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UCD Student Protesters Lock Down Dutton Hall

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Early this morning, the Vanguard received a call that protesters had locked down Dutton Hall and barricaded all entrances to the building.  When the Vanguard arrived on the scene this morning, there were estimated to be roughly 30 protesters who had locked themselves up in the building.

There was a single police officer – not authorized to speak to the press – and a single university official – also not authorized to speak to the press – giving instructions to students and employees who mainly sat outside of the building awaiting to hear instructions.

According to UC Davis spokesperson Claudia Morain from the University News Service, the students took over the building last night.

She said, “Student Affairs staff monitored the protesters in Dutton Hall throughout the night, and will continue having conversations with them today.”

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When asked if there would come a point where staff or police forced action, Ms. Morain told the Vanguard that discussions are ongoing with regard to health and safety concerns.  They continue to monitor the situation as they go.

Protesters told the Vanguard that this was intended to be a one-day event.  The building is shut down in support of the people of Palestine and in support of the campus divestment in Israel.

Some student tuition, the Vanguard was told, ends up supporting Israeli businesses.  There was recently a relatively modest divestment bill before ASUCD, with very widespread support, but the bill ended up being rejected.

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Student protesters also claim that that they reject the equating of anti-Israeli speech with hate speech by those in the upper echelons of the UC administration.

The scene was a bit surreal, coming just over a week after twelve students reached a plea agreement with the Yolo County DA’s office following a string of protests last January through March that ended in the U.S. Bank in the Memorial Union closing its doors.

Those events, coming just weeks after the contentious and embarrassing pepper spray incident, resulted in a lawsuit against the UC Regents after police officials were instructed not to arrest student protesters despite the fact that the bank was continually having to shut its doors early.

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The bank closed its doors for good on March 4 and the UC Regents last June agreed to pay US Bank $225,000 in a settlement agreement.

Students were facing 21 misdemeanors for their actions during this time.  However, as part of the plea agreement they received the equivalent of an infraction with a required 80 hours of community service.

This is not the first time Dutton Hall has been occupied.  Back in November 2011, just ten days after the pepper spray incident, students voted to occupy Dutton Hall.

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“We have three demands: 1)The immediate resignation of Chancellor Katehi; 2) A replacement of campus police with a ‘student run safety team,’ or on-campus police must be unarmed (this demand is still under discussion); 3)A freeze on tuition hikes.”

“We are occupying Dutton Hall in order to blockade administrative and financial functions of the university; and we are doing this until our demands are met,” was a short explanation, given by a student active in the “Occupy Davis” movement, of the prior events that had unfolded with protestors and supporters of the movement.

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UC Davis ended up allowing the students to occupy the hall without interference as part of a new tactic of engagement.  The result was a protracted dispute and a disruption of services, but the university was able to avoid a repeat of the November 18 actions that resulted in numerous arrests, as well as the pepper spraying.

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While university officials would not elaborate further, they appear to be following a similar playbook.  The information provided by students at the event indicates this is likely just a one-day event.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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17 thoughts on “UCD Student Protesters Lock Down Dutton Hall”

  1. Michael Harrington

    Good article, and not available anywhere else on such short notice!

    This divestment issue is a big big one, and going to get bigger.

  2. GreenandGolden

    4:00 PM. Im just back from Dutton Hall where a student employee told me that the protest ended at 1:30 after Linda talked to the group. He continued that some, but not all, of the Dutton offices moved outside, into the courtyard, during the protest and were able to serve students during the morning. Dutton is closed now and being “cleaned up.” The fellow suggested it would be open to students soon.

  3. J.R.

    I walked by and saw some interesting signs pasted on the building’s windows.
    One said “Sharia Law”.
    Wishful thinking I suppose.

    A university official told me that this was organized by outsiders, not students.

    [quote] There was recently a relatively modest divestment bill before ASUCD, with very widespread support, but the bill ended up being rejected.[/quote]
    This is not accurate. Wishful thinking I suppose.

    The truth is that the divestment bill at Davis could not even make it through one of the several ASUCD commissions where it was introduced by the extremists. A coalition of progressive and sensible students realized, to their credit, that the people behind this divestment effort are haters.

  4. David M. Greenwald

    “You showed photos of the signs; what about photos of the protestors? Were they hiding or on lunch break? “

    I was asked not to film the protesters. I think part of it has to do with how they were prosecuted with the bank blocker incident.

  5. David M. Greenwald

    Also important to note, that none of the Pepper Spray protesters were actually in the building. There were a few outside, but not in the building.

  6. gagarcia

    As a UC alumni, I strongly support student efforts to get UC to divest from companies that profit from and support the military occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people. These students are using the same peaceful, non-violent methods of civil disobedience to press for human rights that were used in the Civil Rights, Vietnam war and Apartheid South Africa struggles. In each of those cases, standing up for human rights and morality by issuing strong criticisms of government policies and actions (US and South Africa) was NOT “hate speech” nor unpatriotic. When our government does wrong, the most patriot act IS to work to correct the wrong. Criticizing the state of Israel for its inhumane oppression of the Palestinians is NOT ‘hate speech”. The government of Israel is NOT a religion and its policies and actions are subject to examination and criticism just as our own government’s policies and actions are. These brave UC students have clearly decided to take a principled stand FOR human rights and are not letting specious accusations of prejudice against the perpetrators to stop them.

  7. Davis Progressive

    one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. the situation is gaza is complex, there is plenty of blame to go around. no need for frankly to demagogue on it, but it is what he does best.

  8. Frankly

    Freedom fighters targeting innocent people are terrorists, murderers, and evil doers. Those that sympathize with them contribute to the same and deserve similar scorn and disgust heaped upon them.

    Zero tolerance for terrorism would eradicate terrorism.

  9. Davis Progressive

    the problem is every adult in israel is actually in the military, which means the concept of innocent is a bit more fuzzy.

    we tried zero tolerance for terrorism, it didn’t eradicate terrorism, it just bred entanglement.

  10. J.R.

    Franky is right. Supporters of terrorism are morally bankrupt.

    Just look at the ridiculous statement made to support the killing of people who happen to be jews.

    [quote]every adult in israel is actually in the military[/quote]

    This is so patently false that only a person blinded by hatred could make such a justification for murdering civilians.

  11. David M. Greenwald

    I just want to be clear as to what you are saying JR… Are you saying that every adult in Israel is not in the military or are you arguing that this is not a justification for them being targets?

  12. Frankly

    Not every Israeli serves in the Israeli military.

    And Palestinian terrorists kill Israeli children with glee.

    We need zero tolerance for terrorism, and zero tolerance for those that sympathize with terrorists of any kind.

    The Palestinian people have what they need to create a better life for themselves if only they would shed the mindset of a persecuted victim and instead focus on their own internal affairs. Those that sympathize with and support their blaming of Israel for their misery are responsible for their misery. Without this support, Palestinian hatred of Israel would have no backbone of violence, and would identify as what it really is: a decadence of immorality driven by simple envy over the success of another people.

  13. jimt

    While I have some sympathy for Muslim causes (and am against American meddleing in and causing wars in the Middle East); I have zero sympathy for terrorism, and agree it is morally bankrupt to target civilians for slaughter. Going after the military or assassinations is less heinous; it is then confined to the volunteers and ‘players’ in the power game. Also notice that nearly all terrorists are under 30 years of age; clearly it is a brainwashing of the young while the cowardly rotten leaders skulk in the background–younger people in the military is legitimate because the young have the strength and the stamina for combat; but these physical characteristics are hardly needed for a suicide bombing or bombing with risk of capture. Why not use an older person, who has lived most of his life, to do a suicide bombing or risky bombing; and leave the younger person, who have their whole lives ahead of them; out of the picture? Seems to me because the younger are more idealistic and more easily brainwashed; the older terrorists behind the scenes are cynically exploiting these young lives for their own personal gain in the power game.

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