UC Berkeley anthropology library occupation takes on the administration and WINS!

Saw this news article from The Daily Californian about the successful occupation of UC Berkeley’s anthropology library, had to reproduce it in full. Proof that direct action and student occupations can win their demands.

70 Students, Staff, and Faculty gathered at Kroeber Anthro Library to protest libraries closing early 9 (c/o The Daily Californian)

By Amruta Trivedi

Saturday, January 21, 2012 at 9:15 pm
Updated Saturday, January 21, 2012 at 9:25 pm

The occupation of UC Berkeley’s anthropology library ended Saturday evening when campus administrators agreed to meet the demands of protesters and restore the library’s hours.

The demonstration began as a “study-in” Thursday evening in protest of cuts made to the library’s operating hours for the spring semester after a long-time library staffer resigned unexpectedly. About 30 protesters were in the library when news came that their demands had been met.

Tom Leonard, UC Berkeley’s university librarian, signed an agreement with protesters Saturday to restore the anthropology library’s hours to its fall 2011 schedule as soon as students can be recruited to work during those additional morning hours. According to the agreement, recruitment will start on Monday.

The original demands that protesters sent to administrators also requested that the campus find a full-time staff member to work in the library within the next 30 days, but the campus agreed to them only after negotiating to start the search for a full-time staff member in that time period instead, according to Yvette Felarca, a national organizer for BAMN.

Terrence Deacon, the chair of the campus anthropology department, who has spent much the last two days in the library and served as the liaison between library occupiers and campus administrators, said in an email that Leonard signed the agreement after small changes were made. During hours when there is no professionally trained library staff present, the circulation desk will be closed, but the library will remain open for computer use and as a study space, Deacon said in the email.

Deacon, who said he has been in conversation with administrators throughout the protest, said “there is good faith at the administrative level” about the students who occupied the anthropology library.

Although there were changes made to the protesters’ original list of demands, many at the library consider the agreement with administration to be a victory for their cause.

“This is an example for how to protect public education,” Felarca said. “It shows that students and community members are determining what a public university is.”

 

Amruta Trivedi is the lead academics and administration reporter