Occupants in Kerr Hall expanded their space last night after deciding to break into the Chancellor’s area of the floor. The building has several corridors that cannot be accessed without a key.
Around 1 am, wearing bandanas and tee shirts to avoid exposure from many security cameras, over fifty students gathered around a secured corridor that leads to the Chancellor’s conference room. Soon after students used various tools such as a hammer, machete and a crow bar to wedge open the door.
Inside the corridor there is a conference room, a kitchen and other small rooms. The Chancellor’s Office remained closed off behind another set of doors.
“It’s symbolic. We got through,” cried one student expressing his enthusiasm for the movement.
Jim Stevenson* described the condition of the door that was removed.
“The integrity of the door was not compromised,” Stevenson said.
Participant, Alexander Jacobson*described his expectation for the administration’s response.
“People feel that no matter what they do, the administration is going to say the same thing, and claim excessive damage,” said Jacobson.
When the door was thrust open, cheers broke out and the students flooded in. Once the cameras were covered, students explored the area.
“We’re doing something that has never been done before,” said Jacobson*. “That’s what is really important; when young people can take matters into their own hands.”
Leading up to the Kerr Hall occupation, UCSC Radical Student Union, the group who organized the previous occupations but have changed their name, hosted a Rally in front of occupied Kerr Hall Thursday night. Nearly 200 people showed up, including news stations and UCSC classes. At the rally, speakers addressed the fiscal state of the UC and the importance of action.
“Students have an extremely strong moral position right now; most sane people know that what is happening is wrong,” said Jacobson*.
The occupants held a press conference of their own in the Chancellor’s conference room last night, to communicate with those involved with the similar actions taking place in Europe, speaking to students at a university in Vienna, Austria.
“We have very different backgrounds in this occupation and very different options,” said the Austrian student during the Skype conversation where occupants from both universities discussed their efforts. “I think that is very important.”
A large number of students remained in the space overnight. Sleeping bags, pillows and blankets littered nearly all hall ways on the second floor and the two elevators which had been propped open.
Blumenthal and Kliger are both out of their office, doing work elsewhere. The 150 staff members who did not come in to Kerr Hall on Friday are unable work.
The administration hopes that the occupants will vacate the premises without police intervention.
“At this point we would like to avoid bring in police. We remain hopeful that they will voluntarily leave,” said University Spokesman Jim Burns. “Their presence has effectively closed a building and the sooner they leave the better.”
In an address to the campus community regarding the occupants, Executive Vice Chancellor David Kliger established the liability of the actions.
“Those still inside are trespassing and subject to arrest and/or campus sanctions that may lead to suspension or expulsion.”
Burns established the stipulation of Kliger’s statement.
“The longer they stay here the greater the risk of being arrested or sanctioned,” said Burns. “We’re still hoping that they leave and if they don’t, [Kliger’s] message makes it clear.”
*Names have been changed.