A black student group seized a campus building and declined to leave until their demands were met. Following the incident, University of California Santa Cruz administrators has recently agreed to meet to all four demands lodged by the group.
In addition to the initial four conditions, the group made three other demands to the institution. The group has also warned UC Santa Cruz that it has four months to comply with these demands or more Recuperations will result.
Students of Kerr Hall occupied the premises for three days. After which Chancellor George Blumenthal agreed to give all black and Caribbean-identified students a 4-year housing guarantee to live in the Rosa Parks African American Themed House; bring back the building’s lounge; paint its exterior the Pan-Afrikan colors of red, green and black; and force all new incoming students to go through a mandatory diversity competency training.
In a memo dated 4th May, Blumenthal stated that the student demonstrators raised a number of issues with campus leaders, issues that were fundamentally agreed upon. The memo was addressed to the campus community announcing the concessions.
It was agreed upon that students from historically underrepresented communities deal with real challenges on campus and in the community. These difficulties include things that many people take for granted, such as finding housing or even just a sense of community.
The African/Black Student Alliance also demanded three additional provisions from UC Santa Cruz within its initial Reclamation Statement, posted on the website of the Afrikan Black Coalition. The group stipulated that if by Fall Quarter 2017 the university does not provide detailed plans on how to fulfill its new demands, there will be more Reclamations.
The aggressive three-day takeover of Kerr Hall was described as Reclamation by the student group.
The alliance also had three additional demands that the university purchase a property to serve as a low-income housing cooperative for historically disadvantaged students, that the university allocate $100,000 for Santa Cruz’s “SOMeCA” student organization support department, and that the university create either a Black Studies department or a Black Studies Minor or Major.
The group pledged that if the demands are not met, UC Santa Cruz will force them to have to take what they know to be in their best interest to Reclaim.
A quote from Assata Shakur concludes the alliance’s list of demands by saying that it is our duty to fight for our freedom; It is our duty to win; We must love each other and support each other; We have nothing to lose but our chains. Shakur was a former member of the Black Panther Party and a convicted murderer.
In his memo to the community, Blumenthal had denounced taking over buildings as a means of protest, saying it displaced the campus community. It is unknown how campus leaders will respond to this latest threat.
The student demonstrators reject the term occupation to describe their reclamation actions, claiming that they are pushing back against the language of ‘occupation’ in recognition of the largely white-centric and fairly recent ‘Occupy Movement.’ They also claim that they are pushing back against the language of ‘occupation’ in recognition of the very real settler occupations that are historical and ongoing, such as the European colonization and occupation of ‘The Americas,’ as well as the current context of occupation in Palestine.