Filed under: Action, Gentrification, Housing, Southwest
Graffiti against UC Berkeley led evictions and displacement goes up in the bay area of California.
A post on Indybay.org, coupled with photos of graffiti stating, “Fuck the UC!,” wrote:
A small act of solidarity with those exploited, brutalized, and displaced by the University of California.
It’s unclear as to where the graffiti was written, (photo shows the front of a UC Berkeley building), but in recent months, the UC has been involved in the high profile eviction of tenants at 1921 Walnut street. According to Berkeleyside:
The remaining tenants at 1921 Walnut St. have agreed to move out, setting the stage for UC Berkeley to tear down a 112-year-old rent-controlled building so a new $300 million, 772-bed, 14-story dorm for transfer students can go up.
The Save 1921 website wrote:
1921 Walnut St. is a 112-year-old rent-controlled apartment building in downtown Berkeley. Some of us have lived here for 20+ years. UC purchased our building on July 15, 2020 and plans to evict us, destroy our homes and community, and redevelop the property for high-end student apartments and commercial space. UCB has pushed through their purchase and their plans during the covid pandemic, causing enormous stress on the tenants and hampering community engagement in the process. UCB has illegally withheld information from the tenants and the Berkeley community and was served a petition in 2021 to release documents. UCB administration led Chancellor Christ has misrepresented the situation to the UC Regents (who will vote on this project). Throughout this process, the tenants have felt harmed, intimidated, ignored and pushed around by UC Berkeley.
Another report noted:
Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin [originally] supported the tenants. Then suddenly in July 2021, Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin held closed-door negotiations with the University of California and surrendered 1921 Walnut St. to UC. The tenants and the community felt deeply betrayed. Without the support of the City of Berkeley, the tenants could not mount a defense.
UC Berkeley is also behind an ongoing push to demolish and destroy the historic People’s Park, which was taken over in 1969 and occupied during a series of mass riots which turned the park into an autonomous zone, often in conflict with the police, University and even the National Guard. According to Indybay.org:
For 50 years, UC administrators have schemed to take People’s Park from those who turned a dirt lot into a lush, community-focused public sanctuary. Now, UC Berkeley is on the verge of permanently destroying the park. It installed initial fencing around much of the park on January 19. On January 27, police and public works crews evicted several unhoused residents of the park. But people are beginning to resist the coming construction of a 16-story housing complex in 2022 and are calling out for greater public support. At a rally to save the park on January 29, protesters pushed down the fencing and carried much of it to Sproul Hall on UCB campus.
The fate of the park remains up in the air, with the University wanting to bulldoze the park and build student housing:
The California State Historical Resources Commission voted unanimously Friday to recommend Berkeley’s People’s Park be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The vote comes about a month after UC Berkeley approved a $312 million plan to build housing there for students and unsheltered residents. The decision to potentially list the park as a historic site would not change the outcome for the proposed development.
For those looking to save the park, the only option left may be to continue the fight began in the late 1960s.