Update 1:18 p.m. Caitlin Esch talked to UC Berkeley spokesman Doug Mogulof, who said campus law enforcement has its hands full with the investigation into yesterday's shooting death by UC police of a student allegedly wielding a gun at Haas. Over 25 witnesses need to be interviewed, Mogulof said. He said the policy against camping "will be implemented, but at a time when we believe we can do it safely and effectively."
He also said the school is hoping protesters will leave on their own.
Good luck with that, a pessimistic person might say.
Meanwhile, a member of the graduate student government has been an informal liaison between the administration and the encampment. She told Caitlin Esch that the police chief informed her that he'd try to give her advance notice of a potential police clearout so undocumented and foreign students could leave.
Update Wednesday 11:20 a.m. From our reporter on the scene, Caitlin Esch:
About 15 tents are pitched in front of Sproul Plaza right now. Students aare milling about. Two pianos and an accordion are occasionally being played. It's a calm and relatively festive atmosphere. Police read an order over a megaphone every hour warning people they do not have the right to camp and face arrest. It's not a dispersal order, just a warning.
Update Wednesday 10:40 a.m. Yesterday KQED Public Television's This Week in Northern California sent a crew out to UC Berkeley. Here's the video they shot:
Update 9:34 p.m Robert Reich's speech is over and so are we. KGO, which webcast Reich's address, usually puts up a video archive, so check for the replay there. The Daily Cal live blogged it as well. And you can keep following events at the links above.
During the news conference about the campus shooting, someone asked UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau about camping on campus. Birgeneau said that the school would not allow any encampment that is "equivalent to what happened in Oakland and San Francisco."
About 600 Occupy Oakland protesters just arrived from Telegraph and joined about several thousand at Sproul. People are playing pianos and the plaza is decorated with sculptures, carpets, and a couple couches.
Update 1:55 p.m. More and more, a confused nation is turning to Stephen Colbert to make sense of the wrenching current events in the Bay Area. If you haven't seen his take on confrontations between police and students at Occupy Cal last Wednesday, here it is:
Update 11:03 a.m. KQED's Ana Tintocalis speaks to Alex Barnard, a first-year graduate student in sociology and spokesman for Occupy Cal.
"The message we're trying to get out is there isn't a lot of difference between the banks and the UC Regents," he says. "We have regents who sit on the boards of banks like Bank of America and Wells Fargo, and it's clear their interests are not ours; they have the interests of the 1% of the banks at heart. We want to change that and put pressure on them. If they started pressuring the legislators and voters to pass this Refund California initiative, this could really be transformative."
A union-backed group calling itself Refund California is organizing protests on Wednesday at more than a dozen college campuses, including Sacramento State and UC Davis.
The group argues that banks created the country's economic collapse that decimated state budgets and led to massive tuition hikes in recent years. It is calling on leaders of California's public universities to pledge support for higher taxes on corporations and wealthy individuals as a way to restore funding for jobs and education.
The group sent letters Friday to University of California regents and trustees of the California State University, asking them to sign a pledge to support five items: increasing income taxes on California's wealthiest; changing Proposition 13 so that corporate property taxes could rise; enacting a federal sales tax on large-scale financial transactions; reducing underwater mortgage debt; and reversing tuition increases, layoffs, and cuts to public education and essential services.
After the relatively muted drama of yesterday's raid on Occupy Oakland, the rolling series of protests continues on its Economic Disenchantment tour at UC Berkeley today. Demonstrations and teach-outs are planned.
From the Daily Cal, the university's student paper:
Demonstrations will take place throughout the day — including a rally at 2 p.m. and a general assembly at 5 p.m., when protesters will vote on whether to build an encampment. The day’s events lead up to a speech by UC Berkeley professor of public policy and former U.S. secretary of labor Robert Reich, who will deliver his annual Mario Savio Memorial Lecture on Sproul Plaza at 8 p.m.
...it was only yesterday that I was able to look at a number of the videos that were made of the protests on Nov. 9. These videos are very disturbing. The events of last Wednesday are unworthy of us as a university community. Sadly, they point to the dilemma that we face in trying to prevent encampments and thereby mitigate long-term risks to the health and safety of our entire community.
Most certainly, we cannot condone any excessive use of force against any members of our community. I have asked Professor Jesse Choper, our former Dean of Law, and current Chair of the Police Review Board (PRB) to launch immediately a review of the police actions of last Wednesday and Thursday morning. As is normal process, University Police Chief Mitch Celaya is concurrently undertaking an operational review of last week’s events. He has requested that it be conducted by a senior member of the command staff at one of our sister UC campuses. This report will be provided to the PRB. I am confident that Professor Choper will provide a fair and balanced judgment as speedily as possible.
Birgeneau also said the university would grant amnesty to "all Berkeley students who were arrested and cited solely for attempting to block the police in removing the Occupy Cal encampment on Wednesday, Nov. 9," exempting them from punishment under the Student Code of Conduct.
KQED's Ana Tintocalis was on campus today and reports a more peaceful atmosphere -- so far. "It's a relatively calm morning right now," she reports. "Student organizers are gathering and other students are making their way to class. Today's protest is all about cuts to higher education. Students are calling on administrators to basically have banks pay for higher education in California. At noon they're expected to join forces with the Occupy Oakland folks who are expected to march over. This is the students' version of rejecting what is happening on Wall Street and they're expected to have a couple of press conferences on that very subject today."