Hunger Strikers to Meet with UC Berkeley Chancellor

By Bay City News
Wednesday May 12, 2010 - 03:49:00 PM

Hunger strikers on the campus of University of California at Berkeley are scheduled to meet this afternoon with the university chancellor to negotiate their demands and possibly end the 10-day strike, a spokesman for the group said. 

The protest is in part a response to Arizona's new immigration law, which allows police to question people they believe to be in the country illegally. On Friday, UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau publicly denounced the law. 

That denouncement was one of a number of demands protesters have made since beginning the hunger strike last week outside of California Hall. 

The group's other demands include making the UC Berkeley campus into a "sanctuary campus" for students and workers, dropping the charges against the students involved in a protest earlier this year at Wheeler Hall, revising student code of conduct rules, and bringing back laid-off workers. 

Protesters held a rally Tuesday urging Birgeneau to meet with them to address their demands, and the chancellor has agreed to meet with the group at 4 p.m. today inside California Hall, said Marco Amaral, a spokesman for the hunger strikers. "We're going in with the belief that all our demands will be met, but we're going to negotiate in there," Amaral said. 

UC Berkeley officials were not immediately available to comment. 

Amaral said that depending on what happens in the meeting, the strike could end today. 

The 4 p.m. meeting will be preceded by a rally outside California Hall at 3:30 p.m. 

Amaral said he anticipates that about 200 people will show up at the rally, which will include speeches from the strikers and their supporters. 

On Tuesday, eight of the 15 students and workers who had been participating in the hunger strike since the beginning started a "dry strike," meaning they are not eating or drinking, Amaral said. At least 20 people have joined the strike since it began, he said.