The following was written by a UC Berkeley student who was arrested Friday (12/11) morning in Wheeler Hall
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Dear Campus Community:
My name is Allison Deger and I was one of the students arrested on Friday morning at Wheeler Hall. I want to reach out to concerned members of the UC Berkeley community and ask for your support.
On Thursday evening I walked into Wheeler Hall and found an open building with 2 UCPD officers present. I was under the impression that I was not at risk for arrest and had been told earlier in the week by UCPD that if they were going to make any arrest for using the designated study spaces, I would be given a formal dispersal order to leave the building. On Friday morning I was woken up by UCPD and told that I was under arrest. I asked what I was being arrested for and I was told misdemeanor trespassing. I offered to leave the building and I told UCPD that I was not given a dispersal warning and was not aware that I was trespassing. The officer then told me that I could not leave the building, and proceeded to handcuff me.
I was then held in a basement classroom of Wheeler Hall, detained in handcuffs that left red bruises. In the classroom, the UCPD opened the windows to let in cold air, which caused discomfort for student who were wearing short, and did not have an opportunity to put on their shoes or coats.
From Wheeler Hall, the 76 of us were transported to Santa Rita, in Dublin, where I spent 8 hours in jail. One student spent over 24 hours in jail. While our treatment in jail was degrading, including male officers standing and watching as I was patted down by female officers in a line-up, and standing and watching as I was required to lift the under wire of my bra and shake my breast, however this dehumanizing treatment is not the issue that I am most concerned with.
It has come to my knowledge that under the direction of the UC administration, an order was planned sometime earlier that week to arrest students in Wheeler Hall on Friday morning, and take us to Santa Rita jail. When we were arrested, I repeatedly offered to leave the building since I was not aware that I was at risk of arrest. I requested to be cited and released on scene. I repeated requested to take my personal items with me to jail, and we repeatedly stated that we received no dispersal order and did not know that studying in Wheeler was considered trespassing.
Our personal items were then taken to Sproul Hall by UCPD and we later were told that we could pick up our items on Monday when the office opened. As a direct result of transporting us to Santa Rita without our personal items, many students do not have our keys, phones, wallets, IDs, computer and study materials. Personally, I was not able to pick up my phone, computer, wallet, or apartment keys until Monday afternoon, and had to make arrangements for emergency housing and food over the weekend. Many students missed their finals as a result of the transport to Santa Rita, and are left in precarious situations with respect to preparing for finals.
I feel that due to the planned nature of the arrest and the timing, the administration had intentions of preventing students form performing, or performing well in their finals. This sentiment that I have is in part due to the UCPD on site at Wheeler Hall Friday morning because the UCPD had already started to processes students in the basement of Wheeler Hall, therefore I find it implausible that it was necessary to transport all 76 students to Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, CA. I find it a waste of UC resources and a waste of UCPD’s time. By transporting students to Santa Rita, the administration willfully created a situation that compromised students’ education.
Johnathan Poullard, Dean of Students, was on site the morning of the arrest. However, his presence was not to protect me as a student, as he never entered the classroom where most students were being held in handcuffs, and has yet to contact any students regarding the arrest.
I feel saddened by the administration, that they would participate in actions that compromises student’s education. While I feel that I did nothing wrong by entering Wheeler Hall, and want to emphasize that there were police on site who made no effort to my knowledge to inform students that they were at risk of arrest, my larger concern is with the directed order to send us to Santa Rita for processing. Based on my experience, I can reach no other conclusion than—the administration willful harmed students education for political gain in terms of curtailing student dissidence.
As a student that only happened to be in Wheeler during the arrest, I feel as though I was unfairly treated in order for the university to send a message to the campus community. When this message comes at the expense of education, and involves misinformation by the UCPD on site, I cannot help but feel manipulated.