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In preparation for next week’s Spring Elections, student government campaigners occupied open grassy space along campus’ main bike thoroughfare, vying for ideal campaign poster placement.
Representatives from both the Open People’s Party and Democratic Process Party stationed themselves for over 24 hours, setting up camp around 3 p.m. on Saturday and defending their position until 8 p.m. Sunday, when elections regulations allow campaigning to begin.
UCSB’s policy regarding camping, outlined in September 2007 “to protect the health and safety of the campus community,” forbids the erection of tem- porary settlements on any university property, specifi- cally prohibiting the use of camp paraphernalia such as the sleeping bags and warming equipment used by Associated Students campaigners.
The regulation extends to all campus entities, including registered student organizations.
However, the UCSB Police Department did not disturb the encampments. According to UCPD Sgt. Tony Borrayo, no action was taken since the students were issued permission to loiter until 8 p.m., despite official campus policy’s ability to supersede organiza- tional rules.
“They’re not camping; they’re just waiting to put their posters up,” Borrayo said. “You have to be sleep- ing or wrapped up in a blanket, et cetera. If people are moving, that’s not considered camping.”
The reaction stands in sharp contrast to institu- tional handling of recent camping events at other UC campuses, such as Berkeley and Davis, where numer- ous students were arrested for displaying nonviolent dissidence. In many cases, officials cited the basic risk such encampments pose for health and sanitation.
Jonathan Abboud, a second-year political science major, said the students were cleared of wrongdoing upon distinguishing themselves from the Occupy movement.
“The police and CSOs have been [coming around here],” Abboud said. “We just tell them we’re with student government, trying to get a spot for our boards.”
UCSB’s policy on camping can be found at http:// www.policy.ucsb.edu/policies/policy-docs/camping. pdf.