UC Berkeley issues response about protest activities planned for Gill Tract development site May 11

On Thursday, the UC Berkeley administration issued this letter to the community about activities planned for the Gill Tract development area on Saturday, May 11:

May 9, 2013

Dear Neighbors,

Along with many of you, we recently learned that “Occupy the Farm” activists are planning a “short-form” occupation of university property a few blocks south of our Gill Tract agricultural research fields, this coming Saturday, May 11th.  It is unclear what a “short-form” occupation means, but we want to alert the community about the possibility of this illegal activity, and let you know how the university will address an illegal occupation on our property, should that occur.

We, like many of you who have written to us, are disturbed and disappointed by the possibility that people with little regard for the law, community interests and democratic processes may once again attempt to impose their will on the university and our neighbors.

According to their publicity materials, the group is now choosing to target a parcel of land that formerly housed University Village apartments, and where a new grocery store and senior housing is planned. Their goal appears to be a dismantling of a development plan that we, and so many of you, have worked hard to bring to fruition.

It is more than a little disconcerting to find a reference to “a battle” in publicity material for an illegal event that will be held in close proximity to a school, Little League fields and a primary entrance to University Village residences.

We suggest that you plan to proceed as normal, but be prepared for potential traffic obstructions in that area should the illegal activities proceed. University personnel will be present throughout the day and will be working with representatives from the City of Albany to monitor the situation and ensure your safety and access to your activities, so your day may proceed, to the extent possible, as planned.

The university will not allow a permanent encampment on our property. We have been in direct communication, and are working closely, with the City of Albany, the Little League and others in the area to ensure preparedness if illegal activities take place on our property. Our primary goals will be to manage any situation to the best of our ability, minimize disruption to the community and ensure safety of the Albany community.

We want to thank the City of Albany and the residents of Albany Village who have been very forthcoming with their desires for a safe area and a continuation of the development site.

This letter, like every previous message, is the result of a careful, broad-based decision-making process that includes senior administration leaders, members of faculty, the dean of the College of Natural Resources, UCPD and Community Relations.

George Breslauer, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost

John Wilton, Vice Chancellor, Administration and Finance