UC Berkeley riot cops viciously beat the crap out of dozens of peaceful OccupyCal protesters and then arrested six students and an English professor for trying to establish an encampment in Sproul Plaza, because the university's Chancellor-demon Robert Birgeneau made up his mind to inform everyone that these certain acts of free speech -- in the exact spot where the Free Speech Movement started in 1964 -- were not included in this year's budget, so sorry everyone, maybe next year?

From the San Jose Mercury News:

Chancellor Robert Birgeneau had warned students in an email Monday that camping would not be tolerated. A police spokesman said overnight camping is illegal on any California campus.

"In these challenging times," Birgeneau wrote, "we simply cannot afford to spend our precious resources and, in particular, student tuition on costly and avoidable expenses associated with violence or vandalism."

The only sense in which this is perfectly avoidable is that the university is not actually required to use students' tuition money to beat them with sticks, or to beat them at all. It could just let them demonstrate? According to student newspaper the Daily Cal, the administration did offer a half-assed proposal which demonstrators rejected to let students stay 24 hours a day on part of the plaza, without sleeping bags or tents, for up to a week. That is all the "free speech" that the (increasingly privatized) university can afford right now, maybe next year's tuition hikes will cover, oh say, two weeks of occupying? [YouTube/Mercury News/Daily Californian]


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