Monday, March 7, 2011

Direct Action Works: Some Follow Up

A small victory, but a victory nonetheless. The protesters who locked themselves down on the Wheeler Ledge won the following concessions from the UC administration:
  1. A meeting to discuss Operational Excellence (OE) will be held with Chancellor Birgeneau, the chair of OE, and a group of students and workers;
  2. Basically no action will be taken to punish the protesters on the Wheeler ledge: they will receive only a "notification" from the Office of Student Conduct (OSC) and trespassing charges will be treated as an infraction instead of a misdemeanor;
  3. Occupiers of Wheeler Hall in 2009 will receive a new offer ("administrative disposition," in bureaucratic lingo) from OSC to resolve their cases: instead of a "stayed suspension" (which basically means that if you get in trouble for literally anything you're automatically suspended) they offer will be for "disciplinary probation" (a somewhat milder version, but that entails an entirely new hearing process) until the end of the spring 2011 semester.
So far, the administration is following up on the deal. But what's important to remember here is that the administration would never have negotiated under normal circumstances -- they did so only because we made them, because they were forced to. Even after this agreement, then, we can't let our guard down -- the administration must always be kept in check. On that note, we're posting the following emails sent by key administrators who will be responsible for turning these negotiating points into concrete results. (Daniela Urban is a member of the Campus Rights Project and was the primary negotiator for the protesters on the ledge.)

The first email is from Associate Dean of Students Christina Gonzales, who oversees student conduct issues:
From: Christina Gonzales
Date: Mon, Mar 7, 2011 at 11:47 AM
Subject: RE: Follow Up on March 3 Wheeler Ledge Sit-In
To: Daniela Urban
Cc: Jonathan Poullard , Mitchell Celaya ,

Dear Daniela

The Center for Student Conduct [i.e. OSC] has sent out a new administrative disposition (they went out on Thursday night) to students facing conduct charges from November 20, 2009. We received the signed copies of the new disposition by the participants of the ledge sit-in.

The notifications that were agreed upon for March 2 & 3, 2011 will go to students by the end of this week, I sent the names you shared with the Center for Student Conduct so that the letters could be drafted and sent out.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Thank you

Christina Gonzales
Associate Dean of Students
The next email is from Mitch Celaya, the chief of UCPD. Note that he has not confirmed anything, but has merely made a "recommendation" to the DA. Criminal charges will most likely be minimal in any case, but this is definitely something to keep our eyes on -- Celaya is notoriously sketchy:
From: Mitchell Celaya
Date: Mon, Mar 7, 2011 at 11:37 AM
Subject: RE: Follow Up on March 3 Wheeler Ledge Sit-In
To: Daniela Urban,, Christina Gonzales ,


I made the recommendation to the charging DA, because we field cited out the 9 students on Thursday I don't expect to get a reply from the DA until the end of the week at the earliest. I will advise you of the DA's response as soon as I get it. Mitch
Thanks, Mitch. More from the Daily Cal here.

[Update Tuesday, 1:12am]: Either Mitch didn't follow through, or his "recommendation" isn't worth shit.

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