UC Berkeley professor stages 'sleep-in' protest in his office over campus antisemitism

ByCornell Barnard KGO logo
Monday, March 11, 2024
UC Berkeley professor stages 'sleep-in' protest over antisemitism
A UC Berkeley professor is staging a 'sleep-in' protest to demand university officials to take action against antisemitism on campus.

BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- In the East Bay, a UC Berkeley professor is gaining attention by vowing to remain in his campus office until university officials take action against antisemitism on campus. He says recent violent events prompted the sit-in action.

"I'm just sitting in my office with the light on in the window," said Cal Professor Ron Hassner.

RELATED: UC Berkeley Jewish students to demand action as they march to 'Liberate the Gate'

Hassner is leaving a light on in his UC Berkeley office, a signal to the campus that he's here 24/7. Hassner is staging a 'sleep-in' protest to help prevent violence between students.

"I decided to engage in a quiet, non-aggressive peaceful protest by dragging mattress into my office, change of clothes and lots of food," said Hassner.

This political science professor says he's making his small office his temporary home, teaching all classes on Zoom until the university takes steps to address antisemitism on campus; he says many students have faced harassment.

VIDEO: Hundreds of UC Berkeley students hold walkout, calling for cease-fire in Gaza

Students at UC Berkeley joined a national movement taking place at colleges around the nation, calling for a cease-fire and humanitarian aid to Gaza.

"They are facing bullies who are anti-semitic in addition to being anti-Israel, without things getting out of control like they did two weeks ago," said Hassner.

Last month, the university condemned a demonstration by activists who surrounded Zellerbach Hall where a pro-Israel advocate was speaking.

Protestors broke doors and windows to get inside, the event was canceled.

On Monday, Jewish students are planning a march to 'Liberate the gate' where activists have blocked passage through Sather Gate for weeks.

"Our message - is Jewish students have a right to be present and safe on this campus as much as anyone else," said student Daniel Solomon.

MORE: Thousands rally at San Francisco City Hall against rising antisemitism

"Students must be a allowed to protest but that can't mean blocking access to parts of the university," said Hassner.

Hassner says he's not leaving his office until the university removes the Sather Gate barricade and provide antisemitism and Islamophobia training to campus personnel.

In a statement, the university said:

"The administration is committed to confronting antisemitism and holds Professor Hassner in great esteem and it is in conversation with him about his concerns."

Several pro-Palestinian groups on campus declined ABC7's interview requests.

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