Oaks Get the Axe!
The 21-month-long Oak Grove tree sit that began in December 2006 finally came to an end on September 9, 2008. In opposition to the development of the Student-Athlete High Performance Center, whose construction requires the removal of 42 Oak Grove trees, hundreds of protesters occupied the oak trees while court battles regarding the construction proceeded in the community. Despite Alameda County’s permission for the university to take any necessary action to forbid the tree sit, several tree sitters still remained, eventually occupying only one tree by Summer 2008. In early Fall 2008, after further rulings by Alameda County and the California Court of Appeals in favor of the University, a tree service began cutting down all of the trees, except the one that was still occupied. After much negotiation, the police were eventually able to persuade the tree sitters to voluntarily come down from the tree, and the last tree was cut down later that day. The last four protesters were charged with contempt of court for violating Judge Keller of the Alameda County Superior Court’s order forbidding the tree sit. Two of these protesters were sentenced to 5 days in jail, another was able to serve his time in jail while waiting for a hearing on an unrelated misdemeanor charge, and the last protester was given credit for time served while awaiting trial. The remaining protesters were given 50 hours of community service.
Code Pink Quits, Protests Continue
There is no doubt that Code Pink made its mark in Berkeley by infamously protesting the opening of the Berkeley Marine Recruiting Center for an entire year. In an effort to close down the Recruiting Center, the members of Code Pink spent every Wednesday standing outside the building, holding their anti-war signs and repeating their peace-reflecting chants. Various groups, including the Berkeley College Republicans and local veteran organizations, often stood across the street from Code Pink and counter protested the group’s cause. In February 2008, the Berkeley City Council granted Code Pink six months of sound permits and a parking spot directly in front of the Marine Recruiting Center to continue their weekly protests, which began in September 2007. Putting the Berkeley City Council in the spotlight, these permits were later said to be a “mistake” by Berkeley City Mayor Tom Bates. By October 2008, the attention, along with the members and funding of Code Pink, died down, and the protests came to an end. With the Recruiting Center’s victory, everyone thought Code Pink had reached a stopping point. On March 18, however, a number of unidentified people vandalized the building by smashing windows and spraying red paint across the front of the center. Even though the vandalism occurred on the eve of the Iraq War’s 6th anniversary, it is unknown whether the incident is related to the past protests. Code Pink claims that the group has nothing to do with the vandalism that occurred, as they do not condone violence, but understands the frustration that people may have with the Recruiting Center. There have recently been several protests outside the center regarding the U.S. military policy in the Middle East. With the seemingly endless anger that people have towards the our troops, it is unknown when the protests will stop.
Anti-Israel Students Recall Senator
The Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC, pronounced “A suck”) put its reputation as student government into question when it decided to hold recall elections for former ASUC Senator John Moghtader. Several months ago, when Moghtader and two others asked the Students for Justice in Palestine group to take down their flag at a concert on Lower Sproul, a physical fight ensued, of which Moghtader was not a part. Even though there is video evidence that Moghtader was completely removed from the fight, the recall supporters wanted to use the claim that he was involved as a reason for his recall. Another important reason behind the recall is Moghtader’s pro-Israel position: his effectiveness and legitimacy as an ASUC Senator began to be questioned by the recall supporters who have opposing views regarding the issue of Israel and Palestine, even though Moghtader has never imposed his views on the Senate and supports all student groups equally. At the cost of $20,000, the recall was supported by 72% of the student voters (a fraction of the total student population, since most don’t care enough to vote) . As Moghtader’s removal of ASUC office was made official at the Senate meeting on Wednesday, April 15th, Moghtader was replaced by Marcus Caimi, a Student Action runner-up in last year’s general elections. The ASUC’s ability to jump to conclusions and not fully examine or investigate the issue has lead to an unnecessary recall that many would describe as injustice.
Students Swarm Sproul…to respectfully listen to their government
In yesteryear, angry students used to gather on Sproul and demand their government’s attention…on January 20, 2009, they gathered there to listen. UC Berkeley held a screening of the Inauguration of President Obama on the steps of Sproul Plaza, where more than 10,000 students, faculty, Berkeley residents, and local Berkeley elementary school students viewed the ceremony and welcoming of the nation’s 44th President. One of the biggest crowds on Sproul Plaza that the campus has ever seen, the viewers were very excited to witness Obama’s historic Oath of office and shared a strong sense of unification and patriotism in supporting the new President.
Have a great summer. See you next year.
-the staff of the Patriot