Evening Wrap-up from Student Activism


Most of today’s protests have wound down, or seem likely to in the near future, and the day is coming into clearer focus.

There have been clashes with police. Most notable was the takeover of a freeway in Oakland which ended, one officer estimated, in 150 arrests. One student was injured in that incident, though reports differ as to the severity of his injuries. Students were also arrested or detained in New York, in Michigan, and elsewhere, though rarely in large numbers.

Oakland was not the only place where students took to the streets. One college — UC Santa Cruz — was closed for much of the day after demonstrators blocked both roads onto campus to vehicular traffic. Many other marches spilled off sidewalks onto intersections, even highways, leading a blogger for the Berkeley student newspaper to declare that “freeways are the new buildings when it comes to occupying stuff.”

There weren’t many of those more traditional occupations. Students at UCLA sat in at their chancellor’s office for most of the day, but left peacefully not long ago. At UC Irvine and New York’s Hunter College, students tried and failed to find a space they could take and hold. At the State University of New York at Purchase an occupation was going on this afternoon, but no reports have been heard from it in hours.

At UC San Diego, wracked by racial traumas for weeks, administrators and representatives of the Black Student Union negotiated an agreement that resolved many of the issues that had divided them in the recent past. But UCSD was an exception — today’s protesters rarely articulated immediate demands, and administrators rarely engaged with them. Today was more about activists talking to each other, working with each other, than it was about talking to or working with — or working to overthrow — university power structures.

That part comes later. That part starts March 5.

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