Two people were arrested after as many as 75 protesters upset over tuition hikes and budget cuts occupied a UC Berkeley building for most of Thursday afternoon, a university spokesperson said.
The protesters occupied Tolman Hall until the building closed at 9 p.m., at which time campus police gave a dispersal order, said Janet Gilmore of the UC Berkeley Office of Public Affairs. A group of protesters outside the building began throwing rocks, bottles and chairs at police and one person was arrested, according to Lt. Marc DeCoulude of the campus police department.
The building was empty late Thursday evening, Gilmore said.
The Daily Californian, an independent student-run paper that serves the campus, reported on its live blog that after protesters dispersed, about 40 of them walked toward the Moffitt Undergraduate Library with seven police trailing them. Protesters chanted "No cuts, no fees, education must be free," according to the website.
The paper reported that protesters remained gathered outside on campus until they disbanded shortly before 10 p.m., vowing to return Friday morning. DeCoulude could not confirm that plan.
Police used pepper spray on at least one protester when the group filed into the building, DeCoulude said. Two officers were pinned against a wall and a protester tried to remove items from their belts, DeCoulude said.
That protester was later arrested, DeCoulude said.
Seismic concerns led to the closure of
They were supported by the Berkeley Faculty Association, which on the same site wrote that "faculty, students, staff, parents and alumni could be mobilized to put unprecedented pressure on the legislature to re-fund public education in (California), if the (university) Presidents and Chancellors across the system would mobilize the greater UC community and provide the leadership we all sorely need."
State budget cuts left the university unable to upgrade Tolman Hall -- rated one of the campus's least safe buildings -- enough to withstand a major earthquake. Administrators have moved classes out of the building this year, but some offices, including those of the Graduate School of Education, remain.
University police last arrested protesters during a March demonstration on a ledge outside Wheeler Hall, Gilmore said.
Rick Hurd contributed to this story. Matt Krupnick covers higher education. Contact him at 510-208-6488. Follow him at Twitter.com/MattKrupnick.