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Tuesday, April 23, 2002
Before the big SJP protest, the Administration promised that if students occupied a Lecture Hall, there'd be significant consequences. In the past this has proven an empty promise, but it's not so certain this time around.
The message is too long to quote in full, but there are numerous interesting aspects. The gist is that the Administration is taking some sort of action against the Arrestees, although it's unclear if they're just 'considering' it at present or are actively prosecuting. Unclear also if SJP has been suspended. From what I can see, they've received a preliminary suspension while the investigation continues.
Furthermore, as a consequence of organizing the demonstration and sit-in, the University of California at Berkeley has decided to suspend Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) as an organization on campus pending an investigation. This means, that as long as the investigation continues, SJP is functionally barred from holding events on campus, tabling, distributing literature, and organizing. It could also potentially mean that SJP may be banned as a student organization at Berkeley.I'll leave it to Angry Clam to debunk their claim that this is punishing a 'non-violent civil disobedience' act just like all the stuff from the past several years... Occupying a building and fighting cops does not a Gandhi make. There's a few other silly things they say that I'm too busy to deal with.
Here's an interesting point, tho:
In fact, the policy that makes SJP subject to these charges (the Chancellor’s so-called ”zero tolerance” policy) was implemented only a few days before the protest, specifically to make SJP subject to higher standards and harsher consequences.SJP might have a point! It is, of course, ludicrous that it wasn't until a few days before the protest that the Administration actually said 'Occupy a building, we prosecute.' But it hadn't been said before then, and SJP folk probably thought they'd be getting the same kid glove treatment they usually get for criminal actions. The Administration never clearly marked the rules of engagement.
I'm not saying Cal shouldn't throw the Blue and Gold at the Invading Forces to a certain extent. But I think the Admin must bear some of the blame for their Occupation: SJP occupied Wheeler playing under the Old Rules; who knows what would've happened if the Administration had bothered to demarcate the New Rules? I'm uncomfortable prosecuting to the hilt when the criminals didn't understand what they were getting into.
UPDATE: I'd like to note how pathetic it is the Daily Cal didn't run a story on this a week ago. This is such an easy, obvious, important story. The Administration made various threats... 79 students got arrested...and is now deliberating how exactly to deal with them. Get Karen Kenney and a few other Administrators, write up how tense and politically tricky this decision must be, and then bring in the SJP people facing possible prosecution. End with a list of possible scenarios. Writes itself! Don't wait for the comparatively boring announcement of what they'll actually do.. the investigation is much more interesting. Do it now!
UPDATE UPDATE: New angles keep popping up. What will the Faculty do if the book is thrown? How about fellow-Progressives? Do the Administrators fear for their personal safety? How will they avoid a Circus? Does IAC agree with this? Did SJP expect prosecution? Angles!
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