March 4 rallies to ‘Defend Public Education’ planned for Berkeley and around state

Editor’s note: We will publish ongoing updates throughout the day on March 4.

Major rallies to express concern about the future of public education in California are expected to take place throughout the state on Thursday, March 4, including here at UC Berkeley.

Additional information

A noon rally has been scheduled on Sproul Plaza, followed by a march to downtown Oakland’s Frank Ogawa Plaza near the UC Office of the President. Rallies also are expected to occur in Sacramento and San Francisco, and on other UC campuses.

The organizers, including UC Berkeley students, faculty and labor unions representing lecturers and various staff employees, have expressed repeated concern about the effect of student fee increases, furloughs and layoffs on the campus and throughout the UC system, among other issues.

UC Berkeley has a long tradition of commitment to free speech, as well as to providing a safe environment – for those engaging in civilized discourse and for those who choose instead to spend the day in their classes, offices or labs.

* * *

UC Berkeley Academic Senate guidelines on how to protest safely

In anticipation of the March 4 protests, the UC Berkeley Academic Senate published the following guidelines to protesters:

You have a right to make yourself heard in protest. We fully support you in this, and in the cause of public education. But as faculty, we want more than anything for you to remain safe. Here are six things you should know to keep yourself safe while engaged in peaceful protest.

1. If a police officer tells you to do something, do it – even if you think the officer shouldn’t be asking. Arguing back, or otherwise failing to comply, may result in your immediate arrest, because it is against the law not to obey an officer’s order. Take a badge number and file a complaint later instead.

2. Do not tear or cross police tape or move barricades. If the police line is compromised, police may use force to maintain the line. Try to keep a couple yards’ distance from the line.

3. If you see property being vandalized or police equipment (e.g., cars) being handled by the crowd, leave the scene. The police will act. Innocent observers on the scene may be arrested by mistake.

4. If you are in the middle of a crowd and want to leave:
a. Turn away from the barricade.

b. Stay on your feet.

c. Use your hands to push your way out of the crowd.

5. If the police tell you to disperse or move back, do so immediately. Failure to do so could result in your arrest, or in the use of force against you.

6. If you choose to be arrested, consider the possible student conduct consequences. If you still want to be arrested, follow the instructions of the officer. Remember also that anything you say to a police officer can be used later against you or your companions. You have the right to remain silent and to ask for a lawyer at any point.

Be smart and stay safe!