Berkeley Liberals, in ’60s-Style Protest, Occupy Vice Provost’s Office (Did You See This?)

Student workers demand free tuition and subsidies for illegal immigrants, all on the taxpayer's dime

With rampant activism rippling across the campus at the University of California, Berkeley, it’s a wonder any real learning gets done there at all.

It was reported late this week that a former UC Berkeley professor who attacked seven Trump supporters with a bike lock at a Berkeley free speech rally last August was given a light sentence for a violent crime.

Eric Clanton, a 29-year-old former ethics professor at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, California, was captured on video smashing a Trump supporter’s head with a U-Lock bike lock last summer.

His punishment: only three years of probation as part of a plea deal.

Aggressive activism continues. Earlier this week, some 40 members and supporters of the UC Student-Workers Union (UCSWU) or United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 2865 convened in Sproul Hall (a center of student activity) to protest low wages and other sticking points. They did so despite ongoing contract negotiations between the union and UC administration, according to The Daily Californian, an independent student-run newspaper serving UC Berkeley and its larger community.

Some 20 protesters then actually barged into the office of Fiona Doyle, vice provost for graduate studies and dean of the graduate division, and proceeded to occupy it.

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There was no word as of late Friday afternoon as to whether that protest has ended; bargaining sessions had been scheduled for both Thursday and Friday, per the protesters’ tweet.

“Images and video of the protest, published by UCSWU, show students sitting and standing in Doyle’s office, as well as in the halls of the Sproul building, wearing matching red shirts featuring the organization’s logo, a raised fist closed around a pencil,” according to reporting from Campus Reform.

And the tweet below speaks volumes.

Their outrageous demands, meanwhile, sound like talking points straight from Democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign speech: higher wages, the disarming of campus police, financial support for illegal immigrants, free tuition, and subsidized housing costs, noted Campus Reform.

It’s important to bear in mind that UC Berkley is a public university supported by taxpayers — many of whom, in all likelihood, would prefer not to fund this heightened level of activism, which is becoming cliché on college campuses from Yale to Berkeley and beyond.

For some perspective: The UCSWU represents more than 17,000 student workers from 10 University of California campuses, which include more than 238,000 students and as many as 190,000 faculty members, according to UC Berkeley’s website.

Even so, there was this: “We’re here to try to push the administration to recognize our demands,” said Layne Frechette, a member of the union and former campus graduate student instructor, according to reporting from The Daily Californian.

“We’re grad students — we teach, we research, we produce a lot of the stuff that makes the university the place it is.”

LifeZette called UAW Local 2865 at Berkeley for comment, but did not hear back by the time of publication.

Related: Pick Your Own Grade in College — Yep, It’s Come to This

“Our goal is to reach a multi-year agreement that recognizes the significant contributions of academic student employees by providing fair pay, family-friendly benefits, a safe workplace and good working conditions,” said UC spokesperson Danielle Smith in an email, according to The Daily Californian.

LifeZette also reached out to the UC Berkeley Office of Communications and Public Affairs, but did not hear back.

Elizabeth Economou is a former CNBC staff writer and adjunct professor. Follow her on Twitter.

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