A crowd of about 150 assembled on Sproul Plaza for a noontime rally Thursday, the kickoff to a march some plan to make to Sacramento to protest state cutbacks to education. Faculty, staff and student groups across the UC system are planning to demonstrate in the state capital on Monday, and a number of UC Berkeley administrators are also expected to make the trip to Sacramento.
Earlier in the day, a group of about 25 assembled outside California Hall, which they briefly encircled in yellow police tape. A dozen or so protesters then gathered on Sproul Plaza in the late-morning rain to erect an installation of colorful panels created by local high-school students.
Elsewhere on campus this morning, remodeling work on the sixth floor of Etcheverry Hall created smoke that led to the building’s evacuation. Equipment being used on a pipe reportedly sent sparks to ceiling tiles on the floor below, which caused one to start smoldering. The Berkeley Fire Department responded, but there was no active fire and the building was expected to be cleared for re-occupancy by mid-day.