“The Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate has lost confidence in the ability of Chancellor Birgeneau, EVC Breslauer and VC LeGrande to respond appropriately to non-violent campus protests, to secure student welfare amidst these protests, to minimize the deployment of force and to respect freedom of speech and assembly on the Berkeley campus.”
The resolution was proposed by a group of professors in the immediate aftermath of the November 9th Occupy Cal action, at which students, workers and professors were brutally beaten by police officers for constructing, and linking arms around, a small group of tents. Protesters were acting in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement, and were trying to create a space on campus for discussion and organizing in response to fee hikes, the laying off of campus workers, growing student indebtedness, and attacks on public education generally.
While the police violence that occurred on the 9th inspired the campus to strike the following week, and while Occupy Cal has effectively opened space for critical discussion and debate on campus, the chancellors and the chief of police have not yet been held accountable for their use of indiscriminate force on the 9th, and they have taken no concrete steps to ensure that such police aggression won’t occur in the future. A faculty no-confidence vote would begin to hold our chancellors accountable for the violence they authorized, oversaw, and subsequently justified.
In order to show that the campus community stands in solidarity with members of the faculty who are bringing the no-confidence resolution, we call on all those who were brutalized on November 9th, as well as all whose friends and classmates were hurt that day, to attend a silent demonstration outside of the Faculty Senate meeting. Please join us as we gather this Monday, beginning at 2pm, in front of the International House.
We’ll compose and wear placards that declare, in simple terms, either what happened to us and our friends on the 9th, or what the movement for public education means to us. Then, we’ll line up and stand silently as faculty and administrators enter the International House for their 3pm meeting.
We take our inspiration for this action from the students at UC Davis, who linked arms and silently watched as their chancellor walked from a press conference to her waiting car. This powerful action was a symbolic turning point at UC Davis, and helped strengthen calls for Chancellor Katehi’s resignation. Please join us as we echo the silent power demonstrated by the students of UC Davis.