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Anthropology library study-in demonstration continues

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JANUARY 20, 2012

In an extension of  a “study-in” demonstration that began Thursday, protesters in UC Berkeley’s anthropology library voted Friday to continue their occupation of the space despite warnings from campus administration that individuals could not be present in the library after hours without faculty supervision.

The demonstrators — who are protesting against the library’s reduced hours — held a general assembly meeting at 5 p.m. that lasted several hours. UC Berkeley senior Alex Kim said the meeting was not directly related to Occupy Cal, though some protesters disagreed with that sentiment.

As of 11 p.m., around 16 individuals remained in the library. Most of them congregated at a main table, while a few sat in a tent erected inside the library.

Terrence Deacon, chair of the campus anthropology department, supervised the group beginning around 5 p.m., when he read a statement from campus officials at the beginning of the meeting.

“The library is now officially closed and the university requires that you leave,” the statement read. “Permission is not being granted for you to remain in the library after closing.”

Deacon told the demonstrators that the statement did not necessarily reflect his own opinion. He left around 7:30 p.m. and told the group that library hours were cut because a staff member quit unexpectedly.

“A staff member quit without giving two weeks notice,” Deacon said to the group. “The administration didn’t necessarily just cut the hours of the library. A loss of one individual jeopardized the hours of the library.”

Protesters voted to email administrators — sending their message to an email address that Deacon provided — suggesting that the staff member be replaced by a student with work study to fill the cut hours until a more permanent staff member could be hired.

Though this plan would allow the library to remain open during its original hours, Deacon told the protesters that books could not be checked out under a student staff member.

Deacon said he has been in contact with other faculty members about volunteering to supervise the protesters, and has been asked by the administration to notify campus officials when protesters are in the library alone.

Amy Wang and Chloe Hunt of The Daily Californian contributed to this report.

Geena Cova covers academics and administration.

JANUARY 20, 2012