Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Media coverage of "study-in," Oct. 9-10

San Francisco Chronicle:
Several hundred UC Berkeley students took over the anthropology library for 24 hours this weekend to protest UC-wide budget cuts, in particular Saturday closures of small campus libraries that students use for studying and research.

Organizers said nearly 300 students -- along with dozens of supportive staff and faculty members -- showed up at the anthropology library shortly before 5 p.m. Friday, when the facility was scheduled to close for the weekend.

Instead, students flooded the room and set up camp -- arranging their books and laptops on long tables and setting out food and pillows and blankets. About 80 students spent the night in the library, some studying almost all night, others curled up to sleep in corners and between high bookcases. On Saturday, students continued to study and hold teach-ins to talk about campus budget issues until 5 p.m., the library's usual closing time.
This is the face of a new student movement, a movement invested in our spaces of learning, and one which demands to control the terms and conditions of our education. For tonight and tomorrow, we have transformed the space of the Berkeley Anthropology Library into one of study, learning, teaching, and community-building. During the 24 hours that we’re holding the library, there will be five faculty teach-ins, two student teach-ins, an open-mike poetry slam, numerous study groups, and a long-overdue open discussion on privilege and inequality in the context of this struggle.

That this was organized and pulled off with success in under a week is testament not only to the hard work of the organizers, but far more to the general state of campus and the eagerness on the part of the community to take action.

The show of civil disobedience in the Anthropology Library this weekend follows on the footsteps of the university-wide walkout and rally on September 24 -- said to be the largest protest in the bay area since the Vietnam War -- as well as the student occupation of the graduate commons at UC Santa Cruz. And there’s more coming: a planned conference on public education on October 24 sponsored by the General Assembly, a jazz funeral for the university on October 30, and certainly, there will be more direct actions of the sort of this weekend’s library action. At the same time, many choose to direct their efforts towards Sacramento.

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