UC Berkeley Protesters Come Down From Ledge

BERKELEY (CBS 5 / KCBS / AP / BCN) — A group of student protesters retreated from the ledge of the University of California at Berkeley building where they have been perched for several hours Thursday.

Eight protesters occupied the fourth-floor outside ledge of the university’s Wheeler Hall, with six of them chained together.

UC Berkeley police Lt. Alex Yao said that police were alerted to the safety hazard created by the demonstrators at 1:46 p.m., when there were nine people on the ledge.

KCBS’ Chris Filippi Reports:

“All through the process, the safety for the demonstrators was a paramount concern and the main concern” for the campus police, Yao said.

According to Yao, around 2:50 p.m., one of the protesters climbed back into the building through an open window. Police subsequently detained the demonstrator, Yao said.

UC Berkeley chancellor Robert Birgeneau ordered the building closed at 4 p.m., and police began moving students, faculty and staff from the area, according to the university.

University officials said 26 classes were canceled, impacting more than 1,000 students.

uc berkeley protest 030311 ground UC Berkeley Protesters Come Down From Ledge

Protesters in front of Wheeler Hall on the UC Berkeley campus on March 3, 2011. (CBS)

As dusk fell, hundreds of protesters on the ground were yelling and chanting, while a line of police in riot gear surrounded the building.

Protesters hung four large paper banners in front of Wheeler Hall that listed the demands of protesters, including an end to the budget cuts and an end to police brutality.

Shortly before 9 p.m., the students freed themselves and came down from the ledge after reaching an agreement with campus officials, second-year UC Berkeley doctoral student Callie Maidhof said.

“It’s been declared a victory,” Maidhof said.

The students have been calling for a response to the cuts by Birgeneau. Maidhof said it appears that they have succeeded on that front, although the time of the meeting with the chancellor had not been announced.

A campus representative was not readily reachable for comment on Thursday evening’s developments, although Yao said that communication among campus police, campus administrators and the demonstrators resulted in an end to the standoff.

When the eight remaining demonstrators exited the building, they were arrested, cited for trespassing and released, Yao said. The ninth protestor who has been detained earlier was also cited for trespassing and released, he said.

“We’re very pleased that this situation resolved safely and promptly,” Yao said Thursday night.

Thursday’s protest followed demonstrations against state education cuts on Wednesday that led to the arrests of 17 people who university police said refused to leave a campus building.

Since then, 14 of those have been released and were scheduled to appear in court Thursday afternoon.

One of the students arrested, who was reached for comment by phone Thursday afternoon but requested that her name be withheld, said she joined the protests inside the building around 5 p.m. Wednesday.

According to the student, police first ordered protesters to vacate the building around 10 p.m., when the building officially closed.

“We linked arms until police physically separated us,” the student said. Around 10:30 p.m., Berkeley police arrested her for trespassing, she said.

She was released from jail around 8 a.m., she said, and returned at 2 p.m. for her court appearance, where she was not formally charged.

The student said she was protesting because she thought the budget cuts would limit an educational system that is already broken.

“I want people to realize we do have access to education and access to public space because we’re all human beings,” she said. “We’ll put chains on our bodies it they put chains on our minds.”

According to Maidhof, students involved in campus protests in late 2009 have yet to resolve related charges and some are still awaiting hearings. Now, Maidhof said, those students will be offered to be put on probation for the remaining five weeks of the semester.

The protest Wednesday was part of a day of action by students around the country opposed to education cuts.

A similar protest was held in Berkeley last year, also in early March. Those demonstrations turned rowdy, and included the rush-hour shutdown of a major freeway in neighboring Oakland.

Several agencies assisted the campus police with the response, including the Berkeley, Oakland and Emeryville police departments, Yao said.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press and Bay City News contributed to this report.)

  • NRA Life Member

    Why even bring them any publicity? Just leave them up there, chained up. Don’t take them any water or food. They’ll either die of thirst/starvation, removing their flawed genes from the gene pool, or realize their “cause” is idiotic and let themselves down and go home.

  • Mad Mike

    Anyone have some grease handy?

    • Die Gas Pumper!

      It would be incredibly funny if one of them fell off and dragged the rest with them. But they have themselves tied off to the building.

      • Keith

        Somehow though they will blame the University if they fall and turn around and sue the school. Although it would be funny to see them dangling from the building.

  • Peter B. Towle

    Bezerkley is Bezerkley, so what else is new!

  • Jen

    It’s incredibly frustrating to have your education take cuts that it can’t handle year after year, and when you don’t have millions of dollars in campaigning money and a heap of lobbyists, you have to find other ways to get your voice heard and your issues in a public forum. It’s not just about the fees going up, it’s about the countless professors and staff being fired, courses being cancelled, and sometimes entire departments being dropped due to insufficient funding. This may not be the most eloquent way to go about the issue, but at least they’re trying to do something. California schools have tumbled far from their top position years ago: education is the last thing California needs to cut, and it’s time to realize that.

    • Keith

      Do these “protesting idiots” realize that doing stupid tricks like this increases fees as well? Someone has to pay the police officers to keep them safe. Someone has to pay the insurance when they are stupid and fall to their death. A well educated person would find better ways to deal with this problem, like get involved in the legislature not look dumb on National Television. Nobody is winning anything by this show and lack of a brain. At what point was it a good idea to climb out on a ledge 50 feet above the ground?

    • RealityCheck

      Most of these “student protestors” are not actually students. If any of them are students they need to be expelled because their “protests” have gone beyond the 1st Amendment into the realm of criminality. And guess what Jen, cuts have been made across the board. Name one area where cuts have not been made. It sucks but it is a fact and just because a bunch of people decide to throw a tantrum to try and keep their funding intact just shows how detached from reality they are and serves to show they DO NOT DESERVE the funding in the first place.

      • Diana

        Are you kidding me!? Cuts have been made accross the board? Cuts have only been made that affect the working class. The “owners” who account for 90% of America’s wealth will never have to experience cuts. You are actually the one out of touch with reality for actually believing that these cuts are legit and evenly distributed. It is people like you who will continue to make the rich richer and further seperate the workers from the owners simply because you, like most naive, non-thinking Americans are okay with accepting BS such as cuts to the most needed programs in society. And FYI, maybe you should really look into why there are cuts in the first place. I promise you the money did not just disappear as our owners wiould like us to believe and cuts have NOT been made evenly across the board. The rich continue to get rich and the poor will continue to get poorer. We should be thanking these students for actually having the balls to speak up and have a voice.

      • Mad Mike

        Gas prices keep going up too, should I chain myself to a ledge to protest THAT?!

  • franklin

    Dan — maybe you ought to learn how to spell: moron??

    • skulllbuster

      and “ought” is not proper English anyway

  • Roslyn Raney

    I admire them for taking a stand for what is right: affordable education for everyone.

    • skulllbuster

      You are more than welcome to donate your own money to their “affordable” education and whatever entitlement benefits they demanded…. Just don’t ask the general public to split the cost. Ever heard of getting a job, attending community colleges to save money??? Doing stupid things is not going to solve anything

  • davey

    But they voted the same officials that got us into this mess. Fee hikes are for the pension and poor illegals. Its about LOVE.

  • Brian

    Wow, made it big, pictured in the news. Now you are the head cheese and role models for all the lil wannabe protesters at your sorry a$$ school.

  • jean

    I did not hear, on the TV report, and mention of why these young people were protesting. Is that fair and balanced???

  • JPA

    I wonder how many of the negative comments are from people who have attended college or even graduated from high school? I don’t agree with the protesters causing problems but I think they do need to make their voices heard. Next year the UC system plans to make the entire department into one? You think the staff and professor reductions are bad now? Think how many people are going to be laid off? For those who do attend and pay for college or even get federal loans, what are you getting for your money? It is making a dramatic change in the classroom, and therefore we, who want to improve our lives by education (instead of writing stupid comments on here), are getting short changed because of cutbacks. Use your brain and make logical comments, not five grade level comments. Please you your brain and leave logical comments and not fifth level comments on here.

    • skulllbuster

      So JPA.. From your writing, you are either in college or still getting supports from your parents. So please grow up and do not post what you are asking people not to do… People are tired of hearing about people wanting more because that is their “rights”. Many of hard working people actually work, support themselves through higher education with loans as well. Trying to get killed to make a point is just plain dumb. Serve no purpose! We are where we are because of idiots we put in offices and the pensions their promised to their supporters.

    • Mad Mike

      Yes, that’s it JPA. Play the elitist card and accuse all of the negative comment posters of being stupid. Instead of just having common sense and LIVING IN THE REAL WORLD! BTW, what college did you go to that it is acceptable to say “Please you your brain and leave logical comments and not fifth level comments on here.” I’d like to make sure no one I know attends that school….

      • Mad Mike

        BTW, JPA, I tested at a senior college level in vocabulary when I was only a high school freshman. Suck on that…..

      • LionELRichieTRAIN

        I guess people like me who work full time, go to college, and have not gotten a DIME from their parents since 18 are considered …what? No seriously. When you work full time for your education and realize you have no money for food because you’re trying to better yourself while these fat cats get 100k of year for teaching 4 months out of the year… then you come talk to me. Don’t sit at your factory job and tell me that’s the real world, that’s not. It’s called “I got married too young because I don’t know what the hell I’m doing.”

  • Gale

    Who’s paying for the helicopters that have been flying above them all day, costing us thousands?

    • skulllbuster

      If you are working, then the answer is you and me. If they fall and get hurt, Berkeley gets sued, and again we flip the bill. We also pay for their hospitalization, rehabilitation and support them for life if they are disabled. Universal healthcare will be in effect … everyone gets care, but no one wants to contribute to the cause other than the hard working tax-payers

      • skulllbuster

        Mad Mike…
        I, for one, don’t mind helping those in need, but it is a problem when I am told that it is their rights. Many have grown accustom to entitlements, treating tax payers like bottomless bank account to give away to interest groups. For example, with all the cuts that we are facing and more people losing jobs, teachers at San Francisco public school is receiving a $5-6k raise this year. What are their thinking? They are crying out loud of no budget, and they give themselves a raise.

      • Mad Mike

        Skullbuster, I for one have grown SICK of watching these kids protesting because, I don’t know, protesting against the war isn’t cool because Obama is in office and it just isn’t hip anymore, and so this is what they gripe about. COSTS ARE GOING UP FOR EVERYONE, HELLO! If you don’t like it, do us all a favor and go to school in ANOTHER, CHEAPER state!

    • 65748

      Rich television broadcasters like nbc idiot.

  • Mad Mike

    Here’s a cause I’d like to see the students protest over: It costs this state BILLIONS of dollars a year for services to illegal immigrants. BILLIONS of dollars that could be spent instead on education. Why isn’t THAT being protested?!

    • skulllbuster

      Then you will see lots of foreign flags flying over our state capital and cities because of these illegal immigrants. Only in America can this happen by the way. Didn’t we Californian also look down and criticize Arizona for that? We are a righteous state and we will take care of everyone… well, at least that is what those in offices said, and as long as it is not out of their pockets. As it turns out, many politicians have never worked a day in their lives; just sucking on the system. Come to think of it – what do politicians contribute to society anyway? However, I do believe that we should support immigrants — LEGAL immigrants that is!

  • Mad Mike

    skull, I am right there with you. I make donations to charity all the time, in fact last year I gave a car for a organization dedicated to helping “Husky” type dogs. But to ask that it is their “right”, I’m sorry, I don’t know what Constitution you are reading, but I didn’t see it. But the way I see it, these people would also like to have a “right” to a job and then a “right” to a house and etc etc.

    • skulllbuster

      You are too late to the party… everyone had the “right” to a house and that righteous belief had contributed to the destruction of the housing collapse, especially in California. I was never fully understood how can people buying houses left and right when they had no jobs or barely make minimum wage.

      • Mad Mike

        I have to tell you, I was in the same boat. Heck, if I thought I could get a house with a wing and a prayer I would have bought one. And unlike most, still be paying my mortgage. Funny, that’s when all the “Flipping Houses” shows happened and no one saw what was REALLY going on….

  • Berkeley Student

    Although this may not be the most effective way to demonstrate, at least the Berkeley students are actively trying to draw attention to the critical issue of public education continuously being cut. I think many commenters here don’t realize the value of public education to society. Even if you aren’t attending a public university directly, the students graduating from these universities are the ones driving continued innovation in the economy and generating tax revenue for the nation. In a business sense, public education is an investment that pays itself several time over. But more than that, improving public education means improving society as a whole by improving general education. It is essential to the American Dream because it is a leveling force — with freely accessible education, anybody who works hard can achieve greatness. Without it, America is left with a rigid class system that would destroy the middle class.

    • Mad Mike

      BTW, now that I read it more closely, it is one of the most pompous things I have seen in awhile. “The students graduating are the ones who are the ones driving continued innovation in the economy”, can you tell me what university Bill Gates graduated from? Because he is darn near the most influential force in the WORLD for the past 20 years and I forget his alma mater…..

    • skulllbuster

      I went through public education, got loans and paid my dues. I got the help, and I do my helping part in return. I never thought that my education was a right; it was a privilege and I studied my a$$ off. Entitlement is what destroy America… I don’t listen to Gate or Buffet. Middle class is destroyed because of our spending spree irresponsibly. As a responsible individual, you and your parents have the vested interest in your future, not expecting others to pay for it. It is also wise for public education to teach math and finance to their students, and explain the concept that you don’t spend more than what you can afford! American dream was once meant you can achieve it if you work hard for it… it doesn’t mean having others subsidize your needs

  • Mad Mike

    Very well said, Berkeley Student, a very eloquent argument. But let me clue you in on something: In order to invest in the future, you have to have money NOW. And the state is 10s of Billions in the red. We live in one of the most expensive states to live in in the Union. Costs go up. And either the students pay more or the taxpayers pay more. The taxpayer pays enough.

    • Berkeley Student

      Mad Mike, Bill Gates is the exception to the rule, not the rule itself. Look at how much of the technology-driven economy is staffed by college-educated through post-graduate employees. If we didn’t have public education, everybody would still be stuck doing menial labor.

      Either students pay more or the taxpayers pay more is an extremely short-sighted view. It completely ignores all the benefits society as a whole gains from public education. While it true that we have overspent over the last few decades, it is now even more important to recognize the areas that provide the highest payback. Continued public education is what leads to job creation and higher standards of living for everybody, not just the college graduates.

      @Skulllbuster: While it is admirable that you worked so hard in college, public education is and never will be about “subsidizing other people’s needs.” I think it is fairly obvious that the benefits gained from public education are spread to everybody in the form of technological advancements, job creation, making the country safer, etc. Also, you didn’t address the issue of public education being key to the existence of a middle class. If all universities were like the Ivy Leagues, then who could afford them? Clearly, there would a dichotomy between the haves and the have-nots. 90% of America’s wealth is already controlled by the top 20%, and history has demonstrated repeatedly how well that works out…

  • Hassan Ben Sober

    They took our jerbs!

  • Mad Mike

    I like South Park too, Hassan. Funny how they make fun of Liberals ALL the time….

  • Mad Mike

    I believe their word for liberal is “hippie liberal Dche, fill in the vowels….

  • jojo

    There’d be money for the University if it wasn’t all going to retired public union benefits! It WOULD be funny if they fell off….serves ’em right.

  • LeftMyHeart

    Yea, Kids, for finding your backbones! Ignore the whines from the self-righteous, judgmental, fattened Faux hypnotized lemmings.
    Speak up for what you believe in. The older generations have forgotten how.

    • skulllbuster

      they are too busy working to pay for everyone’s right

  • Free education

    Dan, you seem like the type of person who never made it to college and are now suffering the horrible life of working as a cashier at Safeway. You’ll probably never understand the reason why we’re protesting. As you probably can’t deduce from your improper education, California’s educational system is destroyed and will be further destroyed by these cuts that occur year after year. They already mad two cuts within the last year and are proposing the largest cut ever! But I guess some people (like you) were born to be ignorant and never understand consequences, that’s why you are at where you’re at. Lazy incompetent couch animal.

    • Smash Crasher

      Well guess what Mr Pep Boys stock clerk. I do have a college education and I know the value of supporting yourself and not whining like infantile three-year-old spoiled brats when things don’t go your way. You’re typical of the sniveling, snot-nosed pukes that expect somebody else to pay for you and your spawn. You and your diseased ilk are the reason California is dead broke. Deadbeats like you make me vomit. But then again if it weren’t for Nazis like yourself there would be nobody to clean up the mess.

  • http://spinnyliberal.wordpress.com SpinnyLiberal

    Gotta love that Berkeley activist spirit. Fight the good fight. It’s not going to help because education is usually the first to be cut in the name of “budget balancing.” It’s good to stand up for what you believe in, though.

  • Free education

    Ya mad mike, while you’re chained up to those ledges at the gas station you might as well do us all a favor and light your self on fire with the gas as well.

    • skullbuster

      Using your free education to insult those who help paid for your freebies is not cool… I hope they do teach morality and attitudes where you get your education

    • Mad Mike

      Why stop at a Free Education, how about a free car, a free house, a job that you can never be fired from no matter how poorly you perform? “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need”, isn’t that the slogan?

  • Kevin

    Whenever politicians want to get elected, they would say improving the educational system is a top priority. Once they are elected their actions contradict what they have promised. Although we are in a budget crisis and a bad economy, funding for education not only should be maintained but also be increased. The US economy historically has been driven by an educated and innovative workforce. No other country has companies like Microsoft, Apple, Google, or Lockheed Martin. Without an educated workforce we will not be able to compete with the rest of the world and create the jobs right here in our backyard. It is painful at the moment but the only way out of this mess is more innovations such as the next generation of renewable energy, biotech, or engineering breakthrough. What is happening right now is irrational because the immediate pain overwhelms our thoughtful process.

  • Chuck

    I would like to require these people to specify where the funds will come from!

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