Thursday, September 22, 2011

UC College of Debtors in Defiance

statement from the occupation of Tolman Hall at UC Berkeley

We’ve come together today to call for a halt to the destruction of our public schools,
and to insist that education be universally accessible and free. But today we are not
simply pressing demands; we’re also working collectively to reclaim our campus, to
make it a little more public and a little less estranged from us. Starting this afternoon,
we’re opening up a university building to be used as an organizing and educational
space; for teach-ins, film screenings, planning meetings, and whatever else we students,
workers, and debtors at large decide will help us more effectively resist austerity.
We’ve decided to begin by reclaiming the seismically-unsafe Tolman Hall. In August
2011, The Daily Cal reported that in the midst of the “financial crisis”, unsafe
buildings across the 10 UC-campuses would have to wait before they could be
retrofitted. The administration has shut down 13 classrooms in Tolman Hall, which we
are here to reclaim and transform. The UC administration has engaged in an actuarial
risk assessment and decided that students should not be in the building but that
workers are still required to labor there daily. While buildings like Tolman Hall are
being closed throughout the UC-campuses, the University continues to build multimillion
dollar buildings that are nominally public. Tolman Hall stands as a ruin of
public education. We want to call attention to the ways in which the dismantling of
public education and public services is manifested by the defunding of public
infrastructures on our campuses and in all classrooms across this country – buildings
and classrooms that are not simply “brick and mortar” but are the spaces of
collective action and institutional memory. Today, we move to remake these landscapes
of inequality and to open up a new center of resistance.

We invite all (with the exception
of police officers and UC
administrators) to join us in
reclaiming and holding this space
open so that we may begin to
dream and imagine together how
we can re-build a truly public
university on the ruins of this one.



  1. thanks for doing this its really really important. how can we support you if we cant be there? do you need food or water? what supplies do you need?

  2. We would love some food!

  3. Sick! UCSB will now know about this.

  4. If the state legislature won't give us money to pay for the cost of education, what else can we do besides raise tuition? Administrators get paid way too much, and we should can the expensive ones and find other qualified people who don't demand enormous amounts of public money for their salaries, but this forms only a tiny portion of the UC budget shortfall. If we divert money from UC auxiliary services (like the medical school), the state will feel even less of need to support us, and then we'll actually be a private company, basically selling medical services to fund public education. Yes, raise oil taxes, raise taxes on the wealthy. But we've not yet figured out how to make that happen. In the meantime, there are bills that need to be paid and people who need paychecks for the educational/support/administrative services they provide. Where is that money going to come from if not from increased fees?

  5. You can divert money from future construction projects toward education, for starters.

  6. When the protestors chose Tolman as their site, weren't they saying that money SHOULD be used for construction projects? They were trying to highlight the necessity of that building being replaced.