Police in riot gear stand outside of Wheeler Hall in Berkeley. Picture from Beeffaucet on Flickr.
University of California students are mad as hell and they're telling authorities today they're not going to take it anymore.
Dozens of students took over a campus building at University of California at Berkeley this morning, a day after the UC Regents approved a 32 percent tuition hike.
At least 50 students stormed the Wheeler Hall at about 5 a.m. Friday. When police showed up, they ran up to the second floor and barricaded themselves inside the room. They are holding the door closed to keep the cops out. NBC Bay Area has learned that 33 of the protesters are students and two are journalists. An eyewitness estimated there were about 50 police in riot gear at the bottom floor of the building.
Professors are now organizing via email to "prevent escalation" and to ensure "a repeat of UCLA" doesn't happen.
"Students are barricaded on the second floor, police are on the ground level, and students are communicating through windows upstairs," a professor who did not want to be identified wrote in an email to colleagues. "I saw police tussling with a student, and a flier being distributed mentions that police pepper sprayed and "beat" some of the occupiers."
Leaflets being passed around the barricaded area allege police have threatened to use tear gas to remove the students from the building. Several students wearing bandannas opened the window and hung a banner in protest of the tuition hikes and layoffs and used a bullhorn to denounce the regents' decision. Some students are communicating through the window.
Police set up a barricade and police tape around the parking lot and are waiting outside.
The protest is a lot rowdier than the one staged on campus Thursday, when students dumped trash outside a campus building that houses university administration offices.
Three students had been arrested by about 8 a.m.