On Friday, October 21 student protesters gathered at the University of California-Berkeley and blocked the entrance to Sather Gate, thus preventing the crossing of the bridge. There was around 100 protestors made up of members and supporters of the Queer Alliance Resource Center (QARC), as well as members from the bridges Multicultural Resource Center.
See the video of the protest below:
Demands of the groups
The purpose of the protest was that the groups want a change in location of their space on campus. Currently both groups' space allocated by the university is in the basement of Eshleman Hall. They are protesting together as they both want to be moved to different locations and want their demands heard. QARC is demanding use of the fifth floor of Eshleman Hall, while the bridges Multicultural Resource Center wants to be moved to the Cal Student Store in the Martin Luther King Student Union.
Right now, no one knows where our centers are. This is part of the structural racism of UC Berkeley — no one can find the group. It has turned the program practically … invisible for students. — David Lemus, bridges Multicultural Resource Center development director
There are concerns for both groups that being in the basement lacks visibility for them, and removes them from the students who they want to work with.
(Our current space), it’s out of sight, it’s underground. There have been rats down there … that have gotten into the office spaces. — Jerry Javier, QARC board director
White people not allowed to cross bridge
During the protest white people were prevented from making their way through the gate and crossing the bridge. It appears that people of color were being allowed to pass through the wall of people. The end result was students having to make their way around the bridge and instead jump over Strawberry Creek, of which the bridge crosses. According to a student present at the event, the group blocked a disabled person in a wheelchair from crossing the bridge.
Discrimination based on skin color is illegal
Berkeley students as Americans have a right to peaceful assembly, and are well within their rights to hold a protest to express their grievances. It is however, illegal in the United States to discriminate against a person based solely on the color of their skin. Education and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 states that all educational institutions which receive Federal funding are subject to requirements to prevent discrimination, and formal complaints can be registered if it is witnessed.
No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance. — Education and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964