Friday, November 24

Occupy UCLA underway in Wilson Plaza; about 30 tents pitched

About 30 tents have been set up for the Occupy UCLA protest in Wilson Plaza.

About 30 tents have been set up for the Occupy UCLA protest in Wilson Plaza.

Loic Hostetter

Note: Check live updates of tonight’s Occupy protest by clicking here.

Occupy UCLA is underway in Wilson Plaza, with about 30 tents set up in a corner of the square.

[Updated at 6:25 p.m.] Protesters from the “Fund the UC” rally in Meyerhoff Park, sponsored by the Undergraduate Students Association Council, marched to the plaza around 12:45 p.m., weaving around Powell Library and down Janss Steps. The tents were pitched before the march began.

Members of Fund the UC then merged with a broad range of student groups and organizations affiliated with the Occupy UCLA movement. These groups included [email protected], student activist group UCLA Fights Back and the United Auto Workers union, which represents UC graduate students. At that point, the protesters numbered about 250.]

The protesters are taking up the issues of budget cuts and tuition hikes. They also say their voices are not being heard by the UCLA administration, said Daniel Cooper, a graduate student in Spanish and Portuguese and member of UCLA Fights Back.

By about 2:30 p.m., the crowd had thinned to about 100 people and a general assembly meeting had begun among protest organizers. The assembly is discussing ways to bolster the occupation, including a broader social media campaign and knocking on the doors of dorm rooms on the Hill.

Mark Harrington, a fourth-year chemical engineering student, stood on the grassy surface, listening to speakers. He said he was there to learn the positions of the protesters.

“I was just recently exposed to the occupy movement,and I don’t really have any expectations,” Harringon said. “It seems their expectations are pretty regimented and they are just trying to build to momentum at this point.”

Caitlyn Sheehan, a third-year art history student who was passing by, said she had hoped the crowd would be larger.

She said she plans to participate after class, adding that she hopes it will pick up in momentum.

“I hope students come out and support this movement because we’re all affected by this,” Sheehan said.

Police are currently monitoring the situation, but do not plan to take action at this time, said Lt. Russell McKinney with UCPD.

The Center for Student Programming also plans to speak with the protesters about university rules and regulations, specifically the ban on temporary structures, said Michael Cohn, associate director of the center.

“The leadership of the group has been notified they are in violation of university policy,” Cohn said, referring to the ban.

First-year world arts and cultures student Johnny Hernandez came to the protest with his three friends. He said he had seen a video of Occupy Cal protesters being beaten by police in Berkeley, which inspired him to participate.

He and his friends plan to stay overnight, Hernandez said.

Though the goal is to remain in place as long as possible, organizers anticipate complications with police once UCLA’s curfew goes into effect at midnight, said Jason Ball, a postdoctoral political science student.

Andrew Newton, a fourth-year international development studies student and one of the 11 students arrested last week after closing down Wilshire Boulevard to traffic, said nonviolence will continue to be the pledge.

“This movement has always been nonviolent and will continue to be nonviolent,” Newton said.

Compiled by Devin Kelly, Bruin senior staff. With reports by Brendan Jackson and Loic Hostetter, Bruin senior staff.

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