By Nicole Jones
Last week, three UC Berkeley students an alumnus were issued orders to stay away from the UC Berkeley campus when not attending class. The orders come after thousands participated in an Occupy Cal protest last year, resulting in dozens of arrests.
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Paul Seeman issued stay away orders for 8 of the 13 protesters arrested on the November 9 protest. Most of 13 were charged with resisting arrest and obstructing a public place and a few were charged with battery on an officer.
Concerns have been raised about the fairness of these orders, especially for the students. Stay-away orders are usually issued from places where property damage has occurred or violence has erupted.
According to the Daily Cal, ACLU-Northern California attorney Linda Lye called the stay-away orders “unjustified at the outset” and “dramatically over-broad.”
Jeff Wozniak, a lawyer for one of the students, said the stay-away orders mean that the charged students are not allowed within 100 yards of any campus property, except when going to class or a job on campus. It’s not clear if these students are barred from the recreation center or other UC buildings.
“All of UC property is a stay away order,” Wozniak said, “but the order didn’t define what all UC property is.”
UCPD spokesperson Lt. Eric Tejada told the Daily Cal that if the protesters are found violating a stay-away order, the police department will determine whether to arrest them.
One of the charged students, Amanda Armstrong and her lawyer Wozniak plan to fight the orders in court. In a video recorded on November 9, she and other students are shown blocking police from entering an area outside Sproul Plaza where tents had been set up. The police responded with force and arrests followed shortly after.
Armstrong said the stay-away orders have had a chilling effect and harm her ability to work as a steward for the union for academic workers, a recognized union that bargains with university on behalf of student workers.
“The stay-away order has already significantly affected my daily life,” Armstrong said, “Instead of spending most of my time on campus, working with classmates in the library, going to events, and having meals at nearby cafes, I’ve been spending a lot more time alone at home.”
Campus spokesperson Janet Gilmore said the campus administration did not have anything to with issuing the stay-away orders. She told the Daily Cal, she hopes “an arrangement can be worked out in which members of the university community who agree to comply with law and policy can have their full access to the campus restored.”
Wozniak said the arraignment comes at a crucial time when higher education in California continues to be faced with sweeping budget cuts. Last week, the California State University system freezed Spring 2013 enrollment while approving pay raises for a number of administrators.