At 12:17 a.m. Friday morning Vivianne Scott kneeled on the ground and began lighting 70 candles spread out in the shape a of a peace sign.
“It's what we stand for,” said the UC Berkeley sophomore.
She’s one of about 35 students and community members from the Stop The War Coalition who spent Thursday night on Lower Sproul Plaza in front of Eshleman Hall on the UC Berkeley campus to protest a controversial cartoon published in Tuesday's Daily Californian. The group was demanding an apology for the “racist” cartoon depicting mid-eastern-looking men in hell, celebrating the attack on the World Trade Center.
Daily Cal editor Janny Hu, however, has been adamant in her refusal to issue an apology. The opinion page, where the cartoon was published, provides a space for diverse ideas and does not represent the paper, she said. Not allowing the cartoon would be taking away the author’s freedom of speech, she argued.
On Tuesday about 150 students protested at the paper’s offices and a group among them was arrested early Wednesday morning.
The demand for an apology continued Thursday. An anti-war rally and march ended directly beneath the Daily Cal’s windows.
About 60 students set up there for an all-night encampment, but they couldn’t sleep. Under article three of the Berkeley Campus Code of Student Conduct, camping or lodging on university property other than in authorized facilities is a violation.
“If it's a vigil and they're not sleeping they will be fine,” said Assistant Chancellor John Cummins. “But they'll get in trouble if they fall asleep or set up tents and sleeping bags.”
Some students went home and others decided to take turns sleeping or resting at a nearby all-night study lounge.
In the end, the protesters decided their strategy wasn’t working.
“I don't think that they’re going to apologize,” said Scott as she looked up at the windows of the Daily Cal’s offices.
At about 6 a.m. the sleep-deprived students left, having decided that they would change their tactics and try to get advertisers to boycott the paper and to educate their fellow students on the reasons for protesting the cartoon.