Occupiers of Humanities 2 released a statement on their blog “Education Should Be Free” notifying readers that the six-day occupation was ending on Nov. 26. The statement “We Are Everywhere: A Letter of Arrival from Humanities 2” read, “Though we leave Humanities 2 today, it does not mean we have disappeared.”
A student organizer who asked to remain anonymous said that throughout the whole occupation, it had been clear Thanksgiving break would signal the end of the occupation.
“At a general assembly, we decided the occupation would end voluntarily and we would use Thanksgiving break as a recuperation period, to get everyone’s energy back up,” the anonymous source said.
Organizers of the occupation felt that since many students were heading home for Thanksgiving, the number of occupiers would drop drastically. The occupation’s end was also due to the belief that if police were to disperse occupants, it was going to happen when police figured the least amount of attention would be focused on the movement.
“There was never any intention of staying long term, since it didn’t seem plausible especially when there was the fear of police coming every single night,” said third-year double major in community and feminist studies Jamie Epstein, who helped organize the workshops offered during the occupation.
UCSC police officers notified occupiers last week that they were violating both university policy and California law. Police also notified students via email about two separate reports of crime that were said to have happened during the occupation. The first was a case of sexual assault, sexual battery and false imprisonment with violence. The second was attempted robbery. UCSC police Chief Nader Oweis said these investigations are ongoing.
“We don’t want individuals to get hurt in any manner,” Oweis said. “The police department is here to keep people safe and to facilitate people’s constitutional rights. We would rather work with the individuals who are choosing to participate and we encourage individuals who want to protest to allow us to help them facilitate their free speech.”
Humanities 2 occupiers cleaned the space the night before the occupation ended. Posters were removed and saved for future actions, the anonymous student said.
“The idea was that the occupation is the student space, and that as students we’re responsible as a collective to keep everything functional,” the source said. “We don’t need administration to be in charge to maintain that functional space.”
According to an article from the Daily Californian, student government officials from UC Berkeley, UCLA and UC Riverside are collaboratively working to “pass bills expressing no confidence in UC President Janet Napolitano and the UC Board of Regents after the board’s approval of a controversial tuition increase policy.”
A “no confidence vote” is a statement that declares a person in a position of power is unable to hold his or her position due to the failure to meet obligations or because he or she made choices detrimental to others. The bill demands the Regents to repeal the tuition policy and calls for the creation of a committee composed of students, faculty, staff, alumni and administration to conduct an investigation of the UC budget.
“We realized this was a much bigger fight because of the Regents’ relationship with the state. There are a lot of political games and private interests involved and the UC is becoming a huge institutional corporation,” student Jamie Epstein said. “It’s us sitting in a building, but it’s not going to do enough. We need our families to be a part of this also. These are their pockets that they’re digging deeper into.”
UCSC’s Student Union Assembly (SUA) allocated funds for Student Action Against Tuition increases, according to a post on Occupy Our Education’s Facebook. SUA approved a fund of $3,000 that is accessible to people within the movement. The money can be used for printing supplies, art supplies, transportation or food in support of any of the actions.
The success of the actions being taken in response to the tuition hike will ultimately come down to students sharing their personal experiences and challenges, talking with people around them and encouraging other UCSC students to join the movement, the anonymous source said.
Organizers planned a student walk-out of classes at 12:45 p.m. on Dec. 8. After the walk-out, student participants and protesters are encouraged to meet in Quarry Plaza for a rally and march. The march’s destination is to be determined.