Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Occupy Protesters Claim Victory in Reinstating UC Berkeley Library Hours

By Doug Oakley and Rick Hurd
Protesters occupying the UC Berkeley’s anthropology library on campus claimed victory last Saturday night when university administrators signed an agreement meeting the protesters’ demands for a fully restored library schedule.
UC Berkeley’s Tom Leonard put his signature on the agreement with Occupy Cal members about 7:30 p.m., according to an email from Ronald Cruz, an attorney for By Any Means Necessary, a coalition that defends affirmative action and immigration. Cruz was one of the protesters who occupied the library 24-hours a day for four days.
The protesters decided to take over the anthropology library in Kroeber Hall after its hours were cut about 50 percent when school returned from winter break.
UC Berkeley police, who made national headlines last fall when they were taped beating students during Occupy protests at Sproul Plaza, were nowhere to be seen during the entire library occupation. Anthropology Department Chairman Terry Deacon said he stood between police and protesters by negotiating with university administrators.
Deacon said when he heard about the planned occupation for the library, he made a deal with UC Berkeley Executive Vice Chancellor George Breslauer to keep police away from the occupation with the understanding that he and other faculty members would stay the night with the occupiers. 
“I negotiated with the administration to prevent police action because dragging students out of here would be detrimental to this space,” Deacon said. 
Anthropology Professor Stefania Pandolfo, who addressed a meeting of the occupiers in the library, said she was speaking to clarify the role of the faculty in the protest.
“We are here as participants in the occupation,” Pandolfo said.
Deacon said the hours at the library were cut because one librarian quit his job there over the winter break and the school had not yet hired a replacement or moved another school employee into the position. 
Under the agreement hashed out over the weekend, the library will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends, the same hours that were kept in the Fall 2011 semester.
As part of the agreement, administrators also will hire a full-time librarian to keep up with the demands.
Doug Oakley covers Berkeley. Contact him at 510-843-1408. Follow him at

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