Students at the UC Berkeley campus are holding protests, calling for “safe spaces” for transgendered people and “spaces of color” at the university. The protesters were caught on video harassing white students and preventing them from crossing a bridge that receives heavy foot traffic, only allowing for students of color to pass.
The protesters also wound up making their way to the student store and disrupting other students who were studying in the Student Union.
Video of the protest, which started on Friday, shows the rage exhibited towards white students by students of color:
“Berkeley, why the fuck do you let UCPD do whatever they want with our bodies? I’m talking to you UCPD,” one female protester shouted over a loudspeaker microphone. “I don’t give a fuck about you!”
According to Heat Street, when white students tried to pass Berkeley’s Sather Gate bridge, the protesters would shout “Go around! Go around!” Many of the students were forced to cross Strawberry Creek, which flows underneath Sather Gate.
Berkeley has already discussed plans to convert the campus’s Andres Castro Arms co-op into a “Person of Color theme house” by this fall semester. And in what may be seen as a regression from the progress this nation has made since the dark days of segregation in this country, black and minority students appear to have successfully convinced the UC school system to consider building separate housing for black students on some of its campuses.
One white, male student on a bicycle tried, unsuccessfully, for several minutes to pass through the blocked bridge. One Hispanic or Middle Eastern-looking male protester could be seen and heard debating with him on video, saying, “When you walk into a class, what’s the majority in there?” implying that there should be less white students in classrooms. A black male student then stepped in and aggressively told the white male, “I’m telling you. This is bigger than you. This is about white [unintelligible]. We don’t care about you,” he said.
Organizers of the protest did not wish to be recorded or have their faces shown on camera.
After they had their fill of blocking Sather Gate for the day, the protesters made their way over to the student store, which they occupied because they felt it interfered with their “safe spaces.” They held up a large white sheet with black and red writing on it which read “#Fight 4 Queer & Trans Spaces of Color” and “#Fight 4 Spaces of Color, Students Over Profit.”
Earlier, a female student protester of color could be heard shouting over a loud mic that she couldn’t afford to buy one of the sweaters in the Berkeley student store because it was too expensive.
According to Heat Street, the students also posted a notice of eviction on the student store building: “You are hereby notified by the students of the University of California, Berkeley to vacate the premises immediately. University administration wrongly allocated this two-story facility to a third-party corporations, keeping in line with its intensifying legacy of prioritizing financial profit over student needs.”
The students reportedly ended their letter with an ultimatum: “If you fail to vacate immediately, community action will continue to escalate with the goal of eliminating any revenue generation. This space expansion is one step in an ongoing process to remedy the historical devaluation of students of color and LGBTQIA+ students.”
The student-created eviction notice then lets the store know that they should “Please contact Executive Director of the Students Union Daryl Ansel and Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean of Students Joseph Greenwell with concerns about relocation.”
Eventually, the anti-white student protesters made their way to the ASUC Student Union where Berkeley students were studying for finals, disrupting the peace with shouts of “students over profit!”
One male student spoke to the camera from inside the library, saying, “I agree with the right to protest. But disrupting the peace of others is not okay.”
Other such student-led protests and disruptions throughout California include an Occidental college protester who last year demanded the police leave campus and that campus police stop wearing bulletproof vests — their only measure of defense against an attack.
Protesters at UCLA last year also demanded the creation of an “Afro-house” to provide black students with a cheaper alternative to campus housing.
Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter and Periscope @AdelleNaz