for the funding gap is going to come from?

And by the way, civil disobedience means you are proud you're breaking the law, since you want to highlight how unfair the law is. You choose the punishment. Trespassing and property damage are not protected classes of free speech. Demanding no sanctions academic or otherwise, hiding their faces and names, and all these sleazy tactics just show that even the protesters either know it's wrong or aren't proud of what they are doing.

The protesters should be glad the administration feel bad for them and the situation. Their patience is extreme because of this, and they do understand what 32% means. A few years ago the riot police would have been there day one when they blocked the entrances. After several days, how the hell didn't they expect a police reaction? Not to mention the damage to the building...
by Radical student
Sunday Nov 22nd, 2009 11:48 PM
The hard core revolutionaries have a lot to offer this movement, but not when it comes in a tone of derisive condescension. A lot of uc students are being radicalized due to the budget bullshit and the actions around it. This would be an amazing time for those with more developed radical perspectives, skills, guts, experience and knowledge to help the struggle expand and transcend the reformist visions of some, to build a truly radical direct action movement of students, workers and youth confronting the fundamental failures of the current system. Cmon don't be like those Leninist assholes who only talk shit when people rise up. We need you!! Solidarity forever...
by c
Monday Nov 23rd, 2009 7:26 AM
"And by the way, civil disobedience means you are proud you're breaking the law, since you want to highlight how unfair the law is. You choose the punishment."

I disagree with this. Or perhaps 'civil disobedience' is a rather narrow range of actions among a larger array of oppositional possibilities. My mother grew up in a dictatorship and the slightest disagreement, or indication that you weren't patriotic to the government brought about death to a lot of neighbors (germany). Proudly accepting that type of punishment would achieve nothing as many people already knew the government was brutal, and didn't need that illustrated.
I guess civil disobedience only works under the special case of having functioning democracy where things are mostly fair, and the problem is that there was some unfair glitch and the media hasn't been covering things appropriately. It only makes logical sense to do CD if there were recent evidence of the system being fair and responding to people doing it. For example, thousands of people chained themselves together or make a strong stance against the Iraq escalation and the Bush administration displayed about zero response.

Anyway, I agree with you that the graduated fee scale with income is a good thing. Most other states don't have anything like this, and the working class students pay their full way and go to commuter campuses.
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by Even more frustrated student
Monday Nov 23rd, 2009 12:53 PM
How can you possibly denounce these student as merely "too lazy to look for grant money?" What kind of excessive. sheltered privilege do you come from that could enable you to make such an asinine mark? There is already a paucity of available financial aid for struggling students, most of which entail loans that are exceedingly difficult to pay off. And do you really think that this fee increase will predispose financial aid organizations to pay more?

The status quo has been trying to make public education increasingly unavailable for decades, and these protesters are merely the group who acts on the frustration shared by the vast majority of students. A single occupation probably won't see the fee hike rescinded, but this is not a sole occupation. There have been five UC occupations in the last for days at multiple campuses. And their goal isn't merely to raise a palpable pissed off fist into the face of the administration (though it does accomplish that necessary goal in stripes), we also strive to pressure the local administration directly disrupted by this occupation to change things pertinent to OUR campus. Negotiations were made to freeze campus layoffs, keep resource centers open, and swear not to lower the salaries of workers making under 40K a year. However, as evidenced by the use of police brutality, the administration refuses to even these perfectly reasonable demands.

And the money doesn't have to come out of our pockets, in fact that is the single most inefficient way of collecting the funds required to avert this financial crisis. Firstly, students and faclty alike are pressuring state politicians to increase state funding for education, both by generating a new state revenue source (no easy feat, I know, but worth it) and channeling the excessive funding spent on prison maintenance into education. The state, on average, spends three times as much money per year on an incarcerated inmate than it does on a student in higher education. That is a fucking travesty.

And for the record, the "damage to the building" purported by the media is exceptionally exaggerated. Of course, any building housing 150 people in such a small area is going to get a little messy, the garbage left behind would be easy to clean up, and cleaning efforts have been volunteered by members of the occupation.

Finally, if it's so easy for you to pay for college, why not share the wealth a bit? There are countless students who would be more than willing to accept your personal financial aid over your bitchiness that they conjure your own out of thin air. Put your money where your mouth is.
by working mom
Monday Nov 23rd, 2009 3:43 PM
I'm a bit confused how occupying a building and leaving a ton of garbage all over as well as vandalizing the building is helpful to the cause of poor students anywhere. This form of "radicalism" only serves to irritate the general public as well as students. It resulted in a lot of extra overtime pay for the regular cops who responded from all over. They were dressed in riot helmets, yet using the term "riot police" to artifically inflame only the people who are already there is pointless. Then there's the issue of all the crap left behind, not all of the expensive laptops, iPhones sleeping bags that the "poor" students own, but the actual garbage strewn everywhere that the custodians you so profess to want to help had to clean up. Yeah, that's showing respect and support by creating such a disgusting mess that these poorly paid people who had their hours cut, had to come in on possibly their only day off with their family to clean up your mess. Get real, WHO did you think would clean it up? I support your cause and agree that what the regents and administration have done is a travesty and it nauseates me. The regents are an elitist group of administrators who have no connection to the employees or students, yet they should be your target, not the people who end up cleaning up after you. There comes a time when it makes sense to get real and move past all the revolutionary rhetoric and bullshit and realize what actually has a chance of working rather than what will get you the most attention. For all it matters, I am a single mom working my ass off, living in a one bedroom apt just to survive, wondering how I will help support my child get through college.
by .
Monday Nov 23rd, 2009 3:50 PM
If you don't eat meals at a frequency of every 5 hours or less, you could go hypoglycemic or your energy could fail and you would pass out. Snack food is necessary.
by Gene
Monday Nov 23rd, 2009 4:22 PM
So is staying hydrated, but, doesn't mean you have to leave trash all over.
by Gene
Monday Nov 23rd, 2009 4:32 PM
From what I have seen from the sidelines none of you seem to be willing to actually sacrifice anything to meet your goals. Programs that have very low enrollment seem to be sacred cows that no one is willing to say ok we can let that go. No one seems dedicated enough to lose their personal liberty for the cause. Everyone involved wants to stay anonymous. Wonder if India would still be a British colony if Ghandi had remained anonymous. I am sure we would have all of the civil rights we enjoy now if Reverend King and his follows had worked from the shadows and hadn't stepped to the front lines and taken the blows of those who did not understand. When protesters do so from behind masks and anonyminty all those of us in the general public see are bandits and criminals. Step forward and be heard and if you are arrested those who are behind will step forward to be heard, and so on until people realize that if these people are willing to risk everything for what they believe in perhaps there is something to their cause. I do not agree with him and I find his antics to be childish and foolish but I have to admire Robert Norse for being willing to step up and be counted for what he believes.

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