Poet writes about Occupy Cal, protesters plan next steps

Robert Hass: the Cal professor joined Occupy Cal protesters on campus recently and was beaten by police. Photo: Copyright 2005 Margaretta K. Mitchell

Robert Hass, professor of poetry and poetics at UC Berkeley, attended Occupy Cal this month and wrote about his experience in an op-ed piece for the New York Times on Sunday titled “Poet-Bashing Police”.

He decided to go on campus with his wife, Brenda Hillman, after hearing about police beating protesters with truncheons in order gain access to, and dismantle, tents that had been declared unauthorized by the Cal administration.

“I wanted to see what was going to happen and how the police behaved, and how the students behaved. If there was trouble, we wanted to be there to do what we could to protect the students,” he writes.

As we reported on November 14th, the former poet laureate ended up being hit by police and his wife was knocked to the ground. The experience, he writes, got him thinking that “life is full of strange contingencies.” Read the full column in the New York Times.


Sproul Plaza on the UC Berkeley campus on Saturday November 19th. Photo: Tracey Taylor

On Friday, two representatives from the Occupy Cal general assembly, along with campus Graduate Assembly President Bahar Navab, met with a senior campus administrator to discuss the demands and decisions of the movement, according to the Daily Californian.

On Saturday afternoon, Sproul Plaza was almost deserted. An installation of signs and rocks had been left on show and a young man played guitar for a couple of friends. The display of “book-tents” which captured the imagination of our readers with its symbolism was no more — a few wet, dog-eared books remained on the Sproul steps.

But on Sunday night, an Occupy Cal group was finalizing details for a campus-wide sleep-out for Monday night on Sproul Plaza. It is being held partly to show solidarity with Occupy UC Davis which is also planning a large rally on its campus tomorrow.

Related:
After Oakland eviction, the Occupy focus shifts to Berkeley [11.14.11]
Police use of force at Occupy Cal gets national attention [11.11.11]
Occupy Cal arrests total 40 as protesters plan next moves [11.10.11]
After protests and arrests, calm returns to Cal campus [11.10.11]
Protesters vote to set up Occupy Cal camp at UC Berkeley [11.09.11]

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